Monthly Archives: November 2016

Christ the Universal King by Fr. Joel

Today marks the end of our liturgical year and at the same time thchrist-the-kinge beginning of a new
year in the Church’s calendar. On this day, we celebrate Christ as the universal king. Celebrating Christ as universal king at the end and beginning of our liturgical year suggests that Christ is the beginning and the end of all creation and all that we do.
In the first reading of today, David an anointed king was acknowledged and accepted by all the tribes of Israel. On the other hand, in the gospel, Jesus an anointed king after his ancestor, David was ignored and rejected by the people. Jesus demonstrated his kingship through suffering on the cross. He won victory and salvation for us through the cross. Unlike worldly kings, his throne and palace are suffering on the cross. Through his cross we have passed from darkness into the kingdom of light.
Psalm 122 says let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. It is a song of thanksgiving and joy for the privilege of being members of God’s house/kingdom. In the second reading Saint Paul asked the people of Colossians to thank God for making them share in the inheritance of his kingdom of light. Heaven is our inheritance as children of light. Jesus has delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of light. Christ is king of heaven and earth, controller of dominions and principalities. He is the head of the church. He shed his blood to gain salvation for the church. He is the good shepherd that lay down his life for his sheep. His sacrifice on the cross was heroic, and a source of power and strength for his people. To give one’s life to save others is heroic. He said, to be great before God, is to be a slave or servant to others. Whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Only those who fear God can make sacrifices and render services for the sake of others. One of the thieves recognized the sacrifice of Jesus for our salvation. That is why he asked Jesus to remember him in his kingdom. In the same way we too should recognized Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and we shall be remembered by him in his kingdom. In addition, when we make sacrifices for the sake of others we are acknowledging Jesus as king of our life and are working under his commands.
Jesus gave us a perfect example of good leadership. He came to serve but not to be served. Each of us has been called to serve as leaders in different capacities, for instance as parents, teachers, adults, mentors and as Christians. But how many of us know the implication of the leadership role we have been called to play? Many of us aspire for various leadership positions only for the benefits and glories attached to them. We do not think of the services and sacrifices that are required of us as leaders. Many of us have excluded God in our leadership roles and are working had against God’s command as leaders. We are afraid of God’s rule over us and we do not want to hear about him anymore. We think of God as a bully who wants to deny us freedom to do whatever we want. Many leaders want to have absolute power to control the world and do whatever they want. As a result, we are experiencing numerous violence and destruction of life and property. But no one can have absolute power except Jesus, the universal king. He has the power over the whole world. We are all called today to submit to his authority at all times. Only those who submit to his rule and authority can be successful leaders and followers of him. Until we accept Jesus as the universal king before our world can experience true freedom and peace.
Jesus gave a good example of leadership for us to follow; he sacrificed himself on the cross for the world. As leaders, we must acknowledge the power of God and follow his commands. We must be ready to provide protection and support for others especially the most vulnerable ones. We must not oppress others or humiliate or abuse them in any way. We should lead people to success, happiness and a peaceful life. We should use our authorities for the good of other people. We are called to be source of strength, unity and love for other people. We should be ready to be misunderstood and persecuted like they did to Jesus. Know that leadership is sacrifice and service to the people.
We must acknowledge Jesus as our king and ruler of our lives and nation. We are to pledge allegiance to the king of the universe, Jesus Christ. We must not submit to the devil for he will destroy us. When we reject God in our society and institutions, we invite the devil into our lives. The devil will make us experience all kinds of bitterness and destroy us. It is because of our selfish desires that we fight God and reject him in our lives. It is a fight that we can never win instead it is a fight that will bring us sorrows and bitterness. We must decide today who we want to rule over our lives. Is it Jesus or the devil? Who is our king and ruler of in our lives?
If Jesus is your king you will follow his rules but not that of the devil. For example, the laws encouraging abortion and same sex marriages are not coming from God. Racism and discrimination against people is not God’s law. Divorce and division amongst people is not God’s will for us. Therefore, acknowledge Jesus as your king and learn to emulate him and follow his commands in your life. We have been called to be servants to others as a leader. Please let us try not to fail them. Let us be like Jesus to them and bring them justice, happiness and love.

CHRIST THE UNIVERSAL KING

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Our God is a God of Justice by Fr. Joel

In the first reading of today, God promised to punish the proud and evildoers.man-in-church But to reward those who fear him and do his will with justice and healing. The Psalm said that the Lord will come and rule the earth with justice. It is a song of thanksgiving to God for his rule of justice to his people.

In the second reading Saint Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to follow their examples of lawful and hardworking lifestyle in order to earn a living. He discouraged laziness and unlawful behaviors by the people for the sake of peace and justice. He said those who do not want to work hard should not eat. I think that is justice and fairness.

In the gospel, Jesus talked about uprising in the world that will serve as signs of the end of the world. He encouraged his followers not to panic but remain faithful to his teaching.  He said there will be uprising such as fighting among people and between nations, earthquakes, plagues, and signs in the sky. Furthermore, he said we shall be persecuted because of our faith. All of these are causing fear in us. But he promised to be with us and support us with wisdom and strength to overcome our fears and enemies. He said that we should bring all our labors and burdens to him and he will give us rest. He also encouraged us to persevere to the end in order to be reward with justice and peace.

All of the readings talked about justice to the people of God. Unfortunately, there are many instances of injustices in our society. Many people are mistreated and denied their rights. Many people are discriminated against in our society. There are many people who deserve justice but they are denied. There are many others who do not want to work but want to eat in our society. There are those who work less but receive more pay than those who work hard. There are divisions in our families and communities. There are all kinds of violence and lack of peace as a result of lack of justice around us. Our world needs justice in order for peace to reign in our lives. When our lives are full of uncertainties, fears, injustices and dangers, is time to go on our knees and pray to God for help instead of fighting one another.

Therefore, we must all come together, stay together, pray together, and work together for justice and peace in our society. These, we need to do urgently and now before it is too late. The elections are over but our feelings toward the outcome of the election are different. Before and after the election we were divided. We should embrace the spirit of sport men and women and be united as a nation and accept the results. We must not allow the outcome of the election to divide us and lead us to hatred for one another. Let us pray to God and ask him to intervene and to be with our new leaders and give them the wisdom that they need to lead this country toward peace, love, unity, and progress.

As Christians, in whatever situation we find ourselves, we must not forget our mission to preach the gospel. The gospel of Christ has not changed. It is still the same and we are all called to preach and bear witness to it at all times. Though we might be persecuted for doing so, we should not give up. Therefore, let us be at the fore front to promote peace, love, unity, and progress in our country. Let us be kind to one another, show love to others, forgive one another, and support each other to succeed. let us pray for our leaders so that God will use them to take away our fear, anxiety, division, and hatred, and use them to bring to our families and communities love, peace, unity, and progress.

The God that we serve is capable of making a path for us even in the sea; provides food and drink in the desert; and pulled down the walls of Jericho and delivered to his people victory against their enemies as he did to the people of Israel. The Bible tells us that the spirit of God given to us is not the spirit of timidity but of courage and strength to withstand challenges to the end. Therefore, let us go on our knees and pray to God for help. He is capable of assisting us especially in times of trials. Let us concentrate on living out the gospel values and bearing witness to it so that the God of justice will grand us eternal justice on the last day.

