Fr. Ben’s homily for Friday of the 2nd Week
Theme: THE WISDOM IN MODERATION!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily Friday December 10 2021
*Is 48 : 17 – 19, Matt 11 : 16 – 19.
‘Too much of everything’, they say ‘is bad’. Aristotle says that ‘virtue lies in the middle’. This is not an advocacy for mediocrity but a call for the balance of true wisdom – the discipline of not over doing things; not over talking when you are addressing people to the point of exausting the message but refusing to stop, not allowing people to make their points because we are too rigid with time, etc. When we are too religious, we see God and spirits in everything even where only men and things are really involved. However, when we are too atheistic or spiritually sceptical, we tend to deny all essences and end up believing in nothing including ourselves. This was the fate of the French atheistic philosopher Jean Paul Sartre when he wrote his book ‘Being and Nothingness’. When we are too legalistic, we tend to idolize all rules including the ones we made for ourselves yesterday. But when we are too liberal we tend to become too free with everything that we also lose our true freedom.
In today’s gospel, we are presented with a stupid generation – a generation wallowing in the labyrinth of excuses and extremities. According to Vima Dasan, ‘The person who really wants to do something, finds a way, the other kind finds an excuse. An excuse is worse than a lie; for an excuse is often a guarded lie’. John the Baptist is presented with the extremity of being too much of an ascetic and so they rejected him with the excuse of not finding God’s visitation in him. Jesus in turn came around and was mixing up with sinners and they rejected him with the excuse of his being ordinary – just because they did not discover the wisdom in moderation. Jesus told them in today’s gospel that wisdom is justified by her deeds.
Our society today does not need priests/ men of God who will look too ascetic like John the Baptist nor be morally lax like the hypocrites. We need scholars who will not be too ‘book conscious’ and crazy with what I call academic maximalism, but scholars who will internalize their stuff and simmer their ideas together towards deeper understanding of solutions to life’s problems. We need priests, politicians, teachers and workers in general who will be guided by the wisdom of true moderation.May God help us to attain the type of balance which Jesus had, both spiritually, intellectually and socially.