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August 21, 2018

DIVINE LOVE DEFINED

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (Jn.3:16). This is how Jesus describes the depth of his Father’s love for us! He is the perfect expression of that love as only through him can we fully share in it. Through Jesus, the New Israel has been expanded to include all of us who believe in him anywhere and everywhere. Jesus makes us the people of the God who never stops saving us from sin. God’s love is infinitely stronger…

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When Anger is Good

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Anger is a very delicate human emotion which helps us to stand up against aggression and evil, but which must be handled carefully lest it snowballs into destructive behaviour with grave consequences. When put to good use, anger can bring about a positive change, but it could also have a damaging influence – domestic violence, adultery, marriage breakdown, road rage, murder, and even suicide. And even concealed anger can breed pride, resentment, envy, malice, gossip, high blood pressure, etc. So, there is a place for anger, but it must be within the bounds of reason. On the other hand,…

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LENT AGAIN?

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

    Fresh from his baptism, Jesus sets out to fast and pray in the desert where he is tempted by the Devil. By overcoming the temptations, he gives us a model to deal with temptations and sin.   The Lord spends forty days in the desert – a period symbolic of great physical and spiritual challenges. The Great Flood lasted forty days (Gen.7: 4, 17), and so did Moses’ fast on Mount Sinai (Ex.34:28). The spies sent by Moses spent forty days exploring the land of Canaan (Num.14:34); Elijah’s fasted for forty days (1 Kings 19:8); and Nineveh was given…

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VAL-IN-TIME

VAL-IN-TIME

  The 2018 Valentine’s Day coincides with Ash Wednesday, and there is some panic in that sense. Many see that as a clash, not sure how correct that is. On its own, Valentine’s Day evokes a feeling of amusement, merrymaking and revelry. Ash Wednesday, on the other hand, elicits austerity, introspection and reflection. It introduces the forty days of prayer, fasting and abstinence to commemorate Christ’s suffering and death. Different dioceses and churches have put out some directives to the faithful regarding the primacy of Lent over Valentine’s Day. For instance, the Archdiocese of Baltimore in the United States reminds…

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ARE YOU A LEPER?

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Hansen’s disease (leprosy) was one of the most dreaded and rampant diseases in Ancient Israel. It made the sufferers unclean – unfit to participate in the social and liturgical life of the nation. For fear of contagion, therefore, the victims were isolated from the rest of the community. They carried a stigma, with little love or acceptance, and no enjoyment of ordinary human companionship. They were completely stripped of their human dignity! Leprosy causes the rotting of one’s extremities – nose, lips, fingers, toes, etc., It also discharges an utterly revolting smell. Beyond Hansen’s disease, however, the people of…

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CALLED TO PREACH

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  In our Gospel today, the disciples come to Jesus the morning after a very successful day in their ministry. He had dramatically expelled a demon right in the middle of the synagogue and then spent the entire evening of the Sabbath working miracles and amazing exorcisms. The next morning, his disciples were obviously looking forward to another day of splendid performances. And so, when they awoke to find him gone from the house, and with a growing crowd of townspeople clamoring to see him, they were confused. A search party was organized but when they found him, alone in…

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WHAT IS YOUR AUTHORITY?

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Today’s Gospel passage is emphatic that Jesus taught the people with authority, not like the Scribes!It might sound strange to suggest that the Scribes did not teach with authority, but the reality is that their teaching had too much of human power but very little of moral authority – it was bereft of compassion and was programmed for selfish gain. Moreover, they did not practice what they taught. Conversely, Jesus was forthright and used his teaching to edify rather than put people down; he challenged the people to repent but with empathy, and he lived what he taught. That…

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HE CAME TO CALL SINNERS

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  In today’s Gospel we hear the greatest challenge ever given to humanity: “Repent, and believe the Good News” (Mark 1:15). With these words, Jesus inaugurates his public ministry of reconciling us with the Father. The greatest man ever issues the greatest summons ever (repentance), to God’s greatest creation ever (mankind), against the greatest human tragedy ever (sin). And on offer is the greatest reward ever (salvation), entailing the greatest transformation ever – the divinization of man. The call to repentance summarizes Jesus’ mission on earth. This challenge is the good news – god-spell (glad tidings) or Gospel. It is…

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ON THE SANCTITY OF THE HUMAN BODY

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today, St Paul is emphatic that we must glorify God with our bodies. In the Ancient Greek culture under which he was writing to the Corinthians, there was a negative anthropology that discriminated between the body and the soul. The body was considered useless and the soul very important. Even the philosophers of those days saw the body as a prison where the soul was trapped like a ghost inside a machine. Consequently, the Greeks tended to be extremely lax in matters of sexual morality. Since the body didn’t really matter, it did not really matter what people chose to…

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THE REASON FOR OUR JOY

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  The third Sunday of Advent is usually celebrated as Gaudete Sunday with rose vestments and candles used in many churches across the globe. The word “gaudete” is Latin for “rejoice,” and it comes from today’s Entrance Antiphon: “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice.” We rejoice because Christmas draws nearer, and so does our Lord’s glorious return. Our First Reading expresses humanity’s joy at the declaration of the Lord’s year of favour: “I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation, he has…

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ADVENT AGAIN?

