Tag: Sunday mass homily

Go And Do Likewise 

Go And Do Likewise 

*Go and Do Likewise*

_(Sunday 14th July, 2019. Deuteronomy 30:10-14, Psalm 13, Colossians 1:15-20 and Luke 10:25-37)_

_*“Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed mercy on him.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:36-37).*_

Last Sunday, we saw how Jesus sent out the seventy on a mission to evangelize, giving them very strict rules and they returned full of joy. Jesus told them to rejoice not because they conquered demons but because their names were written in heaven. We learnt that each of us is called to be an evangelizer in our own little ways, to preach not just with words but with our very lives.

Today, Jesus gives us a practical example of our calling as Christians in the story of the Good Samaritan who was neither a priest, nor a Levite. One may wonder, why did the priest and the Levite ignore this man they met on the way? Again what motivated the Good Samaritan to help even when it was a known fact that Jews had no business with Samaritans? These questions bring us to our lessons for today.

*One: Charity is the Short-Cut to Heaven*.

In today’s Gospel passage, a lawyer asked Jesus a very fundamental question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” In other words, what is the most important thing required of me as a child of God? Or to put it in another way, what must I do to gain heaven? It is interesting to note that unlike Nicodemus who had come to Jesus by night to ask a very similar question, the lawyer asked Jesus in public with the intention of showing off his personal qualification for eternal life. The lawyer was hoping that in his response, Jesus would mention those things which he already prides himself with.

To the lawyer’s utmost surprise, Jesus simply gave a candid summary of the entire Ten Commandments: “to love God with all our heart, our soul, our strength, our mind and to love our neighbour as ourselves”. Even in our day and time, this response of Jesus is still quite shocking given its basic simplicity. Note that Jesus did not mention going to Church, praying long prayers, wearing long robes, fasting three times a week and so on. In fact, not even the faithful payment of our tithe is absolutely necessary.

*Two: Who is my Neighbour?*

As Luke tells us, the lawyer was eager to let those around him know how qualified he was for heaven, asked another fundamental question: “Who is my neighbour?” That was when Jesus gave the story of the Good Samaritan. A man was attacked by robbers and left for dead. A priest passed by without helping, a levite also passed by, but a Samaritan who would normally not have anything to do with a Jew was the one who stopped to help. At the end of the day, the lawyer realized he was not as qualified as he thought. The story of the Good Samaritan teaches us that the neighbours God wants us to love are not those who are close to us but those that we often consider as enemies. Our neighbours are not members of our family or community, but strangers who would never be able to repay us for our good deeds.

While attaining Heaven as easy as loving God and our neighbour, the story of the Good Samaritan teaches us that the only difficulty we would encounter in entering heaven is the difficulty of showing kindness to our enemies or those far from us.

*Three: Go and Do Likewise.*

Jesus did not just tell this story for the sake of entertainment, He passed on a very strong message by ending with the phrase: *“Go and do Likewise.”* This final statement of Jesus was His real answer to the question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” It is not enough that we simply hear God’s word if we fail to do likewise; if we fail to behave like the Good Samaritan. Most of us like to think of ourselves as perfect candidates for Heaven, but I ask you today: When was the last time, you showed kindness to a complete stranger?

The key to helping people is our ability to see Christ in everyone. As St. Paul teaches us in our second reading today, “all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). Help others not because they deserve it, but because of Christ whom you see in them. Remember that song: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers; that you do unto me. When I was hungry, you gave me food to eat. When I was thirsty, you gave me drink. When I was sick or in prison, you came to visit me… now enter into the home of my father”.

One thing that tends to prevent us from helping our enemies is bitterness. You may have been hurt in the past, perhaps in your attempt to be kind to others, they repaid your good with evil. Perhaps you are scared of stopping to help that person on the road because you feel he or she may be an armed robber in disguise. But remember, that person may just be you and you too would expect someone to help you.

As much as we try to come up with excuses for not helping others, the truth is that if we search deep in our hearts, we would hear that tiny voice of conscience telling us to be kind. As Moses tells us in our first reading, we don’t need somebody to go to heaven to bring down God’s commandments, they are right in our hearts. Listen to your heart. Follow your conscience. Help, don’t hinder. *Go and do like the Samaritan.*

Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to replicate your mercy and kindness to everyone I meet, Amen.

*Happy Sunday. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C. Bible Study: Deuteronomy 30:10-14, Psalm 13, Colossians 1:15-20 and Luke 10:25-37)*.

