Fr. Ben’s homily for Tuesday of the 14th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: THE HARVEST IS INDEED GREAT BUT…
By: Fr. Benedict Agbo
Homily for Tuesday July 6 2021
* Gen 32 : 22 – 32, Matt 9 : 32 – 38.
‘The harvest is indeed great but the labourers are few’. This is perhaps one of the most incisive sociological statements of Christ that remain true for every generation – a statement made out of prophetic observation; a statement made out of a burden and compassion for the crowd; a statement made out of the burden to teach the ignorant, to heal the sick and to feed the hungry. Leadership without burden is like a ship without a rudder, a vehicle without a steering or a sheep without a Shepherd. What Jesus saw many centuries ago has even become more true today – that as people clamour for ‘Biafra’, Oduduwa Republic, RONDEL or any such figments of their imagination, a basic question is left unanswered: ‘Do these people actually have the true leader and good Shepherd who like Moses, could lead them to their promised land? The truth remains that both the Church and the society of today are experiencing the same situation of big harvest with few labourers. We need leaders who are labourers not consumers, leaders who are ready to serve the people not to rule the people, leaders who are ready to pray for and intercede for their people not lead them to unprepared war.
In today’s 1st reading, Jacob distinguished himself as a man of prayer who knew the value of quiet time. When there was a crisis situation, he dispatched his wives and large family and went to a lonely place where he wrestled with the angel of God in prayer. Unlike Esau, his brother who was a man of the country (wanderer) or Ishmael who was a man of the bow (fighter) he prevailed over the angel of God in prayer with a power of resilience, doggedness and perseverance. He said : ‘I will never let you go unless you bless me’. Because of this, his name /title was changed from Jacob to Israel because his power of prayer /communion with God had fetched him a new level of leadership identity. My take about our leadership crisis in Nigeria today is that a visionless and prayerless man should never be made a leader /Shepherd of our people again. A man who has no burden to liberate his people, to feed the hungry, to heal the sick should never be made a leader. And most importantly, a man who has no prayer resonance with God cannot go far in leading his people to their land of promise. We must become more and more sensitive about the selection of who leads us to know their zeal, their knowledge and their spirituality. Nigeria must be saved from the rule of ‘cult men’ – men who have questionable religious background or any clandestine /esoteric spiritual underpinnings. The easiest way of keeping a people under bondage is to give them a leader who himself /herself is in bondage .
May God bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO