#50 COPYRIGHT OF THE SPIRIT

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Lk 4:16 “The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me.”

The Word of God is the most powerful force on the face of the earth. Look around. Everything you see and perceive, even your very self, is a product of the Divine Word. Today, we are reminded not to get too familiar with it that we take it for granted. We must listen to it, reverence it and put it to practice.

LITURGY

The word “Liturgy” means “public worship”. The Church at worship is the home of the Scriptures. Before the advent of the print media, the Word of God was almost only heard in Church at Mass. It was purely a liturgical book. It is in the Church that it is read and explained. From the Word, we find courage to approach the Eucharist where we draw strength to live a life of love.

REVERENCE

You can never be the same after listening attentively to God’s Word. The Israelites realised how far they were from God’s law because they were ignorant of His Word. Listen to the readings attentively. Reverence it in the way that is custom in your faith community and take the preacher’s word to heart. Do not be saddened by what you hear. Thank God that you have the opportunity of a fresh start.

INSPIRATION

St Luke tells us something unique about the Gospels. He says that there were so many in his time. Many of these have resurfaced in our time fuelling curiosity and suspicion. He tells us that his is “an ordered account” of the events of Christ’s life. There are four criteria by which a writing is considered “inspired”:

Apostolic origin; its author should be an apostle of Christ or one of their disciple to establish their authenticity.

Rule of faith; the work must tell the truth about the person and mission of Christ. Works which betray the true identity of Christ were ruled out and considered purely works of fiction.

Addressed community; the Christian community to which it is address had the duty of promoting it and proving that it is genuine and a work which promotes the Christian faith.

Church intuition: Some works, even when they did not meet the above requirements, got approval because of a sense that they teach the true Christian faith.

POWERED BY THE SPIRIT

Jesus is God and the second person of the Holy Trinity. But He wasn’t just doing his own thing. The ministry of Christ is the action of the whole Trinity (Totas trinitas). Jesus was prompted by the Holy Spirit and the approval of the Father who called Him “my beloved Son” (Lk 9:35).

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SCRIPTURE ACCOMPLISHED

The words of Isaiah 61:1-2 is accomplished through Christ. Through the Word, He brings good news, liberty, sight, freedom and favour to all. What is your disposition to the words you read and hear?

LISTEN

Listening is the first step in the renewing process of the Word. You should realise that God’s Word is addressed to you in your situation. Never be indifferent to its demands. Always ask, “What must I do?” and follow through with action.

BAPTISM

We receive the power of audition by our reception of the Sacrament of Initiation. In the waters of baptism we are made heirs to the Father’s kingdom (Jn 1:12), sons (and daughters) with the Son (Gal 4:6) and the same Spirit has been given to us all (1Cor 12:13).

PARTS OF A WHOLE

The power of God’s Word is seen in the powerful witness of the lives of every member of the Church. Our witness is a life love and genuine concern for others, of compassion and tolerance, forgiveness and meaningful collaboration. The Word of God can be a binding factor leading us to genuine personal conversion and global evangelisation. This is only possible when we truly consider each other parts of one body.

The power of the Holy Spirit is manifest in each of us for different purposes (apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, healing, helpers, leaders and polyglots among others). It has also made us dependent on each other (weak and strong) so that we can partake equally of hurt and honour.

THE WORD 

Psalm 19 reveals the secret power of God’s word; it Revives the soul, gives Wisdom, Gladdens the heart, gives Light to the eyes and is True and Just.

The Word of God is so important in our day. But its power is revealed only to those who seek it sincerely and diligently.

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Prayer: Lord, let your Word dwell richly in me. Let it melt away my indifference and mould me and use me to bring glory to you.

Keepsake: God’s Word has the power to transform you into a Vessel of God’s glory. Listen to it.

Today’s Readings: Neh 8:2-6,8-10; Ps 19:8-10,15; 1Cor 12:12-30; Lk 1:1-4,4:14-21

#49 THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

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Lk 3:21 “When all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape like a dove.”

Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus and God’s revelation of him as the “beloved Son”.  We also remember our own baptism when we became God’s beloved children.

Expectations

The people in Jesus’ time expected a Messiah. They had their ideas of who this Messiah should be and what He should do. We also have expectations as Christians. Your expectation should be in line with who you are and who God is enabling you to become. Your expectations should be consistent with what God wants for you. As His children, we should strive to be what God wants us be; to give up what does not lead to God, and all inordinate worldly ambition. Live temperately, justly and devoutly in this age (cf. Titus 2:12; Micah 6:8). Our lives should bring others closer to God.

Adoption

Who is the long-expected Messiah? It is Jesus, the beloved Son of God. What does He do? Baptise us with the Holy Spirit and Fire. Who are we? The beloved of God, His adopted children and heirs of His kingdom. The Greek word translated “adoption” is huiothesia, and it occurs only five times in the New Testament, all in the letters of St Paul (Rom 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5). It means “to formally and legally declare that someone who is not one’s own child is henceforth to be treated and cared for as one’s own child, including complete rights of inheritance.” In the Roman culture, the adopted son or daughter had four major changes: a change of family, a change of name, a change of home, and a change of responsibilities. “Adoption” clearly indicates that a Christian is a member of God’s family.

What are we to do? Embrace a journey of discovery about Jesus and ourselves that sets us on fire for God. All our expectations should be directed toward faithful baptismal living.

Baptismal Rite

The baptismal rite put into focus the primary gift of baptism – a share in divine life which is for us a new identity:

Water – plunged into the baptismal waters, we are plunged into Christ’s death; rising we share in divine life. Water brings both death (to our old selves) and a rebirth of life (new Life in God).

Chrism: anointed with chrism, we share in the threefold office of Christ- priest, prophet and ruler. Our anointing with chrism is a consecration of ourselves to conform our life to Christ’s.

White garment: clothed in a white garment, we are reminded of our new, holy, risen Life in Christ. We are to live unstained until we enjoy eternal Life with God.

Lighted candle: enlightened by Christ, we are also to be Light of Christ dispelling sin and darkness in the world. We ourselves are manifestations that in Christ the light of salvation has come into the world (cf. Jn 1:9; 8:12).

These Symbols also imply the demands of discipleship:

  • Water: dying to self;
  • Chrism: conforming ourselves to Christ;
  • White garment: living lives worthy of who we are;
  • Lighted candle: overcoming the darkness of sin.

Primarily these symbols help us understand who we become in baptism – members of the Body of Christ sharing in divine identity.

Greater awareness and appreciation of our identity enables us to be more faithful in our discipleship.

Baptismal Living

Faithful baptismal living both fulfils expectations and generates new ones. This is why baptismal living is a journey of discovery. Baptism opens us to a Presence that continually transforms who we are and what we can do for others. Baptism offers us new Life in the Holy Spirit, one that is steadfast yet unpredictable, familiar yet surprising, restful yet energizing. Baptismal living calls us not simply to run away from sin but to realise that everything we do can be done to the glory of God (cf. 1Cor 10:31; Col 3:17). Our every action can become an act of worship. Baptism sets no on fire with love for God.

Baptism and Prayer

If baptism is the flame, prayer is the wax that keeps it burning. Jesus’ first action after His baptism was to pray to the Father. Luke mentions ten different occasions when Jesus sought the solitude of prayer (Lk 3:21-23; 4:1-2; 4:14; 5:15-17; 6:12-13; 9:18-20; 9:28-29; 11:1-4,9; 22:39-46). He did this to give us an example of how God’s children should long to communicate with their heavenly Father. He also did it because, God’s will is revealed when we spend time with Him. We grow to love, trust and live for Him.

Prayer: Thank You Lord for making me your child through the waters of Baptism. Give me strength to love you and seek a deeper and more loving relationship with You.

#47 JOURNEY TO PERFECT VISION

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Dear Doctimus Prime, there is a biblical saying that, “No one goes to war without first assessing him armoury”. In the same light, to have a fruitful time in Church on Sunday, it helps to have a sneak preview of what to expect. Here are a few things I hope to hear tomorrow.

  1. Pilgrimage

The words of the Salve Regina, the “Hail Holy Queen”, describes us as “poor banished children of Eve”. We are on a pilgrim journey through life. But we can choose to either be at peace in God’s house or be exiled through sin. The exiles spoken of in Jeremiah’s prophecy, represent all of us whom God calls from the slavery of sin to a new life in him. To move from sin’s slavery to holiness indicates knowledge of the evil of sin and a readiness to part ways with it.

How can you break ties with the bad habits that enslave you? How do you turn to what the Gospel teaches? Like a lot of others, you are spiritually weak, lame and blind and find it difficult not only to move but even to know what path the Lord wants you to follow. There is reason to despair if you only rely on yourself to overcome your weaknesses. Prophet Jeremiah reminds us that God takes particular care of those who cannot walk alone. God wants to lead you.

  1. Divine Fatherhood

The Scriptures describe God as our “Father”, the One from whom every fatherhood in the world takes its name (Eph 3:14,15). The roles of a father are namely, life-giver, protector and provider. In the normal course of family life, a father is responsible for giving life through the sexual expression of his love for his wife. He is the one who defends the family from outside threats; in extreme cases that can involve a violent intervention. He provides for his wife and children, as a wage-earner and breadwinner, a wise counsellor, patient teacher and steady emotional support. But all these are attributes that properly belong to God and earthly fathers only share in the Fatherhood of God. God is our Father.

The Scriptures tell us too that Jesus is the image of the unseen God (Heb 1:1,2; Jn 14:9). Jesus is the Eternal High Priest, our Mediator with the Father and our companion on our spiritual journey. To have seen Christ is to have seen the Father. Through Jesus Christ, God the Father nourishes us, protects and provides for us his children (Heb 5:5-6). He knew suffering and temptation and so has compassion on our frailty (Heb 5:7-10).

Jesus confers this priesthood on his Apostles and their disciples. The priest today, following in Christ’s footsteps, is chosen by God to serve God’s people. The word ministry means “service” and ministers are servants. There primary duty is to offer prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the people. A priest is able to bring our supplication to God in prayer and sacrifice because he is acquainted with sin and suffering. You cannot say to your priest, “Father, you don’t understand” because he is a human being, living in the same world with you. He is able to sympathise with you and pray for you because he understands.  You on your part, should pray for Him and listen to him as a child would listen to a father. Pray for your priests, that their humanity may be strengthen by God’s grace in order to lead you ultimately to eternal happiness with God.

  1. Sight to the Blind

The blind Bartimaeus represents many of us today who choose to be blind to the Gospel, preferring what we want to believe about our relationship with Christ to what Christ wants us to do. So many people today are comfortable with their own notions of faith, whether or not it goes contrary to what God has revealed through the Church. When I say “Church”, I mean the gathering of God’s people to whom he has revealed himself in the Word, in the tradition and teachings that have come to us through the Apostles and through the Sacraments.

God can neither deceive nor be deceived. He only tells us the truth. And He reveals the truth about our eternal destiny through His Church. When you do all that God teaches you through his Church, you are being led from blindness to true sight. Just as some members of the crowd in the Gospel helped Bartimaeus come to Jesus, some people in the Church are there to help you come to Christ. You will do well to listen, to observe and to act accordingly.

The one who realizes his blindness readily seeks help. But the one who is oblivious of his blindness does not realise his wretched state. Ask for grace to hear the sound of excitement from others who have truly encountered God, and for courage to abandon your old way of life and embrace true freedom; shed off the cloak of self-deceit and come to Christ. Your happiness cannot wait.

Yours,

BLOGATRON

#46 WISDOM IS WEALTH

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Who needs wisdom when you have wealth?”

I can almost hear the average Nigerian youth speaking. It is easy to be disillusioned when you are hungry. Who can blame you? Desperate times do not always call for desperate measures. Sometimes you have to sit and look at the situation carefully before acting. Now back to the issue at hand. If you have to choose between wealth and wisdom, which would you go for? Let me tell a story before you give me your answer:

A rich young man came to Jesus and asked a very curious question, “Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” It is curious that he would be asking for something from a poor itinerant preacher like Christ. To be rich implies that you have very little need of others. But here he was asking for what to do in order to live. He probably has realised something that most rich people find hard to admit to themselves. He realised that he was empty. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10:17).

