Homily for Friday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: ENDURING FAITH!
By: Fr. Benedict Agbo
Homily for Friday January 29 2021
* Heb 10 : 32 – 39, Mk 4 : 26 – 34.
Faith has got so many aspects and qualities ; the dogmatic aspect is the fidelity to the right teachings like Peter did in his perfect christological grasp of who Jesus is, Matt 16 : 16 – 20, the practical aspect is the application of faith in challenging circumstances like our Blessed Mother did at the Annunciation and marriage feast at Cana, Lk 1 : 38, Jn 2 : 1 – 10, the sacramental aspect is the placement of faith in mere outward signs that have to do with Christ like the woman of hemorrhage who believed that the mere touch of the fringe of Christ’s garments will make her well, Matt 9 : 22, the humble aspect is the expression of our unworthiness before Christ like the Centurion did when he said that he is not worthy to have Christ come under his roof, Matt 8 : 8, the persevering aspect is the endurance of faith even under terrible pressure like Jacob did and prevailed over the angel of God, Gen 32 : 27.
Jesus compares the kingdom of God to the mustard seed. Persevering faith is the catalyst that makes the kingdom of God grow. Paul says that suffering brings perseverance and perseverance gives us a tested character which gives us hope and the hope does not fail us because the Holy Spirit is poured out in our hope, Rom 5 : 1 – 3. The persevering aspect of faith seems to be the most important because no matter how dogmatically sound our faith may be, once we backslide, everything is a waste. Today’s 1st reading therefore affirms that ‘my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he backslides, my soul has no pleasure in him’. We must therefore beware of backsliding.
We must also beware of planting /propagating tares . Tares have stronger power than the seeds. They are like impure thoughts which the devil plant nowadays in the youth’s mind through ponographies and the social media. Once you form the habit, a soul is lost. We should bloom wherever we are planted. Different parishes, churches and denominations are growing as the spirit moves them. Like the children of Israel started their journey as a nation with 70 people carried in a wagon to Egypt, Gen 46 ; Like Christianity started over 2000 years ago with 12 weak apostles and about 120 disciples all gathered in one large room, Act 2, so has the Roman Catholic Church grown in geometrical progression. Other protestant churches gave also recorded some astronomical increase. For instance, The Redeemed Church of Christ, led by Pastor Adeboye is one of the fastest growing Churches all over the world today.
In today’s gospel, Jesus compared the kingdom of God to the mustard seed. So has the gospel started little with the apparent defeat of Calvary but grown so much today with its branches spread far and wide and have many collateral agencies in the field of health care, charity and education. Other fields of study like Arts, Architecture, Music, Literature, and myriads of other fields have grown under the care of the Church. We need confidence and perseverance to watch the seeds scattered by Christ grow into edifices of the kingdom message.
Even though the gospel of Christ began with the apparent defeat of the Cross and the terrible persecutions that the early Christians suffered, but the secret of their success was their endurance. Tertulian said that ‘ The blood of martyrs is the seedbed of Christianity’. Modern day Christianity should never jettison the Cross ; suffering, fasting, mortification and all the disciplines of perseverance that come with it. As soon as it does, Christianity begins on a nose diving mission.
May God bless you today!
FR BEN AGBO.