Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Reflection/Homily: Second (2nd) Sunday of Lent (March 1 2015)

Reflection/Homily: Second (2nd) Sunday of Lent (March 1 2015)
Theme:  At the Mountain-Top Faith  gives way to Vision 

            As a little boy, when I first heard the passage read in the first reading, the first question that was raised in my mind was whether God could tempt one to sin since Abraham would have been guilty of murder if he had sacrificed Isaac. I later grew up to understand this passage better bearing in mind the distinction between temptation and test. The transliterated Hebrew “nacah” is rendered in English as “to test or tempt”. Its transliterated Greek equivalent “peirasmos” also means “test or tempt”. The words “test and tempt” though similar are not exactly the same, the former is positive while the latter is negative. For this reason, exegetes recommend we look into the context to differentiate between the two meanings, bearing in mind that God only tests while Satan tempts. The goal of God’s tests is for us to prove our faith but the devil tempts to destroy our faith. St. James stresses this distinction when he says “consider it a great joy when tests of many kinds come upon you, for you well know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance… (1 v.2-3) and “… God does not tempt anyone to sin” (1 v.13).

Friday, 20 February 2015

Bishop Vincent Ezeonyia for Burial on February 27

Most Rev. Vincent Valentine Egwuchukwu Ezeonyia, CSSp who died on Sunday February 8, 2015 at the age of 73 will be buried on February 27, 2015 at the Christ the King Cathedral Aba.

Burial Arrangements

Thursday February 26, 2015 at 5 pm, there will be a Vigil Mass at Christ the King Cathedral Aba

Friday February 27, 2015 at 6 am, body leaves Our Lady of Mercy Mortuary, Umulogho, Obowo Imo State, at 7 am, lying in state at Christ the King Cathedral Aba, at 8 am, Office of the dead at Christ the King Cathedral Aba, at 10.30 am, Funeral Mass at Christ the King Cathedral Aba. Interment follows immediately after the Mass.

There will be a requiem Mass for him at St. Dominic Catholic Church Uke, Anambra State on Saturday March 14 2015. His Month's mind will take place at Holy Ghost Novitiate, Awo-Omamma, Imo State on Friday, March 20 2015.

Adapted from the Burial Arrangements signed by Rev. Fr. Godfrey Ukonu, Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Aba.

Reflection/Homily: First (1st) Sunday of Lent Year B (February 22 2015)

Reflection/Homily: First (1st) Sunday of Lent Year B (February 22 2015)
Theme: Repent and Believe in the Gospel

A covenant ordinarily speaking could mean a binding agreement between two or more people, equal or unequal. When one ponders on the covenant God established with man, we wonder why the All Powerful God had to go into an agreement with mortal men who solely depend on Him? Likening our relationship with God to our relationship with our possessions (like our pets), do we need to make an agreement with our dogs not to sell them off when they are sick? We need not go into agreements with them before taking actions for or against them. But despite the great inequality between God and man, God had to go into agreements with man just to convince us of how much He loves and values us. In the first reading (Gn 9:8-15), we see one of such unmerited agreements God had with humanity through Noah. Before then, humanity rebelled against God and He had to wipe them away leaving only the righteous Noah, his family and a few animals. After that, God promised never to wipe away humanity with the flood again. This covenant He made with Noah, He signed with the rainbow in the cloud. 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Reflection/Homily: Ash Wednesday (February 18 2015)

            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.

            Therefore, the Church as the Vehicle of Salvation has also deemed it wise to prepare Her members for the re-enactment of the Sacred Mysteries of the Death and Resurrection of Our Lord. That is why today being “Ash Wednesday”, we are launched into this great season of preparation we all regard as the Lenten season or period. 

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Catholic Bishop Orders removal of Blessed Sacrament from Churches/Chapels.

Following the desecration of the Blessed Sacrament in over ten Parishes, the French bishop of Bekkay-Ars, Friday February 13, has ordered that the Blessed Sacrament be removed from the tabernacles of all parish churches/chapels and kept in a more secured private place.

According to the prelate, the Blessed Sacrament may be returned to tabernacles temporarily for adoration if a sufficient number of faithful are present. The “only exception” to the decree is in the case of a “well-secured” metallic tabernacle with a resistant lock.

Hmmm. The Church is facing another danger. Last time some hoodlums went into a Church in Orlu Diocese and poured the Sacred Species on the floor and went their way. Are people openly fighting Christ through his Church?  They will definitely lose o. Tell them if you know them and please be on  the guard in your area.

Another Iroko has fallen: Fr Ernest Munachi Ezeogu is Dead.

Another Iroko has fallen: Goodnight Fr Ernest Munachi Ezeogu 

 By Uwakwe Chibuike MFC

Whoever loves African Theology must have known him and admired his deep theological insights in praise of Africa. For him, Christianity is Africa's greatest contribution to humanity because Christianity itself is an African heritage since Jesus Christ the founder of Christianity was biologically an African. He went beyond all doubts to prove that Jesus was by birth an African having been born naturally by the Blessed Virgin Mary who was an African from Egypt. According to this great Biblical scholar renowned for his expertise in New Testament Exegesis and research on the historical Jesus, by adoption, Jesus was a Jew since Joseph who was Jewish wasn't responsible for Mary's pregnancy. Thus, to proclaim Jesus 'Son of David' is an act of faith, while recognising him as 'Son of Africa' is a biological fact. His theological works speak volume of his biblical and theological expertise that enjoys a blend of African cultural affinity. 

