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Monday, 26 September 2016

Reflection/Homily: Twenty-Seventh (27th) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year C

Theme: Having an Increased Faith in God

At a time in the history of the Israelites, there were so much tyranny, oppression and violence against the innocent. Before this time, various prophets have encouraged the people of Israel to remain steadfast in faith hoping that God would give them victory at the end. However, during the time of the prophet Habakkuk as we saw in the first reading (Hab. 1:2-3, 2:2-4), he was moved to ask God why He allowed injustice to triumph over the oppressed. From the response he got which we saw in the later part of the reading, it became clear that the Lord keeps secret how He rules the world and all He asks is that we remain faithful to Him since the upright will live by his faithfulness.

Homily for 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4, 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14, Luke 17:5-10
 On the Gospel, Lord, Increase Our Faith

The story is told of a man who fell off a mountain cliff. Half-way down the cliff he succeeds in grabbing a branch of a tree. There he is, dangling on the branch, unable to pull himself up yet knowing that letting go of the branch he would definitely fall to his death. Suddenly the man gets an idea. He looks up to heaven and shouts, “Is anyone up there?” A voice comes from heaven, “Yes, I am here. I am the Lord. Do you believe in me?” The man shouts back, “Yes, Lord, I believe in you. I really believe. Please help me.” The Lord says, “All right! If you really believe in me you have nothing to worry about. I will save you. Now let go of the branch.” The man thinks about it for a moment and then shouts back, “Is anyone else up there?”

Friday, 16 September 2016

Homily for 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Amos 8:4-7, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Luke 16:1-13

On the Gospel, The Smart Servant

An angel appears at a faculty meeting and tells the dean that he has come to reward him for his years of devoted service. He was asked to choose one of three blessings: either infinite wealth, or infinite fame or infinite wisdom. Without hesitation, the dean asks for infinite wisdom. “You got it!” says the angel, and disappears. All heads turn toward the dean, who sits glowing in the aura of wisdom. Finally one of his colleagues whispers, “Say something.” The dean looks at them and says, “I should have taken the money.”

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Homily for 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Sirarch 3:17-20, 28-29, Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24, Luke 14:1, 7-14

On the Gospel, Preferential Option for the Poor

Joseph de Veuster was a Belgian missionary priest working among the islanders of Honolulu. His bishop had trouble finding a priest to work in the leper settlement of Molokai. Joseph, better known as Father Damien, volunteered to go and work in the "living graveyard that was Molokai." His solidarity with the lepers was so complete that he contracted the disease himself and died at the age of forty-nine in service to the poorest and most abandoned. Some of his contemporaries accused him of imprudence and foolhardiness. Today, however, he is recognized worldwide as a hero of the faith: Damien the Leper.

Father Damien made a total life commitment to the poor long before the church recognized the preferential option for the poor as a pillar of the church's social teaching. The Gospels teach us that as Christians we should give priority to the poor in the way we administer and dispense our resources. This is what we see in today's gospel reading. Some people see today's gospel as Jesus teaching table etiquette and good manners in choosing seats when invited to a dinner. But when we try to read it through the eyes of the early Christians whose assembly was mainly to share in the feast of the Eucharist, we begin to see that there is much more than etiquette involved here. Jesus is teaching the basic Christian virtues of humility and solidarity with the poor. And he does this in two stages using two parables.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Homily for 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

 Isaiah 66:18-21, Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13, Luke 13:22-30
On the Gospel, Where is the Soul of Princess Diana?

On August 31, 1998, the first anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, many papers came out with the headline "Where is the Soul of Princess Diana." They were reporting the story that some women in England had withdrawn their children from an Evangelical Sunday school because the Sunday school teachers were teaching the kids that the soul of Princess Diana was in hell, whereas the women had already told their children that the soul of the Princess was in heaven. As a result, the question, "Where is the soul of Princess Diana?" became an issue. A popular radio station in Toronto went as far as to interview the Archdeacon of the Anglican Diocese to find out exactly the whereabouts of Princess Diana's soul.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Reflection/Homily: Twentieth (20th) Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C

 Theme: Courage to Swim Against the Tide

We live in a world where there is a constant clash of opposites. There is always a battle between good and evil forces. In our lives, this battle is between the desire to do good and the desire to go evil. Every attempt we make today is geared towards making a choice as to which force we will incline to or which desire we will satisfy. Often, we discover that these evil forces and desires seem to be stronger and appear more attractive. It apparently seems better to defraud an unsuspecting rich man to become rich quicker than to keep struggling for genuine wealth.

Homily for 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Jeremiah 38:1-2,4-6,8-10, Hebrews 12:1-4, Luke 12:49-53

On the Gospel, Holy War According to Jesus

The new millennium has witnessed and continues to witness much violence. Hardly any day passes that we do not hear the sad news of violent aggression and brutality unleashed against innocent people somewhere around the world. To make matters worse, perpetrators of these acts of violence often try to justify these atrocities by claiming that they are fighting a holy war in God’s name. Think of the crusades, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. Today’s readings are indeed a call to war: not a war against other people but a war against sin and corruption; not a war against people we perceive as evil, but a war against the evil one, the devil. Let us listen to these words of Jesus:

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Homily for 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Wisdom 18:6-9, Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19, Luke 12:32-48

On the Gospel, A Light Beating

An unskilled worker goes for a job interview and demands a pay higher than that demanded by skilled workers. When asked why he demands so much for his unskilled work he explains that because he is new to the job he would put in more effort and time than the skilled workers to do the same job. Therefore, he should be paid more. This is certainly an unusual way of reasoning. Booker T. Washington echoed a similar sentiment when he said, "I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed." This rare way of thinking is reflected in today's gospel.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Homily for 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23, Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11, Luke 12:13-21

On the Gospel, When Possessions Become Obsessions

A preacher notices a woman in the congregation who begins to weep as soon as he begins to preach. Thinking he has made a big catch he preaches with even greater fervour. The more he preaches, the more the woman cries. Finally, the preaching over, it is time to give testimonies. The preacher points to the woman and says, “Sister, I can see you were mightily moved as we proclaimed the word of God. Now can you please share with us what it was that convicted your spirit so much.” The woman hesitates, but the pastor insists so she comes up and takes the microphone. “You see,” she begins, “Last year I lost my he-goat, the most precious thing I possessed. I prayed and cried much over it and then I forgot all about it. But as soon as you came out to preach and I saw your beard, it reminded me all over again of the he-goat. I still cry whenever I remember it.” She did not remember one word of what the preacher said.

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).

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