Tag: Daily mass homily

How You Can Fall In Love With The Blessed Virgin Mary Through The Pope’s Beautiful New Year Homily.

How You Can Fall In Love With The Blessed Virgin Mary Through The Pope’s Beautiful New Year Homily.

God believes in mankind, because its first and preeminent member is his own Mother.

Here is a Vatican translation of Pope Francis’ homily for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, January 1, 2019.

~

“All who heard were amazed at what the shepherds told them” (Lk 2:18). To be amazed: this is what is asked of us today, at the conclusion of the Octave of Christmas, as we continue to contemplate the Child born for us, lacking everything yet abounding in love. Amazement is what we should feel at the beginning of each year, for life is a gift that constantly gives us a chance to make a new start, even from the most lowly of circumstances.

Today is also a day to be amazed by the Mother of God. God appears as a little child, held in the arms of a woman who feeds her Creator. The statue before our eyes depicts the Mother and Child so close as to appear as one. That is the mystery we celebrate today, which gives rise to boundless amazement: God has become one with humanity forever. God and man, always together, that is the good news of this new year. 

God is no distant lord, dwelling in splendid isolation above the heavens, but love incarnate, born like us of a mother, in order to be a brother to each of us, to be close to us: the God of closeness. He rests on the lap of his mother, who is also our mother, and from there he pours out upon humanity a new tenderness. Thus we come to understand more fully God’s love, which is both paternal and maternal, like that of a mother who never stops believing in her children and never abandons them. God-with-us, Emmanuel, loves us despite our mistakes, our sins, and the way we treat our world. God believes in mankind, because its first and preeminent member is his own Mother.

At the beginning of the year, let us implore from Mary the grace to be amazed at the God of surprises. Let us renew the amazement we felt when faith was first born in us. The Mother of God helps us: the Mother who gave birth to the Lord, now presents us, reborn, to the Lord. She is a mother who generates in her children the amazement of faith, because faith is an encounter, not a religion. Without amazement, life becomes dull and routine, and so it is with faith. The Church too needs to renew her amazement at being the dwelling place of the living God, the Bride of the Lord, a Mother who gives birth to her children. Otherwise, she risks turning into a beautiful museum of the past. 

A “Church museum”. Our Lady instead gives the Church the feel of a home, a home in which the God of newness dwells. Let us receive with amazement the mystery of the Mother of God, as the inhabitants of Ephesus did at the time of the Council. Like them, let us acclaim her “Holy Mother of God”. From her, let us allow ourselves to be gazed upon, to be embraced, to be taken by the hand.


Let us allow ourselves to be gazed upon. 

Especially in times of need, when we are entangled in life’s knots, we rightly lift our eyes to Our Lady, to Our Mother. Yet first, we should let ourselves be gazed upon by Our Lady. When she gazes upon us, she does not see sinners but children. It is said that the eyes are the mirror of the soul; the eyes of Mary, full of grace, reflect the beauty of God, they show us a reflection of heaven. Jesus himself said that the eye is “the lamp of the body” (Mt 6:22): the eyes of Our Lady are able to bring light to every dark corner; everywhere they rekindle hope. As she gazes upon us, she says: “Take heart, dear children; here I am, your Mother!”

This maternal gaze, which instils confidence and trust, helps us to grow in faith. Faith is a bond with God that engages the whole person; to be preserved, it needs the Mother of God. Her maternal gaze helps us see ourselves as beloved children in God’s faithful people, and to love one another regardless of our individual limitations and approaches. Our Lady keeps us rooted in the Church, where unity counts more than diversity; she encourages us to care for one another. Mary’s gaze reminds us that faith demands a tenderness that can save us from becoming lukewarm.


Tenderness: The Church Of Tenderness.

Tenderness is a word that today many want to remove from the dictionary. When faith makes a place for the Mother of God, we never lose sight of the centre: the Lord, for Mary never points to herself but to Jesus; and our brothers and sisters, for Mary is mother.

The gaze of the Mother, and the gaze of every mother. A world that looks to the future without a mother’s gaze is shortsighted. It may well increase its profits, but it will no longer see others as children. It will make money, but not for everyone. We will all dwell in the same house, but not as brothers and sisters. The human family is built upon mothers. A world in which maternal tenderness is dismissed as mere sentiment may be rich materially, but poor where the future is concerned. Mother of God, teach us to see life as you do. Turn your gaze upon us, upon our misery, our poverty. Turn to us thine eyes of mercy.

From Mary’s gaze, we now turn to her heart, in which, as today’s Gospel recounts, she “treasured all these things and pondered them” (Lk 2:19). Our Lady, in other words, took everything to heart; she embraced everything, events both good and bad. And she pondered all these things; she brought them before God. This was her secret. In the same way, she now takes to heart the life of each of us: she wants to embrace our every situation and to present it to God.

In today’s fragmented world, where we risk losing our bearings, a Mother’s embrace is essential. How much dispersion and solitude there is all around us! The world is completely connected, yet seems increasingly disjointed. We need to entrust ourselves to our Mother. In the Scriptures, Our Lady embraces any number of concrete situations; she is present wherever she is needed. She visits her cousin Elizabeth; she comes to the aid of the newlyweds in Cana; she encourages the disciples in the Upper Room… Mary is a cure for solitude and dispersion. She is the Mother of con-solation: she stands “with” those who are “alone”. She knows that words are not enough to console; presence is needed, and she is present as a mother. Let us allow her to embrace our lives. In the Salve Regina, we call her “our life”. This may seem exaggerated, for Christ himself is “life” (cf. Jn 14:6), yet Mary is so closely united to him, and so close to us, that we can do no better than to put our hands in hers and to acknowledge her as “our life, our sweetness and our hope.”

And in the journey of life, let us allow ourselves to be taken by the hand. Mothers take their children by the hand and lovingly introduce them to life. But how many children today wander off on their own and lose their way. Thinking they are strong, they get lost; thinking they are free, they become slaves. How many, forgetting a mother’s affection, live in anger with themselves and indifference to everything! How many, sad to say, react to everything and everyone with bitterness and malice! Life is such. Showing oneself “malicious” even seems at times to be a sign of strength. Yet, it is nothing more than weakness. We need to learn from mothers that heroism is shown in self-giving, strength in compassion, wisdom in meekness.


God himself needed a Mother: how much more so do we! Jesus himself gave her to us, from the cross: “Behold your mother!” (Jn 19:27). He said this to the beloved disciple and to every disciple. Our Lady is not an optional accessory: she has to be welcomed into our life. She is the Queen of peace, who triumphs over evil and leads us along paths of goodness, who restores unity to her children, who teaches us compassion.


Mary, take us by the hand. Clinging to you, we will pass safely through the straits of history. Lead us by the hand to rediscover the bonds that unite us. Gather us beneath your mantle, in the tenderness of true love, where the human family is reborn: “We fly to thy protection, O Holy Mother of God”. Let us together pray these words to Our Lady: “We fly to thy protection, O Holy Mother of God”


Happy New Year To You All! 

The Heroic Role Of Joseph’s Faith. 

The Heroic Role Of Joseph’s Faith. 

Wikipedia


The Heroic Role of Joseph’s Faith.

(Homily for Tuesday 18th December 2018).

_“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.” *(Matthew 1:24)*_

Yesterday December 17, we read the genealogy of Jesus Christ; a genealogy that carries a lot of important persons who were instrumental in one way or the other towards the realization of God’s plan for mankind. Nevertheless, our focus of attention was on Judah, the fact that Jacob’s blessings singled him out of all his brothers thereby earning the title of one of the direct ancestor of Jesus.

If Judah’s involvement in Jesus’ ancestry was courtesy of the blessing he got, there is one person whose involvement came out of his own personal free will; someone who had every right as well as every reason not to be part of the story of Jesus Christ.