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Why does the Church take us through the same advent ritual every year? Well, it is a period to contemplate the three comings of Christ in: a) History, 2000 years ago, when God stepped out of eternity to become one like us in everything but sin. b) Mystery –through his abiding presence in Word and Sacrament, grace and communion. c) Glory, when he comes at the end of time to pronounce the Last Judgment. Ours in the closing age of human history, which will culminate in Christ’s splendid Parousia, the overthrow of the present world order, and the inauguration…

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The King with a difference

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 with a call on humanity to submit once more to the authority of Christ. The Pope remarked that the multiple evils in the world were due to humanity’s rejection of the reign of Christ and that so long as this remained the case, there was no hope of a lasting peace on earth. The last time God was formally regarded as King by his people was about the year 1049 BC (over 3000 years ago), when Israel chose Saul as their king (1 Sam. 8:6). Choosing their own…

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We’re all Talented

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

The definition of a “talented” person that easily comes to mind is that of one endowed with some special skill or ability – talented footballers, actors, musicians, etc. But that does not mean that the rest of us do not have talents. We all have gifts though not all are meant for popular acclaim or global success. As Scripture says: “Each one of you has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these varied graces of God, put it at the service of others” (1 Pet. 4:10).Subsequently, the issue is not the lack of talents but…

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The Priest and The Chair

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

“And now, O priests, this commandment is for you: If you do not listen, if you do not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name, says the Lord of hosts, I will send a curse upon you and of your blessing I will make a curse.” (Mal. 2:1-2a) Every day, the people of God sit back and listen to the priest tell them how to conduct themselves, but today the priests that are at the receiving end as the Lord calls them out for bad behaviour. Many are being led astray by their false teachings and wrong…

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The Emergence and Proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra

The Emergence and Proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra

The aggravation of hostility between the federal government and the popular liberation organization, INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF BIAFRA  seeking a referendum by peaceful means, did not come as a surprise to anyone. Indeed one of the cardinal principles of the Organization, remains non violence. Over the years, successive Nigerian governments have repeatedly stated that the territorial integrity of Nigeria is not negotiable. This by implication means that no nation within the Nation state can exit while the structural imbalances , corrupt leadership, and regional marginalisation  remain intolerable. This is bound to create tension and dissent and that is exactly what happened…

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WHY ALL THE ENVY?

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today, we are challenged on the dangers of envy! We are called to always appreciate the gifts and talents of others, and to be content with what we have. How easily can we see ourselves as better and more deserving of God’s favours, while undermining others. Jesus is emphatic in today’s Gospel: “The last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16). Those of us already living a life of grace should not rejoice over those still struggling because we may be shocked in the end to discover that some of those we look down on today…

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As October 1 draws near

As October 1 draws near

Conventionally, October 1 means the first day of the tenth month of the year in the Gregorian calendar. And ironically, it is the month of the introduction of the calendar by Pope Gregory (X111) in 1582. For some, it is their birthday, or perhaps pertains to some joyous occasion in their lives. But for the SouthEasterners, particularly the Igbos in northern parts of Nigeria, October 1 has lots of negative and apprehensive implications.   In the interest of the international community, and for those ignorant of the ugly developments in Nigeria, the Northern Youth Forum met in one of the…

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The Divine Data Bundle

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

One of the main features of today’s media technology is the issue of data. The amount of data available to us determines how much and how long we can work or play on the internet. Currently, many of the service providers do offer unlimited data plans but, as experience shows, those “unlimited” plans are not always unlimited. In many cases, your download speed gets throttled down when you cross a certain point. Today, however, Jesus gives us the unlimited plan par excellence. Unlike our telecommunications companies, Jesus’ unlimited offer is real and without a shadow of doubt, and that is…

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THE INVASION OF IGBOLAND BY NIGERIAN ARMY – A RIDICULOUS MISSION

The Invasion of Igboland by Nigerian Army – A Ridiculous Mission

Nathaniel I. NDIOKWERE  Preamble NIGERIA NOT A ZOO, BUT A JUNGLE You come to the above conclusion, without much reflection when you consider absurdities that one finds “Only in Nigeria!”. Just one example: “NIGERIA’S UNITY IS NOT NEGOTIABLE!” And this testament was written and signed by two people, BUHARI and OJUKWU, and this time the venue was not ABURI, in GHANA, but in KATSINA, NORTHERN NIGERIA! The implication of this two-man agreement is that anyone that tampers with the sacred accord, the testament, must be ruthlessly deal with! Wow! Recently, Philip Omenukwa, a young Nigerian writer, in a fine article…

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Losing our sense of sin

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

In 1973, the renowned American psychiatrist, Dr Karl Menninger wrote a book titled “Whatever Became of Sin?”  In it, he laments the disappearance of the notion of sin, not only from everyday life but even from the pulpit. Dr Menninger invites the clergy to call a sin a sin because, he argues, without personal acceptance and resolution of guilt, and the accompanying pain and personal shame, there is no hope. The author is convinced that sin is still prominently responsible for present situation of humanity but we have chosen to rename and often dignify it. We no longer call it…

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