HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF ADVENT.
THEME: WHERE ARE YOU COMING FROM?
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr).
* Num 24: 2 – 17, Matt 21: 23 – 27.
On the road to greatness, people will always question your authority: Where are you coming from? What is the source of your power? Where is your confidence coming from? Who gave you the power? What school of thought do you belong to? Yes, indeed, as it happened to Balaam the Prophet in the 1st reading of today and as it happened also to Jesus in today’s gospel, so does it happen to every child of God or minister of God.
Balaam was expected by the irate King (Balak) to curse the people of God (Isrealites) but all he insisted on doing was to bless them. He was a Prophet with far seeing eyes who insisted on telling the people exactly what God wanted him to say and not play into the sentiments of the people or their rulers.
In the case of Jesus, it happened that immediately after his triumphant entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey (the beast of the Messiah), he cleansed the temple with whips challenging the status quo. He even dried up the fig tree which bore no fruits. He was neither a priest nor a levite (by their own permutations) yet he taught and preached in the temple with such authority. They had to know where he was coming from. Why would he challenge the chief priests and the elders? The chief priests were the judges in ecclesiastical courts while the elders were the judges in civil matters. They had to confront Jesus with this all important question: ‘What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?’. Every priest that knows his onions must answer similar questions whenever he steps into any new Parish or territory. Jesus wanted to take them from the known to the unknown in spiritual matters by 1st asking them to confirm the spiritual authority of John the Baptist. Mhhh! That was a bolt from the blues and he really took them unawares. They proved themselves malicious and carnal when they refused to make up their mind on John the Baptist but desired to know the source of Jesus’ authority.
*If you develop the habit of questioning everything spiritual, you may end up believing in nothing and trusting in nobody.* And like the atheistic philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre, all you may have to bequit to the world is your ‘Nausea’ or your useless meditations on ‘Being and Nothingness’. Or at best, like the French scientist philosopher, Voltaire, you may cry at your death bed: ‘O God, if there is God; save my soul if I have any!’.
Jesus’ authority came from his father. He was the one on whom the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended and a heavenly voice declared: ‘This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.. Listen to him’. He is the Messiah – promised redeemer of mankind, Is 7: 14, Is 9 : 6. He performed his mighty deeds by his own power and authority and performed miracles in His own name. *Our own spiritual authority as children of God and ministers of God will only proceed from his name (configured with at our Baptism), his blood (when we receive forgiveness of our sins), his body (when we receive the Eucharist), his Word (as found in the scriptures and the teaching magisterium of the Church) and his Spirit (released on the Church since Pentecost). Our pulpit authority must proceed from somewhere; from a density of knowledge of his Word and the authority of a resonance of character with his will. If not, the enemy will only laugh at us as he laughs at hypocrites and we will operate like rolling stones gathering no moss.* May God bless you today!
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