Josh 24 vs 15, when he was trying to readdress the wrong notion of inculturation and idol worshipping, That’s the first reading.
Wife respect your husband, husband love your wife, just as Christ loves his church. St Paul made his statement in Eph 5 vs 21-29, when he was trying to readdress the wrong notion of feminism. And in the gospel our blessed Lord would ask his apostles, “What are you still doing here, won’t you go with them?, To Whom shall we go, you have the word of eternal life, we have believed and come to know that you are the holy one of God”. St Peter responded to Jesus question,I n the gospel John 6 vs 51-57, in an attempt to readdress the wrong notion of Eucharistic theology.
First reading addressing inculturation, second: feminism, the gospel: Eucharistic theology. So each of them is a big theme for us, but we will start with one and gradually end with others, so we begin with the gospel, which is the holy Eucharist in life, there is a scholar called Robort wethmord, he said there are two kinds of Idolatry, One is having a true image of a false God, it could be seen as idolatry in a first grade, second is having a false image of a true God. Many of us who are sitting here belongs to that party, false image of a true God, that is what continuously confuse us in our journey of faith. The crowd who abandoned Jesus had a false image of a true God, for the five Sundays passed, we’ve been addressing the issues of the holy Eucharist. John 6, whereby Jesus was trying to convince the crowd ” yes I fed you with five loaves and two fish, five thousand men excluding women and children, but that thing I gave you will not give you the type of life am trying to offer you. I will give you a life, bread that you will never hunger again, I will give you something you will drink, and you will never be thirsty again, my body is the real food, my blood is the real drink, come to me, I will give it to you, and you may have life in full. This is what Jesus has been speaking over five Sundays, and today imagine their response, “iya k’ina akogeri, Biko sigodi ebea puo”. And to us we will see it as, look at the way they abandoned Christ, while we’ve been abandoning him in different levels of our relationship with Jesus.
For instance: may the Lord be praised both now and forever, I believe that everyone here is an undergraduate, we all believe in God and we have come to this mass, so that God will help us in our academic endeavors, that as long as we continue to worship God, our God will help us to come out from this institution with frying colours, through Christ our Lord. (They all shouted Amen heavily)
Now there is a second test: may God offer us the grace to worship him and gain eternal life, through Christ our Lord. (The said Amen reluctantly)
The crowd came looking for physical food, and when Christ gave them eternal life, they rejected it, let us be true to ourselves, on what ground are you worshipping God, what is the thing that is moving you to come to church, and whenever you are kneeling down praying, what is your frequent intention,. If not for Divine favor, breakthrough, good husband, protection, success in our exams and so on. And when Jesus will come out and tell you, this is not the reason I died for you, I did not die for you to make you pass exams or things, why I died for you is beyond this, you will say”oburu otu ahu buru jebezie”,. that’s what the crowd did, because they could not get the physical bread anymore, they abandoned Christ. But let us come to think of it, that God decided to become man, took our flesh, live among us, suffered, died, and rose again, all this just to be giving us bread that will pass away? If it was just bread, then he would have continued to be feeding the crowd without dying, he fed them with five loaves and two fish without dying, why must he then die, if he continues to feed them with physical food. Jesus did not come to give us this and die, his reason for dying was that we may be one with him, that he may give us eternal life and give us food of the angels, such food that Elijah took and was never hungry for forty days and forty night, that’s why he died. And he wants us to realize it, and appropriate our faith towards that direction.
Therefore if you are preferring the things of this world, more than the holy Eucharist, then you are trending a dangerous road, which you will not be able to come out from.
IF Christ died to offer us eternal life, we are now going to second reading, St Paul would say, wives respect your husband, husband love your wife, as God loves his Church,”Etu jeso Siri hu uka ya n’anya werekwazi otuahu hu nwunye gi n’anya.
How did Christ love the church, in other words, by dying to offer them eternal life, husband it is a challenge that you may love your wife, just as Christ loves the church, in other words by dying for your family. How can a man die for his family? Is it that when you marry your wife and have your children, then ije nwuo n’elu obe? No it’s far from that. What was the intention of Christ dying for us – eternal life, what is your intention for dying for your family, if it is far from offering your wife or children eternal life, then you are not dying, it is not about being wealthy or having everything in abundance, that you give them money whenever they need it. That’s not how Christ nurtured us, if it would have been so, Christ would have given us bread to be eaten alone. He wants us to gain eternal life . If you are a father in a family and your intention is not to offer eternal life to your family, you are already a failure. It’s not about offering them what they need in this physical world, but beyond here, remain that father which you have been on earth and also in heaven, that when you look around your wife is there and your children are there, and how do you do it,” Ina ekpeko ekpere onu n’ ututu”. Our faith as men is timed everytime, call your children and wife together, family that prays together stays together.
When it comes to morality, we have also failed, imagine undergraduate trying to make money by all means, embezzling funds, because family has lost that way of teaching their children what they are supposed to do, undergraduate looking where to gain millions, we have lost it all. Fathers, mothers, Christ died for his church to grant them eternal life, if you are not ready to raise your kids, and they constitute nuisance to the society, you are a failure, God may not welcome you, when you have refused to carry along those he has given you as gift, increase and multiply is not about procreating and having children, those you cannot train. It is about bringing them close to God, right from baptism. But the very statement of St Paul made it clear to us.
When we graduate from this second reading to the first reading, look at Joshua telling the Israelites, that from the history, God has been protecting us Israelite and today came telling you, choose for yourself whom to serve, as for me and my family we have chosen to serve the Lord. He was not choosing for himself alone, but for his family, and it is his responsibility to bring them back to God, so also father, mother, speak for yourself and your family, where is your child? even if they will come to church at all, Ana eyi oriokpa, in the broad day light you will see those that have been baptized demonized to be collecting money from people in the name of masquerade. Remember, we have enormous responsibilities as mothers, as fathers and even children, remember if you are coming to gain unnecessary favors from God and when it is not granted, you begin to have issues with God. You are 20yrs behind the civilization of Christian spirituality. Let us follow God and love him for who he really is, and who is he?, He is that man that died for you and me, that we may have eternal life. Let us love him, love the Eucharist beyond everything. And he says, count on me and every other things will be added to you as Jara.
May God therefore grants us the grace to long for him, to love him, that we may gain eternal promises through Christ our Lord…..