The Gift of Free Will

03-27-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

One of the most precious gifts bestowed on each and every one of us is the gift of free-will, the capacity to choose for ourselves among options what we consider beneficial. Ordinarily, God does not interfere with our free-will. However, when we make wrong choices and incur on ourselves unpleasant consequences, God shows His magnanimity and graciousness through merciful intervention to save His straying children. This is what Jesus taught His disciples in the Gospel passage this weekend.

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Repent

03-20-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

God is a God of second chances for those who are willing to repent. This does not mean that God’s willingness to provide opportunities for change endures limitless elasticity and endurance. The justice of God will have to be administered to those who ignore the opportunities offered by Him or outrightly resist the pull of repentance. This is the message presented by the Gospel passage at the liturgy this weekend.

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This is My Chosen Son; Listen to Him

03-13-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

No one desires slavery, yet we often find ourselves enslaved by other people or even things. We find ourselves being slaves of sin, drugs, sexual inpurities, social media, money and other material things. When this happens, we stand in need of a redeemer who will return us to our natural and desirable state of freedom and peace. Scripture shows us that we have never been alone in our need for a savior. When humanity embraced darkness and became enslaved to sin, one of God’s initial responses was to establish a covenant relationship with a chosen individual, his name was Abram. The ritual that authenticated the establishment of the old covenant is described in the first reading at the liturgy this Sunday. READ MORE

Welcome to the Season of Lent

03-06-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Welcome to the season of Lent. Lent is the time that falls between Ash Wednesday and Holy Week, the season when we do spiritual warfare to our inordinate and sinful desires as a means to prepare ourselves to commemorate well the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we battle against the lure of sin aiming to defeat decisively, by the grace of God, the power of evil in our lives and in doing so, deepen our relationship with Christ.

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Gospel Reflections

02-27-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh

When we talk about other people, what we say often reveals more about us than about the person of whom we speak. If we are kind and considerate, positive words that edify effortlessly and habitually emanate from us about others, but if we are ill-willed and bitter, chances are that our representation of others will be based on our inherent negative and bitter standards.

The book of Sirach, from where we have our first reading this weekend, firmly agrees with this line of thought. For Sirach, one’s speech presents a veritable and reliable basis for assessing their character. The inner person is often revealed as virtuous or vicious by external speech. The inspired author of the first reading admits that though speech could be deceptive and even capable of making the speaker appear better than he really is, this deception cannot be maintained indefinitely; words will eventually reveal one’s true character. Speech is the fruit that reveals how much care the tree of one’s life has received. People who dutifully appropriate to themselves the eternal nourishment provided by God’s word will habitually produce virtuous speech, while those who resisted or neglected Divine assistance and prompting will most likely radiate negativity, slander, vain discourse, and vicious speech.

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Love Your Enemies

02-20-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh

It is quite normal to reciprocate acts of love, but there is a genuine reluctance for humans to love those who manifestly hate and do not wish one well. To love those who love you is a natural human instinctive reaction; loving your traducers, on the other hand, can only be a conscious and deliberate choice made at a usually huge cost that normal people are not readily willing to incur. A Christian is, however, not a “normal” person governed purely by instincts. He or she is a child of God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and called to be holy as “your heavenly Father is holy.” Love of all, including one’s haters, is therefore proper to the Christian since such a seemingly outlandish discipline only authenticates his discipleship.

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Blessed Are They Who Hope In The Lord

02-13-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh

In our world today, the normal description of a successful person would exclude undesirables like poverty, dependence of any kind, reliance on anyone other than self, and suffering. The successful person would have to be financially self-reliant, have numerous accomplishments, and be confident in their ability to do or get what they legitimately desire. The contemporary appreciation of success is diametrically opposed to Jesus’ teaching on blessedness. The first reading contrasts the life of the “Blessed” with that of the “Cursed.” The Cursed is defined by his trust in human beings, including self, and seeks strength in the flesh thereby turning his heart away from God. The consequence of his reliance on human counsel strength is that he is spiritually barren.

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"From now on you will be catching men."

02-06-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Two weekends ago, we reflected on the essential nature of the Word of God in our lives as Christians. Last Sunday, the travails of the prophet Jeremiah, the rejection of Jesus in His own city of Nazareth on account of their over familiarity with Him, and God’s assurance of perpetual companionship and protection for those persecuted for seeking righteousness was present to us for our reflection. The readings this weekend continue to extend to us the invitation to reflect upon the Word of God. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah, after beholding God’s glory, felt grossly inadequate and incompetent to be the bearer of God’s Word on account of his “unclean lips,” but having being purged of sin he responded to the Lord’s call to preach His Word thus: “Here I am, send me.”

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Love Never Fails

01-30-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

In many ways, the prophet Jeremiah is a prototype of the person and mission of Jesus Christ. Like Jesus, Jeremiah was divinely designated prophet even before he was born: he confronted the evil and vice of the religious and political leaders of his time, plus his message was rejected and he was persecuted for seeking the right relationship with God. Jeremiah’s travails and Jewish antagonism against the person and mission of Christ reminds us that the quest to be perfect will inevitably lead to conflict with others who are not comfortable with that quest. Thus, every Christian should expect persecution from agents of unrighteousness.

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"The Spirit of the LORD is Upon Me"

01-23-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

In verse 63 of the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel, Jesus told His disciples “the words I have spoken to you are Spirit and Life.” This assertion forms the basis of the response to the Psalm at the Liturgy today and provides the theme that runs across the Readings. This response: “Your words, Lord, are Spirit and Life” strongly suggests the primacy of place the Word of God ought to occupy in the life of every Christian. The Word of God is Spirit and Life because it empowers, animates, influences and radically transforms any person who sincerely immerses themselves in it.

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"Do Whatever He Tells You"

01-16-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

On the very first day of the year, the Church celebrated the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Apart from reflecting on her virtues, we were encouraged to humbly seek her unfailing maternal intercession for our world and for our individual selves. Two Sundays later, the Gospel presents to us how effective her maternal intercession can be, even when it is unsolicited.

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You are My Beloved Son, With You I am Well Pleased

01-09-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord effectively brings to a close the liturgical season of Christmas and gives way to the very rich period of “Ordinary Time” within the Liturgical calendar for Christ Himself, His baptism marked the beginning of His public ministry. He would continue from where His precursor was and effect the establishment of the reign of God on earth.

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Come to do Him Homage

01-02-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, VC

The Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ is the self manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that when Christ was born, wise men from the East, led by a guiding star, decided to journey to Israel bearing gifts for the newborn King. When they arrived at Jerusalem, capital of the southern kingdom, they decided to inquire with Herod, King of Judea, where precisely Christ was expected to be born.

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