-Fr. Abu

Rejoice And Be Glad For Your Names Are Written In Heaven 

Rejoice And Be Glad For Your Names Are Written In Heaven 

*Rejoice and Be Glad For Your Names are Written in Heaven.*

_(Sunday 7th July, 2019. Isaiah 66:10-14, Psalm 66, Galatians 6:14-18 and Luke 10:1-12,17-20)_

_*“You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; and it shall be known that the hand of the LORD is with his servants”. (Isaiah 66:14)*_

Last Sunday, we reflected on the call to ministry, we saw the call of Elisha, the attempt by some to give excuses and the expectations of God from those who are called. Our Gospel passage today is set on a similar note. In fact, Jesus extends the invitation to seventy others who He sent out to proclaim the Good News giving them certain strict conditions which included the renunciation of material riches. As Paul writes, for these seventy, the world would be crucified to them.

This seventy came back full of smiles, full of joy, highly elated and surprised at what God used them to achieve, surprised especially that even the demons were subject to their authority. Jesus told them to rejoice more in the fact that their names were now written in heaven for acceding to the call to evangelize. The joy of the seventy echoes the joy which the Prophet Isaiah speaks about in today’s first reading. It is a joy we all crave for in our world today. As our opening prayer puts it, it is the joy of freedom from the slavery of sin. How then are we to grab this joy and make it ours permanently? This question brings us to examine our lessons for today.

*Lesson One: God Needs You*.

There are three points to note from the number seventy in today’s Gospel passage:

One, this group of seventy is clearly different from the twelve disciples (They were not ordained neither did they receive any special training). 

Two, their names and ages are not mentioned, meaning they were anonymously chosen from among the crowd. 

Three, we are not told whether they were all men or all women meaning they must have been a mixed. 

Four, the number seventy is symbolic and it indicates totality. For instance, Jesus asked us to forgive seventy times seven.

The point I am simply driving at is that God needs you on this mission. Yes, God needs every one of us whether ordained or not ordained, professed or not professed, be you male or female, whether young or old, whether trained or not trained, we all have a universal mandate to go out there and evangelize the whole world. I will join my voice with that of Cardinal John Onaiyekan who said: “We should begin to Christianize the nation rather than complain about anyone attempting to Islamize the nation”.

Jesus couldn’t do it all by himself then, how much more now? If the twelve could not do it alone then, how much more today? Christians nowadays are quick to point fingers at their spiritual leaders, condemn them and criticize them but we forget that we who sit at the pew could do as much and even better in spreading the Good News to the ends of the world.

Among the seventy were tax collectors, engineers, lawyers, politicians, teachers, contractors, doctors, just name it. God needs you. He needs you right where you are, you too are called to proclaim the Gospel first by your life and then, by your words.

*Lesson Two: Success Depends On Collaboration*.

Reading our Gospel passage again, we hear: “The Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come.” 

Dear friends, success in the mission depends heavily upon collaboration and this collaboration is on two levels: 

First, the Human level (they were sent out two by two) and 

Secondly, the Spiritual Level (they were sent to every town where Jesus himself was about to come). They went in company of one another and Jesus himself went with them to bless the work they did.

You cannot do it all by yourself, we are not called to shine but to cooperate. If there is no love among us, how can we preach to the world about love? If two Christians cannot see eye to eye or forgive, how can we tell the world about Christ’s forgiveness? On the other hand, as Paul would say: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6). If we do not collaborate with God (without an active prayer life), our efforts would be futile.

*Lesson Three: Our Lifestyle Matters*.

Jesus said: “Behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves (therefore,) carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; salute no one on the road…do not go from house to house, eat and drink what is set before you… heal the sick and say, ‘the kingdom of God is near you’…” 

Dear friends, be it known to you today, that the most difficult task you would ever attempt to do, is to preach about God to your colleagues at work, in the market, in the streets, in your school or even on social media.

Why is it so difficult today for Christians to talk about God? 

Simple: No one wants to hear about God, no one wants to hear preaching, the world is full of wolves, we believe in a wolf culture and all talk about God makes one a lamb. In truth, if your lifestyle, your goals and values are not different from that of the people around you, you are deceiving yourself. We live in world that worships money as such, we who want to preach God must be different, we must be detached from these idols, we must place God above material possessions. This is the meaning of carry no purse, no bag, no sandals…”

With the advent of the Gospel of prosperity, materialism has eaten deep into the heart of Christianity today, our messages are now reduced to mere motivational (feel good) speech, as such, immorality has become the order of the day even in our churches while we busy ourselves with raising money for project after project. St. Paul says in our second reading today: “Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Today, we glory in our latest cars, our private jets, business empires and so on. Dear friends, let us ask ourselves: “Is my love for riches acting as an obstacle in my proclamation of the Gospel?”

*Lesson Four: The Secret of Everlasting Happiness*.

Once upon a time, a young man came to Jesus seeking the key to eternal life (true happiness). Jesus told him: “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me…” Mark tells us that “at that saying, his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful”. (Mark 10:21-22). Unlike this man who went home sorrowful, the seventy who had gone out to evangelize carrying no purse, no bag, no sandal came back bursting with joy and excitement.

