Saturday, 10 January 2015

Reflection/Homily: The Feast of the Baptism of our Lord Year B (January 11 2015)

Reflection/Homily: The Feast of the Baptism of our Lord Year B (January 11 2015)
Theme: The Value of Christian Baptism 

Today’s feast, the Baptism of our Lord was originally one of the three Gospel events marked by the feast of Epiphany. In the Western Church, it was later overshadowed by the visit of the Magi before Pope Pius XII in 1955 instituted it as a separate liturgical commemoration of Christ’s baptism. The Baptism of Christ is a great point of Theophany because in it the great mystery of the Blessed Trinity is made manifest. The Gospel reading (Mathew 3:13-17) confirms the manifestation of the Blessed Trinity at the Baptism of Jesus. God the Father is revealed in the Voice which confirmed the Sonship of Jesus, God the Son is revealed in Jesus who was baptized and God the Holy Spirit is revealed in the Dove which descended on the Son. This manifestation of the Trinity thus becomes the origin and destination of our Christian worship because all our prayers begin and end in the name of the Blessed Trinity.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Reflection/Homily: Solemnity of Mary Mother of God (January 1 2014)

Theme: The Relevance of Mary’s Motherhood of God

In a particular kingdom, after the death of the king, the crown prince had to choose a wife before his coronation as the next king. He made it open for every young girl in the kingdom to exhibit her qualities and draw his attention. Several young girls started wearing sexy clothes to seduce the Prince but he was not moved.  Some began to wear wonderful hairstyles but the Prince was not moved. Others prepared delicious meals and presented them to the prince but he was not delighted.

Every young girl made an attempt in several ways but the Prince was not moved. It was not because he was very difficult to be pleased but because they did not know exactly what he so desired of a woman more so of a wife. Only one woman had a perfect knowledge of this. This woman was like the rest of women in the kingdom, while some valued her, others despised her. She was very dear to the Prince because of her glaring personality, but no one dared to consult her or win the Prince’s heart through her.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Reflection/Homily: Christmas Vigil Mass (24th December 2014)

Theme: God Reveals Himself

This evening’s liturgy marks the beginning of the Christmas season. It is a season of joy and celebration. But more importantly, it is a period when God the Father reveals Himself in the Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. This season is about God’s revelation of Himself to humanity. Revelation is a form of theophany, that is, God manifesting Himself. In the history of the Israelites, God manifested Himself among several ways as the God who saves. He saved them from slavery in Egypt, saved them through the desert, etc, until they entered the Promised Land. Within this period, God warned them to be faithful to His ordinances or risk being taken into captivity (cf. Deut 28:58,64). When they could no longer observe God’s commandments, they were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. There they suffered and wept. As we heard in the first reading (Isaiah 9:2-4,6-7) God had to reveal His plan to save them through the Prophet Isaiah who announced the Good News that God was coming to save them.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Reflection/Homily: Fourth (4th) Sunday of Advent Year B (December 21 2014)

Theme: Saying Yes to the Will of God

Some years ago, during one of my apostolic works in a parish, there was this boy who insulted a senior during the catechism class. I asked the boy to kneel down for insulting an elder and the boy retorted: “Brother, this senior doesn’t deserve respect, even though I am kneeling down in your eyes, in my mind I am still standing up”. The boy proved to me that it was very difficult to bend his will even in a justifiable cause and this goes to confirm what psychologists believe that the human will is the strongest faculty in man to be bent against his desire. There are people who once they make up their minds to do or not to do a particular thing, nothing makes them act otherwise, not even biblical exhortations or counseling. People say that such a person’s will is unchangeable.

In the first reading (2 Sam 7:1-5,8-12,14,16), we see David abandon his will for the will of God. David triumphed over his enemies in battle and when he was settled, he decided to build a temple for God. This will was communicated to the Prophet Nathan who approved it. But God revealed a contrary will to David through the prophet. God’s will for David was not for him to build Him a house but to establish his throne forever. David had to bend his will for God’s will to be done and for His promises to come true in his life.

Monday, 8 December 2014

How many times a day is a catholic permitted to receive Holy Communion?

How many times a day is a catholic permitted to receive Holy Communion?

Every qualified catholic is obliged to receive Holy Communion frequently especially at Easter. However, the Code of Canon Law states that “One who has received the blessed Eucharist may receive it again on the same day only within a Eucharistic celebration [Mass] in which that person participates, without prejudice to the provision of canon 921 §2″ (CIC 917). “Even if they have already received Holy Communion that same day, it is nevertheless strongly suggested that in danger of death they should communicate again” (CIC 921 §2). Thus, at present, one may receive Holy Communion a second time on the same day, but only on the occasion of participating in a Mass except such a person is at danger of death.

“Life is cheaper than Salt” – Says Nigerian Catholic Bishop

“Life is cheaper than Salt” – Says Nigerian Catholic Bishop

The Catholic Bishop of the Boko Haram-infested Maiduguri diocese, Nigeria, Most Rev. Oliver Doeme has described life as a commodity cheaper than salt which was formely believed to be the cheapest commodity in the market. He made this remark in a report submitted in October 2014 to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria and to Aid to the Church in Need, a charity organization helping him to rebuild vandalized churches in his diocese and take care of thousands of displaced persons. In that report, he also lamented on the failure of the Nigerian government to effectively counter the Boko Haram insurgents, saying that human life is being devalued.

Reflection/Homily: Third (3rd) Sunday of Advent (Gaudete) Year B (December 14 2014)

Reflection/Homily: Third (3rd) Sunday of Advent (Gaudete) Year B (December 14 2014)
Theme: Rejoice, Christ is Near Us

The Word of God is one means through which God establishes His presence among us. In the Word of God, He reveals Himself and communicates His will to us that we may know Him better. In Jesus, we experience this Word not just as a spoken or written word but as a Living Being and it is the arrival of this Living Being, the Word that was made flesh that we anticipate during Advent. The Word of God is Spirit and Life (cf. Jn. 6:63) and in the first reading (Is. 61:1-2, 10-11), we see this Spirit at work in the prophecy of Isaiah written shortly after the return from exile. This Spirit brings the Good News of salvation and deliverance to all. This prophecy was however, fulfilled in the gospel reading (John 1:6-8. 19-28) in the person of Christ. He is the Word that was God in the beginning (cf. Jn. 1:1) and the One anointed with the Spirit at baptism (cf. Mt. 3:16). Jesus confirmed himself to be the fulfillment of this prophecy after reading the scroll in the temple (cf. Lk. 4:18-19). In the gospel reading too, John recognizes Christ as the Word made flesh and he went further to describe himself as the Voice of the one crying in the wilderness. Thus, Jesus is the Incarnate Word and John the voice that calls people to prepare for the arrival of this Word. 

Poem: To the Immaculate Virgin


O Virgin conceived without sin
Pray for us who come to you with joy
To praise your life lived without sin
Which for us has been a source of joy

Immaculate you were conceived
To be the virgin daughter of God
Immaculate you also conceived
To be the virgin mother of God

Help us o virgin to remain pure
For your purity saved the world
And made our salvation sure
Through your son, “The Word”

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Reflection/Homily: Second (2nd) Sunday of Advent (December 7, 2014)

Reflection/Homily: Second (2nd) Sunday of Advent (December 7, 2014)
Theme: The Voice of John the Baptist 

A certain time in the lives of the Israelites, they offended God by indulging in all sorts of immorality and idolatry and as a result, the wrath of God fell on them. They were taken into captivity by the Babylonians where they suffered and wept terribly (cf. Ps. 137). At a time, God had mercy on them and sent the Prophet Isaiah to console them. It was at this time that the Deutro-Isaiah declared the prophetic words we heard in the first reading (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11). The reading also speaks of “a Voice” crying in the wilderness and calling on everyone to prepare the way for Yahweh. The Gospel reading (Mark 1:1-8) identifies this voice as that of John the Baptist who came to prepare the way for Jesus. John was only a pre-cursor to the messiah. He was always pointing to his arrival, making people conscious of and prepared for his arrival. He was that voice crying in the wilderness (cf. John 1:23) and the messenger spoken about in the first reading who will prepare the way for the Lord’s coming (cf. Is. 40:3).

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Reflection/Homily: First (1st) Sunday of Advent Year B (Nov. 30 2014)

Reflection/Homily: First (1st) Sunday of Advent Year B (Nov. 30 2014) 
Theme: Be Alert as you wait for the Coming of Christ

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The season of Advent is a very important aspect of the Church’s liturgical life. Advent simply means arrival or coming. In the Church, it is observed as a period of expectancy and in it, we reflect on the coming of Christ in three historical strands. First, that he came about 2000 years ago, born of a virgin. Secondly, that Christ constantly comes into our lives and is ever present among us in this age through diverse means. Thirdly, that he will come again, then not as a baby or as a mediator but as a king to judge the living and the dead. While this season concretely prepares us for the re-enactment of the birth of Christ at Christmas, it also points to the eschatological return of Christ and urges us to prepare for that great day. Henceforth, our Sunday readings will come from Year B, the weekday readings from Year I and the predominant colour will be purple.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Reflection/Homily: Solemnity of Christ the King (Nov. 22. 2014)

