FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR THE 12TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
THEME: EVEN THE WIND & THE SEAS OBEY HIM!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: *Job 38:1-11, 2 Cor 5:14-17, Mk 4:35-41.
Fear has taken many Christians away from the feet of the Master to the clutches of the enemy. It beats my imagination to see where many Christians go to and what many Christians do today just because of the fear for the storms of life; The fear of poverty, sicknesses, barrenness, lack of marriage partner, etc. But the challenge of true faith remains at the crucibles of temptations, at the watershed of trials and tribulations and at the quicksands of disappointments and confusion.
*B. THE GREAT STORM*
Today’s gospel is about life: full of challenges ( winds & storms) & so the christian should be full of faith, 1 Jn 5: 4. The gale began to blow & the waves were breaking into the boat. Our reaction to natural & supernatural disasters should not be psychological nor spiritual fear. What we need is intellectual & spiritual firmness. We shall not call every disaster spiritual or demonic attack including natural accidents. People should not panick us with useless messages.
The ‘sea’ is the ancient symbol of destructive powers- both spiritual & natural. The proper reaction of believers in tense situations is not to be frightened but to call God’s attention through prayers ( like the apostles awakened Jesus). Jesus rebukes the apostles: ‘Why are you so terrified? How is it that you have no faith?’
*C. THE GREAT FEAR*
Fear is the opposite of faith. It does not help prayer. It only worsens our predicaments.
* Story of John Newton’s conversion & the origin of the hymn: ‘Amazing grace’.
From Job’s story we see that it was only when Job realized that God can triumph over all sufferings that he overcame his own suffering.
*I personally had a lot of challenges trying to become a priest. My seminary journey actually lasted for 24 years but I must confess that I recovered my vocation only at the moment I was able to surrender it to God and all fear left me.
The 2nd reading says that the love of God overwhelms us. Realizing the import of Christ’s death & resurrection we become new creatures dead to our own selfish desires, fears, worries & become fully alive in Christ, 2 Cor 5:14-17.
*D. THE GREAT CALM*
God may seem asleep but his word says: ‘Call to me in the day of trouble & I will answer you’, Ps 50:18. Don’t panic. Just put your concerns in prayer, Phil 4:6-7. Learn to wait upon the Lord after praying, Is 40: 30. This could last for many years.
The secret of survival as a christian is not getting a bigger boat but a deeper faith. We need to get our focus fixed not on the storms but on God. No evil can befall us without God’s permission.
Many of us are fair-weather Christians. We quickly bulge in moments of crises. We run to many ‘Dibias’ and ‘Dibia Pastors’ and ‘Dibia Prophets’. Look at the number of people trooping to our different Prayer Ministries as if to say that God is no longer present in their Parish chapels. What we see happening in so many Private Christian Ministries in Nigeria is becoming disheartening. Many ministries are becoming personality cults where so-called ‘men of God’ are advertised in the name of magical prophesies and magical healings. Little do our Christians realize that a lot of the powers exhibited in these centres may not actually be from God. We must learn to expect storms as normal life experiences: storms of ridicule,sickness, failures, violence, etc. When we are storm-tossed what do we do? We must pray to remain calm and not lose our faith or run away from our Church!
Happy Sunday dear friends!
FR BEN AGBO