Monday

Monday Meditations by Fr Achilles Kiwanuka Machumilane

 

Fr Kiwanuka

ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS

 

Many will come to learn the Law in Jerusalem

Dear Family of God, We have begun the season of Advent. In this season we celebrate the first coming of Jesus and remind ourselves that our life should be a vigil waiting for the second coming of Jesus. As we celebrate the first coming of Jesus we ask ourselves, has his coming brought any impact in our society. Do we really show that truly Jesus has come? In the first reading we have heard Isaiah prophesying that God will establish Jerusalem as a Mountain and many will come to Jerusalem to learn the Law of God. With the coming of Jesus we, as Christians, as church we have been established as a mountain in the world. Do we really show that we are a mountain lighting to the world where people can say “Let us go up to the church and learn how to love others, have to be faithful to our marriages, our vocations, how to be faithful in our jobs and business?”

Jesus has said many will come from east and west and enter the kingdom of God.

  • Are we worthy to enter the kingdom when Jesus comes?
  • Are we really bringing many from all corners of the world to the kingdom by the way we live?
  • As we sing “Come Lord” let us ask for pardon and struggle to correct where we have gone wrong and pray that the Good Lord may continue establishing us as a mountain, as good examples, from which others may learn how to live good lives and make our homes, and countries better places to  live as we continue waiting for the second coming of Jesus.

Have a fruitful Advent season.

Learn to Accept Bitter Truth

 

Dear family of God,

From the Gospel we have heard how the chief priests and elders refused to accept the truth about Jesus and John the Baptist. They knew the scriptures and the prophecies that were made about Jesus and his forerunner John the Baptist. They knew even the prophecy of Balaam which we have read in the first reading that “A star shall come out of Jacob.” They tried to question the authority of Jesus but from within they understood that both John and Jesus came from God.

They refused to accept this truth because it was challenging them. They were trying to find a reason to do away with this thorn that was disturbing their consciences.

Now, it is the 3rd week of Advent. We have been hearing the message of repentance and changing our ways to prepare a way for the Lord; to work for peace and reconciliation. How far are we accepting this challenging truth? Are we finding reasons to do away with it by questioning the credibility of those who tell us this truth? Let us learn to accept  bitter truth.

He has Done Great Things for me

 

 

Dear Family of God,

Today we meet two favoured women giving thanks to God. Hannah the mother of Samuel gives thanks to God and offers her son to God. In the gospel we meet the Virgin Mary giving thanks after the annunciation, singing “He who is mighty has done great things for me.”

What can we learn?

  1. The power of humility
  2. God answers the prayer of the humble and exalts those of low degree
  3. The joy of getting a child. Let us rejoice in our children and pray for those looking a child and those committing abortions.
  4. The coming of Jesus brings joy. Hannah rejoices in anticipation and in Mary the whole world rejoices.
  5. Our lives should be a thanksgiving to God
  6. Our children belong to God. Let us take them to where they belong

Therefore, let us thank God who has given us his Son to redeem us. As we come closer to celebrating Christmas, let us in humility offer ourselves to God in trying to bring joy to the world starting with our families and our relations.

The People who sat in Darkness have seen the Light

Monday after Epiphany

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday we celebrated the Epiphany of the Lord – Jesus manifesting Himself to the world. With the symbol of the star Jesus revealed himself as the light of the world.

Today, Jesus continues manifesting himself as the light when he visits Zeblun and Naphtal the Gentile towns considered to be in darkness. As Isaiah prophesied, those people who sat in darkness have seen the light because Jesus who is Light from Light has visited them.

Therefore, after accepting Jesus we should not be led astray in our journey of faith. However, these days more than any other times false prophets have increased in our society. They deceive people and taking advantage of their desperate conditions they pretend to over solutions through miracles. But the recent revelations in Kenya, for example, shows clearly the existence of fake prophets in our society who misuse the name of Jesus for the love of money. This calls for serious attention to what St. John has told us in the first reading “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God.”

Identifying fake prophets is not easy because they acknowledge and use the Name of Jesus. But we can still do something. Using credible, written sources like the Bible and the Teachings of the Church examine what they teach against the totality of Jesus’ teachings; with the help of the Spirit you can identify contradictions. Again, examine the totality of their lives in the light of God’s commandments and you will notice inconsistencies.

Let us pray that we may always follow the true light in this world of darkness and by our lives be light to others.

Lent and Easter

Week 1 – Lent

You shall love your neighbour as yourself

Let us meditate deeply on what the first reading teaches us about our relationship with others:

1.       You shall not steal

  • How many times have I stolen blessings, time and favours from God?
  • How many times have stolen from my family by not contributing to the wellbeing of the family?
  • How many times have I stolen love from others by not returning love for love?
  • How many times have I stolen from my employer: money, time and material things?

 2.       You shall not lie to one another?

  • How many times have I lied to my wife? My husband? My children? My parents? My teachers? My employer? My friends?
  • How many times have I cheated my business partner?

 3.       You shall not oppress your neighbour or rob him

  • How many times have I oppressed my employees?
  • How many times have I oppressed my house help?

 4.       The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until morning.

  • How many times have I refused to pay on time my employees especially my house girl or house boy for no serious reason?
  • How long have I remain with the debt I own my friend?

 5.       You shall not do injustices in judgment?

  • How many times have I judge others wrongly?
  • Do I make investigation before I put bad names and evil labels on others?

 6.       You shall not go up and down as a slanderer

  • How many have we killed names by gossiping?
  • Do we restrain our tongues not to spread the weaknesses of others?

 7.       You shall not hate your brother in your heart?

  • How many are we carrying in grudge?
  • How many we cannot even greet: in our families, at work or our neighbours?
  • 8.       You shall not take vengeance?
  • Are we not making plots of vengeance against those we call our enemies?

This is a challenge. Let us pray that during this period of Lent we may work on at least one of the above where we find we are falling. Let us keep in mind what Jesus has told us in the Gospel “Whatever you did to one of these my brethren, you did it to me” whether good or bad.

Week 2 – Lent

Forgive and you will be Forgiven

 

Dear Family of God,

Lent is a time for us to acknowledge our weaknesses and our sins and ask for forgiveness from God. This is what we have heard in the first reading “…we have sinned and done wrong turning aside from your commandments” and from the psalm “Free us and forgive our sins.

In the Gospel Jesus is telling us “If you want mercy from God, be also merciful as your Father is merciful.” This is true. When we ask forgiveness from God we tell him that “as human beings we are weak, please bear with us.” This should make us remember that even those who have wronged us are human beings as weak as we are. Therefore, we should also bear with them. Forgiving others is not an easy thing; but this understanding is very important to help us find is easy to forgive others: “They are also weak as I am. They have wronged me but I sometimes also wrong them.

Yesterday we celebrated Jesus’ transfiguration. We were also called upon to make our lives and our society shine as Jesus shone before his Apostles. If we want to shine we need to remove sin. Therefore, let us approach Confession and be cleansed of our sins.

We were also called upon to bring Christ into our homes and society so that like Peter everyone can say “It is good to be here.” It is only through forgiving others that we can remove hatred and anger which make our homes and society hell on earth. By forgiving each other we shall live in love and everyone can say “It is good to be here.

We were told that if we want to shine and enter into Jesus’ glory we must ‘Listen to Jesus.’ Therefore, let us listen to what he tells us today “Be merciful as your heavenly father is merciful.” Just make a list of all those you are not in good terms with and one by one think of how you can reconcile with them.

 

Week 3 – Lent

Oh that Today you would Listen to his Voice

 

Dear Family of God,

Today Jesus tells us that there were many lepers in Israel but none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian who was not a Jew. This tells us that

  • God’s mercy is for all who are ready to receive it.
  • To receive cleansing or salvation we need obedience and humility.

Being a Jew or a Christian is not enough; we need to do something to acknowledge our sinfulness and ask for forgiveness. The Jews were proud and thought that being Jews  was enough for them to be saved. But Jesus tells them that if they remain contempt to the message of salvation simply because Jesus is coming from their tribe others will benefit from his work of salvation.

It is now the third week of Lent. We have heard enough of what we have to do in this Lent. What have we done? Oh that today you listen to his voice; harden not your hearts. Do not think you are too sinful to be cleansed; Jesus said “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Let us be convinced of God’s mercy and love; let us acknowledge with humility that we have sinned against God and against our neighbours and then let us take courage to approach the sacrament of confession and be cleansed.

Week 4 – Lent

No more Weeping 

Dear Family of God,

God is continuing his message of hope and consolation to the house of Israel and indeed to us all. Yesterday we saw how he raised King Cyrus of Persian to lead his people back home from exile in Babylon. Today by the Prophet Isaiah he declares “No more shall there be the sound of weeping or the cry of distress.”

Our King Cyrus is Jesus. In the Gospel Jesus is wiping away the weeping and crying of distress of that official at Capernaum and his family by healing their son. This was a symbol that God is now here to fulfill what he promised. He is creating new heavens and new earth. Jesus is here healing us from sins, weaknesses, conflicts and all that exiles away from God and from others. The former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.

Let us approach the mercy seat of God in this lent to be healed. Let us approach confession and plead for mercy as we sang in the psalm “Hear, O Lord and have mercy on me.”  Let us also prayer for the grace of forgiveness so that we can forgive those that have wronged us so that we create new families, new marriages, new relationships, new communities, new Jumuiyas and new society where no more hatred, conflicts grudge or anger will be heard. Where, no more weeping or cry of distress, because of mistreatment or disappointment, will be heard.

Week 5 – Lent

Vindication of the Just and Protection of a Sinner

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday we started the second part of our Lent – the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Story of Susanna in the firsts reading shows us the vindication of the Just. Susanna had not committed anything of what she was accused. Hers is a prophecy of what was to befall Jesus. Jesus was condemned to die although he had done no violence (Is 53:9). But God did not allow his Holy One to undergo decay (Ps 16:10).

How many times have we condemned the innocent? How many times have we spread gossips and defamation against others destroying their reputation, their name, their business, and their positions or taking away someone from their friends? How many times have we been blamed or condemned without our fault? Let us have trust in God. We are serving a living God. God does not forsake his people. He will see to it that we are vindicated and exonerated.

In the Gospel, the story of the woman caught in adultery shows that Jesus protects the sinner because “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (Jn 3:17). By this Jesus does not condone sinning; Jesus loves the sinner but does not love sinning; that is why he told the woman “Go and sin no more.

Sometimes we condemn others and lose hope in them and call them all forms of bad names. We condemn them of something we ourselves do in secret; only that we have not been caught. Let us face the truth of our sinfulness. Let us be tolerant and merciful to those who are weak not condoning their actions but loving them and praying for them with hope that one day they will sin no more.

 

Holy Week

LOVE IS NEVER TOO MUCH

 

 

Dear Family of God,

We are in the Holy Week and Yesterday Jesus entered Jerusalem but due to lack of lodge, he decided to go to his friends the family of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. From this story we have several lessons to learn.

a)      Love is never too much

Mary remembering how Jesus loves them and how he raised to life her Lazarus, she took very expensive oil and anointed Jesus feet which might have been full of dust due to a walk from Jerusalem to Bethany. Judas thinking in terms of money complained that the ointment could have been sold for denarii.  But for Mary is never too much; love has no limits. Judas was thinking in monetary value but Mary was about love and for her you cannot quantify love.

  • If you think you have loved Jesus too much there is a problem
  • If you think you have spent too much money or too much time for church affairs, there is a problem.
  • If you thing you have spent too much on you husband, your wife, your children, there is a problem.
  • It you think you have forgiven too much, there is a problem

Love does not count loss. Love does not count cost. Love is never too much

b)      The Time to Love is Now

Jesus answered Judas “The poor you have all the time but you are not with me always.” Jesus already knew he is going to die soon. It was an opportune time for Mary to show him love otherwise she would never get that time again.

  • Never postpone any act of love
  • When you feel you have to help someone do it now
  • The time to reconcile with God is now. Do not say I will come to church when I am old.
  • If you have an opportunity to reconcile with others, do it now.
  • If you have an opportunity to say ‘I am sorry,’ do it now. If you delay, anything might happen including death and it might be difficult to recover that opportunity.

Let us mediate and imitate the unquantifiable love that Jesus is showing us on his cross and reciprocate that love to others and by following God’s will because love is never too much and the time to love is now.

 

Easter Week 2

The Power of the Holy Spirit

 

Dear Family of God,

From today we shall witness the power of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Jesus tells Nicodemus that one has to be born of the Holy Spirit to enter into the Kingdom of God.

When one is born of the Holy Spirit in Baptism and now by the celebration of Easter, one becomes a changed person different from the earthly pattern. This we can witness by looking at our Christian life. It is quite different from the earthly life. The sacrifices we have to make to live our faith and follow God’s commandments and the teachings of the Church are not possible unless one is born of the Holy Spirit. What the Holy Spirit does is first to enlighten us to understand our faith and be convinced of it. Then He gives us courage to endure everything for the sake of the Kingdom.

This is what we witness in the first reading. When Peter and John told other disciples of the opposition they faced at the hand of the Jews, instead of mourning they rejoiced. Instead of revenging themselves they turned to prayer. Look at what happened after prayer. They received the Holy Spirit and became more courageous to speak in the name of Jesus more boldly.

Let us pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit to be our comforter, our guide and protector as we live our faith amid various oppositions form our own weaknesses and from outside. When Al Shabaab, Boko Haram and other deadly groups threaten our faith, let us not lose heart. Let us be united the more, continue pray and living our faith with more boldness.

 

 Easter Week 3

Do not Labour for Food that Perishes

Dear Family of God,

Today Jesus warns us that we should not work for food that perishes but for food that lasts for eternal life. He said so because of those who were seeking him not because they had faith in him but simply because they ate bread. They were following Jesus the miracle worker; who multiplied bread and made people to eat to their fill.

This warning is very relevant to us these days when many people want to follow Jesus of the miracles; Jesus who can make money and cure illnesses instantly. They want a church with healing miracles.

Jesus warns us against following him for material gains; following him when things go well with us. He does so because he knows as human beings and more so as Christians we cannot avoid the Cross in our lives. Already in the first reading we see Stephen one of seven deacons and indeed the first church is facing opposition. Imagine if they had built their faith on Jesus of roses; could they stand the persecution?

Let us not labour for food that perishes. If you base your faith on the Jesus of miracles will you stand your faith when you face difficulties? Will you remain faithful when you face illnesses? When your relatives die? When your marriage turns sour? When your business goes down? When people even your friends and family members plot against you to accuse you falsely or conspire to bring your business down or to take your plot? When you try to help and show love but you are not understood or appreciated?

In such times let us kneel and put our trust in the Lord. As we sang in the psalmHappy are those who walk in the law of the Lord. Though princes sit plotting against me, your servants ponders your statues” because as the acclamation tells us “man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that come from the mouth of the God.

Let us always work for food that lasts whether in season or out of season.

 

 

4th Week – Easter

IF ANYONE ENTERS BY ME, HE WILL BE SAVED

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday, Jesus taught us that He is the Good Shepherd. Today’s readings teach us the Universality of Salvation: salvation is for all; Jesus is the Good Shepherd for all. “If anyone enters by me he will be saved.” Salvation is not for one tribe, nation or race but anyone.

For the Jews it was different. For them salvation belongs to the Jews; the Gentiles (those who are not Jews), cannot be saved. That is why in the first reading they were bitter with Peter “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?”

In his defense, Peter narrated how God had warned him “What God has cleansed, you must not call common.” He added “If God gave the same gift (Holy Spirit) to them as he gave to us … who was I so that I could withstand God?”

Look keenly, if God warned Peter against calling mere animals unclean, what about calling other human beings unclean, unworthy? Why do we consider other tribes unworthy of jobs, leadership or marriage?

Imagine your son tells you he has found a beautiful lady to marry but she comes from a different tribe? What would be your feelings and reaction? Will you not ask him “Why did you go to that tribe? Among all these beautiful girls in our tribe, you did not find anyone until you go to that ‘tribe?’”

When we speak of tribalism or the need for inclusivity, let us not look at others being tribal; or the government being not inclusive in its appointments. Let us ask ourselves why we are not inclusive in marriage. Why are we not inclusive in our elections. If we elect our leaders on tribal basis how can we expect them to be inclusive when they get to power?

Imagine you are a manager and several job applications are presented to you. Which criteria will you use to assess them? Will you be objective to grant jobs on the merit basis or will you not start looking at the second name of the applicants to determine who is from where? If we want to end tribalism, it should start with me.

Week 5 – Easter

The Holy Spirit will Teach you Everything

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday Jesus told us that we need to abide in him and he in us if we are to bear fruits. To be able to abide in Jesus we need the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit of Christ is in us then we are in Jesus and Jesus is in us.

Jesus is soon ascending into heaven. Therefore, he promises the Holy Spirit so that we can abide in him and he in us. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to teach us everything and to remind us of what Jesus taught us. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit teaches us three things:

1.       To understand the Scriptures

If we want to know and to remember what Jesus taught us we need to read the scriptures. The Holy Spirit will help us to understand what Jesus means in what is written in the Bible because the Holy Spirit understands the mind of God (1Cor 2:10).

2.       To understand the Teachings of the Church

What Jesus taught is not only contained in the Scriptures but also in the Tradition taught by the church. Let us pray that we may understand and accept what the Church teaches even when it goes against common opinion or what we want.

3.       To understand the will of God

The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the will of God in our lives. Sometimes we ask ourselves and question God “Why? Why? Why all this in my life? Why should I experience all this?” The Holy Spirit will help us to answer such questions because he understand the will of God (1Cor 2:10).

Condition

To be able to know and understand the secrets of God, Jesus has given us one condition: to keep his commandments: “He who keeps my commandments, he it is that loves me. He who loves me, I will love him and reveal myself to him

 

We normally reveal our secrets to those we love – our close friends. So if we want Jesus to reveal the secrets to us we need to love him – to keep his commandments. This will help us to understand the scriptures, to understand the teachings of the church and to understand God’s will in our lives. When we ask “Why?” then Jesus by the Power of the Holy Spirit will tells us “Why?”

Everyone who kills you will think he is doing service to God

6th Week of Easter

Dear Family of God,

Jesus is continuing his farewell speech and today he is telling his disciples and indeed all of us the reality of persecution in the world. Our Christian faith attracts hatred and persecution because Christianity proposes a new way of life which is different from people’s common way of life. Moreover, Christian life appears demanding; it requires sacrifice; so people do not like it because it is a threat to them and because it challenges them and their consciences start reprimanding them.

As a result the world struggles to silence the voice of Christians so that they can feel comfortable. People of the world interpret their religion in a way that is easy for them. So, they look at Christianity as against the ‘God’ they know. Persecuting us or even killings us to them seems a service to their ‘God.’ When Al Shabaab are killing Christians they think they are offering service to Allah their God.

Let us pray that we may receive the Holy Spirit that Jesus is promising us so that we can know the truth, be convinced of our Christian way of life and so be courageous to live our faith amid oppositions from the world. Let us also pray that God may enlighten those people who are persecuting us or opposing the teachings of the church that they may come to know the truth because they do all this because ‘they do not know the Father, nor Jesus.’ As the Holy Spirit opened the heart of Lydia to receive the words of Paul, let the hearts of our enemies be opened to receive the Word of God and moral values as they are taught by the church.

 

I have overcome the world

 

Today’s Jesus is giving a message of hope “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” This means then that there is nothing that should separate us from the love of Christ.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Rom 8:35).

The for us who have been baptized in the name of Jesus and received the Holy Spirit we should have such a strong faith and trust in God’s protection and be convinced that the route we have taken is the right one because Jesus told us

I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (Jn 8:12).

Therefore, no beauty and pleasures of this world should blind us to leave our faith and morality. No tribulations or fears should make us shrink from our faith or compromise the truth.

If Jesus has overcome the world, we too who follow Jesus should overcome the world.

YEAR I

Follow Me

Week 1 –  Year II

With the Baptism of the Lord Yesterday, we ended the Christmas time. Today we have started the first part Ordinary time which will take us to Ash Wednesday when we shall begin Lent.

Yesterday we saw that with Baptism Jesus started his public life. In today’s Gospel Jesus has started his work calling people to repent and believe the Gospel. He has also started recruiting followers – the first disciples.

Similarly his ordinary time we go out to live the faith in our normal life. Let us follow Jesus in whatever we are doing. Let us follow him so that we can benefit from his work of redemption. Let us listen to him so that we can know how to manage our daily business in the right way. As we said yesterday, Jesus’ work of redemption is continued by the Church through sacraments. Let us benefit from these sacraments especially Confession and the Eucharist. Let us “with joy draw water from the wells of salvation.”

Jesus called the first disciples to make them “Fishers of men.” Let us participate in the life of the Church to make Jesus know and recruit more people to follow Jesus. Let us be witnesses of our faith in our places of work, at school, in our business, politics and the government.

2nd Week – II

He Learned Obedience through Suffering

 

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday we all pledged together with the Psalmist saying “He I am Lord, I have come to do your will.” Jesus told us “Come and see” how to do the will of God. Today’s first reading shows us Jesus who was obedient to the will of his Father even when it was for him to suffer.

The Jews fasted but just for a showoff. That is why Jesus told them that new one is to be put into new vessels. Those who have turned to Jesus are new beings and they have a new way of serving God from their heart not just for display. The life in Jesus is the life of Joy. When Jesus is with his disciples, he is their master- the high priest who offers himself to wash away their sins and they have no reason to fast. Jesus points again to his death when he says that the bridegroom will be taken away from them and that is when his disciples will also fast.

What we can see in this is that we need to obey God’s will at all times – whether it is for joy or for suffering.  We have a High Priest who took our nature and suffered like us; he will deal gently with us and be our comfort when we feel that God’s will is heavy on us.

“Pray, therefore, the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers”

3rd Week – II

Today, the Church commemorates the feast of Sts. Timothy and Titus, Bishops. Both were disciples of St. Paul. They were his close companions and collaborators in some of his missionary journeys. Paul mentions them in his letters and, even, wrote pastoral letters to them. Above all, he made them bishops over the new churches he had founded. The main criterion for putting them in-charge of the new churches was not due to their abilities but their strong faith in the risen Lord.

As Jesus said, in the Gospel just proclaimed, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few”. He commends us to pray for more laborers – and not any laborers but laborers with faith, dedication and courage.

Ours is not only a duty to pray, but it is also our duty and responsibility to respond if we are called to be among the laborers. When we pray and our prayers are answered, God wants us to trust in His abilities. But when we pray and feel that our prayers are not answered, then God wants us to trust in our God-given abilities.

At any rate we should not cease praying.

Fr Adeodatus Rwehumbiza

Jesus the Light of the World

Dear Family of God,

Today we are celebrating the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple. This was a form of Our Lord’s Epiphany; Jesus is manifesting himself as the Light of the world. This day is also called the Day of Lights.

Jesus was presentation during the day of “their purification” as the Gospel tells us according to the law. When Jesus comes as Light he dispels the kingdom of darkness. He makes himself one of us, impure like us (as the second reading tells us), so that he can purify us. Therefore, by this celebration we are purified; the world is purified of its darkness; we are sanctified; we are consecrated. The prophecy of Malachi has been fulfilled.

Today therefore, we rightly pray for consecrated life; those people who have offered themselves and have been consecrated (set apart) to serve God as Priests and Religious. Let us pray for them so that  they may always be anxious to please the Lord as Paul told us yesterday.

But we are all consecrated by virtue of the Light of Baptism. We are set apart from the world of darkness to serve God. We are the temples of the Holy Spirit. We were once darkness but now we are Light in the world; let us walk as children of Light (cfr Eph 5:8).

Let us pray that the light of our faith may always be a guide in our life. We are the light of the world. Let us rise up and shine so that people may see our good deeds and glorify our God in heaven. St. Paul tells us “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them”(Eph 5:11).

 

5th Week – I

Those who touched his garments were made well

Dear Family of God,

Today we continue with what we started yesterday that Jesus is our healer. The first reading gives us the creation story. The Gospel presents Jesus healing many who were sick. All this shows us that God who created the world continues to guide and protect it through his divine providence. God did not create the world and left it to go its way; He is God with us. When we fall He is there to raise us; when we are troubled He is our refuge. He has taken our infirmities and bore our diseases.

As many as those that touched his garment were made well” the Gospel tells us. Let us touch his garment; let us approach the throne of mercy. To be healed of our sins, our illnesses and other weaknesses, what we need is just to touch his garments. Where is the garment of Jesus? In his word “Come all you who labour and are over laden and I will give you rest”; in his Sacraments especially Confession, Anointing of the Sick and Eucharist; and in his Church especially in our family members, our Jumuiya and medical practitioners.

