Sunday, August 16, 2020
TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
“He who created us will not save us without our consent.”
Sometimes an observation of the behaviors and attitudes of some human beings in our modern world towards their fellow human beings can make one wonder if they were in the position of God what will they do. Some of us even want to think for Him or to direct Him as to what to do. That is why Isaiah 55:8 makes it clearly to man, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways...” Just be human and let God be God.
Unfortunately, salvation history has made it known that the exclusivist Jews have always thought that salvation was their rightful prerogative. No non-Jew will be saved.
Nonetheless, our first reading has rather manifested not only the expansiveness but also the inclusiveness of the membership of non- Jews into the people of God. In the broader context of this prophecy the message was to commiserate and reassure the returnees, which included non-Israelites, of the Babylonian exile that they were accepted into their “True religion.” Yahweh (God) would receive them because everyone had a part to play in the Divine plan in as much as they were ready and willing.
As Christians we are motivated to open ourselves to God, to obey His commandments and be ready to have a covenantal relationship with Him. It does not matter our background, story line or our sinful situation but our acceptance of Him as our creator and God, and readiness to convert to do His will. So, the love of God, the mercy of God and the salvation of God never discriminate against race, culture, ethnicity, politics, etc. The universality of the Divine plan and purpose welcomes all.
Hence, the reiteration of the Psalmist, “So may your ways be known upon the earth; among all nations, your salvation… O God, let all nations praise you!” (Psalm 67:3-4)
Apostle Paul, in our second reading, expresses his impressions about the obstinacy of the Jews to accept Jesus which has rather positively resulted into the Divine invitation of all people into the Covenant. Their rejection has brought reconciliation of the world. This has led the pagans and the gentiles to be reconciled to God including you and I. Thus, we have the task of praying for all those who still need to convert in our families, societies and the world at large.
To conclude, our gospel reading gives us a model of the expression of faith and trust in Jesus Christ by a gentile woman (a pagan/non-Jew). Her persistence and unrelenting faith rewarded her the answer to her request from Jesus. She did not allow religion, limitation, perception, inadequacy, position, qualification, barriers, bashfulness or even the testing sarcasm of Jesus to deter her from achieving her goal of seeking deliverance (liberation) for her demonic-possessed-daughter. Such should be the deportment of every Christ in our faith journey and prayer life. Do not allow anything to be an obstacle to your salvation. Your salvation is in your own hands!
Stay Healthy… PRAY… Keep the Faith… Fall is just around the corner, are you ready? Let us meet in Church….
Let the PLAN OF GOD lead…
Sunday, August 9, 2020
NINETEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
“If you sit in the boat of life, you need a solid anchor
One of the mysteries in life is the storms we must battle before reaching the shores of our destinations. Every human being obviously has one or more storms that they must confront. It can be a medical condition, relationship uncertainties, job/career instabilities, financial struggles, family issues, or even personality characters. This generates fear and panic, sorrow and anguish, bitterness and anxieties, anger and hatred, hopelessness and faithlessness, etc. in us in varied ways. It is so because in such unfortunate circumstances you just do not know what to do, who to go to, where to go, or how to handle them. Due to this, many have resorted to suicide, drug abuse, giving up in life, to bad company or in some other cases some individuals have developed psychological conditions, depressions, frustrations, anxieties, etc.
But as Christians we have God the father and His son Jesus Christ to respond to every storm in our lives that scares us. If you sit in the boat of life you need a solid anchor that can hold you in times of any storm. Jesus, our Savior, is that anchor.
Our first reading presents how God revealed Himself to Elijah through the tiny whispering sound on the mountain top. This happened because he was sent to rescue the Israelites from idol worshiping and immorality, they had plunged themselves into, under the influence of the pagan queen Jezebel. But to succeed he had to fight and defeat 450 pagan priests of Baal on Mount Carmel. His life was in danger. However, due to his trusting faith and reliance upon God, God appeared in that cosmic sign to help and protect him; thereby vindicating him from his enemies.
As Christians we should see ourselves as the “Elijahs” of our time and age who have been chosen and sent to rescue our generation which has grown indifferent to religion and have resorted to material comfort, immorality, worldly vanities, abuse of human liberty and human rights. But like Elijah we need to develop a persevering trust and faith in God and avail ourselves to experience His presence and listen carefully to Him.
