Category: Holy Mass

Beware Of False/Faulty Theologies. 

Beware Of False/Faulty Theologies. 

*Beware of False/Faulty Theologies.*

(Homily for September 16, 2018).
_“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” *(Mark 8:34-35)*_

We may have very good intentions to serve God. Our love for God may even be unparalleled, we may be the holiest kinds of Christians but so long as there is a problem with our theology, we cannot really claim to be true followers of God. In fact, we may even be hindering Christ unknowingly and acting as stumbling blocks in the salvation of others if we do not properly examine our theology. 

In today’s liturgy, we are made to understand the danger of holding a false theology while claiming to be close to God. Peter was called satan for his false theology. St. James lambasts Christians who due to their false theology refuse to provide practical help to the poor and needy. Isaiah in prophesying about the Messiah, highlights the aspect of suffering thereby exposing as false any theology that is totally against suffering.

Is it possible that I am holding a false theology about who God is? Is my understanding of Jesus Christ correct? What are my expectations for living a Christian life and are these expectations in line with God’s expectation of me? How does my Christian Faith affect relations with the poor, the homeless, the weak, the neglected, the naked, the imprisoned and sick in the society? Do I worship God so He can provide my needs or so that I can become a blessing to people? In a bid to answer these questions, some lessons immediately pop up for reflection.
*Lesson One: The Importance of Questioning Our Theology.*

It was Socrates who said: “an unexamined life is not worth living.” This means if we simply wake up each day and go about our activities without pausing to ask why we do what we are doing, we would be living a worthless life. If an unexamined life is not worth living, then an unexamined Christianity is not worth living. 

Jesus himself teaches us the importance of questioning our theology when he asked his disciples two very vital questions in today’s Gospel passage: “Who do people say I am?” and “Who do you say I am?” Each of us must not only ask ourselves these questions, we must answer them and be sure that our answers are correct! 

It is not enough that we pray when others are praying or go to church because everybody is going to church, we should ask ourselves: “Why am I even praying?” “What am I doing in church?”, “Who is this God I am praying to, what are people saying about Him and what is my personal opinion?”

*Lesson Two: Our Theology Speaks for Itself.*

Just as the disciples provided false answers, there are many Christians today who see Jesus as a Miracle Worker, a Bread Provider, a Security Man, a Charm, a Swear word, and so on. That is to say, we see Jesus as a means to an end, (something to be used to achieve some material comfort) rather than as God to be worshipped. This explains why there are lots of Christians who pray very well, go to Church regularly and even hold high positions in Church but do not believe Jesus has a say over what they do with their bodies. Jesus for many is more of a service provider than a Father! 

If I cannot give Jesus that respect of allowing His words guide my daily choices, whether in public or in secret, it is because I have a false theology; I do not see Jesus as the Christ but as something lower; a magician who does my wish and works for me. When Peter answered correctly, Jesus charged them to tell no one. Why? There is no point in announcing our theology to the world, our actions are enough; they speak volumes!

*Lesson Three: A Theology without Practical Love for others is a false Theology.*

This is where our second reading today comes in. St. James says: “show me your faith apart from your works and I by my works will show you my faith.” The works James was referring to in this passage is not church attendance, not speaking in tongues, not casting out demons, not performing signs and wonders, not even evangelism. No! The work that shows our faith is charity to the poor, the needy, the sick, the helpless and those who come to beg from us. Jesus himself said: “whatsoever you do the least of my brothers, you do unto me.” Matthew 25:40. 

No matter how holy we may claim to be, if the poor do not feature in our scale of preference, then our understanding of God is faulty. If we simply believe God is there to provide for us without also bearing in mind that we are blessed to be a blessing to others, then we do not yet know God. It is a shame that we Christians believe that Christ died so that we can live a life of luxury, a life of abundance, a life without stress while we turn a blind eye to the poor who cannot afford what we waste.

A theology of “give me, give me, O Lord” without “how do I give to you O Lord” is a self-centred theology; a fake theology. A theology that gives in expectation of reward is a business/investment theology. 

When a man of God tells you to sow a seed so that you can get back double or tenfold returns on your seed, and even embellishes it with examples, just know his theology is faulty. It is not a sin to sow a seed or to give a sacrificial offering. Your seed might build a church where millions after you will worship God, your seed might help many to become saints, your seed might affect morality in society for good etc. but if sowing that seed is done only with the mindset of getting it back yourself, then it is no longer a seed but a business. Give to promote God’s work, give to become a blessing to God’s children, NOT to get it back.

*Lesson Four: A Cross-less Theology is a Fake Theology.*

Jesus tells us today; “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34. True Christianity involves self-denial, self-discipline; suffering; embracing lack; giving away one’s life for Christ’s sake. A few days ago, we celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and we noted the following:

As powerful as the Cross, so powerful are those pains, insults, ridicule and shame we have to put up with for the sake of our Christian Faith. Just as we can no longer look down on the Cross, so also we dare not look down on what we have to suffer if such suffering is due to our desire to serve God. Do not despise your sufferings, do not reduce your Cross, do not abandon the narrow path; do not try to be like everyone else, do not get tired of doing good even when your goodness seems unrewarded and unappreciated by others. Cherish the pains and sacrifices you have to put up with for Christ’s sake.

Indeed, we should not be ashamed of or pray against the sufferings which come to us as a result of our decision to stand for Christ. Not only should we expect to be maltreated, insulted, hated or misunderstood, we should be happy when we experience it. We should be able to say with Isaiah in today’s first reading: “I gave my back to those who struck me and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from shame and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6.

Peter, like many Christians today had a cross-less theology; a theology that says “God forbid” to sufferings that come as a result of our desire to serve God; a theology that always seeks an easy route; a theology that desires glory but rejects self-discipline; a theology of pleasure; a theology that convinced Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit saying they would not die; a theology that gives false interpretation to the scriptures just to suit the audience and make them happy. Such a theology is nothing other than a satanic theology and it is the theology behind the upsurge of churches in our society while evil multiplies daily. Could it be the case that my theology is satanic?

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me carry my daily cross joyfully and save me from falsehood. Amen. 

*Happy Sunday. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (24th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year B. Bible Study: Isaiah 50:5-9, Psalm 116:1-9, James 2:14-18 and Mark 8:27-35)*
Fr. Abu.

Beware Of False/Faulty Theologies. 

Beware Of False/Faulty Theologies. 

*Beware of False/Faulty Theologies.*

(Homily for September 16, 2018).
_“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” *(Mark 8:34-35)*_

We may have very good intentions to serve God. Our love for God may even be unparalleled, we may be the holiest kinds of Christians but so long as there is a problem with our theology, we cannot really claim to be true followers of God. In fact, we may even be hindering Christ unknowingly and acting as stumbling blocks in the salvation of others if we do not properly examine our theology. 

In today’s liturgy, we are made to understand the danger of holding a false theology while claiming to be close to God. Peter was called satan for his false theology. St. James lambasts Christians who due to their false theology refuse to provide practical help to the poor and needy. Isaiah in prophesying about the Messiah, highlights the aspect of suffering thereby exposing as false any theology that is totally against suffering.

Is it possible that I am holding a false theology about who God is? Is my understanding of Jesus Christ correct? What are my expectations for living a Christian life and are these expectations in line with God’s expectation of me? How does my Christian Faith affect relations with the poor, the homeless, the weak, the neglected, the naked, the imprisoned and sick in the society? Do I worship God so He can provide my needs or so that I can become a blessing to people? In a bid to answer these questions, some lessons immediately pop up for reflection.
*Lesson One: The Importance of Questioning Our Theology.*

It was Socrates who said: “an unexamined life is not worth living.” This means if we simply wake up each day and go about our activities without pausing to ask why we do what we are doing, we would be living a worthless life. If an unexamined life is not worth living, then an unexamined Christianity is not worth living. 

Jesus himself teaches us the importance of questioning our theology when he asked his disciples two very vital questions in today’s Gospel passage: “Who do people say I am?” and “Who do you say I am?” Each of us must not only ask ourselves these questions, we must answer them and be sure that our answers are correct! 

It is not enough that we pray when others are praying or go to church because everybody is going to church, we should ask ourselves: “Why am I even praying?” “What am I doing in church?”, “Who is this God I am praying to, what are people saying about Him and what is my personal opinion?”

*Lesson Two: Our Theology Speaks for Itself.*

Just as the disciples provided false answers, there are many Christians today who see Jesus as a Miracle Worker, a Bread Provider, a Security Man, a Charm, a Swear word, and so on. That is to say, we see Jesus as a means to an end, (something to be used to achieve some material comfort) rather than as God to be worshipped. This explains why there are lots of Christians who pray very well, go to Church regularly and even hold high positions in Church but do not believe Jesus has a say over what they do with their bodies. Jesus for many is more of a service provider than a Father! 

If I cannot give Jesus that respect of allowing His words guide my daily choices, whether in public or in secret, it is because I have a false theology; I do not see Jesus as the Christ but as something lower; a magician who does my wish and works for me. When Peter answered correctly, Jesus charged them to tell no one. Why? There is no point in announcing our theology to the world, our actions are enough; they speak volumes!

*Lesson Three: A Theology without Practical Love for others is a false Theology.*

This is where our second reading today comes in. St. James says: “show me your faith apart from your works and I by my works will show you my faith.” The works James was referring to in this passage is not church attendance, not speaking in tongues, not casting out demons, not performing signs and wonders, not even evangelism. No! The work that shows our faith is charity to the poor, the needy, the sick, the helpless and those who come to beg from us. Jesus himself said: “whatsoever you do the least of my brothers, you do unto me.” Matthew 25:40. 

No matter how holy we may claim to be, if the poor do not feature in our scale of preference, then our understanding of God is faulty. If we simply believe God is there to provide for us without also bearing in mind that we are blessed to be a blessing to others, then we do not yet know God. It is a shame that we Christians believe that Christ died so that we can live a life of luxury, a life of abundance, a life without stress while we turn a blind eye to the poor who cannot afford what we waste.

A theology of “give me, give me, O Lord” without “how do I give to you O Lord” is a self-centred theology; a fake theology. A theology that gives in expectation of reward is a business/investment theology. 

When a man of God tells you to sow a seed so that you can get back double or tenfold returns on your seed, and even embellishes it with examples, just know his theology is faulty. It is not a sin to sow a seed or to give a sacrificial offering. Your seed might build a church where millions after you will worship God, your seed might help many to become saints, your seed might affect morality in society for good etc. but if sowing that seed is done only with the mindset of getting it back yourself, then it is no longer a seed but a business. Give to promote God’s work, give to become a blessing to God’s children, NOT to get it back.

*Lesson Four: A Cross-less Theology is a Fake Theology.*

Jesus tells us today; “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34. True Christianity involves self-denial, self-discipline; suffering; embracing lack; giving away one’s life for Christ’s sake. A few days ago, we celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and we noted the following:

As powerful as the Cross, so powerful are those pains, insults, ridicule and shame we have to put up with for the sake of our Christian Faith. Just as we can no longer look down on the Cross, so also we dare not look down on what we have to suffer if such suffering is due to our desire to serve God. Do not despise your sufferings, do not reduce your Cross, do not abandon the narrow path; do not try to be like everyone else, do not get tired of doing good even when your goodness seems unrewarded and unappreciated by others. Cherish the pains and sacrifices you have to put up with for Christ’s sake.

Indeed, we should not be ashamed of or pray against the sufferings which come to us as a result of our decision to stand for Christ. Not only should we expect to be maltreated, insulted, hated or misunderstood, we should be happy when we experience it. We should be able to say with Isaiah in today’s first reading: “I gave my back to those who struck me and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from shame and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6.

Peter, like many Christians today had a cross-less theology; a theology that says “God forbid” to sufferings that come as a result of our desire to serve God; a theology that always seeks an easy route; a theology that desires glory but rejects self-discipline; a theology of pleasure; a theology that convinced Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit saying they would not die; a theology that gives false interpretation to the scriptures just to suit the audience and make them happy. Such a theology is nothing other than a satanic theology and it is the theology behind the upsurge of churches in our society while evil multiplies daily. Could it be the case that my theology is satanic?

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me carry my daily cross joyfully and save me from falsehood. Amen. 

*Happy Sunday. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (24th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year B. Bible Study: Isaiah 50:5-9, Psalm 116:1-9, James 2:14-18 and Mark 8:27-35)*
Fr. Abu.

Mass Of The Feast Of The Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary 

Mass Of The Feast Of The Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary 


​Saturday 8th September 2018

Weekday (22)

Vestment: White

Today’s Rosary: The Joyful Mystery
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)

Today’s feast originated in Jerusalem towards the end of the fifth century. Mary was chosen in a special way to be the handmaid of the Lord and to play an important part in the history of salvation and in the mystery of our redemption. With the whole Church we honour Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Entrance
Antiphon.

Let us celebrate with joy the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for from her arose the sun of justice, Christ our God.

The Gloria in excels is (Glory to God in the highest) is said.

The Gloria

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
 

Collect

Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation. Through our Lord…
 

FIRST READING

The time when she who is in labour pains has brought forth.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Micah (Micah 5:2-5a).

Thus says the Lord: You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour pains has brought forth; then the rest of his brethren shall return to the sons of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And this shall be peace.
The word of the Lord.
Or the following:

FIRST
READING

Those whom God foreknew he also predestined.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Romans 8:28-30).

Brethren: We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
The word of the Lord.
 

RESPONSORIAL
PSALM 

Psalm 13:5.6 (R.Isaiah 61:10a)

R. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord.
As for me, I trust in your merciful love.

Let my heart rejoice in your salvation. R.
I will sing to the Lord

who has been bountiful with me. R.
 

ALLELUIA

Alleluia. Blessed are you, O holy Virgin Mary, and worthy of all praise, because from you arose the sun of justice, Christ our God. Alleluia.
 

