HOMILY: 4TH SUNDAY IN LENT – YEAR B

TUESDAY HOMILY / HOLY WEEK - YEAR B THEME: One of you will betray me! BY: Reflection by Rev Fr Oselumhense Anetor  Is. 49:1-6; John 13:21-33,36-38 Many of us don't like Judas Iscariot;



HOMILY: 4TH SUNDAY IN LENT – YEAR B

THEME: FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD…

By: Benedict AGBO (Rev Fr)

*2 Chron 36: 14 – 23, Eph 2: 4 – 10, Jn 3: 14 – 21.

A. PREAMBLE
A Hindu scholar was researching one day in the library on the topic of his thesis at Beneras University, Sanskrit in India. The topic was: ‘How does a man reach heaven after death?’. Somebody came in and handed him a piece of paper and disappeared. On this piece of paper was written: John 3: 16: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten Son , so that whoever believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life ‘. The young man wondered about the verse and the stranger who gave him that quotation. Who is this only begotten son? One day as he was travelling by railway from North to Southern India, he had a strong compulsive urge to get off the train. When he got off, he aimlessly walked about 3 kilometers until he met the same stranger that gave him a piece of paper in the library. He said to him: ‘You are searching for the Only begotten son? He is Jesus Christ. Come and I will show him to you ‘. He followed him and he explained the whole scriptures from creation to the death of Jesus for sinners. He accepted Jesus Christ and became not just a believer but a great preacher today.

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Friends, the best thing that God has done for mankind is the sending of his Son Jesus to save us from sin and death. The patience of God has its elastic limit at the point where we stop allowing Him to rule, teach and save us. Today’s gospel says ‘No one who believes in Him will be condemned but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already because he refuses to believe in the name of God’s only son’ (Jn 3: 14 – 21).

B. HISTORICAL EXCURSUS
The historical quadrangle for the fall of the children of God remains the same in every generation:
1. Infidelity: When they add infidelity to infidelity with churches making more money and building structures instead of faith.
2. Neglect of Prophesy: When prophets are ridiculed and their message discarded.
3. Divine wrath: The wrath of God rises so high and their enemies now burn down the temples of God.
4. Slavery: Survivors are deported to the ‘Babylon’ of slavery.
5. Deliverance. Here they cry back to their God (Ps 137) who now arouses the spirit of ‘Kg Cyrus’ for their deliverance. Yes! God so loves the world that He gives His son, Jesus (Jn 3: 16).

C. SAVED BY FAITH, CONDEMMED BY UNBELIEF
It is through grace that we are saved by faith in Him (Eph 2: 4 – 10). Only those who refuse to believe are condemned: those preferring darkness to light; war to peace; corruption to transparency; cultism to true worship; fortune-tellers (dibia afa) to prophets of God; Idol priests to priests of God; deities to Christ the King. To every nation that degenerates into corruption, we have God’s Plan B in Christ: New Adam (Jesus), New Eve (Mary), New Serpent (Cross). Vima Dasan says that ‘Every time history repeats itself the price goes up’.

D. CONTEXUALIZATION
In Nigeria, we are afraid because as there is so much ‘Christianity’ there is so much corruption, or better put by Rev Fr Osita Asogwa, ‘more Christians, less Christianity ‘. The wealth of the nation is wasting in the hands of a corrupt few who determine who rules us. So many States in Nigeria are under the leadership siege of mafias. Some of the priests and pastors are conniving with evil rulers to perpetuate their evil government – a government full of laxity, tolerance for corruption, bloodshed, rigging of elections, etc. There are so many confusing prophesies. Some we trust are being ridiculed. We are held between the devil and the deep blue sea. What we see as opposition/ alternative government in some places portend greater dangers than the ones they want to change. I just pray that the wrath of God does not blossom for Nigeria; that our temples be not burnt down as that of the Israelites and that we may not go into slavery; that our youths do not die of joblessness and starvation.

E. CONCLUSION
Christians are enjoined to go nearer to the Cross of Jesus where we shall weep the whole night knowing that after that joy comes in the morning (Ps 30: 5). Who will rescue Nigeria from imminent doom? Only TRUE faith in Jesus Christ will. He died that we may have life and have it abundantly, Jn 10: 10. Let the gospel of Christ be lived out practically in Nigeria. The words of Gilbert Keith Chesterton keep ringing in my mind that ‘Christianity is not a failure yet but just has never been tried’. It has not been fully lived out by our priests and preachers, by our CMO, CWO and CYON, by the 3 arms of government in Nigeria, by the academia, by the businessmen and women, by the artisans… May God’s love accentuated in Christ’s salvific death on the Cross activate a fight against corruption in Nigeria; against bad leadership and against sycophancy and insincerity. Happy Sunday dear friends!

 

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