YEAR A: HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: AN AFFIDAVIT OF DISCIPLESHIP/SERVICE!
BY: Fr. Ben Agbo
HOMILY: *Act 20 :17 – 27, Jn 17 :1-11.
All of us, in one way or the other, are gradually finishing our race on earth ; Some have less than 5 years to go, some less than 1 year, while others have more. But it is important, at the end of our service on earth ; at the end of your stay in the office where you are working now, the yard where you are living now, the shop where you are doing business now, the home where you are married into or born into, the school where you are teaching or learning, the Parish where you are ministering or being ministered to ; it is necessary that we must be able to say as Paul did : ‘I have served the Lord with all humility… with all sorrows and trials… And that my conscience is clear as far as all of you are concerned ‘. It was an affidavit of true discipleship and faultless service. If you cannot do like Paul did, then you are running out of track and may need to start retracing your steps now before the final whistle is blown. This is a special season of spiritual transformation under the tutorship of the Holy Ghost. Many have hitherto gone astray in their struggle for eternal life.
Jesus tells us in today’s gospel that ‘Eternal life is this : to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’. To know God, understand His commandments, accept His teachings, honour them and submit ourselves to them is to have eternal life. Knowing, in Scripture means becoming united with and experiencing the one we know. This is what we are expected to do this week of Pentecost . And so, the Holy Mother, the Church showcases the Priestly Prayer of Jesus to us this week. Jesus spent whole nights in prayer but this is one of the rare occasions when the words and thoughts of His Prayers are recorded for us. Jesus as God is prayed to but as a man, and as a Priest, He prayed to God for the Church to be glorified in Him. Life is only lived wisely to the extent that it is geared towards eternal life – towards the gospel of Christ’s grace.
When Christ finished his work on earth, he prayed for the Church – His followers whom he was living on earth. Jesus’ prayer was both a family prayer, a priestly prayer and a parting prayer. As the head of his family the Church, he blessed the Church and prayed for its unity. Jesus as God is prayed to but as a priest he prays for the Church and as a man he prayed for himself, his disciples and others. It was also a parting prayer like that of Jacob (Gen 49) and Moses (Deut 32). He summarized his mission in that priestly prayer – the mission of preaching the gospel of eternal life through the grace of God. He defined eternal life simply as knowledge of the gospel of salvation and prayed for us all as members of his Church to obtain it.
May his grace enable us to accomplish this mission and may God bless you today!