"He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them."

12-26-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The Gospel of St. Luke presents for our reflection the story of the finding of the child Jesus (at that time, 12-years old) among Jewish teachers in the Temple after missing for three days. We are offered the example of the foster fatherhood of Joseph, the silent protector and responsible provider of the family and faithful husband of Mary. We see the loving, generous and caring motherhood of Mary, the trusting wife of Joseph. The young are in a special way presented with the exemplary obedience of Jesus who returned with His parents to their home in Nazareth where He (although Divine) lived under their human authority.

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Blessed are You who Believed

12-19-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

We have arrived at the Fourth Sunday of Advent, the last Sunday before we celebrate the Solemnity of the Lord’s Nativity. The Church invites us to bring to a climax our spiritual preparation for the celebration of Christmas. What better way is there to prepare than learning from Mary’s example of selflessness and practical charity.

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What Should We Do?

12-12-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

We celebrate this weekend, the third Sunday of Advent, which is designated Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. The Church invites all her children to rejoice and be glad because our salvation is near. The first and second readings reflect this theme of joy and gladness in anticipatory celebration of Christ’s arrival. In the first reading, the prophet Zephaniah invites Jerusalem and her inhabitants to rejoice because God, the King of Israel, is in her midst to remove judgement against her and instead renew her in His love. St. Paul repeatedly exhorts the Philippians to rejoice and have no anxiety because the Lord is near. We are privileged to be invited to experience today a foretaste of the joy and gladness that Christ brings at Christmas and ultimately at His second coming.

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Prepare the Way for the Lord

12-05-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

At a time when Israel was in exile and Jerusalem was a desolate wasteland as a consequence of the Babylonian siege and conquest, God sent the Prophet Baruch to prophesy a message of hope to the people of Israel on the brink of national despair. They sadly watched Jerusalem under siege, conquered and destroyed with its inhabitants taken as captives into exile and the remnants left in a city that had lost all its former glory. Baruch spoke words of comfort and hope, as well as a promise of restoration to personified Jerusalem and its inhabitants. The prophet urged Jerusalem to discard her garments of grief, replacing them with the splendor of glory from God, for its exiled children shall return at the Word of the Holy One. They were led away from Jerusalem on foot. God shall return them borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones.

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Be Vigilant at All Times...

11-28-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Welcome to the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of “Year C,” the new Liturgical Year. The season of Advent begins the Liturgical Year and has its origins in the early Church as a short period of intense preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of the Lord, also known as Christmas. Advent slowly came to be structured into four Sundays with proper readings and prayers. It is now a season of devout and joyful expectation as we recall the first humble coming of the Lord at Bethlehem about two millennia ago. We are invited to prepare our spiritual selves in joyful expectation of Christ’s promised second coming in glory at the termination of time. This is well-expressed in the Scripture readings, in the prayers, and in the two parts into which Advent is divided.

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Testify to the Truth

11-21-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI for the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church as the Church’s response to growing nationalism and secularism that plagued society at that time. In his encyclical, “Quas Primas,” the Vicar of Christ recognized that these related societal ills would breed erroneous practices, inspire despair and cause increased hostility against the Church. The universal Church celebrates this Feast on the last Sunday of each liturgical year to remind the faithful that Christ’s reign is universal and enjoys permanent duration; nations, governments and philosophies however, are ultimately transient.

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"Know That He is Near"

11-14-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The calendar year is coming to an end as we are in November, its penultimate month. The current liturgical year is also about to be completed. Next weekend, we shall celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe, the Solemnity that marks the end of a liturgical year giving way to a new one. The readings of today reflect the mood of the liturgical “subseason”, they speak of the anticipated end of time and the judgement of humanity that would follow.

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"The Jar of Flour Shall Not Go Empty..."

11-07-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Experience has shown that the most generous people are not usually the wealthiest. King Ahab had married Jezebel, a foreigner who brought with her a foreign god Baal that corrupted Israel with idolatry. In response, Yahweh commissioned the prophet Elijah to predict extreme drought in Israel until God would command rain to fall. Israel was scourged with drought which naturally brought famine, and soon the prophet himself needed nourishment. So God directed him to Zarephath where he met a widow at the city gate. The prophet requested water. As the widow left to fetch this now scarce yet essential commodity, he added that he would appreciate some bread as well. The widow reviewed her already precarious situation: she had only a handful of flour left in her jar and a little oil, she had in fact been collecting sticks for firewood to make the last meal for her and her son, beyond that she saw only death. The prophet encouraged her to make the sacrifice prophesying, “the jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.” She did as Elijah requested, and if we read beyond the text of our first reading, we find she never lacked nourishment until rain finally came.

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There is No Commandment Greater than These

10-31-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Deuteronomy, one of the first five books of the Old Testament ascribed to Moses, has a record of Moses’ teachings to the emerging nation of Israel on their way to the Promised Land. They had experienced slavery in Egypt and had witnessed God’s mighty redemption when He effected their release from servitude, guided and protected them as they journeyed towards Canaan, and brought them safely close to their promised destination. Moses was getting them ready to enter the land of promise by reminding them of Yahweh’s earned right to their obedience, unfl inching loyalty and faithful love. Moses enjoined Israel to uphold monotheism not only by fearing, loving and obeying God, but by also ensuring that their faith in Him was passed, in all its purity, to their children. The “Shema” (Hear o Israel…..), which every faithful Jew is required to recite a couple of times a day, reminds us not only of our calling to live as God’s chosen people, but also bestows on us the responsibility of passing on this gift of faith to succeeding generations. Our faithfulness to Divine precepts is complete only if we instill the same faithfulness to God in our children.

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10-24-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The Gospel this weekend tells the story of the encounter between Jesus and Bartimaeus the blind beggar. We are told by Mark that Jesus was leaving Jericho and a large crowd was following Him and His disciples. By the roadside, on the path Jesus was to walk, was a blind beggar who obviously had heard about Jesus, His message and miracles. He must have decided that this was his opportunity to meet the Messiah and he was not going to let it pass by. But reaching Jesus was a herculean task for a blind beggar. First, he was blind and could not detect with precision who among the crowd was Jesus, or how he was going to navigate his way through this crowd to Jesus, even if somehow he was able to identify Christ. These huddles could deter any blindman from even making an attempt, but not Bartimaeus. He was a man of resilient faith so seizing the moment became his natural decision. St. Mark tells us that Bartimaeus began to cry out, addressing Jesus with His Mesianic title, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.’’ The busybody crowd tried to stop him, for them this beggar was wasting his time and constituting a public nuisance. Bartimaeus persisted and St. Mark tells us Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” The faith of a poor blind beggar stopped the movement of the “Son of David” and the huge crowd. Faith truly moves mountains.

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He Did Not Come to be Served, But to Serve

10-17-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

According to the Gospel of St. Mark, Jesus predicted His passion, death and resurrection three times. He first did so after the confession of Peter at Caesarea Philippi and Simon Peter’s response was to take Him aside and attempt to rebuke Him. The second time was as they passed through Galilee; the apostles could not understand Him, yet they responded by maintaining silence because they were afraid to question Him. The third and final prediction was on their way to Jerusalem. He took His disciples aside and revealed to them what awaited Him in the eternal city. This final prediction shares the same setting with, and in fact precedes, the events in the Gospel of today.

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For All Good Things Are Possible

10-10-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Everyday, life requires us to make choices in the face of so many options. To make some choices, one needs to forgo some other options competing for our attention. This weekend’s readings are centered on the choices we should make, the options we have to renounce in order to make the right choices and the consequences that arise from the choices we make. The book of Wisdom presents its author (presumably king Solomon) recalling how in the midst of so many attractive mundane options, he chose wisdom and renounced material treasure. For him, wisdom was his preferred choice because “her radiance never ceases”. The consequence of his choice here is that he received along with wisdom even those things he did not ask for. This reminds us of Jesus admonishing his disciples to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” (Matthew 6:33).

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What God Has Joined Together, No Human Being Must Separate

10-03-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The Readings of this Sunday evoke a serious discussion on marriage and family. In our time, marriage and family have become controversial topics of discussion, especially when we seek to understand them without reference to God’s will as found in Sacred Scripture. The Readings of today discuss the origin, intention and purpose of marriage as designed and instituted by God, Himself. Genesis 1 and 2 present the Story of Creation; God created everything that would be needed by human beings, and then made Adam out of clay breathing His Spirit into him to animate him. After Adam was presented with all of God’s creation to name and have, God saw that Adam was not happy and satisfied because none of the other creatures were like him. In Genesis 2:18, God decided that “it is not good for a man to be alone”, so God fashioned one who would be like Adam, from Adam and corresponding to Adam in dignity, to be his “helper”. When Eve was made, Adam, in great delight and gratitude, spoke the first recorded words of a human person in the Bible: “this one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, this one shall be called woman”. The author of Genesis concludes today’s scripture text with a theological explanation for the unity and indissolubility of every validly contracted marriage.

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