Do Not Be Afraid

06-25-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

In our First Reading today, God calls on the prophet Jeremiah and sends him to tell the people of Israel to repent of their sins of idolatry and immorality and turn to God. The godless people do not want to hear the truth from God through Jeremiah, so they plot evil ways to get rid of him. Facing the opposition and the death threat against him, Jeremiah is tempted to keep quiet and let things be. Then God stirs up the fire of the Holy Spirit within his heart until he can no longer withhold the warnings of the Lord and continues to speak up on behalf of the Lord.

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Sheep Without A Shepherd

06-18-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Let me begin by wishing all fathers a Happy Father’s Day! The Gospel reading this weekend is quite timely. It presents Jesus as a father. We are told that Jesus looked at the crowd coming to Him, and His heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” What an image that describes the situation of fatherhood in our society today. The joy of fatherhood is facing unprecedented challenges in our time. One can hardly talk about fathers these days without sounding “old fashioned” or off ending someone. We have seen, and studies have shown, that the absence of fathers, or father-figures, in a family has a signifi cant negative impact on the emotional, social, spiritual, and psychological development of many children leading to increasing stress, drug abuse, suicide ideation, and crime among young people. We have many young people in our society today who are like sheep without a shepherd.

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Whoever Eats My Flesh and Drinks My Blood Remains in Me and I in Him.

06-11-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The early summer liturgical “trifecta” of Pentecost, Holy Trinity, and Corpus Christi that follows the celebration of the Easter Season and provides focus on the three fundamental realities of Christian life: the Church, The Triune Godhead, and the Holy Eucharist is completed this weekend with the celebration of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the joyful celebration of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

The annual celebration of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi gives us the opportunity to adore and expose the content of our belief in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the visible perpetuation of Christ’s presence in His Church. The Holy Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, together with His Soul and Divinity, under the appearance of bread and wine.

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Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit

06-04-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The celebration of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church fifty days after Easter, is immediately followed by the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Thus, this weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, the liturgical feast that celebrates the central mystery of the Christian faith. This is the most singularly distinctive belief that separates Christianity from all other religions. For instance, Islam and Judaism hold firmly onto mono personal monotheism that does not admit the multiplicity of persons in the one true God. As a consequence, for strict adherents of Judaism, the doctrine of the Trinity is both erroneous and heretical, the same doctrine is judged extremely offensive to strict muslims.

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Receive the Holy Spirit

05-28-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

We celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, the day on which the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles in Jerusalem and transformed them from fearful and traumatized disciples to fearless witnesses to the Gospel and animated beneficiaries of the new covenant.

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Most Holy Trinity. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, he is equal to, yet distinct from, the Father and the Son. In Old Testament Hebrew, He is Ruach Yahweh, the breath or wind of God who was present with God at creation (Genesis 1:26), He is the initiator of Divine order (Genesis 1:2), the Sanctifier, the One who affects renewal, the Advocate, our light and guide, the One who empowers all that the Father chooses. In the second account of creation, when God made man, it was by breathing His Spirit into him that God bequeathed life to Adam (Genesis 2:7).

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“GO, THEREFORE, AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS”

05-21-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

“GO, THEREFORE, AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS.” We celebrate this weekend, the feast of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into Heaven. This feast is ordinarily celebrated forty days after Easter on the Thursday of the sixth week of Easter, but in most Dioceses in the United States, the feast is moved to Sunday in order to lend this important feast the Grace of the Day of the Lord: Sunday.

Acts of the Apostles from where we have our First Reading provides a concise account of how the day played out. Within the forty days after the Resurrection, Jesus made multiple appearances to His Disciples and, through the Holy Spirit, instructed them.

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If you Love Me, You Will Keep My Commandments

05-14-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Today we celebrate the Sixth Sunday of Easter, and in two weeks we shall be celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on Pentecost. This is precisely why the Readings at the liturgy this weekend revolve around the effects of the coming of the Holy Spirit on members of the early, and post- Resurrection, Church.

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The Early Church and The Church of Our Time

05-07-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

History is full of attempts by human communities to bridge the gap between the physical and the spiritual, the human and the Divine, through building of physical structures called temples. One of such temples was built in Jerusalem by Herold the Great, being completed in AD 66 and razed by the Romans in AD 70. The early Christians, and particularly the authors of the New Testament texts in this weekend’s Readings, were very familiar with this Temple, yet they were profoundly convinced that God had begun the construction of a new and greater dwelling for Himself in their own time, consisting not of gathered stones but of an assembly (ekklesia) of human beings, with Christ Himself as the cornerstone. This is why the Readings of this weekend revolve around the theme of the building of the Church, the new sanctuary that is founded on the Apostles with Christ as the cornerstone and all of us as members.

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I Came So That They Might Have Life And Have It More Abundantly

04-30-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The Fourth Sunday of Easter has come to be known as Good Shepherd Sunday, chiefly because on the fourth Sunday of Easter each year, the Gospel Reading is taken from chapter 10 of St. John’s Gospel where Jesus declared Himself the Good Shepherd. We can observe that the readings revolve around the theme of the shepherd hood of Christ and its consequence on all of us who make up His living flock.

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He Was Made Known To Them in the Breaking of the Bread

04-23-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The Gospel passage for the Third Sunday of Easter presents the story of how the Resurrected Jesus revealed Himself, through the scriptural hermeneutics and the breaking of bread, to two of His disciples, Cleopas and his unnamed companion, who were going to a village called Emmaus. As they journeyed, they discussed recent occurrences in Jerusalem including the reported resurrection of Jesus. St. Luke reports that Jesus “drew near and walked with them” but they could not recognize Him. The stranger (at least in their eyes at that moment) wanted to know what they were discussing. They offered a concise summary of the events surrounding the Resurrection, “informing” Jesus about the crucifixion of “Jesus the Nazarene,” His death on the cross, their seemingly dashed hope that He would be the salvation of Israel, the discovery of the empty tomb by some women among them, and the subsequent investigation and confirmation of the story by some of the Apostles.

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Whose Sins You Forgive Are Forgiven Them

04-16-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

We celebrate today the Second Sunday of Easter. On May 5, 2000, St. Pope John Paul II decreed that the Second Sunday of Easter, the Octave of Easter, would be known and celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday. The feast was established by the Pope after he canonized St. Faustina, a humble Polish nun to whom Jesus revealed His message of Divine Mercy. On this Sunday, reflecting on the immensity of God’s unfathomable mercy towards creation, we reiterate our constant need for it and express our unflinching trust in Divine Mercy.

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This Man God Raised on the Third Day and Granted that He Be Visible

04-09-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

On this day we celebrate the glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. On Good Friday, we commemorated the Passion and Death of Jesus on the Cross. We recalled the event when the Divine Redeemer willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice that would pay our debt of sin, reconcile humanity to God, and effect the restoration of our friendship with our Creator. We know that He had promised not to remain in the grave but to rise from the dead on the third day so as to destroy death, the consequence of sin, and afford us hope for a life with Him in eternity. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, fulfilled this promise on Easter Sunday.

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Hosanna to the Son of David!

04-02-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

We celebrate on this day, the triumphant and Messianic entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, an event that ushers us into the Holiest Week of the year during which we shall celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. There are two Gospel Readings on Passion Sunday. The First, which is read outside the Church building before the procession, tells the story of the triumphant entrance of the Messiah into Jerusalem.

In humility, alluding to the kind of Messiah He was going into Jerusalem to be, Jesus preferred to ride on an ass rather than the conventional horse that was the standard means of transportation for Kings and warriors at that time. St. Matt hew recounts that His Disciples honored Him by spreading cloaks and branches from trees for Him to ride on, while acknowledging Him as the Son of David, the One who comes in the name of the Lord. In our time, Jesus desires an entrance into our hearts and lives (Revelations 3:20).

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