YEAR A: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: SCATTERING THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL!
BY: Fr. Ben Agbo
HOMILY: Rom 14 : 7 – 12, Lk 15 : 1 – 10.
Searching for the lost sheep of the house of Isreal is the principal mission of Christ and of Christianity. Unfortunately, there is a school of thought in today’s version of Christianity that thinks otherwise. This school of thought is more interested in preserving the physical structures of the Christian religion rather than its spirituality. They insist on overbloating the rules and demands of Christianity and end up scattering the sheep with sanctions rather than gathering them. This school of thought is more interested in the erection of cathedrals, parish houses, mission schools and other physical structures of Christianity than the conversion of souls.
Take for instance, when we undertake to build mission schools in a rural area, the idea is to catch souls in that parish at their young age so that our young boys will not end up as ‘Akatakpa terrorists’ ( wearing masquerades on the road every day and disturbing people’s movement) or our young girls as harlots. But when the mission schools become unaffordable for the majority, it becomes a mere private school for the rich and the rest of the Youths who are abandoned in our neglected government schools end up as lost sheep and enemies of the Church if care is not taken. When the weekly contributions and levies become scary for the poor, they run away from the Church. And instead of gathering the lost sheep of the house of Isreal, we end up scattering them.
It is easy to put up all the arguments justifying the need for the incessant taxations growing from different arms of the Church but the truth is that anytime we are prepared to take a good census of how many married people that are unwedded because of financial reasons, how many young people that are uncared for spiritually because of our lack of interest in Youth empowerment, how many souls that die without Christian burial because they have backslidden, and how many people are scandalized to leave the Church because of the behavior of some Church leaders, then we may come to take today’s gospel message more seriously. If Jesus could present the image of a Shepherd leaving the faithful 99 sheep to go in search of just one sheep, then we may understand where our present Pope Francis is going from the pastoral emphasis of his encyclicals. The Church is not a toll gate for the collection of taxes but a field hospital for the sick and lost souls.
May God bless you today!