CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 33RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: TIME FOR CHURCH REFORM!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: * Rev 10 : 8 – 11, Lk 19 : 45 – 48.
‘My house shall be a house of prayer’. This was the radical position that Christ took that moved him to the extent of violence and physical expression of his passion through the act of whipping and driving away traders from the temple of Jerusalem. The Word of God has this radicalism that is mysterious. It has the gentle and the aggressive dimensions. Some things are sweet and bitter at the same time. The call to holiness is one of such things – a truth symbolically expressed in today’s 1st reading from the book of revelation. Here John dramatically eats the scroll (Word of God) which tastes both sweet and bitter. It is sweet because it foretells the final victory of God’s people (Good news) and sour because it announces the suffering they must endure. We are called to consume God’s Word and expect the gradual healing /transformation of our whole internal system ( like antibiotics do in our stomach when we are sick).
Do we feel sometimes broken by the Word of God? Do we feel sometimes devastated at a retreat or conference? That is part of God’s plan – to reform and transform his Church always through you. The whole message of Christianity is founded on the antinomies of a ‘Good Friday’ – when a triumphant blend took place between suffering and glorification. We need a boldness to reform in the Church ; to criticize ourselves with love, to purify ourselves with passion, to sanitize ourselves and the whole Church of Christ.
Somebody described 5 types of Church Christ doesn’t want as follows ;
1. A museum style Church: where people just go to amuse themselves.
2. A hairdresser style Church: where people behave as if they go to split their hair into 4 or more partitions.
3. A service station Church: where people go just to be filled up or have their needs provided for.
4. A sleeping car Church: where the passengers don’t want to be disturbed from their sleep. Here believers don’t want their lifestyles troubled by the Word of God.
5. A refrigerator type of Church: that remains so cold that new members are scared away from joining and everybody is spiritually dead.
God’s glory lies not in the wealth of the Church but in its purity. For those who are obsessed with how to develop newer and richer structures in our parishes and dioceses, take note that a church must have the following qualities;
(i) It must remain a house of prayer for children of God.
(ii) It must remain a house of charity for the poor.
(iii) It must remain a house of purification for sinners.
(iv) It must remain a house of education for the ignorant.
(v) It must remain a house of perfection for the training of Saints. We need the courage and boldness to continue to reform the Church of Christ. And it is high time for such reform. May God bless you today!