YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY
HOMILY THEME: YOUR CHOICE AND YOUR DESTINY.
BY: Fr. Ben Agbo
HOMILY: *Deut 30:15-20, Lk 9:22-25.
Yesterday, we began the holy season of lent with God’s request that we return to him with all our heart. Today, we want to say that returning to God is not enough but we must choose God, preferring him to all other things such as wealth, power, position, etc.
There can be no deep spirituality without choosing. Choosing is willing. Our will is ever free. God can never force anybody for anything. Even the devil cannot also force anybody. His Igbo name is: ‘Ekweosu’ – Choose me and suffer. And that is the message of today’s 1st reading: ‘See, I set before you this day life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of God then you shall live and your God will bless you… But if your heart turns away to worship other gods, you will perish.. You shall not live long (sicknesses will conquer you; enemies and natural disasters /accidents will ruin you… I will bless your food and water and keep you free of sicknesses, Ex 23:25.
Ours is a society that doesn’t want to accept responsibility any more for the choices we make and the consequences of our actions and that of our parents, children and siblings. We often like to blame our destiny on the enemy and the devil forgetting that our destiny is in our hands. Somebody is sick; it is the enemy. He does not go to hospital in time and dies; It is the enemy. He has an accident and breaks his legs;It is the enemy. He forms a habit of smoking and drinking; It is still the enemy. His business is not progressing;It is always the enemy. Haba!
The 2nd dimension of today’s message is that our choice of Jesus is also a choice of the Cross. Your crosses are the sufferings from God or ones approved by God. Christ says: ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’, Lk 9:26. Some recent sects like Pentecostals and the Aladura Churches (not all of them) have generally killed this concept, making every suffering look demonic and rendering many children of God frustrated and wandering like spiritual vagabonds in search of spiritual grace, healing and solutions for their problems.
Let’s just learn during this year’s lenten season that the Jesus we have chosen to serve is the one that suffered and died and is still hanging on the Cross asking you: ‘Where is your own cross?’ For Celibates, your own cross could be the demands of your vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. For married people, it could be the demands of fidelity to your spouse or the pains of training your children. He is the same Jesus in your Chapel – in the Blessed Sacrament, encountered in your daily masses. Just choose to remain with him and see the difference this will make in your life this lenten season.
Happy lenten season!