Homily for Tuesday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: THE MIDNIGHT WARRIOR!
By: Fr. Benedict Agbo
Homily for Tuesday August 4 2020
* Jer 30: 1 – 22, Matt 14: 22 – 36.
Prayer has an infinite capacity of placing our humanity at the realm of divinity ; for as long as we can continue to look at Jesus we shall continue to walk upon the waters. Peter did in today’s gospel and when he looked at the waters he backslided. Peter’s desire to be where Jesus was is the ideal prayer point of every believer… ‘that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and partake of his sufferings by being moulded to the pattern of his death striving towards the goal of the resurrection from the dead’, Phil 3 :10 – 12.
It is tremendously interesting to imagine Peter’s faith in asking Jesus to bid him walk with him upon the waters. That is what faith is all about. Faith means drawing strength from God. It is the beginning, the centre and the end of the spiritual life. God cannot simply do anything for somebody that does not give him the chance. We give him this chance through our faith. According to Fr Emma Onuh of blessed memory, ‘Faith is the legal tender with which all our transactions with God is undertaken’. John Rose put it elegantly by saying : ‘Faith is the secret key which unlocks the power of God. It is a treasure in a believer like the hair of Samson, in which his great strength lay ; it is Moses’ rod which divided seas of difficulties ; it is Elijah’s chariot, which mounts up to the heavens’.
There is nothing we cannot see when we keep looking at Jesus ; There is nothing we can’t do when we are holding on to the fringe of his garments. All our sicknesses and weaknesses melt when we are in the same boat with Jesus. The Bible says : ‘Since you have died with Christ at baptism… See yourself now as dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus’, Rom 6 :11. It goes on to say : ‘Since you have been raised up to be with Christ… Look at things that are above and kill everything in you that is earthly’, Col 3 :1-3. Holiness is a function of devotion and concentration. It is the resultant effect of focus on God. And this is why we need a time of the day that can ensure this focus and devotion. So, let’s talk about the midnight.
Jesus was a midnight prayer warrior – always awake when others are sleeping. He knew how to often dismiss the crowd and get into his priestly business of prayer and intercession. Perhaps, he would use the 1st watch (6 -9pm) and 2nd watch of the night (9 – 12 midnight) to catch some rest and by the 3rd watch (12 – 3am) he is up in prayer. In today’s gospel, we are told that by the 4th watch of the night (3 – 6am), usually the time we wake up for morning mass, Jesus came to the apostles walking on the sea.
Walking on the sea means a lot spiritually; It means walking against nature, being on top of natural forces as the God of miracles. Peter wanted to take advantage of this opportunity and he did briefly. He walked upon the sea as long as he focused on Christ. But as soon as he looked at the wind, he took fright and began to sink. Looking at the wind here means walking under nature, being below natural impulses, sexual urges, anger, pride, vanities, being afraid of the cult people, etc. The only thing that saved him was getting back to prayer. Holiness, I insist, is a function of devotion and concentration in prayer. It is the resultant effect of focus on God. Without this focus we backslide and the enemy gives us grievous wounds as it happened to the Israelites in today’s 1st reading. Midnight is a good time to achieve this prayer focus. I like working spiritually at the 3rd or 4th watch of the night.
How about you?
May God bless you today!