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May 22, 2018

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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THE QUESTION OF QUESTIONS

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

“But who do you say that I am?” This question resonates in the heart of a young person struggling with concupiscence and the glamour of sin. It’s a question that whispers in the minds of a couple striving to keep the right balance in their relationship. The question is pondered by the widow or single mum struggling to provide for her young children, not knowing where the next meal will come from. It is a question contemplated by the public servant faced with the challenge of serving with integrity even as everyone else seems to be stealing with impunity. The…

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THE CRUMBS OF FAITH

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

This week, Jesus invites us to break down the barriers of separation and discrimination, in order to embrace the universal fraternity of all mankind under one God and Father of all. He has just gone into the pagan territory of Tyre and Sidon, where he meets a woman in desperate need of help for her critically ill daughter. Out of extreme anxiety, the woman breaks social convention to approach Jesus: a) As a woman she was not supposed to speak to a man in public; and b) She was not only a Gentile but also from an area hostile to…

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WHEAT OR WEED?

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Despite God’s perfect knowledge of all our sinfulness, he continues to give us not just a second chance but another chance. No matter the gravity or frequency of our transgressions, the Lord gives us another chance while patiently inviting us to turn from our sinful ways. The First Reading today is clear that the Lord, though not accountable to anyone, nevertheless remains mild in judgment while governing his people with great clemency. The Responsorial Psalm exults the Lord as good and forgiving, the “God of mercy and compassion, slow to anger”. Then, in the Gospel passage, Jesus uses the Parable…

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WHEN IGNORANCE IS REAL BLISS

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Of all the monotheistic (one God) religions in the world, only Christianity believes in the Trinity. The Church teaches that, “In God there are three Divine Persons, really distinct and equal in all things, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” This is a unique mark of our faith and, no doubt, it is very hard to comprehend! How can God be both one and three? How can the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be fully God, and yet distinct persons? The ordinary human mind cannot grasp this completely, but that very fact makes the doctrine ring true. It…

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IT’S OUR CHURCH

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

“Pentecost” comes from the Greek word for “fiftieth.” Fifty days from the day after Passover, the Jews celebrated the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), commemorating the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. Originally, the feast marked the conclusion of the grain harvest (Ex. 23:16). On that day, the first fruits of the spring grain harvest were offered to God at the Temple. While Passover signified the people’s freedom from bondage, Shavuot signified their becoming God’s people through the acceptance of the Law. Being a pilgrim festival, Pentecost was a most fitting time for the Holy Spirit to come and enkindle…

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The Meaning of Eternal Life

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today’s Gospel passage teaches us the meaning of eternal life – knowing the only true God and his messenger, Jesus Christ. (John 17:3). Eternal life isnot a matter of time and space but a relationship of intimate knowledge. It is not a matter of food and drink but of “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Eternal life is not a matter of earthly wellbeing or material prosperity but rather comes from knowing God. This knowledge is more than intellectuallygrasping a concept but entails an intimate bond, a profound communion. Eternal life is a love affair with…

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When Suffering Makes Sense

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today we are invited to ponder the salvific meaning of suffering and to unite our sufferings with the passion of Christ, as a spiritual sacrifice for the remission of sin. This proposition may not go down well with today’s modern culture so much obsessed with pleasure, comfort, and appearance. There are many who believe that life is meaningful only when it is painless. But the reality is that a painless life is not possible in this present life, no matter how hard we try. Suffering is an inseparable accident of fallen humanity. Paradoxically, it is through suffering that we are…

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In union with the Church

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

In the First Reading today, we see the institution of the diaconate in the early Church. The Greek-speaking group were complaining of their widows being discriminated against by the Hebrew members in the distribution of food. The issue was beginning to threaten the Church’s pursuit of her divine mandate of proclaiming the Gospel to every nation. Appropriately, the Apostles stepped in and created the Order of Deacons (servers) to take care of the matter. As St Peter says: “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.” Many might not know this, but…

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