YEAR A: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 32ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: LISTEN, O RULERS!
BY: Fr. Ben Agbo
HOMILY: * Wis 6 : 1 – 11, Lk 17 : 11 – 19.
Today’s 1st reading is a strong indictment on the rulers : ‘Listen O Kings, Presidents of nations, Governors of States , Chairmen of Councils, Parish priests of parishes… All Chief Executives… All Judges, judiciaries and legislators civil and ecclesiastical… Because you did not rule rightly, nor keep the law, nor walk according to the purpose of God, he will come upon you terribly and swiftly because severe judgment falls on those in high places’ – Not ruling according to the purposes of God is the offence here. I want to address two main problems with our leaders mentioned in today’s readings: INSENSITIVITY and INGRATITUDE.
Power is usually a good servant but a dangerous master. Thomas Jefferson says that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Our leaders are fast losing their sobriety as soon as they get there. They quickly forget what they were before and forget the one who gave them the power and influence. They forget God and forget the people who voted them into power especially as soon as they clinch their usual 2nd tenure. Even the death of their close relatives which should normally remind them about the futility of life these days does not. Nigerian politicians these days would use the occasion of their dead relations to brandish how much of our wealth they have illegally amassed. Even under this recession, they can spend huge millions of naira enough to feed a whole village for 4 years on coffins just to bury their dead wifes or parents while the poor continues to suffer.
Jesus heals 10 lepers in today’s gospel and makes use of the occasion to teach us the necessity of thanksgiving to God. In Nigeria, people after selecting or electing a leader, go ahead to send him congratulatory gifts making his sense of gratitude now go in reverse gear. The leader begins to count the senders of the gifts as his real friends and well wishers not knowing that they are only sycophants who would sooner or later bring a long list of favours. How did we really get here? That we no longer allow our leaders a breathing space to think clearly. Christ encourages us in moments of healing, spiritual and physical elevation /promotion to proceed straight to the priest in thanksgiving to God. It was only when the lepers proceeded on their way to the priests that they were properly healed. Just imagine how easy things would have been in our Churches if the rich and favoured were to often come for thanksgiving /barzar with God in view and not merely to receive the praise of men. Church projects will become easier, depending on the type of priests in charge, without unnecessary levies on the poor.
We pray that our rulers will always remember to be grateful to God after their promotion. Their attitude to their work and to the people will simply be different.
May God bless you today!