HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK OF LENT.
THEME: WATER FLOWING FROM THE SANCTUARY!
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr).
* Ezek 47: 1 – 12, Jn 5: 1 – 16.
‘The waters of a river give joy to God’s city, the holy place, the dwelling place of the Most High’, Ps 46: 4.
This is our Responsorial Psalm for today. We encounter in today’s 1st reading the metaphor of water flowing towards the Eastern region (biblical symbolism for the pagan world) – down to the Arabah. And when it enters the stagnant waters of the sea, the water will become fresh – every living creature which swarms will live – because the water flows from the sanctuary. Water stands for the divine power to wash away guilt and make us healthy individuals.
The Church should be like a flowing river not stagnant. As everything lives where the river flows, everything in a community is transformed when the Church influences that community. But the process is gradual; (i) At ankle level – there is still improper Catechesis (‘Ukafada mentality’). People are still living their primitive cultural and religious life even though they go to Church on Sundays. (ii) At knee level – The Word of God confronts the old life of the people but has not overcome it. It is resisted as people still go to ‘dibias’ and engage in traditional masquerade cults. (iii) At Loin level – The Word of God takes over the old life of the people and presents a new life in Christ. (iv) At River level – The whole community begins to experience spiritual transformation and prosperity.
RELATED: HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK OF LENT.
The pool of Bethzatha is a kind of image of the ‘primitive Church’ – where access to grace was limited to a privileged few – where many were excommunicated due to their sins and where the poor ones withdraw from going to church because they have no money to pay the incessant levies – just like the paralyzed blind man was incapacitated for 38 years. The sick people had no attention because many of the priests are not interested in the healing ministry. But Christ stands for the modern Church full of expansiveness in grace where Christ searches for people more than people searching for Christ. He tells the man: ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk!’ The modern Church gives people easier access to the Word of God, the sacraments of healing and the empowerment for success in life. The living water from Jesus is flowing into all authentic Christian Churches – Some churches are already dead because they are no more giving out water to others. Some churches are closing down because there are no more priests to minister – the young people are no more interested in the vocation to the priesthood.
But Jesus promises to revive every Church through a lively system of worship, Jn4: 24 – a worship filled with sincerity and a depth of relationship with God (spirituality). Liturgical feasts are special moments of healing for the people of God. As Jesus visited the pool of Bethzatha, he visits his Church again with the anointing of the Holy Spirit – with the renewal of the Holy Ghost so that the sick will be healed, the hungry will be fed with the Word of God, sinners will be converted again and the Churches that are closing down will be revived because the water will be flowing from the sanctuary of the most high God. We must make the sanctuary of God remain holy. We must make the ministry of the Word and all aspects of the healing ministry remain comprehensive avenues of salvation for his people. Although the living water of Jesus is flowing into all Churches, some are distracted with worldly pursuits and remain dead (like the dead sea) because they are not evangelizing and giving out any healing waters to others. May God bless you today!
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