YEAR A: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 6TH WEEK OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: MOMENTARY SORROW ; ETERNAL JOY!
BY: Fr,. Ben Agbo
HOMILY: Act 18 :9-18, Jn 16 :20 – 23.
The promise of the Christian religion, from time immemorial has always been the evening of tears and the morning of joy, Ps 30 :5. Christ makes it explicitly clear to his disciples in today’s gospel that in the world they will weep and lament but their sorrow will turn into joy. The allusion to the pain of a woman at child bearing and the corollary experience of joy after birth is apt here. And so, leaning on this kind of promise the early Christians had to suffer a lot of pains beginning from the Blessed Virgin Mary who was promised on her day of Child dedication a bag of sorrows, Lk 2 :35. She was later given the title of ‘Our Lady of Sorrows’ by the mother Church. The apostles suffered a lot. As Tertullian succinctly put it : ‘The blood of martyrs became the seed bed of Christianity’.
In today’s 1st reading, we hear a promise of God’s abiding presence to Paul at a time during his 2nd missionary journey in Corinth when he was becoming terribly discouraged by Jewish opposition . He was assured that he was not alone. Not only was the Divine presence guaranteed him to carry on the work of evangelization, he was also assured of invulnerability : ‘No one shall harm you for I have many people in this City’. The Lord gave him the encouragements he needed both divine and human and he was able to put up a year and 6 months of teaching the Word of God.
The destiny of believers is momentary sorrow followed by eternal joy but the destiny of unbelievers is the exact opposite. Starting from the time of Esau, unbelievers are wont to seek for temporal food (desires) and despise their permanent happiness (birthright), Gen 25 :29 – 34. And so the letter to the Hebrews warns us vividly : ‘Do not be as ireligious as Esau who sold his birthright for a mesh of pottage’, Heb 12 :16. Believers must conquer their passions of Youth ; Pride, Anger, Lust and Vanity . They must also remove all fears and worries and be able to endure all pains knowing that surely their sorrows must finally turn into joy. We need the courage of St Paul to keep witnessing to the gospel of Christ inspite of all odds. “Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ”, whether psychological, spiritual, social or economic. From these predicaments we must finally emerge victorious, Rom 8 : 35.
May God bless you today!