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God is Compassionate and Merciful by Fr. Joel

 

Our God is full of compassion and mercy to his people. In the first reading God told shackledhandsMoses to go down from the mountain because the people had made for themselves a god, a molten calf to worship and offer sacrifice to it. By so doing, the people were rejecting the God that brought them out of the land of Egypt, the land of slavery and bondage. The Lord was angry with them and wanted to destroy them and make a great nation from Moses instead. But Moses on the other hand pleaded with the Lord not to destroy the people and reminded the Lord of his promise to the people, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to make their descendants as many as the stars in sky. The Lord listened to Moses and demonstrated his mercy to them and he did not destroy the people.

The Psalm said, ‘’I will rise and go to my father.’’ It is a song of repentance to the Lord for our sins. In this song, we ask the Lord to forgive us and not to destroy us. In the second reading, St. Paul gave thanks to God for forgiving him and calling him into his ministry in spite of what he had done to the church (persecution). The Lord was merciful to him and gave him the opportunity to minister to his people. In the same way, Christ came to call us, sinners, to repentance and to participate in his mission of evangelization of the world.

In the Gospel, Christ was accused of eating with tax-collectors and sinners by the Pharisees and Scribes. This was a taboo then in the Jewish tradition for a rabbi to interact with sinner and tax-collectors. Jesus replied to them using the following parables. First, is the parable of the lost sheep in which the shepherd left 99 sheep to go in search of one missing sheep and when he found it he called his friends and neighbors to celebrate with him. Second, is the parable of the lost coin in which the woman who lost one out of ten coins, light her lamp and swept the floor of the house until she found it, then, she celebrated with her neighbors. Last, is the parable of the prodigal son who collected his own share of the father’s property and left for a distant country where he squandered everything and later became so hungry that he wanted to eat with pigs in order to survive. Then he realized his mistake and decided to go back to his father and ask for forgiveness and to be accepted not as a son but a slave instead. But on his return home, his father saw him from a far and ran to welcome him home. The father decided to celebrate his return in special way. The elder son was not happy with the father’s love, mercy, and lavish celebration of his younger brother who was wasteful and deserved to be punished. On top of that the father gave the younger son new clothes, shoes, and ring to symbolize that his position, rights and privileges as his son has been reinstated.

All these readings and parables demonstrated the compassion and mercy of God to his people. He does not judge nor condemn the sinners but celebrates their return and repentance to him. Likewise the angels and saints in heaven they celebrate each time we repent of our sins. If this is how our God is why do we delay coming back to him and repent of our sins? No matter how many or terrible our sins are, the Lord is ready to forgive us and use us for his mission here on earth. All we need do is to make up our minds and return/repent. There are no any jail terms or death sentence on us if we come back to him, instead we shall receive joy and peace. We will be release from the shackles of the devil and be made clean of our iniquities.

We are guilty of so many sins just like the people of Israel. For example, pride, idolatry, doubt, persecuting others, Ignorant, in fact we are lost like the prodigal son and have gone far away from God. Living in sin is slavery to the devil. Remember the devil was an angel who disobeyed God and is undergoing punishment. Therefore, he is looking for disciples to join him in the kingdom of darkness. Please do not succumb to his tricks or temptations. Stand strong and resist him by all means. Let us take advantage of the compassion and mercy of the Lord and gain our freedom from the devil so that we can enjoy peace and love from God the father. Also remember to pray and come for forgiveness of your sins and pray for others just as Moses did, forgive others just like God does to sinners. The sacrament of reconciliation is there to help us come back to God. Please know that repentance and forgiveness are the secrets of happy life in a family and a community.

Please learn and know how to confess your sins to the priest. Wait for appropriate time to go for confession. Do not feel guilty whenever you remember past sins that you did not confess because they were forgiven already at your last confession. Never make reference to the sins that you confessed last time because they have been forgiven and are not to be remembered. Begin to count your sins for next confession from the moment you leave the confessional. Be honest, specific and call your sins by their names and not by numbers or symbols. Confession time is not time for long counselling or for story telling because others are waiting to confess as well.

