Fr. Ben’s Homily for Wednesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme; THE 3 BEACONS OF SPIRITUALITY!
By: Fr. Benedict Agbo
Homily for Thursday June 17 2021
* 2 Cor 9 : 6 – 11, Matt 6 : 1 – 18
Christian spirituality, and indeed that of many other religions stand on a tripod of virtues ; Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting. The quality of all these determine to a large extent the quality of our spirituality.
The quality of our almsgiving tells a lot about the quality of our spirituality.The secret of sowing seeds of generosity is that it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that he who sows bountifully reaps bountifully and that God loves a cheerful giver. He is able to supply us with abundance (prosperity) when we are generous in giving, all other things being equal. Jesus teaches us in his great sermon on the mountain, perfection in giving alms – sound no trumpet before you as the hypocrites do. Let the offering be ‘God – oriented’ not ‘Human oriented’. Even though there is also the human element or human – encouragement – dimension in making our donations (or other works of righteousness) shine before men, so that seeing our good works they may be encouraged to imitate, Matt 5 :14, but the ideal standard is ‘when the right hand does not know what the left is doing’, Matt 6 : 3.
The same perfection applies to prayer. The instruction is to pray in secret and not to use empty phrases and repetition but the human – encouragement – dimension, is that the Spirit helps us when we do not know how to pray with the gifts of tongues and what may sound like meaningless babbling, Rom 8 : 26. But the ideal standard is to pray with our mind and spirit in a decent unloquasious manner, 1Cor 14 : 1 – 15. The secret of praying well is that it must be done in the spirit ; it must be continuous and it must be expectant. It is not good to ask God something without expecting His reply.
The secret of good fasting is that it must also be spiritual and not ostentatious ; It must heal the spirit of all self indulgence, Gal 5 : 16. The Holy Spirit works through the Cross. The flesh has been crucified at the Cross and so, when believers realize this and begin to see themselves as dead to sin, Rom 6 : 11, only then will their fasting and spiritual disciplines translate into authentic spirituality.
Ours have become a world of showmanship and senseless bragadacio where true sense of almsgiving, prayer and fasting have completely been lost ; where many cannot make any meaningful donation in the Church unless it is announced ; where many can no longer pray without shouting and babbling ; where a man will be critically sick and his sons and in laws will not bring any money for his treatment in the hospital but as soon as he is dead will purchase the costliest of cows and throw money about to brandish their wealth ; where people give not according to the needs of the receiver but for the self aggrandisement of the giver and the spectators. This is the madness of the present day society. For me, it is a typical case of sowing of rotten seeds that will ultimately yield nothing for the sower. We become like rolling stones gathering no moss. We need to understand and key into the Spiritual Law of Prosperity. The secret of sowing and reaping must be studied especially as it applies to spiritual theology.
CAVEAT : Today’s readings could also send the wrong signals that the desire for reward becomes the ultimate motive for generosity to the poor or to the Church. Such mentality, as found among many Pentecostals today , can turn the whole values of Christianity upside down and we find ourselves in a quandary of ecclesiastical merchandise. The truth remains that God cannot be lobied with money and his blessings can never be bought just with money. Yet God loves a cheerful giver, a cheerful pray – er and a freewill giver.
May God bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO