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Saturday, 10 December 2016

Reflection/Homily: Third (3rd) Sunday of Advent Year A

Theme: What is Jesus actually coming to do?
Within this period of advent, as we prepare for the arrival of Christ, some might be asking of what physical value will Christ’s arrival be to them. As the savior, what kind of salvation will he bring? Will he save us from the economic dungeon we have found ourselves? Will his arrival bring peace to our troubled world? Will he create jobs, reconcile political opposites and administer justice to the oppressed? These are pertinent questions that yearn for answers. John the Baptist in the Gospel reading (Mtt. 11:2-11) also found himself asking this type of question. He was imprisoned for the sake of the gospel and it was not out of place for him to think that Christ whose arrival would bring liberty to captives would at least visit him in prison or liberate him from the hands of Herod. When Christ’s visit to his prison was not forthcoming, he had to send his disciples to ask if he is actually the Christ. Of course, he is the Christ but he has a special mission.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Homily for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary By Fr. Munachi Ezeogu, CSSp

Genesis 3:9-15, 20, Ephesians 3:1-6, 11-12, Luke 1:26-38

Most Favoured One

Popular imagination has added an interesting slant to the story of the woman taken in adultery. You know the story: The Pharisees bring the woman before Jesus for judgment and Jesus says, "Let the person who is without sin cast the first stone." They fell silent, and then, all of a sudden a stone came flying from the crowd. Jesus looks up, surprised and amused, and then says, "Hold it, mother? I am trying to make a point, here." This joke likens the sinlessness of Mary to the sinlessness of good women and men we have known. For we have known many good men and women who think that their holiness of life is their personal achievement. As a result they develop a certain holier-than-thou attitude toward others who have not attained their level of holiness. They become intolerant, angry and judgmental toward those they regard as sinners. People like that would not hesitate to throw the first stone at a sinner caught red-handed, like the woman in our story.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Homily for 1st Sunday of Advent Year A By Fr. Munachi Ezeogu, CSSp

Isaiah 2:1-5, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:37-44
On the Gospel, Making Ready for the Lord's Coming

John F. Kennedy is said to be very fond of a particular story. During his 1960 presidential campaign he often used it to close his speeches. It is the story of Colonel Davenport, Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives back in 1789. One day, while the House was in session, the sky of Hartford suddenly grew dark and gloomy. Some of the representatives looked out the windows and thought this was a sign that the end of the world had come. An uproar ensued with the representatives calling for immediate adjournment. But Davenport rose and said, “Gentlemen, the Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought.” Candles were brought and the session continued.

Reflection/Homily: First (1st) Sunday of Advent Year A

Uwakwe Reflections: 5 Years Anniversary Edition
Reflection/Homily: First (1st) Sunday of Advent Year A
Theme: Behold the Lord is Coming

On this first Sunday of Advent, the Church begins a new liturgical year (A), the first in her three year cycle. The season of advent is a special season in which the Church prepares for the arrival of the Lord, her bridegroom. The Church speaks of this arrival in three historical strands. The first is the first coming at Bethlehem as the Prince of Peace. The second is the second coming at the Parousia as Judge while the third is the daily coming of Jesus into our lives as Lord and Master. For us Christians, this should be a special period of encounter with Christ. It is a period that reminds us of His first coming, urges us to prepare for His second coming and makes us conscious of His daily coming into our lives. To encounter Christ, the first reading (Is. 2:1-5) invites us to “go up to the mountain of the Lord”. It is an invitation to encounter God in the Holy Mountain where He dwells.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Reflection/Homily: Thirty-Third (33rd) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year C

Theme: How best to wait for the end

The Prophet Malachi prophesied to the Israelites at a time when there was a great loss of faith among them. The religious leaders of that time together with the people lost the sense of the sacred. People no longer fulfilled their religious obligations because they thought God was no longer interested in their activities let alone taking records. It was against this backdrop that the Prophet Malachi emerged to rebuke the people for their religious insensitivity. As the first reading (Mal. 3:19-20) presents to us, the Prophet Malachi warned them about the day of the Lord. He reminded them that God will still visit them on the last day and reward each person according to his/her deeds.

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

Malachi 4:1-2, 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12, Luke 21:5-19
On the Gospel, Where Does God Live?

Josh is the resident humanist in the neighbourhood. He does not go to church anymore. He goes about telling his friends that since God lives in everyone’s soul, it is not necessary for anyone to go to church to find God. His parish priest learns of this and decides to pay Josh a visit. The priest shows up in Josh’s house one cold winter evening and finds Josh warning himself by the fireside. Josh invites the priest to join him at the fireside, which he does. The priest does not talk about church attendance, although Josh suspects that is why he came. They talk about the weather. Meanwhile, the priest uses the fire-tongs to remove a burning piece of wood from the fire and places it all by itself beside the fireplace. Both men watch as the flames flicker and go out and in a short time white ash covers the once blazing piece of wood. Josh gets the message. He turns to the priest and says, “Father, I will be in church next Sunday.” Like that piece of wood we need fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the faith in order to maintain the fire of our own faith. We need the church.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Reflection/Homily: Thirty-Second (32nd) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year C

Theme: Becoming Children of the Resurrection
Luke, the author of today’s gospel reading addressed his Gospel to the Gentile converts who had a similar Greek cultural background with him. The belief in the immortality of the soul was not foreign to the Greeks because several Greek scholars like Pythagoras and Plato held such beliefs in their philosophical doctrines. For Pythagoras, the soul is immortal and returns to life through a process of transmigration which could include returning to life through an animal. For Plato, the soul is also immortal and returns to life through the process of reincarnation. In relating the encounter Jesus had with the Sadducees, Luke uses a familiar Greek belief to divert the attention of the early converts from a mere belief in the immortality of the soul to a superior belief in the resurrection of the dead. 

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

2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14, 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5, Luke 20:27-38

On the Gospel, Belief in the Resurrection

A certain foreign missionary in an Africa village was charged with translating the New Testament into the local language. In his good will, this missionary saw this as an opportunity to modernise the New Testament so as not to pass over to the Africans what he saw as the “antiquated and superstitious” world-view of the Bible. So he decided to remove from the translation every reference to spiritual beings other than God and the Holy Spirit. Evil spirits and angels, he argued, made no sense in the civilised world of today. An African priest working with him tried to convince him that the spiritual is part and parcel of both the biblical and African world-views and should therefore not be thrown out, but he would not listen to him. One day this missionary went to his favourite Christian community for Sunday service and right there before his very eyes, one of his “best” converts in the community began to act funny. She began swaying uncontrollably to the rhythm of the drums and stopped only when the music stopped. The young woman was visibly embarrassed with this development as she struggled in vain to keep herself from swaying. Everybody in the congregation understood this behaviour to be the first signs of spirit possession.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Reflection/Homily: Thirty-First (31st) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year C

Theme: Radical Conversion and Transformation on Encountering Christ

Today’s gospel reading (Luke 19:1-10) presents us with the encounter Zacchaeus had with Jesus which led him to a radical conversion and transformation. Jesus was passing through Jericho when Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree just to catch a glimpse of Jesus. Similarly, Jesus constantly passes through our lives in the experiences we have, places we visit and persons we meet. Like Zacchaeus do we make any effort to encounter him even in the least possible way? Encountering Jesus simply means giving him the attention he needs in order for us to be converted to him and be transformed. In our encounter with Jesus, we are only but recipients of divine favour. It is Jesus who truly works for us to encounter him. Like the parables of the lost sheep and coin, he is the owner looking for his own. But there could be a number of things that could prevent us from encountering him.

Homily for 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp

Wisdom 11:22-12:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2, Luke 19:1-10

On the Gospel, The Rich Also Cry

Boris Becker was the world’s number one tennis star. At the height of his tennis career, he had won Wimbledon twice, once as the youngest player. He was rich and could afford all the material comfort and luxury he wanted. Yet he was an unhappy man. In spite of all his achievements, his life was so empty and meaningless that he contemplated suicide. “I had no inner peace,” he said. Becker is not alone in this feeling of emptiness. Many successful people who have ignored the inner life have felt that way. According to J. Oswald Sanders in his book Facing Loneliness, “The millionaire is usually a lonely man and the comedian is often more unhappy than his audience.” Jack Higgens, author of such successful novels as The Eagle Has Landed, was asked what he would like to have known as a boy. His answer: “That when you get to the top, there’s nothing there.”

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.

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