Fr. Ben’s homily for Wednesday of the 27th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: PRAYING ‘BAD PRAYER’!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Wednesday October 6 2021
*Jonah 4 : 1 – 11, Lk 11 : 1 – 4.
I am afraid of not only the economic wastes going on in Nigeria today but more even of the spiritual wastes. Example of the economic wastes is the way we celebrate funerals and weddings. A lot of money is wasted in useless bragadacio. An example of spiritual waste is that a lot of ‘bad prayers’ are being said in Nigeria today – prayers that I am sure God in heaven does not answer. In today’s 1st reading, Jonah prayed a very bad prayer expressing his disappointments with God’s mercy for the Ninevites. And many of us are still behaving worse than Jonah today. Why do we often begrudge God’s mercy upon sinners? We sometimes wish that God were as unmerciful as our traditional idols – to strike our enemies and offenders as and when due. Yet, we want him to have mercy on our own sins and that of our children. That is the human being for you! But God is no man: ‘I bu Chineke, I bughi mmadu’, we often sing. He has taught us comprehensively in today’s gospel how to pray but we Christians have adamantly insisted on praying our own way.
Friends, I see a lot of paradigm shifts in our prayer patterns of today especially in our so – called ‘Crusade or Adoration grounds’ – We have gradually shifted from saying ‘Our father’ to ‘My father’; from the praise of God to the jiration of men; from ‘thy kingdom come’ to ‘our kingdom come’; from ‘give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘give me today my future milk’; from ‘forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us’ to ‘forgive me my sins but back to sender and die by fire’ to my enemies; from ‘lead us not into temptation’ to ‘heal our family roots while we remain the way we are’.
It is not too late to get back to our senses. By the way, all these ‘congratulations’ people get for saying ‘eloquent prayers’ in our public gatherings… I hope people still remember that prayer is communion with God not display of spiritual eloquence through the use of tongues and all forms of prayer artistry. Mhhh! I see a lot of madness in our social gatherings, like the ‘one corner dance’ we have taken from Ghana being taught to our children even from Nursery schools. I see a lot of madness in our spiritual gatherings copied from some ‘Pentecostal Churches’. I also see some other excesses in some older churches of blocking people from praying freely to their God as the Spirit moves them. All said and done, let us remember that prayer must be according to the will of God and as Jesus taught us.
May God bless you today!