FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 17TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I
THEME: THE NEW TABERNACLE!
BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY: * Ex 40 : 16 – 38, Matt 13 : 47 – 53.
The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Yes, the tabernacle was the temporary dwelling place of the most high God in their midst while the cloud was the symbol of that presence at that time. That experience made them exclaim as we find in today’s responsorial psalm : ‘How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord God Almighty’, Ps 84 : 1. God commanded Moses to write/inscribe his laws into a covenant stone. Moses took the covenant and put it into the ark and he brought the ark into the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up, the sons of Israel would go onwards… If not, they went nowhere. Today this tabernacle has been replaced since the death of Christ when the curtain of the Old Testament tabernacle was torn and Christ gave us the new tabernacle of his body, Heb 10 : 19 – 22. This is what Catholics call the Blessed Sacrament today.
The gospel parable of the net makes us understand that the Church is a gathering of people of all kinds; the good, the bad and the ugly. The Isrealites represented the Old Church – the people of God on their way to the promised land (heaven). Christ embarks on explaining the nature of the kingdom message. The Word of God sorts us into two groups. The Eucharist regulates and divides us into two groups ; the worthy and unworthy. Those who cannot receive it have an opportunity to make amends before the whistle of the final judgment is blown. Jesus ends the long teaching about the kingdom like a good teacher by asking the question: ‘Have you understood all these?’ He knew how tragic it will be if the disciples did not understand about the message of the kingdom and judgment. They said they did and so it was end of discussion.
Today, we need to understand the secret of the gospel and the sacraments. We need to understand the replacement of the Old Testament Ark with the Eucharist and the role of the sacraments of penance in purifying us so that in this new Ark (the Church), both the good and the bad may find a place and be purified and sanctified for the kingdom of God. Like the fisherman’s drag net, so will be the close of age, when the good will be sorted into vessels, into the Ark of God, into the dwelling place of God while the bad will be thrown away into the furnace of fire. Christ said : ‘He who has ears, let him hear’.
May God bless you today!