THEME: THOU ART WORTHY TO BE PRAISED!
BY: Benedict Agbo.
* Rev 4: 1 – 11, Lk 19: 11 – 28.
BUT HIS CITIZENS HATED HIM. It is a sublime tragedy when creatures hate their creator; when servants hate their master, when employees hate their employer, when priests hate their bishop, when children hate their parents! That is the tragedy of the last servant in today’s gospel who was given one pound and he laid it ungratefully in a napkin afraid that his master was a severe man. This is the tragedy of every child of God that is too uncheerful whenever the children of God gather to sing the praises of God; who feels that God is wicked and unloving and never likes to appreciate God privately nor in the midst of God’s assembly. I have noticed some pious societies who don’t like to open their mouth or join others in Praises whenever we are praising God. I don’t know what their problem is anyway.
We are told in today’s 1st reading that the 24 elders are always round the throne of God in heaven singing praises like we do at mass: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, who was and is and is to come’. They fall down always before him singing: ‘Thou art worthy O Lord, to receive glory, honour and power for thou hath created all things and for thy pleasures, they are and were created’. We can’t say it better than to learn to key into the habit of praise worship. It is not a matter of girations that we hear always today from our gospel bands during crusades and adorations without a single thought about the love and goodness of God. People are fast using the gospel bands we play at adorations to replace the disco halls of the 70s and 80s. But worship must have these 3 dimensions; the cultic (what we do), the evangelical (what we say to God) and the celebrative (how we feel) sense. It is not enough to feel high or happy dancing before God but the question is: ‘Who are we before God and what do we say in worship to God?’
What does God actually need from us as humans? If he actually appears to need anything from us then like the King in today’s gospel, all he needed from his servants was to appreciate him. He expects an account of the use of our gifts. He cannot tolerate ungrateful utterances like what he got from that last servant. God doesn’t want a very rigid and sorrowful liturgy. Even when we have sinned against him, he wants us to look up to the Cross of His Son Jesus Christ and rush to the sacrament of reconciliation and then continue in Praise worship.
God hates liturgical lukewarmness. Remember the rebuke of yesterday’s 1st reading on the Laodicean Church. The Catholic mass is the greatest mileau for praise worship. Let nobody restrict our lustre for praise. Reduce more of the money drives not the singing and worship. I pray that the Catholic Church may rise up again to the challenges of praise worship. But let it be worship not gyration! We need to give it the kind of attention that David gave it; with good speakers, good musical instruments, good voices – raising a new generation of ‘levites’ (Seminarians, choristers, lay readers, altar boys and girls) that can make the Church look like a miniature heaven. Everyone who has the gift of praise will be given more but the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away! May God bless you today.