TWENTY FOURTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

GOD IS COMPASSIONATE AND MERCIFUL TO HIS CHILDREN

 

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The Narrow Gate is the Only Way by Fr. Joel

narrow gate2In the first reading, the Lord said he will gather all nations to come and see his glory. This he will achieve by his open invitation to everyone and by using us, his disciples to reach out to those who have not heard or seen his glory and bring them like offerings to the Lord and the Lord will use them as well for his work and to manifest his glory in the world. The Psalm instructs us to go out to the entire world and tell the good news. This mean everyone is invited into the kingdom of God. And no one should be an obstacle to anyone else’s opportunity to enter the kingdom of God. We are all invited and instructed to invite others to come into the kingdom of God. We can do this by proclaiming the good news to the world by our words and deeds.
Second reading talks about discipline of the Lord. It says for whom the Lord loves he disciplines. Endure your trials as discipline. The word discipline has the same root with the word disciple. A disciple is one who is being disciplined or undergoing some training for a goal. Therefore, discipline should not be seen as a punishment or a curse, rather as a source of strength and stamina that brings about great achievements and successes in the life of the disciples. As a result of discipline, we can grow in righteousness. Discipline is a training and attitude that helps us to achieve our goals in life and salvation. When you discipline yourself you will be organized, successful and as a result experience peace, joy, and happiness here on earth and eventually in heaven with the Lord.
The gospel teaches us to enter through the narrow gate, the kingdom of God. Only those who have disciplined themselves can enter this gate. If you are not disciplined, the gate of heaven will not be open for you to enter. The key to success and any achievement is discipline and hard work. To achieve heaven we must discipline ourselves by listening and keeping to the teachings of our Lord. If you do not discipline yourself and work hard, you will surely regret it in future. Therefore, if we do not discipline ourselves and pass through the narrow/difficult gate, we shall be rejected on the last day. And we will see others come from behind, pass us, and achieve salvation while we will be thrown to the place where there is wailing and grinding of teeth with the devil.
Therefore, the criteria for entering heaven are discipline, hard work, and entering through the narrow or difficult gate. This means having faith in God, listening to, and doing the will of God in your life and avoiding evil. Everyone has been invited to enter the kingdom through this narrow gate. There are no short cuts or any other ways other than that. No one has advantage over others because of race, color, nationality, family background or gifts but everyone has the opportunity to get to heaven if they follow through the narrow gate. But only your faith and good works will take you to the kingdom of God.

TWENTY FIRST-SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THE NARROW GATE IS THE ONLY WAY TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Be Vigilant & Strong in Faith by Fr. Joel

 

In the first reading, we are told that the people of Israel had faith in God to fulfill hisstrong faith promises to them and deliver them from their enemies. The Psalm said that blessed are the people the Lord has chosen to be his own. The second reading said that faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. And reference was made to Abraham who demonstrated his faith by obedience to the call to go out to an unknown place to receive his inheritance. He journeyed into the unknown in a foreign land but with great hope for the fulfillment of God’s promise in his life. Even though himself and Sarah, his wife, had past the age of child birth and Sarah was sterile, he trusted in the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to him anyway.

The fulfilment of God’s promised to give him numerous descendants as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the sea shore started with the birth of Isaac, their only son.  And shortly afterward his faith was tested again, he was asked to offer his only son, Isaac, the fulfilment of God’s promise, as a burnt offering to the Lord. Abraham again, full of faith agreed and went to offer Isaac as requested by the Lord. He trusted God could still fulfil his promise anyway.

In the gospel, Jesus said to his disciples not to be afraid anymore for their father is willing to give them the kingdom. He urged them to give away their possessions as alms to others and acquire great treasures in heaven that cannot be destroyed or stolen by thieves because where your treasure is that is where your heart will be.

Get ready and be awake as servants waiting for the coming of their master to open the door for him. Those servants who are found ready and awake to open the door for the master shall receive a beautiful reward and enter the kingdom of God. This means we should prepare for the second coming of the Lord at any time by being pure and holy in our words and deeds. Keep doing good works as good stewards and bear good fruits in your lives for when the Lord comes he shall reward you greatly. Do not be discouraged and distracted by anything for he will surely come but at a time you do not know.

Remain strong in faith and work hard so that you are not found wanting on the arrival of the master and thrown in a place together with the evil one where there is everlasting pain. He also said for those of us who know more about his teaching and refuse to live accordingly, we shall be more severely punish than others who knew little or nothing about it.

