Category: Holy Mass

Heaven Begins Right Here, Right Now.

Heaven Begins Right Here, Right Now.

*🎤Heaven Begins Right Here, Right Now.🎤*

Homily for Thursday 15th November 2018.

_“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” *Luke 17:20-21*_

For those who wanted to know when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus simply answered: “It is already in your midst.” What is this kingdom of God that is already in our midst? Remember this song:

The time to be happy is now!

The place to be happy is here!

The way to be happy is to make Someone Happy!

And we’ll have a little heaven down here!

The essence of being in heaven is happiness. We experience heaven each time we are able to smile with joy from the depths of our hearts. We experience heaven each time we make someone happy. We experience heaven each time we forgive sincerely from our hearts.

Our first reading today captures the essence of Paul’s letter to Philemon. Onesimus is a slave who ran away from Philemon his master for probably doing something wrong but ended up in Prison where he met St. Paul. Writing to Philemon Paul pleads for forgiveness over Onesimus in these words:

“Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me… welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.” Philemon 1:11-18.

This is heaven, this is God’s kingdom – loving our neighbours as ourselves. This is God’s kingdom – forgiving one another as many as seventy times seven without counting the cost. This is God’s kingdom – seeing the face of Jesus in the people who have offended you like Onesimus.

This is God’s kingdom – putting smiles on people’s faces regardless of how we feel inside. This is heaven – welcoming the earth’s rejected, the sick, the imprisoned, the orphans, giving to these little ones as much as a cup of water without expecting anything in return.

There is no point panicking and running after false prophets. The end of the world will not come in observable signs. Jesus said it will be like a flash of light. For now, let us focus on the heaven that is already in our midst. Let us work towards making the world a better place for everyone we meet.

Today, we remember St. Albert the Great. He was a scientist, philosopher, astrologer, theologian, spiritual writer, ecumenist, and diplomat. In short, Albert is one of the great intellectuals in the history of the Church. To his name are many eminent works of doctrine and natural science. As a Bishop, St. Albert made great efforts to secure peace between peoples and between cities. Albert was beatified in 1622. He was canonized and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on December 16, 1931, by Pope Pius XI and the patron saint of natural scientists in 1941

*Let us pray: Lord Jesus, use me to bring heaven to this world by forgiving and bringing joy to all I meet. Amen.*

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. 

Thursday of the 32n Week in Ordinary Time. 

*Bible Study: Philemon 7-20, Psalm 146:6-10 and Luke 17:20-25*.

-Fr. Evaristus Abu🎷

Love: The First And The Greatest Of All Commandments. 

Love: The First And The Greatest Of All Commandments. 


​*Love: The First and The Greatest of All Commandments.*

(Homily for Sunday 4th November 2018).

_“To love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” *Mark 12:33*

As our liturgical year gradually draws to a close, our readings are becoming more and more urgent, reminding us of the most important things we must bear in mind as children of God. The theme of our liturgy today is on the power of love. As St. Paul puts it: “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13. 

Last Sunday, we saw the faith of Blind Bartimaeus who insisted on crying as loud as he could to get Jesus’ attention. We learnt that faith is powerful to get us whatever we want and that without faith we are blind. As important as faith may be, our liturgy today reminds us that love is more important than faith. Again, in the course of the week, we celebrated the Feast of All Souls and we heard St. Paul say: hope does not disappoint us.” Romans 5:5.

Hope is the virtue that assures us of eternal life with God in heaven. As important as hope may be, our liturgy today shows that love is far greater than hope.

There are so many lessons contained in our readings today:

*1. The beauty of Humility and Willingness to Learn.*

It is surprising that despite the fact that Jesus did not seem to be on good terms with the religious leaders of his day, Jesus actually commended this scribe in today’s Gospel passage. Mark tells us: “And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, ‘you are not far from the kingdom of God.’” This particular scribe, unlike his colleagues, did not come to test Jesus. He had not come to catch Jesus in his words. In the course of his interaction with Jesus, he said: “You are right, Teacher.” This means, he was humble enough to accept Jesus’ authority as a teacher and he agreed with Jesus.