THIRTY THREE SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

OUR GOD IS A GOD OF JUSTICE

Our God is Merciful, Compassionate and Loving by Fr. Joel

The first reading of today talked about God’s mercy and compassion to his people. Itreet said that God overlooks people’s sins that they may repent and receive his mercy and compassion. God rebukes offenders and reminds them of their sins so that they can come back to him. God loves all the things that he has created. Psalm said, ‘’I will praise your name forever, my king and my God.’’ It is a song of thanksgiving to the Lord for his mercy and compassion to his people.
In the second reading, Saint Paul assured the Thessalonians of his prayers for them so that the purpose and will of God will be done in their lives always. Furthermore, he cautioned them not to panic regarding any false teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ that is not coming from true ministers of God. These are very important lessons for us as well. We should learn to pray for one another so that God’s will shall be done in our lives. In addition, we should be careful of false prophets and their false teachings so that we are not deceived by them and then lose our salvation.
In the Gospel, Jesus showed mercy and compassion to Zacchaeus, a sinner. Zacchaeus was a rich tax collector who cheated people in his job. He wanted to see Jesus but could not because he was a short man. Therefore, he climbed up a tree to be able to see Jesus. When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and asked Zacchaeus to climb down the tree. Jesus followed Zacchaeus to his house and said to him salvation has come to your house today. The people were surprised that Jesus went to the house of a sinner. However, Jesus came to the world to call sinners to repentance. With this gesture from Jesus, Zacchaeus repented of his sins and promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and pay back those he cheated four times more. All the readings of today are centered on the theme of God’s mercy and compassion.
Unfortunately, instead of taking advantage of God’s mercy and compassion and repenting of our sins, we are promoting and committing more sins day by day. We see God as a terror. We see his commandments as oppressive rules for us to follow. We want the kind of freedom our secular world is offering us to do as we want to. We talk about justice and freedom for all but we are denying the most vulnerable freedom and justice. The abortion of unborn children and adoption of children by same sex couples are injustices done to innocent children. We deny them their rights and freedom to a better life because of our selfish desires. The minorities and less powerful in our society are denied opportunity to prosper like others. We cheat and extort from the less privilege in our society. We segregate and discriminate against those who are different from us. In the name of civilization we commit and support all kinds of evil and atrocities. True civilization can only be attain when the less privilege and most vulnerable are protected. True civilization, freedom, and justice can only be achieved when the the same opportunities to develop and live a better life are given to everyone in society. Every one of us is guilty in one way or the other. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Therefore, we are like Zacchaeus, short because of our sins and as a result we are unable see Jesus. Our sins serve as stumbling blocks between us and Jesus. Sin stops us from being in communion with the Lord. We need to climb up a tree like Zacchaeus in order to be able to see Jesus. The tree we need to climb is the sacrament of reconciliation. In this sacrament we ask God for forgiveness and receive his mercy and love. We need to repair the damages we have caused others and ourselves too. We need to apologize to those we have cheated and mistreated and pay back to them for what we have done them. Our prayers and sacrifices will not be accepted if we do not repent and correct our mistakes. The Lord said that we must keep aside our offerings and sacrifices and go make peace with those we have wronged first before we can offer him worthy sacrifices. He also said in ‘’the Lord’s Prayer’’ that we should forgive other just as we want him to be forgive us. Therefore, repentance and forgiveness is very important for every Christian to be able to relate well with God and one another.
Please do not be afraid for God is willing, at any time, to show us his mercy and love. All we need to do is to make effort just as Zacchaeus did and salvation will come into our lives. Our sins are excess luggages that are not need for our spiritual journey. Therefore, we need to get rid of our sins as soon as possible to have an easy and smooth journey. Christ came to the world and died on the cross because of our sins. Let us go to him to receive his mercy and love. Do not allow the devil hold you hostage in his kingdom of darkness. Instead come to Jesus and enjoy freedom, light, and peace in his kingdom.
It is honorable and a blessing, as Christians, to ask for forgiveness and to forgive others as well. Forgiveness is a difficult thing to do, but is very important in our lives as Christians. Lack of forgiveness means carrying a great burden and is a disaster to a Christian. It robs us of our joy and peace. It breeds hatred, division, and violence in our society. Therefore, we need to forgive in order to receive forgiveness as well. We need to forgive in order to experience peace and joy in our society. Therefore, let us repent of our sins and forgive those who have wronged us. Let us emulate Zacchaeus who made effort to see Jesus and after encountering the mercy and love of Jesus, he repented and repaired the damages he had caused himself and his victims of corruption.
Lastly, as we prepare to vote, please pray and ask God to guide you to vote those who will promote peace and love but not those who will promote evil in our society. We may not have perfect candidates but, at least, vote for those who will promote better life and lesser evils in our society.

THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
OUR GOD IS MERCIFUL, COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING