HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK OF ADVENT (1)







HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK OF ADVENT

HOMILY THEME: HE TOUCHED THEIR EYES…

BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo

 

HOMILY: * Is 29 : 17 – 24, Matt 9 : 27 – 31.

Absence of light is the greatest existential tragedy. That’s why before creation, God saw that the whole world was a dark shapeless void and he began the creation project by a simple decree : ‘Let there be light’ and there was light, Gen 1 : 3. After cases of paralysis, the next worst sickness, they say, is blindness. It makes a man unhappy, unhopeful and unfulfilled. Isaiah therefore prophesied that at the coming of the Messiah, the eyes of the blind shall see and the poor among them shall exult in the Holy one of Israel (like Mary did in the magnificat, Lk 1 : 46 – 55). They will sanctity the Holy one of Jacob and will stand in awe at the God of Israel – the father of Jesus, son of David, and those who err in spirit will come to understanding. What a wonderful spill of biblical prophesy!

When the blind men in today’s gospel cried aloud (radical prayer) : ‘Son of David, have mercy on us’, they had already keyed into the fundamental understanding needed for their salvation. Jesus just confirmed it by asking them : ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’. Then he touched their eyes. Yes! Jesus’ ministry was a continuous and systematic battle with the kingdom of darkness, Col 1 : 12, not merely physical sicknesses but all the other dark consequences of sin.

It is more disastrous when we lack the humility to see our faults clearly or when the adumberations of popularity begin to becloud our vision and perception of who we really are . And it is even more disastrous when it happens to so called ‘men of God’. The point of intersection between spiritual power and political power is the meeting point between power and popularity. And by extension, the point of conflict between Church and State since time immemorial, has always been the war between humility and pride ; between spirituality and secularism. Just imagine the two blind men warned by Jesus in today’s gospel not to let anyone know that he is a healer, going about spreading his popularity in the whole countryside. But Jesus knew exactly what he was avoiding. And even with all his sagacity and caution, he lasted only 3 years in the healing ministry.

It is amazingly interesting that Jesus ‘needed’ one thing for this miracle to happen – and that was the faith of those blind men in him as a healer. This is an aspect of the healing ministry that we may never take for granted – that without faith in the healer, he/ she may not be able to do much for us and without humility the healer may never last long in the ministry. The fact remains that the gift of healing which Jesus had could not manifest in Nazareth as much as it did in other places like Capernaum just because his own people neglected him. It normally occurs by happenchance that many with spiritual gifts only get opportunities for their popularity to spread and the more this happens the more they do exploits in the name of God. But the more the ‘healer’ remains humble and wanting less publicity, the longer he/ she lasts in the ministry. When the healer’s popularity grows too high, he usually runs into conflict with the powers that be just as Jesus did. This is what many men of God still suffer today especially those who lack the requisite meekness and humility. The human sociopolitical growth gradient is always undulating. The higher you grow, the more humble you need to be otherwise there must be some conflicts and we can never resolve it better than Jesus did with all our human foibles.

May God help us to understand this and help all our ministers involved in different spiritual ministries to be humble. And may Jesus touch our eyes today and enable us to see more clearly!

FR BEN AGBO

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