Fr. Ben’s Homily for Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter
Theme: DIVIDED WE FALL!
By: Fr. Benedict Agbo
Homily for Thursday May 20 2021
* Act 22 : 30 – 23 : 11, Jn 17 : 20 – 26.
Fair hearing is the principle of philosophical and theological unity. When there is bias and prejudice, there is the tendency to close one’s ears and heart from the other’s point of view and this often leads to a complete breakdown of intellectual law and order. It is normal that when two or three intellectuals gather, there must be dissensions in ideology and belief. A Latin adage says : ‘Quod homines tot sententia’ – As many men as there are many opinion.
But what makes dialogue impossible is lack of fair hearing. No matter what you believe in before, it is good to listen to another’s point of view and with a neutrality of mind. This is what makes for a mutual colloquium devoid of emotional altercations and ‘ad hominem/ad bacculum arguments’ (fallacy of arguing against the person or authority instead of the facts presented). This is unfortunately rampant among intellectuals, especially philosophers and theologians. In today’s 1st reading, Paul takes advantage of the philosophical and theological bias and prejudice between the Pharisees and Saducees to work out his freedom in Jerusalem. That was smart but faultable.
Jesus knows the importance of unity of faith among Christians and prays for the Church in today’s gospel to remain perfectly one under one leader. He didn’t pray that there may be no misunderstanding but he prayed that in the midst of our diversity of views, we may have the spirit of dialogue – allowing each other a fair hearing and following the judgment of superior reason heretofore. That was the disposition that saved the early Church from disintegration when the first dispute arose about the circumcision or not of Gentile believers, Act 15.
Today, as we watch divisions among the clergy on Holy Ghost matters and matters of Church administration; as we watch divisions among the political parties (both within the ruling party and opposition) on issues about corruption, insecurity or economic matters, let us note that what is abnormal is not the dissensions in Ideology but the lack of effective dialogue and fair hearing. Each evening , I enjoy watching the Channels television present opposing schools of thought on the programme ‘Politics today’. It is such freedom of expression of views that make for true democracy. In matters of faith, we even need to agree more because unless two agree they cannot pray together. We need to agree on how best to pray, worship and live out our Christian faith in the midst of present day challenges. Unfortunately, many Christians are turning very fanatical. They cannot listen to or dialogue with any other person because their mind is made up on what they have believed. This only makes for more divisions in Christianity. We need more dialogue in matters of faith and religion. And we need this dialogue even more now with the level of insecurity of Christians in Nigeria today. We need to agree on what to do. United we stand, divided we fall!
May God bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO