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Friday, 22 July 2016

Reflection/Homily: Seventeenth (17th) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

Theme: Praying with the Holy Spirit
In the first reading of last Sunday we saw how Abraham welcomed God in the form of the three men who happened to be angelic beings and how they blessed Abraham with the promise of a Son. In today’s first reading (Genesis 18:20-32), we continue from where we stopped last Sunday. Abraham was already immersed in an atmosphere of prayer because he was already communicating with God. In verse 17 of Chapter 18, God said to Himself “I will not hide from Abraham what I am going to do”. God quickly communicated His plan of destroying Sodom and Gomorrah to Abraham. Immediately, Abraham intervened by interceding on behalf of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who were so engrossed in immorality. Abraham’s intention was to change the mind of God if a certain number of righteous men were found in these cities even though not even ten were found.

Homily for 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Genesis 18:20-21, 23-32, Colossians 2:6-14, Luke 11:1-13

On the Gospel, Praying as Jesus Taught Us

A businessman who needed millions of dollars to clinch an important deal went to church to pray for the money. By chance he knelt next to a man who was praying for $100 to pay an urgent debt. The businessman took out his wallet and pressed $100 into the other man’s hand. Overjoyed, the man got up and left the church. The businessman then closed his eyes and prayed, “And now, Lord, now that I have your undivided attention….”

Robert A. Cook, president of The King’s College in New York, once spoke at the Moody Bible Institute. Cook said that the day before, he had been at a gathering in Washington and had talked with Vice President George Bush. Two hours later he spoke briefly with President Ronald Reagan. Then smiling broadly, he said, “But that’s nothing! Today I talked with God!”

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Reflection/Homily: Sixteenth (16th) Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

Theme: Between doing what is wanted and what is needed

In Genesis 17, we read that God appeared to Abram and changed his name to Abraham. Abram means venerated father and Abraham means father of multitude. God went ahead to make a covenant with him marked by the obligation to circumcise all men children. God also changed the name of his wife from Sarai to Sarah and promised to give her a son. How that would happen, Abraham didn’t know. However, he went ahead to assume the responsibilities of his new name as father of multitude. He became a father to all those around him, caring for them as he would care for his own biological son. It is against this background that we can understand what motivated his hospitality to the three men in the first reading (Gen. 18:1-10).

Homily for 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, cssp

Genesis 18:1-10, Colossians 1:24-28, Luke 10:38-42

On the Gospel, Lord of the Work and Work of the Lord
A certain Catholic missionary was doing a very good job in his mission village in the African interior. In a few years he had baptized many people and built a church, a school and a health centre. Owing to his restless work schedule he took ill and had to be flown back to his native country in Europe for treatment. After many months he was well enough to return to Africa. To his surprise and utter disappointment he discovered that the whole village had abandoned his church and turned to a local evangelical preacher. Even the church he built now had an evangelical signboard in front of it. “What went wrong?” he asked himself. How did his flourishing mission collapse overnight. “What did I do wrong?” he asked his former church members. The truth hit home one day when a woman said to him, “Father, you did a lot for us. You gave our children clothes and built up our village. But there was one thing you did not do. You did not bring us to know Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour.” Doing the work of the Lord is great. But knowing the Lord of the work comes first.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Homily for 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Deuteronomy 30:10-14, Colossians 1:15-20, Luke 10:25-37

On the Gospel, Neighbours Without Borders
Catherine Booth, co-founder with her husband William Booth of the Salvation Army, was an electrifying preacher. Wherever she went, crowds of people went to hear her message of hope: princes and nobles, beggars and homeless people. One night, after preaching in a certain city, a certain well-placed lady invited Mrs. Booth to dinner. The lady’s words of welcome as she arrived were: “My dear Mrs. Booth, that meeting was dreadful.” “What do you mean, dear?” asked Mrs. Booth. “Oh, when you were speaking, I was looking at those people opposite to me. Their faces were so terrible, many of them. I don’t think I shall sleep tonight!” “Why, dear, don’t you know them?” Mrs. Booth asked. “Certainly not!” the hostess replied. “Well, that is interesting,” Mrs. Booth said. “I did not bring them with me from London; they are your neighbours!”

Reflection/Homily: Fifteenth (15th) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

Theme: Imitating Jesus, the Exemplary Lawgiver and the Ideal Good Samaritan 

The existence of law is necessary for the sustenance of peace and order in a given society. A good interpretation and understanding of the law is also necessary for the observance of the law. While civil laws are confined to geographical territories, divine laws transcend the limitations of geography or religion. In the first reading (Deut. 30:10-14) Moses addresses the issue of interpreting divine laws for proper understanding and observance. He made the Israelites understand that in divine laws, God gives, interprets and executes the law and so he urged them to obey the laws of God he had communicated to them. The language of divine laws is one anybody can understand such that one does not need an interpreter. They are clear and simple since God has written them in human hearts in a way that all men will understand. 

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Homily for 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Isaiah 66:10-14, Galatians 6:14-18, Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
On the Gospel, Mission of the Laity

A preacher was speaking at an open-air crusade in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Billy Graham was to speak the following night. But he arrived a day early. He came unannounced and sat on the grass with the crowd. In front of him sat an elderly gentleman who seemed to be listening attentively to the preaching. When the call came for people to come forward and make a commitment to the Lord, the gentleman did not move. Dr Graham tapped the man on the shoulder and asked, “Would you like to accept Christ? I’ll be glad to walk down with you if you want to.” The old man looked him up and down, shook his head and said, “No, I think I’ll just wait till the big gun shows up tomorrow night.” In the thinking of this man and in the thinking of many people, winning souls for Christ is something that should be reserved for the “big guns.” Today’s gospel story, however, shows us that mission is for everyone, big guns and little shots alike, the clergy as well as the laity.

Reflection/Homily: Fourteenth (14th) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

Theme: Our Identity as Missionaries
In today’s gospel reading (Luke 10:1-12.17-20), the evangelist presents us with an interesting narrative of how Jesus appointed and sent out the seventy-two disciples. In Luke’s gospel, this is the second incident where Jesus sent out people as missionaries. We find the first incident in the sending of the Twelve (Luke 9:1-6) which today we may consider to represent the mission of the clergy. The second (sending of the seventy-two) therefore may also be considered to represent the mission of the laity indicating that all Christians are called for and sent on mission.

A missionary is one who is sent on a mission (errand). As Christian missionaries we are sent by God to preach the unchanging Word of God in the changing world of man through words and actions. Our primary mission is to evangelize the world and bring all men to salvation. Today we still find the instructions Christ gave to these seventy-two disciples still relevant for our mission. Like them we are sent in pairs not necessarily in twos but as a community of believers who ought to cooperate with and assist each other in our mission. We are sent like sheep among wolves because as Christians we are supposed to be a sign of contradiction to our morally decaying society.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Homily for 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu,Cssp

1 Kings 19:16,19-21, Galatians 5:1,13-18, Luke 9:51-62

On the Gospel, All or Nothing

A guard in charge of a lighthouse along a dangerous coast was given enough oil for one month and told to keep the light burning every night. One day a woman asked for oil so that her children could stay warm. Then a farmer came. His son needed oil for a lamp so he could read. Another needed some for an engine. The guard saw each as a worthy request and gave some oil to satisfy all. By the end of the month, the tank in the lighthouse was dry. That night the beacon was dark and three ships crashed on the rocks. More than one hundred lives were lost. The lighthouse attendant explained what he had done and why. But the prosecutor replied, “You were given only one task: to keep the light burning. Every other thing was secondary. You have no excuse.”

Temptation is a choice between good and evil. But perhaps more insidious than temptation is conflict where one must choose between two good options. The lighthouse keeper in our story found himself in such a conflict situation. So also are the would-be disciples in today’s gospel story. In such cases the good easily becomes the enemy of the best One must then say no to a good thing in order to say yes to the one thing necessary. Today’s gospel is a sequence of four incidents and encounters with people who could have become followers of Jesus but who were held back by ulterior concerns and motives. Each encounter highlights a different concern.

Reflection/Homily: Thirteenth 13th Sunday of the Year C

Theme: The Art of Followership

There is this popular opinion which holds that success without a successor is a failure. This opinion has generally driven great achievers to work for some successors to continue their success stories. We can believe this to be true in the case of Jesus who went about looking for followers and disciples who were going to continue his mission on earth. He attracted a lot of followers which can be grouped into three. The first group was the crowd who followed him looking for signs and miracles. Today, this group is represented in the laity. The people in the second group were those called by Christ to follow him as his witnesses (the 72 disciples) and today this group is represented in the religious. The last group was called to follow him as his special friends (the 12 Apostles) and today this group is represented in the clergy.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Reflection/Homily: Twelfth (12th) Sunday of the Year C

Theme: Who is Jesus for you?

Personal identity simply means the sum total of all those elements and factors that make a person who he is. It is the unique characteristic of a being. This personal identity reflects the way people see and understand a person. Today, we shall look at the personal identity of Jesus and that of his followers. In the gospel reading (Luke 9:18-24), we see Jesus investigating into his personal identity or we can say, evaluating those characteristics by which people knew him. To discover this he asked his disciples “Who do people say I am?” Upon their response, he asked them “But you, who do you say I am?” Peter stood up and gave a personal response of his understanding of the identity of Christ by responding: “The Messiah of God.”

Homily for 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Zechariah 12:10-11, Galatians 3:23-29, Luke 9:18-22

On the Gospel, The Challenge of Faith

Among the fables of Aesop is one entitled The Hunter and the Woodman. A Hunter was searching for the tracks of a Lion. He asked a man felling oaks in the forest if he had seen any marks of the lion’s footsteps or knew where his lair was. “Oh yes,” said the Woodman, “I will take you to the Lion himself.” The Hunter turned pale from fear and stuttered, “No, thanks. I did not ask that; it is only his track that I am looking for, not the Lion himself.” In our dealings with God and with one another we are often like this hunter. We profess that we stand for something but when the full implication of what we profess stare us in the face we draw back.

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