Homily for Wednesday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: THE GRACE OF THE 11TH HOUR!
By: Fr. Benedict Agbo
Homily for Wednesday August 19 2020
* Ezek 34 : 1 – 11, Matt 20 : 1 – 16.
Salvation is going to be a surprise package for many. The parameters for the final judgment will confound and dumbfound many of us in the 1st generation Churches ; when the grace of the 11th hour will be released on a number of latecomers in the Lord’s vineyard. Many officially commissioned Shepherds will be rebuked and rejected as Ezekiel prophesied, because they have not strengthened the weak but were rather more interested in eating the fatlings and clothing themselves with the wool from the sheepfold. God says : ‘I am against the Shepherds… Behold, I, myself will search for my sheep and I will seek them out’. Every human Shepherd – Pope, Bishops, Priests, Parents, Governors, Senators/ Lawmakers, Chairmen of Local Governments, etc is a stand – in for the Good Shepherd, God himself. And so, when they stop doing well, when they become more interested in the fat envelopes they get from their pastoral visits than in their real concern for souls; when they insist on collecting fat allowances for exotic cars/ other useless pleasures even when the Country is under economic recession; when they keep extorting the meager resources from the poor without adding value to their lives, God takes over their duties and gives them to another.
Even in normal life, there is what is called “nature’s compensation”. God never allows any vacuum in leadership. He always finds a way of feeding his people when those who should feed them fail in their duties. Salvation is a free gift that not even a lifetime of labour/ human effort can merit or deserve. God alone knows why the hirelings have not be hired at the 11th hour ( 5pm by our own calibration) ; why some of these criminals – these Fulani terrorists, these ‘Akatakpa’ and Malatian boys have not heard the Word of God and are busy terrorizing people on the roads. He alone knows which Shepherds ( which Bishops, Parish Priests and Pastors) are doing their job well and the ones who are busy just making fine speeches and making money from their flock. And so, Fulton Sheen concludes that there will be 3 surprises on the last day ; the 1st will be that many who should be in heaven will not be there ; the 2nd will be that many who were not expected to be there will be there ; and the last one will be ‘that I speaking to you now – a sinner like me , will also be there’. Please may we all face our jobs squarely as Shepherds.
May God bless you today!