Many of us take things for granted, thinking we still have plenty time left to live on earth. We all know that death can come or strike at any time at our door steps. Some of us rebel against God and refuse to live good lives because God has not given us what we wanted or some misfortunes have befallen us. We need to know that God is a mystery, difficult to understand by humans. His ways are different from ours. He has a way of doing things that is beyond our understanding.  He has a way of answering our prayers either positively or negatively for our own good but we cannot understand it. Sometimes he allows us to go through pain and suffering just as he did to his son Jesus Christ on the cross. Why he does that is known to him alone. Therefore, no matter what situation we find ourselves let us not give up on him but remain vigilant and strong in faith because he is capable of fulfilling his promises to us as he did to Abraham.

Let us not give room for the devil to use us and lead us astray from God’s will. Just keep doing God’s will always and his promises shall be fulfilled in your life. Avoid all kinds of evils such as: malice, greed, jealousy, selfishness, cheating and wickedness and show love to your neighbors. Begin now to live the kind of life that you will like death to find you living, a life that will merit you heaven. Love God with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.

NINETEEN SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

BE VIGILANT AND STRONG IN FAITH

The Ascension of the Lord by Fr. Joel

Forty days after the resurrection of Jesus he ascended to heaven. Forty days is significantthe-ascension number in the scripture. Moses went up to the mountain to seek the face of God for forty days in prayer and fasting. The people of Israel were in the wilderness for forty years in preparation for their entry into the promise land. Elijah fasted for forty days as he journeyed in the wilderness to the mountain of the Lord. And for forty days after the resurrection Jesus appeared several times to his disciples to prove to them that he was truly raised from the dead and to prepare them for the mission of bearing witness to the world.

The departure of Jesus was like an end and a beginning at the same for the disciples. It was the end because that was the last time they will see him physically. It was the beginning because they will begin to experience him in a different way going forth. Jesus promised to be there for his disciples always to the end of time. As he ascended into heaven, he promised to send them the Holy Spirit who would empower them and teach them more on how to preach and be his witnesses to the world. Therefore, his departure did not leave them in sorrow but in joy because they were filled with the expectation of the coming of the Holy Spirit that will give them strength.

Through the Holy Spirit, the Lord empowers us to bear witness to the world. The risen Lord is in heaven on his throne reigning over the earth and heaven as king. There, he intercedes for us and empowers us with the help of the Holy Spirit to bear witness to him in the world. This is so that the world will hear from us the message of his gospel and be saved from condemnation.

How can we become effective witnesses of Christ Jesus? When we receive the Holy Spirit it will empower us to be his witnesses to the world. The gospel is the power of God that releases people from the burden of the devil and brings healing and restoration to us all. We are his ambassadors in the world, to represent him and bear his witness. That is the great commissioning given to us as his disciples. And all who believe in him share in this responsibility of spreading the good news. We are to wait on and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit that will empower us to be able to be his witnesses to in the world. We are to bring joy, love, and peace to the world as his disciples. When we receive power from the Holy Spirit we shall bear his witness to the world. We have to dispose and open ourselves for the Holy Spirit to come into our lives and strengthen us to do his will. Have faith in him and allow him to come into your life and take possession of you and use you for his work in his kingdom.

We are depressed, sick, unhappy, confuse, and in difficulty because we have not allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives. We rely on human wisdom so much today in our world that is why we cannot be happy and peaceful. Seek the will of God and allow him access into your life to take charge and your life will be wonderful. Discard your pride, selfishness and evil desires and allow God a space in your life and see how happy you will be.

Our world is full of all kinds of distractions: noise, pleasure, power, freedom, additions and so on. That is making us confused and leads us to destruction. We need to have faith in God and allow him to use us for his mission and glory in the world. His ascension is to allow the Holy Spirit to come take control of us and empower us to do his will here on earth. We must be willing and ready for the spirit to manifest in our lives and enable us do his will. Therefore, prepare yourself for the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower you for his mission. At baptism we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and it was strengthen during confirmation. Now, you must open up to the Holy Spirit to empower you do his will on earth.