As we struggle to touch the garment of Jesus, let us also spread ourselves as the garment of Jesus so that people can touch Jesus through us. Let us participate in alleviating poverty and taking care of the sick. Let us not be a reason for breaking people’s hearts but be part of healing the broken hearted.

I wish you a blessed week and a blessed World’s Day of the Sick 11th Feb.

 

GO AND SELL WHAT YOU HAVE

 

Dear Family of God,

We have began the second part of the ordinary time. It is time to consider our life and mission in the world after receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Yesterday Jesus commissioned us to go to all nations to teach the faith. Today’s readings try to expound that mission. Jesus tells us “Go and sell what you have then come and follow me.” This is a call for detachment from the world. This is the call of Sirach in the first reading, to repent and return to God. Strong attachment to worldly riches and pleasures is a source of all sins. Jesus is not against being rich in the ordinary sense, but he is against one being full of themselves thinking they have everything and they do no need God. Chasing riches that way is what is called vanity of vanities, like chasing the wind. Any riches that do not bring you closer to God is useless.

As we begin our life in the world let us consider what we have which is taking us away from God and sell it (Abandon it)and follow Jesus. Let us pray for the spirit of detachment.

 

 

Blessed the Man who Fears the Lord

Memorial of St. Justin the Martyr

 

 

Dear Family of God,

Today we are celebrating the memorial of St. Justin the Martyr. St. Justin together with his companions died a the hand of Marcus Aurelius, about the year 165.

Justin was born of a pagan family in Nablus in Samaria. He was a philosopher and on his conversion to the faith he wrote in defense of our faith. His main writings, the Apologies and the Dialogue are among the main sources of our theology.

In the gospel today, Jesus gives a parable to show how people reject the true faith. The tenants of the vineyard killed the Lord’s messengers and later the killed his only son. This son is an example of Jesus himself who was rejected by the Jews.

A similar thing happened to Justin and his companions. The people of their time could not accept the faith in the Holy Trinity and so, they killed them. This is still the case during our time. We might face similar opposition when we stand for our faith and for the teachings of the church in matters of faith and morality. We may face opposition when we stand for truth and justice. Let us not be discouraged. Even Tobit whom we heard from the first reading was not understood by his people despite all the charity his was doing to his kinsmen. Let us not lose heart. As we have sang in the psalm “Blessed the man who fears the Lord.

We also have been entrusted with the gift of faith and many blessings. God wishes that we bear fruits in due season. Let us fear the Lord and put all we are and have at the disposal of others. Let us sacrifice ourselves for the love of others and for helping those in need. Even if we might not get an opportunity to shed blood for our faith like St. Justin the Martyr, let us at least shed our sweat in serving others.

 

 

Blessed are those who Mourn

Dear Family of God,

Today Jesus is giving us a new look of life. While the Jews thought that blessed are the  powerful, the strong the rich, Jesus teaches a new kind of blessedness; that blessed are the poor and those who mourn and are persecuted.

Let us meditate shortly on the second beatitude: Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

There are three ways of mourning

1. Blessed are those who are passing through difficult moments in their lives

Paul has told us in the first reading “Blessed is God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions.” So, do not be troubled. The psalmist has told us “I sought the Lord and he answered me.” Why then, should you say ‘God has forgotten me;’ just “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

 

Those who mourn in this way will be comforted in two ways:

  • God has a reason for whatever happens in our life and the main reason is to save us and others; to unite us with God and with others. When you pass through sorrows it the time you discover your friends.
  • In times of suffering is when you discover God and seek him. And this become the beginning of the true comfort – salvation.

2.       Blessed are those who mourn at the suffering of others

They are blessed those who are sensitive to the problems and suffering of others and are there to help; to alleviate poverty, injustices and bring hope and healing. Since they are doing the work of God they will be rewarded because “God comforts us so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction” as Paul has told us.

3.       Blessed are those who mourn for their sins

They are blessed those who are able to recognize and acknowledge their sinfulness and be sorrowful for their sins because that is the first step towards repentance. They will be comforted because their sins will be forgiven and they will attain salvation.

Let us pray that the Good Lord may help us to hope in him especially when we pass through difficult moments in our lives; that we may be sensitive to the problems and sufferings of others and offer ourselves to assist; that we may have the sense of sin and approach Confession.

 

 

 

An Eye for an Eye will leave us all Blind

Dear Family of God,

Today we are taught against resentment and retaliation. If you take literally the new rules he gives you may appear funny; but what does Jesus mean?

He says “Do not resist an evil person”

From last week Jesus has been telling us how he has come to fulfill old law by giving it new meaning and interpretation. Today he is talking against the rule of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ This might appear good for those who consider quick justice and compensation; but the truth is an for an eye will leave us all blind. Such revengeful mind is destroys both parties. ‘You have done this to me I will also do the same to you’ only increases the number of bad people in the society, family of places of work. If we had only one person who is evil when you revenge you become two. ‘You have stolen our cattle and killed our men we shall steal yours and kill your people’ will leave us will graves and orphans.

He says “If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”

If we take it literally it may appear childish but what he means is that ‘Even if a man should direct at you the most deadly and calculated insult, you must on no account retaliate, and you must on no account resent it.’ We had only one person who insults others in the office but if you pay an insult for an insult, we shall end up having two people who are insulting others.

He says “If anyone takes your tunic, leave him even your coat”

Sometimes it is not wise to fight for every right. In family life and especially among married people, it you think you should always fight for your rights in marriage without any endurance, you are heading to fail or end up in courts of justice.

He says “If you are compelled to go one mile go two”

Sometimes we are forced to do extra work either by our employers or because of the failure or laziness of our colleagues or because someone is late. In such cases, let us not feel bad because you have been compelled to go an extra mile but be always thinking of your duty and your privilege to be of service to others.

If you follow these rules in society others may think you are a coward or failure. But as Paul tells us in the first reading, we should learn to endure. He continues to say that others may think we are dead but behold we are alive; sorrowful but always rejoicing. People may think you have no voice in your family as a man; but you marriage is flourishing.

What we can do, instead of revenge of resentment, is to find a good forum and talk about something that we are not happy about. Again, we should be always know that we are serving a ‘Living God’ who sees what we are enduring; we should not find means to justify ourselves and retaliate.

Judge not

Dear Family of God,

Today, Jesus is teaching us against judging others. He says “Judge not then you will not be judged?” What does Jesus mean by this teaching? That we should close all courts? That we should not tell people ‘you have done wrong?’ what does he mean by ‘judge not?’

By ‘judge not’ Jesus mean that we should not lose hope in people that they cannot change and are doomed to hell. ‘All sins can be forgiven except the sin against the Holy Spirit’ This is the sin of despair and losing hope. When you lose hope either in oneself or in others you mean that God is not powerful to save them; you mean God does not love them. It is not easy to be saved if you have no hope in the saving power of God.

Therefore, when you say someone is so bad that he cannot change, you mean you have lost hope in the love and power of God to save. In essence you are passing a judgment for yourself because you cannot be saved since you have denied the God’s saving power.

Therefore, ‘judge not’ does not mean we should not see and tell people their mistakes or wrong doings. It does not mean that we should close all courts and never punish someone. No. In some sense it encourages it because when you reprimand and rebuke or punish someone you mean that you still have hope in that person to change. So, that is not condemning. Condemning or judging would mean not telling some their mistakes or not punishing them for wrong doing because that would mean you do not see any hope in them and you leave them to hell. Therefore, judge not.

“I was rescued from the Lion’s Mouth” (2Tim.4:17)

Sts Peter and Paul

Dear Family of God,

As we saw yesterday, this week we are meeting the God of Life, who raises the dead, forgives sins, raises the lowly and rescues the just from ‘lion’s mouth.’

Today, we are celebrating the solemnity of the Saints Peter and Paul. These are great apostles and pillars of the Church. On the faith of Peter the Church was built and Paul laboured to spread it among the Gentiles and to the bounds of the earth. They loved the church, the loved the people and by their strong faith, the sacrificed themselves and died martyrs.

To them Christ gave new life, first to Peter and later to Paul after His resurrection. They too offered their lives to spread the gospel that gives life to people. They suffered in spreading the good news but “from all their terrors, the Lord set them free.”

Let us learn from these great men, the spirit of sacrifice; let us offer ourselves to  bring life to people. Each in our own capacity, let us work to alleviate poverty and tears from the people; let us give people hope and be a reason for them to laugh. In all this we shall meet difficulties but trusting in God, He will rescue us from the lion’s mouth because the angel of Lord is always encamped around those who fear him, to rescue them.

May Sts Peter and Paul pray for the Pope and for all those who are devoted to spreading the good news, both clerics and lay people; that they may be strong in their mission, touch and the lives of many and bring the light of hope in the lowly and those who are bowed down.

O my God, I trust in you

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday we saw how God comes to the aid of the simple. He calls the weak, gives them grace and raises them so that he can use them to accomplish his work. Today, God promises to be with Jacob and that he will make him a great nation. Jesus in the Gospel raises the daughter of Jairos and heals the woman with hemorrhage.

In spite of our weaknesses, God is always ready to help us rise from our ashes as he promised us yesterday  “My Grace is sufficient for you.” What we need is to trust in him. What we need is to recognize that we are weak, run to him and he will make us strong because when we are weak, then we are strong.

The woman with hemorrhage had that as her thorn in her flesh; the death of her daughter was to Jairos a thorn in his flesh but God’s grace was sufficient for them.

Let us also submit to God with humility and say with the Psalmist “O my God, I trust in you.”

I have not come to bring Peace but a Sword

Dear Family of God,

Today we continue with the theme of the week as we started yesterday that we should put our trust and hope in God and not in people or other worldly things.

In the gospel Jesus is telling us that he did not come to bring peace but war and conflict. It would seem contradictory if we consider Jesus as King of Peace. What he means here is that, when we have decided to follow Jesus we should not put our hope even when it means breaking friendships with our relatives.

It is better for us to be enemies than being friends in doing evil. Yesterday, Jesus prevented us from taking things for our journey. Sometimes we carry friends who actually become heavy burdens taking us away from God. Sometimes we put all our security in bad friends with fear that we cannot do without them. Jesus says if we love our fathers, mothers, daughters and sons more than we love him we are not worthy of him.

Therefore, let us pray for courage to say No to bad friendships and bad traditions if they are taking us away. Even if people persecute us because we uphold Christian values and teachings let us not worry “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteous sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Today, we have started the story of the redemption of the Israel. Egyptians are planning to persecute Israel but through out the week we shall see how God will fight for them because God does not forsake his people.

 

Harden not your Hearts

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday we saw how Jesus fulfilled God’s promise that he would give us shepherds after his heart. He felt compassion for people who were like sheep without shepherd. Today, we continue to see the compassion of God to Israel. He favoured Israel against Egypt and with a great hand he rescued them from slavery where they were scattered like sheep without shepherd.

In the Gospel we are warned against not recognizing the different favours God has given us in our lives: that we are forgiven our sins, that we have the Eucharist, that we can pray and be listened by the loving God, that we have intelligence, that we have the Bible, that we have opportunity to exercise our faith, that we have opportunity to celebrate Mass, that we have good preachers.

Sometimes we do not see all these privileges calling us to be grateful and live a life worth of our calling by following God’s commandments. We look for great miracles to be a reason for us to believe. We are looking for signs. ‘If my child does not get well now, I do not believe whether this God is a loving God”, we say. We forget that we prayed to the same God and he gave us that child. We say ‘since my business does not grow I can no longer go to Church. Why should I continue worshiping God who has forgotten me?’ That is why Jesus says  ‘this is an evil and adulterous generation.’ It is evil because it is selfish, wanting things to go the way we want; It is adulterous because we move from this power to this power seeking for help; we do not have committed allegiance to God.

Jesus says even the queen of the South and the People of Nineveh will condemn us because they did not have all the opportunities and privileges to believe as we have; they were contented to believe in the little things they had. What do we need surely, until we believe and trust in God? That is why the Psalmist tells us “Harden not your hearts, but listen to his voice.”

And the Disciples gave the loaves to the Crowd

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday, Jesus told us that he is the bread of life. As a preparation for the Eucharist, today Jesus is feed more that five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish.

In the first reading, Moses is complaining that he cannot lead the people alone because they were demanding meat which he did not have. In the Gospel Jesus is feeding a big crowd. While the people of Israel hungered for bread, Jesus’ crowd go satisfied.

All this was to prepare for the bread of life – the Eucharist. For us who live in the Eucharistic time, we should strive to receive the Eucharist. Without the Eucharist we shall die on the way, our journey will be too long; the burden will be too heavy on us as it was on Moses.

Let us take advantage of the compassion of Jesus and feed from his two streams – the Word and the Eucharist. Let us work for the food that perishes – worldly food, worldly joys, passions and wealth but for the bread of life that lasts for eternity because man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes for the mouth of God.

Keep the Commandments

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday, Jesus taught us that He is the bread of life. When we consider the Eucharist as the celebration – Mass, we understanding the two tables – the Word and the Eucharist. We learn the Will of God and we are strengthened by the Eucharist to fulfill the will of God.

Jesus teaches us today that if we want to enter life we must keep the commandments. The commandments are not a snare or a burden but they help us to know what God wills for us. This requires the spirit of sacrifice to sell all our possessions – to abandon all we hold dear but is against God’s will. To share what we have with the poor because our treasure is in heaven; there should not be anything we treasure than being in good relationship with God.

The Israelites despite experiencing God’s love in the desert; despite eating God’s food could not keep the commandments. They went away sorrowful for they had great possessions because they did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways.

Let us pray that as we celebrate the Eucharist we may learn the Will of God for us at the table of the Word and be strengthened by the Eucharist so that we may be poor in spirit; be humble to keep the commandments and enter into life.

For this I Toil

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday, through prophet Isaiah, God sent us all to tell those who are troubled “Take courage, do not be afraid.” Many people are passing through difficult times in their lives; they are experiencing suffering and trying moments. They need encouragment and a message of hope.  One source of strength in suffering is to know why you are suffering.

St. Paul is rejoicing today because he has know for what he is toiling “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s suffering for the sake of his body.” When you know that you are suffering for a right cause, you really rejoice. When you know that God is alive and know what you are passing through that it is not for nothing but just a contribution to the salvation of your family, your husband, you wife, your children, your relatives, your parents, or even of the people you do not know, you rejoice. You rejoice because, like Jesus, God has found you worth to participate in the work of salvation.

This is the message we should know ourselves when we suffer and tell others who are suffering. Jesus has come against all traditions to heal even on the Sabbath, to save life and not to destroy it. So, let us do the same; let us be a reason for people to smile again. Paul has told us “I strive for you and those at Laodicea that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in love.”

Always pray so that you may know for what you are suffering.

Whoever Humbles himself will be Exalted

Exaltation of the Cross

Dear Family of God,

Today we are celebrating the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. We are celebrating the dedication of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem which is believed to stand on the spot where our Lord Jesus was crucified and buried. We are celebrating the centrality of the Cross in our life and its saving power.

From the Cross we learn the spirit of sacrifice; we learn the power of suffering; we understand that whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Jesus was in the form of God but humbled himself and was obedient to death; we learn the wisdom of being of fool; we learn the richness of being poor; we recognize the loudness of being silent; we understand that we shall ascend higher if we accept low positions.

We are called to have that spirit of sacrifice; to abandon everything so that we can get everything; to have that ‘humble ear’ that we heard yesterday so that we can be obedient to God’s will, accept suffering in our lives because it is through suffering that we shall be exalted.

Yesterday, Peter refused to accept the cross, to accept suffering and he was called ‘Satan.’ Let us pray for the spirit of abandonment so that we can glory in being low; to deny ourselves of any pleasure thta leads us to sin because we know whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

In Lowliness and Meekness

Feast of St. Mathew, Apostle and Evangelist

Dear Family of God,

Today we are celebrating the feast of St. Mathew, Apostle and Evangelist. Mathew was formally a tax collector. Called by Jesus, he left his office and followed Jesus preparing a meal for him.

The call of Mathew shows the mercy of God and the humility of Mathew. Tax collectors were the most hated people among the Jews and were considered the most corrupt. It is this group of people that Jesus came to save because what he desires is mercy, not sacrifice. Mathew himself did not hesitate but recognizing his sinfulness with humility won forgiveness and mercy from Jesus. Here, we should recall the humility of the tax collector against the Pharisee.

Yesterday, St. Jacob warned us against self-ambition and pride. Where do dissensions among you come from? Is it not your passions? He encouraged us to put on the wisdom from above which is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy….

Today St. Paul continues the same message “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness.” This is the wisdom of humility which will help us never to regard anyone an outcast or hopeless. Now one is better than the other. We are only different because “he willed that some be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers

What brings problems in our communities is despising other people, their position and service in the community or eyeing for other people’s positions. Let us pray through the intercession of St. Mathew that we may serve in lowliness and meekness not regarding ourselves as better than others.

 

 

Do not Forbid him

Dear Family of God,

Today Luke gives his own version of Yesterday’s message. The disciples forbade the man who was casting out demons in the name of Jesus while he does not follow the company of Jesus. Jesus tells them, ‘do not forbid him.

Yesterday we heard how Moses responded to Joshua’s request to prevent Eldadi and Medadi who were prophesying like Moses but had refused to join others in the tent on meeting. Moses said “do not forbid them. How we wish that all people could be prophets.”

  • Sometimes we become envious of the people who are favoured by God the same way we are.
  • This kind of hatred increases when we see those who are not participating with us in the church or in our groups flourishing and their families enjoying success upon success.
  • We think because we are Christians and we ‘are close to the church’ God should give the first share before he considers the rest.
  • Do not forbid them; do not become envious. How we wish that all people would be successful; that all people would do good because God came to save all people ‘from the east to the west.
  • Their success does not take away our success. Why shouldn’t we be happy that all are good.
  • Although we participate in church matters, we should not consider ourselves greater than others for the one who is the least among us is the one who is the greatest.
  • Let us pray for humility, never to consider ourselves more important or greater than others; but take ourselves very simple and God will make us great.

Who is my Neighbour?

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday, the Sunday Readings reminded us of love and unity. The love and unity that is between wife and husband is the love and unity that should exist between us and Christ and among ourselves. Today we are given an illustration of such love – to love our neighbour.

The passage tells us that the Samaritan was a neighbour to the traveler because he was “…the one who showed mercy on him.” Therefore, “My Neighbor is the one to whom I can or I am supposed to show mercy.” Mercy here does not mean only forgiveness but also and more so “Compassion and Love”.

Yesterday, we saw that Eve was created out of a rib taken from Adam. This shows how love demands sacrifice – sacrificing even what is very dear to you for the sake of a friend as Jesus did when a he allowed a sword to pierce his side. A similar scenario is given today. The Samaritan “took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying ‘Take care of him’.” This “him” is my neighbour – whoever needs my love. The “two denaries” are everything that I am and I have: my life, my faith, my opportunities, my job, my position as a leader. Therefore, I should use all these to take care of my neighbour.

Why are you afraid then to give what you have to help others? Jesus has promised

“…and whatever more you spend I will repay you when I come back.

Which more can you spend that was not given you by God? Where did you get it from? Whatever we have is from God; let us give back to God by helping others.

St. Paul says

…Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion…” (2Cor 9:6-15).

Therefore, let us be generous with what God has given us to take care of our neighbour and the world. This is the Gospel of love.

 

Let us listen to what Jesus has told us in the Gospel acclamation:

A new commandment I give to you…that you love one another, even as I have loved you

Go and do likewise

 

Something greater than Solomon is here

28th week – I

Dear Family of God,

The Sunday’s readings Yesterday reminded us of the need to have God’s wisdom so that we can be able to discern God’s will in our lives, do it and enter into eternal life.

Today in the first reading St. Paul tells us that God has made his salvation known even to the ends of the earth. God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ who is God’s Wisdom. Therefore, heeding and following Jesus is following God and he who is the Way, the Truth and Life will not fail us because he is the light and whoever walks in his light will not know darkness.

In the Gospel Jesus points out that although, he the Wisdom has come into the world, people do not accept him. They need a sign so that they can believe in his message. They want an assurance through a sign. Something greater than Solomon is here; but people refuse to listen to him. They refuse to accept Jesus unless he performs miracles for them.

Sometimes we act in a similar way when we demand for miracles in our lives as a condition for accepting the teachings of the Bible and of the Church. Sometimes we lose faith and hope when we think our prayers are not answered. When we get problems in life like illness, death of our loved ones, hardships of life, rejection or hatred we tend to think God has failed and we turn to ‘alternatives’ in the form of satanic powers or evil means of getting what we want. Sometimes some of us are swayed by the purportedly ‘miracle workers’ only to end up in a more confused situation. We are looking for a sign – unless something sensational happens in our lives Jesus has no power. No sign will be given to us.

God has given us everything in Jesus. Let us have strong faith and trust in his love. Amid temptations and challenges of life let us have God as our refuge and hope that he will not fail us. He let us pray for his wisdom so that even when it seems he is silent and delays in his action we may know that one day in his sight is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day. This is God wisdom. Something greater than human wisdom is here.

Rich towards God

Dear Family of God,

The call to servant leadership that we received yesterday “whoever wants to be great must be a servant of all” is a call to be rich in God. It is a call to abandon the world and cling to God. It is a call to have a spirit of sacrifice and love for the other so that one can sacrifice himself for the sake of others, for the sake of those he serves or leads.

The best example, who is also a figure of Christ, is Abraham as we have heard from the first reading. He left everything even his kinsmen and kinswomen and followed God. He is the fathers of us all in faith and this was reckoned to him as righteousness. He is the figure of the Son of Man who came not to be served but to serve and give himself a ransom for many.

The opposite is the example of the rich man who was rich in material things but did not make himself rich towards God. This is a problem of selfishness which has infected us in these times. This man, may be had his wealth through right means but the problem was that he could not think of others who cannot put even a piece of ugali at table. He is always I, I, my mine – I will do this, I will pull down, my grains, my heart …. He has no sense of the other. He has no spirit of service to the other – to open up his treasures for people to eat.

Open up your treasures for the needy and God will open up his treasures for you.
When we open new accounts in foreign countries, let us also consider open an account in heaven. Make yourself rich towards God.

This God of ours is a God who saves

Dear Family of God,

As we prayed yesterday ‘that we may see,’ today St. Paul shares with us what he has see “we are children of God.” God in Jesus Christ has saved us and given us his Spirit that makes us his children. It needs God’s grace to recognize and appreciate this truth.

The Psalmist confirms this truth when he exclaims “This God of ours is a God who saves.” But look at what the woman in the Gospel has seen! “Woman you are freed from your infirmity.” Truly, this God of ours is a God who saves.

God then into the depth of your heart and your life and find a reason to person confirm that “This God of ours is a God who saves.” It was appropriate what we sang yesterday “What great deeds, the Lord worked for us, indeed we were glad.

This will help us to change our lives and live a life worth of our calling, a life of thanks giving as Paul tells us in the first reading “We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh” because ‘this God of ours is a God who saves.’

We are fellow Works with God

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Dear Family of God,

Today we are celebrating the feast of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome.

The Lateran Basilica is the Cathedral of Rome, mother of all the churches. The Lateran Palace had been the home of a powerful Roman family, but became part of the dowry of Fausta, the second wife of Constantine. Constantine donated it to the Bishop of Rome, probably about 312. The basilica was dedicated in 324. The Lateran was the official residence of the Popes from the 4th century until their departure to Avignon in 1309. The church and palace declined during the 14th c., when there were two serious fires. The basilica was rebuilt. It is dedicated to Christ the Savior, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. It is one of the four ‘Major Basilicas,’ and honoring this church is an expression of love, for it “presides in charity” over the community of the faithful.

The first reading gives us the symbolism of a temple how it is a fountain of life to everything around it. Jesus in the Gospel explains this symbolism that he is the Temple because he is the sacrament of God. So in Jesus God is with us. That is why the responsorial psalm tells us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

This agrees with what we heard yesterday that God “takes care of the orphans and widows.” As we saw, he does this through us. That is why Paul tells us in the second reading

 

 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? We are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Therefore, let us pray that as individuals and as church let us be temple of God. Let the world recognize in us and through us the present of God in their lives. Let us be a refuge of the needy and the troubled.

None was found like Daniel and his friends

Dear Family of God,

Today, we are called to develop two virtues: the spirit of sacrifice and trust in God. Daniel and his companions refused to eat at the table of the king of Babylon because they had their own king, the God of Israel. They were courageous enough to sacrifice even the best food for fear of defilement and thus kept their faith.

Sometimes we abandon our own King and pay allegiance to other kings because of we enjoy delicious foods at their table. We compromise our faith, our vocation and moral standards for friendship or for favours.

We are called to detachment of the world and its pleasures. This requires the spirit of sacrifice. We are given an example of a poor widow who put in a treasury two coins which were all she had for a living. We should be ready let go even that we hold very dear to us; even that we consider a source of our living if doing so would bring us closer to our King.

To abandon what we treasure requires strong faith and trust in God. Sometimes we think we cannot live without someone or something but in truth they take us away from God. Look at Daniel and his companions. None was found like Daniel, Hanahiah, Michael and Azariah. They did not grow thinner because they refused the kings food. God protected them because they trusted in him. Despite eating only vegetables they were healthier than others.

Let us be courageous and say enough is enough, let go what defiles and God our King will protect us. God does not forsake his people.

YEAR II

Follow me

 

With the Baptism of the Lord Yesterday, we ended the Christmas time. Today we have started the first part of the Ordinary time which will take us to Ash Wednesday when we shall begin the Lenten Season.

Yesterday we saw that with Baptism Jesus started his public life. In today’s Gospel Jesus has started his work calling people to repent and believe the Gospel. He has also started recruiting followers – the first disciples.

Similarly, in this ordinary time we go out to live the faith in our normal life. Let us follow Jesus in whatever we are doing. Let us follow him so that we can benefit from his work of redemption. Let us listen to him so that we can know how to manage our daily businesses in the right way. As we said yesterday, Jesus’ work of redemption is continued by the Church through sacraments. Let us benefit from these sacraments especially Confession and the Eucharist. Let us “with joy draw water from the wells of salvation.”

Jesus called the first disciples to make them “Fishers of men.” Let us participate in the life of the Church to make Jesus known and assist in recruiting more disciples to follow Jesus. Let us be witnesses of our faith in our places of work, at school, in our business, politics and the government.

 

 

You will see the Angels of God

Feast of Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

 Click here for the readings

Dear Family of God,

Today we are celebrating the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. The word angel means “someone sent, someone on a mission.” Angels are spirits created by God and serve him as messengers to us here on earth. Angels are given names to signify their power and the work they are sent to do.

Angels are many and according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life” (CCC 336) whom we call Guardian Angel. These three however, are called Archangels because of the importance of the message they carry. As their names suggest:

Michael means “Who is like God?” He is believed therefore, to be our defender and protector in battle(Rev 12:7-12).

Gabriel means “Power of God.” He is believed to have made important announcements of our history of salvation including the birth of John the Baptist; he announced to the Virgin Mary that she would be the mother of God (Lk 1:26-38). He is the one who informed the shepherds about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem .

Raphael means “Healing of God.” He is involved in God’s healing mission(Tob 3:17; 5:4; 12:15).

Why is their celebration brought in this 26th week? In this week as we started yesterday with the Sunday readings, we are reminded of the humble and loving obedience to God’s will. These angels are presented to us as examples of perfect obedience. They are “the mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word” (Ps 103:20).

Therefore, as we celebrate this feast let us thank God for his love by which he uses all means possible to reach out to us and make known his love and will. Let us thank him for the gift of these Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael and pray that we may always enjoy their service in our lives. Let us also pray that through their intercession and their example we may also have such humble and loving obedience always hearkening to his voice and doing his will in our lives so that we may at the end “see greater things than these …heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man” as Jesus has promised the humble Nathaniel in the Gospel.

Happy Feast Day.

For more information about Angels read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (328-336) or click here.

Who is my Neighbour?

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday, the Sunday Readings reminded us that we were chosen so that we may bear lasting fruits. Today we are given an illustration of how to bear fruits – to love our neighbour.

The passage tells us that the Samaritan was a neighbour to the traveler because he was “…the one who showed mercy on him.” Therefore, “My Neighbor is the one to whom I can show mercy.” Mercy here does not mean only forgiveness but also and more so “Compassion and Love.

The parable of the vineyard that we heard Yesterday showed us that the lord of the vineyard entrusted the vineyard to the servants and left only to require his fruits later. A similar illustration is given today. The Samaritan “took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying ‘Take care of him’.” This “him” is my neighbour – whoever needs my love. The “two denarii” are everything that I am and I have: my life, my faith, my opportunities, my job, my position as a leader. Therefore, I should use all these to take care of my neighbour.

Why are you afraid then to give what you have to help others? Jesus has promised

“…and whatever more you spend I will repay you when I come back.

Which more can you spend that was not given you by God? Where did you get it from? Whatever we have is from God; let us give back to God by helping others.

St. Paul says

…Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion…” (2Cor 9:6-15).

Therefore, let us be generous with what God has given us to take care of our neghbour and the world. This is the Gospel of love. By this we shall bear fruit in due season. But if we hate one another what St. Paul said about the Galatians in the first reading will apply to us

“…I am astonished that you are so quickly to deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel.

 

Let us listen to what Jesus has told us in the Gospel acclamations

A new commandment I give to you…that you love one another, even as I have loved you

NO SIGN WILL BE GIVEN TO THIS GENERATION

Click here for full readings

Dear Family of God,

The Sunday’s readings Yesterday reminded us of the joys in the Kingdom of God and how sometimes preoccupations with ourselves prevent us from heeding to the call to enter the Kingdom.

Today in the first reading St. Paul gives us one source of joy in the Kingdom that we are free children and not slaves. This is because Jesus Christ has set us free by teaching us God’s will which enables us to do good and therefore be happy. He calls upon us never to go back to our old life when we did not know what is right and therefore, we could not make right decision.

In the Gospel Jesus continues his message about those who refuse to accept the Kingdom of God. They want an assurance through a sign. They refuse to accept Jesus unless he performs miracles for them. Sometimes we act in a similar way when we demand for miracles in our lives as a condition for accepting the teachings of the Bible and of the Church. Sometimes we lose faith and hope when we think our prayers are not answered. When we get problems in life like illness, death of our loved ones, hardships of life, rejection or hatred we tend to think God has failed and we turn to ‘alternatives’ in the form of satanic powers or evil means of getting what we want. We return to our old ways of life as St. Paul has warned us in the first reading. Sometimes some of us are swayed by the purportedly ‘miracle workers’ only to end up in a more confused situation. We are looking for a sign – unless something sensational happens in our lives Jesus has no power. Jesus says  that No sign will be given to us.

Let us heed the call from the Gospel acclamation: “Today, harden not your hearts, but listen to the voice of the Lord.” Let us use the privileges we have: the Bible, the Sacraments, the Freedom of worship and others, to believe in God and live in his Kingdom.

 Let us have such strong faith and trust in God as Habbakuk had when he said “Though the fig tree does not bud     and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails     and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen     and no cattle in the stalls,  yet I will rejoice in the Lord,     I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Hab 1:17-18). This is to say even if I do not see any sign or ‘miracle’ in my life I am yet convinced that God loves me and I will remain in his Kingdom.

 

 

Man’ life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions

Click here for full readings

Dear Family of God,

Throughout this week we are reminded of the dangers of putting all our attention into worldly possessions forgetting our relationship with God.

Yesterday, Jesus commanded us ‘to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.’ Caesar represents the world and what belongs to Caesar are all worldly possessions and pleasures. We belong to God because we have the image of God; we are created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, giving God what belongs to God is to give ourselves back to God – our soul and body, our time and attention, our heart and mind.

Today St. Paul continues the same message. He reminds us that through our sins we destroyed our likeness to God but God through Jesus Christ has restored that image, “but God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.

Through baptism, that image of God is restored. So we belong to God. We have to give to God what belongs to God. That is why St. Paul says in the first reading that we cannot afford to give ourselves to bodily and worldly pleasures. This is in agreement with what Jesus tells us in the Gospel that we should not give all our attention and time chasing money and increasing our wealth. After all “man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

This warning is really appropriate during our times. The attention, time and energy we put in chasing money is alarming. We need money, yes; but when we make money our god and the end of our life we go wrong. When we use corruption to increase our wealth, when we become obsessed by amassing wealth, when we have even to kill others to get money, when we have to do injustices to others so that we can get money, we need to be reminded that “there is more to life than money.” We do not belong to money; we belong to God. Therefore, let us give to God what belongs to God.

