HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 34TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR II.
THEME: DESOLATION HAS COME NEAR!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr).
* Rev 18: 1- 9, Lk 21: 20 – 28.
Christians should not be afraid at the reign of evil in the world. It has been prophesied by Christ. The reign of persecutions were prophesied in today’s 1st and 2nd readings. Babylon and Jerusalem metaphorically represent the coalition of evil powers; anti Christ leadership, in house corruption among Christians and overthrow of occult elements within the house of God. The admonition of Christ is that when this kind of distress begins to overwhelm the Church, we (the remnant of believers) should lift our heads high in prayer because our redemption is near. Triumph awaits every kind of Christian persecution or warfare because ‘Salvation, glory and power belong to our God’.
The world is gradually witnessing the apocalyptic signs. We need not look at them literally however. But we must be wary of desolation and desecration of the Holy places as prophesied both in Daniel and the book of Revelation. When the demonic agents begin to take over the world leadership, the ravaging forces of the ‘antiChrists’ will operate ideologically through ‘presumptuous notions that will be set up against the Word of God’, 2 Cor 10: 4, the so called men of God will be overtaken by a kind of liberal theology where Christian identity will be compromised; being ‘pro -abortion’ will be tagged ‘pro -choice’, homosexuality will be termed ‘special sexual preference’, dogmatic fidelity will be seen as ‘binary thinking’, apostacy will just be termed democratic freedom.
And just as it is happening in America today, many clerics will become soft targets of blackmailers and many dioceses will be subjected to paying huge fines for the alleged sins of their clerics. Christian virtues of morality and celibacy will be ridiculed and made to look impossible. The priesthood will be branded as a system of falsehood. The Church will be buffeted by overbearing forces of secularism and materialism in a bid to make her shift standards. Islamic terrorism will continue to grow as fanatical Muslims continue to invade Europe, America and African nations in their numbers. The Christians will suffer a lot of persecution. Jesus says in today’s gospel, ‘For great distress shall be upon the earth and wrath upon the people; they will fall by the edge of the sword… and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled’. These apocalyptic prophesies remain problematic in interpretation and their relevance remain intact generation after generation. Sure, the destruction of the Jerusalem temple has taken place in 70AD but the persecution of the children of God remains an existential phenomenon. We continue to pray for discernment even as we choose our world rulers and more especially as we prepare for 2023 election in Nigeria. Let’s not underate the implications of the MUSLIM – MUSLIM TICKET of the ruling party. We must remain wary of the moments of desolation in and around the sacred places. May God bless you today!
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