WEEKDAY HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK OF LENT
THEME: WE WILL NOT SERVE YOUR gods…
By: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: *Dan 3 : 14 – 28, Jn 8 : 31 – 42.
It has not seized to happen, that there are 3 major kinds of temptations facing every child of God ; the temptation of the flesh – to gratify a sensual pleasure against the will of God, the temptation of the soul – to pursue the kingdoms of this world and slip into occultism by worshipping idols and the temptation of the spirit – to slip off into spiritual pride by abusing the grace of God. These were the very temptations of Jesus at the vicinity of ‘Jericho’ and ipso facto, the temptations of every bona fide child of God.
Human faith is often tested at the crucibles of human needs ; the needs of the flesh, the need for worldly power and the need for spiritual power. Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego were discovered by King Nebuchadnezzar as powerful men of faith who were occupying sensitive posts in his political dynasty but were not of the same occult affiliation with their main man. That is usually not acceptable. So they were tempted to either blend or be killed. I tell you that many of our political leaders today ( presidents, governors, ministers and senators) are serving occult kingdoms and their very close associates must bow down to the gods they serve and enter into covenants of loyalty before they can be entrusted with delicate positions. Some have succumbed to the temptations ; some like Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego have said ‘No’. So many of us christians have no serious convictions that they can die for. We can easily switch to another church, marry somebody from anywhere and join any group or cult at any time just because of the comforts of this world.
Readiness to die for your convictions like Shadrach, Meshack and Abadnego, in today’s 1st reading makes you a mature person. But it is not enough to be ready to die for your convictions but to make sure that your convictions are close to the truth. That’s why Jesus tells us in today’s gospel : ‘If you continue in my Word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’.
Why would the goods of a rich nation like Nigeria be plundered by a rich few? Because many in leadership do not believe in the fight against corruption, corruption will be allowed to fight back beginning with the fighters themselves and the result is that we keep nose diving more and more into economic recession. The greatest problem with most Nigerian politicians is that they have no distinct political Ideology to die for. We cannot identify the PDP from the APC by their ideologies. According to Fr Luke Eze in The Shepherd Bulletin of Nsukka Diocese, 5th April 2017: ‘In Nigeria, just to survive people change their stand, opinion or positions as camelion changes colour; politicians change political parties and political ideologies as women change clothes, and Christians change Church or denominations as Amoeba changes shape’. Many professors and academics have no real flare for academic excellence. For them, anything goes.
That’s why anybody can be given an ‘A’. Anybody can have a Masters Degree.
Anybody can now be employed as a lecturer. Anybody can now be called a professor. They fill the whole employment space with wives and relatives of professors some of who should ordinarily be selling groundnuts at Ogige market going by their intelligence quotient . We kill a system by not being ready to sacrifice for that system to survive and end up sacrificing standard at the altar of selfish interests.
There are so many ‘Nebuchadnezzers’ in the Nigerian political, religious and academic system who have thrown righteousness into the burning fiery furnace in their worship of imaginary statues called wealth, women and wine.
Unfortunately, the Shedracks, Meshacks and Abadnegoes are very few. If suicide bombers and ‘boko haramers’ are ready to die for their silly convictions, why would Christians not be ready to suffer to project their convictions in Christ?
Jesus says in today’s gospel that ‘If you continue in my Word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth’ … and you will never be in bondage to anybody whether human or spiritual. Only strong believers in Jesus Christ can resist the pressures of idolatry and cultism in our world of today, especially in politics.
Some hear His Word out of mere curiosity and don’t go deeper ( WAYSIDE HEARERS); Some hear out of desire to study and are not touched deeply by it ( ACADEMIC HEARERS); Some hear out of sincere search and accept it in their hearts but are chocked by the pressures of this world (ENTANGLED HEARERS); Some hear the Word and remain in it, welcome it into their hearts and it bears fruits (FRUITFUL HEARERS). We must continue in His Word and be strong in moments of temptations to declare that WE WILL NOT SERVE YOUR gods.
May God bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO