There are two homilies here for our reflections today; may you be blessed as you read.
REVD. FR. PHILIPMARIO EKWELI.
The Prophets of olden days often make mention of the Messiah to come as the Saviour, not only of Israel but of all people. This prophecy is seen to be literally fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ who, on finding profound faith beyond the confines of Israel, generously extends to them His Messianic ministry. Beloved, faith or trust means really leaving things in the hands of the person you trust. Hence, our trusting faith is the wellsprings of happiness, the secret of the victorious life, the cornerstone of the triumphant spirit.
In our first reading, prophet Isaiah gave us hope on what shall happen to those who will be saved. “The branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel “(Isaiah 4:1). Glory and fruitfulness shall be their portions. The coming of Christ at Christmas shall be a purification for those who are recorded for life. Hence, advent season urges us to make adequate preparations towards Christ’s arrival in our hearts at Christmas and on the day of judgment. For those who prepared adequately shall enjoy God’s maximum protection and care.
In the gospel text, the ‘Centurion’ represents ‘all nations'(Isaiah 2:2) who are drawn to God, not by the stony symbol of the Jerusalem temple, but by the forgiving and healing love that Christ extended to him(Mtt8:7). Jesus extolled greatly the wonderful faith that the Centurion displayed in the gospel. He affirmed with great astonishment, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mtt8:10-11).
Jesus was filled with great joy when an unbeliever demonstrated such uncommon faith. This kind of faith ordinarily should have been found in Israel but instead they are being indifference to the gospel values and Christ himself. Is this not repeating itself today among our Catholic parishioners who never repose confidence or faith in their priests? They treat them with scorn and disdain, but hold in a high esteem the untrained, so called pastors who are out to commercialized the gospel.
In conclusion, beloved Catholics, let us have confidence in our priests, trust God more in this season of advent and prepare ourselves towards the coming of Christ at Christmas. We should be instruments of peace and forgiveness. Let us walk in the light of the Lord. Thus, anyone who walks in the light of the Lord would never falter or walk in darkness(1John1-5).
May God open up our hearts to receive the light of Christ. Amen.
Rev. Fr. Adigwe Dennis
Master/Slave relationship is conspicuously celebrated in our society,it is not difficult to spot a maid among the children of her employer or an apprentice from his master.Today,the centurion though a man of authority defies our expectations(Matt 8:5-11),he humbles himself not for his personal favor but for his servant.Being a man of authority he bowed before the authority of Jesus’ word,which can effect change without being limited by time and space.Friends,Jesus for the first time canonizes the word of a pagan in the scripture because it demonstrates: faith,hope,humility and selflessness.These are simply the attitudes of Advent that welcome Christ in our lives