When they were going out, it was like an adventure to them, they must have asked themselves, “How am I going to survive? No purse, no bag, no sandals, no nothing!” They must have concluded that Jesus was sending them out to commit suicide. But they obeyed. They followed the warnings. And they came back shocked that even the demons obeyed them. Their great power was in their ability to detach themselves.

When we are focused on storing up treasures for ourselves in Heaven rather than here on earth, we open ourselves to true and unlimited happiness. Jesus told the seventy not to rejoice in their ability to cast out demons but in the fact that their names are written in heaven. Our greatest joy should be to see that eventually we make it to heaven.

Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, fill us with holy joy, rescue us from slavery to sin and bestow upon us eternal gladness. Amen.

*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Isaiah 66:10-14, Psalm 66, Galatians 6:14-18 and Luke 10:1-12,17-20).*

-Fr. Abu.

Every Sin Is A Disaster. 

Every Sin Is A Disaster. 

​*Every Sin is a Disaster*

(Homily for Sunday 24th March 2019).

_“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered thus? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” *(Luke 13:2-3).*_

Slavery can be described as an act of man’s inhumanity to man. To be enslaved is to be reduced to the level of an object lacking the rights and privileges proper to every human being. To be enslaved is to be oppressed and afflicted.

God Himself felt for the people of Israel who were slaves to the Egyptians when he said: “I have seen the AFFLICTION of my people and have heard their CRY. I know their SUFFERINGS” (Exodus 3:7). Our lessons today are simple and straightforward.

*One: Sin is Slavery.*

As much as we detest slavery, St. Paul teaches us today that sin by its very nature can be likened to a form of slavery. Just as the Israelites were afflicted and agonized by the Egyptian taskmasters, we are all afflicted as long as we allow sin to dominate our lives.

According to St. Paul: “These things are WARNINGS for us, not to desire evil as they did nor grumble as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer” (1Cor. 10:10). 

*Two: Never Underestimate Sin.*

Sin is an affliction, a suffering, a detestable condition, something that makes us live lower than the dignity God desires for us. In fact, in our Gospel passage, we see that not only is Sin a form of slavery, but it is also a calamity and a disaster.

Some persons told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. They wanted to know if this disaster was as a result of their sins, assuming that they must have been the worst sinners on earth to deserve such a cruel death.

To their surprise, Jesus said, these victims were not any worse than any one of them (meaning no matter how little our sins are, we too deserve such calamity). Jesus also added a similar instance of the eighteen upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and crushed saying: but UNLESS WE REPENT, WE WILL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH. In this way, Jesus paints a vicious picture of sin as something we must avoid at all costs.

*Three: Is Calamity a Punishment for sin?*

Does God allow bad things to happen to us as a result of our sinfulness? If this is the case, how do we explain the case of Job who was a righteous man yet faced a series of affliction? How do we explain the unfortunate things that happen to us even when we are walking in righteousness? How do we explain the brutal death of Jesus even when He was completely sinless?

The truth is that God does not treat us according to our faults. As the Psalmist says: “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor requite us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10). Also in Matthew 5:45, Jesus told us that God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

This means that good things and bad things happen to both good and bad people not necessarily as a direct punishment for sins. The point Jesus wants us to take to heart is that Sin itself is a calamity just as bad as any other calamity we may experience in life.

*Four: There is Good News.*

The Good News is that we serve a God who CARES for us, a God who FEELS our plight, a God who UNDERSTANDS our struggles and is ever ready to help us. The Good news is that God did not abandon the Israelites, but sent Moses to free them from the hands of captivity. This is really Good News because it means that no matter the extent of our present grip under the captivity of sin, God will not abandon us when we cry to Him.

Just as the Israelites could not save themselves, we cannot do it on our own. Nevertheless, Moses did not force them out of Egypt, their exit came as a result of their own cooperation with Moses. This is exactly what Jesus means when He demands repentance from us.

To repent is to make efforts. Yes, God is interested in the efforts you are making. This is why Jesus gave the parable of the fig tree. For three years, the man who planted the fig tree did not see any fruits and he decided to cut it down. The vinedresser pleaded for more time to dig around it and manure it saying if by next year, it still doesn’t produce fruit, it could be cut down.

What efforts are you making? Have you given up on yourself? Why not dig around your lukewarm heart and apply more manure to your spirituality? The truth is that you really do not have all the time. You do not know when you will take your last breath, Act Now!

*Conclusion: Hate Sin Enough to Flee From it.*

The first key to repentance is to see sin for what it really is. *Develop a strong hatred for sin and never take any sin for granted. The worst thing that can ever happen to you is to trivialize sin, painting it as “normal” or just one of those things.* Remember, the choice is yours to make: Repent or Perish!

Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, grant me the grace of freedom from the captivity of sinfulness, Amen!

