HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF 33RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR II.
THEME: STANDING IN THE REGION OF GRACE!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr).
* Rev 5: 1 – 10, Lk 19: 41 – 44.
Another interesting aspect of John’s visions /heavenly revelations is the vision of the heavenly scroll sealed with seven seals. No one in heaven or on earth was found worthy to open the scroll and break its seals except the lamb of God – Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The Bible says that ‘by his blood he ransomed men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation and have made them a kingdom and priests to serve our God’. What a sublime release of grace!
*Our greatest problem in spirituality is the self righteousness syndrome that comes sometimes from orthodox religion. Righteousness in the New Testament is no longer what you attain just by your efforts alone, as primitive religion teaches, but by connecting to the network of grace – by standing on the right region of grace.* If you stand right, you will likely act right and live right. The holy mass is the place where we stand best to exercise our sonship /membership of God’s kingdom and our priesthood (both ministerial and universal). It is at the mass that we enjoy the greatest release of the blood of the new covenant and where we water the seed of eternal praise worship which the Lord has planted in our hearts. The mass regulates both the clergy and the laity within the valency of grace. According to Bishop Francis Okobo, ‘Without the mass, it is difficult to understand why a Catholic priest should not marry’. But because of the Mass, there is no amount of sacrifice that is too much to maintain Eucharistic purity and integrity,Lev 21 :6, Heb 10 :19 – 22.
We need to be grace conscious, grace hungry and grace sensitive. The enemy will crush you only when you are insensitive to God’s grace. Jesus wept over the people of Jerusalem, in today’s gospel because they did not recognize their moment of visitation – their hour of grace. He wept thrice as recorded by the scriptures; at the death of Lazarus (at the escape of grace), Jn 11: 35, at Gethsemane (in dire need of grace), Heb 5: 8, and at Jerusalem (at their neglect of grace), Lk 19: 11. They were not conscious of grace and missed the highest opportunity of God’s visitation and lost all the things that make for peace. Shakespeare said that ‘There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries’. People like Prophet Elisha were great spiritual opportunists. They never allowed grace to pass them by. When he saw the immensity of the anointing flowing from his master Elijah, he followed him bomber to bomber until he got a double portion of his anointing, 2Kgs 2: 1-11. May the Lord make us hungry for his grace and be always conscious of the fact that nobody is worthy of holiness except the lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Even our exercise of priesthood is only a resultant effect of his grace.
May God bless you today!