Popularly known as Fr Munachi, this seasoned preacher of God's Word is known to be the oldest cleric to own an online resource for Sunday homilies. His website www.munachi.com boasts of over 18,000 email subscribers since it's inception in 1997 when access to the Internet was an exclusive reserve for a privileged few. His homilies inspired and motivated most of us to begin similar projects.
He was a formator at the Spiritan School of Theology Attakwu, Enugu where he taught Sacred Scripture, which he studied for twelve years in Rome, Jerusalem and Toronto. The Nwangele LGA-born Holy Ghost Father delivered the 2009 Odenigbo lecture series titled Jesu Onye Afrika: Ozioma Maka uwa Nile” (Jesus the African: Good News for the Whole World) where he defended his thesis on the African origin of Jesus.

Dear mentor, I will greatly miss you. I was looking forward to meeting you in Enugu in October as you requested. I never knew my brief chat with you in Sept 2014 at the Obiri Odenigbo in Owerri would be our last. That day, you encouraged me to always leave a legacy wherever I am and that my weekly reflections would be a great legacy. Thanks for the inspirations you gave me. Thanks for touching the lives of thousands spiritually through your online homilies. My heart still bleeds because of your death. Who would continue your Sunday homilies? Definitely, nobody would fit into that big shoe. You wrote with a blend of detailed expertise and simplicity. As a seminarian, I have always dreamt of writing like you. You made God's unchanging Word ever relevant for man's changing world. Your homilies are always new each time they are read. Your expertise on Pauline Theology which you exhibited in your homilies on the epistle was superb. O death why now? I wish your site could remain running for years. Your dream of building a bigger website has failed. How I wish I had access to your hosting, I would definitely keep the website running at my own cost. Fr. I am yet to accept this sad news. Mana jee nke oma (Safe journey). The world would definitely miss you. May God rest your soul until we meet at the beatific vision. 

Reflection/Homily: Sixth (6th) Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (February 15 2015).

Reflection/Homily: Sixth (6th) Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (February 15 2015). 
 Theme: Only the Healing Hands of Jesus can Save us

Today, people do not know much about leprosy because the advancement in human medicine has been able to contain the disease. It is a chronic infectious disease caused by a mycobacterium known as Mycobacterium Leprae and it imposes serious damages on the skin of its carrier. The Ebola Virus Disease gives us a better picture of how dreaded leprosy was in the days of Jesus. A leper would be declared unclean by a priest and he is separated from the community to live in isolation. Only a priest could declare him clean and reintegrate him into the community after healing. The first reading (Lev. 13:1-2, 44-46) gives us a picture of how horrible their situation was.

In the Gospel reading (Mark 1:40-45), we are presented with a leper who is uncomfortable with his situation and desires a positive change. He knew he was unclean but he desired to be unclean and he mustered the courage to approach Jesus for mercy and healing. Jesus being very compassionate to those who approach him requesting for mercy and healing made his clean and whole again and he went home praising God. Like the leper, today, we are individually and collectively afflicted by several forms of diseases which have separated us from others. Some of us are suffering from diseases of the body such as terminal and chronic illnesses and diseases of the mind such as traumas, psychological disorders, emotional imbalances,  just to mention but a few. Several nations have their own diseases like terrorism, (especially the boko haram insurgence in Nigeria and the terror of the Islamic State in the West), electoral tension and violence, war, corruption, strange epidemics like the bird flu, ebola, etc. In the midst of these problems, who do we run to for healing?

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Updated: Bishop Vincent Ezeonyia of Aba Diocese is dead

Bishop Vincent Ezeonyia of Aba Diocese is dead

The Catholic Bishop of Aba Diocese, Most Rev. Vincent Valentine Ezeonyia CSSp has passed on. The incident occurred at the wee hours of Sunday February 8 2015. The Bishop who was ill for a short period was said to be receiving sound medical attention in an undisclosed hospital before the unfortunate incident. The Catholic Diocese of Aba is yet to release his funeral program.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Reflection/Homily: Fourth (4th) Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B (February 1 2015)

Reflection/Homily: Fourth (4th) Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (February 1 2015)
Theme: We too are called to be Prophets

A prophet is one called to communicate the mind of God to the people of God. But who knows the mind of God? While the mind of God is beyond human understanding, God reveals His mind to those He appointed to be prophets that they may communicate same to His people. Every age has need for prophets and throughout the ages, God has never failed to raise up prophets who will condemn evil and encourage righteousness. In the first reading (Deut. 18:15-20) we see God’s promise to the Israelites that He will raise up another prophet like Moses who will lead them. They are to recognize this prophet through the authority and integrity he will exercise in his words and actions. The gospel reading (Mark 1:21-28) presents Christ as the fulfillment of that promise. He appeared as a great prophet who communicated the mind of God to the people. In teaching them about God’s will, the gospel records that “his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority”. With this authority, as we saw in the gospel reading, he commanded even unclean spirits and they obeyed him. This confirms Jesus as the ideal prophet.

Reflection/Homily: Third (3rd) Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B) January 25 2015

Reflection/Homily: Third (3rd) Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B) January 25 2015
Theme: Do not Deflate your Tryes

Peter and Robinson were two good business associates. One day they travelled to a distant land to buy some goods. This time they bought more than usual because they wanted to maximize profits. On their way back they remembered their lorry would not pass through the tunnel on the road because of the height of the goods loaded on it. When they got were confused on what to do. They wanted to deflate their tyres so as to reduce the height of the lorry and pass through the lorry when a little boy approached them and said: “it is about to rain and it is better to lose a part than to lose the whole”. They read meaning into this and decided to remove the excess and less profitable goods, lost it to the rain and the lorry was able to pass through the tunnel.

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.

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