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July 16, 2018

The Recapitulation of all things in Christ

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Our contributions to everyday life, and very importantly in matters of national discourse – politics, abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, etc. must be guided by our fidelity to Christ and his teachings as espoused by the Church. Today’s readings focus on our being chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to fulfil the hidden plan of God that is to be revealed in the fullness of time. We have become God’s adopted children as the Father “chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence… through Jesus Christ for his own…

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Shooting The Messenger

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard once said: “The Bible is very easy to understand. But we ….pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.” The problem of our times is not so much that of unknowing as it is of culpable ignorance, which is when we pretend not to grasp what is obvious, or turn a blind eye to an objective principle. The aim is usually to avoid the moral imperatives implied by such realities. The experience of Jesus with his townsfolk in today’s Gospel…

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HE FEELS OUR PAIN

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Today’s readings deal with life and death, faith and mercy, healing and restoration. The First Reading traces the origins of suffering and death in the world; they were not part of God’s original creative design but were caused by the Devil’s envy and facilitated by the disobedience of our first parents in the Original Sin episode. As result, the original justice was lost, and all manner of pain, suffering and death became the lot of humanity.In the Second Reading, St Paul makes the point that our faith should bear fruit in works of mercy. We are called to be…

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CAN GOD BE UNFAIR?

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Can God be unfair? This could appear to be the case sometimes, especially when life is very rough or when good people are suffering unjustly. But we know that God is goodness personified and could not possibly be unfair, except that he loved us at the expense of his own Son. In the Book of Job, the man is complaining bitterly about his calamities and cannot understand why a righteous man like him should suffer so intolerably. He sought explanations from God. Job was sharing the sentiments of Qoheleth who said: “There is something else meaningless that occurs on…

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ON CORPUS CHRISTI

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Blood is a most essential ingredient of life. Without blood we have no physical life, and without the blood of Jesus we die spiritually. His Precious Blood does more than just wash away our sin. It continues the flow of divine life in us as well, keeping us connected to our heavenly Father. Without the blood of Christ we have no spiritual 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…

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When It Pays To Be Ignorant

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  The Trinity is, understandably, very difficult concept to grasp for so many people. For all our advances in knowledge, no one at all can claim any sort of mastery on the subject of the 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. It is only by faith that we can hold on to the truth of the mysteries of God. We can only explain what…

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The Pentecost of Unity

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  “Pentecost” comes from the Greek word for “fiftieth.” Fifty days from the day of Passover, the Jews celebrated the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), commemorating the giving of the Law (Torah) at Mount Sinai. While Passover signified the people’s freedom from bondage, Shavuot signified their becoming God’s covenant people by the acceptance of the Law. Being a pilgrim festival, Pentecost was thus a most fitting time for the Holy Spirit to come and light the fire of his love in the hearts of the disciples – empowering them to reach out to the multitude gathered in Jerusalem from many countries….

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Consecration in Truth

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Today, in his priestly prayer, Jesus asks his Father to protect all who will be his disciples from the “world”; that is, from the satanic powers opposed to God and the authority of his Christ. The “world” also refers to those socio-cultural norms that tend to lure us away from Christ’s meaningful but demanding friendship. It is the kingdom of the devil, as opposed to the Kingdom of God, the city of fallen humanity as opposed to the city of redeemed humanity. As St John states in his epistle, “nothing the world has to offer – the sensual body,…

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The Commandment of Love

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  One big characteristic of human life on earth is the search for love, and ultimately for God. At the core of our being is the innate craving for attention, direction, inspiration, affirmation, emotion, consummation, etc. Equally inherent in our human nature is the need to show love and affection to others. The importance of loving is clear to anyone familiar with the life and teachings of Jesus. Today he reduces the essence discipleship into one sentence. This sentence is his New Commandment, which encapsulates everything he taught: “Love one another as I have loved you.”And to make it even…

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ON DIVINE PRUNING

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  When vines are left to their own devices in the wild, the result is always telling. The plants meander through underbrush, grasping anything and everything they come in contact with. They dissipate their precious, creative energies clinging to rocks, wild shrubs and tree trunks. Come harvest time what you get is tiny, usually not-so-tasty fruits. The story is different for a well-groomed vine. The plants grow upright and strong, primed for bountiful yields of huge clusters of robust, tasty grapes. The difference is in the pruning! Consider also a body wound, when it is left to fester for a…

