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Monday, 16 May 2016

Homily for Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity Year ABC by Fr. Munachi Ezeogu, CSSp

Proverbs 8:22-31, Romans 5:1-5, John 16:12-15

On the Gospel, Like God, Like Worshippers

The story is told of St Augustine of Hippo, a great philosopher and theologian. He was preoccupied with the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. He wanted so much to understand the doctrine of one God in three persons and to be able to explain it logically. One day he was walking along the sea shore and reflecting on this matter. Suddenly, he saw a little child all alone on the shore. The child made a hole in the sand, ran to the sea with a little cup, filled her cup with sea water, ran up and emptied the cup into the hole she had made in the sand. Back and forth she went to the sea, filled her cup and came and poured it into the hole. Augustine drew up and said to her, “Little child, what are you doing?”  She replied, “I am trying to empty the sea into this hole.” “How do you think,” Augustine asked her, “that you can empty this immense sea into this tiny hole and with this tiny cup?” She answered back, “And you, how do you suppose that with your small head you can comprehend the immensity of God?” With that the child disappeared.

Reflection/Homily: Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity 2016

Theme: The Blessed Trinity: Our Faith and Model

In the fourth century AD, the Church convoked a council at Nicea precisely in 325 to condemn the Arian heresy taught by Arius. This man taught that Christ was not fully God and is unequal with the Father in all respects. This Council proclaimed Christ equal with the Father by proclaiming the dogma of the Blessed Trinity. The Council Fathers also composed hymns and prayers to be used specifically on the Sunday after Pentecost. At the request of St. Thomas a Becket, the Church in England was granted the permission to celebrate it as Trinity Sunday and in 1334 AD, Pope John XXII made it a universal solemnity. That is why we are celebrating it today.

The mystery of the Blessed Trinity is very important in the life of the Church because it is the source of her faith. The Church is in fact Trinitarian in her origin, form and destiny. In other words, the Church originated from the Trinity, is formed according to the image of the Trinity and is destined to return to the Trinity. Despite the importance of this mystery in the life of the Church which is God’s visible instrument of salvation, she is not in any way interested in unravelling this mystery but in explaining the relationship between the three Divine persons and the role they play in the history of our salvation. 

Friday, 6 May 2016

Homily for Pentecost Sunday Year ABC by Fr. Munachi Ezeogu, CSSp

Acts 2:1-11, Romans 8:8-17, John 14:15-16,23-26

On the Gospel - Come Holy Spirit

One bright Sunday morning like today, Benson's mother hurries into her son's bedroom and wakes him up. "Benson, it's Sunday. Time to get up! Time to get up and go to church! Get up!" Benson mumbles from under the covers, "I don't want to go." "What do you mean you don't want to go?" says the mother. "That's silly. Now get up and get dressed and go to church!" Benson goes, "No, I don't want to go and I'll give you two reasons why I don't want to go." He sits up on the bed and continues, "First, I don't like them and second, they don't like me." His mother replies, "Now, that's just plain nonsense. You've got to go to church and I'll give you two reasons why you must. First, you're now forty years old and, second, you're the pastor!"

Homily for Pentecost Vigil year ABC by Fr. Munachi Ezeogu, CSSp

Reversing the Curse of Babel

Today we come to the high point of our Easter celebration, the Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost, meaning "fifty days" after the Passover -- was the feast day in which the Jewish people celebrated the Giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. On Mt Sinai the different tribes of Israel entered into covenant with God and with one another and so became the people of God. God gave them the Ten Commandments as a guide to show them how to be a people, because being people of God means relating to God and to one another in a way that God Himself has mapped out, not in the way that we think is right. Proverbs 14:12 says "There is a way that seems right to a people, but in the end it leads to death." The beginning of wisdom, the beginning of true religion, therefore, is when we realize that as humans we are limited and shortsighted, and so we ask God to show us how to be the people of God that He has created us to be.

Reflection/Homily: Pentecost Sunday

Theme: “The Gift of the Holy Spirit”

The Word “Pentecost” is derived from the Greek word “pentekoste (hemera)” meaning “fiftieth (day). Pentecost Sunday is a Christian feast with a Jewish origin in the Old Testament known as the “festival of weeks” (Shavuot) (cf. Ex. 34:22). Since Shavuot is celebrated 50 days after the “pesach” (Passover or Christian Easter) in thanksgiving to Yahweh for the reception of the Torah, Hellenistic Jews gave it a Greek name pentekoste and that was the major reason why the Jews gathered in the first reading. (Acts 2:1-11). In Christianity, we celebrate Pentecost as the fiftieth day after Easter, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. It is also the tenth day after the Ascension.

Homily for 7th Sunday of Easter Year C By Fr Munachi Ezeogu, CSSp

Acts 7:55-60, Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21, John 17:20-29

On the Gospel - Did Jesus Think of Us?

The 1973 movie, Message to My Daughter, is the moving story of Miranda, a completely disoriented teenage girl who saw the world as “meaningless, cruel and stupid.” Miranda did not know her mother. She died when Miranda was only two years old. Miranda felt unloved and was incapable of loving anyone. Then she discovered some tapes on which her dying mother had recorded a “message” for her. As she listened to the words of her long-dead mother, she realized that she was not the unloved child she thought she was. Her mother had thought of her and had loved her very tenderly. This discovery brought about in her a complete change in the way she saw herself and the world around her. She was finally able to accept herself and put her life together again.

Reflection/Homily: Seventh (7th) Sunday of Easter Year C

Theme: “That they may all be One”
There is this story of an African Sage who at his moment of death convoked a gathering of all his children. He asked each one of them to come with a stick of broom and in turn told them to break the stick of broom. When they all broke what they had, he asked them to get a bunch of broom each and break them. They tried their best but could not break any of them. The man replied: “United you can never be defeated but on your own, you can offer no resistance to defeat”. 

The moral of this story is probably what motivated Jesus’ prayer for the unity of his apostles in the Gospel reading (John 17:20-26). Jesus knew that after his ascension, that there would be several oppositions against his disciples. He never wanted any of them to work on his own to avoid defeat. He wanted them to remain united in the exercise of their ministry just as he is united with the father. According to Jesus, this oneness of his apostles is a proof of their oneness with God.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Homily for the 6th Sunday of Easter Year C By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Acts 14:1-2, 22-29, Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23, John 14:23-29

On the Gospel - Loving an Absent Jesus
In Africa young girls who consecrate themselves to God as nuns dress up as brides for a wedding and sing love songs to Jesus. A few years after such a religious ceremony, a young nun who had been having a rough time in her mission assignment comes back to the convent and asks the Mother Superior: “Mother, is it really true that we are spouses of Christ.” “Yes, it is true, my daughter,” replies the Mother Superior, “Why do you ask?” “Well,” stammered the young nun, “Since I was professed five years ago, I haven’t actually felt anything!”

Our poor nun may not have felt anything, yet she remains on the right track in understanding the relationship between Jesus and his devotees in terms of an intimate love relationship. When Jesus speaks in today’s gospel of “those who love me” he is referring to his followers. For Jesus “those who love me” is another way of saying “my disciples” or “those who believe in me” or simply “Christians.” The relationship between the Christian and Christ is essentially a love relationship. That is why Jesus said in John 15:15 “I do not call you servants any longer ... I call you friends.” Yet many of us feel more comfortable serving Jesus as boss rather than relating to him as a friend. There is a limit to what a boss can demand from you. There is no such limit when it comes to friendship and intimacy.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Homily for 5th Sunday of Easter Year C By Fr. Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Acts 14:21-27, Revelation 21:1-5, John 13:1, 31-35

On the Gospel - The Christian Identity
The renowned artist Paul Gustave Dore once lost his passport while travelling in Europe. When he came to a border crossing, he explained his predicament to one of the guards. Giving his name to the official, Dore hoped he would be recognized and allowed to pass. The guard, however, said that many people attempted to cross the border by claiming to be persons they were not. Dore insisted that he was the man he claimed to be. "All right," said the official, "we'll give you a test, and if you pass it we'll allow you to go through." Handing him a pencil and a sheet of paper, he told the artist to sketch several peasants standing nearby. Dore did it so quickly and skilfully that the guard was convinced he was indeed who he claimed to be. His action confirmed his identity.

Reflection/Homily: Fifth Sunday of Easter Year C

Theme: Putting on a Behaviour of love

There was this story we were told at the minor seminary some years ago. Three priests went to visit a sick male member of their parish in the hospital. After their visit, the little daughter was describing the priests to the mum. She told the mum that a priest, a gentleman and a “guy man” visited. She described the priest in Soutane as a priest, the one in clerical suit as a gentleman and the one in a good pair of jeans with a nice T-shirt with canvas to match as a “guy man”.

This little girl only gave a description of images she was popular with. Thus, she implemented an old rule which says: “You are addressed the way you dress”. This old rule is what Jesus is emphasizing in the gospel reading (John 13:31-33.34-35) but in a different dimension. Though we may be described and judged by our code of dressing, our code of conduct speaks more about us. In other words, it is our behaviour that defines us the more.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Homily for 4th Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday) By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Acts 13:14, 43-52, Revelation 7:9, 14-17, John 10:27-30
Theme: The Mystery of God’s Call

Four clergymen, taking a short break from their heavy schedules, were on a park bench, chatting and enjoying an early spring day. “You know, since all of us are such good friends,” said one, “this might be a good time to discuss personal problems.” They all agreed. “Well, I would like to share with you the fact that I drink to excess,” said one. There was a gasp from the other three. Then another spoke up. “Since you were so honest, I’d like to say that my big problem is gambling. It’s terrible, I know, but I can’t quit. I’ve even been tempted to take money from the collection plate.” Another gasp was heard, and the third clergyman spoke. “I’m really troubled, brothers, because I’m growing fond of a woman in my church — a married woman.” More gasps. But the fourth remained silent. After a few minutes the others coaxed him to open up. “The fact is,” he said, “I just don’t know how to tell you about my problem.” “It’s all right, brother. Your secret is safe with us,” said the others. “Well, it’s this way,” he said. “You see, I’m an incurable gossip.”

Reflection/Homily: Fourth (4th) Sunday of Easter Year C (Good Shepherd Sunday)

Theme: Jesus the Good Shepherd

At the time of Jesus, Messianism (the belief in a messiah who is to come) was a popular belief. The Jews were anticipating a King from the tribe of David who would gather together the scattered Jewish race, restore peace in the land and usher in the messianic age. This messiah would be a comforter, a redeemer and the prince of peace but more importantly, he would be a political messiah who would free the Jews from the authority of the Romans. Some Jews saw Jesus as this long awaited messiah and went ahead to ask him if he was the messiah. Instead of satisfying their curiosity in plain language, Jesus went ahead to reveal what kind of messiah he is in metaphor.

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