Homily for Tuesday of the 5th Week of Easter Year A
Theme: Brethren, through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
By: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
Homily for Tuesday May 12 2020
READINGS: Acts 14: 19-28, Ps. 145, John 14: 27-31
There is something we must quickly observe from Jesus’ speech this week. He has started preparing our minds for two important events that will impact on the life of his followers: His Glorious Ascension and the Descent of the Holy Spirit (the Pentecost). These are events that show much significance in the life of the Christians. They are events that further strengthen the faith of the brethren making them to know that their faith in Christ Jesus is not in vain rather a thing of pride and joy. This Christ whose death and resurrection and eventual ascension and descent of the Holy Spirit strengthened their faith achieved that by going through tribulations of the highest order. And so, all those who wished to follow him must pass through the same fate. This is the truth that St Paul realised and made known to the rest of the brethren after he had had a taste of it. After his stoning and recovery from that event, he was strengthened by the spirit of resurrection and he proclaimed that it is through tribulations that we must enter into the kingdom of God. Paul must have realized the promise and wish of Jesus for him after his conversion at Damascus. Jesus made it known to Anneas that he will show him how much he would suffer for the kingdom of God. This is the true taste of it. His attitude to the tribulation was a welcome one; he never showed any sign of regret or discouragement rather made that experience a thing of joy and an achievement. Little wonder he said that he will glory in the cross of Christ and boast in it.
Beloved in Christ, Paul has taught us a great lesson and reminded us the condition of discipleship as taught by Jesus and strong saying that those who wish to follow him must do so carrying their cross and following him. It is easily said than done especially when very heavy cross falls on us and great tribulations that we never caused come to us intermittently and persistently. It is easy to say the prayer: Jesus, do with me whatever you will but difficult to accept his will when it runs contrary to our expectations. As the cross and tribulations become necessary consequences of our Christian life, we need encouragement and support of the body the church and especially of the brethren. Paul may have been strong to get up when he saw the brothers around him. Their presence was a big encouragement that made him breathe a sigh of great relief. Most often our physical presence around the suffering member even without a word gives great strength. The Igbo adage says: “How do you feel can cure sickness when you do so with brotherly heart”.
(Irikpole/ kedu k’idi na-agwo onye oria ma gi were obi nwanne). It is very unfortunate and heart-broken even more painful to a brother when he goes through tribulations and no brethren comes to support him and encourage him. It can be better if nobody visits him and no bad words or mimicking is said than when brethren start laughing at him and saying all sorts of evil against him in the face of his suffering. Some of us are sadists that we feel happier when someone is in trouble or being punished unjustly. These types of people also answer members of the same flock of Christ.
We also need to note that brethren commended those who did well to the grace of God and prayed for them. Nobody witnessed the pull-him-down syndrome that is rampant in our midst today. Instead of praying for people to do better we place curses and obstacles on them. Their joy as a people was that others- the Gentiles received conversion. They were not selfish as to wish and desire conversion and followership of Jesus to themselves alone. Some of us get happy only when every good thing come from us and to them and sad when it is another person. Some are not happy at the progress and success of others especially when they improve like us or go higher than us.
Beloved, let us know that the peace that Christ promised us for following him is not the type that the world gives which is worldly and selective for the few who belong to their league or circle but his is the type that comes by grace and after suffering great tribulation. We pray that our mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord despite the suffering we are going through; may we be strengthened by the encouragement of the Church and that which the word of God gives. We pray that God would use us to comfort those in sorrow and be consoled also by their prayers and support when we enter into problems, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf