Homily for Thursday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: THE NEW TESTAMENT PRIESTLY MISSION : IDEALS & CHALLENGES!
By: Fr. Benedict Agbo
Homily for Thursday February 4 2021
* Heb 12 : 18 – 24, Mk 6 : 7 – 13.
The mission of the 12 mirrors the New Testament priestly mission while the mission of the 72 mirrors the rest of the universal priesthood of Christ. We need to take our ideals and challenges from this pericope of today’s gospel as follows ;
1. COLLABORATIVE MINISTRY ; To send them out 2 by 2 is a challenge for priestly fraternity and collaboration in ministry. The truth ( of the gospel) needs to be proclaimed by the mouths of 2 people. According to St Gregory the great, ‘Christ sends them out 2 by 2 because 2 is the number of the precepts of charity ; to love God and to love our neighbours. This tactfully implies that the man who has no love for others should by no means take on himself the duty of preaching’.
2. DELIVERANCE MINISTRY ; He gave them authority over unclean spirits. He knows that many of them will be ministering like Christ among the country of the ‘Gerasenes’. Deliverance ministry, therefore is not a misnomer in the priestly ministry but it calls for deeper study to avoid assumptions and abuses.
3. PASTORAL DETACHMENT ; He told us to carry no haversack. No matter the arguments, the priest must be seriously detached from material things before he can embrace the true mission of Christ.
4. PASTORAL STABILITY ; Our mission is made stable by the yearly postings by the bishop. The instruction is ‘Stay there until you are are told to leave’. Juncating from place to place without episcopal mandate is always a pastoral disaster.
5. PRIESTLY BLESSINGS VS CURSES ; The fact remains that gospel received is blessing acquired and gospel rejected is curses embraced both by individuals and communities. That’s why Jesus told them to heal the sick wherever they are welcomed and to shake the dust off their feet wherever they are rejected.
The chief ministry of the priest is to celebrate the mass. Every mass, as we find in today’s 1st reading is an encounter with the angels ( What you have come to is Mount Zion where the angels are gathered in festal celebration), the saints (spirits of the just made perfect) and with Jesus ( the mediator of the new covenant). Every mass is a journey to Mount Zion where heaven and earth commune. It is both a worship ministry and a healing ministry. The glory of Mount Zion as described by the letter to the Hebrews is the purview of the Shekinah glory which Moses experienced with the Isrealites, Ex 19. This experience is continuous at the Mass. THROUGH HIM, WITH HIM AND IN HIM, IN THE UNITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, ALL GLORY AND HONOUR IS YOURS FOR EVER AND EVER!
Today, the Mass is becoming trivialized even among Catholics. Our Wedding ceremonies and Funeral ceremonies are celebrated starting with the mass. But come and see the percentage of people that attend the Mass. The rest target to join during the social events such as snapping of pictures and the entertainment. I just pray that the reverence for the Mass be restored both among the clergy and the laity.
May God bless you today as you enjoy the mass!
FR BEN AGBO.