 

Who is the Greatest? by Fr. Joel

There is a natural tendency in us, human beings to desire greatness and high places in this life. This tendency sometimes greatnessmakes us selfish and act without considering other people around us. Human beings could do anything in order to get whatever they want in this life, including evil things.

In today’s gospel reading we saw how two brothers, James and John, among the disciples of Jesus went to him privately to request to be favored much more than others. That is a clear sign of selfishness and quest for power and better things above others. Jesus used this incident to educate his disciples on the difference between greatness of this world and of his kingdom. Greatness of his kingdom means service, humility, and self-giving to others, but not self-service and selfishness that is associated with the greatness of this world.

In the first reading prophet Isaiah prophesied that the servant of God, through self-giving and suffering, will redeem sinners, give them life, justify them, and accomplish God’s will. The psalm says that the upright person is trustworthy, loves justice, right, kindness, and places his/her trust in the Lord. These are attributes of one who want to be great in God’s kingdom.

We are always ready to suffer for our selfish gain but not for the common good of humanity. Our culture and society encourage us to be selfish and greedy-to pursue worldly pleasures, happiness, and greatness at all cost. That is why we have become materialistic and consumers of all kinds of goods and services including those harmful to our lives. We have become so addicted to all kinds of commercials so much so that we keep spending money on a daily basis to purchase them.

Today even kindness, love, mercy, marriages, relationships, bearing children, going to school are done for money’s sake. Whatever does not have some financial gain in it we are not interested. Many people divorce, separate, quit relationships because of money and power. Other people tell lies, blackmail, and persecute others because of money and power. Some people give fake services and goods such as food, medicine, treatments which might be detrimental to human lives for the sake of money and power. Today people kill and destroy property for the sake of money and power, for instance, the crisis and war in the Middle East and other parts of the world. The promotion of ideologies such as planned parenthood, contraception, same sex union, mercy killing, atheism, and the freedom to do what you want is all because of money and power to control. Yes everyone wants to be in-charge, in control or the boss, then who become their servants?

Remember that worldly greatness is temporal but greatness in the kingdom of God is everlasting. Which one do you prefer? Being a servant to others is what qualifies you to be great in God’s kingdom. You do not need too much or deadly struggles to become great in his kingdom. All you need do is serve others and you will become great forever in his kingdom. So why suffer that much to become great only for short time in this world instead of struggling to be great forever in his kingdom? Our mission is to give ourselves and resources to build God’s kingdom.

The second reading said that Jesus is our high priest who understands and sympathizes with our weaknesses and is ever ready to grant us forgiveness and the grace that we need to become servants to others in order to become great forever in his kingdom. So go to him with confidence and ask for his mercy and grace to become servants and great in God’s kingdom.

TWENTY- NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME B

Love is the Law by Fr. Joel

A story is told of Saint John Paul II who visited a place in his home country, Poland, and was to meet with the staff of a Easter, Week 6, Gospel, Englishparticular building. Upon reaching there, he saw a woman he has known for a long time, and he violated the protocol and he said, ‘’Mary what are doing here?’’ and went to embrace her first. This was because he was able to recognize her among the staff members. The woman was overcome with joy because the Pope recognized her, and she shed tears. This is how every one of us feels when you are recognized by other people. The feeling that you are important and loved is wonderful to every person.

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘’I call you friends,’’ because, according to him, He has taught them, his disciples everything about himself and the father. Furthermore, he tells disciples, ‘’ you are not servants but friends; it was not you who chose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruits that will remain.’’ What a privilege to be chosen and not to be left out. That is the attitude of our God: He searches for us every now and then. We are called and chosen for joy. Jesus said, ‘’I told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.’’ The Christian way of life may be tough, but surely the end result is always joyful. Joy and love is the sign of God’s presence in us. The purpose of the gospel is to bring good news and the love of God to people. And it is our duty to bring this gospel to all people of the earth. However, we cannot give people this joy if we ourselves are not joyful in our lives.

Jesus is indeed a real friend to us. A real friend will not abandon you, in every situation he is there with you and for you. Jesus is a friend that carries and bears all our sins. All we need do is to carry our sins to him. What a privilege we have in Christ Jesus!

By virtue of our baptism we have been called to serve others. We are to serve the way Christ served: service with humility, selflessness, joy, and love. St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians said, ‘’If I speak in tongues of men and angels, but without love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understanding of mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but have no love, I gain nothing (Cor. 13: 1-2). This means love is central to our services as Christians.

St. John would say, ‘’My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and anyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.’’ He will never call us to give if He has not first given us. We can only give what we have received. So if we have not received from him, we are not expected to give since we cannot give what we do not have. In the gospel of John, the word love is mentioned several times. Our Lord, Jesus made love the central command of our Christian life. He said, ‘’ love one another as I have loved you. Jesus also said that we should remain and abide in his love. This denotes a deeper intimacy with him so much so that we become one with him. This love is different from emotional love; it is an attitude with a sense of responsibility toward someone, and this attitude is that of care and concern. It is the kind of love that involves conscious activities toward others, such as sacrificing, sharing, supporting, accepting, and accommodating one another as brothers and sisters.

Unfortunately, we live in world that is full of hatred, violence, division, and discrimination against one another. And the only weapon that can be used to overcome all of these is love. Love is a powerful weapon that can be used to defeat envy, jealousy, pride, hatred, betrayal, injustice and all forms of evil in our world. It is the most effective medicine to cure division and discrimination and build bridges of friendship among people of diverse cultural background. Therefore, our duty as Christians is to use this powerful weapon to heal the world of her wounds.

SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER 2015

Community Life is the Secret of Our Strength by Fr. Joel

geese vGeese fly in a V shape formation to ease their movement. You can hear the beat of their wings whistling through the air in unison. That is the secret of their strength: lead goose cuts through the air resistance, which create a helping uplift for the birds behind it. In turn, their flapping makes it easier for the birds behind them, and so on. Each bird takes its turn at being the leader. The tired bird goes back to the edges of the V shape for rest, and the rested ones come forward to the point of the V to drive the flock onward.

If a goose becomes too exhausted or ill and has to drop out of the flock, it is never abandoned. A strong member of the flock will follow the weak one to its resting place and wait until the bird is well and strong enough to fly again. Together, they cooperate as a flock, and can fly at a 71% longer range, with up to 60% less work.

After the resurrection, the disciples were overjoyed to see Jesus alive again. This made a very wonderful impression on them. It confirmed to them what Jesus had told them about his resurrection. From that moment on, they based their preaching on the resurrection of Jesus; and they continued to testify to his resurrection with great power. This resurrection determined their way of life. They became united in mind, heart, and soul. Everything they did and owned in common: they lived a community life sharing everything they had as brothers and sister of one family. That is the kind of life we are called to live as Christians; And to bear witness to his divine love, mercy, and peace to the world.

But what we are doing instead is individual, selfish, and greedy, disunited, and lack of sharing in our lives’ styles. We are conforming to the pattern of the world instead of making the world conform to God’s pattern. One of the Bishops from Africa at the synod on marriage and family said that the clamor for the change in church teaching in favor of same sex marriage and divorce is an effort to make the world change the church instead of the church changing the world. He said the mandate of the church is to change and convert the world and not the other way round. Unfortunately, many of us are adopting this pattern of life and accepting these worldly ideas. We doubt God’s power and teaching from the Bible instead we want to do our own will. We want proof and immediate answers or else we will not believe. For instance, today we read that he breathed on his disciples and gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit so whose sin they forgive is forgiven and whose sin they do not forgive is not forgiven. Yet many people doubt the sacrament of reconciliation. You hear people asking why go confess to a human being like you? But God is the one who is using the human beings to reach out to his people.

The story of the geese demonstrates exactly what is expected of us Christians. We are called to live a community life of cooperating and sharing our material, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual possessions with one another. Community life in which we cooperate and share has many advantages: save time, money, energy and provide support for each other, and people can easily overcome challenges and progress faster. But individual way of life has lots of disadvantages: waste more time, money, energy and no support for one another, and people can easily come lonely, depressed and frustrated in life. Mother Teresa of blessed memory once said that poverty is not created by God; it is created by you and me when we do not share what we have.

We thank God for the gift of these children who will begin receiving communion with us today, and pray that God will continue to strengthen the bonds of our union with him and with one another. This is our family meal, covenant meal, and the meal of our salvation.

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER 2015

God’s Love is Infinite by Fr. Joel

Abraham Lincoln was asked during the civil war, ‘’if the war is over, and when the south has been subdued and conquered,infine love and has come back into the union, how are you going to treat these rebellious southerners, what are you going to do to them?’’ And he answered: ‘’ I am going to treat them as if they had never been away.’’ That is exactly the attitude of our God when we repent of our sins; he treats us as if we have never committed any sins.

Today is the fourth Sunday of lent and it is called ‘’Laetare Sunday’’ a Latin word which means ‘’Rejoice’’. Hence the antiphon of today says, ‘’Rejoice, Jerusalem; be glad for her all you who love her….’’ On Laetare Sunday the Lenten discipline is relaxed. The organ and other instruments may be used, and there may be flowers on the altar; the priest may wear rose colored vestments. On a day like this, the Pope will bless a golden rose. He will explain the meaning: The rose is beautiful, but it has thorns. The beauty of redemption will not come without the thorns and pain of the cross.

So, we are rejoicing because of God’s infinite love and mercy to us. In spite of our sins, he loves us and forgives us. ‘’For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him may not die but may have eternal life.’’ (Jn 3:16). Today we rejoice because our catechumens are getting closer to their baptism and full communion in the church. We rejoice because God never seems to learn his lesson, despite our stubbornness and sins, he keeps loving us, forgiving our sins, and will never give up on us. He never learned his lesson in creation: He created everything good and gave to our first parents, and they paid him with disobedience. He did not learn his lesson when he delivered the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt and did many great things for them, and they pay him back with rebellion. Even today, we who are the new Israel, we are rebellious and sinful, yet he loves us and grants us forgiveness. We have abandon God for the sake of secularism and civilization and we are turning things upside down. As a result, we are committing all kinds of atrocities such as abortion, same sex marriage, divorce, euthanasia, violence, suicide, murder, and all kinds of injustices and hatred to one another.  Yet God’s love is boundless and he is ready to forgive us.  Indeed, his mercy and love is infinite. So we have every reason to rejoice today. Do not just be happy but repent and receive his love and mercy.

The first reading is woeful and the gospel is up lifting. The first reading shows the anger and punishment of God while the gospel shows his love and mercy. We are people of the gospel, people of the New Testament and our God is merciful. Therefore, we must be happy, grateful to him, and take advantage of this opportunity and repent of our sins and receive his forgiveness. His forgiveness is freely given-you do not have to earn it. God loves and forgives us- Do you forgive others? God’s love is infinite- do you have limit to your love for others? Love begets love-do you receive love and not give others love?

 

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR B

 

Jesus Heals the Leper by Fr. Joel

During the time of Jesus, leprosy was considered a more serious disease than it is today. Attached to it was a social andheals leper religious stigma. A leper was treated like an outcast and expelled from his family and community because of the contagious nature of the sickness. And to prevent people from getting infected, contact between the leper and a healthy person was avoided. The situation was worst then because there was no known cure for the disease. So the person having leprosy then was as good as a ‘’living dead’’ person. He or she was going to live with it and remained isolated from the community for the rest of his or her life. It was really bad then, the situation of the leper.

We can now understand what Jesus did by curing the leper. It was not just curing him of the disease, but it was more of giving him back his life after the cure. He was welcomed back into his family and community again. However, it was a dangerous risk taken by Jesus and the leper. The leper going to where healthy people were staying was a big risk. They would have stoned him to dead thinking he was trying to infect them with the disease. The leper was desperate to be cured and come back to full life again. It is not good to be isolated from your family and community. So as soon as he saw the opportunity to get out of his situation, he grasped it immediately. He did not care whether he would be killed in the process. After all, he was as good as dead in his condition. Therefore, he took the risk to see if he could get back to normal life and be with the people.

Jesus on his own part also took the risk of not only welcoming the leper, but also of touching him. Jesus could have cured the man without touching him. But he did not, rather he touched the man. By so doing, he risked being infected by the disease and becoming unclean too. That was against the rules as handed down to them by Moses. That must have angered the Jewish authority. Jesus should have been in trouble, but maybe because it was a miracle and the people did nothing about it. However, this demonstrated to us how Jesus is ready to go to any extent to set us free from our suffering and bondage. All through his ministry on earth, he sometimes went contrary to the regulations in order to do good things, for instance, the healing on a Sabbath day. He would always identify with the sufferings of people. For this reason he was accused and eventually that led to his crucifixion.

