FR BEN’S HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 28TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I
THEME: THE 3 ‘R’ S OF SALVATION!
BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OCTOBER 13 2021
*Rom 3 : 21 – 30, Lk 11 : 47 – 54.
Is the principle of justification based on faith or works? This has been the bone of contention of theological disagreements since the time of reformation till the present. Today’s 1st reading makes it clear that ‘All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’, Rom 3 : 23… ‘But with the Lord, there is mercy and fulness of redemption’, Ps 130 : 7. His salvific work was full on Calvary, as he said ‘It is finished’, Jn 19 : 30 but the process of appropriating this salvation package has triple entries: Redemption, Repentance and Regeneration. It is not as simple as many think.
Jesus makes a very poignant statement in today’s gospel: ‘Woe to you lawyers! For you take away the key of knowledge (of salvation); you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering’. The key of knowledge is truth and humility. The truth is that all theological knowledge (ie about salvation) comes from our Lord Jesus Christ – rejecting him means rejecting the truth. He told Pilate pomp and play that ‘all those who are on the side of truth listen to my voice’, Jn 18 : 37. Another key of theological knowledge is that salvation and justification come from faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, not from the mere keeping of the law as the Old Testament lawyers taught. He said : ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’, Jn 14 : 1 – 3. The lawyers were therefore wasting their time fixing salvation on Old Testament dispensation of justice not knowing that the New Testament dispensation of justification is no longer based on the law but on faith in Christ Jesus. It is on the basis of the merits of what Jesus did on Calvary that a sinner is acceptable in God’s sight not on his /her mere personal efforts in keeping the law.
The 3 ‘R’ s of salvation begin from redemption, progresses at repentance and graduates in regeneration. The Scribes and Pharisees were far from the vestiges of repentance. The blood of prophets were still hanging on their heads retroactively since the sin of a man’s evil ancestors rebound on him /her unless he /she repents, Ezek 18 : 19. Jesus had the key of orthodox theological knowledge – Every process of regeneration kick starts from his grace through the power of the Holy Spirit which he releases to believers at baptism. True faith in Jesus, therefore translates itself into a living commitment of hope and love. The love of Christ urges us on and regenerates us into new creatures, 2 Cor 5 : 14. May God bless you today!