Only very few men will agree to the terms given to Joseph by the Angel regarding Mary. Only very few men will agree to father a child that is not theirs biologically. Only a few men will agree to stand in for or cover up for the “shameful” circumstances so to say of Mary’s pregnancy. Nothing of such had ever happened before that a woman became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Given that we are used to casting and binding (rejecting by force) the contents of our dreams that are not in line with what we want, Joseph could have as well woken up from sleep to cast and bind the Angel. But he did not. Why? He believed the dream was not simply a figment of imagination but something real; something beyond him; something that required obedience.

Joseph deserves a lot of heroic commendation for his Faith. First, by his unwillingness to put Mary to shame, Joseph showed that he believed that regardless of what people do, they still deserve respect. Secondly, by listening to the Angel’s words in a dream, Joseph, unlike Zechariah displayed faith in God’s ability to speak to us through dreams. Thirdly, by actually obeying the Angel, Joseph showed that he believed in the possibility of God taking flesh in the womb of a person.

Joseph’s faith should inspire us to believe that with God all things are possible. Joseph’s faith should inspire us to believe that regardless of what people are saying, truth can never be hidden. If Joseph had followed public opinion, he would have abandoned the Angel’s words but he believed against all odds and in the end, he was vindicated. Mary had truly conceived by the Holy Spirit, she wasn’t a girl who was promiscuous. The child she would give birth to turned out to be exactly what the Angel said.

Finally, Joseph’s act of faith should make us reflect again on the meaning of the word “Father.” Who is a father? Is it simply one who makes a woman pregnant or one who takes responsibility for the care and upbringing of a child? The role of Joseph in the life of Jesus not only authenticates Jesus’ real humanity, but it also proves that every child needs a Father to become all he or she needs to be. Without a Father or at least someone to call “Daddy” a child’s growth and development could be affected. Yet, it is not easy to be Father.

Yes, it is not easy to be a Father. I just saw a post on social media explaining why men tend to die before their wives. I am sure many of us have read the post. It actually outlines the many ordeals men have to go through once they become Fathers. In summary, being a Father involves doing a lot of unrewarding work for others; it is a life of sacrifice. It is like cooking a pot of soup without ever getting the opportunity of tasting it when it is done. Ever wondered why nothing at all is heard about Joseph after the infant narratives of Jesus?

I know today is not father’s day but I ask that you please take out time today to pray for your Father (most especially if you are like me whose father’s name happens to be Joseph also). It is not easy to be a Father. It is not easy to be even a Reverend Father because like Joseph it involves fathering a lot of children who are not biologically yours, children even older than you.

“Father-work” is a job with a lot of expectations and responsibilities, a job where failure is just not an option, a job where sacrifice is normal, obedience non-negotiable and work insurmountable.

Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, bless our Fathers. Keep them strong and endow them with faith like that of Joseph to love, care and protect their children. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Advent. 

Bible Study: Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalm 72:1-19 and Matthew 1:18-24).

-Fr. Evaristus Abu.

God Never Fails.

God Never Fails.

*🎷God Never Fails.🎷*

Homily for Wednesday 12th December 2018.

_“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” *Isaiah 40:30-31.*_

In today’s first reading, God seeks to reveal Himself to the prophet Isaiah. When we are trying to describe something entirely new to someone, we often resort to comparisons so that the person can use the idea of what he knows already to understand what he does not know. So God says to Isaiah, “To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him?” This is a really tough question because in truth, there is nothing we use to compare God.

Nevertheless, in the course of that passage, God came up with an answer: “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grows weary… He gives the power to faint… Even youths shall faint and be weary, young men shall fall exhausted but they who wait for the Lord shall… run and never be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Only God deserves our complete trust. If God is for us, nothing can harm us. God’s power can never reduce, His strength is everlasting. If we place our trust in God and wait on Him, we shall be like eagles, we shall be victorious, we shall have the last laugh.

This fact is exactly what Jesus re-echoes in today’s Gospel passage: “Come to me all you who labour and heavy laden, and I will give you rest… for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” 

If we place our trust in God and cast all our fears, worries and troubles (heavy burdens) on Him, we shall mount up wings be like eagles, we shall run and never be tired, walk and never grow faint. We shall be victorious, we shall have the last laugh.

