FR. BEN’S HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 22ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I
THEME: THE PEOPLE SOUGHT HIM…
BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY: * Col 1 : 1 – 8, Lk 4 : 38 – 44.
The healing ministry has a sense of urgency, attraction and need that makes people press heavily on the minister in order to keep him from leaving them. Christ resisted this temptation in today’s gospel because he didn’t want to allow his healing ministry to affect his teaching ministry and the rest of his mission. He insisted : ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also for I was sent for this purpose’. Every priest assumes the ministry of Christ; the teaching of the Word and sacraments. The healing ministry should be inclusive in his other works and not exclusive of his other works. The danger here is that when healing concentrates on people’s physical ailments than on their spiritual, the devil takes glory. The same with feeding. When the people wanted to get more of the miracle of loaves, Jn 6 : 27, Jesus resisted the temptation of people turning him into a bakery man. He took their attention rather to the sacrament of the Eucharist by teaching them about the bread of life, Jn 6 : 51.
In the Church today, both the priests and the laity must watch against the danger of shifting of focus in the pastoral ministry from the deeply spiritual to the spatio temporal needs. Sometimes people can also get more interested in the physical projects that a priest does in a parish more than in the spiritual. The more people are excited about the charismatic gifts of a minister, the more their attention gradually shifts from the giver of the gift to the gift itself – the Adoration ministry becomes less of adoration of Jesus and more of the advertisement/testimonies of the power of the minister. It is always a subtle trap of the enemy.
We must also watch against a bigger danger – the danger of putting the practical needs of the people out of the concerns of our pastoral ministry. In today’s gospel, Christ stood over the practical obstacle of sickness (fever) that was crippling Peter’s mother in law from doing her domestic work. He healed her instantly of the fever. He still does that for us who believe. Whenever Jesus is a guest, his hosts feel his presence; In Peter’s house, he healed the sick; at the wedding feast at Cana, he provided extra wine; at Lazarus’ house, he raised the dead; at Zaccheus’ house, he converted a sinner and forgave his sins. Jesus’ ministry cuts across all aspects of human need. May we never limit him to either the spiritual nor the physical.
May God bless you today!