HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK OF EASTER
THEME: THE PRIESTLY PRAYER OF PAUL!
BY: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY JUNE 1 2022
*Act 20 : 28 – 38, Jn 17 : 11 – 19.
In this Pentecost week, we are seeing in the liturgical readings a number of farewell prayers and speeches from Stephen, from Jesus himself, and in today’s 1st reading, from Paul to the Church at Ephesus. Like Stephen’s, Paul’s priestly prayer for the Church at Ephesus can also be likened to Christ’s own priestly/ farewell prayer as seen in today’s gospel. Paul prayed against fierce wolves who would come after his departure to scatter the flock of Christ and commended them to God and to the Word of his grace.
In Christ’s priestly prayer, he had 3 major prayer points;
(a) For God to keep them one; The Church needed (and still needs) to be one in order to be able to carry out the onerous task of evangelization facing them. Disunity has an uncanny way of weakening the Church’s strength.
(b) For God to protect them from the evil one; The devil was in the world and attacks the Church usually through materialism, immorality, bribery and corruption, deterioration of traditional Catholic family values (eg natural family planning, respect for the sanctity and indissolubility of marriage, etc), religious syncretism, hypocritical Christian life, etc.
(c) For God to sanctify them in the truth; Only the fidelity to the Word of God can sustain the Church. St Paul describes the weapon of truth like the belt worn by a soldier in the battle field, Eph 6 : 10 – 18. If the belt slips away, we are distracted.
Both St Paul and our Lord Jesus gave wonderful examples of self sacrifice for the interest of the Church. St Paul reminded the Church at Ephesus that he was innocent of the blood (soul) of all his parishioners – no one could accuse him of any form of scandal and there was no form of material coveting of anybody’s silver and gold. His hands ministered to his needs most of the period of his ministry. Jesus gave his whole time, energy and life for the good of the Church. We pray for the same level of zeal among our priests, Christian leaders and Christian parents. May God bless you today!