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Monday, 30 November 2015

Homily/Reflection for the Second (2nd) Sunday of Advent Year C (December 6 2015)

Theme: Prepare the Way for the Lord

In the fifth year of the Babylonian exile around 583 BC, God raised the prophet Baruch, Jeremiah’s secretary to speak to the Israelites about their sins. Hearing the words of the prophet Baruch, they went into the depths of their hearts, wept, fasted and prayed for forgiveness. They contributed some money and sent to the priest Jehoiakim and other priests in Jerusalem for holocaust and sin offering (cf. Baruch 1:1-7).  As a result of their repentance and being true to His steadfast love especially on all repentant sinners, God forgave their sins, consoled them and blessed their land. This forgiveness, consolation and blessing of Jerusalem is what we see in the first reading (Baruch 5:1-9). In it, God promised to show the splendour of Jerusalem to every nation under heaven and He gave her the name “Peace through integrity and honour through steadfastness”. God also promised to flatten every high mountain, fill the valleys and make the ground level for the Israelites to walk back home in safety under the glory of God.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Homily for 1st Sunday of Advent Year C by Fr. Munachi Ezeogu CSSp

Jeremiah 33:14-16,  1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2,  Luke 21:25-28, 34-36,

-          On the Gospel - Look Out, Not Up!

An American missionary in Africa saw the need to have the Bible translated into the local language. He wrote home asking for financial support. One old lady in the parish, who thought the young missionary should have know better, wrote to give him some advice on the matter. "I do not think Africans need a translation," she argued; "If the King James Bible was good enough for St Paul, it should be good enough for the Africans." Our good old lady does not see that in order to preach the good news in any meaningful manner, there is a constant need to translate not only the Bible but also the very message of Christ in a way that the people can relate to. That is why King James had to have the Bible translated from the original Hebrew and Greek into English for the use of English-speaking Christians, in the first place. In today's Gospel we see how Luke translates Jesus' teaching on the Last Days in order to make it more meaningful and relevant to his readers.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Homily for the First (1st) Sunday of Advent Year C (November 29 2015)

Theme: How Prepared are you for the coming of Christ?

Today, we live in a world where too many prophecies are told daily. Several preachers and prophets, both real and fake, claim to disclose the mind of God. As it were, many believe these prophecies ranging from total eclipse to one plane crash or the other or even to the end of the world. On several occasions, the world had been prophesied to end on a particular date. Because of the failure of these prophecies to come to pass, many people now, do not listen to end time prophecies again. Towards the year 2000, there were great speculations that the second coming would take place and that the world would come to an end after three days of darkness. This made several persons change their life styles for good out of fear but when the prophecy failed to materialize, they went back to sin while many became less interested in the second coming of Christ and saw it as a fairy tale.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Homily for the 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B/Solemnity of Christ the King (November 22 2015)

Theme: On the Kingdom of God

Today, the Holy Mother Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King. It is the last Sunday in the ordinary time of the year. This solemnity was established by Pope Piux XI in his encyclical Quas Primas (On the Feast of Christ the King) in 1925. The solemnity was established to make Christians more conscious and convinced of the kingship and supremacy of Christ over all created things and to allow His will reign in their lives. As we reflect on the kingship of Christ who is God, we shall focus more on the kingdom of God, the place where Christ reigns as king. 

In the first reading (Daniel 7:13-14), the prophet Daniel describes his vision of the enthronement of a king. This king was identified as the “Son of man” a title Jesus would later ascribe to himself (cf. Mark 14:61). He was conferred sovereignty, glory and kingship and all peoples, nations and languages became His servants. His sovereignty was eternal and His kingdom could never be destroyed. 

Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp. Last Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Daniel 7:13-14,  Revelation 1:5-8,  John 18:33-37

-          On the Gospel: Acknowledging Christ as King

Christians in Nigeria and some other West African countries celebrate Christ the King Sunday with a big, festive parade through the main streets of their cities. This may sound unfamiliar to Christians in other parts of the world, but a public manifestation of faith may not be far from what Pope Pius XI had in mind when, in 1925, he established the feast of Christ the King. The feast is a proclamation of the Christian belief that the reign of Christ should be felt not only in the private lives of Christians but also in the public domain.

The feast was originally celebrated on the last Sunday in October. This meant that only Roman Catholics and Anglo Catholics could celebrate it because Lutherans and most other Protestant churches celebrated Reformation Sunday on the same day. Vatican Council II did well to shift the feast to the last Sunday of the liturgical year because now most Christians, Catholics and Protestants together, can celebrate it. In this way the whole Church bears common witness to Christ whom we proclaim as king of our lives and of our world.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Vatican condemns Terrorist Attacks in Paris prays for Victims

Following the deadly terrorist attack that claimed over 120 lives at Paris, France, on Friday night, Nov. 13, 2015, the Holy See Press Office in a statement released Saturday, November 14 2015 has sympathized with the French government and prayed for the victims. 

In the statement, the Holy See Press Office said: “Here in the Vatican we are following the terrible news from Paris. We are shocked by this new manifestation of maddening, terrorist violence and hatred which we condemn in the most radical way together with the Pope and all those who love peace. We pray for the victims and the wounded, and for all the French people. This is an attack on peace for all humanity, and it requires a decisive, supportive response on the part of all of us as we counter the spread of homicidal hatred in all of its forms.”