Our sins and past mistakes are like leprosy that have made us unclean, isolated and separated us from Jesus and his community. Jesus is ready at any time to take the risk to cure us of any disease, make us clean, and provide our needs. He said we should come to him, all who labor and are over burden in life and he will give us rest. But are we ready to take the risk like the leper to come to Jesus? Many people are ashamed of their past mistakes and they do not want to take the risk of coming to Jesus and his community for help. Some people have isolated themselves from people because of some bad situation in their lives.We hear of people committing suicide. It is because they are afraid to take the risk of coming to Jesus and his community for help.

The sacraments of the church are channels of his grace and healing to us. The ministries such as St. Vincent de Paul, catholic charities, ACTS and many other ministries have been doing great jobs in helping those with material and spiritual needs. Please, do not be afraid or shy. Come to Jesus and he will surely give you rest from your sufferings. Please do not die in silence while Jesus and his community are ready to take the risk to help you in your situation. Please do not be scared to take the risk. Come to Jesus, he will cure from your leprosy and slavery to the evil.

After receiving healing from him share with others and invite them to come and receive their healing from him too. By virtue of our baptism, we have been called to invite others to come and experience the healing power of God. Therefore, let us extent our kindness and love to those who are orphans, widows, sick, elderly, addicted to substances, divorce and so on to experience God’s healing through us.

THE SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B

The Authority of Jesus by Fr. Joel

Since the beginning of the season of ordinary time, we have been reflecting on God’s call to variousphone call from god people such as Samuel, 12 Apostles, 72 disciples and Prophet Jonah. We have also reflected on the fact that by virtue of our baptism, we too, have been called to reform our lives and follow the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today, we are encouraged to hear this call from Jesus who has authority from God the father. We see, in the readings of today, how Jesus demonstrated this power in teaching and casting out demons. The first reading helps us to establish the source of his authority. In this reading Moses said, ‘’The Lord God will raise up a prophet like me; you shall listen to him.’’ And the gospel said, ‘’He spoke with authority and not like the Scribes.’’ This means Jesus came and fulfilled this prophecy of Moses and his authority and teachings were different from those of the Scribes and Pharisees. The teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees were full of contradictions, selfishness, and pride. They were not humble and were not able to address the people’s problems. They were self-centered in their teachings and deeds.

The call today is to listen to Jesus and follow his footsteps. He speaks the truth with authority from God without contradiction. However, most times, people do not want to hear the truth because it is bitter. Sometimes we do not like authority because we perceive it to be something that denies us our freedom and rights. We prefer what makes us feel good instead of what will question our words and deeds.

There are very many contradictory teachings today in our society such as: pro-choice, same sex marriage, co-habitation without commitment or responsibility, divorce and individualism. Today people do not like the authority of the church because of her teachings on these issues. We decide and do what we want in the name of freedom and rights. Even children want to be allowed to do what they like. Even when you know for sure that, that thing they want to do is not good for them; they will still want to be left alone to do it. When you tell them to do otherwise, they will say you are mean to them.

My brothers and sisters, we need guidance that comes from God to be truly happy in this life. The teaching of God is the truth that can guarantee such happiness. ‘’Our hearts are restless until they find rest in the Lord’’ (St. Augustine). Let us not be like the Jewish authority that did not recognized the power of Jesus because of their pride. Rather, let us be like the ordinary people that recognized his power because of their humility. Pride makes us not to see the power of God in our lives but humility does. It is said that pride comes before the fall of a person. So watch it.

Jesus said, ‘’I thank you father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and revealed them to mere children’’ (Mt 11:25). This means those who claim to be intelligent according to worldly standard are blind to see the power of God in the world, but those who are humble like mere children are able to see and benefit from his power.

Regardless of whom we are, our intelligence, our wealth, and our position in the society, we must be humble and be like mere children. Only then we can recognize his power in the church; because he promised to be with the church until the end of time (Mt. 28:20). Those who fail to humble themselves, but prefer to be proud, will question the authority and teaching of the church as the Scribes and Pharisees did. But those that are humble like mere children before God will surely experience him in their lives and be truly happy. True happiness comes from being under the authority of God our creator.