YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: APOSTOLIC DETACHMENT AND ATTACHMENT
BY: Fr. Benjamin Ogechi Agbara
FIFTEENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
The word “Apostle” is synonymous with “messenger”. While a Disciple is a student or a follower, an Apostle is an ambassador. Christians are therefore, at the same time, permanent apostles and permanent disciples of Jesus. They continue to learn from him, and also to represent him.
Before sending out his disciples on their apostolic work, Jesus gave them specific instructions. He charged them to travel light. They were to take nothing for the journey except a staff, which symbolizes authority. The words of Jesus ought not to be taken literally. What Jesus was pointing out to them was poverty of the spirit; the effectiveness of their mission does not depend on material wealth but on their total dependence on God, the sender. This is what I refer to as APOSTOLIC DETACHMENT AND ATTACHMENT. An Apostle is called to be detached from mundane things and to be attached to Jesus, the Lord and Master of the vineyard.
Poverty of the spirit frees the Apostle from greed and preoccupation with his possession and makes ample room for God’s provision. Jesus wants his apostles to be dependent on him, attached to him and detached from what they have. It’s by so doing that the Apostle enjoys true peace and is able to announce peace.
Prophet Amos was a Shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. He detached from these gainful occupations and got attached to God. He was able to move from Judah to the northern Kingdom of Israel. He had peace and fulfilment and was able to represent the mind of God. Amaziah was a Priest who served in the King’s sanctuary and in the royal temple of the northern Kingdom of Israel. His job was to prophesy to the king and tell him only what is palatable, because even a wicked person wants a quiet conscience. Amaziah did not have peace and fulfilment. He was attached to the bread he earned from the king and saw the presence of Amos as a threat. He charged Amos to go back to Judah and earn his bread there, since he was already earning his own bread in the King’s sanctuary.
His attachment to material possession did not bring him peace. But Amos had true peace because of his attachment to God.
Why is there so much competition among pastors today? In most cases, they compete not for the apostolic work but for bread. Some have set up HEALING MINISTRIES, to deceive the people and earn their bread. Some pastors have become agents of some politicians, ritual killers and fraudsters in order to earn their bread. They speak for them and tell them it is well even when everything is falling apart. It is an unfortunate situation. Some have become specialists in knowing the parts of the bible that can be quoted just to get money out of the people so that the man of God can earn bread. The amount of lies told in the name of God, to get money from the innocent people has made some people to wonder if these men of God are convinced of the reality of heaven.
The presence of a pastor becomes a threat to another pastor because it is all about competition for bread.
In the face of this ugly reality, Jesus reminds us that the part to true peace is detachment from material things and attachment to him. That is what we refer to as APOSTOLIC DETACHMENT AND ATTACHMENT.
Happy Sunday. God bless us.
Fr. Benjamin Ogechi Agbara
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