GOSPEL

That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 1:1-16.18-23)

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah  the father of Asa, and Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father  of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

*Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and  her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us).
The Gospel of the Lord.
Shorter form: Matthew 1:18-23. Read between*
 

Today’s Reflection.

The work of the Holy Spirit in human life emerges as an apparent scandal. Mary is betrothed to joseph but before they come to live together, she is found to be pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Her child will challenge the prevailing understanding of the law, eat with tax collectors and sinners, and make claims that sound blasphemous. However, this is not a scandal but the work of God. Joseph never gets to carry out his quiet divorce; instead he cooperates in the divine plan. He takes Mary into his home because he realizes after the dream that her condition is not a scandal but the work of God. He shelters her and names the child ‘Jesus’. The naming is important for the very presence of the child is a catalyst for clarifying his identity and mission. He is the presence of God that does not depart even when he is no longer physically present. Let us imitate the example of the cooperation of Mary and Joseph in the divine plan of salvation.
 
Today’s Prayer
.

Thank God for today’s feast.

Take the song, “Holy Ghost, do it again, do it again in my life.
Father grant me a glimpse of your glory in the name of Jesus.
Pray for the grace to be attentive to the voice of the spirit.
Pray for revival of the authentic gifts of vision and revelation among believers

A Prayer By St. Padre Pio.

Stay With Me 

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have you present so that I do not forget you, you know how easily I abandon you. Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak, and I need you strength, that I may not fall so often, stay with me, Lord, for you are my life, and without you, I am without fervor. Stay with me, Lord, for you are my light, and without you, I am in darkness. Stay with me, Lord, to show me your will. Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love you very much, and always be in your company. Stay with me, Lord, if you wish me to be faithful to you. Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for you, a nest of love. Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need you. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need you, my Jesus, in this night of exile! Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers. I need you. Let me recognize you as your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart. Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to you, if not by communion, at least by grace and love. Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but the gift of your presence, oh yes, I ask this of you! Stay with me, Lord, for it is you alone I look for, your love, your Grace, your Will, your Heart, your Spirit, because I love you and ask no other reward but to lobe you more and more. With a firm love, I will love you with all my heart while on earth and continue to love you perfectly during all eternity. Amen.

Foolishness Versus Wisdom 

Foolishness Versus Wisdom 


*Foolishness versus Wisdom*

(Homily for August 31, 2018).
_“The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever, I will thwart” *(1st Corinthians 1:1819).*_
Whenever the scriptures talk about foolishness, it always does so within the context of wisdom. We become wise only when we realize we have been foolish. In the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus is not simply entertaining us with a story, he wants us to examine ourselves, to ask certain questions and to find out where we really belong. 
There were ten maidens, five were foolish and five were wise. The only thing that differentiated the foolish from the wise was the fact that they went along with some extra oil; they didn’t depend only on the oil in their lamps. The question I must ask myself now is: “Where and what constitutes my extra oil?” or better put, “what is that thing I do that will help me get to heaven when everything else fails?”



Coming to our first reading, St. Paul like Jesus, distinguishes between the foolish from the wise using the message of the cross as the yardstick. As a Christian, how do I relate with the message of the cross? St. Paul says, talking about the cross is foolishness to those who are doomed for destruction. Do I laugh at those who are against the Prosperity-Gospel? 
What constitutes a cross for me? Could it even be the case that this cross is the extra oil needed to gain heaven? Have I been resisting the cross (sufferings, sacrifices, discomfort and inconvenience that comes with being steadfast to God)? In other words, am I becoming foolish by seeking a life free from the cross; am I throwing away my extra oil?
I was listening to a radio program some time ago. The presenter asked people to call into the show to say what they would like to collect from their ex-boyfriend/girlfriend or ex-husband/wife. I was particularly touched by a lady who called to say she has nothing to get back because her present relationship was her very first. You needed to hear the reaction of the Radio Presenter who was shocked to find out that a lady of twenty-five had never been in a previous relationship. He was like: “Where have you been? What have you been doing with your life?” 
Our society is fast losing a sense of *moral rectitude*. Standards which hitherto were considered as normal now constitute a cross for those who wish to live by them. In the wave of scandals, satan tries to preach a false gospel – if so and so are doing it, then who are you not to do it? What’s even wrong about it? 

Dear friends, let us never be shaken. Foolishness will never become wisdom no matter how popular it becomes.
Even if you are the only one standing, stand for what is right and true; carry the cross, it’s your extra oil. Don’t be an average Christian, do not act like everyone else. 

Let
us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my wisdom. Amen.

 

*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1 Corinthians 1:17-25, Psalm 33:1-11 and Matthew 25:1-13).*

Fr
. Abu.

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