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Month: June 2022

Call to Discipleship. Jesus Christ sitting on a rock and preaching to the Crowd.

HOMILY OF 13TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C

TRUE DISCIPLESHIP: A CALL TO FREEDOM FROM WORLDLY ATTACHMENTS

1st Reading: 1 Kings 19:16, 19-21; 2nd Reading: Galatians 5:1, 13-18; Gospel: Luke 9: 51-62

Our existence in this world is a Divine call. For none of us chose to come into this world on his or her own accord, rather God chose us and sent us into the world for different purposes. However, this call by God has implications, conditions, as well as consequences. It is a call to total commitment, self-abandonment, and freedom from slavery, which prevent us from actualizing our ultimate goal in life.

In the first reading, when Elijah called Elisha to follow him, he went and sacrificed all his oxen immediately, and used his farming implements as fuel to boil them and then bade farewell to his family. This immediate response shows his renunciation of his previous occupation or life for his new vocation as Elijah’s disciple. What a resolute decision and response!

In a similar way, Jesus Christ always chooses His disciples by Himself and not them choosing Him. He made this clear to His disciples, when He said: “You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out bear fruit, fruit that will last(John 15:16). Meanwhile, in today’s Gospel, a man approached Him and requested to follow Him wherever He goes. However, Christ’s response to him: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head(Luke 9:58) seemed to have rejected the man’s humble request. Not at all. Christ simply wanted him to know the implications of discipleship. For the scripture says: “My child, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal. Be sincere of heart, be steadfast, and do not be alarmed when disaster comes(Sirach 2:1-2).

On the other hand, Jesus Christ called two other men to follow Him, but they started giving excuses. One said: “let me go and bury my father”, and the other said, “let me bid farewell to my family.” In his response, Christ told them to drop whatever other agenda they had, which enslave them and make them earthbound, and then follow Him to proclaim the Kingdom of God. That is exactly what His first disciples did when they were called; they left everything and followed Him immediately (Luke 5:11). For anyone who starts to plough and is looking back is not worthy of the Kingdom of God. This implies that, following Jesus Christ does not admit of any excuses or double standard life (sycophancy, deceit, hypocrisy, dubiety, cunning, insincerity, etc.).

Moreover, it is worthy of note that, when Jesus Christ calls people to follow Him, He wants them to leave all other relationships and attachments behind, and then cling to Him without any reservation like Elisha in the first reading. It is a call to total abandonment of self, and detachment from worldliness, which also requires resolute decisions, focus and absolute dedication. This detachment from earthly possessions and family enables the disciple to be free to serve God sincerely and wholeheartedly. For Christ made it categorically clear to His disciples, that a call to discipleship is a call to self-denial and total abandonment to the will of God (John 6:38; Mark 8:34).

By the virtue of our baptism, we have been set free from the dominion of darkness which enslaved us, and thus become sons and daughters of God, as well as, the disciples of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:13-14). Just like the early disciples of Jesus, we did not choose Him, no, He chose us. In other words, we are Christians not because we wanted to be Christians, but only because Jesus made us so by His own deliberate choice. His reasons for choosing us are known to Him alone. So, we must follow Him completely with all our hearts. To place our very selves and all our possessions at His disposal, to do with us as He pleases.

In the second reading, St. Paul reminds us that if we are to enjoy this freedom that Christ has won for us, we need to allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit. For many of us have the desire to serve God, and to offer our lives to Him. But, at times, our attachment to sinful habits or attitudes, to possessions and relationships, hinders us from following Him more closely. That is why St. Paul urges us to work in the spirit so that we would not live double standard life or gratify the desires of the flesh: Adultery, fornication, masturbation, homosexuality, lesbianism, idolatry, envy, jealousy, unforgiveness, greed, etc., which tend to enslave us (Galatians 5:16).

Finally, our call to Christian life is a call or journey undertaken to follow Christ more closely and total dedication to God’s will. Also, not to live or act in a way that compromises our call to discipleship, or that contradicts our Christian faith. We also need to burn the yoke of slavery to sin and worldly things, and in its place take up the yoke of Christ to find true freedom and joy.

