BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)



*Act 14 : 5 – 18, Jn 14 : 21 – 26.

The miracle at Derbe, recorded in today’s 1st reading, is full of materials for reflection on modern day religious realities. Paul, as a man of God who have developed his spiritual gifts and consolidated on his kingly anointing, preached the Word of God vociferously at Derbe. Then his attention was drawn to a cripple in his congregation who listened to him with rapt attention as he expoused the Word of God. Paul, looking intently at him, and seeing that he had faith sufficient enough to elicit his healing, began ‘ministration’ onto the cripple. And that was it! Then, the next moment the crowd went crazy and began to idolize them. That is always the case even today. People always want to idolize miracle workers, healers or specially gifted people. And sorry to say, even rich people. Paul and Barnabas, true to their calling had to remind them that they were also ordinary human beings like them who have brought them the simple good news of salvation and begged them to turn from their worship of vain things to that of the living God.

A man is only truly spiritual when he stops worshiping vain things and develops a perfect fellowship with the most high God. Many of us Churchmen and women have become more of ‘fearers’ and ‘knowers’ of God than ‘lovers’ of God. Worshipping God just in order to obtain a favour from him is low level spirituality and fearing not to offend him because of the consequence of sin is still a lower level. Many have also become more of ‘knowers’ of the Word of God than ‘lovers’ of God and ‘doers’ of the Word of God. We have read through the whole bible several times without the bible going through us even once. We quote a lot of scriptures without living out any of them practically. Today’s gospel makes it clear that it is not knowledge that makes a true disciple but obedience. ‘If a man loves me’ says Jesus, ‘he will keep my word and my father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him’. Here Jesus gives a radical twist to the real meaning of religion as fellowship not mere worship. The goal of religion is that a human being enters into a permanent union with God.

The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is more important than the charismatic gifts. True religion consists in worshiping God out of love and doing his will, not worshiping God out of fear or eagerness to obtain some favours from him. Jesus promised that ‘The Counsellor, the Holy Spirit – will teach you all things and remind you all that I have said’. So all that is needed is a perfect fellowship with the Holy Spirit who reveals the father more and more to us everyday. And when our anointing grows like St Paul’s, we must never allow people call us gods! May God bless you today!

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