HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
THEME: “MAXIMIZING MY DIVINE MOMENT OF ENCOUNTER”
HOMILY: What is an encounter: it is a meeting with a divine being, person or thing, especially a casual, unexpected, or brief meeting: E.g. “Our running into each other was merely a chance encounter”. It is a moment that comes either prepared to….or unexpectedly upon which positive or negative feeling might be the “out come” depending on the disposition of the two people into such an encounter. Encountering sweep through all spheres of life; be it in business life, in school, in ordinary human relationship, in politics, in the church. Our daily life is all about encountering which leaves us either better or worse than ever. On this contest we shall be looking into “OUR DAILY ENCOUNTER WITH GOD AND ITS OUT COME” .
Divine encounter is that crucial and golden moment when grace filled opportunity of going into divine relationship with God comes on our way. When the bliss of divine invitation blows across our life for awesome experience with God. Everyone is given this unique opportunity in life to draw closer to God in a divine relationship. All biblical heroes and heroines started their journey with God in a moment of divine encounter which they utilized positively to meet divine accepted delight.
• Abraham encountered God in faith, he left his home and people to the unknown distant land and was blessed beyond human imagination
• Moses encountered God in a burning bush and was sent as a freedom fighter for the Israelites held captive in the land of Egypt
• Elijah encountered God with strength from above he slaughtered all the prophets of Baal and restores God’s glory in the land of Israel.
• Paul encountered God on his way to Damascus to put to an end all christians and became a veritable instrument in the hand of the lord for the gospel.
• All the apostles encountered Christ and worn new character for Christ sake .
• Zaachus encountered Christ and got converted from his old life to live better.
• Mary Magdalene a public sinner encountered Christ and became first to see the resurrected Christ . And host of others.
One thing very glaring, shining with a harsh is that each encounter with right and ready disposition leaves the person better at the tail end of time though not without hardships and persecution in undertaking the demands of the encounter.
Today, similar encounter was witnessed between Jesus Christ and a Samaritan woman. One thing is obvious, Jesus leads the encountering process, exposing us to self reality through smooth, safe and steadiness of whom we are, what has happened and yet to come. All these were to lead one to positive outcome of the encounter which is “ CHANGE OF THE ATTITUDE”. What was the attitudinal change on the woman.
1. She accepted Christ as the Messiah ( meaning change of life)
2. She made her way to the village to evangelize her people ( She was unable to withhold the joy of the new life in Christ all alone)
Others came and saw for themselves. Jesus began each person’s journey life experience with them that made them to say; we didn’t believe because of what you told us but of what we have heard and experienced ourselves.
In our Christian life, such golden opportunities of divine encounter are given to us in so many means;
• Through the table of the word of God and reflection
• Through the table of the holy Eucharist
• Through the sacraments of the church that sanctify us
• Through different seasons of the church like lent…
• Through personal and interpersonal group prayers, sharing life experience
• Through our daily human encounter, especially in the poor and rejected of the society, etc.
The question is; how much have we seen these as means of divine invitation for personal encounter with Jesus to be better than we are right now. True knowledge of God does not depend on other persons’ witnesses and testimonies but serve as an invitation to have personal unique experiences of God yourself. God shows and appears to us differently. For anyone to appreciate or make meaning of any group worship or service, there must be an initial bedrock of personal encounter and experience with God. And that personal encounter rests greatly on our life prayer exercises and pattern ( personal prayer time which includes midnight prayer, days of fasting, almsgiving and engaging in spiritual and corporal work of mercy). These leave us with a unique divine experience of God that get us softened and easier connected to any public worship or demands from your church. It is all about going beyond the witnesses of others and being able to say. I DIDN’T RELY ON YOUR STORY ABOUT GOD BUT ON WHAT I EXPERIENCED MYSELF THAT I AM NOW A NEW CREATURE IN GOD
-Fr Boniface Ogbona