Fr. Ben’s homily for Monday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: HE BUILT OUR CHURCH!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Monday September 13 2021
* 1 Tim 2 : 1 – 8, Lk 7 : 1 – 10.
The bone of contention in today’s readings is whether the Centurion is worthy to have Jesus come under his roof or not. As usual, the people were very quick to judge him worthy of Christ’s favour simply because he built their Synagogue single handedly. People usually don’t joke with the generosity of rich men. In many places like the case of Ozubulu in Anambra State, some rich men who built churches for their communities have been proven to have some questionable character and illegitimate source of wealth. But the interesting thing about this passage is that while the people thought him worthy, the Centurion considered himself unworthy to have Jesus under his roof; perhaps his hands were not clean. It may not have been due to bribery and corruption as we often find with rich men in Nigeria. It may not have been a case of 419 (fraudulent business lifestyle), cultism, stealing or smear with blood money, etc. But he considered the reality of the corrupt circumstances surrounding his position of wealth and authority. This man was spiritually sensitive and that is what impressed Jesus. He said that not even in Israel (just like saying not even in the Roman Catholic Church) has he ever found such a great faith.
Another interesting point is that the Centurion was a Gentile – people seen as unbelievers. In our own context, he is not a bona fide believer – not fully initiated nor active in any Church, not very pious or prayerful. But Jesus was impressed by his self approbation / spiritual assessment of himself . Salvation comes from a humble search for God. Fulton Sheen says that salvation takes place when God’s desperate search for a sinner coincides with his humble disposition for God. The theme of both readings of today is salvation for the Gentiles. God wants all men to be saved (rich and poor) and come to the knowledge of the truth. Liturgical prayers must be offered for all men (rich and poor, believers and unbelievers). We must not reject the generosity of anyone irrespective of one’s creed or spiritual pedigree. However, people with questionable character cannot occupy the front pews of our Churches without being subjected to the searchlight of the Word of God. We cannot afford to have cult men and women hijack our parishes and dictate the pace for our priests and bishops just because they built our Churches. We must encourage all our rich men and women and all our abroadians to extend their hands of generosity to our Churches in order to alleviate the burdens of the poor but the real target must be to have Jesus enter their roof and say HIS WORD.
May God bless you today!