HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK OF ADVENT.
THEME: HOUSE BUILT UPON A ROCK!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr)
* Is 26: 1 – 6, Matt 7: 21 – 27.
*Our salvation is guaranteed when, like a house it is built upon a rock. Salvation is won like a helmet, sung like a hymn and acted out like a drama. It is won like a helmet, Eph 6: 17 because it is a guarantee of eternal safety.* We are not supposed to struggle for it with the enemy because Christ paid the full price for our salvation even while we were still sinners, Jn 19: 30, Rom 5: 8. It is sung like a hymn because we need to testify with our lips and believe sincerely with our hearts what Christ has done, Rom 10: 9. Today’s 1st reading harps on this motif: In that day a song will be sung in the land of Judah ‘We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks’. Psalm 122: 4 beautifully made this point clear: ‘Jerusalem (image of the Church) is built as a city strongly compact – There the tribes go up – the tribes of the Lord’. Psalm 2: 3 also illustrated as follows: ‘People will say: ‘ Come, let us go to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob (I emphasize, not Esau) that he may teach us his ways ‘.
That brings us to the third dimension about salvation – It is acted out like a drama. Today’s gospel makes it succinctly clear that ‘It is not everyone who calls me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven but he who does the will of my father ‘. Salvation is achieved in fear and trembling, Phil 2: 13, in study and learning of his ways and under the discipline of obedience of God’s word, Ps 119: 9.
The Word of God is the rock of our salvation. It is the fountain of wisdom that real believers feed upon in order to grow. Fake believers merely hear it and do not act upon it, Js 1: 22. Jesus says in today’s gospel that everyone who hears these words and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock, withstanding all temptations and worldly pleasures. The Word of God is embedded in the scriptures and should be useful for admonition, exhortation and moral teaching, 2 Tim 3: 16. The Catholic Church has organized it so well with 3 readings for each Sunday mass and 2 for each morning mass. The problem is that we are always too much in a hurry to reflect and digest its contents. And so, when temptations come, we fall like a bag of beans.
Watching the terrain of Christianity in Nigeria today, it is amazing that majority of Christians have not built their Christian lives on a rock – like foundation. We seem to have more ‘foolish builders’ than ‘wise builders’ going by Christ’s own taxonomy of builders in today’s gospel. Christianity in Nigeria is becoming more of a sensational Christianity; a crusade ground Christianity where people troupe in their numbers to adoration grounds (the likes of Fr Mbakas), miracle centres ( the likes of Tibi Joshuas), Crusade grounds ( the likes of Adeboyes) but not retreat centres (like the Upper room, Carmelite centres, etc). I just pray for that day in Nigeria when there will come another ‘Corpenican revolution’ in religion; when people will stop running to seers and self – styled prophets who make a lot of noise full of egoistic braggadacio but begin to search for real teachers of the Word, real preachers of holiness and salvation. The Word of God says today that ‘You keep him in perfect peace, Lord, whose mind is stayed on you’, Is 26: 3. May God bless you today!
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