Friday, 30 March 2012

Reflection/Homily: Palm/Passion Sunday Year B (April 1 2012)

                                     Theme: Learning to obey through humility and suffering

In our world today, one comes to discover that obedience as a virtue is only practiced when it is convenient and favourable for the individual. Most of us prefer to obey not just when it is easier but when we have something to gain from it. Obedience is a difficult virtue to cultivate otherwise there would not be incessant cases of people breaking civil and moral laws every day. Obedience involves self-emptying (kenosis) because it is the offering up of one’s will to do the will of another. It is the letting go of our ideologies, intentions and actions to adopt those of the other and sometimes, unpleasant ones.

Today being the last Sunday of lent which we traditionally call Palm/Passion Sunday, the Church presents to us through the readings, the examples of Christ who learnt to obey through humility and suffering. In the first part of today’s liturgy (the blessing and procession with palms), we see Jesus’ great obedience to the will of his Father by triumphantly entering the Holy City. Jesus was not just triumphant in the manner with which he entered Jerusalem, he was more triumphant in his obedience to accept death, death on a cross, even against the wish of his special friend Peter (cf. Mk 8:33).

That is to say that we can regard ourselves as being successful not when we win a legal battle or an 

Monday, 26 March 2012

A Reflection on my Birthday this 26th Day of March 2012

A Disciple’s Prayer (2nd Edition – 2012)

Lord, every year I come before You at my birthday to thank You for the gift of life and to x-ray my nothingness before You, asking You to make me something for Yourself.

I have come to discover that the nearer I try to come to You, the more distant I find myself from You because in my righteousness, I make one step towards You and in my sinfulness I make two steps away from You. I am seriously worried by this situation and I call for Your intervention. I am filled with shame each time I draw closer to You because:

If anybody has disappointed You, I am the one.
If You regret creating man, I am the cause of the regret.
If anyone deserves Your justice, I am the one.
If anyone deserves Your mercy, I am far from such one.
If sinners deserve hell, I deserve the worst of hell
If I had loved You, I would have obeyed Your will
I hated you at those times I ignored Your will and did my will.
Yet Your love for me increased.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Reflection/Homily: Fifth (5th) Sunday of Lent Year B (March 25 2012)


                                Theme: The Christian Cross as a Gateway to Heaven
           
            In our lives we really desire good things but sometimes, we are not able to pass through crucibles in other to get them. Most students dream of graduating with first class certificates but only a few are really burning extra candles. Every achievement must be attained through hard work. That is why in today’s gospel (John 12:20-33), Jesus reiterates this principle that nothing good comes easy. We must work it out under difficult situations. Jesus uses the analogy of the sown wheat to demonstrate that to redeem man, he must die and for us to gain eternal life, we must also die just as a sown wheat must die in the ground before it yields a rich harvest. The problem is that most of us are reluctant to work hard. This reluctance is found in our physical and spiritual lives. Sometimes, we want this or that from God but we can’t kneel in prayer to get them. We want to go to heaven but we can’t do good and avoid evil. We want to be exceptionally spiritually gifted but we can’t work hard to develop these spiritual gifts, etc.

            Today, Jesus invites us to learn from him how to boldly accept unpleasant situations for a pleasant result. The gospel began by narrating how some Greeks who came for worship at Jerusalem requested to see Jesus through the Apostles Philip and Andrew. Though John did not tell us whether 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Reflection/Homily: Fourth (4th) Sunday of Lent Year B (March 18 2012)

Theme: God’s Immeasurable Love for Humanity
          
  In today’s readings, we are challenged to reflect on God’s immeasurable love for humanity and its implications for us. The concept “love of God” could mean either God’s love for us or our love for God but in this period of lent, we consider God’s love for us first because it will inspire our love for God which will also be translated in our love for our neighbours.
           
In the first reading (2 Chr. 36:14-16, 19-23), the Israelites with their political and religious leaders all rebelled against God and defiled God’s dwelling place. Out of love for them, God constantly sent messengers to direct and teach them but their messages were treated with scorn. God did not abandon them but kept on watching them as they neglected His Love and wallowed in sin. Being vulnerable for being outside of God’s love, they were attacked and taken into captivity by the Babylonians. When they suffered and learnt their lessons, God had to intervene because of the love He has for them by raising up a king who will proclaim their liberty, offer them treasures and help them rebuild the Temple as we see in Ezra chapter 1.
          
The second reading (Eph 2:4-10), also confirms this love of God not just for the Israelites alone but for

Friday, 9 March 2012

Reflection/Homily: Third (3rd) Sunday of Lent Year B (March 11 2012)


           There was this story I read up at the MSNBC website few days ago about Taylor Sauer, 18, an intelligent high school graduate who met her untimely death when she ran into a truck while messaging a pal on facebook as she drove. It was discovered later that Taylor posted on facebook every 90 seconds while driving. Since then, the parents Clay and Shauna Sauer still grieving over the Jan. 12 2012 incident have become lobbyist in their home state Idaho (U.S) urging the state legislature to pass a law banning texting or facebooking while driving. The father said “I think every state should have the texting ban law, it might not make changes right now, but for the young generations, it will be an educational tool, just like the seat belt law”.

             From the background of this story, we see a law (like the law banning texting/facebooking while driving) not as anything evil but as a necessary good to prevent a potential danger. This means that law givers do not give or make laws for punishment or to deprive people of comfort but to ensure people’s safety and general well-being.

            In the first reading, we see the Ten Commandments, an important law that binds all Christians

Late Pope John Paul II may be Declared Saint Soon


According to an AFP report on Yahoo7 News, a second miracle attributed to late pope John Paul II has been reported, and he could be made a saint soon.

It said Italy's Panorama weekly, citing documents sent to the Vatican, reported that the miraculous healing occurred just weeks after Pope John Paul II's beatification on May 1 last year, which put him on the path to sainthood just six years after his death.

The first miracle attributed to the late pope was the healing of a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, who recovered from Parkinson's disease.

No details have been given about the second miracle yet, which was chosen from among four reported and documented by the promoter of Karol Wojtyla's canonisation, Bishop Slowomir Oder. Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi declined to comment on the report, stressing that only a decree from the Congregation could confirm it.

The magazine said the case was being studied by experts from the Congregation for the Cause of Saints and, if it occurred, could lead to the canonisation of the late pope within the next 12 months.

Many Catholic faithful want John Paul II made a saint as soon as possible, even me, I want my great mentor canonized as soon as possible. His life has remained a model and an inspiration for me. Blessed Pope John Paul II – Pray for us.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Reflection/Homily: Second (2nd) Sunday of Lent Year B (March 4 2012)

Theme:  Faith through Sacrifice gives way to vision at the mountain-top
            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 sinned if he had sacrificed Isaac. I later grew up to understand this passage better bearing in mind the distinction between temptation and test. The Hebrew word “nacah” is rendered in English as “to test or tempt”. Its Greek equivalent “peirasmos” also means “to 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).
            In Genesis 12, God tested Abraham to leave his father’s land for an unknown land. Abraham through his obedience demonstrated that he loved God more than his father’s land. In the first
 reading as we saw today, God tested Abraham again to see how convinced and strong his faith was by

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Catholic Priest Denies Lesbian Communion in Mother’s Funeral




Barbara Johnson, 51, an art-studio owner in the District of Columbia, on Saturday 25th February 2012, felt embarrassed, insulted, humiliated and discriminated against, when in her mother’s funeral, was refused communion by the presiding Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr Marcel Guarnizo.

The incident which took place at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, has since then caused serious reactions from people, especially, gay right activists.

Deep in grief, Barbara Johnson stood first in line for Communion at her mother's funeral. But the priest in front of her immediately made it clear she would not receive the sacramental bread and wine because he had learned of their relationship just before the mass. "He put his hand over the body of Christ and looked at me and said, 'I can't give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin,' " she recalled last Tuesday.

Filled with sadness and sorrow, she demands that Fr Guarnizo be removed from pastoral life and she vows to fight for it. In a mail to the priest, she wrote: "You brought your politics, not

Pope Benedict XVI Becomes the Sixth Oldest Pope in History


Before now, in the history of the papacy, the Late Pope John Paul II has occupied the position of the sixth oldest pope, but on Wednesday, February 29th, Benedict XVI passed John Paul II in becoming the sixth oldest pope in the history of the Church, completing 84 years, 10 months, 2 weeks and 1 day.

The ranking only looks at the popes elected since the year 1400, because there are no precise records that existed beforehand. This is according to Anura Guruge, he gathers papal statistics and is the creator of the web page "Popes and Papacy" on the history of the popes.

Those pope that were older than Benedict XVI include Innocent XII and Pius XI, who both died at 85 years old, Clement X was 86, Clement XII lived to 87, and topping the list is Leo XIII, who

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