 

Be Kind to One Another

Click here for full readings

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday we were reminded of the greatest commandment – to love God and our neighbours. Today’s readings continue with the same message.

In the first reading St. Paul tells us to be kind to one another. He says “Imitate God as beloved children. And walk in love as Christ loved us.

In the Gospel Jesus is giving us a live example of loving our neighbour. He goes beyond all barriers of the Jewish law and extends his love “to the daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years.”

The Jews were not happy with Jesus because he violated the laws of the Sabbath. Sometimes we use laws or traditions to find excuses for not helping others but when it is to our advantage we apply exceptions to the laws. For example, we may pretend to be in hurry for the morning Mass and avoid helping someone in need but we are ready to excuse ourselves from a summon and go out from the Chapel to receive a phone call.

Let us not pretend to be very strict with our traditions at the expense of love. How many times have we mistreated our in-laws for the sake of our traditions? May God forgives us.  Any ‘law’ or ‘tradition’ which is against love is not law and therefore, does not bind.

Let us heed to what St. Paul has told us “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another.

Do not look only to your Own Interests

but also to the Interests of Others

Dear Family of God,

Today, as it is throughout this week, we are reminded of the virtue of humility in service. St. Paul in the first reading calls upon us to have the sense of the other and the spirit of sacrifice. These will help us to be humble, do away with our selfishness and count others better than ourselves – to look not only to our own interests but also to the interest of others.

This teaching is very important during our time when we experience the highest form of individualism and selfishness. Everyone is looking for his own advantage and interests: in services, in offices, in politics, in business and especially in relationships. The corruption we are experiencing and the widening gap between the rich and the poor is a good example of how selfish we are.

Because of our selfishness even when we seem to do charity it is not charity in truth; we have our own interests and hidden agenda. This is what Jesus warns us against in the Gospel. He says “When you give a dinner…do not invite … the rich neighbours, lest they invite you in return.” To give a dinner includes all kinds of services and charity we do. In most cases we do the opposite; we might pretend to do charity but it is just a hook targeting something in return.

For example, we may leave our family members unattended while we are requesting ‘others’ if we can buy them airtime. This airtime is just a hook; there is something we want from them. Sometimes we fail to help the poor but we buy several bottles of beer to the rich officials because we expect in future to make deals with them. Sometimes we show partiality by rejecting calls from poor people. All this is because of our selfishness. We are looking only to our own interests. Sometimes we attend the burials of the rich families and contribute highly while the poor is struggling to pay hospital bills. Sometimes we clap to a rich even when he has not given any substantial contribution in meetings while we refuse to even listen to the contribution of others simply because they are poor.

Let us not despite or disrespect the poor simply because they are poor. Let us not have double standards when dealing with the rich and the poor. Let us not value so much the rich and despise the poor. Let us talk with everyone; let us give attention, time and respect to everyone regardless of their financial status. We shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.

 

32nd Week

Do Not Lead others to Sin

Click here for full readings

 

Dear Family of God,

This week we are reminded of always being prepared for the last day. As we saw in Yesterday’s Sermon, having our lamps lit means living our faith – being always on the right track racing in response to God’s call. Today Jesus tells us that on our way, temptations to defect or fall into sin are inevitable but woe to him by whom they come!

This imposes a great responsibility to all of us to live an exemplary life so that we do not lead others astray. Today’s society is denying this responsibility. Individuals, celebrities, leaders and media people deny this duty saying “I have not responsibility of being a role model to anyone, my life is mine and everyone has their own life. Do not do something because I have done it. You have your own life. Parents, the media is not there to teach your children, if they are misled, it is you to blame.”  Such claims are unrealistic; we are social beings; we have social responsibility – whatever we do affects others. Woe to him who leads others especially the young astray – who instead of helping the young keep their lamps lit, he assists them to extinguish them.

That is why in the first reading St. Paul is telling Titus to elect leaders who have outstanding faith and good conduct; leaders who can help others be prepared.

Jesus tells us again on the need of forgiveness because however much we struggle to keep our lamps lit we are weak. Therefore, we need to forgive each other so that we can keep right our relationship with God and our neighbours.

Being always prepared, not leading others astray and forgiving others might seem very difficult if we approach them with human strength. But with faith, as Jesus tells us, everything is possible because it is not we doing or living but Christ in us.

Have a blessed week.

LORD, THAT I MAY SEE

MEMORIAL OF ST. ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY

Click here for full readings

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday we reflected upon the Good Wife and saw that this good wife is actually the good and faithful servants who put to service the five and two talents and brought to their master five and two more as profit.

Today, we are presented yet with another example of a good wife in the person of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. She became a saint at the age of 24. A daughter of King Andrew of Hungary, Elizabeth was married to Ludwig the landgrave of Thuringia and they had a very happy but short marriage.

All her life Elizabeth was the comfort of the poor. Outside her castle, we are told by her spiritual director Fr Conrad, she built a hospice and gathered in it sick, diseased and crippled men and women. Wherever her husband’s jurisdiction ran, she poured out all the resources she had in all parts of his territories, until in the end she sold even her jewels and her sumptuous dresses. In short she saw Christ in the poor and put all ‘her talents’ to their service, by that she made profit by touching the souls of many. Even after the early death of her husband, she renounced everything and joined the Third Order of St. Francis where she excelled in mental prayer and love for the poor.

As the blind beggar in today’s Gospel let our prayer be “Lord, that I may see.”

  • That I may see Christ in the poor and the needy.
  • That I may see how God has blessed me with different talents.
  • That I may see the ways to conquer my selfishness and like St. Elizabeth put all myself at the service of others.
  • That I may see where I have gone wrong and repent as we are told in the first reading.

Lord, that I may see Have a blessed week

 

34th Week Year II

Memorial of St Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Companions, Martyrs

Click here for the life of these Martyrs

“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul”

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday we celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King and saw that the Kingdom of God is defined by Love. Wherever love is there the Kingdom is with the subjects following Christ as their King.

Today we are celebrating some of those who died for the sake of spreading the Kingdom of God. We remember a group of 117 martyrs of Vietnam who suffered during a series of sadistic persecutions which lasted from 17745 to 1862. Despite the extreme tortures they had to endure, they heroically witnessed to the faith. Ninety six of them were Vietnamese, including Fr Andrew Dung-Lac, while others were European missionaries.

We thank God for the little sacrifices we make for our faith. Jesus encourages us today “Fear not those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” Sometimes we are afraid to stand for truth, for our faith and for Christian moral values. Who are we afraid of? Those we fear have not even threatened to kill even the body (except where people die because of their faith). Sometimes we are afraid to lose friends, to lose our jobs or just to be known as Catholics. Now, if we are threatened with death shall we really stand?

At the intercession of these martyrs, let us pray for courage and the spirit of sacrifice to stand for what we believe in. Let us not compromise truth or our moral values in order to conform to the world. If we deny Jesus here, he will deny us before his father – what a tragedy. Fear not. “We have not fought to the point of shedding blood” (Heb 12:4). Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Have a blessed week

4 Responses to “Monday”

  • RANIEL:

    Good morning Fr? Today’s readings were contradictory to me in the morning, but thank God, you’ve put them clear.
    Let’s all pray for the Holy Spirit, to continue guiding us as we partake this journey of;
    1. Spreading the Gospel,
    2. Healing the sick,
    3. Preaching peace.

    We can do all of the above from wherever we’re, be it at our offices, school etc.
    I understand that today’s readings are closely linked to what we read yesterday, more so the Gospel.

    We shouldn’t be burden with anything, Jesus told us yesterday, to prepare less and trust in Him and all will be well

  • RANIEL:

    Thank you Father. God bless you too

  • machumilane:

    Thank you Raniel for your comment and your input. May God bless you.

  • RANIEL:

    That is true Father,we are already rich, and so, we should use whatever we have for the well-being of God’s kingdom. We are called to spread the good news to all nations because we are the witnesses to Christ’s teachings. We need to share out what we have with those who have not, visit and pray the sick, prisoners, the lonely, orphans, widows and widowers, draw more people to join and live a christian life. This is our sole call that Christ, at Pentecost commissioned us. We should be ready to carry with us the messages of love and hope to all.

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