Theme: Christ is our King
At the beginning of the 20th century, an ideology currently known as “secular humanism” was prevalent. This ideology made people believe that they could exist and survive on their own without being assisted by and accountable to any spiritual being.  Everything, for the promoters of this ideology, began and ended in this world, with man as the supreme architect of his own destiny. Unfortunately, many Christians were deceived to accept this belief and they started to live their lives as if God no longer exists. As a result of this, Pope Pius XI in his 1925 encyclical Quas Primas (On the Feast of Christ the King) established the last Sunday of the liturgical year as the Solemnity of Christ the King. The Solemnity was intended to present Christ as the Universal King who rules over all created things, persons and institutions. Many decades after its establishment, the Church continues to celebrate this solemnity to assure us that Christ is still in charge of the universe and to remind us of the need to allow Him reign supreme in our lives and society. This is the background of today’s solemnity.

In the first reading (Ezekiel 34:11-12,15-17), Christ’s kingship is prefigured in the image of the Good Shepherd who tends his flock. Christ is this shepherd who promises to rescue his sheep from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. Perhaps, our society have been scattered to the extent that we think it can no longer be remedied, the boko haram insurgence appears to be stronger than God, the political situation of the country appears to be above what God can control, many families are ravaged by hunger, poverty and disease, yet we have continued to look upon Christ as the Good Shepherd. As our King, Christ is telling us never to lose hope because he is still in charge. In the reading he says: “the lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, etc.” Christ our King is not unaware of what you are passing through now. He will come at his appointed time to seek you out, restore you to your rightful place and satisfy your good heart desires. Just hold on to him. His justice and mercy could be delayed but never denied. Our King is seated and waiting for us in the tabernacle where he has made his Palace. How often do we visit our King to present our problems, disappointments and sorrows to him?

The Gospel reading (Matthew 25:31-46) presents us with the theme of judgement as an important aspect of Christ’s kingship. As the second reading (1 Cor. 15:20-26,28) puts it, Christ is going to be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and he will then hand over the kingdom to his Father. Before handing over the kingdom to his Father, he will judge all men according to their deeds. The Gospel reading says he will separate the sheep from the goat. While the just will rejoice, the wicked will suffer and perish. Interestingly, Christ reveals to us in the Gospel reading, his areas of emphasis - to give food to the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the prisoners and to do other spiritual and temporal works of mercy. He would not ask how much theology we have learnt or how pious we have been or how much we donated in the Church or how brilliant we have been in class but how we have manifested our love for God in our dealings with others. He assures us that whatever we do for the least of the brethren has been done for him. 

Beloved friends, today, the wave of secular humanism is still strong in our society. Christians in most parts of the world are being persecuted. Evil seems to triumph over good. Divine laws appear to be at the mercy of civil laws since most states promulgate and enforce laws that contradict divine laws. In the midst of all these, do not lose hope. God is still in charge. He is taking his time. Only be prepared to face his throne of judgement when he appears in glory for that day will be great. Those who recognize him as their King will be saved while those who thought they could do without him will perish. May Christ our King continue to reign in our lives. Amen. Happy Sunday. God loves you.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Reflection/Homily: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14 2014)

Reflection/Homily: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14 2014)
Theme: Salvation through the Cross

The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates three historic events: the finding of the True Cross by St. Helena, the dedication of the Church built over the Holy Sepulchre and on Mount Calvary by Emperor Constantine and the restoration of the True Cross to Jerusalem by Emperor Heraclius II. According to traditions, St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine travelled to Jerusalem in 326 on a pilgrimage with the intention of finding the True Cross. Along with some aides, she carried out some excavations around the Holy Sepulchre and discovered the True Cross on which Christ was crucified. This discovery was confirmed by some miracles and in honour of this great discovery, her son, Emperor Constantine built Churches at the site of the Holy Sepulchre and on Mount Calvary which were dedicated on September 13 and 14, 335. The anniversaries of this dedication came to be celebrated as the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Three centuries later, the Persians conquered Jerusalem and their king, Khosrau II captured the True Cross and took it to Persia. In 629, Emperor Heraclius II defeated Khosrau II, regained the Cross and restored it to Jerusalem and ever since then, this restoration of the True Cross became part of the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

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