HOMILY FOR NEW YEAR DAY.
THEME: HAPPY NEW YEAR OF SPIRITUAL REBIRTH! & POLITICAL EMANCIPATION!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY FOR JANUARY 1ST.
* Num 6: 22 – 27, Gal 4: 4 – 7, Lk 2: 16 – 21.
Pope St Leo the great in his sermon culled from today’s Office of the readings says boldly that ‘The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of the body.. Just as the faithful together, born of the waters of baptism are crucified with Christ in his passion, raised with him at the father’ s right hand in his ascension, so too, with him, they are born again in this his birth’. Such is our challenge as we begin this new year.
*B. SPIRIT OF SONSHIP*
The 2nd reading says that ‘when the appointed time came, God sent his son, born of a woman, born a subject of the law to redeem the subjects of the law and enable us to be adopted as sons… A spirit that enables us cry ‘Abba father’ and to become heirs of his blessings’, Gal 4: 4 – 7. Without the release of this spirit, belonging to the Christian fold remains the same as belonging to a mere social club. The Christian remains a mere fleshly believer. According to Watchman Nee, ‘a fleshly Christian is one who, having been reborn and having received God’s life is unable to overcome his flesh and still follows his soul and body to sin and behave’ (Spiritual Man, P. 54). We must pass through 3 processes of Salvation, Deliverance and Sanctification, (represented by the 3 ‘R’ s of Redemption, Repentance and Regeneration). We must endeavor to be born again not just of water but of the Spirit, Jn 3: 3. To pass through the sacrament is one thing, for the sacrament to pass through us and affect our lives is another.
RELATED: HOMILY FOR SATURDAY DECEMBER 31ST.
The problem of sins and falls after baptism nearly rocked the early Church. Reading through fathers of the Church like Tertullian , we see the problem of ‘secundae penitentia’ (the granting of only a 2nd chance for penance at death bed by the early Church) and order of penitents. The theological implications of true contrition, absolution and penance have taken the Church through a panoramic journey till the Vatican II that has kept the sacrament of reconciliation where it is today. While the problem of sin remains unsolved, we still make bold to celebrate at every Christmas and Easter season the freedom from Satan (sin) and freedom to God (righteousness). We continue to celebrate our submission to the new lordship of Jesus Christ, Rom 6: 16. Our fundamental option as Christians must therefore be for obedience to his word. We must make our own the mind of Christ and let his Word in all its richness find a home with us, Phil 2: 5, Col 3: 16.
Devotion to the Holy Spirit as a person and partner is sine qua non for the realization of this spiritual rebirth. The anointing teaches you everything, 1Jn 2: 27. When Pope John XXIII gave us this prayer: ‘Come, Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful and rekindle in them the fire of your love’, he saw something dying away.. He saw something that needed to be renewed . We must ask ourselves this year how far we have gone with that charismatic/ spiritual renewal.
*D. PRAYING FOR BLESSINGS*
As the 1st reading speaks about blessings, we ask our priests to begin lifting their holy hands in this period of economic and spiritual recession to proclaim a year of favour for children of God in Nigeria and beyond. This year the children of God need to unite together through the polls to take back our Country Nigeria from evil and selfish Politicians. We can’t afford a Muslim Muslim or Fulani Fulani Government at this stage in Nigeria.
But we must take note of what the 2nd reading says that as long as a boy remains a minor (immature in body, mind and spirit), ignorant of the operations of the spiritual laws, his status was no different from a slave because he is subject to the elemental spirits operating in the universe. He does not inherit the blessings of his father (patrimony). But we are heirs of God’s blessings when we become spiritually mature, Gal 4: 4 – 7. Christ says: ‘Seek you first his kingdom and righteousness and all other things shall be added’, Matt 6: 33. We need Spiritual maturity to be able to play strong opposition to the evil Government we have and be able to attain both spiritual and Political emancipation in our country Nigeria.
We can never perfectly fit into the blessings of divine sonship unless we understand the secret of the spiritual motherhood of Mary. Christ still says to us in this new year what he said to his beloved disciple, John: ‘Son, behold thy mother’, Jn 19: 27. Her deep spirituality is second to none. Today’s gospel presents her as the highest contemplative in the history of Christianity: ‘.. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart’, Lk 2 : 19. According to Scott Hann ‘Mary is the perfect work of God and revelation of His glory’. She does not steal the Son’ s glory. All you can hear her say is ‘Do whatever he tells you’, Jn 2: 5. May our devotion to her this year make us become ‘born again’. Happy New Year!
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