Although, answering this divine call may be cumbersome, or saturated with rejections, persecutions, hatred, conspiracies, etc., accruing from wicked people around us. However, instead of calling fire from heaven to consume them, like James and John in the today’s gospel, Christ asks us to ignore their shenanigans, and still show them genuine love. Our decisions to give up our inheritance or abandon our promising career trajectory in order to follow Christ, may sound preposterous. But, Jesus Christ promised us that; “everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times as much, and also inherit eternal life(Matthew 19:29).

PRAYER:

May the Power of the Holy Spirit guide you in making resolute decisions that will contribute to the promotion of the Kingdom of God, deliver you and your family from the forces of darkness and worldly attachments; and may you find joy in serving the LORD and loving Him above all things, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Peace of Christ be with you…

Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.

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The Potrait of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ

SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS

THE HEART OF CHRIST RADIATES LIFE AND LOVE!

1st Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-16; 2nd Reading: Romans 5:5- 11; Gospel: Luke 15:3-7

Today, the Universal Church celebrates the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. It is one of the most widely practiced and well known Catholic Devotions in the world.  This heart of Jesus Christ Symbolizes God’s infinite mercy, abundant and passionate love for humanity.

WHY DOES THE CHURCH CELEBRATE THIS FEAST?

We know that the heart is the seat of Love and where there is love there is life and health. Only a pure heart can love genuinely and unconditionally, and once you’re connected to that heart that is pure, life is being transferred or infused in you and you will be transformed. Jesus Christ is a Man with a Pure, Compassionate, Kind, Humble and Merciful Heart, Slow to Anger and abounding in Love. That is why He tells us in Matthew 11:28, to come to Him, those who are overburdened with heavy load in their hearts, that He will give them rest. Because He has come that we might have life and have it in abundance (John 10:10).

Meanwhile, in the first reading, through Prophet Ezekiel, God promised to seek out for His sheep; and to rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. Gloriously, this promise is being fulfilled in today’s Gospel, through Jesus Christ, the good Shepherd, who goes in search of the lost sheep, and, after finding it, rejoices with His neighbours. Certainly, it was because of the genuine Love He has for humanity that He decided to come as human in order to redeem her from her precarious and sinful state. Thus, Jesus reveals His compassionate love towards those who go astray, in order to reconcile them back to the Almighty God, who is the Source of Life, so that they might have life in fullness and live forever.

Moreover, He did this by shedding His precious Blood on the Cross and His Sacred Heart was pierced with a spear, and thus Blood and Water gushed out. Consequently, when He was raised up high on the Cross, He gave Himself for humanity with a Sacrificial Love; ratified by His precious Blood and Water pouring out from His pierced Heart, which is the wellspring of the Church’s Sacraments. So, that won over to the open Heart of our Saviour Jesus Christ, we might with Joy draw water from the well of Salvation (Isaiah 12:5).

Therefore, we need to make frantic efforts daily in order to be connected to this heart. For instance, a magnet has the ability to attract any metallic object and can transfer its properties to that metal when it is being attached to it for some time. Subsequently, that metal would become a temporal magnet and thus begins to attract other metallic objects. So also, if we faithfully attach ourselves to Jesus Christ on a daily basis through the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Penance, and allow Him to dwell in our hearts, then His attributes of purity, compassion, kindness, humility, merciful heart, slowness in anger and unconditional love will definitely be infused or transferred into our hearts. When this transformation takes place in our hearts, we will be able to transform the lives of those we come in contact with on a daily basis.

Finally, since God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, just as St. Paul explains in the second reading, I enjoin you all today, to imitate that Heart that is Sacred, Pure and Lovely, so that you may have life in abundance and live forever.

PRAYER:

Say: Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory Be to the Father … O Most Sacred Heart 💘 ❤ of Jesus Christ, I place all my trust in you, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners, and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours, Amen.

Peace of Christ be with you…

Rev. Fr Benjamin OKALA, C.S.Sp.

