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May 27, 2018

THE REASON FOR ADVENT

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Advent is a time of preparation and joyful anticipation of the Nativity of the Lord. It is also a time of deep reflection on the end of time when Jesus returns in glory.Last week we celebrated the feast of Christ the Universal King. In Advent we celebrate him as the Lord of history. Jesus is the perfect model of what it means to be human, and he is the author of human history: he has watched over it and guided it right from the beginning. The biggest proof of this is the Incarnation, the first Christmas. When God became man,…

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A KING LIKE NO OTHER

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the Universal King. Pope Pius XI instituted this Feast in 1925, calling on humanity to submit once more to the authority of Christ. The last time God was officially regarded as king by his people was about the year 1049 BC (over 3000 years ago). This was when Israel elected Saul as their king in place of God (1 Sam. 8:6). This amounted to a rejection of God, and it came at a great price. The Lord warned them that the king would exploit them and…

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The reforms of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice in Imo State (3)

The Emergence and Proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra

In a case, Okonkwo, the Diokpara lived to the ripe age of 70, a very wealthy man but predeceased his father after building a mansion in the Isiobi. The father died a year later. The Osoge Okpara, one Chief Francis, thereafter laid claim to the Isiobi and took over the mansion with his own family and banished Okonkwo’s wife and teenage children to the boys quarter built by their father. This case has never gone to court in spite of the great opportunities of success under the repugnancy rules and public policy. But where a court is faced by these…

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LIVING IN VIEW OF THE END

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  As the liturgical year draws to a close, we are invited to reflect on the eschatological dimension of our faith – death, judgment, heaven and hell. We believe that upon death, each one of us returns to God to account for his/her life on earth. Today’s Gospel paints a picture of the events that would mark Jesus’ return. No one knows the hour, except God the Father, but our Lord does not want us to worry about that. Rather he wants us to be on the alert. However, many have taken it upon themselves to determine when the Second…

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The reforms of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice In Imo State (2)

The Emergence and Proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra

In particular, our customary laws need to be reviewed to check the observances of rules that are archaic and in contraventions of the repugnancy rules and the strictures of the constitution. By this time, it is anticipated that some of our  customary rules that have been determined as repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience should have been specifically and statutorily abolished with the courts denied the jurisdictions to entertain the enforcement of such rules. But this is not the case. Daily, in our courts, customary courts are expending resources trying matters advocating repugnant rules which have no redeemable…

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Not the Pocket but the Heart

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today we learn that it’s not the size of the gift but the spirit behind it that really matters. When we give with an attitude of gratitude and self-offering, it is acceptable to God; but when we give with a sense of self-promotion, then there is a problem. Where self-giving sacrifice is lacking, a gift becomes, at best, a transaction, or an attempt to win admiration, or to avoid criticism. This is the lesson we draw from the Lord today in the story of the ‘Widow’s Mite’. This poor woman was deemed the most generous because she gave, not from…

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The reforms of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice In Imo State

The Emergence and Proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra

  The integral Universal picture of Justice is one of a woman blindfolded and welding a menacing sword. This scary image has given rise in me genuine apprehensions about the appropriate uses of the sword in evolving situations. How does Justice guide itself blindfolded? In my view, justice would have been better served with eyes wide open. But I am told that being blindfolded means that Justice is fair and acts without fear and favour. In Imo State like elsewhere in the world, Justice is also blind; blind to the suffering and anguish of litigants pauperized by extensive judicial processes,…

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THAT WE MAY SEE AGAIN

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

What a great irony in today’s Gospel passage! In the midst of all those with healthy eyes, it takes a blind beggar to recognize the messianic mission of Jesus. He is the only one to ask the “Son of David” for mercy. Paradoxically, the people around him who thought they could see tried to stop him. It’s either they did not realize that Jesus could help the man or they could not imagine him stooping to deal with someone on the lowest rung of the social ladder. Either way they failed because our Lord was out to heal anyone and…

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THE BAR AND THE BENCH UNDER SCRUTINY (3)

The Emergence and Proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra

  In accordance with the strictures of the constitution, the appointment of State High Court Chief Judges are in the hands of governors at the recommendation of the NJC subject to the confirmation by the State House of Assembly. The constitution provides generally that a person shall not be qualified to hold the office of head of the respective courts unless he is qualified to practice as a legal practitioner in Nigeria and has been so qualified for at least ten years for a high court In the NJC Guidelines and Procedural Rules for the Appointment Judicial Officers of All…

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THE RIGHT ATTITUDE

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Today’s story of the Rich Young Man teaches us that detachment from material possessions, and dependence on divine grace, are necessary conditions for discipleship and the journey to eternal life. The rich aristocrat comes to Jesus with a fair bit of exuberance and confidence in his own abilities. He was probably used to his wealth opening doors for him. “Good Master” he says, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus starts by challenging him on what it means to be “good”. God alone is good; so in calling Jesus “good” the man must do so in relation…

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It’s a Covenant, Not a Contract!

