FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 27TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE II
THEME: FROM FANATICISM TO AUTHENTIC SPIRITUALITY!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OCTOBER 4 2022
* Gal 1: 13 – 24, Lk 10: 38 – 42.
St Paul confesses in today’s 1st reading that he began his spiritual journey as a fanatic. Yeah! Some level of fanaticism is required for this journey of salvation. *One must be passionate about his/ her faith and ready to die for it.* Monsignor T Onoyima said that ‘Some degree of foolishness must accompany anybody who wants to go to heaven… And to be a hero, you must be a witness to whom or to what you are a hero for and you must suffer for it’. The caveat here is what Chimamanda Adichie calls the “danger of a single story”. St Thomas Aquinas says, ” Fear the man of one book”, and I add “…even if that book is the Bible”.
*St Paul was in no way a man of one book. He was academically brought up at the feet of Gamaliel (one of the highest academic stalwarts and best law schools of the time). He spent 3 years of solitude in Arabia which gave him some theological density in preparing for the ministry. He also had some few weeks association with Peter which must have fine tuned his theological excesses and given him a balanced close shove with orthodoxy.* This is always a very necessary aspect of the formation of anybody who will go far in ecclesiastical matters. He himself confessed: ‘So extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers’ (When I hear this I think of groups like the Precious Blood and Charismatics, many of whose members are often adherents of single theological narratives).
Paul and Peter; Martha and Mary, all give us 2 different approaches and ways of trying to please the Lord. *Martha represents those that try to please the Lord through activism while Mary represents those that try to please the Lord through contemplative prayer.* Both are salutary. The problem arises when those at the other school of thought begins to think that the others are commiting sin. And that is the negative borderline called ‘fanaticism’.
Sometimes we could have 2 theological camps on very delicate and serious theological matters such as Christian identity, Christian morality, Ecumenism, Liturgical abberations, or even Dogmatic stands. Some may get too conservative while some may prefer to be more liberal. This should not divide us. Prudence, humility and tolerance for other ideologies would see us through as it happened during the apostolic era. As Martha was distracted with much serving, many of us are anxious and troubled with many things that are really not needful. For instance, many were troubled that CoViD 19 brought the necessity of giving communion in the hands when they think it must be in the mouth. But these are quite unnecessary liturgical frivolities that shouldn’t trouble any sound Christian. We should rather worry about those defiling the Eucharist through mortal sins and occult activities. May God bless you today!
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