FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK OF EASTER
THEME: IF YOU HAVE ANY WORD OF EXHORTATION, SAY IT!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: * Act 13 : 13 – 25, Jn 13 : 16 – 20.
I am interested in the Judeo Christian tradition of regular colloquium – a sharing/ discussion of the Word of God done usually in the Synagogue on every Sabbath day, as we fInd in the 1st reading of today. The Jews celebrated their rituals of sacrificial worship at a separate time, usually in the temple and then the sharing / discussion of the Word of God at another special time perhaps in the evening. The early Christians continued with this practice until they were pursued from the Jewish temples and synagogues. The Synagogue colloquium experience looks to me more like the Sunday Evening Bible Study setting we have today where the scriptures are read and theological experts are called up to provide homiletic assistance ; deeper exegesis, words of teaching and exhortation. In today’s 1st reading, Paul and his companions on their 1st missionary journey, went into the Synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia and sat down. After the reading of the OT Bible ( the Law and the Prophets), they were motioned for some Word of exhortation. He gave a very comprehensive historical review of the entire salvation story from Abraham to Jesus and so many things were made theologically clear.
The culture of colloquium is fast disappearing in the modern day Church and the effect is going to be disastrous. Majority of Catholics depend merely on the ’10 minutes homily’ they hear from their parish priests during the Eucharistic celebration of Sunday morning and do not come back again in the evening for more thorough discussion and internalization of the message. The fact still remains that Christians who are not loaded with the Word of God are like vehicles moving about without fuel and engine oil. They soon crash land and are grounded.
First step in spiritual growth is knowledge of the Word of God. Jesus said in today’s gospel : ‘If you know these things ; blessed are you if you do them’. We therefore need to spend more time in breaking the Word of God just like Paul did in today’s 1st reading. Then we also need to make efforts to obey what we hear, especially from our priests. Christ said that ‘He who receives anyone I send receives me’.
May the Lord bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO