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Friday, 12 February 2016

Homily for 1st Sunday of Lent Year C By Fr. Munachi Ezeogu, CSSp

Deuteronomy 26:4-10,      Romans 10:8-13,    Luke 4:1-13
On the Gospel – Temptation

In the heat of the President Bill Clinton and Miss Monica Lewinsky affair the head of a women's support group spoke on CNN. This is what she said, in essence: "Monica Lewinsky has done nothing wrong. In the world of corporate establishments and in the White House bureaucracy, women who want to advance must use everything at their disposal: power, connections and sex. If that is what she has done, we see absolutely nothing wrong with that." The name of the game is: use what you have to get what you want. I am sure you have heard that before. Many people indeed take it as their philosophy of life. In our Gospel reading today, however, Jesus shows us that the principle of using whatever you have to get whatever you want is not always right. In fact, when that principle is applied without putting God first, it becomes a philosophy of the world, the devil's own philosophy, a philosophy that should be rejected even as Jesus did.

Reflection/Homily: First (1st) Sunday of Lent Year C

Theme: The Temptations of Jesus
Lent is a special period of preparation for Easter. It is an opportunity to reflect on and share in the sufferings of Christ who gave up his life for our salvation. Within this period, in order to suffer with Christ, we are obliged to accept some of our dislikes and reject some of our likes. This is the goal of self-mortification; voluntarily accepting suffering and willingly rejecting pleasure. As we try to do this, we may encounter several temptations. The temptations of Jesus narrated to us in the gospel reading (Luke 4:1-13) presents us with the various tactics and means the devil may use to tempt us. Jesus’ responses to these temptations equally guide us on how to overcome these temptations. On this first Sunday of Lent, the Church reminds us that nobody is above temptation  and in fact, the closer we are to God, the more we are tempted; the moment we decide to do good, that’s when the devil tempts us to do bad. 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Reflection/Homily: Ash Wednesday

It was not long ago that it was announced in a parish that the diocesan bishop would be coming to the parish on a pastoral visit. This great event of the bishop’s visit once in four years due to the large size of the diocese was marked with a great preparation. There were renovations within the Church premises, decorations, clean ups, etc just to prepare for the great event of the bishop’s visit. This is an indication that most often, important and remarkable things do not just happen without serious preparations. For an ordination and profession to take place there must have been a period of formation, for graduation, a period of scholarly involvements, serious academic struggles and scholarship, for marriage, a period of courtship and even for Christmas, a period of advent.

Homily for 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C By Fr. Munachi Ezeogu, CSSp

Isaiah 6:1-8,                         1 Cor. 15:1-11,         Luke 5:1-11

On the Gospel – Unworthy Ministers 

In a certain church there was a man in the choir who couldn't sing very well. The choir director suggested that he should leave the choir. Others felt he should be given more time to improve. The choir director then decided to go to the pastor and complain. "You've got to get that man out of the choir or else I'm going to resign." So the pastor went to the man and said to him, "Perhaps you should leave the choir." "Why should I leave the choir?" the man asked. "Well," said the pastor, "four or five people have told me you can't sing." "That's nothing," the man replied, "forty or fifty people have told me you can't preach!" Today's readings show us how God can make use of the most unlikely people to fulfil the divine purpose.

Reflection/Homily: Fifth (5th) Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

Theme: Here I am Lord, Send Me
The word “mission” from its Latin origin “missio” means to send. From this point of view, a missionary could be described as a person sent by God to a people and a place to do the will of God among the people and make the place a better place. This missionary could be sent as a priest, a religious, a teacher, or even as a businessman, medical doctor, labourer, etc. 

In the first reading of last Sunday, we see God sending Jeremiah on mission as a prophet to the Israelites. In today’s first reading (Isaiah 6:1-8) we also see God calling Isaiah for a mission as a prophet to the Israelites. In the second reading (1 Cor. 15:1-11), St Paul discusses the mission he received from Christ as an Apostle to the nations. In the Gospel reading (Luke 5:1-11), we see Christ calling Peter and his companions for their mission as fishers of men.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Homily for 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C by Fr. Munachi Ezeogu, CSSp

Jer. 1:4-5, 17, 18-19  1 Cor. 12:31-13:13  Luke 4:21-30

- on the Gospel - Prophecy or Popularity

One of the first indigenous bishops in Nigeria returned to his native town for a reception soon after he was made bishop. His townspeople, most of whom had only a faint idea of what the Christian faith or the office of bishop stands for, came together to give him a big reception. In the welcome speech, the people expressed how happy they were that one of their own sons had risen to the exalted position of those who had direct access to God. They promised him they would all embrace Christianity if he, as bishop, would use the power of his office to suppress one of the Ten Commandments for them. Before they could say which of the Commandments they had in mind, the young bishop shocked them by telling them that the Ten Commandments are of divine and not human making, and so are unchangeable. The celebratory mood turned into disappointment and the bishop had to make a hasty departure from his own people. Jesus, in today's gospel, went through a very similar experience.

Reflection/Homily: Fourth (4th) Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C (January 31 2016)

Theme: Courage in Christian Discipleship

The call to Christian discipleship is a call that requires a lot of courage. Courage is the ability to face difficulties and uncertainties without being overcome by the fear of the tribulations one might encounter. To be truly Christian, we need to be courageous. The Bible talks about so many great men and women of great courage. Peter was a good apostle because he had the courage to keep moving even when the circumstances were unfavourable. Stephen became the first Christian martyr because he had the courage to face a heroic death. St. Paul was successful in bringing the Good News to the gentile world because he had the courage to confront the difficulties he met on the way. Several other instances abound. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Homily for the Third (3rd) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year C (January 24 2016)

Theme: The Power of God’s Unchanging Word in Man’s Changing World
Today’s readings present us with the centrality and significance of the Word of God among believers. The first reading (Nehemiah 8:2-4.5-6.8-10) traces this centrality and significance back to the ancient Jewish community. Ezrah the priest and great scribe was asked to read the Word of God to the hearing of the Jews who had gathered. He read the sacred text devoutly before them, they prayed and the Levites explained the Word.

In the gospel reading (Luke 1:1-4.4:14-21), the evangelist narrates how Jesus visited the Jewish community in the synagogue and read the Word of God to their hearing. The most significant thing about this event was Jesus’ proclamation of His mission statement “to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy”.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah’s Sermon on the Occasion of the Thanksgiving of Chief Jim Nwobodo at Holy Ghost Cathedral Enugu on January 10, 2016

When I saw two missed calls from Jim Nwobodo over a week ago, I decided to return the call immediately. He sounded quite excited when he answered the call and then went straight to the point. I have good news for you, he said.

I have decided to join the Catholic Church and I want to specially invite you to be at the Mass in Enugu on January 10th. I congratulated him and said I would check with my Diary to see if I had a window. I used the chance to first call the Bishop of Enugu, His Lordship, Bishop Onaga to intimate him of the invitation. He too sounded quite excited and went on to tell me some of the good things that Chief Nwobodo had done for the Catholic Church during his tenure as Governor of Anambra State. 

He added his voice to the invitation and by the time we had ended, he asked if I could take the Sermon for the day. Two days later, I again saw two missed calls or so from His Eminence, Antony Cardinal Okogie, the emeritus Archbishop of Lagos. I returned his call immediately. After the pleasantries, he confirmed enthusiastically that Chief Nwobodo had also invited him. He said despite his health, he would see if he can make the trip. Two days ago, I again saw two missed calls from him.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

“Who am I to Judge”: Pope Francis Explains Himself in His New Book – The Name of God is Mercy

In his new book on God's mercy, Pope Francis explains that his oft-quoted words “who am I to judge”, about a homosexual person who is searching for the Lord with a good will, is simply his reflection on Church teaching found in the catechism.

The Name of God is Mercy, released Jan. 12 2015, is a book-length interview of Pope Francis by Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli. The book is meant to “reveal the heart of Francis and his vision,” according to Tornielli's foreward. He had wanted to ask the Pope about mercy and forgiveness, “to analyze what those words mean to him, as a man and a priest.”

The journalist asked Pope Francis about his experience as a confessor to homosexual persons and about his “who am I to judge” comment, made during his in-flight press conference from Rio de Janeiro to Rome July 28, 2013. 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Catholic Priest Kidnapped in Syria Eventually Released

A Catholic priest, Father Dhiya Azziz who was abducted in Syria on December 23 2015 has been released. The clergyman was seized as he was returning to his parish in Yakubiya after visiting relatives in Turkey and was set free on Monday evening, January 4 2016. In announcing his release, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land declined to provide any details, citing “confidentiality reasons.” Earlier, Church spokesmen had said that Father Azziz was likely being held by an Islamic rebel group. His parish is situated in an area held by rebels. In fact,  Father Azziz had been kidnapped previously, in July, and held briefly by Islamic militants before he managed to escape.

Vatican Astronomer Reflects on the Magi Story and the Star of Bethlehem

Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, the director of the Vatican Observatory discussed the star of Bethlehem and the journey of the Magi in a front-page reflection published by L’Osservatore Romano on January 6, the feast of the Epiphany. “The feast of Epiphany is special to us astronomers,” he said. “Of all the visitors who came to see the newborn Savior, only shepherds and astronomers are specifically mentioned by St. Matthew. Of course, this fame comes with a cost. Epiphany is also the season when we astronomers are besieged with requests to ‘explain’ the Star of Bethlehem.”

After discussing Johannes Kepler’s identification of the star with a conjunction of planets, Brother Consolmagno said that “my experience as a scientist makes me approach the Magi story with a completely different set of unanswerable questions … The story of the Magi inspires us to look at our own journey. What are we looking for? Why do we look? How do we know it when we find it? And are we brave enough to return home with it, once we have found it?”

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