Homily for Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Lent Year A
Theme: PAGAN RULERSHIP VS CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP!
By: Fr. Ben Agbo
Homily for Wednesday March 11 2020
*Jer 18 : 18 – 20, Matt 20 : 17 – 28.
Pagan rulership is always characterized by oppression ; inflicting of injuries against priests, widows and orphans – the 3 most vulnerable classes of people according to Old testament theology. Priests make themselves vulnerable by sometimes sacrificing their source of livelihood and protection, finding themselves in a strange land without security just for the sake of the gospel. The widows and orphans are made vulnerable by the misfortune of the loss of their husbands and caregivers. Their cry for justice before God, ipso facto, often receives priority consideration.
The condemnation of Jeremiah in today’s 1st reading and the condemnation of Jesus by the Chief Priests and Scribes of the primitive religion ( Judaism) to be mocked, scourged and crucified was the highest perpetration of atrocities and injustice of the time. Pagan rulership is always characterized by this kind of plot against men of God and people of God. The rulers of the Gentile world lord it over and perpetrate a lot of evil and favouritism against the poor and the vulnerable but Christ wants the Christian leaders to be servants of the poor. When christianity becomes completely socialized with mundane preoccupations, it will become very attractive to the rich who will want to occupy the front seats and send the poor backwards. They will make every Sunday a Project Sunday so that the poor will continue to shift their seats backwards. They will even hijack the Junior Seminaries and make it difficult for the children of the poor to get there due to exorbitant tuition fees.
In today’s gospel, Christ teaches us a very big lesson about favouritism and true discipleship. He makes us understand that the things that really matter about true discipleship is service/ sacrifice not the privileges that come with it. It is the cross that matters not the crown. The plea for favouritism from the mother of the Sons of Zebedee was returned with an important question : ‘Are you able to drink the chalice ( suffering) that I will drink?’ Christ does not refuse the request of his aunty, Salome. But insists on the priority check to avoid shifts of emphasis from the cross to the crown. This is the fundamental difference between pagan rulership and Christian leadership. In the latter, positions are given to people not because of their connection to the leader but their qualification for service. Of course, James and John were qualified for that apostolic privilege but had to pay the prize. We must learn to insist on qualification rather than connection. May God bless you today.