Fr. Ben’s homily for Thursday of the 15th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: WHO IS YOUR GOD?
By: Fr. Benedict Agbo
Homily for Thursday July 15 2021
* Ex 3 : 13 – 20, Matt 11 : 28 – 30.
The Jewish nation nearly lost their identity due to suffering and oppression in Egypt. The only thing that saved them was that they continued to pray to YAHWEH the God of their ancestors ; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and because there was a past covenant somewhere, God had no option than to intervene on their behalf because he keeps his covenant ever in mind. The first article in our Penny Cathechism is : WHO IS GOD? Who is Yahweh? Who is Jehova? Who is Allah? Who is Lolo Uhere? Who is Ugwuegu? Who is Ezenokpo? Who is Jesus? There is something in a name. Forget the ‘flatus voce’ argument of some nominalists. There is power in a name. Moses understood this when he asked God, in today’s 1st reading : “If I come to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘ The God of your fathers have sent me to you’, and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them? “. Yes, the name of God conveys his identity and power. The Bible says that ‘the name of the Lord is a strong tower’, Prov 18 : 10. It is the password by which to access him for all generations. Derek Prince identifies the name of Jesus as one of the 5 sources of spiritual authority.
What happens when children of God slip into idolatry? They are like politicians that deflect to another party. They begin to wear a new identity and carry a new mantra /Ideology. According to Robert Wetmore, ‘There are two kinds of idolatry ; having the true image of a false God and having a false image of the true God’. The former is the one we know but the latter has even become more rampant among believers. That Christian that is always shouting in prayer : ‘Die, die.. Die by fire!’ is actually guilty of idolatry because he has a false image of the true God. Friends, I tell you that none has ever improved on the name for God as revealed to Moses in today’s 1st reading. It could never have been better put because in that name, we agree with St Thomas Aquinas that God’s essence coincides with his existence. God is not this or that being (ens, ontis) but God is being itself (esse). He has finally taken flesh in Christ Jesus and dwells among us.
Let me therefore inform you by the authority of what Jesus said in today’s gospel that ‘your God’ is whoever you turn to when you are overburdened.
If you go to a deity at Enugu Ezike when you are overburdened, that deity is ‘your god’. What saved the Isrealites in today’s 1st reading is that they turned to Yahweh the God of their ancestors when they were overburdened. So, shall we turn to the gods of our own ancestors when we are overburdened? That is the bone of contention of present day Christianity. As long as we continue to do that we are not yet Christians but if we learn to turn to Jesus, there lies the difference. Jesus is not only our teacher (like Mohammed is to the Muslims), he is our God. As our teacher he says : ‘Learn of me for I am gentle and humble of heart..’. As our God, he says : ‘Come to me all who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest for your souls’. No one should have to carry life’s burdens alone without recourse to his maker. Atheists like Jean Paul Sartre tried it and ended up in ‘Nausea’. Let’s always remember to call upon the name of the Lord, Act 2 : 21.
May God bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO