FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 24TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I
THEME: AIM AT RIGHTEOUSNESS!
BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY: * 1 Tim 6 : 2 – 12, Lk 8 : 1 – 3.
One of the greatest warnings issued by Paul to Timothy in his Pastoral letters is against the use of religion for business. The love of money is generally the root of all evils especially in Christianity. This kind of love destroys faith and turns prayer mechanically into business. Story has it that in a Pentecostal Church few years ago, a big python was discovered under the pulpit. Many pastors do anything just in order to make money. Christ said : ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God’, Matt 5 : 1. Very few Christians are still moving towards this lane today!
To be possessed by the spirit of Jesus – the spirit of righteousness, is all that matters. ‘The kingdom of heaven is not eating and drinking but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’, Rom 14 : 17. Yes, the promise was given as follows : ‘Seek you first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness and all other things shall be added unto you’, Matt 6 : 33. But the trap lies in seeking for all other things first or along with righteousness. No, you can’t love both God and mammon. Just seek God first and when you have got him, other things shall be provided.
This is most ‘ad rem’ for apostles, evangelists, prophets and pastors like St Paul. Jesus’ material needs as we are told in today’s gospel, was provided for by some pious women like Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna. Familied men and women who are Christians may not wait to be provided for. Even preachers may do well to work like St Paul and burden the people less but the desire for gain through the gospel is demonic. The gospel must never be a business.There must never be a prize tag for any ministry or sacrament in the Church. Money, they say, is a good servant but a dangerous master. He likes to go to Church regularly but does not like to stay there for too long!
People talk of the 3 ‘W’s that threaten the priestly ministry; Wealth, Women and Wine. Love of wealth kills the focus, lust for women dampens the fire and lure of wine distabilizes spirituality (prayer life) because our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The presence of women around Church ministers must never be an opportunity for self indulgence. Some women that come to them can actually be demonic and that’s why we hear in today’s gospel that Jesus cast out 7 demons from Mary Magdalene. Some can also be very saintly. St Paul says : ‘As for you, Man of God, shun all these and aim at righteousness!’.
May God bless you today!