HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF ADVENT.
THEME: CONSOLATION THEOLOGY!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr)
* Is 40: 1 – 11, Matt 18: 12 – 14.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem
What we find in the 40th Chapter of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah – the New Testament gospel in the Old Testament, is the message of hope for the poor which is the main thesis of CONSOLATION THEOLOGY: that branch of theology that focuses attention on the spiritual needs of the ‘3rd World Countries’, the suffering people of God, the war – torn zones of the wold, the wretched of the earth, the sick and the down troden. The Word of God, as presented in the 1st reading of today says : ‘Speak tenderly to Jerusalem… tell her that her warfare is ended (deliverance ministry), her iniquity is pardoned (healing of family sinful background), and that she has received double portion blessings from God (prosperity gospel). Isaiah continues. When the people have imbibed this message, then shall the glory of the Lord be revealed in their lives. George Friedrich Handel articulated these words so beautifully in his most popular hit – THE MESSIAH: ‘O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion. Get thee up to the high mountains… Say onto the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God comes with might to feed his flock like a Shepherd and gather the lambs in his arms, carrying them in his bosom and gently lead those that are with young’.
Let me also anchor the gospel of today where Jesus announced that ‘It is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish’. ‘Whenever we commit sin’, Fr Aaron Okogu says in his commentary on today’s readings in the Nsukka Diocesan Shepherd Monthly Bulletin, ‘we break away from the family of God and so get lost’. That reading from Isaiah addresses both our ministry of consolation to the poor and the sick. People like Fr Mbaka has so excelled in that ministry that many are wondering why it has become so that no matter what he says or does, his followers have remained intact. That is the power of feeding a flock and winning their love and followership.
Another lesson from today’s gospel is the ministry of reconciliation with erring sons/brothers which some of our bishops have so well demonstrated by their fatherly patience and tolerance even when their priests misbehave. We must imitate God in ‘speaking tenderly to Jerusalem’ in order to bring her straying sons back always. May God help us to continue to grow in learning and remain relevant in His vineyard.
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