(RNS2-oct27) Afternoon prayer at the St. George Church in the historic Assyrian Christian town of Alqosh in the Nineveh Plain of Iraqi Kurdistan. Locals adhere to the Chaldeon Catholic religion. The town was nearly overrun by Islamic fighters earlier this summer, when Peshmerga forces withdrew their forces, abandoning the Christian town. Photo by Jodi Hilton



BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo


HOMILY: *1 Jn 2: 12 – 17, Lk 2: 36 -40.

“If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh (immorality), the lust of the eyes (materialism) and pride of life (obesity of the mind) is not of the Father but of the world”. I wish all Christians would hear this. There is so much in our world today that lures us away from God; flashy houses, cars, clothes, women, gadgets, etc. Good as these may be, as soon as our hearts are set on them, our Christian passion for heavenly things begin to wane.

There are many evils in the world that should constitute a prayer burden to any good Christian; abortion clinics, bribery and corruption, broken marriages, robbery in institutions by both the academic and non academic staff, armed robbery on our roads by both uniformed and ununiformed (example, akatakpa boys), drug trafficking, ghettos of criminals, terrorists and kidnappers, etc. In the midst of all these, it only becomes even more scandalous to see Christians (especially the clergy among them) join the band wagon of immorality and materialism. When Christians become fixated by the love of this world, even their prayer points become beclouded by material and selfish desires. That is why many prayer ministers go into running business empires and riding private jets by the end of the day. Most Christians no longer have burdens for holiness and sanctification of their society. Prosperity is all they pray for as if this world were our ultimate home.

Waiting prayerfully upon the Lord in patience is a basic Christian attitude exemplified by the figure of Anna in today’s gospel, Lk 2: 36 – 40, who patiently waited through the trials of a long life of widowhood for 84 years and was eventually rewarded by seeing Christ. We do not praise her poverty condition, her state of widowhood or social inertia. But when the powers of radical prophetism and the opportunities for asserting positive influence on one’s society fails, the contemplative life of prayer and fasting should posit even a better option. Her looking up to the coming of the Saviour is a basic Christian attitude /disposition.

Within this octave of Christmas, the Church’s liturgy packages the whole mankind; male and female, old and young, rich and poor to come to pay their adoration to the new born Christ; the Angels, the Shepherds, the Kings, Wise men from the East, and also the aged Simeon and Anna mentioned in today’s gospel. Anna is the only woman in the New Testament who is worthily called a Prophetess. In the Old Testament there were four; Miriam, Ex 15: 20, Deborah, Judges 4: 4, Huldah, 2 Kings 22: 14 and Isaiah’s wife, Is 8: 3. When Anna was called a Prophetess, it doesn’t mean she foretells the future but that she has a deep knowledge of the scriptures and the mind of God. Her misfortune (early widowhood) drove her closer to God and she spent her life in the temple praying and fasting day in and day out. She spoke about Christ to others. Everybody can’t be rich or socially influential. But it is every Christian’s duty to pray for and influence his/her society positively onto holiness. Let us not love the world and all its sinful proclivities.

May God bless you today!



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