While his fellow scribes saw Jesus as a threat and could not fathom His Divinity, this particular Scribe acted sincerely and was commended by Jesus. At times, you see Christians of different denominations argue on issues regarding the faith with so much passion and heat as if they are going to fight a war. We must learn from this scribe the humility of seeing things from another person’s perspective. We should not allow hatred for a person to prevent us from learning the truth from that person.

*2. The Importance of Love in the Scale of God’s commandments.*

Having considered the humility of the Scribe, let us now ask: “what brought about this question and why was it an important question?” As at the time of Jesus, there were SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FOUR commandments a child of God was required to memorize, obey and teach others. God gave only Ten Commandments to Moses, but in a bid to explain these Ten Commandments, the religious leaders had expanded them even to the point of adding their own. In fact, as Jesus noted: “in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” Matthew 15:9. The Scribes and the Pharisees had fallen into the darkness of mere legalism. 

For instance, God said: “obey the Sabbath the keep it holy,” they added: “anyone who does any work on the Sabbath day must die.” Exodus 31:14-15, 35:2. Not only had they forgotten the original purpose of the third commandment, they now took the explanation of this commandment as the law and were willing to kill the God who gave them the command for “breaking” it by healing people on the Sabbath day.

When the scribe asked Jesus which commandment was the first, he wasn’t talking about numerical value, he was basically asking, “Which is more important than others? Which supersedes all others?” or “Which deserves to be obeyed even if anyone else is to be disobeyed?” It is obvious that the religious leaders were putting so much emphasis on sacrifices and offerings (which of course brought a lot of income to them). Temple worship had reduced to the level of mere commerce. According to Jesus, they had turned the House of God into a den of robbers. (Mat. 21:13, Mk 11:17 & Lk 19.46) You see why they could not forgive Jesus for spoiling their business in the name of cleansing the temple. 

Jesus not only “broke” the Sabbath law, but he also went as far as “desecrating” the temple by scattering the table of the money changers and allowing the animals for sacrifice go freely. Jesus did all these to teach us one lesson: So long as we love God and our neighbour, nothing else matters. This is why when Jesus saw a man with a withered hand in the temple on the Sabbath, he put him up before the crowd and said: “is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?” Mark 3:4. In other words, Jesus was asking: “Is it against the Sabbath to Love?” 

*3. Love of God Comes Before and Gives Meaning to Love of Neighbor.*

Jesus was asked one question but gave two answers. Jesus was asked: “which is the First Commandment?” but He added the second. Why? Jesus knew that without adding the second, “love your neighbour”, the first would be meaningless yet without the first, the second is pointless. 

As John puts it: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” 1 John 4:20. Loving God with all our heart, soul and might is not a matter of coming to church, it is rather a matter of loving our neighbour as ourselves. In fact, Jesus taught us that God is more pleased with our ability to forgive our neighbour than our offering. He said: “If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24. 

Nevertheless, the love we show our neighbour is a love that must be predicated on the love we have for God. Without the first commandment, there cannot be a second. Most often, when the word “love” is mentioned, our minds tend to go to that exclusive feeling of attachment to a person which often finds expression in bodily touch and lustful desires. This is not the love Jesus is talking about. Any “love” that leads us to sin against God is evil. That is why it quickly fades away when the “deed” is done; when our desire has been achieved.

*4. Love of Self is the Yardstick for Love of Neighbour.*

Jesus did not simply say: “you shall love your neighbour,” He carefully added, “as yourself.” Without love for self, there is no love for neighbour. One who cannot love himself or herself cannot also love his neighbour. Love of others begins with the love of the self. How do we love our neighbour? By treating everyone as we want to be treated. In Luke 6:31 Jesus says: “as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.” Loving yourself is not necessarily being narcissistic, that is going to an extreme. Even Psychologists recommend a healthy amount of self-love or what they call self-acceptance for anyone to be able to relate well with fellow human beings. 

