Homily for Thursday of the 18th Week of the Ordinary Time – Year B:
Homily theme: GET BEHIND ME, SATAN!
The major challenge of Christian leadership is not only the correct interpretation of who Christ is (of course that is fundamental) but the practical witnessing to his real mission on earth. Peter passed the 1st test which was a theological/ theoretical test. His theological perception of Christ’s personality (Christology) was sound. Jesus was okay with that and gave him the powers of a Pope. But as soon as the practical test of witnessing to the Cross came, Peter failed the test and was called ‘Satan’ – an obstacle to the realization of God’s plan. The Church of Christ must be built on the solid rock of faith, holiness and readiness for martyrdom. All other grounds are sinking sands.
In today’s 1st reading, the human weaknesses of Moses hold sway when the chips were down; when the pressures of temptations and provocations from the people of God became too unbearable. He abused the people and in anger struck the rock twice, thus diminishes both his faith and the holiness of God. God had to give him a mild punishment : ‘Because you did not believe in me to sanctify me in the eyes of the sons of Israel, therefore you will not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them’.
Friends, God’s expectation from Church leaders is enormous. Our greatest challenge as Church leaders (whether as bishops, priests, religious or laity leaders) would be never to constitute ourselves as ‘satans’ – small small obstacles to God’s plan for the conversion of souls in our parish through the preaching of the gospel, dispensation of the sacraments, school apostolate, execution of physical projects/ structures, etc. We must never be cowed by dictatorial governments or the threat of persecution to prevent us from being on the side of truth. May he never have a course to call us ‘Satan’ or prevent us from reaching the ‘promised land’. May God bless you today!
Fr. Ben Agbo