Friday, June 5, 2020

Fr. Augustine Inwang, MSP - June 7, 2020. Homily for Holy Trinity Sunday

Readings: Exodus34:4-6,8-9; 2Cor. 13:11-13; John 3:16-18.

We Are at Our Best When We Are in Love
1.    Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. We worship God who manifested himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit - three Persons in one God: God the Father, Creator of the world, God the Son, Savior of the world and God the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier of the world. In the Preface of the Trinity, we praise God in these words: “We joyfully proclaim our faith in the mystery of your Godhead. You have revealed your glory as the glory also of your Son and of the Holy Spirit: three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God, ever to be adored in your everlasting glory.” In the Trinity, we experience unity of purpose and expression of love. Therefore, we worship a God who is in a relationship, and who invites us to enter into a relationship with Him. Hence, we are at our best when we are in relationship with others: God, friends, children, parents, co-workers, colleagues, etc., etc. No man is an island.  

2.    We begin every prayer by calling on God the Father, the Son and the Spirit to dwell in us and to help us live good and saintly lives. We were baptized into the life of Grace through the invocation of the Trinity and on the day of our funeral and burial, our coffin and grave will be blessed by the sign of the Cross and the invocation of the Trinity. The life of every Christian is marked by the Triune God dwelling in and through us. The Trinity is a mystery that presents us with a God of closeness, communion and intimacy. Our God desires community, communication and love within the Persons of the Trinity and with each and every one of us. “This is an initiating God, an outgoing God, a creative, life-giving God who stamps his communal life on us. We are in relationship because God is, we are made in his image and likeness.” (William J. Bausch). There is absolute love, respect and understanding within the Persons of the Trinity.

3.    Since we are at our best when we are in a loving relationship, we are also at our worse when we fall out of love, out of a relationship. The worse pain of our time is loneliness. That is why imprisonment is a terrible form of punishment. When prisoners behave badly, they are put in solitary confinement. Not having someone to talk to and relate with is as an awful experience. Many of our elderly ones often feel lonely when their children and friends do not visit them in nursing homes. Also, those who have gone through divorce know the painful feeling of a failed relationship, however it happened. They often feel alienated. And so, there is always a need for forgiveness and reconciliation so as to move on.

4.     The first reading from the Book of Exodus emphasizes the significance of the Triune God for us. The face of the Father is turned towards His children despite their sins. He renewed the tablets of the Law broken by Moses and showed them his mercy. He revealed His name, “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” These are the attributes of the Triune God. God is merciful, implying compassion, and tenderness – the heart of the Father moved by unmerited love.  He is gracious - the favor or benevolence of one who has gifts to give and wills to give them. His kindness is the love that marks the covenant bond between Him and His children. And Finally, God’s fidelity connotes rock-likeness, constancy, the inability to be turned from the will to love. This is our God. He knows anger because of sin and permits Moses to express his anger by breaking the tablets of the law brought down from Mount Sinai; but in the end, God wants only merciful and faithful love to be known. This is the true heart of God. And the Gospel tells us how far God can go to reveal His true nature. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. In giving his Son, God the Father also gave himself, because the Father and the Son are in perfect communion and the Holy Spirit is the expression of the Father and the Son. St Paul shows us, in the second reading, that these attributes are really those of one God, and so of all three Persons. You are to “Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” Hence, the love from God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ and the Spirit will bring us together in fellowship and union.

5.    So, how do we relate to the Trinity? We must, first of all, acknowledge the indwelling of the Trinity in our lives. Then we must develop an intimate and personal relationship with the Persons of the Trinity. This means having a personal relationship with the First Person of the Trinity. God is our Father who created us “To know, to love and to serve God in this world, and to be happy with God forever in the next.” The end of our human existence is to be in relationship with a God who made us in His image. He created us and sustains us in being therefore, we must have a personal devotion to God the Father. When we pray the Lord’s prayer, for instance, we address God the Father, directly. The more reason we should pray the Our Father with devotion, while reflecting and paying attention to the words of the prayer.

6.    We should also develop and inculcate an intimate relationship with the second Person of the Trinity. Jesus is the Savior of the world. He redeemed us with his precious blood. ‘The Anima Christi’, ‘Jesus I love You’, O Sacrament most Holy’ and other prayers besides, direct our minds to the Second Person of the Trinity.

7.    It may not be easy to have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit because we don’t often feel that the Spirit is a person. The Church has many prayers that can help us develop a loving relationship with the Spirit: ‘Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful’, ‘Prayer for the seven gifts of the Spirit, etc., etc., Finally, it is important to know that all prayers are directed to God the Father, through the Son and in the Spirit. Praying to God and God alone is far more important than to which Person of the Trinity we address our prayers. That is why, ‘The Sign of the Cross, the Gloria, and the Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, are traditional prayers that address the Three Persons of the Trinity directly.

8.    Let us pray that we may demonstrate the love of the Trinity in the way we relate in our families, in our society and in our nation. May the Trinity teach leaders of nations to love and protect the citizens they promised to govern in mutual respect. May men and women in uniform respect the dignity of every human person, irrespective of the color of their skins. And let there be tolerance and peace among people and nations of the world. Amen.

Rev. Augustine Etemma Inwang, MSP

Fr. Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie, MSP - Homily for Saturday Week 9 Ordinary time - June 6, 2020

Saturday 6th May 2020
9th week in ordinary time year II
2 Timothy 4:1-8, Mark 12:38-44
When you look around you and see how churches multiply everyday in street corners, you cannot but imagine how we got to where we are. I saw a self acclaimed man of God recently on Facebook, proclaiming prosperity and progress. When I tried to correct some of his biblical interpretations, he told me to leave him alone, that he did not spend 9 to 10 years studying as I did. The disciples of Jesus spent three years with him before they were competent to be entrusted with the word of God. Paul had a good length of time with the other Apostles before he became an apostle to the gentiles. Paul also trained Barnabas,  Titus, Timothy and many others and entrusted the caring of the Church to them. It is therefore obvious that one cannot wake up a day a become a general overseer of a Church without going through the right training.
In the first reading of today, we see that Paul had predicted this period when he was advising Timothy. According to him, "the time is sure to come when, far from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and then, instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to myths. Be careful always to choose the right course; be brave under trials; make the preaching of the Good News your life’s work, in thoroughgoing service". That time has really come, people no longer want to listen to the truth, they run to where things that they want to hear are said. Paul therefore advised Timothy that in the midst of this, he should proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. He should refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience. This can only be done with patience and with the intention of teaching.
This is why Jesus warns us in the gospel reading to be weary of people who are like the scribes and pharisees who see religion as a show, an extension of social gathering. It is not about what you show to people, but who you truly are. Only God knows us through and through (psalm 139). God help us. Amen
Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie MSP

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Fr. Martin Eke, MSP - June 7, 2020. Homily for Holy Trinity Sunday

Homily of Holy Trinity Sunday of Year A, 2020
We celebrated the Solemnity of Pentecost last Sunday. The descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles brings the work of the Holy Trinity to its fullness. God the Father is the Creator. God the Son is the Savior. God the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier and the Renewer.
When Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, he authorized his apostles to baptize in the name of the Trinity. He said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). By extension, Jesus commands us to do all things in the name of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. That is why all our prayers begin with the invocation of the Trinity, and end with the blessing of the Trinity. We invoke the Trinity each time we profess the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirt, and sign ourselves with the Sign of the Cross. It is, therefore, important that we profess the holy names and sign ourselves reverently. The sign of the Cross was known in Christian liturgy about the 3rd century AD.
St. Paul prays for us today in the second reading, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” St. Paul prays that our existence be ruled and sustained by the saving grace of Jesus Christ, by the everlasting love of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul prays that our existence be rooted in the Trinity because life outside the Trinity is not worth living.
The Trinity is one of the most important mysteries in Christianity. That God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three persons, but one nature, one God, equal, undivided, and no separation. We are not invited to fully understand the mystery. We are, rather, invited to participate in the life of the Trinity, and walk in the way of the Trinity.

Some lessons from the life and way of the Trinity:
The three persons of the Trinity are one nature and united. The word ‘trinity’ means a unity of three (inseparable three).
The three persons of the Trinity related in perfect harmony from creation to redemption, and to the descent of the Holy Spirit.
There is no inequality with the three persons of the Trinity.
The three persons of the Trinity are bonded in love and are undivided.
The life and way of the Trinity bring unity and peace.  Any family, church, community, organization, or country that walks in the way of the Trinity will experience peace. St. Paul tells us in the second reading today, “… agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” Where there is no unity, there is no peace; and where there is no peace, there is disintegration. But where there is unity, God reigns, and his blessings abound. Psalm 133:3 tells us that where there is unity, “There the Lord has decreed a blessing, life forever more.”
Unity is strength. When we work together as a team, with the same agenda and the same goal, we are most successful, and we make much progress. It is often said, “Where there is unity, there is always victory;” “United, we stand, divided we fall.”
We are invited to be rooted in the life and way of the Trinity. The crises we have all over the world are because men and women refuse the life and way of the Trinity but prefer the life and way of the world and the Evil One. The life and way of the world and the Evil One, such as, inequality, injustice, disharmony, hate, disunity, crises, and so on are opposed to the life and way of the Trinity which are one nature, unity, harmony, love, equality and peace. Has humanity not seen enough signs that what happens to one affects all; to show us that we are one nature, and are supposed to be united, work in harmony and live in peace? An English author, John Donne, in 1624 wrote, “No one is an Island, entire of itself; everyone is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main. … No one is self-sufficient; everyone relies on others.”
As we celebrate and worship the Most Holy Trinity, may the rays of their holy light shine on us and dispel forces of sin and darkness and bring us to conversion. May the rays of their holy light grant healing to us and our land. May the rays of their holy light guide us to the path of love, justice and righteousness. And may the rays of their holy light grant us protection and peace. Amen.
Fr. Martin Eke, MSP