It is interesting that he said “inherit”. An inheritance is not a right. It is a gift, a privilege, something someone else has worked for. Jesus, by his life, death and resurrection, gained eternal life for everyone who believes in Him (cf. Jn 3:16,17). The rich young man sought something that money cannot buy. Jesus tells Him that the only way to earn eternal life is to lay down the false security he clung so tightly to. Jesus is not saying that wealth is evil. He is pointing out that if your gifts are only used for your selfish gains, then it is useless. True wealth seeks to make others better. Others must share in the gifts that God has given you (cf. James 1:17). Wisdom helps you realise this fact. To possess wisdom is to have true wealth. And true wealth is that which builds others in the community. In using your gifts to make others better, you receive the gifts of eternal life. In fact, to have wisdom is to have everything.

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It takes wisdom to see Christ as the truth and to follow Him. Wisdom alone opens our eyes to our need for God and the gift of eternal life. King Solomon who is famed as the richest man in the Scriptures had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ask God for anything he wanted. But he humbly asked for “wisdom…a wise heart that is able to distinguish good and evil” (1Kg 33:4-15). Wealth and the beauty of life is nothing compared to wisdom. When we seek the world and all the pleasures it afford for their own sake, we are soon exhausted and left with a bitter aftertaste in our mouths. How many times have you longed for the latest phone, dress or car only to receive it? How did it make you feel? Did it give you the joy you expected? Maybe it did but not for long. Does that tell you something about the world and created things? There is nothing in this created world that can give you happiness.

Now back to the question: The question itself is misleading. It is not the case of either-or. Wealth is God’s gift to some for the good of all. They must seek to better the lives of others by it.

Yours,

BLOGATRON

#45 WHAT GOD HAS JOINED

Bride and groom hugging under veil
Bride and groom hugging under veil

Dear Doctimus Prime,

Today I wish to lay down some important information about the thorny subject of marriage:

A stage of Maturity

The three most important events in a person’s life are birth, marriage and death. The first two are greeted with great joy. The last is greeted with mixed feelings depending on how well a person has lived and what he has done for his family and society at large. Marriage signals a stage of maturity for both men and women. At this point they make a lifelong decision to be united to another person with whom they intend to share their whole life and build a family. Marriage is a special sacrament and vocation for the Christian because it underscores a lot of important points about our vocation as human beings and Christians.

Relationship of a Lifetime

The primary purpose of marriage is the reciprocal love of husband and wife. Their union is one that should last their whole lives and afford them an opportunity to strengthen each other. This means that both of them must learn to offer each other their time, gifts and affection. In the Church, marriage is a sacrament, which confers graces on its recipients. They no longer rely simply on their own strength to be faithful, loving and selfless in their new life. The rings they offer each other is a sign of their love and fidelity. They are also to welcome and educate the children born to their union.

Love Not Use

St John Paul II once wrote that “the opposite of love is use”. This is because it is possible to claim to love someone when all you are really interested in is to use them to satisfy your selfish needs for sex, financial security and status. Marriage affords these pleasures and more but it is not reducible to them. A person who only sees marriage for the good it can bring will remain lonely even when they are not alone.

Equality

Marriage underscores the equality of Man and Woman. The Book of Genesis speaks of God’s intention to create a helpmate for the man (Gen 2:18). A man and woman ought to complement each other. The man is incomplete without the woman and vice versa; their life together is something they should work out together.

A Walk Together

Marriage demands a common plan between the couple. This common plan simply means that they intend to spend the rest of their lives together. Divorce is out of the question because it should never be the plan of two adults who wish to spend their lives together to one day reject this decision. Wherever difficulties arise, it is best for both parties to seek peaceful resolutions to problems. When it becomes clear that they can no longer live together, a peaceful separation should be sought and provision must be made for children born to the union, if there are any.

Faith and Love

Experience has shown that there is a better understanding between couples who share the same faith than those who do not. This is simply because what a person knows and believes forms a substantial and foundational part of who they are. A discord on this ground will affect how they understand each other and what their children should learn. Through our faith, Jesus is able to help us because he has become one like us.

Die a Little

Jesus insists on the original plan of God for union between man and woman because many cultures and their practices has entrenched abuses and the subjugation of women (Mk 12:2-16). Divorce does not protect the interest of the woman and does not help the man appreciate womanhood. True love is only found when it is tested. Jesus offered his life to prove His love for us His Church (Eph 5:25). The least you can do is die in little ways for the sake of your spouse.

Love and Show

Children learn from what they see. There is no better legacy to pass to your children than a loving home, that they see each other as family. The love between spouses teaches their children to see themselves as inseparable parts of each other. As they grow older they are able to appreciate a life of self-sacrifice which will help them build loving homes of their own and others to offer themselves in priestly and religious consecration in the Church.

Ambassadors to Society

Marriage and the family are so important to the Church and society. We must do what we can to preserve and strengthen it. Prayer, personal development and responsibility, sound civil and religious education, a spirit of forgiveness and tolerance are steps towards reviving the marriage institution and placing it at the heart of society and the Church.

Yours,

BLOGATRON

#44 WE ARE ONE

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Dear Doctimus Prime,

A Nigerian adage says that broom sticks tied in a bunch is not easily broken. But a broom stick that chooses to stand alone will sooner or later be broken. This saying is true about our vocation as Christians. We are called together into the Body of Christ, his Church to strengthen and build each other up (1 Cor 12:12-31).

“Us” And “Them”

Many times we act in ways that show that we have clearly misunderstood Christ’s call to unity and love. Many times we emphasize what divides us and not what unites. Sometimes we emphasize the fact that some people are not part of our fold that we overlook the good that they are doing. We see a similar reaction in the Apostles themselves. They tried to stop an exorcist who did great works in Jesus’ name (See Mk 9:38-43,45-48). Like them, we choose those we relate with based on whether “he is one of us” or not. By so doing we lose out on the great potential and fresh insight which a person can bring to a group. In the same way too, never ridicule the beliefs or faith of others. You have received the fullness of divine revelation in the Church. This should not prevent you from seeing the light in what others are doing. Improve your knowledge and point others to the truth as well.

Celebrate Over Hate

Joshua whom Moses had raised, fell into a similar trap when he begged his master to stop two men from prophesying simply because they were not in the tent of meeting when the spirit descended (See Num 11:25-29). You are not to envy others simply because God has chosen to be gracious to them and bless them. If you are not as endowed materially and spiritually, God is probably teaching you to be more dependent on Him.

Be A Hero

Speaking of dependence, there are persons who look up to you for their spiritual or material development. Greed should find no place in your heart. The inordinate desire to acquire things even at the expense of others in unchristian (See James 5:1-6). Others look to you for inspiration in the Christian life. Let your life be a proof of God’s grace which leads you to show love. We learn each day and there is no one too old to learn something new. Let God’s law of love be your guiding principle. As we seek unity and inner peace with God and others in the coming week, may we find Him attending to our needs.

Yours,

BLOGATRON.

#43 FROM SEED TO TREE

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Dear Doctimus Prime,

Here are my thoughts on today’s Gospel reading (Mk 4:26-34). I narrowed down to a stimulating verse:

Mk 4:26 “A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps…the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know.”

GROWTH

Growth is a normal feature of daily life yet it is the most elusive; we see it yet we cannot track it. You don’t notice your children actually growing in front of your eyes. You only notice their clothes are no longer big enough for them and that they begin to walk without help.

SPIRITUAL!

In the spiritual life, growth is imperceptible but continuous. It begins at Baptism and progresses with the other sacraments till the end of our lives. The Word and Sacraments, when they are received in faith, are in the heart a work of grace. The Spirit of God carries on the work of grace without our notice (Job 33;15,16).

INTEREST

Christ’s interest in the world and in the heart is a growing interest; and though the beginning be small, the latter end will greatly increase. The growth of grace in a soul comes at last to perfection at “harvest time”. At harvest time, Christ accepts the services which are done to him by an honest and loving heart. From the fruits of the gospel taking place and working in the soul, Christ gathers in a harvest of honour to himself. Gal 5:22,23 tells us that the Spirit’s presence in us yields fruits of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness and self-control among others.

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REWARD

There is also the reward of Eternal Life. Those who die in God’s grace and friendship are those who have grown from a seed into a huge tree in this world. They shall be gathered as wheat into God’s barn (Mt 13:30) as corn in its season. Since they are now true reflections of Christ and are perfectly purified, they will live forever with Christ. They are like God forever, for they “see him as he is,” face to face (cf. 1Jn 3:2). This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity – this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed – is called “heaven.” Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfilment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness (CCC #1025).