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris, has announced that he will celebrate Mass in Notre Dame Cathedral on Sunday evening for the victims, their families and the whole of France. The bells of Notre Dame are expected to ring out 15 minutes before the Mass begins.

Homily for 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Daniel 12:1-3, Hebrews 10:11-14, 18, Mark 13:24-32

On the Gospel: The Good News of the Last Days

But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
(Mark 13:24-25)

In 1999, in the month of July, Pope John Paul II shocked the Christian world when he made the following statements in his Wednesday audience:

Heaven, or the happiness in which we will find ourselves, is neither an abstraction nor a physical place in the clouds, but a personal relation [with God]. ... This final condition can be anticipated in a certain sense now on earth.... Moreover, the pictures of Hell given to us in Sacred Scripture must be correctly interpreted. They express the total frustration and emptiness of a life without God. More than a place, Hell is the state of the one who freely and finally removes himself from God, the source of life and joy.

Homily for Thirty-Third (33rd) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B (November 15 2015)

Theme: The Eschatological Hope

In today’s reading, the Church presents to us for reflection some passages from the apocalyptic literature. Apocalyptic literature was the product of a time of persecution and mental anguish which attempts to restore to those being persecuted the belief that God is still in control and shall intervene in their tribulations by rewarding the righteous and punishing the wicked. It was meant to encourage good, discourage evil and restore hope to the persecuted. The first reading (Daniel 12:1-3) which is an apocalyptic literature is set within the context of oppression by the Hellenistic kings against the Jews some three hundred years before the birth of Christ. When these kings invaded Palestine, they persecuted the Jews for refusing to accept beliefs and practices that were totally against their faith. Though it appears to predict the future, the author uses this style to figuratively interpret the events of his time and to pass across a message of hope to the oppressed. According to the text, the archangel Michael shall arise to protect the righteous.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Homily for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

I Kings 17:10-16,  Hebrews 9:24-28,  Mark 12:38-44
 Theme: The Widow’s Plight

Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa is very fond of this joke: "When the missionaries came to Africa, we had the land and they had the Bible. Then they said, 'Let us pray ...,' and asked us to close our eyes. By the time the prayer was over, they now had the land and we had the Bible." And he usually ends the joke by adding, "And I think we got the better deal." In this joke we have a substantiation of Karl Marx's criticism of the Christianity of his day as the "opium of the people," - that which puts people to sleep while the ground under their feet is taken away from them. In today's gospel Jesus warns his followers against religious leaders who propagate this kind of anaesthetic religiosity. "Beware of the scribes, who ... devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation" (Mark 12:38-40). In the second half of the gospel reading, the story of the Widow's Mite, we see a tragic example of the product of this kind of religiosity. Jesus commends the victim but condemns the victimiser.

Homily: Thirty-Second (32nd) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B (November 8 2015)

Theme: Selfless Sacrifice

One day, I had a funny experience at a motor park. One pretty and well-dressed lady approached me and begged me for some money to enable her travel home. I asked her what was wrong with her whether she was robbed. She went on to narrate to me how she came to the city for a crusade and in the course of the crusade, the man of God urged them to donate generously to the Church and be sure of God’s abundant blessings. So she had to give all she had as a widow’s mite. I could not understand why she had to donate her transport fare only to start begging in the park. I only had to help her based on Christian charity so that she wouldn’t be stranded or embarrassed.

Her action was a literal understanding and interpretation of today’s gospel reading (Mark 12:38-44). There, Jesus only praised the poor widow not because she gave all she had to live on but because of her total trust and dependence on God. There are four lessons we can learn from the simple action this poor widow performed.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Meet the World's Oldest Cardinal @ 100 years - Cardinal Loris Francesco Capovilla

At 100, Cardinal Loris Francesco Capovilla is the oldest Roman Catholic Bishop from Italy and the oldest member of the College of Cardinals. Born on Octiber 14 1915, Cardinal Capovilla was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Venice on 23rd May 1940 by Cardinal Piazza, the Patriach of Venice. He was appointed bishop of the Archdiocese of Chieti-Vasto on 26 June 1967 and consecrated on 16 July 1967 by Pope Paul VI. He served as the personal secretary to Pope John XXIII from 1958 to 1963 and was created a Cardinal by Pope Francis in 2014 even though he received a dispensation to be absent from the Feb 22 consistory due to old.

Homily for Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed - All Souls (November 1) By Fr. Munachi Ezeogu, CSSp

Theme: Saved, But As Through Fire
(Job 19:1, 23-27,  1 Corinthians 15:20-23,  John 12:23-26)

Native American tribes are known for their elaborate and colourful quilts. Often the memories of the tribes are woven into large quilts used in religious ceremonies. Native American peoples are believed to be among the best quilt makers in the world. What many people do not know is that they have an unwritten law governing the art of quilting: every quilt must have some flaw. Even when they could easily produce the perfect quilt, they go out of their way to introduce a flaw into it. Since the quilt for them is basically a representation of human life and the human condition, the symbolism is clear: no human life is perfect. In a way, the feast of All Souls which we celebrate today echoes the same message: no human life is perfect, not even the Christian life. The Good News we celebrate today is that God loves us even when we are not perfect, and that the love of God does not abandon the souls of our departed brothers and sisters in the faith even when they did not measure up to the ideals of Christian perfection.

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