BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)



*Gen 11 :1-9, Rom 8 :22 – 27, Jn 7 :37 – 39.

1. Gen 11 :1-9 – The inhabitants of the city wanted to make a name for themselves.
– V. 5. The spirit of confusion came through tongues (different languages) and they ended in the name ‘Babel’ which means confusion.
(a) Today, there is still the spirit of babbling amidst the children of God who want to make a name (to shine) in the process of praying.
(b) Have you wondered at why the Holy Mother, the Church smartly brings up this reading at the peak of every Pentecost celebration?
– Jesus, himself warned us but we would not listen : ‘In your prayers do not babble as the Gentiles do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard’.
* Let me make it clear, by way of preamble to today’s homily that anybody that violates this instruction of Christ (whether a Priest, Pastor, Charismatic brother, Pentecostal sister) is still praying like the Gentiles.

2. Rom 8 :22 – 27 – ‘The Spirit too comes to help us in our weaknesses for, when we do not know how to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words and he who can see into all hearts knows what the Spirit means because the prayers that the Spirit makes for God’s holy people are always in accordance with the mind of God ‘
* I cannot say anything further than what the Scriptures have lucidly said here.

3. 1 Cor 14 :14 – ‘If I pray in a tongue, my spirit may be praying but my mind derives no fruit from it. What then? I shall pray with the spirit but I shall pray with the mind as well… Otherwise, if you say your blessing only with the spirit, how is the uninitiated person (one who is not granted similar gifts) going to answer ‘Amen’ to your thanksgiving without understanding what you are saying’.
* The Church needs the Charismatic renewal. Even the present Pope has called for more Life in the Spirit Seminars for today’s Church. But I tell you that the abuse of this gift scares so many sound believers away from the Charismatic spirituality.
-Matt 18 :20 – Speaks about the need for agreement in prayer.
* We must take note that Liturgical prayer is different from Private prayer.

4. The Charismatic gifts, 1Cor 12 :4-11 are different from the Spiritual gifts, Is 11.
* Please read the details. Take note of the special importance of the gift of discernment (the gift of knowing if charismata were spiritual, natural (eg dreams) or evil.
* Many priests and pastors you see today operating healing ministries are exercising ancestral gifts – some occultic by origin but Charismatic by development .
* In Act 16 :16 – 24 – A slave girl at Thyatira kept on screaming (distracting the believers): ‘These men are the servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved… V. 18. She did this day after day until Paul was exasperated and turned around and said to the spirit : ‘ I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to leave that woman’. The spirit went out of her there and then.

5. The problem of desiring tongues on a day like this is what Watchman Nee calls ‘Passivity of the Mind’. Permit me to quote him extensively here :
‘There are 6 different grounds that believers can give to evil spirits ; (i) The unrenewed mind, (ii) Improper thoughts, (iii) Misunderstanding God’s truth, (iv) Receiving suggestions from evil spirits (prophesy, fortune telling, eg the Slave girl at Thyatira, schizophrenia – a psychotic disorder expressing delusions, hallucinations and hearing of strange voices), (v) Being empty in the mind, (vi) Passivity in the mind – chanting repeatedly with their mouths single words – our minds stop working – our will stops working. Finally, some external force will take over his throat and turn his jaws to utter things which are incomprehensible to him. At this point, an ignorant believer will think that he has experienced the ‘Baptism in the Holy Spirit’. Little does he realize that he has merely fulfilled the conditions for evil spirits to work ‘ (Spiritual Man, p. 518).

6. 1Cor 14 :39 – 40 – Be eager to prophesy and do not suppress the gift of speaking in tongues. But make sure that everything is done in a proper and orderly fashion =Unity not Disunity.
* The apparent disobedience of this Pauline instruction has made people dislike the Charismatic and Pentecostal movement – a movement that the Church needs so dearly today.

7. It is not a new Sacrament but a renewal of what we have already.
– Jn 7 :37 – 39 – ‘If any man is thirsty, let him come me and drink… From his breast shall flow fountains of living water. V. 39 – He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive’.
– Act 19 – There are believers who have not heard about the Holy Spirit. They are powerless believers, Act 1:8, 2 Tim 1 :6-8.
– Jn 4 :23 – 24 – The hour is coming and indeed is here already, when true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and truth. That is the kind of worshipper the father seeks because God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship him in spirit and truth.
8. Our prayer point for this night is : ‘Send forth your Spirit O Lord and renew the face of the earth’, Ps 104 :30.

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