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May 28, 2018

On The Real Presence

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Without blood we die, and without the blood of Christ we die spiritually. His Precious Blood does more than just wash away our sin. It continues the flow of divine life in us, keeping us connected to our heavenly Father. Without Jesus’ blood, we would have no spiritual health or vitality. Today, therefore, the Church draws our attention to what it really is we receive at Communion. The Feast of Corpus Christi is a celebration of our belief in the Body and Blood of Christ and in his Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist – body and blood, soul and…

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OUR BLESSED IGNORANCE

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

This week’s reflection may, understandably, be difficult to comprehend for a lot of people. But that is only because no one at all possesses any sort of mastery on the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. The Church teaches solemnly that, “in God there are three Divine Persons, really distinct and equal in all things, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”The Trinity and the Incarnation are the two doctrines that set Christianity apart from other world religions. We can only explain what the doctrine is but not the mystery itself. As one author puts it: “The first thing we know…

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Our Unity in Christ

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

The name “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 (Torah) 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 by the acceptance of the Law. Being a pilgrim festival, Pentecost was a most fitting time for the Holy Spirit to…

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PEACE THE WORLD CANNOT GIVE

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Today Jesus offers one of his greatest gifts to humanity: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you”, he says, “Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” The peace of Christ is enduring, free and all-embracing. It is an interior peace which permeates individual hearts, families, communities, and entire nations. This peace comes from the blessed assurance that we are loved no matter what. It is a peace that comes from the knowledge that even when it seems like our world is falling apart he gently tells us: “Do not let your…

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Why We Suffer

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today we are called to reflect on the salvific value of suffering, and to unite our sufferings to those of Christ the Redeemer. We are to offer our sorrows as a spiritual sacrifice for the remission of sin. This proposition might sound“uncool” or out of place in today’s culture so much obsessed with pleasure, comfort, health, youth, and appearance. Tragically, many Christians are trapped in the mindset that holds that life is meaningful only when it is painless. But we know that a painless existence is not possible in this present life, no matter how hard we try. Suffering is…

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OUR ROCK-SOLID CHURCH

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Many a time when we hear the phrase – “built to last”- our minds easily go towards concrete structures or automobiles. The reality, however, is that no matter how beautifully or solidly built a machine or device may be, time and technology would always combine to render it obsolete. That is the short-lived nature of man-made structures. The Church of Christ is the one true structure built to last, guaranteed to endure till the end of time. Despite all the attacks coming from innumerable fronts, the Catholic Church has remained most resilient – never ceasing to captivate minds and hearts…

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The Passion Drama

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

It is a feast of contradictions today. We celebrate the triumphal entry of a king to the great applause of the people. However, this same King is condemned to a brutal death, betrayed by the very people who hailed his arrival. Ironically, this death is what brings him ultimate victory and earns him the greatest name above all. It’s Palm Sunday and it’s also Passion Sunday. It’s the day of “Hosanna in the highest”, but also the day of “Crucify him! Crucify him!” It is the day of acclaiming: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”,…

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Holding Back The Stone

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

What is our view on the relationship between the Law, human weakness, justice, and mercy? Are we always quick to cast the stone of judgment when someone makes a bad choice? Have we learnt to condemn the sin while giving the sinner another chance? In today’s Gospel, the scribes and Pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus, asking him whether or not to stone the woman to death. Invoking the Mosaic Law that prescribed the death penalty for adultery, they hoped to either incriminate or discredit him. If Jesus approved the stoning they would report him to the…

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The Unhappy Brother

In the Second Reading, St. Paul highlights the truth that, “It was God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the work of handing on this reconciliation”(2 Cor. 5:19).This message comes alive in the Gospel passage where we see a father welcoming his long-lost, wasteful son with great joy. The Father throws a party to celebrate his return, not counting all the wrong things he had done. This is how God the Father desires to reconcile every one of us to himself in Christ. At the mention of the parable of the Prodigal Son, we normally think…

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TAKING OFF OUR SHOES

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

In the First Reading today Moses is irresistibly attracted to the strange sight of the burning bush. He senses the presence of God and draws closer. But, just before he enters, God stops him: “Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground” (Ex. 3:5) being a member of the fallen human race, Moses needed to be purified in order to approach the presence of God. He needed to take off the shoes of sin and its effects in order to be restored to divine fellowship. That way it would be unquestionably clear to him…

