Homily For 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Fullness of Life in Jesus Christ!

Readings: (1st: Sir 1, 2. 2, 21-23; Ps: 89, 3-6.12-14; 2nd: Col 3, 1-5. 9-11; Gos: Lk 12, 13- 21)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com, Phone: +23408063767512, +23408024942843

This 18th Sunday, the church enjoins us to evaluate and re-evaluate ourselves on the basis of what should be our fulcrum or focus in this world. It is a call to live a Christocentric life. This is coming at the heels of a time when directly or indirectly many Christians have apostasied. A simple principle in the study of light (optics) in physics is that the closer one comes to the light, the shorter or smaller ones shadow becomes. Whereas, the farther away one moves from light, the longer or larger ones shadow becomes. Of course, shadow is nothing but a mirage, a negation of reality or a flatus vocis that profits nothing. Therefore we are urged to focus our attention more on heavenly realities than on earthly shadows. Hence, we are to make frantic efforts to move towards Christ. It suffices to note here also, that this is not a call, not to live our lives to its fullest potentials here on earth. Rather, it is a warning to us that we are in a world that is transitory and passing away. It is a call to make use of the things of this world prudently to the extent that we do not mortgage our chances of our ultimate goal – HEAVEN. Hence, we are not to trust the arm of our own flesh in this journey because it will fail us. It is only when we make Jesus our focal point that the full meaning of other things and activities would be revealed and realized.

The first reading of this Sunday begins on a rather alarming note: “Vanity, vanity, the Preacher says vanity…!” It strikes a reality that most of us have lost sight of, but will one day come to terms with. Rather than being encouraged to live idle lives waiting for the “end of time” as most fanatics do, it is a call for us to remember God in all we do, a call for us to know that there will be an ultimate end to all created things, and a reminder that if after all our toils and troubles here on earth we lose heaven, we would have missed all. The second reading hits the nail right on its head. In it, Paul clearly differentiates true life – life lived in Christ, from life lived outside Christ. Without mincing words, he reminds us that we must be heaven bound where Christ is everything and everything is in him. For us to be heaven bound therefore, Paul admonishes us to, “kill everything in you that belongs to only earthly life, fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed…false god and never tell each other lie.”

According to Rev. Fr. Raymond Arazu, C.S.Sp there exist “Earth-Bound Souls.” These are simply people who have died and yet occasionally, people report about seeing them around drinking, eating or transacting the normal human businesses. This may sound like a fairy tale. But the fact is that there is more to life than we can ever imagine. The point here is that even though people like this have died, they are still strongly attached or fixated to the things of this world. They are in the astral plain, yet still grossly interested in the affairs of our physical world. Many of us Christians though baptized, and ought to be looking up to heaven, have vowed to be earth-bound Christians. We are so earth-bound that we hardly reflect about heaven any more. The pursuit of wealth and the pleasures of this world have so blinded us to the reality that we are sojourners on earth, and that our final destination is HEAVEN. We are so earth bound that we have lost interest and hope in the apocalyptic beatific vision: “They will see his face, and his name will be on their fore heads, there will be no more nights. They will not need the light of a lamp … for the Lord God will give them light, and they will reign forever and ever”(Rev 22, 4-5). What Paul advocates for here is a Christ-centered life; an earthly life that mirrors a heavenly life, a life well lived on earth that will qualify us for the heavenly banquet. I once saw a sticker posted at the rear of a rickety but still moving truck which reads: “I am heaven bound, what of you?” Obviously, this is a question we must answer by asking ourselves: “Am I heaven bound or….?

In the gospel, Jesus speaks to our hearts as he did to the man from the crowd: “Watch out and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made more secured by what he owns…” Avarice is among the seven capital sins. It is a sin which makes one become like the material goods one seeks. It is also a hidden enemy of every child of God. So, Jesus warns us that we must not hold on tenaciously to the riches of this world because, if we do, it will be to the detriment of our soul. This seems to be why the church states that: “The Lord grieves over the rich, because they find their consolation in the abundance of goods… Abandonment to the providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow…” (CCC 2547). Concerning this same vice, Thomas Aquinas says: “Temporal goods are subject to man that he may use them according to his needs, not that he should make them his main purpose or be overly anxious about them” (STII-II 55, 6 ad 1). The implication of this is that the more we place our hopes on things of this world, the more we lose sight of heaven, and also, the more earth-bound we become. This is because, “where a man’s wealth is, there is his soul.” There is a saying that: “Real men love Jesus and not riches!” Indeed, real men and women are those who in spite of their fame, wealth, achievements, etcetera love Jesus above all things. They are heaven bound!

My dear friends and readers, exactly a year ago, precisely on the 4th of August, 2012, I was called and ordained into the priesthood of Jesus Christ according to the order of Melchizedek of old. Therefore, the readings of this 18th Sunday are providential, and speak to me personally, because through them, the church presents to me a golden opportunity to reflect on my entire life and vocation. This one year has been quiet challenging and also interesting, and I am proud to say like Paul: “Once I have found Christ, all those things that I might have considered as profit, I reckon as loss…” Yet, “I do not claim that I have already reached the goal, nor do I consider myself perfect, but I press on till I possess Christ Jesus, since I have been pursued by him” (Phil 3, 7 & 12). Please pray for me my dear ones, that I may be faithful to this call and never lose focus of our Ultimate Goal, HEAVEN!

be with you all!         

Maranatha!!

Homily For 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Oh Lord, Please Teach Me How To Pray!

Readings: (1st: Gen 18, 20 -32; Ps: 137, 1-3. 6-8; 2nd: Col 1, 12-14; Gos: Lk 11, 1-13)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com, Phone: +23408063767512, +23408024942843

“Then, Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them how to pray always and never give up” (Lk 18, 1). Oftentimes we hear people imploring us, “please pray for me or remember me in your prayers.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. After all, we owe it as a duty to pray for one another! Paul constantly requested for prayers, “pray also for me so that when I open my mouth words may be given to me…pray that I may declare it fearlessly as I should” (Eph 6, 19-20). It however, may not be completely out of place to suggest that one of the reason some of us “indulge” in asking people to pray for us always is that we ourselves are very lazy to pray, and in some cases do not actually know how to pray!” The late Jim Reeves titled one of his songs: “Teach me how to pray”. In it, he recounted how his little boy confronted him: “Daddy, you have taught me every other thing, teach me how to pray, so that I can thank God and ask Him to bless you.” This is the request of a humble child, and we must also humble ourselves to learn how to pray and begin to pray. This Sunday therefore, the Church draws our attention to the need to always turn to God in prayer in all circumstances of our life. She reminds us that prayer is the key to unlock and enter the heart of God. Today, Christ Himself gives us in truth, the power (The Lord’s Prayer), to become children of God.

Once while on a journey, a drama unfolded in the bus. The actors were a little baby boy and his young mother. This baby who all through the journey remained calm suddenly began to cry. The young mother immediately reached out for her bag, brought out a feeding bottle filled with baby feed and tried to feed the baby, but the baby refused to suck from it while at the same time making frantic effort to reach the mother’s breast. The young mother (for obvious reason which I would like you to figure out yourself), would not allow him have his way. As the struggle continued the baby intensified his cry and it was so loud that people around noticed the drama taking place between mother and child. Suddenly, an elderly woman who could no longer bear the scene and seeing the travail of the baby said to the young lady: “My dear, feed your baby with your breast milk, he knows what he wants and it is his right to have it. I bet you he will not stop crying until you feed him the right way.” Immediately everyone around echoed in unison: “Yes it is his right, give it to him!” Seeing that her baby has attracted the sympathy of all, the young mother breast fed the baby there and then. Afterwards the baby slept off and peace returned to mother and child, as well as to their fellow passengers.  The baby got what he wanted because, he persevered and persisted with his cry and struggle, and because the passengers interceded for him.

In the first reading of today, Abraham our father in faith demonstrated great confidence. He approached God as a father, not being afraid. His prayer was that of intercession not for his own sake but for the sake of his nephew, Lot and his household. He stood in the gap for them (Ezk 22, 30). Through this Abraham taught us that life is not about oneself alone. We must take pains to help those in distress. We must not under-rate the power of intercession because it is said that “God governs the world while prayer governs God”. On the account of our prayer God could save those in need, because He surely cares and answers prayers. In the second reading Paul reminds us of our redemption in Christ Jesus. This he insists became possible due to our belief in the power of God who raised Jesus from the dead. It is through this faith that we approach God in prayer as a loving father who listens and never fails. The gospel of today is an explicit call to us Christians to pray.  The wise disciple who curiously and humbly told Christ: “Lord teach us how to pray.” is like the man who says: “Do not give me fish! Rather, teach me how to fish.” For us to pray effectively we must long to pray, thirst for prayer, and get into our “closet”, get down on our knees and start praying.

Today Christ prayed and at the same time taught us his disciples how to pray. Our Lord’s Prayer has been the object of unnecessary controversy as to whether it is prayer itself, or a model of how to pray. Yet with this same prayer mountains have been moved. Jesus not only taught us how to pray but through his two stories reassures us that if we pray God will not fail to answer us. All we need is to be persistent, patient, and humble. It is quiet unfortunate that most of us do not tarry and travail in prayer yet we want mountains to be moved on our behalf. The reason is simple, we have lost faith in prayer and consequently in God. This is also the reason we move from one ministry to the other like moving wagons. If we must achieve any success in life, our prayer life must be re-energized! Worst still is the fact that many of us do not know how to pray. Therefore, like this wise disciple we must humbly implore Jesus: “Lord teach us how to pray.” Prayer is a simple project that accomplishes much. As a project, prayer is a thing of the spirit and must not be approached mechanically. Unfortunately, most of us have lost the right approach to prayer and so, we are nowhere close to praying in spite of all the noise we generate in the name of praying. Paul tells us that: “We do not know what to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us in groans that words cannot express” (Rom 8, 26). So, whenever we lack wisdom of how to pray and what to pray for, we must ask the Spirit of Jesus to teach and help us to pray.

If we must succeed in life, we must adopt Abraham’s resoluteness, and the courage and humility of Jesus’ disciple. Therefore, we must not be quick to give up. Our God never keeps silent, rather he waits for the appropriate time to respond and act. If with gentleness and calmness of spirit we stand before God in prayer, he will hear us and of course we will succeed. We must not give up the habit of prayer because it is a gift of Jesus through which he empowers us to be constantly in touch with God. If we pray according to the mind and will of God, we shall gladly join the Psalmist in saying: “On the day I called, you answered me, O Lord!”

Peace be with you all!          

Maranatha!!

Homily For 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Welcoming Jesus Christ: Our Divine Guest And Friend!

         Readings: (1st: Gen 18, 1-10; Ps: 14, 2-5; 2nd: Col 1, 24-28; Gos: Lk 10, 38-42)        

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com, Phone: +23408063767512, +23408024942843

On this 16th Sunday, the first reading and the Gospel have so much in common. Of utmost importance is the fact that they both revolve around hospitality and welcoming Christ as our guest and friend. It is on the strength of these therefore, that the church invites us to welcome, appreciate, celebrate Jesus Christ (God) who is among us as a dear guest and friend. We are locked up in a very busy and stereotyped world where virtually everything has been so designed and planned that if we are not careful as Christians we live someone else’s life. That is, that of those who fashioned the way society operates and what they consider the state’s or society’s priorities. The problem with this is that often times they do everything possible to bracket God and spirituality out of the whole system. Not only this, they employ all that is within their power to ensure that directly or indirectly we live by it.

In the first reading, Abraham saw his opportunity to have God under his roof and he did not let it pass him by. He insisted thus: “…if I find favour with you, kindly do not pass your servant by…that is why you have come to your servant’s direction.” His hospitality transcended mortals and extended to immortals. Not only did he welcome them under his roof, he equally paid attention to what they have to say to him, gave them a good share of his time, and attended to almost all their basic needs. Of course, he won their friendship instantly and this friendship brought blessings upon his household. Paul succinctly tells us that the “Mystery that God revealed to the world is Christ himself among us.” This Mystery of course is equally our guest and friend, and also our hope of glory. In order words, He comes to us as one friend visits the other. Welcoming this Mystery which is Christ as our guest and friend is a pre-requisite for establishing a long standing relationship with God.

The gospel of today presents us with a terrain that must be walked with caution, least we fall victims of the error of thinking that Jesus is against one carrying out necessary house-hold chores or attending to our material needs. Far be it from this! As we grow in life our priorities change, and it is actually supposed to become less mundane. Of greater importance is the fact that generally speaking there should be a paradigm shift in our priorities as maturity sets in. Therefore, Jesus’s address to Martha: “you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed”, is well founded and goes to all of us too who in one way or the other are so distracted by the pursuit of mundane things over and above spiritual ones. It goes to all of us who have misplaced our priorities in life as Christians and in the house of God. It is not an excuse for us not to be hospitable to strangers, our guests and friends. Rather, it is a radical call to each and every one of us to set our priorities right. Jesus perhaps feels that it was not enough for Martha to welcome him to her house, but that she should also pay attention to what he has to say first and then go ahead to take care of material things later. Both the spiritual and temporal are good, but they are when attended to in their right order. Hence Jesus says: “It is Mary who has chosen the better part…” Jesus wanted her as he wants us today to set her priorities right by doing the first and most important things first.

A pastor was posted to a promising parish. He spent most of his time and energy erecting beautiful structures like, the church building, the father’s house, chapel, landscaping the entire parish compound etcetera. It was not long when his bishop decided to transfer him because of a fracas that broke out between him and the same parish council that motivated him and sang his praise as a very “vibrant”, “social”, and “happening priest”. During his send off party, an elderly woman asked to be given just a few minutes to appreciate their priest. She began thus: “Our dear pastor, we shall certainly miss you and the works you have done. Since you were posted here, you have erected a fine church building, father’s house, good chapel of adoration and done good land scalping, but you did not build our spiritual lives because it is almost at the same level it was when you came to us some years ago. I wish in your new parish you will pay more attention to building the spiritual lives of your parishioners! Thank you father, we wish you a more spirit-filled ministry in your new parish! Every one clapped for her and she walked away. Of course she has passed her message and the priest received it with mixed feeling not knowing whether to cry or to laugh. The message is simple, he misplaced his priority!

It is obvious that most Christians have misplaced their priorities in life which is supposed to be first of all, welcoming Jesus Christ every day into our lives making him a permanent friend, listening to him, and doing his will. It is even most unfortunate that though we are too busy with church activities we are millions of miles away from striking any chord of relationship or friendship with Jesus Christ. Hence the saying that: “One has time for the work of God but no time for the God of the work”, becomes absolutely true. What a pity! Many Christians are so distracted today with the social and material activities going on in our churches that they hardly have time for their spiritual life. The frenzy and craze for all sorts of mundane activities has gripped both pastors and faithful alike. It is only when we cement our relationship with Christ, welcome him, seat by him and listen to him like Mary in today’s gospel that we can actually be prepared to do other things. A situation where by a baptized Christian does not spend any quality time with God simply because one is busy with the quest for material welfare could be likened to the situation of Martha. Hence, the Psalmist reminds us today that: “The just will live in the presence of the Lord!”

Peace be with you all!          

Maranatha!!

Homily For 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Our Lord And Saviour Is So Close To Us!

Readings: (1st: Deut 30, 10-14; Ps: 68, 14. 30-37; 2nd: Col 6, 1, 15-20 Gos: Lk 10, 25-37)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com, Phone: +23408063767512, +23408024942843

Often times we are lost in the search for what is so close to us in distant places. Hence, one of Nigeria’s popular and accomplished artist Onyeka Owenu, in one of her album sang: “Wetin dey for Sokoto i dey for shokoto!” Apparently, what she means here is that things can be so close to us, yet we look for them in distant places. On this 15th Sunday of Ordinary time therefore, we are invited to laud and celebrate the closeness of our Lord to us. As the word of God, the image of the unseen God and as the Good Samaritan, our Lord and God is so close to us, ministering to our body and soul in all situations.

As a child, I grew up thinking and somehow convinced that “Israel” and “Jerusalem” were in “Heaven.” That is, somewhere above the sky. In order words, that geographically speaking they were not to be located anywhere in this world or planet earth of ours. I am sure so many other children felt this way too. This could perhaps be due to the way we were taught Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) in school then. However, as I grew older and as things began to change, I began to hear people talk about visiting Israel or Jerusalem (the Holy Land), and most places we read about in the Scriptures. In fact, I gradually came to realize that Israel is in this planet earth, that it can be visited, and that it is close and within reach. Of interest also, is the fact that I noticed that some people attached “JP” after writing their names, for example, “Mr. Been-to, JP”. On inquiry I found out that it means Jerusalem Pilgrim. That is, someone who has been to Jerusalem on pilgrimage.

The first reading of today awakens in us the consciousness of the nearness of our God to us. For the Jews the Torah (Law) is synonymous to Yahweh. So sacred is it that they find God in every letter of it. Hence, Moses reminds us of God’s closeness to us through his word: “… For this law…is not beyond your strength or beyond your reach. It is not in heaven so that you need to wonder, who will go up to heaven to bring it down to us…?” Therefore, God is so close to us with his hands wide open and ready for us to tap from his abundant resources of grace and love. If only we can patiently seek him, he will revive our forlorn soul when we find him. We must therefore seek him in the scriptures by asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten the eyes of our mind, so as to obey his ordinances. The word of God is God himself. Often times, we are ignorant of this fact to the extent that even in difficult moments, we do not know what to do or how to wriggle out of them. God has concealed himself in his word, and only those who make frantic efforts will find him. This is why the Psalmist admonishes us today: “Seek the Lord, you who are poor, and your hearts will revive.” If we must achieve intimacy with the Lord, we must devour the word of God. The prophet Jeremiah knew this secret and hence vehemently says to God: “When your words came, I devoured them…” (15, 16).” The key to fullness of life therefore, is close to, and with us. In the second reading, Paul yet brings God closer to us. God in, and through Jesus came to dwell among us spiritually and personally. First God spoke his word and it became real to us in the person and presence of Christ. In this reading, Paul draws our attention as the evangelist John (1, 1-14) did, to the fact that God decided to dwell with us in the person of Jesus Christ – the word made flesh himself. Hence he writes: “Christ is the Image of the unseen God…Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity. 

In the gospel Jesus directs the lawyer to the scriptures. In doing this, Jesus tries to let him understand that, God could be found in his word which is close to him. To love God therefore is to love his word. He further buttressed this by telling the story of the Good Samaritan. The word of God is personified in the Good Samaritan in today’s gospel. The word of God is Jesus himself, who speaks to us, Jesus who is ever close to us and like the Good Samaritan, is ever ready to apply soothing balm on our injured souls. Jesus, the word of God made flesh is so close to us in all times and ages. He never departs from us or goes on leave. Even if he does, like a faithful husband, he takes us, his bride with him. However, owing to our culpable ignorance of this fact, we stray most times. But it is often said that: Ignorance is no excuse”, while St. Jerome tells us that: “Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of God.” We search for him only in big mansions, big churches, in popular people, in sophistic prosperity and miracle preachers, top government officials, big cities etcetera. Yet, as a humble Lord, he makes himself available to us in things that are so lowly and close to us. He is in the scriptures, in the poor, in the just, in the pious, in the marginalized, in the sick, and in the victims of unjust structures.

Like the Good Samaritan, if we search for him in these we will find him. If we can spare some of our precious minutes in seeking him, we shall discover that he is so close to us. God is so close to us in our neighbours and those around us. The Good Samaritan here has a dual personality. Not only does he represent those who find Christ in the weak, wounded, poor, and in the scriptures. He also represents Christ who himself as a Good Samaritan per excellence is so close to us who aids us in our journey of life especially, during our forlorn moments and when we have become brown-beaten in our harsh world. He is quick to come to us when we are weak, despised and abandoned. He is ever ready to help us recuperate from our injured nature and he is so close to offset the cost of our spiritual overhauling. Little wonder the Psalmist asks: “…What great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God….?” (Deut 4, 7).

Peace be with you all!          

Maranatha!!          

Homily For 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Jesus Christ: Source and Submit of Our Peace!

Readings: (1st: Ish 66, 10-14; Ps: 65, 1-7. 16. 20; 2nd: Gal 6, 14-18 Gos: Lk 10,1-12. 17-20)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com, Phone: +23408063767512, +23408024942843

In his encyclical, “Pacem in terris” (on Peace on Earth), Pope John XXIII begins his message thus: “Peace on earth, which all people of every era have most eagerly yearned for, can be firmly established only if the order laid down by God be dutifully observed”. The pope reiterated the exaltation of Pius XII that: “Nothing is lost by peace…Jesus brings us peace and leaves us peace”. One of humankind’s natural desires especially at the individual and family levels is to live a peaceful and peaceable life with oneself, with others and with one’s environment. Ordinarily, one would expect that with the discovery and invention of means that make life easier and more meaningful, that humanity would enjoy more peace. Unfortunately, it has not been so. Because peace is a gift of, and from God, it must be appreciated and preserved!

On this 14th Sunday of Ordinary time therefore, the Church draws our attention to the fact that, as a resounding gift of God to humanity, Jesus Christ is the source and submit of our peace. As a gift, if not properly handle, or taken for granted, we are bound to lose it. Ikenga had a good job, because he was brought up by missionaries, he lived a very peaceful, simple, moderate and yet, comfortable life with his family. However, he succumbed to the pressure of joining one of the elite clubs in town. In order to adjust to their life style, he quickly moved into a bigger and more expensive apartment, and changed his car to one of the most flashy and latest models. Shortly after this, he was severally accosted by different sets of fierce looking people, forcing him to: “Settle us or…!” Worst still, he became so obsessed with his flashy car, that the fear of it been snatched someday made him have sleepless nights to the point that on many occasions he jumped up to the dismay of his entire family from his dreams, screaming: My car! My car!! My car!!! It then dawned on them that they have lost the peace they initially enjoyed.

In the first reading of today, God in his infinite goodness realized what we needed most, and thus opens the depth of his being for us to have peace: “Now towards her I send overflowing peace like a river.” When we allow this peace flow into our hearts and rule our lives we become fulfilled and satisfied. It is in the peace that flows from God that every other peace must take its source and anchor. Unfortunately, most of us today have lost the mark by assuming that peace has its source from the mundane. What a pity! “Peace” according to Jürgen Moltmann (1988), “means the blessed joy of a successful life, sanctification of life in the reality of all its relations. It is the fullness of life in the presence of the living God. It is the fullness of life in the mutual love of human beings and the fullness of life in the community of creation with all other creatures.” This can only flow from Jesus Christ the prince of peace! In the second reading, Paul unlike Ikenga above, refuses more troubles because, he already bears an indelible mark, which is Christ the source and submit of his peace. He refuses to give chance to the voices which cry out: “Settle us or…!” Often times we like these voices, derive joy in distorting peace, rather than let it flow from our hearts as it did from Christ’s. Rather than foster peace we derive joy in sowing seeds of discord, and rather than walk in peace, we thrive best in an atmosphere of chaos. We must make room for peace because, without it one cannot serve God and others. Paul in today’s gospel acclamation earnestly prays for us: “May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts!” It therefore suffices to note that the absence of peace in any heart, family, community, society, or nation leaves it devastated. Peace advances community, and any community that welcomes peace welcomes an opportunity for both spiritual and material prosperity. On the contrary, any individual or community that refuses the offer of peace must be ready to play host to the voices which cry out: Settle us! Settle us!! Settle us or….!!!”

No human society or individual suffering from the lack of peace can prosper until it has achieved it. Also, freedom is unthinkable without peace. “There is nothing more specifically Christian than to devote oneself to working for peace”, said Basil the Great (cf. Epistola 114, PG 32:528). This is why in the gospel of today Jesus equips us as his disciples, with the message we must bring to our world: “Peace be with this house.” It is both a gift we must offer to all and a debt we owe our world. Jesus knows full well that this is what our world needs most and he is ever ready to let us have it. With this peace that Christ offers us today we must be ready to transform our world from the culture of war, hatred, racism, and all forms of vices that destabilizes our societies. Each one of us must be ready to be that man or woman commissioned by Jesus to say to others, “Peace be with you!”

This Sunday therefore, we must bear in mind that peace only takes root in the human heart, that peace is blind to barriers of denominations, race, ideologies, philosophies, and geography, and that a powerful sense of peace grows out of an appreciation of our closeness with our creator, neighbours, and with all the tiny elements of creation. Furthermore, peace is golden! So we must actively seek it, grasp it, nurture it, and value it. Fortunately, peace is also uncontrollably contagious and spreads by contact. The spirit of peace will triumph only if we preach, teach, and act out our firm conviction that love can triumph over hate, hope over despair, and peace over chaos. Let us pray with Francis of Assisi: “Lord make me an instrument of your peace…and where there is sadness, joy.” We must dream and work for peace, so that our world will be a livable place. We must also allow ourselves to be instruments through which peace is mediated to our world and people. Therefore, “the peace of Christ which we celebrate today must leave its mark on us so that we become messengers of peace of all around us.” This is so that, rather than hear the cruel voices which yell at us: “Settle us! Settle us!! Settle us or…!!!,” we all will hear the divine and tender voice that beckons us: “Cry out with joy to God all the earth!

Peace be with you all!          

Maranatha!!