Today is the birthday of the Church. It is a birthday because the Church was established on this day in 33 AD. As Peter, the leader of the apostles, preached on this day, over three thousand people were baptized and added to the number of believers. On this day also, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and gave them power and authority to preach in the name of Jesus.
There are many other reasons to count this day as the birthday of the Church. On this day, the fire of the Holy Spirit renewed the hearts of the apostles, believing strongly in the promises of Jesus. He did not make vain promises to them. Rather, he made candid promises that he fulfilled. Apart from the descent of the Holy Spirit, he promised to be with the Church until "the end of days."READ MORE
Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus ascends to the Father as a conclusion to his earthly ministry. During his public ministry, he appointed 12 men whom he called apostles. These men are to continue his great works of healing and evangelization. However, the duty of evangelization is not solely the responsibility of the apostles. Every baptized Christian is duty bound to proclaim Jesus to the world.
Today's celebration of the Ascension of Jesus is a reminder to Christians that everything that has a beginning must come to an end. Within three years, Jesus revolutionized the entire Palestine with his teachings on compassion, hope and healing. He did not allow anyone who had contact with him to go empty handed. After his ascension, the apostles felt empty and became fearful of the authorities.READ MORE
Since 2nd March 2020, we have never had a communal worship as a parish. Rather we have been confined to our homes and watching the mass on TV and social media. This situation is abnormal in our lifetimes and no one ever anticipated this phenomenon and the attendant problems arising.
The presence situation undoubtedly has affected the whole world. In some places the cases of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, are severe, while in few locations, the numbers are less. In the United States as of 20th May 2020, we had over 92,000 deaths, 1.56m confirmed cases with 297,000 recoveries. In the whole world, there have been over 324,000 deaths, 4.9m confirmed cases and 1.9 m recoveries. These numbers are worrisome although scientists and researchers are working day and night to flatten the curve of the virus and restore hope.READ MORE
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas,
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate Mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
I met a woman whose baby was learning to speak. I could hear the babbles of the baby but could not comprehend one word. I asked the mother what the baby was saying, and she explained. I listened a second time and I felt the same. I was far from understanding his mutterings. Each time he muttered something, I looked at the mother to decode for me. This was how I was able to listen to this baby and the mother. I began to wonder what was happening. Then I realized that what was happening was a special connection between mother and child communicating in a language that is divine, heavenly, and exclusive.READ MORE
There is the story of a couple in an African village that was attacked in the middle of the night by bandits. They knocked on the door of their single room apartment and woke them. Both realized that there was a problem that needed an immediate solution. In the confusion, the man embraced his wife and said to her in a lovely voice, "I know you have always loved me. Even now I know you do. Please, go to the door and answer whoever is knocking." From outside they could hear the bandits yelling for the door to be opened. The wife responded, "But you are the man, you said you love me. Why not go to the door and see who is there?" After a few arguments between them, the frightened wife took a small number of steps toward the door while the man dove under the bed. The remaining story is better imagined than talked about. The man was caught off guard by this event.READ MORE
Parents must contend with questions from their children. The questions they ask are as innocent as the children appear. They want to know where the sun comes from, who made the earth, or where do babies come from. Parents do not set out to blame their children for asking such questions. Rather, they try to satisfy their curiosity at their level. The parents' explanations help them understand their world. As they gain more knowledge of the world, they add up what parents have told them and compare it to what is real to them. If these do not match, they argue about what you told them. From the earliest stages of growth, it is good to teach our children truths. This enables them to learn what is right from what is wrong.READ MORE
We begin a new journey to the core of the zenith in our Lenten period: The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It was indeed a triumphant entry. The people sang his praises, women laid their clothes on the ground while he rode on a donkey and palm branches were waved at him with some singing. Although we call it Palm Sunday, the proper name should be Passion Sunday, the beginning of the Lord's passion to his death on the hill of Golgotha.
