THEME: IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU!
BY: Ben Agbo (Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY FOR MONDAY JULY 25 2022
Feast of St James the apostle
*2 Cor 4 :7 – 15, Matt 20 :20 – 28.
How much our temperaments influence our prayer points! And when prayer gets too temperamental, the will of God is compromised. But for the 2 sons of Zebedee, James and John, their temperamental ambitions (articulated through the lips of their Mum) were tamed at the crucible of authentic spirituality. A paradigm shift was called for by Christ – the servant – leader paradigm. Why should earthly Kingdom and earthly glory influence our prayer points as children of God? Why should Christians struggle for things like unbelievers do? To correct their desire and purify their prayer points, Jesus shows them the challenges of true Christianity: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them…It shall not be so among you, but whoever would be great among you must be your servant’. The ‘leader – servant – paradigm’ is one of the special challenges of Christianity.
But what do we see today? Elections to positions of service are still being contested for by Christians. We are witnessing this year one of the most hotly contested Presidential Primary elections of the different parties with some of the parties spending chunks of dollars to lobby the Delegates. The challenge is not that Christians should not contest for positions but our level of detachment from this worldly quest for power should be brought to bear in the transparency shown in our election processes starting from the period of nomination (primaries). Even at the student’s level, the MUSAN election held in my department(Music) few years ago was cancelled because of what the leaders termed ‘aggressive campaigns’. Even Christian mother presidency is becoming hotly sort after, perhaps due to ‘August Meeting dividends of democracy’. Even vocations to the Catholic celibate priesthood is being hankered for. Yet the question that keeps looming large is: Are you ready to drink the cup?
James (called the greater), proved his readiness to drink the cup and was later beheaded for his faith and active service. And the universal church is happy to present him today for celebration as a model of the servant – leadership paradigm. He is a model of a hot temperament (choleric sanguine, perhaps) that was blown cold by the love of Christ. We can never drink the cup of Christ and remain the same: both the Eucharistic cup and the cup of evangelical suffering. The harvest is indeed great but the labourers are few just because many are not prepared to drink the cup. May God help us through the intercession of St James. Have a nice day!