FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF EASTER
THEME: SEEK THE FOOD THAT PERISHES NOT!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: * Act 6 : 8 – 15, Jn 6 : 22 – 29.
Seeing the number of people that troop out of our Churches, Adoration Centres and Crusade grounds, we cannot but wish that what these people seek for are actually spiritual rather than mere material miracles. We are told in today’s 1st reading that Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. Yes, whenever a man of God is filled with grace and power, he usually works a number of miracles among the people.
However, what we often fail to see is the different kinds of miracles that we should expect from men of God ;
(a) Physical Miracles ; Eg. Healing the sick, feeding the hungry, praying for their financial breakthroughs, etc.
* We saw all that in the ministry of young St Stephen who was only a deacon but was used mightily by God.
(b) Moral Miracles ; Miracles that bring change in people’s behaviour/ character, reconciliation between two waring enemies, eg. Muslim vs Christian fanatics, Miracles that influence political leaders positively, eg the conversion of Emperor Constantine, conversion of Occultic people, etc.
* We also saw this kind of miracles in St Stephen. He was able to remove the discrimination against Hellenistic widows.
* We have also seen this kind of miracles among some Popes and Bishops like Pope StJn Paul II, Pope Francis, Bishop Godfrey Okoye of blessed memory, etc.
(c) Spiritual Miracles ; Miracles of deliverance and conversion of souls, breaking of people’s yokes and bringing them out from bondage and darkness.
* We also saw this kind of miracle in St Stephen especially after his death when through the conversion of St Paul, the biggest fish ever caught in Christendom was netted.
In today’s gospel, people crossed over to Capernaum to look for Jesus and he, observing the intentions of their hearts told them : ‘You are looking for me not because you have seen the signs ( faith) but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat ( miracles of prosperity). Do not work for the food that goes bad but work for the food that endures for eternal life which the Son of man will give you’. This passage later ends with the radical message : ‘ I am the bread of life’.
Instead of people seeing the sign ( faith) in the bread they ate, they saw the bread in the sign. People instead of seeking Jesus as their Saviour ( through a deeper touch of the Word of God for repentance from their sins) they sought Him as their bakery man who should provide them with free bread.
Today, many people expect the Church to provide them with material bread, free education, free hospital care and other forms of charity. Many expect priests to dash them money play some other social functions for them instead of to pray for them. Important as these are, the Church should never be reduced to mere provider of material goods but something more than material bread.
May God bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO