HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK OF LENT.
THEME: THE FATE OF THE GODLY IN THE MIDST OF THE UNGODLY!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr)
*Wis 2: 1 – 22, Jn 7: 1 – 30.
There is no way the godly will be comfortable in the midst of the ungodly and vis versa. The godly will always expose the ungodliness of the ungodly in order to remain godly while the ungodly will always fight and test the godly in order to distract him /her from his /her godliness. According to the 1st reading of today, the ungodly men will always reason unsoundly and oppose the actions of the godly. They would always tempt the godly to be part of their ungodliness; to pay homage to their idols, to lose their temper, quarrel with them and come down to the same spiritual level with them, have sexual communion with them and ipso facto share the same spirits with them.
Story has it that Emperor Diocletian loved St Sebastian and made him commander of his first cohort but as soon as he learnt that he was a Christian, he tried to pressurize him to worship his idols. When Sebastian resisted, he got him shot with so many arrows. When God rescued him miraculously, he now ordered him to be beaten with cudgels until he died.
Bishop Oscar Romero, a Latin American priest was shot dead while celebrating mass for championing the rights of the people. Same with Rev Martin Luther Kg (Jnr) assassinated for fighting for equal rights between the whites and the blacks in America.
The life of a Christian is a big terror to the unbeliever. Christ says he is the way, the truth and the life and so anyone living outside Christ is living in darkness and unhappiness. When a Christian comes in close shove with the unbeliever, the Bible says it is ideas that we demolish – presumptuous ideas that are set up against the Word of God, 2 Cor 10: 4. The highest of these ideas is the idea of materialism while the highest idea in Christianity is the idea of the Cross. Christians must therefore be prepared to suffer for their faith. According to Thomas Fuller, ‘There is no better armor against the shafts of death than to be bruised in God’s service’. Nothing can separate us from the love Christ, Rom 8: 35. This fearlessness is the greatest defeat of the enemy. It is this fearlessness that made Jesus move on in today’s gospel to Jerusalem inspite of the fact that there was a plot to kill him. But the scriptures recorded that no one laid hands on him because his hour had not yet come. Yes, death was no intimidation for Christ and its threat would not stop him from preaching. Shakespeare said that ‘Cowards die many times before their death but the valiant never taste death but once’. May we learn to be valiant in the midst of the ungodly! May God bless you today!
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