Fr. Ben’s homily for Friday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: BUSINESS MEN ALL OVER OUR CHURCHES!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Friday November 19 2021
*1 Macc 4 : 36 – 59, Lk 19 : 45 – 48.
The Chief priests and Saducees had seen themselves as the custodians and landlords of the temple but Christ drove them all away from the temple because they didn’t even have the basic faith required for the true worship of God. Most of them were more interested in their private businesses of selling cattles, sheep, turtledoves and other animals used by worshippers and ended up exploiting the poor ones and distracting the believers who had come to worship God with their ‘noise of trade’. You know, money has its own aggressive spirit. As soon as you give it a chance, it takes over every other thing. If Jesus were to come again into our Parish Churches (the present day temple), I am sure he will drive away so many business men and women from the house of God. So many priests and pastors have turned into proper merchants and tax collectors who are more interested in the money they make out of their ‘evangelical occupation’ rather than in the number of souls they win for Christ. So many mission establishments (like schools and hospitals) have turned into complete business enterprises which no longer serve the interest of the poor and overall purpose of conversion of souls. Yet their income were raised in the Church during Sunday worship through the offerings of these poor people.
Jesus insists in today’s gospel that ‘My house shall be a house of prayer but you have made it a den of robbers’. Our Sundays must remain a sacred day for prayer and studying of the Word of God and so, ministers must try as much as possible to minimize monetary distractions. The holiness and dedication of the temple as we find in today’s 1st reading demonstrated by the Maccabees remain a point of emulation. Business men and women have an uncanny way of defiling our Churches (temples) and must be checkmated. They may operate in disguise as Ministers, Church officials or regular Church members. A journalist once beautifully described 5 types of Churches he will not like to attend; (1) Museum style Church – where you go only as a spectator, (2) Hair dresser style Church – where they split members into partitions, (3) Service station style Church – where you just go to be filled up, (4) Sleeping car style Church – where the passengers (believers) don’t want to be disturbed by strong messages, (5) Refrigerator style Church – where the icy chill drives out any new arrivals. I don’t know whether your Parish Church fits into any of the negative descriptions above but the message of today insists that our Churches must be a place of prayer not business. May God bless you today!