When the Samaritan traveller saw a man beaten and left half-dead on the road, the first thing he did was to put himself in the shoes of this unfortunate man. This motivated him to help without considering tribal or religious difference. This is exactly what it means to love God with all our heart, mind and soul, this is the greatest of all the commandments.

*5. Love is a Sacrifice.*

Our final lesson today comes from our second reading. The letter to the Hebrews in comparing the priesthood of the Old Testament with the Priesthood of Jesus makes us understand why that of Jesus is supreme. It says: Jesus “has no need like those high priests to offer sacrifices daily… he did this once for all men when he offered up himself.” The priesthood of Jesus is higher than all others because while other priests offer blood that is not theirs, Jesus used his own blood. When we offer the mass, we do not offer a new sacrifice, rather we do a memorial of the one supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “Do this in memory of me.” 

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross remains forever the only correct definition of love. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son to die for us. To love is to be willing to die for another not to gain from another. In John 15:12-13, Jesus says: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” We cannot say we love when we do not want to lay down our lives for others. Love is a sacrifice. Yes, love hurts, love is about giving and giving till nothing else is left. To all married couples, I say: never give up on your love for your spouse even when it becomes painful. Love is not all about sweetness, love is a sacrifice.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, you are love itself, teach me to love you above all things and to love everyone as myself. Amen.

*Happy Sunday. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year B. Bible Study: Deuteronomy 6:2-6, Psalm 17:2-4,47,51 Hebrews 7:23-28 and Mark 12:28-34).*

Fr. Abu.

The Works Of The Flesh Versus The Works Of The Spirit.

The Works Of The Flesh Versus The Works Of The Spirit.

*🎤The Works of the Flesh versus the Works of the Spirit.🎤*

Homily for Wednesday 17th October 2018.

_“Now the works of the flesh are obvious: 

Fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” *Galatians 5, 19 to 21.*_

For persons who are yet to know Christ, these things Paul refers to as the works of the flesh are just normal unavoidable bodily necessitates. But for those who have been converted, their opinion is the very opposite. So, what is my attitude these things Paul is talking about? Do I agree with Paul that by indulging my flesh, I lock myself out of God’s kingdom or do I believe Paul didn’t really mean what he was saying?

When Paul was talking about freedom in yesterday’s first reading, he was not talking about freedom from the law; (freedom to do whatever we like, since Christ has died for our sake), Paul was only attacking the issue of circumcision. However, some Christians interpret Paul’s words to mean that regardless of what we do with our bodies, salvation is still sure for us.

Dear friends, the truth is that freedom is not the ability to do what my body feels like doing, freedom is the ability to do what God says I must do. Freedom is not living like an animal in the bush, freedom is opening my inner space for God to dwell. We just have to accept that we cannot live by the works of the flesh and still inherit eternal life. We cannot eat our cake and still have it. We cannot even pretend about it.

Pretence is precisely what Jesus noticed with the Pharisees who were so concerned about external things to the detriment of the purity of their hearts. That is why Jesus called them “unmarked graves, on which people walk over without realizing it.” Luke 11:44. By using such an analogy, Jesus wanted to know how rotten they become inside when they only care about the outside. Our true life is not what people see, it is what God sees.

Dear friends, let us start making real efforts to live genuine Christian lives by feeding our Spiritual selves so that our lives would be characterized by LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GENEROSITY, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL. As St. Paul explains, “those who belong to Christ Jesus have CRUCIFIED THE FLESH with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25.

Crucifying the flesh entails saying NO to its desires not only in public but especially in private where no one else sees. Crucifying the flesh cannot happen without edification of the Spirit. In fact, the more we edify our spirit, the more we overcome the pangs of our flesh.