My dear brothers and sisters, what is your burden? Jesus is saying to us today, “Come to Me.” How would you feel if the President of this country tells you, “come and see me?” Happy and hopeful, right? So why are you still troubled? Jesus is the one saying: “Come to Me.” Go and drop the matter right at his feet and let Jesus do what He alone knows how to do best.

_*Sing:*_

What a Friend we have in Jesus.

all our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry.

everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,

O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

everything to God in prayer.

*Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, I trust you and I know you will never fail me. Amen.*

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

Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Advent.

*Bible Study: Isaiah 40:25-31, Psalm 103:1-4.8.10 and Matthew 11:28-30*.

-Fr. Evaristus Abu🎺

The Advent Spirit.

The Advent Spirit.


​*🎤The Advent Spirit.🎤*

Homily for Monday 3rd December 2018.

_“’Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion answered him, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.’” *Matthew 8:6-8*_

During this season of Advent, one of our most common hymns is “Come Lord Jesus!” Come Lord Jesus the light is dying, the night keeps crying: Come, Lord Jesus. Christ, come quickly, there’s danger at the door, poverty aplenty, hearts gone wild with war, there hunger in the City and famine on the plain. Come Lord Jesus.

As we call on Jesus this season of Advent, the Centurion in our Gospel passage gives us the right disposition and outlook that should necessarily accompany our call.

We learn from the centurion to have the attitude of humility bearing in mind that we are indeed not worthy to have Jesus come to us. In this season of Advent, we must strive to free our hearts from arrogance of any sort. Humility is not just a matter of thinking less of myself, it is thinking big of the God I serve.

If only I knew how big God is, I would not underestimate prayer. Indeed, rather than see prayer as a waste of time, I would consider each minute I spend praying as a privilege. The centurion teaches us not to take God for granted because no matter how big and important we are in life, we are mere dust before God.

Secondly, we learn from the Centurion the need for faith. He had no iota of doubt in his heart about what Jesus could do and he approached Jesus with the firm assurance that by simply speaking the word, his servant would receive healing.

As much as we are calling on Jesus to come again and be reborn in our hearts this Christmas, we need to redouble our faith in his power. Jesus was marvelled at the faith of the Centurion saying he had not found such faith even in Israel. Do I have such faith in the power of Jesus?

Thirdly, we learn from the Centurion the need to show care and concern for the people living with or working for us. The fact that we are paying someone salary does not mean the person is less of a human being. At times, our workers are sick and we don’t even go to check on them not to talk about going out of our way to find solutions to their problems.

The Centurion going by his name must have been a busy man because he was in charge of a hundred soldiers. Yet, someone, he found time to come looking for Jesus because of his servant; not even his son; not even a soldier. He could have simply left the servant and hired another but he knew to act better.

As we prepare to welcome Jesus this Christmas, let us remember that the same Jesus who was born on in a manger, about whom the angels sang is the same Jesus who said: “when I was hungry, you gave me no food, sick and in prison and you did not come to visit me.” Christmas is first of all a celebration of love and if I don’t show love to those less than me, I have failed Jesus.

Fourthly, this encounter between Jesus and the Centurion gives us a glimpse of what God has in mind for us in sending his son Jesus to be born as a man and live among us. The plan of God for mankind as the Prophet Isaiah depicts in our first reading is to see that man lives in perfect peace and goodness. Sickness, diseases, hunger and war are not part of this plan.

Isaiah speaks of a time when nations should beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Jesus was willing to go to the Centurion’s house because he didn’t want his servant to remain sick. We pray that Jesus would come and heal our sickness and bring relief to our pains. We pray that this Christmas would be a time of peace, a time of abundance and not war.

Finally, we remember St. Francis Xavier, one of those who began the Society of Jesus along with St. Ignatius. St. Francis was a great missionary and evangelizer. He took the Gospel to India, Japan and China where he eventually died due to illness.

*Let us pray: Lord Jesus, bring us healing and teach us to trust you like the Centurion. Amen.*

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

Monday of the 1st Week of Advent. 

*Bible Study: Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122:1-9 and Matthew 8:5-11*.

-Fr. Evaristus Abu🎷

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