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The Sacrifice of the Holy Mass

SOLEMNITY OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST, YEAR C

THEME: THE HOLY EUCHARIST: OUR SACRIFICIAL LAMB.

1st Reading: Genesis 14:18-20; 2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Gospel: Luke 9:11-17

Sacrifice is something one gives up, usually for the sake of a better cause. It is the offering of material possessions, animals or even humans, especially by a priest to a deity, as an act of propitiation or worship or thanksgiving. Moreover, it is a gift that a Priest offers to God as a sign that those offering belong to Him. The outward offering of the gift signifies the inward offering of the heart or consecration of one’s life to God. It is also an act of “giving” because one is thankful of what one has already received. Hence, thanksgiving is more than a verbal expression of gratitude.

Meanwhile, today the Universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Holy Eucharist or Holy Mass), which symbolizes and actualizes the sacrifice of the new Covenant so as to atone for our sins once and for all. It is the very sacrifice of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He instituted to perpetuate His redeeming sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages until His return in glory. Thus, Christ entrusted to His Church this memorial of His death and resurrection, which is at the very heart of our Catholic faith, and the source and summit of the whole Christian life. The depth of its mystery is without limit, because it is the terminus a quo and the terminus ad quem of the Church’s activities.

Furthermore, the Holy Eucharist is the true Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine. Certainly, Jesus Christ is really, truly and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist (Holy Mass) offered by the Priest; for through the Power of the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine would be transformed (Transubstantiation) into the real body and blood of Christ. The priest and the victim are the same; only the manner of offering is different.

Besides, the sacrifice of the Cross (in a bloody manner) and the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist (in an unbloody manner) are one and the same sacrifice. During the Holy Eucharist, the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of His body (the Church). The lives of the faithful, their praises, offerings, sufferings, and prayers, are united to those of Christ.

In the first reading, Melchizedek, a Priest of the Most High God, offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God in form of bread and wine for the victory granted Abraham, who then gave him a tenth of everything (tithe) in return, which shows the superiority of his priesthood that is eternal like that of Christ. This is a figure of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross (Holy Eucharist).

Unfortunately, so many Christians have been taught only to “share of their abundance.” This is a very shallow interpretation of giving. Sharing is not giving, because people share from their surpluses, that is, what they do not need. Such people will give only after they are satiated; and as we know, the human condition is encumbered with plethora of challenges; always feel in need.

However, true thanksgiving is an act of self-giving, which is made manifest by works. Tithing is a response, not a catalyst. Giving is a sacrifice, esteeming the other’s needs more needful than our own. For true giving requires sacrifice. A sacrifice of thanksgiving is not truly a sacrifice if it comes without any effort or expense. A worthy sacrifice of thanksgiving acceptable to God always comes with a costly prize. If it costs us nothing, it is not a sacrifice. That is why the Word of God speaks of the sacrifice of thanksgiving (Psalm 107:22).

Moreover, there is an undeniable correlation between the sacrifice of thanksgiving and the paying of vows. For King David said: “I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24). “I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD in the presence of all His people” (Psalm 116:17-18). Our willingness to sacrifice is an indication of our devotion to God. That’s the reason why St. Paul enjoins us to become living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God (Romans 12:1). For only through sacrifice can we become worthy to live in the presence of God and enjoy eternal life.

In the Gospel, Jesus Christ took the offerings (bread and fish) brought by His disciples, gazed up to heaven in thanksgiving to God, and blessed and multiplied them to feed the hungry multitude and also healed those who were sick. Thus, He satisfied and nourished both the physical and spiritual yearnings of the crowd who gathered to listen to His teachings. This is exactly what happens to us during the Holy Eucharist. We offer God our gifts of thanksgiving, and thus receive divine nourishment.

Meanwhile, all the essential aspects of humanity: body and Soul, can only be alive to function effectively if they receive their proper nourishments. For instance, the food of the body is Physical (ephemeral): bread or meat, and water or wine. On the other hand, the food of the Soul is Spiritual (eternal): Body and Blood of Christ (John 6:35). These help to boost our energy levels (physically and spiritually) to work efficiently. When we are starved, we become weak, sick and can even die without food. This implies that, for any aspect of our being to be alive, we must always nourish it with its proper food.

