Friday, November 30, 2018

Fr Martin Eke, MSP - Homily from 1st Sunday of Advent year C, December 2, 2018


Homily of First Sunday of Advent Year C
The meaning of Advent Wreath: Circle symbolizes eternity of God. Green wreath symbolizes life everlasting. Candle light symbolizes Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Four candles in circle symbolize the four weeks of Advent. 1st purple candle symbolizes hope. 2nd purple candle symbolizes peace. 3rd pink candle symbolizes joy. 4th purple candle symbolizes love. Purple color foreshadows the royalty of Jesus. For Advent, purple is not a sign of suffering and mourning as in Lent. The 5th white candle in the middle represents the birth of Christ.
This Sunday marks the beginning of the Advent Season and a new liturgical year. We are, now, in Cycle C. Advent is observed in the Catholic Church as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Ordinarily, almost everybody, Christians and non-Christians alike, prepare for the celebration of Christmas. Business establishments started their preparation for Christmas business deals months ago. There is, usually, so much external preparation. For us Catholics, spiritual preparation is more important. When you are expecting a visitor, you will get your house in order, you will get food and drink ready, and you will also be clean and well dressed. If the house is in order, and food and drink well prepared and arranged, but the host appears unkempt and shabby, the visitor will be embarrassed and may not stay for the meal. That is why spiritual preparation is necessary, so that there will be an inn for Jesus in our life this Christmas. Spiritual preparation makes every Christmas become the first Christmas. As part of the spiritual preparation, there will be an Advent Penitential Service on Monday, December 17, 2017, at 6:30pm.
The theme of the first week of Advent is hope. Hope means trust, faith, and confidence for a desire to happen. Our ultimate hope and desire is that through our spiritual preparations during the Advent we will experience the blessings of the commemoration of the birth of Christ. St. Paul tells us that this type of hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5).
A lesson Jesus teaches about waiting in Luke 12:37-38 comes to mind, “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.” In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that while waiting, our hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life. Rather, we should be vigilant at all times and pray for strength.
In our hopeful waiting, St. Paul prays for us in the second reading, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all… so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before God and Father…”
While we are waiting in hope for a new experience of the birth of Christ, the first week of Advent requires us to become instruments of hope to others. We are to share love with them and strengthen their hearts as St. Paul prays in the second reading. As Jesus is the hope for humanity, we, his followers, are to be signs of hope to our brothers and sisters. It is by so doing that the season of Advent properly begins. The prayer of St. Francis says, “Where there is despair, let me sow hope.” This is our prayer and action point this week.
Fr. Martin Eke, MSP

Fr Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily from Friday, Nov. 30, 2018

Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him Matt 4:22. Our careers often demand much of our time and attention. But Jesus has an interesting way of interrupting our business-as-usual agenda. In fact, He invites us to join His business. Notice the sequence of His statement to the fishermen: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). We are tempted to think that we should make something of our lives and at the same time follow Jesus. Wrong! He calls us first to follow Him, and then He makes something of our lives. He leads us to prioritize so that we see the needs of people and their eternity as the goal of all our endeavors. And while God may not require you to give up your career, following Him will guarantee that you will never see your career in the same way again. Where you “fish” is not important. But if you follow, you must fish. What are you waiting for? Drop your nets, follow Him, and let Him make something of your life. Drop your nets and follow Jesus. Shalom!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Fr Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily from Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018

Affiliating with Jesus and being His disciple implies a lot of things and one of them Jesus stated in Luke 21:12-19, “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.” Are you ready for such circumstance in your life? Or are you about to jump ship and give up your faith in our Lord Jesus? Our Lord has assured us that He will always be by our side. It may not be within our own strength to suppress the sensible fear which we inherit from our fallen nature but with Jesus in our hearts He gives us the grace so that fear may not take possession of our will and effectively paralyze our acts. With God’s grace, we can go through any trial or persecution and all human strength can only amount to nothing but mere weakness. Keep the faith amidst any adversary as Jesus will always be there to defend us!  He is our Defender and Counselor and He will set us free in any difficult situation if we speak and act His truth. Shalom!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Fr Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily from Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018

In Luke 21:5-11, Jesus says to those who are speaking in admiration of the beauty of the temple, “All that you see here – days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” They will all come tumbling down, one way or the other… “Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.” In all these, Jesus exhorts us to remain faithful in our relationship with Him despite the adversities and trials that inhabit our lives. He wants us to be on the alert as people will be great impostors and will claim to be the true christ. Jesus said: “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them!” Be careful about whom you listen to and whom you follow and to whom you pledge your allegiance. Jesus wants us to remain faithful as He is faithful and unchanging…as He said: Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Jesus may allow our lives to be turbulent and filled by trials but He wants us to remain focused on Him and to follow Him no matter how the strong the stormy winds of life may blow against us. Shalom!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Fr Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily from Monday, Nov. 26, 2018

True love doesn’t calculate. It spends lavishly. Jesus drove this point home to his disciples while sitting in the temple and observing people offering their tithes Lk 21:1-4. Jesus praised a poor widow who gave the smallest of coins in contrast with the rich who gave greater sums. How can someone in poverty give more than someone who has ample means? Jesus’ answer is very simple: love is more precious than gold or wealth! Jesus taught that real giving must come from the heart. A gift that is given with a grudge or for display loses its value. But a gift given out of love, with a spirit of generosity and sacrifice, is precious. The amount or size of the gift doesn’t matter as much as the cost to the giver. The poor widow could have kept one of her coins, but instead she recklessly gave away all she had! What we have to offer may look very small and not worth much, but if we put all we have at the Lord’s disposal, no matter how insignificant it may seem, then God can do with it and with us what is beyond our reckoning. May you have a fruitful week. Shalom!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Fr Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily from 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time year B, Nov. 24, 2018 Christ the King

In John 18:33-37, Jesus declares before Pilate' tribunal, that his kingship is not of this world. His kingdom is beyond this world. In other words, Jesus is not a king like the kings of this world, who wield a political power. Jesus did not come to establish a political independent as the people erroneously misconstrued, but to establish a kingdom of Love, Justice and Truth by changing the hearts of human beings who allow him to reign over them. Jesus came to deliver his people and the entire world from the tyranny of sin, condemnation and death, and set us free for an eternal kingdom; a kingdom ruled not by force or fear but by the power of God's righteousness and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures tell us that there are ultimately two kingdoms in this world which are opposed to each other; the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness. Each kingdom is ruled by one lord or master;  The Lord Jesus Christ, the light of the world rules the Kingdom of Light while the Anti-Christ -the devil rules the kingdom of darkness by lies and deception. If we serve the Lord Jesus Christ and allow him to reign in our lives, he will open our eyes to the light of his truth and guide us on the course that leads to our eternal kingdom with God the Father in heaven. But if we follow the course which is set by the ruler of darkness through his lies, deception and manipulations, then, we will discover that sin will lead us down a path of eternal destruction. It is only by humble obedience to the will of the Father whom Jesus comes to reveal that we allow his kingdom to reign in us and over us. Like Jesus our Master, our kingdom is not of this world as well. Therefore, to follow Jesus, the King whose Kingdom is not of this world, demands that we should stand apart from those elements of the world that refuse to recognize Jesus' authority. Following Jesus Christ the King of our lives, necessitates that we should separate ourselves from all the popular and erroneous opinions which the world promotes and glorifies. And to hold onto this separation is a call to holiness for every member of this Kingdom of Christ. Shalom!

Fr Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily from Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018

Today in Lk 20:27-40, we see some Sadducees asking Christ an important question about heaven. Christ teaches us that once we are in heaven, things will be considerably different than they are here on earth. This is a beautiful example how we can converse with Christ. We simply need to ask him questions: questions about our faith, about difficulties we may be having with certain relationships, about career changes, etc. The answers we receive may not be what we were expecting or hoping for, but what is important is that we engage Christ in conversation every day and that we seek to please him in everything we do. This open, warm contact with Our Lord is already a little taste of heaven. The God who created human life, including the institution of marriage, has also provided for life after death for those who have cultivated the capacity to respond to God’s love. The biblical teaching is that life comes from God. There is nothing in or of the human being that is naturally or inherently immortal. If there is life beyond death, it is God’s gift to those who have accepted God’s love and entered into relationship with God in this life.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Fr Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily from Friday, Nov. 23, 2018

“Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, my house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves” Lk 19:45-48. Jesus was very particular in the way people conducted their affairs while in church. Jesus was so offended and hurt when He saw the merchants do their business inside the temple and convert it into a market place. Because of this, He ejected them and called them thieves. When our churches lose their identity as God’s body because of what we as members do, or have failed to do, then we become like the merchants and the money changers in the temple. We take care only of our own business in utter disregard of the true purpose of God’s church. We fail to live up to our calling as God’s creations who were made to give praise and worship to God, to love Him above all and our neighbor as ourselves. As the body of Christ and members of His Church we can desecrate God’s Body. By sowing confusion, by misleading people from what our Lord really wants for His flock, by simply leading a sinful life- we become thieves within God’s very own Body as we rob God of what is rightfully His and make ourselves gods! Watch out!  We unknowingly might lose what God has given all of us- His Church and the never-ending life of joy and peace that awaits all of us. Shalom!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Fr Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily from Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018

The city Jerusalem, whose name contains the word peace, does not recognise the King of Peace, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ tears for Jerusalem are because she did not recognise that if she accepted him as Messiah, true peace would indeed reign Lk 19:41-44. The numerous attempts of Jesus to win over the people were met with stiff resistance. They had closed their minds and hearts to anything that he had to say because it did not fit in with what they had already set their minds to believe. There are times in our lives when we 'conveniently' believe what suits us and reject many other truths. In doing so we are like the people of the city of Jerusalem who have closed ourselves to the revelation that God continually makes. We must develop the ability to find God in all things and all things in God. If you have come to Him, rejoice that you are His. If you have not, however, you must realize that time may run out. Don’t remain forever alienated from the Lover of your soul. Trust Him today. Shalom!

Fr Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily from Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018

Fruitfulness is the main issue that comes to my heart as I read Luke 19:11-28. Jesus expects all of us to properly use all the gifts that He has poured unto us. our time, intellect, and resources, everything. Fruitfulness means our usefulness while here on earth, how useful we are to the cause and purpose of our Lord. The Lord Jesus has brought us his kingdom of righteousness and peace and he calls us to live as citizens of this kingdom where he rules as Lord and Master. The Lord entrusts us with his gifts and graces and he gives us freedom to use them as we think best. With each gift and talent, the Lord gives sufficient grace and energy for using them in a fitting way. As the parable of the talents shows, God abhors indifference and an attitude that says it’s not worth trying. God honours those who use their talents and gifts for doing well. Those who are faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who neglect or squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what they have. There is an important lesson here for us. No one can stand still for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have. We either advance towards God or we slip back. Shalom!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Fr Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily from Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018

Vision is one gift from God which I have always treasured.  It has given me the chance to appreciate the beauty of our Lord’s creation. Vision has opened the way for me to see my world, my life, what makes it work and what makes it fail. As we age through the years, it is quite sad to note that ‘though God’s wisdom has somehow been poured into our heart and mind, our physical vision on the other hand has not been perfect. In the same light, because our life has not been exactly the model to follow as sin has periodically taken control of our circumstances, our spiritual vision likewise has become hazy and we could not see through beyond our present world. We close our eyes to the good that there is in others, we also prefer to close our eyes to the injustice that we see around us. We close our eyes to the suffering of people around us and we prefer to close our eyes to the needs of others. Having eyes we might prefer not to see. Today let us call on Jesus the Son of David like the blind begged of Luke 18: 41, to restore our sight that we might see and understand the truth and goodness of our word. You have a fruitful week. Shalom!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Fr Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily from Monday, Nov. 19, 2018

Vision is one gift from God which I have always treasured.  It has given me the chance to appreciate the beauty of our Lord’s creation. Vision has opened the way for me to see my world, my life, what makes it work and what makes it fail. As we age through the years, it is quite sad to note that ‘though God’s wisdom has somehow been poured into our heart and mind, our physical vision on the other hand has not been perfect. In the same light, because our life has not been exactly the model to follow as sin has periodically taken control of our circumstances, our spiritual vision likewise has become hazy and we could not see through beyond our present world. We close our eyes to the good that there is in others, we also prefer to close our eyes to the injustice that we see around us. We close our eyes to the suffering of people around us and we prefer to close our eyes to the needs of others. Having eyes we might prefer not to see. Today let us call on Jesus the Son of David like the blind begged of Luke 18: 41, to restore our sight that we might see and understand the truth and goodness of our word. You have a fruitful week. Shalom!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Fr Peter Ireorji, MSP - Homily from 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time year B, Nov. 18, 2018

At the end, we shall all be victorious, Mk 13:24-32 tells us that on that day Jesus will be escorted by the multitudes of angelic beings and of glorified saints in a scene of overwhelming power and dazzling splendour. This will be the significant day when the world will see the Son of Man returning to earth, not as the lowly Nazarene but as the Glorious Conqueror. It will be the time when He will dispatch His angels to gather together His elect, the chosen those who have truly acknowledged Him, Lord and Saviour, not only with their words but with their sincere hearts and deeds. Indeed, is what all of us are looking forward to. It will be the day when those found not worthy of the Father’s kingdom, those who opposed Jesus and were His enemies, will be totally destroyed and banished in hell! But this day no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father However, it should not be a cause of worry, but one of which we should joyfully anticipate as we serve Him and His people in the most humble way we can. Making sure: that our personal relationship with God is a true priority, by sharing with others the news that Jesus has shared with us. Jesus died not only for those of us who are here today, but also for those who aren’t. If we don’t tell them the message of Christ, through words and actions, who will? And finally by following Christ’s example in our daily lives. Jesus was honest, courageous, gentle, patient, forgiving, humble, pure, faithful… through this we will be getting our souls ready for the great adventure of heaven. As we await our Lord’s glorious day, let us use today not only to recollect and review our lives but use it as a time to change our ways and draw closer to our Lord that we will become worthy to be among His elect. Peace be with you!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Fr Martin Eke, MSP - Homily from 33nd Sunday in Ordinary Time year B, Nov. 18, 2018


Homily of 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

We are coming to the end the Church’s Liturgical Year and the Roman Calendar Year. The Church’s Liturgical Year ends with the week of Christ the King or Thirty Fourth Sunday, and the Roman Calendar Year ends with December. The readings for Mass for the next two weeks invite us to reflect about death and to prepare for it. Death is no respecter of persons. The sword of death dangles over each one of us, from the baby in the womb to the oldest person alive. It is a matter of time when it bears down on us, one by one. This is a reality we all must accept. Ecclesiastes 3:2 says, “There is a time for everything, … a time to be born and a time to die.”  The warning, therefore, is, “Be prepared,” because, as Jesus says in the Gospel, “the day or hour, no one knows, … but only the father.” Death can be any moment or any day.

There are people who are so distressed that prefer death to life, and there are some people due to their distress, they want to take their own life. But as believers, we pray to live a purposeful life and see the goodness of the Lord. We pray, also, to experience a happy death.

Jesus says in the Gospel, “And then they will see the Son of Man in the clouds with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.” The first reading says, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some will live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.” We pray to be among the elect who will be gathered by the angels and who will live forever.

The first reading and the Gospel tell us about the end of the world. Does it mean that there will be such a time the world will come to an end? The world has existed for 4.543 billion years. It is, rather, more helpful if we pay attention to the end of our individual world, which occurs every day, than the end of a world that has lasted for 4.453 billion years.

There are two important ways of preparing for the end of life. They are physical preparation and spiritual preparation.

Physical preparation means to put in place a clear will or testament to prevent any form of misinterpretation and disagreement when one dies. It may be necessary to do this in a legal way to make life easy for the living. This needs to be done while the individual is hale and hearty. This will prevent fights over the deceased property.

Spiritual preparation means to live a life here on earth that will lead us to everlasting life. The first reading tells us that there is judgement after death, “some will live forever, others shall be in an everlasting horror and disgrace.” A sure way to live forever in the presence of God is to live a good Christian life while in the mortal body.  For those who spiritually prepare themselves for death, the Preface 1 of the Mass of the Dead promises, “In him the hope of blessed resurrection has dawned, that those saddened by the certainty of dying might be consoled by the promise of immortality to come. Indeed, for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.”
There are people who do not believe in the existence of heaven and hell or any form of life after physical death. About such people Jesus says, “Hypocrites! You interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t interpret the present time?” (Luke 12:56). Every culture has some form of punishment or another for those who commit offense, and good reward for good work. How then does anyone deny any form of punishment or good reward in the afterlife? In addition to the teaching of the Bible about hell, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The chief punishment of hell is the eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs” (CCC 1035).
For us believers, let us live our lives in joyful hope for the coming of our savior Jesus Christ who promises us in John 14:1-3, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” St. Paul, also, encourages us, “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him; this God has revealed to us through the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

Fr. Martin Eke, MSP