Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Jesus asks James and John, “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” Matt 20:22. If they were prepared to share his cup, to throw in their lot with him, to follow where he leads, even though it may mean the cross. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” Yet, he went on to drink that cup to the full on the cross. At the last supper, he drank of the cup, and then gave the cup to his disciples, who also drank from it. Yet, a little later, they deserted him and fled. In spite of what they promised, James and John would not follow when the going got hard. We too are invited to drink from the Lord’s cup, the cup of the Eucharist. In doing so, we are expressing our willingness to go where he leads and walk in his way. Jesus teaches that way of self-giving service of others, as against lording it over them. We pray that in talking the Lord’s cup today, we would be faithful to what that action signifies—walking in the footsteps of the Son of Man who came not to be served but to serve. Shalom!

Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily Monday, March 18, 2019

Mercy, forgiveness and love are in short supply today. Most relationships between people are built on what one can gain from the other and how the relationship will help one. It is rare to see (even in relationships between members of one family) selflessness and generosity. Yet, this is what Jesus calls the disciple to and expects that the disciple will live such a generous life. One way we can develop mercy and give it to our neighbor is to be able to know ourselves, face and accept our own sins and mistakes (self awareness). Being able to accept the shameful state of our lives, the truth behind us which God sees-all on our own, with no comparisons and no useless judgments- will only enable us to share God’s love and mercy with all men. This way, we begin to think and see like God as we look at one another. Shalom!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Fr Peter Ireorji MSP - Homily for 2nd Sunday of Lent year C, March 17, 2019

In Luke 9:28:36, Peter, James and John saw his glory as God; his face was brighter than the sun and his clothes dazzling white. And the voice of the heavenly Father was heard: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” This experience filled them with such an overwhelming and indescribable joy and all that Peter could say was: “Master, let us erect three booths here.” They had a glimpse and taste of heaven and they wished to remain there forever. There are times in our lives when things do not go the way we plan, when all that we plan goes awry, when the road seems steep and the going is difficult, when every step that we take is laboured and arduous, when we cannot see or understand and, when we feel like giving up and giving in. It is at times like these that we, like Peter, wish we had stayed on the mountain. It is at times like these when we, like Abram, might like some tangible proof, some sign. Yet, the Transfiguration of Jesus, and the attitude of Abram, teach that God continues to walk ahead of us and, though we may not be able to see him as clearly as we would like, God is there. This is why Paul calls the Christian community at Philippi to join him in imitating Christ. This means that they must be able, like Christ, to look beyond and not be weighed down by the trials and tribulations of the world. It means that they must continue to have faith and trust at all times since trials and tribulations are always temporary and passing. What is permanent is God’s unconditional love, manifested in his Son, Jesus Christ. Our confidence is not in our ability to overcome the challenges that come our way, but in God’s grace that we constantly receive in, and through, Jesus Christ. Shalom!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Fr Martin Eke, MSP - Homily for 2nd Sunday of Lent year C, March 17, 2019

Homily of Second Sunday of Lent Year C
In some ancient cultures, including the Aramean culture where Abram belonged, when two parties or individuals made a covenant, they cut an animal into half, arrange the halves on two sides, and the parties or the individuals who made the covenant pass through between the animal parts. This ritual sealed the covenant. Passing through between the animal parts arranged on two sides was a way of swearing, “May what happened to the animal happen to me if I go against the covenant.” This ritual seems, partly, to be what is described in the first reading. “Abram brought him [God] all these, split them in two, placed each half opposite the other…When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking fire pot and flaming torch, which passed between those pieces. It was on that occasion that the Lord made a covenant with Abram…” The smoking fire pot and flaming torch which passed between the animal parts can be said to represent God passing through between the animal parts. We can also assume that Abram might have passed through between the animal parts before the trance fell upon him.
The first reading is not a study of ancient Aramean’s way of making a covenant. It is a reminder of our various covenants with God, especially our baptismal covenant. We make the following baptismal promises: to renounce sin, evil and Satan; and to believe in God, in Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. Because we have all fallen short of our baptismal promises, we are, therefore, called to repentance, especially, during the holy season of Lent. We are invited to draw close to Jesus. As the second reading says, “He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body…” The same invitation is given to us in the Gospel. We are invited to transfigure as Jesus was transfigured, and to dazzle as Jesus dazzled.
To change, transfigure and dazzle means to reject Satan, to reject sin, and to reject lures and occasions of sin. It means to renew one’s spiritual life.
To transfigure means to change in order to reveal hidden beauty of the soul and body. The beauty of one’s soul and body can be hidden by concerns and anxieties of life. There are people who used to be warm and happy, who dazzled in their assignments and responsibilities. But now, they perform very poorly. Such people are invited to put their faith in God as Abram did. God will transfigure them and they will dazzle again.
There are times the beauty of our soul and body are hidden not by any fault of ours but by difficulties of life. At such times, it is faith in God that transfigures us in the face of the difficulties.
In our time, it is no longer to sacrifice “a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, and a three-year-old ram, a turtle dove, and a young pigeon,” it is to draw close to Jesus who died for us. He sealed the covenant between human being and God by his blood shed on the Cross. That is why God says, as we read in the Gospel, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”  Our transformation and transfiguration are assured if we listen to Jesus and follow him.
Jesus confirms the transformative power of his words:
Matthew 7:24-25, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.”
John 6:63, “It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.”
Fr. Martin Eke, MSP

Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily Saturday, March 16, 2019

Our vocation as Christians, is to become perfect, in God’s image. Just as God loves us, each of us is called to respond “with all your heart and with all your soul. Being perfect means being loving to an extraordinary degree, loving our enemy, praying for those who persecute us, who make life difficult for us. Being perfect consists in loving in the way that God loves, which is with a love that doesn’t discriminate on the basis of how people relate to us. This is the pinnacle of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. The fact that Jesus calls on us to love as God loves shows that he does not consider this call unrealistic. We may not be able to love in this divine way on our own, but we can do so with God’s help. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Shalom!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily Friday, March 15, 2019

Jesus calls his disciples to a virtue deeper than the virtue of the scribes and Pharisees. A major commandment was “You shall not kill.” The call of Jesus goes deeper than that; it goes below the actual act of killing to the underlying attitudes and emotions which lead people to kill or injure each other. If we come to worship God and there are feelings of anger, revenge or hatred in our hearts, then our worship remains incomplete. It is only an external worship and not true worship. God does not need our adoration, but if want to adore him it must also come from within. We need to look below the surface of what people do, to cure the underlying passions. We need a renewal of the heart and mind, a true “repentance” Today as we endeavor to abide in the Lord and adhere to His word, let us always ask God that we are removed from any conflicting and hurtful relationships and that we may not be any man’s enemy, but instead remain a true friend of all, yet always faithful to a covenant relationship with God. Shalom!

Fr Patrick Etuk, MSP - Homily Friday, March 15, 2019

"Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?" Ezekiel 18:23.

πŸ—£It is ungodly to wish evil to the wicked even when they persist in wrong doing. God delights in their conversion and restoration and we are called to do likewise. Spend time today to pray for people who are far away from God. This surely gladens the heart of our maker πŸ™‡‍♀Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours. Amen