Homily for Thursday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time Year A.
Theme: YOUR IDEA OF THE MESSIAH!
By: Fr Ben Agbo
Homily for Thursday, February 21 2019
* Gen 9 : 1 – 13, Mk 8 : 27 – 33.
The rainbow was the 1st sacramentall sign of God’s salvific covenant with the new children of God after the 3rd account of the fall of man and the 1st destruction of the universe. The sacrament of baptism was 1st prefigured by the entering of the ark made by patriarch Noah. The rainbow was a beautiful sign of God’s forgiving love and the 1st image of the Messiah as a God of mercy was articulated. God’s 1st sacrament of reconciliation was, as it were administered.
But today, a lot of things have gone wrong with our idea of the Messiah. There are many theological opinion even within Christianity alone. Let me harzard a few categorizations ;
1. Neopaganism ; These are the people who still believe to some degree in reincarnation – in a God that sends spirits to come back in people. For example, from today’s gospel, we see that a good number of the Jews were still holding this ideology. The prophet Malachy had prophesied that Elijah will come again before the Messiah comes, Mal 4 : 5. Today many christians still commune with the spirits of the dead that they believe has been reincarnated ( eg what we call “Inyama Ogbanje” in this part of the world ( Igboeze South Local Government of Enugu North).
2. Legalism ; These are the people who have the mind set of Moses’ era of rules and prefer to approach God from the perspective of mere obedience of rules.
3. Prophetism ; These are the people who still believe so much in the prophetic era of divine ministrations. They, like the Muslims, believe that God has spoken through Prophet Mohammed. Period. They saw Christ in today’s gospel simply as one of the prophets. Some, like the Eckankar still see him today as one the mystics/ grandmasters that has come down in history.
4. Warfarism ; Some still think of the God of fire, like Elijah’s era of spiritual warfare. People like the Mountain of Fire ministries still approach God like the fiery image of Elijah fighting the prophets of Baal.
5. Pentecostalism ; Pentecostals generally conceive of a God of prosperity who must of necessity bless believers with the goodies of the earth.
6. Gnosticism ; These are people that see the flesh as fundamentally evil and percieve the worship of God as nothing short of radical asceticism.
7. Redemptionism ; This is the view that Peter presented in today’s gospel which was a very rare theological ideology at that time – the concept of a God of mercy, a saviour, an anointed one.
Our idea of the Messiah is very important for spiritual progress today. Peter professed rightly and witnessed wrongly. He passed thethe theory exam ( he had the correct doctrinal idea of the Messiah) but failed woefully the practical exam. Practical Christian life today demands that we understand what Jesus taught Peter that the Son of man ( and indeed every child of God) must suffer too many things and be rejected by so many people that matter. We must allow Jesus to teach us so many things in order to have the correct idea of the Messiah otherwise Jesus will still tell us what he told Peter : ‘Get behind me Satan’. May God bless you today!
– Fr Ben Agbo