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Archimedes was the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time. Once, as he stepped into a bath, he noticed that the water level was rising, and it struck him that the volume of water displaced must be equal to the volume of the part of his body that was submerged. He had discovered how to calculate the volume of an object with an irregular shape – and that was a cutting edge discovery! Archimedes got so excited that he dashed straight from the bath into the street, forgetting to put his clothes back on,…

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THE BAR AND THE BENCH UNDER SCRUTINY (2)

The Emergence and Proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra

  This is more so with Banks which have been known to charge their customers for legal services that they are not competent to provide. This raises the issue of touting in the profession and mostly by non lawyers which accounts for the falling standards and poverty of the profession. In many land registries, non lawyers and employees of governments insist on rewriting deeds prepared by lawyers in their own forms when they are presented for registration. Perhaps, this is why the new NBA stamps provided for sealing, franking and validation of legal documents, deeds, pleadings, transactions   in a frenzy…

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GOD HAS NO FAVOURITES

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  God’s grace is superabundant for anyone who is open to it. We are meant for the fullness of grace but many a time, unfortunately, we fail to let ourselves become channels of God’s love, and we envy the good that others are doing, as if it was somehow mutually exclusive with our own good works. Consequently we find ourselves guilty of spiritual elitism whereby we consider ourselves superior and more deserving of God’s favours than others. In the First Reading, Joshua is unhappy that two men who were not among the seventy elders chosen to represent Israel at the…

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THE BAR AND THE BENCH UNDER SCRUTINY

The Emergence and Proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra

  “The law cannot make your enemy to love you but it can keep him from lynching you” Late Amaechi Nwaiwu SAN. The legal profession is in a state of flux since the invigoration of democracy in the last two decades inspite of the economic hardship, emasculating diseconomy and climate of social injustice in Nigeria. The legal profession has continued to strive and make remarkable leap forward but the anticipated progress towards a more generalized systemic social justice and public confidence in the administration of justice remains seemly an illusion to be pursued but never attained in so far as…

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WHO WANTS TO BE GREAT?

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Today the disciples find themselves at cross-purposes with Jesus, mainly because they did not understand of the Lord’s prediction of his imminent passion, especially regarding his rising from the dead. But they were too afraid to ask questions of Jesus on the issue. This is the second time in Mark’s Gospel that Jesus is talking about his passion and, like the first time (Mk 8:31-33), it is a very frightening and confusing prospect for the disciples to think that the one they had come to work with and believe in as the Messiah was going to be killed, just…

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LET ALL BE EPHPHATHA!

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Today’s Gospel captures the entirety of Jesus’ mission in one word, Ephphatha (Be opened). With this singular word he healed the deaf man with a speech impediment. This is so significant a word that the evangelist does not render it in Greek but in the original Aramaic that Jesus spoke, and it has remained that way in the Bible. Ephphatha is an expression of compassion straight from the heart of God; it is a message of liberation and healing, of restoration and reconciliation, a message of total renewal. Ephphatha is a validation of Isaiah’s prophecy in the First Reading…

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GOOD OR BAD SINNER?

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  The story is told of a father who was terribly concerned that his family spent too much time watching television. While the children spent too much time on Disney channel at the expense of their homework, their mother preferred soap operas to doing housework. So he came up with radical solution: “As soon as the Premier League season is over, I’m gonna have to cancel the cable television subscription.” That is quintessential hypocrisy! It is at the heart of Jesus’s teaching today as he continues his long-running dispute with his great adversaries – the scribes and the Pharisees. The…

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STAYING PUT WITH JESUS

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  The First Reading and the Gospel today address the issue of standing firm with the Lord and his Church in the face of difficulties whether in understanding certain truths of the faith, or with the temptations of everyday living. Many baptized Catholics today have become alienated from the Church because they view some of the teachings or disciplines to be “too hard” or “old-fashioned”. This is especially true in matters of sexual morality vis-à-vis the sanctity of human life, contraception, the integrity of marriage, or the charism of celibacy in religious life. This discomfiting phenomenon did not start in…

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JESUS AS REAL FOOD

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  In our First Reading today the Lord extends an invitation to the unwise: “Come and eat my bread, drink the wine I have prepared! Leave your folly and you will live, walk in the ways of perception”. This is a call to repentance, to flee from the glamour of evil, and to substitute the healthy bread of life (righteousness) for the “junk” food of unrighteousness. The “fool” here is not just a simpleton or one lacking in intellect and discernment – such a one is incapable of mortal sin. Rather, it refers to a person who deliberately chooses to…

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BREAD MATTERS

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Today we are challenged to worry less about earthly sustenance and more about the “bread of heaven” which provides unending sustenance. We are to focus less on our everyday difficulties and more on what the grace of God is doing in our lives.In the First readingElijah, running from Queen Jezebel, is so worn out by hunger in the wilderness that he complains aloud to the Lord saying: “I have had enough!” In response God sends an angel to provide him some food and drink which had a supernatural impact on him. We are told that: “Strengthened by that food,…

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