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The Shepherd and The Cowboy

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  On this Good Shepherd Sunday we acknowledge God as the universal shepherd of humanity, and ourselves as the sheep of his flock. Today is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. In the Old Testament, the Patriarchs of Israel were shepherds, just like their early kings. Even the prophets speak endlessly of Israel as the flock of God. Today’s Psalm describes what the Lord, our Good Shepherd, does for us his sheep: “Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit” (Ps. 23:2-3a).Of all religions…

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Mercy Overflowing A FRESH START

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today we have an offer of a fresh start from the risen Lord. His death and resurrection means we have a clean slate, no longer bound by the consequences of our sin. We are invited to embrace this fresh start and become a people of the resurrection. In the First Reading St Peter reminds the Jewish leaders and the people of their conspiracy against Jesus: “It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life”.  But very quickly he moves on from that and…

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Mercy Overflowing

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  The feast of Divine Mercy was established on April 30, 2000 by Pope John Paul II,on the occasion of the canonization Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska, the Polish nun and visionary through whom the Lord Jesus requested that the Second Sunday of Easter be reserved to honour and commemorate God’s infinite mercy. How fitting that the Pope himself, a great apostle of mercy, was canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday, 2014! Christianity is a story of the infinite mercy of God, without which we are lost and hopeless. Notwithstanding our unfaithfulness, the Lord has remained faithful through the ages and his…

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A Victor from the Dark Domain

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today is the greatest Sunday of all! It is the dawn of a new creation! Jesus is alive, “because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24).Adam’s rebellion is reversed and our communion with God is restored. We have become sharers in the divine nature, assured of divinization. What a great paradox that we have been so inestimably rewarded for our sinfulness – O Happy Fault! That is the amazing depth of God’s ineffable love, the unfathomable, inexhaustible fountain of divine mercy. Christ’s resurrection means everything for us. Only the bright light of the Resurrection…

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THE DRAMA OF PALM SUNDAY

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday. It is a feast of contradictions. On the one hand we commemorate the triumphal entry of a king to the great applause of his subjects; on the other hand, this same king goes to his brutal death in a matter of days – betrayed by the very subjects who hailed his victorious arrival in Jerusalem. But, ironically, this death is what seals his ultimate victory and makes him the definitive expression of divine mercy and the source of eternal salvation for anyone who believes in him. It’s Palm Sunday and it’s also Passion Sunday. The…

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THE HOUR HAS COME

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today we see a group of Greek-speaking pilgrims openly declaring their intention to meet the Saviour: “Sir, we should like to see Jesus” (John 12:21).This request summarizes the deepest longing of every human heart, and their non-Jewish background validates the universality of Jesus’ salvific mission as foretold in Scripture: “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him” (Ps.22:27). In response Jesus declares: “Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23). What hour has come? The hour to…

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LOVE INIMITABLE

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). With these words Jesus clarifies for us the extent of his Father’s love for us. There are so many adjectives to qualify the love of God – copious, ineffable, unfathomable, steadfast, interminable, etc., but it surely transcends them all. Today Jesus offers himself as the perfect expression of that love and only through him can we fully appropriate it. The Catechism explains that the only reason God revealed himself to Israel, and…

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ANGER TO THE RESCUE

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 positive change but otherwise it can also have a damaging influence – domestic violence, adultery, marriage breakdown, road rage, murder, and even suicide. Even concealed anger can be equally lethal as it breeds pride, resentment, envy, malice, gossip, high blood pressure, etc. So there is a place for anger but it must be within the framework of reason. On…

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OUR HIGHS AND LOWS!

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

The Christian experience is a long narrative of highs and lows. It’s astory of disobedience and submission, of desert and flood, of rebellion and reconciliation, of rejection and restoration, of doubt and belief, of temptation and victory, of sadness and joy, and of sin and salvation. In the middle of these extremes is fallen humanity, striving to stay afloat in the murky waters of life’s struggles. Vital to our survival in this treacherous journey is faith, which Scripture defines as: “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb.11:1). By faith we are able to navigate…

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THE SEASON OF LENT

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Fresh from his baptism Jesus set out on a mission of fasting and prayer in the desert, and there he was tempted by the Devil. By overcoming the temptations the Lord set a model for us to deal with sin and evil. And by launching his public ministry straight after the desert encounter, Jesus seeks to rescue humanity from the desert of sin and alienation, and to restore us to the fullness of grace and divine life, which was lost through Adam’s rebellion. The Lord spends forty days in the desert – a period symbolic of great physical and spiritual…

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