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

You are called to engage in this process of sowing and reaping through your Christian life. Sow the seed of Christian love in the hearts of others. Each of us can do something loving and loveable for someone else. All we can do is sow seeds of New Life, faith, justice, compassion and love in order to make the world a better place to live. Having done this, you must wait. You cannot force the seed to grow. You can only provide the right conditions for growth.

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GOD’S PREROGATIVE

The task of giving growth is God’s prerogative. He will see to it that selfishness surrenders to sharing, evil gives way to goodness and hate yields to love. Patience, Prayerfulness and Hope are the manure for growth. Tomorrow’s trees come from the shoots we plant today. Tomorrow’s justice and peace begin from the seeds we sow today.

Prayer: Lord, give us grace to dispose ourselves to the action of your grace and work for the salvation of others.

Quick question:

How often do you pray for those you think are straying from the path of righteousness?

Today’s Readings: Ezek 17:22-24; Ps 92:2-3,13-16; 2Cor 5:6-10; Mk 4:26-34

Yours,

BLOGATRON

#39 EASTER FOR YOU

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Col 3:2,3 “Let your thoughts be on heavenly things not on the things that are on the earth…your life has been hidden with Christ in God.”

Today, we celebrate the GREATEST mystery of our Christian faith: JESUS CHRIST IN ALIVE! He truly died, he was not resuscitated, he rose from death and death no longer has any power over him. There are some things Easter should mean to you as a Christian:

#1 REUNION WITH GOD: Through Adam’s disobedience, humanity was separated from God’s love. We all have a brokenness that prevents us from doing good even if we wanted to. Through the resurrection of Christ, we have received grace in baptism to be introduced into the life of God (Rom 8:1; Jn 14:23).

#2 FREEDOM FROM SIN: By our sins, we incur spiritual death. This death is eternal separation from God who is the source of eternal life (Jn 14:6). Through his death and resurrection, Jesus frees you from sin and makes you an heir to God’s kingdom (Jn 1:12; 3:16).

#3 FREEDOM FROM FEAR: A child enjoys rights and privileges in his home but a slave is ruled by fear. Through our sins, we have lost the courage to call God our Father. This right is restored to you when you accept Christ as Lord of your life and reject the devil (Rom 8:15,16).

#4 CHANGE OF MENTALITY: In baptism, we are united with Christ in his death and resurrection from where be begin a process of transformation. In Christ, we are transformed and renewed in our minds and heart so that we know and love God above all things. In your transformation, you begin to see others as created in God’s image, and to do everything from a pure love of God.

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#5 CHANGE OF LIFESTYLE: For the baptised Christian, his or her life and faith are one and the same. Every moral or civil action you perform is burdened with responsibility. A sign that you have become truly Christian is that you weigh your actions in line with your faith in Christ and won’t act unless you have prayed. Through your actions, people should be able to tell that you are truly Christ-like.

#6 GRACE TO LOVE: Through the power of the resurrection, we are strengthened to love even our enemies. Christ’s resurrection fills our heart with so much grace that we see people first as subjects to be loved and not objects to use.

#7 GRACE TO FORGIVE: A big lesson from Christ’s death and resurrection is his spirit of forgiveness, even for those who killed him. Forgiveness will transform our society if we acknowledge that everyone deserves another chance.

Prayer: Lord, bring us to a deeper realisation of your love for us and our need to love others in the same way.

Today’s Readings: Acts 10:34,37-43; Ps 117:1-216-17,22-23; Col 3:1-4; Jn 20:1-9

Yours,

BLOGATRON

#38 THE MOTHER OF ALL VIGILS

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Dear Doctimus Prime,

It is Holy Saturday and tonight will be the vigil of Jesus’ resurrection. Tonight is the mother of all vigils. People claim that the Catholic Church does not read the Bible (or Sacred Scriptures as I love to call it). But tonight alone, we shall have 9 readings from the Old and New Testaments, not counting the Psalms after every passage, all outlining a beautiful summary of our relationship with God that has culminated in the coming of Christ. We are shown how in times past God who created and sustains the world, continues to lead us by the hand through time to the fullness of salvation in Himself, through His Son, Jesus Christ

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A SUMMARY OF THE READINGS

#1 Gen 1:1-2:2, We see that that God is the source of the created order, and humans are at the pinnacle of creation. He has given us control and responsibility over creation because we bear his image and likeness.

#2 In Gen 22:1-18, We learn how Abraham’s obedience to God became the source of everlasting blessing for his descendants yet to come. Faithfulness to God brings fruitfulness from God.

#3 In Ex 14:15-15:1, The Israelites see the awesome power of God as he delivers them from their pursuers, the Egyptians. God’s presence is never far from those who put their faith and trust in him.

#4 In Isa 54:5-14, we see God reconciling his people to Himself, restoring to them his “covenant of peace”, after they had been exiled from their land. Do you listen to God’s call when he seeks to pull you from your waywardness and slavery to sin?

#5 Isa 55:1-11 puts God’s call to us in the context of a covenant. God doesn’t want to lord it over you, he wants to enter into a relationship with you. This relationship is to be built on righteousness, mercy and love. Sin has no place in this union between you and God.

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#6 Baruch 3:9-15,32-4:4 described God’s Word as the “fountain of Wisdom” from which you must drink. Every relationship is nourished by fruitful communication. Your relationship with God is the most important and, therefore, stands most in need of the nourishment which only God’s word can give.

#7 In Ezekiel 36:16-28, God promises to bring Israel back from exile. They had gone into exile because they failed to listen to his words or communicate with him. Even now God takes the initiative, as always, to call them back to himself. He promises the cleansing of water, a new heart and a new spirit. In baptism, you were given all three. Tonight, you will renew that promise and be reenergized in your love relationship with God.

#8 Paul’s letter to the Romans 6:3-11 tells us that baptism is our death to our old life of sin and our rebirth in the life of Christ’s resurrection. We have nailed our old ways to the Cross of Christ, and received grace to live in holiness all the days of our life.

#9 The Gospel (Mk 16:1-7) The women, just like Jesus’ Apostles, were not expecting Him to rise from the dead. They witnessed and received news of great consolation which reassures them of God’s power at work in Christ. We desperately need the reassurance of Christ’s presence in our world. He is victorious over death; he will raise our fallen world to life through us.

May the glory of Christ’s resurrection fill our world with peace and blessings.

Yours,

BLOGATRON

#37 WHERE DO YOU STAND?

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Mark’s account of the Gospel is the oldest canonical Gospel and dates to sometime between 50 and 67 AD. He was the first to take on the challenge of relating what really happened to Jesus and how the event of the passion was a fulfilment of God’s plan for Him and for our salvation. In his account, many persons respond to Jesus in many different ways. A woman anoints him with perfumed oil, anticipating his burial. At the Last Supper, Peter and the rest of the Apostles swear they will never deny him. In Gethsemane, the apostles sleep. Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss. In fear, a young man runs away naked. During the trial, many give false witness. Peter denies Jesus three times. Pilate hands him over to be crucified. Soldiers mock him. Simon of Cyrene helps him carry the cross. Soldiers crucify him. The centurion testifies that Jesus is the “Son of God”. At the crucifixion, many women remained present. Joseph of Arimathea buries Jesus. During Jesus’ last hours, only a few faithful people stand by Jesus. Most do not.

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In our Christian journey, at one point or the other we act like some of the characters during his passion. We praise him, we swear to always defend him. But then we deny him and pretend we never knew him. We run away as soon as others identify us as his disciples and rain curses on ourselves by identifying with cheap popularity rather than holiness. When we run into trouble, we run back to him and make endless vigils in order to obtain favours. Some of us are faithful and we stay with God no matter the problem or discomfort. We persevere even with great temptations to defect. We stand because we have chosen to cooperate with God’s grace.

As you hear this passion proclaimed, where do you stand?

St Andrew of Crete advises us in these words:

“Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him…by being humble and by trying to live as he could wish….Let us spread before his feet before him the garment of our lives. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism (and through the observances of fasting, prayer and almsgiving), our souls should take the place of the welcoming branches as we join our voices to all God’s children everywhere singing, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the King of my heart!”

Prayer: Lord, give me the heart of a true disciple; to stand for you in good and bad times and obtain the reward for which you died for me.

Today’s Readings: Mk 11:1-10; Isa 50:4-7; Ps 22:8-9,17-20,23-24; Philp 2:6-11; Mk 14:1-15:47

Yours,

BLOGATRON