Homily for Palm Sunday Year A
Theme: A DISCIPLE’S TONGUE!
By: Fr. Ben Agbo
Homily for Sunday April 5 2020
* Is 50 : 4 – 7, Phil 2 : 6 – 11, Matt 26 : 14 – 66.
At the 1st homily for today, we presented the greatest Christian tragedy facing the Church of today as the tragedy of double tonguing ( double confession). A Christian cannot use the same lips to sing ‘Hosanna’ and shout ‘Crucify him’ thereafter. So also, a Christian cannot use the same tongue to bless God and curse his fellow human being thereafter. The same body we use to receive Christ in the Eucharist cannot be used for fornication and remain the temple of the Holy Spirit.
The 1st reading challenges us today with the suffering servant paradigm : ‘The Lord has given me a disciple’s tongue, ear… I offered my back to the smitters…For the Lord God helped me and I have not been confounded’.
Pacifism remains the best ideology for Christian warfare, even though I do not believe it is the only one. The years of crusade and inquisition are for me, the darkest years of Church history – the ugliest sides of Christendom that has made courageous Popes like St Jn Paul II say sorry on behalf of the Mother Church for past mistakes of her members. The truth is that rifles and bullets do not look good in the hands of priests and bishops because ‘our weapons of warfare are not carnal but are mighty through God to destroy strongholds’, 2 Cor 10 : 4 – 6. The strongholds of idolatry, Islamic Jihads, pagan masquerade violence, youthful exuberance of cultism, etc are better destroyed by the weapons of love and grassroot evangelism ( eg Block Rosary Crusade). As Martin Luther King Jnr proposed : ‘To our bitter opponents we say : “We shall match your capacity to inflict injury by our capacity to endure suffering”.
In today’s 2nd reading we are told that Christ Jesus although he was God and mightily strong, emptied himself and became humbled on the Cross, Phil 2 : 6 – 10. It was only after the soldiers had decimated him and arraigned him on the Cross that one of them confessed : ‘Truly, this is the Son of God’, Mk 15 : 39. According to Fulton J Sheen, ‘God has the power to write straight in crooked lines’. And that’s why Jesus allowed Judas in today’s gospel to do his worse. He had to drink the bitter cup of suffering first before achieving redemption for mankind. The greatest message of Christianity lies in the beauty of the Cross before the crown – suffering before glorification and crucifixion before resurrection.
As I welcome you to this year’s Holy Week celebration, I invite you to the boardroom of spiritual dialogue with the Word of God summarized as follows ;
– Betraying Christ like Judas did should not be our stock in trade.
– Denying Christ like Peter did should not be our habit.
– Running away at the face of danger like the apostles did should never be our culture.
– Passing wrong and unobjective judgments like Pilate (the politician of the bible) did should not be the attitude of our own rulers and politicians.
– Favouring the wicked, example releasing Barnabas and suffering the innocent Jesus as the Jews did should not be our tradition a Nigerian people.
Remember that we deserve our fortunes and decide our destinies by the choices we daily make. According to Franz Fanon, ‘Every generation out of relative obscurity, has an obligation to either fulfill its mission or betray it’. Let’s take note of the following truisms ;
– If we choose to continue to worship the idols that our forefathers worshipped in ignorance, we remain in bondage and suffer under culpable ignorance.
– If we choose corruption to remain as our way of life in Nigeria, we would remain in poverty.
– If we choose examination malpractice (EXPO) to become our lifestyle in Nigeria and continue to employ the less intelligent ones to be the teachers and lecturers in our Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institutions, then our children will remain in ignorance.
– If we choose cults of violence, masquerade and secret cults for our children, we will continue to face the tragedy of untimely deaths.
May God give us the disciple’s tongue to speak gently to our opponents, the disciple’s ear to listen calmly to the Word of God and every superior advice and the disciple’s heart to show love and forgiveness to our neighbours. Happy Holy Week celebration.