Remember the story of the two elephants fighting? Yes, a mother was telling her son about two elephants fighting inside him and the boy asked: “which of them will win?” She replied: “the one you feed.”

Think of how many hours you spend feeding your flesh. Think of the amount and the quality of bodily delights and pleasures you provide for your flesh each day. Then compare that with the number of spiritual pleasures you provide for your spirit daily; the number of hours you spend away from your phone, away from the world, alone with God; the number of hours you spend reading something of worth to educate your mind etc.

Now that you know the elephant you have been feeding, you also know why the battle against the flesh has not been very successful.

*Let us pray: Lord Jesus, cleanse me from inside out that I may live by the Spirit. Amen. St. Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us.*

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. 

Wednesday of the 28th week in Ordinary Time. 

*Bible Study: Galatians 5:18-25, Psalm 1:1-6 and Luke 11:42-46.* 

Fr. Evaristus Abu🎷

The Works Of The Flesh Versus The Works Of The Spirit.

The Works Of The Flesh Versus The Works Of The Spirit.

*🎤The Works of the Flesh versus the Works of the Spirit.🎤*

Homily for Wednesday 17th October 2018.

_“Now the works of the flesh are obvious: 

Fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” *Galatians 5, 19 to 21.*_

For persons who are yet to know Christ, these things Paul refers to as the works of the flesh are just normal unavoidable bodily necessitates. But for those who have been converted, their opinion is the very opposite. So, what is my attitude these things Paul is talking about? Do I agree with Paul that by indulging my flesh, I lock myself out of God’s kingdom or do I believe Paul didn’t really mean what he was saying?

When Paul was talking about freedom in yesterday’s first reading, he was not talking about freedom from the law; (freedom to do whatever we like, since Christ has died for our sake), Paul was only attacking the issue of circumcision. However, some Christians interpret Paul’s words to mean that regardless of what we do with our bodies, salvation is still sure for us.

Dear friends, the truth is that freedom is not the ability to do what my body feels like doing, freedom is the ability to do what God says I must do. Freedom is not living like an animal in the bush, freedom is opening my inner space for God to dwell. We just have to accept that we cannot live by the works of the flesh and still inherit eternal life. We cannot eat our cake and still have it. We cannot even pretend about it.

Pretence is precisely what Jesus noticed with the Pharisees who were so concerned about external things to the detriment of the purity of their hearts. That is why Jesus called them “unmarked graves, on which people walk over without realizing it.” Luke 11:44. By using such an analogy, Jesus wanted to know how rotten they become inside when they only care about the outside. Our true life is not what people see, it is what God sees.

Dear friends, let us start making real efforts to live genuine Christian lives by feeding our Spiritual selves so that our lives would be characterized by LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GENEROSITY, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL. As St. Paul explains, “those who belong to Christ Jesus have CRUCIFIED THE FLESH with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25.

Crucifying the flesh entails saying NO to its desires not only in public but especially in private where no one else sees. Crucifying the flesh cannot happen without edification of the Spirit. In fact, the more we edify our spirit, the more we overcome the pangs of our flesh.

Remember the story of the two elephants fighting? Yes, a mother was telling her son about two elephants fighting inside him and the boy asked: “which of them will win?” She replied: “the one you feed.”

Think of how many hours you spend feeding your flesh. Think of the amount and the quality of bodily delights and pleasures you provide for your flesh each day. Then compare that with the number of spiritual pleasures you provide for your spirit daily; the number of hours you spend away from your phone, away from the world, alone with God; the number of hours you spend reading something of worth to educate your mind etc.

Now that you know the elephant you have been feeding, you also know why the battle against the flesh has not been very successful.

*Let us pray: Lord Jesus, cleanse me from inside out that I may live by the Spirit. Amen. St. Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us.*

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. 

Wednesday of the 28th week in Ordinary Time. 

*Bible Study: Galatians 5:18-25, Psalm 1:1-6 and Luke 11:42-46.* 

Fr. Evaristus Abu🎷

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