YEAR II: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 34TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME.
THEME: THE 8TH BEATITUDE!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr)
* Rev 15: 1 – 4, Lk 21: 12 – 19.
The 8th beatitude is a promise of victory after being persecuted for righteousness, Matt 5: 10. This victory will be victory over sin, worldly allurements and demonic attacks. Faith in this victory is the last demand of Christian maturity. In today’s gospel, Jesus makes it clear that real Christians will be hated for his name’s sake while bearing witness to Christ. Real Christians must become “signs of contradiction” to their generation. They will be hated for always pointing out what is not going on right. They must be hated for their insistence on righteousness; for their advocasy against the oppression of the poor, for their rebuff of immorality, for their zero tolerance and criticisms against all appurtenances of idolatry, bribery and corruption in and around their society.
The entire book of revelation was written under the setting of great persecution in order to instill courage in Christians. The motif of praise worship and adoration dominates the 1st reading of today starting from the recapitulation of Moses’ triumphant Exodus song: ‘Wonderful and great are your works O Lord God Almighty! Alleluia! Just and true are your ways O King of all ages, Alleluia! Who shall not revere you Lord? Who shall not give glory to your name for you alone are holy! Alleluia, Alleluia! That used to be our favourite dismissal song those old days in the Junior Seminary. Praise worship instills the spirit of joy and courage needed to overcome all persecutions.
Jesus assures us in today’s gospel that our endurance will gain us our lives. What does a brand of Christianity without witnessing and persecution look like? Is it not a fake Christianity that is more like a social club? Indeed, ‘Christianity’ as G Chesterton radically put it, ‘is not a failure but has just not been tried’. We need the courage to reform the quality of Christianity in our times and climes. It is the courage to endure persecutions in the realm of this struggle for righteousness and perfection that qualifies us as adult Christians. Without endurance every adult remains only a child. We pray for this capacity to endure the pains of Christian persecution as the saints and martyrs of old did. This is the promise of the 8th beatitude. May God bless you today!