HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 20TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE II
THEME: WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED?
BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY FOR TUESDAY AUGUST 16 2022
* Ezek 28 : 1 – 10, Matt 19 : 23 – 30.
Poverty, chastity and obedience are 3 virtues that are very difficult to practice. Each time Jesus explained the demands of these virtues, the disciples often ended up in despondency with such questions as this: ‘Who then can be saved?’. Christ said: ‘With men, they are impossible but by the grace of God, they can be practiced’.
*But the snag here is that anyone who makes the sacrifice of these worldly goodies somehow gets them back*. I don’t know how it works. But check the history of great men of God and see if they really lacked anything in the real sense of the word ‘lack’. Even St Francis that went into mendicant poverty never really lacked anything. Most chaste people have an avalanche of beautiful ladies begging for their attention. Most humble obedient men of God got to the level of becoming superiors in their own area of vocation. Our people say: ‘Onye fee Eze, Eze eruo ya’. Somebody said: ‘If you love something, let it go; It will come back to you. If it doesn’t come back, then it wasn’t mearnt for you’. Vima Dasan says: *’If we have something we can’t do without, we don’t own it; rather, it owns us’*.
‘Chastity makes a man superior to the angels’, says Bishop GMP Okoye of blessed memory. It makes a man/ woman to be pure and free to commune clear and straight with God because his/ her body automatically becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit. *Two options are presented before us in the ladder of holiness: Either you choose to be faithful to one partner or you choose to be celibate*. When the disciples were confronted with the stringent demands of the former, they opted for the latter but Christ told them that *none is easy and that celibacy completely depends on grace*. In both vocations Christ did not mince words in saying that ‘With men it is impossible to remain faithful but by the grace of God everything is possible’.
Pride goes before a fall as we see in today’s 1st reading against the Prince of Tyre. And once we are proud, we cannot obey anybody. Wealth can make us proud. Intelligence and even ‘spirituality’ can make us proud but *once our will stops being loyal to God’s will and that of our superior, once we fall short in obedience, we are set on a nosediving journey with the highest speed of acceleration*. Who can be saved from the trap of money, sex, pride, etc? *Only the grace of God can save us*.
May God bless you today!