YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 12TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: HE WENT TO HAGAR …
BY: Fr Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: Gen 16 : 1 – 16, Matt 7 : 21 – 29.
Every great man has his down line story. And so, the story of Abraham takes a nosediving/ downward dimension whenever it is mentioned that he went in on his maidservant. Mhh! Whenever a mentor goes in on his mentee ; whenever a father goes in on his daughter/ maid, whenever a teacher goes in on his student, whenever a Parish priest goes in on his parishioner ; things fall apart as Chinua Achebe puts it, and the centre cannot hold again. The 1st reading of today says that he ( Abraham) at the behest of her wife’s insincere suggestion, went to Hagar and she conceived and her mistress, from that day on, counted for nothing in her eyes. Is it only her mistress? Even Abraham himself was automatically turned from ‘master’ to ‘lover’. Abraham’s house was psycho – spiritually disarranged from that moment. Mhh! This also happens in many homes, parishes and offices as soon as the boss turns into a play boy!
The man of altars lost his power of devotion. The same Sarai who gave her blessings now released her curses. Sarai complained to Abraham who was no longer in charge and he threw his authority back to her which ( trust women now) she misused. Sarai treated Hagar so badly that she ran away from her . The angel of God told her to go back and submit to her mistress and her descendants will be blessed. Of course every growing personality has no option on the ladder of progress than to learn to submit to his / her mistress. And that was how Ishmael grew up, the Bible says : ‘A wild ass of a man he will be, against every man and every man against him setting himself to defy all his brothers’. When I see what some human beings like the Fulani herdsmen are doing in all parts of Africa, I remember this part of the scripture. It was never the perfect will of God for Abraham to have a child through Hagar. It was completely a human contraption. It was only the permissive will of God that allowed it happen. And that is why the whole story about Ishmael and his descendants have continued to bring nothing but untold grief to the children of God.
Jesus warns us unequivocally in today’s gospel that it is not those who call him ‘Lord, Lord’ who will enter the kingdom of heaven but those who do the will of God. ‘Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock…’. Building any house of religion/ church on any other foundation whether philosophical or academic that is not based on the words of Jesus, makes no sense at all. May God bless you today!
– Fr Benedict Agbo