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May 21, 2018

CRAVING FOR LOVE

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  Intrinsic to the human being is the craving for love in its multifarious dimensions – attention, acceptance, direction, inspiration, affirmation, consummation, etc. As a corollary, there is also an inherent desire to show love and affection to others. The essence of true love is central in the life and teachings of Jesus, and today, he states it in one sentence that encapsulates everything he taught: “Love one another as I have loved you.” He then explains exactly what he means by “love,” a word that is often distorted, by saying that a man “can have no greater love than…

ON DIVINE PRUNING

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  When vines are left on their own in the wild, they tend to wander through the underbrush, grasping anything and everything in their way. They dissipate their precious, creative energies clinging to rocks, wild shrubs and tree trunks, and come harvest time what you get is tiny, usually not-so-tasty fruits. But 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! Now, think of a body injury, when it is left to fester for a long time because we do not want…

Go and Christianize your villages, Fr. Muforo tells Christian mothers

Rev Fr Ernest Muforo with the parish CWO executive

  The Catholic Women Organization (CWO) of Stella Maris Parish Orodo joined their counterparts in Nigeria to celebrate this year’s Mother’s Day. The occasion started with Mass, presided over by the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Ernest Muforo. In his introductory rmarks, Fr. Muforo congratulated the mothers for their unprecedented number adding that they look beautiful in their CWO uniform. He also wished them God’s guidance and protection as they celebrated their day. Delivering the homily, the parish priest maintained that the purpose of the celebration was to thank God specially for the gift of motherhood of which the Blessed Virgin…

“WHAT WILL YOU GIVE ME…?”

HOLY WEEK REFLECTION Beloved, as the holy season of Lent reaches its apex, culminating into Holy Week and gradually draws to a close, one is confronted with these soul-searching questions: “Have I really followed Jesus on His way to Calvary, carrying my cross?” ‘Did I feel the touch and aura of this season in any way at all as a believer who must identify with Christ in His temptations and sufferings? ‘Have I really suffered anything? What cross am I carrying? ‘What can I boast of as this holy season of lent comes to an end?’ ‘What do I glory…

THE HOUR IS NOW!

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

  In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ response to the request by a group of Greek-speaking pilgrims to see him is: “Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23). What hour has come? The hour to consummate his earthly mission of restoring communion between God and man. Let us bear in mind that at the wedding ceremony of Cana, when his mother told him the wine had run out, his response was: “My hour has not yet come” (John2:4). Also, once during the Feast of Tabernacles, when his brothers encouraged him to minister publicly in…

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…

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…

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…

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…

ADVENT: An Opportune Moment for Healing Meditation

  Etymologically the term Advent comes from the Latin word Adentus, meaning A COMING.This coming actually translates the Greek word’ parousia. Considering ad­vent as a season in the Church’s ritualistic history implies that someone or something is coming or will come. It is a period that commemorates the great expectation and longing of mankind over years for the coming of the Saviour. The liturgical time of Advent is a period of waiting for divine action or divine intervention in human history. It is a waiting for God’s gesture culminating in the liberation of mankind from bondage. Sincere Christians wait with…

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…

The Joy of Easter

Today is Easter Sunday, the day Christians all over the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The joy of Easter derives from the delightful surprise of Christ rising from the dead. There was a sort of sudden replacement of the sense of shock, trauma, disappointment and hopelessness as a result of the way Jesus was tortured and his excruciating death. With the disciples, the thought process wasn’t so fast, they struggled to remember, he promised he will be raised on the third day. The post resurrection experience was that of sorrow turning into joy. It was indeed a delightful surprise….

Understanding the essence of Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is one of those major Christian festivals which has gradually become Paramount in the Church’s liturgical Calendar.  Like the ash Wednesday ritual which begins the Lenten season, the palm Sunday practice which used to be a purely Catholic Church ceremony has been appropriated by the entire Christendom worldwide. Simply understood, it is a spiritual carnival commemorating the historical solemn but triumphant entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem about two thousand and seventeen years ago.   Here in Nigeria and Owerri town in particular almost every Christian irrespective of his or her denomination participates in the open…

From Hosanna to Crucifixion

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

It’s Palm Sunday today and it is Passion Sunday! It is a day of dramas and monumental contradictions. On this day, we commemorate the triumphal entry of a king who ends up dying like a common criminal. It is a day of both “Hosanna”,and of “Crucify him!” It’s a day of acclamation: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” and, also, a day of denials: “I do not know him!” It’s a day of paying homage and, also, a day of mockery!   Dear friends, as we recall one of the most dramatic episodes of the…

Help before blame

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

This week, the Lord challenges us to always lend a helping hand first before pointing the finger of blame. Also, we are called to always acknowledge the good deeds of others even when we do not exactly like them. In those days, it was believed that health and prosperity were signs of God’s approval and favour, while sickness and destitution were the result of sin and God’s disapproval. This mindset flows from the book of Exodus, which talks about God “punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation” (Ex. 20:5). Nonetheless, Jesus makes…

I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS JOHN 15:15 (2)

If we may ask him who his brothers are; he says ‘my brothers are those who hear the word of God and keep it.’ Those who give heed to the commandment of love by seeing the face of Christ in the most vulnerable and defenseless in our society. Walter Burghardt, S.J. in his book Preaching the Just Word, evangelizes that in trying to live Jesus’ declared mission, we should not only struggle to preach good news to the poor, proclaim release to prisoners and sight to the blind, but we should actually strive to ‘send the downtrodden away relieved.’ [Luke…

I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS JOHN 15:15

“I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father.”  John 15:15 We all have friends, and we enjoy being in friendship with them. This is because, their company is invaluable. It is because they are always there. We are always filled with the albums of memories of the past moments, and the love which encompassed our encounters with them. We can never forget them; we remember the mysterious ways in which we met them for the…

Turning the other cheek

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today, we have one of the most radical religious teachings ever – to turn the other cheek when we are smacked. Last week, we were challenged to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees. This time, Jesus invites us to imitate the perfect love of God the father when responding to personal insults and injuries – with grace, patience, forgiveness, and generosity. Our Lord wants us to overturn the culture of vengeance and violence by not always insisting on getting our own way, but rather going out of our way to do good to others, especially when they…

Complainers Anonymous

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

The Reader’s Digest Magazine once ran the story of a robber who went to a bank in the New York State city of Syracuse. He approached the teller and demanded the sum of $20,000. On reaching home, he realized much to his chagrin that the money was not complete. Fuming, he dashed back to the bank to complain about his being short-changed. And there and then he was arrested! Complaining is as old as fallen humanity.When God asked Adam if he had eaten of the forbidden fruit his response was: “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some…

Odenigbo: Chi-Kristic consciousness growing among Ndigbo – Archbishop Obinna

The need to intensify and expand the saving work of Christ among Ndigbo and within the Igbo religio-cultural context gave rise to the Odenigbo emphasis and thrust, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna said on Tuesday while briefing journalists on this year’s Owerri Archdiocesan Day/Odenigbo Lecture. “In the process, a Chi-Kristic-Kristi-Chiic consciousness is growing among Ndigbo leading to a purification/rectification of the Igbo self, a recti-valuation of every person as a noble child of God, the discovery that, like humans everywhere, every Igbo person lives by God-given human blood; there is no diala blood; no osu blood,…