Undoubtedly, the Holy Eucharist is the medicine of immortality as well as a powerful divine nourishment for our souls, which when one eats and drinks, will no longer hunger nor thirsts nor die spiritually, but lives eternally (John 6:51). It also helps to detoxify our whole being whenever we worthily receive it in faith, that is, after genuine repentance (Sacramental Confessions). Thus, only then can we experience Christ’s healing touch. Unfortunately, many people are not only physically sick, but spiritually, emotionally, psychologically sick and dead, because they hardly go to Healing Centre (Confession) before receiving the Holy Eucharist. It is just like eating a healthy or nutritious food with a poisonous plate.

In the second reading, St. Paul reemphasized the true meaning of the Holy Eucharist, which was directly revealed to him by Jesus Christ Himself. At the Eucharistic Celebration, we become partakers in the One Bread (1 Corinthians 10:17), sharing in Christ’s Divine Nature. Through the anamnesis of His death and resurrection, we all become united in Christ. We who receive the Body and Blood of Christ worthily, partake of the eternal life He has gained for us.

Finally, out of love, Jesus Christ left us the Holy Eucharist as a visible sacrifice, in order to represent continually that which was once accomplished on the Cross, and to apply the fruits of it to our souls. Many Saints had strong recourse to the Holy Eucharist, which really sustained them in their life journey. Thus, they offered their lives as living sacrifices to God in response to His Divine Love, and at the end, gained eternal life. Therefore, let us emulate them by offering ourselves as living sacrifices acceptable to God, and for the good of humanity. In as much as we struggle for the physical food to keep our body moving, may we also worthily seek and desire more of the spiritual food which leads to eternal life.

PRAYER:

May the Holy Eucharist heal every maladies challenging your life, and whatever is dead in your life, may it be restored back to life, and enable you to make sacrifices for the good of others and to the glory of God, and at the end, may you gain eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Peace of Christ be with you…

Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.

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Holy Trinity

SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY, YEAR C

THEME: THE HOLY TRINITY: A LOVE COMMUNITY

1st Reading: Proverbs 8:22-31; 2nd Reading: Romans 5:1-5; Gospel: John 16:12-15.

Today, the Universal Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The Doctrine of the Trinity (TRINITAS), which was first used in Christian Theology by Tertullian (AD 160–220) signifies the central and quintessential dogma of the Christian religion. It is the fundamental beliefs and the most sublime in all of Christianity. It holds that: “there is One Eternal God who exists in three Divine Persons – Father (Creator), and the Son (Redeemer) and the Holy Spirit (Sanctifier).” These three Divine Persons live in perfect unity and communion with each other, which is bond by LOVE.

Meanwhile, our knowledge of God as humans is limited due to the mystery of His Divine nature. As a matter of fact, no one has ever seen God, but through faith many people believe in the existence of One God. However, the notion of three Divine Persons (hypostasis in Greek) in One God is a profound mystery that is beyond human comprehension. Nevertheless, we can only deduce this nature of God through the revelations we get from Jesus Christ, through the scriptures. Although the relationship of the TRINITY is a mystery, but we can make references through these Biblical quotations (please tap on the Bible verses to view): Gen. 1:26, Gen. 2:7, John 10:30, Luke 1:35, John 1:1, John 14:23, John 14:9-11, Matt. 28:18-20, 2Cor.13:14, etc.

However, many people do not see the importance and significance in their lives, or in the world. Moreover, the real crux of the matter for some persons in the early Christianity was this: how can Christians witness the presence of God, which they experience in Jesus the Christ, and still maintain their belief in God as one? Since Christianity is firmly rooted in Judaism and is a monotheistic religion and not a polytheistic religion, the struggle has always been to articulate the faith that Jesus is the Christ (anointed one) of God and at the same time to maintain that there is only one God.