Apostle Paul in our second reading explodes with a passionate disappointment against the Jews for failing to present Jesus as the Messiah to the world. He exhorts that God made it so, so that people like himself could preach the good news outside Judaism to evangelize the Gentiles. The consequence of this is to make salvation to the whole world and to reconcile the Jews and the Gentiles. If we are Christians today, we must always say “Thank you” to God and to our fathers in the faith who have laid a good foundation for us. Therefore, we must also see it as imperative/obligation to suffer to help others to come to the faith as we walk the talk of our faith.
In conclusion, our gospel gives us the episode of Peter’s attempt to walk on the sea to Jesus only to be frightened by the storm leading to his near sinking until Jesus rescued him. Initially, Peter had the faith and the confidence, but the heavy storm scared him to lose his focus. However, His trust and hope in the competence of Jesus as he acclaimed, “Lord, save me,” manifested the Divine authority and power of Jesus over every situation including nature; which is affirmed by the others as they reiterated, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
As Christians we have Jesus to rescue us when the storms of life intimidate and threaten us to lose focus. We must cry unto him for help. He is ready to assist. If you have Christ as your anchor there is no room for fear. Just invite Him into your life, the storms will be calm. Faith, trust and reliance upon Him can do the miracle and your life will never be the same!
Stay Healthy… PRAY…Keep the faith…Enjoy the last bit of the Sun and the heat…
Let Christ Be Your Anchor…
Sunday, August 2, 2020
THE EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
"You must believe in the truth that whatever God gives or permits is for your salvation."
No one ever wants to be in trouble in their lives, but imprudent and unwise decisions, choices, planning and deeds have always landed us into unpleasant and unexpected circumstances beyond our control. It is not fun when you must suffer to pay for the unfortunate consequences of a wrongful choice, decision, etc. in your life. Your whole life is not only shattered but also thrown into disarray.
Nevertheless, it is heartwarming and soothing when you have some one who stands with you to fight your course. They comfort you and console you to sustain your hopes and rebuild you again to bring you out of that mess. It tells how deep the love is, the care and concern are, and the readiness to guarantee your joy and happiness. You will forever be grateful and appreciative. I believe you will never dare to lose such a friend in your life!
Such was the situation of the Israelites in the first reading. This prophetic oracle consoled them about the ending of their Babylonian captivity, where they would return to their homeland from slavery. So, the message was God’s promise of a better future. This was aimed at giving them hope (about the renewal of God’s covenant) and keeping them from losing their faith. There was an assurance that poverty would not be a barrier to their enjoyment of God’s bounty.
As Christians we are exhorted to continue to trust and hope in the Lord regardless of the negative circumstances we might be experiencing in life. He is the great provider and the one who makes the impossible possible. Nothing at all can hinder us from enjoying His gratuitous love and care, not even our sins. Nothing should discourage or make you despair or faithless in God. He will never leave you abandoned or to fight alone.
That is why the Psalmist inspires, “Yahweh is good to all, His compassion is over all that He has made.” (Psalm 145:9)
In our second reading the Apostle Paul discouraged placing barriers for others against the love of God. The Judeo-Christians had insisted that the Gentile Christians must observe some aspect of the Mosaic law. Rather he urged that God saves us by our faith in His son Christ Jesus and His unearned and undeserved grace. Therefore, nothing can ever come between us and the love God made visible in Christ Jesus our LORD. Any suffering we may encounter is a trial through which we triumph.
Finally, Jesus Christ in our gospel reading demonstrates God the Father’s love and care for His people by feeding them. He did so spiritually by his preaching of the word, and physically by the miraculous multiplication of five loaves and two fish. The miracle manifests the Divinity of Jesus, the Divine providence and the Divine compassion. A Messianic sign where Jesus is showcased as the new Moses (Exodus 16) and the new Elisha (2 Kings 42-44).
As Christians, we are motivated to place our trust and confidence in Jesus Christ. To always strive to nourish our souls with the precious Word of God and the bread of life (the Holy Eucharist). It is needful to be with Jesus Christ in personal and family prayer and the adoration of the Holy Eucharist. We must be ready to make a spiritual impact in people’s life by sharing the Word of God with them. See yourself as the bridge on which others walk to God and from God to the world.
Stay Healthy… PRAY… Keep the Faith… Enjoy the Sun…
Give GOD a chance…
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.