Sunday, 23 March 2014

Sunday Reflections: 3rd Sunday of Lent, 23rd Match 2014

If you knew the gift of God
The readings
Ex. 17:3-7
Ps. 95:1-2.6-7abc.7d-9
Rm. 5:1-2.5-8
Jn 4:5-42
Today's Sunday is a special one from the point of view of the choices of the readings. The first reading for example tells the story of the ingratitude of the Israelites in face of difficult moments. The Israelites were in the desert and when they lacked drinking water they rebelled against Moses and God. They remembered there was land in Egypt.
How come they easily forgot the greatness of the great I am? Have they already forgotten his words in Exodus 3:7-8? I saw the affliction of my people and I came down to rescue them. Have they soon forgotten how he made them pass through the red see in Ex. 14? How come they are now longing for their land of captivity? If they knew the gift of God!
In the second reading, St Paul takes up the second part of his teaching to the Romans. From Rm. 1-4:25. St Paul develops his teaching on justification by faith. But in today's second reading he takes up another aspect of it. He explains what makes Christ's death unique: That's he died for sinners and not for the righteous. The implication is that Christ dying for the unjust reconciled sinners to God giving them hope of salvation. Hence believing (surely by living an active faith) sinners are reconciled to God.
In the Gospel from which the theme was taken, St John gives us the narration of Christ's encounter with the Samaritan woman. The past historical motif(background) without which this encounter cannot be better appreciated could be read in the 2Kg 17:1-25.
The gospel tells how Jesus was tired and needed some rest and, should I say coincidentally had no where to rest except at the well. Was he really intending to rest or was waiting for an opportunity to initiate a conversation? Let's notify that the problem wentbfar beyond Jewish-Samaritan squabbles when he decided to chat with a woman. Every good Jew knew it was scandalous for a man to chat with a woman publicly. No wonder the Apostles were dumb folded at the sight of the  "all round abnormal pair".
At the course of their conversation, Christ made two important remarks.
1). He is the Messiah and he gives the living water.
2). Time have come when those who worship the Father should do it in spirit and truth.
To conclude, let's not be like the Israelites who only recognize God's presence in good moments. Let us instead learn from the Samaritan woman who recognized Christ the Messiah in an ordinary life activity. Let's be attentive to see Christ in the most usual things of our daily activities.
If you knew the gift of God!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Daily reflections, 19th Match 2014

Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
One of the most important personality in the soteriological history is Saint Joseph, the chaste spouse of Virgin Mary. But he is also one of the less known individuals among the minds behind the natural brought up of the Man whose death on the cross was to bring us salvation. The Bible hardly evoked his name in the life of Jesus apart from the early pre-nativity and some few allusions to the infant narrative of our Lords history. Who then is this less known personality that guided the mother and child of the Holy family?
The Gospel of today tells us that his father is Jacob and that he is of Davidic lineage. Here again the scrupulous Jewish evangelist, Matthew tells us that he is not only a just man but also outstandingly a respecter of others. It's this his last quality that made him decide to send away Mary secretly to preserve her honour and dignity.
Another character of his that's very auspicious is humility. In fact, Saint Joseph is an embodiment of humility. This character always kept him behind the scene in almost all the life event of Christ. In the presentation at the Temple of Jesus, Joseph was kept behind the scene. In the rediscovery of the child at the Temple, he was behind the scene and totally absent in the ministerial life of Christ.
Let us ask God to give us more especially we male folk the grace necessary to over our come our male chauvinism and accept that humility is a virtue and not a weakness.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

An iconic African singer

Cameroon's protest singer dies

Daily reflections: Friday 14th Match 2014

The readings of the day:
Ezekiel 18:21-28
Matthew 5:20-26
God's desire for man is that he be saved. His intention for him is that his situation be ameliorated. But he however wants him to make the first step in response to his salvation project. He wants him to come to him!
This is why he invites us in this time of lent to return to him. Through the prophets like Ezekiel etc. he promised to blot out our offenses if and only if we return to him. He has even agreed to set us free if we confess our sins. The sacrament of reconciliation is one of those means by which he purifies us. There he waits for us to bring him all our iniquities.
For this reason and other occasions he has granted us, he reminds us in the Gospel that to whom more is giving, more is demanded. That's what Jesus mean by "Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and pharisees you will not enter into the kingdom of God".

