Fr. Ben’s homily for Tuesday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: KEEPING THE PRECEPTS OF MEN!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Tuesday February 8 2022
*1 Kg 8:22-30, Mk 7:1-13.
Where do you worship? Which temple /church? Or do you think it is not important, after all, God is every where? Anyway, we see from today’s 1st reading that Solomon, in his wisdom, dedicated a house for God even though he knew that God is everywhere. He prays from that temple and asks God to always listen to the supplication of his people who pray from this temple. And so was it. But the tragedy of the Israelites (people of God) began when the purpose of the temple (church building) was forgotten; their worship became vain and the temple (church) was in danger of destruction.
God is spirit and those who worship him must do so in spirit and truth, Jn 4: 34.The mistake of the Scribes and Pharisees were; firstly, Religious legalism – they imposed the laws and traditions framed by the elders (‘presbyterio’ in Greek which could be likened to the position of priests in the modern day church) as God’s laws and interposed them on the people under the pain of excommunication.
The second was the error of religious hypocrisy – looking holy in the sight of men but unholy in the sight of God; cleaning the outside of the cup while the inside is very dirty; neglecting the Word of God and emphasizing the tradition of men. Christ said: ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandments of God in order to keep your traditions… And many such things you do … ‘
I am so afraid that these two errors are still hovering all over our churches today. We observe so many rules and regulations that may not really come from God. Many elders (church leaders) are living hypocritical lives. Many so called believers are guided more by the pagan traditions of our village than by the precepts of Christ. What, for instance, makes us think that any man whose funeral is not celebrated with a life cow does not rest in peace?
Let us stop running from one prayer house to another looking for where to worship God. We should stop deceiving ourselves by saying that God is everywhere and therefore Church does not matter. Whatever is wrong with the churches people run away from may either be a paradigm shift among the leaders or a diversion of focus among the followers from the real worship of God to the provision of secular needs.
Let us stop all forms of hypocrisy in our churches. God is no man that we could deceive him. He knows those who really worship Him in Spirit and truth. ‘O how lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts… One day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere’, Ps 84: 2-10.
May God bless you today!