Fr. Ben’s homily for Thursday of the 26th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: PRINCIPLES OF LOGOTHERAPY!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Thursday September 30 2021
*Neh 8 : 1 – 12, Lk 10 : 1 – 12.
Depression and grief are antinomies of human happiness; they make life meaningless and stultify its positivity. When there is hope, there is joy, as we see in the life history of saints like St Francis of Assisi. But when there is fear, as we see in the life history of atheists like Jean Paul Sartre, there is pain, boredom and nausea. Vima Dasan says that ‘No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear’. The fruits of the Holy Spirit, ipso facto are; Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self control, Gal 5 : 22. Bishop Eneje of blessed memory was used to telling us in those days that there is nothing like a sad saint or a stupid holy man.
We are told in today’s 1st reading that the Isrealites lost their sense of meaning in life when they forgot their God and wallowed in sin and idolatry. But after the restoration of the book of the law, Ezra the highpriest mounted the pulpit and subjected them to a long process of logotherapy – They read and listened to the Word of God again for a very long time. The theologians (scribes of the time) gave sense to the message and by the end of the day, the people realized their mistakes. They repented and kept on weeping for hours until Nehemiah, their President began consoling them and was finally able to enthrone the joy of the Lord in their hearts, Neh 8 : 10. That was some serious exercise of what we call ‘logotherapy’.
The principles of logotherapy are expounded clearly in today’s responsorial psalm;
1. The law (commandments) of the Lord is spiritual – they revive the human soul .
2. The precepts (principles) of the Lord are simply right and existentially realistic. They gladden the heart and illumine the eyes.
3. The fear of the Lord (the human conscience) is the basis of Christian morality /ethics. When it is not there, human beings behave like animals.
The harvest remains plentiful, today’s gospel affirms, while the labourers remain few; people who need the Word of God are always on the increase while the real preachers of the good news are always very few. Many preachers are busy deceiving the people of God with wrong doctrines, some others are busy frightening them with fearful revelations while the rest are busy exploiting their gullible faith and extorting their meagre resources. Christ’s missionary mandate in today’s gospel remains unequivocal: ‘Whatever house you enter, first say, “peace be to this house..”. As hate speeches grow in our social media capable of destroying the nation’s unity, so do fearful messages and revelations grow in our Churches and prayer houses, rendering many gullible Christians sad, hopeless and sick. We need more logotherapy in our Churches in order to revive the moral fabric of our nation and also revive our economy. May God bless you today!