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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Homily for 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Sirach 35:15-17, 20-22, 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18, Luke 18:9-14
On the Gospel, The Secret of Good Worship

The story is told that one day Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, visited a prison and talked with each of the inmates. There were endless tales of innocence, of misunderstood motives, and of exploitation. Finally the king stopped at the cell of a convict who remained silent. “Well,” remarked Frederick, “I suppose you are an innocent victim too?” “No, sir, I'm not,” replied the man. “I'm guilty and deserve my punishment.” Turning to the warden the king said, “Here, release this rascal before he corrupts all these fine, innocent people in here!” The biblical saying proves true, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

Friday, 21 October 2016

Reflection/Homily: Thirtieth (30th) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year C

Theme: Humility: The Path to Righteousness
Today’s gospel reading (Luke 18:9-14) presents us with the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican who went to the Temple to pray. According to this parable, the Pharisee thanked God for his righteousness while the tax collector being mindful of his sins asked God for pardon. Surprisingly, Jesus approved only the prayer of the Publican and was dissatisfied with the prayer of the Pharisee. Ordinarily speaking, there is nothing wrong in thanking God for living a righteous life. This Pharisee is supposedly a devout Jew who lived even more than he was expected. He recognized the need for thanksgiving and went ahead to thank God. As the object of his thanksgiving, he presented his religious credentials.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Reflection/Homily: Twenty-Ninth (29th) Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Theme: Augmenting Human Efforts with Persistent Prayer

In the history of the Israelites’ journey through the desert, they were faced with several challenges. At Rephidim, there was no water for them to drink and while they murmured against Moses, Moses prayed to God for intervention. But when God decided to provide water for them from a rock, they had barely satisfied their thirst when the Amalekites rose against them as we see in the 1st reading (Exodus 17:8-13). Applying this reading to our context today, the Amalekites represent those near-success challenges that confront us when we are about to enjoy something good. It could be disappointment at the threshold of marriage, financial crisis when beginning a new business, legal dispute when acquiring a new property, etc. The examples of the leaders of Israel is presented to us today as a paradigm of our response when confronted with such challenges. What did they do?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Homily for 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Exodus 17:8-13, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2, Luke 18:1-8

On the Gospel, We Dare to Hope

How many of you have seen this painting of an old burnt-down mountain shack? All that remains is the chimney - the charred debris of what was that family's sole possession. In front of the destroyed home stands an old grandfather-looking man dressed only in his dressing-gown with a small boy clutching a pair of patched overalls. The child is crying. Beneath the picture are written the words which the old man is speaking to the boy. They are simple words, yet they represent a profound sense of faith and hope. The words are, "Hush child, God ain't dead!" The man or woman of faith knows that there are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about their situations. Today's gospel presents us with another example, that of a woman of faith, a widow, and urges us never to grow hopeless about any situation in which we find ourselves, no matter how hopeless it may seem.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Reflection/Homily: Twenty-Eight (28th) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year C

Theme: What is your Gratitude Response?

Sometime ago, the social media was inundated with what came to be known as the ‘Gratitude Challenge’ where people mentioned things they were grateful for or people they were grateful to, while nominating their friends to do the same for nine days. One advantage of that online exercise is that it offered people the opportunity to think about the numerous favours they have received and the much expected thanks they had failed to give. Today, it appears that the culture of giving thanks for favours received is gradually giving way for the culture of indifference and ingratitude. I once bought a biscuit for a little boy during the just concluded apostolic work and rather than thank me for the gift, he was asking me why I bought that brand and not another. After receiving favours from God or man, rather than give thanks for what we have received, we either ask for more like Oliver Twist or wish we had received the other type of favour. We are hardly satisfied with what we get that we often forget to give thanks. 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Homily for 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

2 Kings 5:14-17, 2 Timothy 2:8-13, Luke 17:11-19

On the Gospel, Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Harry Ironside, the great American Bible teacher, went into a crowded restaurant to have a meal. Just as he was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited him to have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, “Do you have a headache?” Ironside replied, “No, I don’t.” The man continued, “Is something wrong with your food?” Ironside replied, “No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat.” The man said, “Oh, you're one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know that I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!” Ironside said, “Yes, you're just like my dog. That’s what he does too!”

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.

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