Surprisingly, the incomprehensibility in the notion of the Trinity engendered heretical assumptions by some Christian bishops, Priests and theologians like Arius (256-336 AD): “that Jesus Christ is not God and not of the same Substance with the Father; and the Holy Spirit is of lower rank than the Father and the Son.” For them, it would appear as if there are 3 different Gods that have operated in different eras in the history of humanity. Consequently, the COUNCILS OF NICAEA (325AD) and CONSTANTINOPLE (381AD) were convoked in order to resolve and affirm the natures of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit respectively. Hence, these brought forth the definition and formulation of the Doctrine of the Nicene Creed (or Apostles Creed) which we profess in the Church today.

THE IMPORTANCE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE HOLY TRINITY TO HUMANITY.

The Trinitarian God has been working together as one God throughout the history of the world. However, in the scriptures, one may observe that the Old Testament seems to be the era of the Father, early first century AD of the New Testament seems to be the era of the Son, and after Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven, also from the Apostolic era to our contemporary era seems to be the era of the Holy Spirit.

Certainly, this was made possible due to the Love that exists among the triune God. For out Love, God never allowed humanity to perish after the fall of Adam, rather He sent His only begotten Son to reconcile humanity back to His friendship. So that, anyone who believes in Jesus Christ, and thus, is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then keeps His commands, will be saved (Matthew 28:19). This is the wisdom of God which He has hidden from the mind of humanity as enunciated in the first reading. For Juicy fruits flow from docility to wisdom’s instruction on genuine love. No wonder St. Irenaeus opined that Jesus and Holy Spirit (Word & Wisdom) are the two Hands of God working in creation process.

Furthermore, Jesus Christ also gave His disciples a glimpse of the relationship that exists among the trinity when he told Philip: “…to see me is to have seen the Father… I am in the Father and the Father is in me (John.14:9-10).” Also, “I and my father are one(John. 10:30). He further affirmed this in today’s gospel: “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but will speak whatever He hears, and will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because He will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that He will take what is mine and declare it to you(John 16:13-15).

Undoubtedly, it is the Holy Trinity that fortifies and consoles us whenever we are suffering or passing through difficulties in life. For St. Paul averred this in the second reading, that “through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us(Romans 5:1-5).

As human beings, we come from different backgrounds and cultures, with different temperaments and opinions, and belong to various groups by birth or affinity. These differences, in human considerations alone, give rise to rivalry, jealousy, competitiveness, discord and conflict. But as Christians, we are called to take the Holy Trinity as the model for our interpersonal relationships.

Our differences, instead of being a cause of division, become a richness to be accepted, encouraged and celebrated. Our varying gifts become charisms to be used in collaboration with others, for the good of all. For what makes us the children of God according to St. Paul is the Spirit of God in us (Romans 8:16), which binds us in Love and Communion with one another; just as the TRINITY are bond by LOVE and live as United Family or in Perfect Communion with one another.

Finally, the trinity is the unity and communion of the Triune Godhead as three distinct yet interdependent persons. A community of love that extends God’s love to humanity. So, when the doctrine of the Trinity says that one God exists in three Persons, it means that God is a Community of three Persons in a relationship of love. The Father loves the Son in communion with the Holy Spirit. The Son loves the Father in communion with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit loves the Father and the Son. Therefore, although we have different faces, characters, nations, but we are all created in the image and likeness of one eternal God. Our calling is for a purpose: to be in Communion with God, living in peace and unity with one another, and then bearing good fruits that will foster good community living, which is bond by LOVE.

PRAYER:

May the Love that bond the Holy Trinity together envelope and bind you and family, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Peace of Christ be with you…

Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.

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Doves 🕊 with the letters Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the Faithful

HOMILY OF THE PENTECOST SUNDAY, YEAR C

THEME: THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US TO DO GOOD.

(1st Reading: Acts 2:1-11; 2nd Reading: Romans 8:8-17; Gospel: John 14:15-16, 23-26)

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Today, the Holy Mother Church celebrates in a very special way the Pentecost Sunday; the decent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and Blessed Virgin Mary! It is a celebration in honour of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Most Blessed Trinity; one in being with the Father and the Son, and equal to them in every respect.

Meanwhile, on the day Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven, He promised to send His disciples the Comforter, the Power 💥 of the Most High God, who will be with them till the end of time (Acts 1:8). Consequently, that promise which Jesus made to the disciples just as in today’s Gospel: “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you… But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you(John 14:18, 26), is being fulfilled today in our lives.

This is a memorial day that the Church was born in order to continue the salvific mission and to courageously bear witness to the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Moreover, the actual birth of the Church was on Calvary, while Jesus Christ hung on the Cross, in fulfilment of His prophecy: “…when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself(John 12:32). But, Pentecost Sunday marks the day that the Church was first introduced to the world, that is, the first public outing of the Church.

Today, there is a major renewal of interest in the Holy Spirit and spiritual charisms. In the first reading, the disciples were inundated by the Power of the Holy Spirit, which engendered mutual love, forgiveness, peace, generosity and unity in diversity among many people of diverse cultures present, without any discrimination or confusion that was witnessed at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. Unfortunately, many gifts of the Holy Spirit are restricted to spectacular, extraordinary and momentary phenomena which often become a cause of rivalry, conflict and division.

Undoubtedly, the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in us may not manifest unless we are, first of all, aware of that presence and that action, and secondly, we make ourselves available for their manifestation in us. For wherever the Holy Spirit is, there is Liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17). So, how do we recognize His presence and be sure that we are truly led by Him? Certainly, the litmus tests are: only when we love (sacrifice) sincerely, forgive no matter the offence, instigate unity in our community, show compassion, detach ourselves from earthly possessions as well exhibit other fruits of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise we should pray and invite Him to possess us.

The second reading describes a consequence of the presence of the Spirit. Each of us has been given gifts by the same Spirit and they must not be a source of competition, but must rather be put at the service of unity. The Holy Spirit is the new law, the force that leads us to do good, which pulls down barriers, and wherever it enters it destroys sin. He will never tell us that everything in our journey of life will be smooth and without hitch at all.… No, that is the deceptive voice of the evil spirit. For life is not a bed of roses, but imbued with plethora of challenges.

As the scripture says: “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him(Romans 8:15-17).

However, the Holy Spirit helps us to navigate through the vicissitudes of life unscathed. As a matter of fact, He corrects and guides us along the way, and never leaves us lying on the ground even when we sin or offend God. Rather, He takes us by the hand, comforts us and constantly encourages us (Proverbs 24:16). He makes us weep for our sins; pushes us to frequent confessions, genuine repentance and change of heart; that is, to fight against our lies, deceptions, hatred, rivalry, disunity, wickedness, etc., even when that calls for hard work, interior struggle and sacrifice.

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit pushes us to love and to always do what is pleasing in the sight of God in accordance with the scriptures. Certainly, charisms that build up faith and unity in the Christian community, and lead to greater understanding, forgiveness and service, are true signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, the Holy Spirit is sent for a purpose: to remind the disciples of the teachings of Jesus Christ and to instruct them further; to invest the apostles with the authority to forgive sins (John 20:22-23); to build up the faith and unity of the Christian community through various gifts of the Spirit, rejuvenates the Church and teaches her to be an open house of unity without walls of division. Hence, as Christians, who are now the present disciples of Christ and the embodiments or temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), we are now charged with the responsibility of propagating the Power of God beyond the frontiers of the earth through love, peace, kindness, unity, forgiveness, generosity, etc.

PRAYER:

Therefore, as the heavily dew🔥 (Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Fortitude, Counsel, Piety, Holy Fear) falls on the disciples today, may the Power 💥 of the Most High God penetrate your inmost heart and reinvigorate, strengthen and fortify you and your entire family so as to produce more Fruits 🍇🍓🍅 of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, generosity, self-control, modesty and chastity), in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Peace of Christ be with you…

Rev. Fr. Benjamin Okala, C.S.Sp.

HAPPY FEAST OF PENTECOST!!!

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