Daily reflections, Tuesday 18th Match 2014

The readings of the day
1st reading: Isaiah 1:10.16-20
Resp. Psalm: Psalm 50:8-9.16b-17:21.23
Gospel Matthew 23:1-12
One of the major and ancient problems of humanity is to distinguish between religiosity and spirituality. The ambiguity that exists between them is without doubt due to man's shallow understanding of what really matters in life. While religiosity is more of the way in which man re-links with his creator spirituality is more of the outcome or fruit of this relationship. The problem that's generally associated with the former is that seldom it has to do with external practices whereas the later has to do with mature fruit of a deep relationship.
In today's readings, in the three, we observe a clear distinction between the two phenomenons. Whereas the first reading and the responsorial psalm are condemning religious practices (religiosity) that are arbitrary to a deep (spiritual) relationship between God and man the Gospel is sounding a strong note on why our religious practices must be coherent with our daily life.
In fact, according to the three readings, what matters most is not the rate at which we are religious but the much that our religiosity renders us spiritual. And in all, the best way to know the level of spirituality of a religious man is to observe his relationship with others. How he helps the weak, how he fights for a just world, how he cares for the orphan, for the needy, the widows etc.
At last let's remember that: "the world will be a better place if and only if every religion seeks the face of God that is in the neighbour". Alison-omi

Monday, 17 March 2014

Daily reflection, Monday 17th Match 2014.

The readings of the day
Daniel 9: 4b-10
Psalm 79:
Luke 6:36-38
The two major adjectives that  better qualify the Theo-Israelite relationship in the Old Testament could be summarized in maternal and paternal care. The paternal aspect of this relationship made God strike the people whenever they arred. And his maternal affection made him bring them back to their land at the end of their every purification.
In the first reading of today, the people are faced with the reality of God's faithfulness being put in doubt. He promised through Ezekiel that he was to liberate them after 70 years of their exile. But he tarries beyond this prophecy. This particular incident puts the maternal aspect of their relationship into question.
But prophet Daniel in one of his rare literary devices shows that God's faithfulness can never change. He insist that God is faithful even amidst the people's unfaithfulness.
In the Gospel too Jesus takes up a related discussion. He teaches that it is in the measure with which we treat others that we will be treated.
Let's then begin to show mercy to others in other to obtain God's mercy.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Second Sunday of Lent 2014

The readings of the day :

1st Reading  Genesis 12:1-4a,
Responsorial Psalm Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
2nd Reading  2Tim 1:8b-10

The theme of this Sunday could be God's call and man's response. 

In the first reading, the author of Genesis narrates the call of our father in faith, Abraham. He tells us how God asked Abraham to quit his father's land and his people to an undisclosed location. “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you".

Abraham being a man of faith did not doubt God. He obeyed the command and followed God. 

His response merited him all the blessings attached to the call.

“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”

And being the sons of Abraham his blessing could be ours if we share in his call. If we could leave our own comfort zone to a land which the Lord is to show us. If could accept to be a pilgrim people in search of the sick, the poor, the most abandoned, the neglected etc. These people could be the seen as "the land which I am going to show you".

Though it might not be easy answering this call, God would want us to see it as our share in the redemptive plan of God. Thus he says in the second reading: "Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God". 

And if we are ready to follow him, we should be ready to make a promise like Peter in the Gospel: “Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

You must not make three tents like Peter would have wanted it. But it could just be enough making one. And that could be made possible by visiting a sick person this week, helping the poor or feeding the hungry. All these are our calls as Christians and as long as we are not doing them, we are not yet ready to share in Abraham's blessings


''The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said''. ALISON.