Homily, 14th Sunday

by Archbishop I. A. Kaigama at All Saints Parish Church, Dutse-Alhaji, 5th July, 2020.

Dear parishioners of All Saints Parish, Dutse-Alhaji, I am very happy to celebrate this Mass of the fourteenth Sunday with you. I thank your Parish Priest, Fr. Anthony Isonguyo, for his kind invitation. Apart from being my first visit to your parish, this visit gives us the opportunity to thank God together for His mercy. By the predictions of many, by now, the deaths in Africa would have been in multiples of millions because of the coronavirus pandemic. God has however been kind to us and even as the numbers of infections and deaths are rising, we are optimistic that with more concerted effort on the part of Government and the very attentive adherence by every Nigerian to the medical and social guidelines of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, we shall overcome. Let us not however become careless, cynical or complacent.

Today’s readings are full of hope, urging us never to give up on our struggles, but to bring them to God. The prophet Zechariah was sent to announce hope to God’s people when Judah had been an enslaved State by foreign powers for a very long time. The prophet foretold that the Lord would conquer Judah’s foes and he described Judah’s new king as ruling them in peace and prosperity (cf. Zech 9:1-8). The King was to be just, victorious, humble and riding on a donkey (cf. Zech 9:9).

In the Gospel today Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28). Jesus is not promising to exempt us from the challenges that life may present. Rather, He invites us to take His yoke and learn to have His mind and humility. It is only God who controls the affairs of our world that can give us healing, peace and rest. St. Augustine rightly said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in God”.

Three points come to mind from our readings of today:

The invitation of Jesus, “Come to me”.

The exhortation of St. Paul to be spiritual and to have the mind of Christ.

The call to all of us to be humble of heart.


“Come” is a favoured word of Jesus. You never hear him say, “Go away” unless He is commanding the devil to depart. Jesus invites us to come to Him to enter into His peace. To the wanting heart, He says, “come down,” as He instructed Zacchaeus in Luke 19:5. To the wondering heart, He says, “come and see,” as He urged John and Andrew in John 1:39. To the doubtful and frightened heart, He says, “come”, as He urged Peter who walked upon water in Matthew 14:29. To the weary heart, He says, “come unto me…” as He says to all of us in our gospel reading today (cf. Mt 11:28).

We may be carrying heavy burdens of sin, poverty, hunger, sickness, oppression, persecution, infertility, unemployment etc., but Jesus can free us from all these burdens. For us Catholics, the Holy Mass is the preferred place of encounter with Jesus. We also meet him at Eucharistic adoration and private meditation. In the midst of the noise and confusion of our modern world, we must find time and space for silence and meditation. I have always encouraged families to have in their home a “poustinia” – a Russian word referring to a place for silence and prayer, a sacred space.


This means being Christ-like and living our life in imitation of Christ; being forgiving, attentive to the poor and needy; loving beyond borders. It means we should develop a relationship with Christ that one can say, “I live now not I, but Christ lives in me” (cf. Gal 2:20).


The Israelites were waiting for a political messiah or a revolutionary who would come to save them from the hands of their oppressors. But Jesus entered Jerusalem in total simplicity, not like a powerful leader riding on a warrior’s horse, but a young donkey. Jesus identified with the poor, the little ones, the weak and the humble.

We are called by Jesus to take up his yoke on our shoulders and continue the work of caring for weary people around us; to be of humble service, sympathetic and compassionate towards one another.

Philippians 2:6 tells us how Jesus was in the form of God; He did not count equality with God but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave. Religious, political and traditional leaders are challenged by Jesus’ attitude to live simply. If we live simply and modestly, there will be enough material resources to go round and we shall have fewer poor people.

From this parish, I shall be going for an interdenominational prayer event organized by the Christian Association of Nigeria at the National Christian Centre. The theme of the gathering is, “O Lord, heal our land of COVID-19 Pandemic”.

In these challenging times, let us draw closer to one another in love and solidarity of prayer, as we hope that the days of good health, peaceful co-existence and progress will come to us and our nation.

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