*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Third Sunday of Lent, Year C. Bible Study: Exodus 3:1-15, Psalm 103, 1st Corinthians 10:1-12 and Luke 13:1-9).*

-Fr. Abu.

Planted Near Water.

Planted Near Water.


When I read about the biblical tree planted near running waters, two things come to my mind. First, I remember the flowers I planted a year ago and they were not growing as fast as I desired. I observed their slow growth was because they were in a position, under a roof, where rainfall hardly touches them. I decided to install a water pump and used it in watering them. The flowers got water more frequently and became refreshed. 

Secondly, the biblical plant near running waters reminds me of agricultural irrigation in northern Nigeria, especially in Malumfashi, Zaria, and Argungu where dry season farming is very common in the cultivation of vegetables and other crops such as cabbages, tomatoes, capsicum, (tattasai), carrots, sugarcane, rice and so on. Here, farmers use water canals, dams, water reservoirs from which the waters run into the farm ridges.

It was the prophet Jeremiah who uses the imagery of a tree besides running waters to describe a blessed person (Jeremiah 17:58). According to him, a blessed person is one who trust in the Lord and who is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. On a different note, the prophet describes a cursed person as someone who turns away from the Lord, as a shrub in the desert, in the parched places of the wilderness and in an uninhabited salt land.

Likewise, the Psalmist says, a blessed person is one who takes delight in the law of the Lord and meditates on the law day and night. He compares the blessed person to a tree that is planted by streams of water, which yields its fruits in season and whose leaf does not wither (cf. Psalm 113). On the contrary, the Psalmist says the wicked (cursed) person is like winnowed chaff that is driven by the wind.

It is interesting to see how Jesus shocked his listeners when he turned the standard of the world upside down in re-defining the meaning of blessedness. He says those who are truly blessed are the poor, the hungry, the hated and persecuted (Luke 6:17, 2026). These are like trees planted besides running waters. Conversely, He says cursed are the rich, the satisfied, those who enjoy laughter now and those who enjoy the praises of sycophants.

Make no mistake about it! When Jesus talks about the poor he means those who place their trust in God and those who have a childlike trust in God. Moreover, the poor are those who detach themselves from materialism in order to establish a deep relationship with God. Unlike the poor, the rich are those who are never contented with what they have and who look for every avenue to grab more and more, by hook or crook. They are like Dives who was insensitive to the plight of the needy around him. I wish to recall the words of a famous American preacher who says, “We are rich in the things that perish, but poor in the things of the spirit. We are rich in gadgets, but poor in faith. We are rich in goods, but poor in grace. We are rich in know-how, but poor in character. We are rich in words, but poor in deeds.”

It is not a sin to be materially rich, nor is it a virtue to be materially poor. After all, Abraham was a wealthy man, but had an unshakeable faith in God. He was ready to offer everything including his son to God. The story of the unforgiving servant tells us about a poor servant who was wicked to his fellow servant (Matthew 18: 21-35). This servant’s material poverty was made worse by his wicked heart. However, there are materially poor people who commanded respect and were dignified by God. For example, Jesus identified a poor and honourable person in the poor widow who was radically generously (Matthew 124144). Similarly, the book of Ecclesiastes speaks about an unknown honourable poor man who though poor, was wise, and he delivered a city through his wisdom (Ecclesiastes 9:1415).

In addition, Jesus speaks about the hunger that leads to happiness, which is the hunger for righteousness, virtue, purity, as well as the hunger for the word of God and for the bread of life. He says those who weep are blessed. These are people who suffer brokenness of heart over the affliction and sorrows of others and have a deep sense of empathy. Jesus showed this kind of empathy when he was deeply moved in spirit at the death of Lazarus. He wept (John 1133, 35). More still, He wept over Jerusalem for their stubborn hearts (Matthew 23:37).

Furthermore, Jesus considers those who are hated and persecuted as blessed. He showed us a perfect example, while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:23). An early Christian writer perfectly describes the gentle response of Christians towards persecution. The writer says: 

“They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are dishonored, and their dishonor becomes their glory. They are reviled, and are justified. They are abused, and they bless. They are insulted, and repay insult with honor. They do good, and are punished as evildoers; and in their punishment they rejoice as gaining new life therein. The Jews war against them as aliens, and the Greeks persecute them; and they that hate them can state no ground for their enmity.”

Therefore, let us walk on the path of blessedness and happiness, which the Prophet, the Psalmist and Jesus show us. Let us be like that tree planted by running water which is never destroyed by winter, hotness, dryness and drought. This tree is a symbol of a person who is poor in spirit, who hungers and thirst for righteousness, who mourns over the affliction of others and who is hated and persecuted for his faith and good works. 


6th Sunday of the Year C.

Homily Written By Rev. Fr. Gerald M. Musa.

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