FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 27TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE II
THEME: OUR DWINDLING FAITH!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OCTOBER 6 2022
* Gal 3: 1 – 5, Lk 11: 5 – 13.
Looking at the Church of Christ in our climes today, one cannot but notice a dwindling faith – a faith that is becoming more extrinsic/ psychedelic than deep/ spiritual. *I remember for instance, the days of Bishop Eneje when christian devotion was rife; Uka mgbede, May & October devotions, regular confessions, etc will show you the true indices of a lively parish.* These days, the parameters have completely changed from the purely spiritual to the aesthetic; the flamboyant structures and how much sycophantic priests are able to *”deliver the Parish to the bishop”.* Pastoral visits of bishops are becoming more like another Cathedraticum than a simple visit of a bishop to his flock. Surely, it is not the fault of the bishops (who don’t call for the elaborate receptions) but the exuberant faith or sometimes sycophantic tendencies of the priests and their parishioners who may end up taxing their parishioners unnecessarily. *The overall result is a little shift of emphasis: from serious pastoral work, like sick calls, confessions, uka mgbede, catechesis, etc to further education of priests, financial empowerment of priests, and all forms of social distraction especially accruing from priests’ unhealthy relationship with the rich.* It is even worse now that we are talking about getting good leaders for Nigeria. Selfish interests have become the primary consideration rather than competence. It is scandalous for some Charismatic priests and bishops to use financial support of their adoration ministry or Diocesan projects as primary consideration determining their support of a Candidate rather than competence/capacity for good governance.
St Paul asks the Galatian Church some incisive questions in today’s 1st reading: *Who has bewitched you before whose eyes Jesus Christ was crucified? Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by faith? Having begun with the Spirit, are we now ending with the flesh?* Chai! God forbid that this should also be the end of our own pastoral story in this part of the globe. God forbid that evil Politicians will buy us with money and we sell our consciences to the glaring truth before us.
*Prayer remains the greatest spiritual elixir for every Church institution.* It remains the key to the heart of God. Without it every Church is tempted to derail in its focus. Today’s gospel speaks of the need for persistence in prayer both on the part of priests and the lay faithful. *Persistent prayer will bring back the fire of faith and devotion in our dwindling Churches.* We should know when to ask and when to seek and when to knock! Oh! what a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. You can begin again this October to bring your Parishioners back on their knees. *October devotions should not become a thing for the archives.* We need to continue to present the Church and our Country Nigeria to God through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, especially during this critical time of elections. May God bless you today!