FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD (3)

FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD

THEME: THE PENTECOSTAL ERA!

BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)

HOMILY FOR THURSDAY MAY 26 2022

*Act 1 :1-11, Eph 1 :17 – 23, Jn 16 :20 – 23.

Did you notice from the 1st reading of today that even 40 days after Easter, the apostles did not understand the real m







FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD

THEME: THE PENTECOSTAL ERA!

BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)

HOMILY FOR THURSDAY MAY 26 2022

 

*Act 1 :1-11, Eph 1 :17 – 23, Jn 16 :20 – 23.

Did you notice from the 1st reading of today that even 40 days after Easter, the apostles did not understand the real mission of Christ?
The apostles passed through a number of theological confusions;
1. Christological confusion; It took them time to understand Jesus as the 2nd person of the Trinity. Even when Peter affirmed at Caesarea Philipi that he was the Son of God, he still didn’t understand how?
2. Eschatological confusion; They were still expecting the restoration of Israel – an expectation that led Judas to colossal frustration and failure. I think it was Jude Thaddeus who spoke up and asked that question: ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? Others were hoping that the rapture was going to be tomorrow or next. But Jesus told them: ‘It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has fixed. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses ‘.
3. Eucharistic confusion; Don’t take it for granted that the apostles understood the proper meaning and import of the Eucharist even when Jesus had said: ‘This is my body …Do this in memory of me’, Lk 22 : 20. Many wanted to leave on the day he dropped the full sacramental theology of the Eucharist before Peter said: ‘To whom Lord shall we go? You have the message of eternal life’, Jn 6 : 58. But many continued as protestants from within.
4. Neumatological confusion; On the day of Ascension, Jesus said: ‘I send the promise of my father upon you: Do not go out to preach but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high’, Lk 24 : 48. I consider this one of the strongest injunctions of Christ. If the disciples had disobeyed this one we would not have had the Church as it is today.

But the real problem we have in the Church today is that many ministers are still operating with a number of theological confusions; Some don’t even believe that Jesus is God. Some have a wrong notion of the rapture. Some don’t even believe in the doctrine of Eucharistic transubstantiation. Some are ignorant about the operational power of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, we are in the Pentecostal era; the era of the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Our 1st reading today says: ‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and then you will be my witnesses’. Does it mean the apostles after staying for many years with Christ could not get the spiritual power they needed directly from him? Without becoming guilty of unnecessary theological pluralism, I think one must realize that even after having understood much about Christ, much about the dogmas of the Church, much about our blessed mother Mary, we still need to learn a lot about the operations of the Holy Spirit in a believer. The feast of Ascension closes one era of Trinitarian manifestation and ushers in theological emphasis on another era. We need to move with the Universal Church to the Upper room; a place of Holy Ghost empowerment.

The real mission of Christ is Spiritual empowerment which was meant to be wholistic: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me for he has anointed me; (i) To bring the good news to the afflicted (Psychological empowerment)
(ii) To proclaim liberty to captives (Spiritual empowerment /Deliverance)
(iii) To give sight to the blind (Educational empowerment)
(iv) To let the oppressed go free (Political empowerment)
(v) To proclaim a year of favour from the Lord (Economic empowerment /Prosperity) ‘
But he warned: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and every other things shall be added’.

Some disciples were impatient to wait for this full empowerment; Some went back fishing (Peter and his colleagues) – He called them back; Some got sceptical and abandoned fellowship (like Thomas) – He strengthened their faith; Some travelled to Emmaus, 7 miles away from Jerusalem – He made them return back.
So many Christians of today have left Jerusalem (place of authentic faith) in search of quick prosperity; Some have lost faith; Some are waiting for rapture… But we are told in today’s 2nd reading that He ascended to release Spiritual gifts to the Church: Hierachical, Charismatic and Practical gifts.
– Hierarchical gifts; 1. Apostles, 2. Prophets, 3. Evangelists, 4. Pastors and 5. Teachers, Eph 4 : 9 – 13.
– Charismatic gifts; Wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophesy, discernment, tongues, interpretation of tongues, helpful acts, counseling, etc, 1Cor 12 :18 – 30.
– Practical gifts; 1. Exorcism, 2. Tongues, 3. Invulnerability, 4. Healing, Mk 16 :18.

He gave us this assurance in today’s gospel that ‘in the world you will have sorrows but your sorrows will turn to joy… Your hearts will be full of joy and no one shall take it from you’, Jn 16 :20 – 23. May this joy of the Lord be our portion in this Pentecost season. Have a nice day!

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