Homily for Tuesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time Year II
Theme: ANOINTING FOR KINGSHIP VS PRIESTHOOD.
By: Fr. Ben Agbo
Homily for Tuesday January 21 2020
* 1 Sam 16: 1 – 13, Mk 2: 23 – 28.
The problem of Israel began as soon as they secularized their system of government from pure theocracy to a system of government which I prefer to call ‘theocratic monarchy’.
Prior to that, the religious leaders of Israel, like Moses and Aaron enjoyed the triple anointing as prophets, Kings and priests ; they had the anointing for speaking the voice of God, ruling the people and offering their sacrifices to God. The election of King David which we see in today’s 1st reading is a sample of this system of government I have titled ‘theocratic monarchy’ – the election of Kings / Presidents of a country by the men of God (people who can discern God’s heart). The proceedings of the ‘primaries’ were quite dramatic. The count down was on Jesse’s household and a theological zoom lens was focused on all his children. After he counted the significant number seven, it became clear that ‘God does not see as man sees; man looks on the outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart’.
Church history is replete with conflicting administrative tensions between the exercise of the power of leadership viz a viz the power of priesthood. Powerful kings like Emperor Constantine (4th Century) have always interfered with the affairs of the Church while powerful Popes like Pope St Leo the great (5th Century) have always exerted strong control on the government. A particular Pope (St Gregory) even ran an army at a critical time in Church history. David was an example of such a powerful king and in today’s gospel, we can see how his Kingly anointing took him and his soldiers as far as going to eat the Old Testament Eucharistic meal in the tabernacle reserved only for priests.
In Nigeria today, some people think that the Northerners are born to rule Nigeria. It seems to be happening not because they are more powerful than the rest but because they have enjoyed a religious system of government where the Sultan has complete grips on the government, anoints whoever he chooses and dictates the tune for the Muslim political leaders. That is surely not to be the case in the Southern parts of Nigeria where religious pluralism and the democratic air of freedom, coupled with selfishness have taken the better part of the citizenry. Today, we are at the mercy of the Fulani Muslim hegemony and seem to be inextricably hemmed in. Even some of our so called powerful priests have become stug in their hands. Unless the political leaders in the South begin to rally round their religious leaders and are able to speak with one voice (in a kind of theocratic democracy), I am afraid that there may be no lee way out. And unless the religious leaders themselves ( I mean the bishops, not some emotional charismatic priests) reflect a level of holiness, wisdom and detachment that brings them closer to the will of God, they cannot play the needful tole. My take on today’s reading is that any deflation in the Priestly anointing has a way of affecting the anointing of Kings. May God bless you today!