In the first reading, Isaiah says, "The Lord is my help; therefore, I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame." Jesus is about to suffer what the prophets predicted about the messiah, the holy one of Israel. The close friends of Jesus, who ate with him and enjoyed countless miracles from him, are about to betray him. But God did not forsake him.READ MORE
We begin a new journey to the core of the zenith in our Lenten period: The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It was indeed a triumphant entry. The people sang his praises, women laid their clothes on the ground while he rode on a donkey and palm branches were waved at him with some singing. Although we call it Palm Sunday, the proper name should be Passion Sunday, the beginning of the Lord’s passion to his death on the hill of Golgotha.
In the first reading, Isaiah says, “The Lord is my help; therefore, I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.” Jesus is about to suffer what the prophets predicted about the messiah, the holy one of Israel. The close friends of Jesus, who ate with him and enjoyed countless miracles from him, are about to betray him. But God did not forsake him.READ MORE
As we inch closer to the celebration of Easter, we reflect on the death of Lazarus, the brother of two prominent biblical figures, Martha and Mary. The gospel tells us that Lazarus, from Bethany, was ill and eventually died. It was painful for the two sisters to lose an only brother. Death is part of being human but painful. Jesus arrived in Bethany four days after the death of Lazarus, to sympathize with the family for their loss. The agony, the pain of loss and the tears had not eased when Jesus arrived with his disciples. Everybody thought that Jesus would do the usual -- empathize with them. But he went out of his way to do the unusual, open the grave of the dead man.READ MORE
I grew up in the rural part of Nigeria where the food is organic, and the air is unpolluted. I grew up knowing how to interpret the weather and predict what the outcome could be. Weather forecasting by television was absent so I relied on my instincts and guts to avoid a thunderstorm and by safe. When I saw dark clouds from the east, rain would probably fall. If there was a big rainbow crisscrossing the skies from north to south shining out of the clouds, possibly the rain wouldn't fall. I knew what a thunderstorm and lightning could do to a tender body like mine, so I was told to run to safety to escape a strike.READ MORE
Americans love their food and they love it fast. The fast food industry is one of the most successful enterprises in modern history because when people want their meal, they want it now. Many hungry people cannot tolerate delays. As they rush to grab their food, that is how they rush to the next function. It has become the norm to order a meal and it is delivered in a short period. A family can order pizzas or hamburgers, and everybody is happy munching and watching a movie. There are instances when patrons at a fast food joint line up at the end of long lines. When they eventually get a chance to order their meal and it is not served quickly, they flare up. Moses lost his patience in the desert of Egypt because he oversaw many people who were hungry and angry, and he could not keep them from going astray.READ MORE
Long before God called Abraham, he was an uprightman. God told him to leave his father’s house for aland he knew nothing about. The Book of Genesistells us that God commanded him to leave Ur of theChaldeans for Canaan and begin a new life. Not onlythat, God promised to make Abraham’s name great;bless him in all his ways, curse those who cursedhim, and make all the communities of the earth blesshis name as the father of many nations. The name ofAbram therefore changed to Abraham to representhis new status, and the seal of the covenant with Yahweh.READ MORE
One of the inspirational quotes I love from Pope Francis is about confession. He said, "The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord's mercy motivates us to do better." I find this quote inspirational because the season of Lent is not a period of torture or humiliation but that of reflection about God's Mercy. The "Day of Ashes" Ash Wednesday is also known, reminds us of our nothingness before God who is the creator of the world and ruler of all.
The story of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis chapters 2 and 3 illustrates the gross disobedience of our first parents. God clearly instructs them not to eat of the forbidden tree, but Adam and Eve defied God and disrespected his commands and ate of it. Their action became a negation of God's desire for them to live solely under his rule. Their action introduces the concept of sin in the world. Since Adam and Eve chose to follow their will, they knew instantly that they were "naked" a symbolism for loss of innocence, self-worth, and a self-realization of unworthiness.READ MORE