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GLORIOUS MOMENTS

In our Gospel today, Peter wishes to prolong the Transfiguration experience: “Master, it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah” (Lk. 9:35). St Luke makes it clear that he did not know what he was saying. Dazzled by his vision of divine glory, Peter was not in a hurry to go back to the everyday struggles of earthly life, and so he sought to abide in that extraordinary moment. However, that was only but a foretaste of the beatific vision. It was not the…

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All about the Full Picture

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Fresh from his baptism Jesus sets out on a mission of fasting and prayer, to rescue mankind from the wilderness of sin and alienation. Since Adam’s rebellion, humanity has been “mourning and weeping in this valley of tears”. Christ comes to battle the devil, to liberate and restore us to the fullness of grace and divine life. He spends forty days in the wilderness a period symbolizing great physical and spiritual challenges. The Great Flood lasted forty days (Gen.7: 4, 17), and so did Moses’ fasting on Mount Sinai (Ex.34:28). Then there were spies sent by Moses to explore the…

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Casting into the Deep

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today, Jesus challenges Peter’s perseverance by asking him to do what he had done all night without success. He invites Peter to cast his net into the deep water for a catch. Peter had every reason to be skeptical, having tried all night to no avail. He was very exhausted and ready to go home. Being a very experienced fisherman, Peter knew that the best time for fishing was at night when the sea tide was favourable. However, he casts his human knowledge aside and makes an act of faith in Jesus: “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t…

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THE IMPACT OF DIVINE FAVOUR

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today, Jesus declares his mission and divine authority. The Father has anointed and sent him to bring good news to the poor, to free the captives, and to inaugurate the reign of grace and divine favour. He spoke with inimitable authority, and the people’s hearts were moved. There was something about him, unlike any other preacher. He was full of grace and power. In him the prophecy of Isaiah came alive as he declared, “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives” (Luke 4:18).We can just imagine some of the people there relating with those words—and sensing that their…

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Doing Whatever He Tells Us

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today we hear Mary’s very last words in Scripture: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). By this statement, we are invited to submit to Christ in all aspects of our life. Before issuing this command, Mary had already said to her Son: “They have no wine” (John 2:3). Her maternal intercession always covers all our needs even before we present them to the Lord. As she intervened on behalf of the newly married couple at Cana, so Mary (our Advocate) continues to make heavenly intercessions for the needs of her children here on earth. By telling Jesus: “They have…

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Rethinking Our Baptism

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

The Baptism of the Lord signals the transition from the Old to the New Testament; from the voice to the Word; from the best man to the Bridegroom; from John the Baptist to Jesus the Christ. In the liturgical calendar, today marks the switch from the Christmas season to Ordinary Time. Jesus’ baptism signalled the inauguration of his public ministry, and also his public endorsement by the Father: “You are my son, the beloved, my favour rests on you.” John the Baptist also endorsed him by proclaiming: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”…

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THE HOLY FAMILY AND US

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

As we celebrate the Holy Family of Nazareth today, we remember our own families and also pray for the family institution which is undergoing serious challenges in our time. The family as God designed it – man, woman, and children – is being messed with by politicians and lobby groups, with very serious implications for society and civilization. When God made humanity, “male and female he created them…” (Gen.5:2). And when it was time for the Saviour, he chose to come through the family, thereby restoring what was destroyed by sin, and also underscoring the importance of the human family…

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Acting on our Faith

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

On this last Sunday of Advent, we are invited to learn from the spiritual bond between Mary and Elizabeth. We are called to believe in divine promises, and to act on that faith by becoming channels of the joy flowing from it. In the First Reading, the Lord promises Bethlehem that out of it will come the Messiah. And in the Gospel, as soon as Mary learns that the promise would materialize through her, she hurries off to share the joy with Elizabeth. Authentic faith always leads to action! Mary is “the one who believed that the promise made her…

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A JOY LIKE NO OTHER

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

On this day we celebrate the Gaudete Sunday. It’s the reason for the rose vestments and candle. The word “gaudete” is Latin for “rejoice”, and we are rejoicing today because Christmas draws closer, just like our final beatitude in heaven. We are halfway through Advent and the Church wants us to rejoice. The First Reading invites the people to rejoice because, “The Lord, the King of Israel, is in your midst, a victorious warrior. ”The Responsorial Psalm says: “Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. ”And in the Second Reading,…

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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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