#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

#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

#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

#42 6 REASONS TO ATTEND MASS

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Dear Doctimus Prime,

I just wanted to tell you about tomorrow.

  1. WHAT’S NEW?

Tomorrow is the celebration of all celebrations. It is the reason we can call ourselves CHRISTIANS. Tomorrow is the celebration that makes us God’s holy and covenant people (cf. 1Pt 2:9). God made man becomes the centrepiece of our Christian worship and life. Tomorrow, we celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the Holy Eucharist, Corpus Christi in Latin.

  1. DESCRIPTION

The Eucharist is the sacrament of the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, together with His soul and divinity, under the appearance of bread and wine. This means that at no other time and in no other place is Jesus truly present on earth than in the Eucharist. The Opening Prayer of the Mass gives us a beautiful summary of what Jesus wishes to accomplish in you through the Eucharist by pointing out that:

  • In it, Christ leaves us a remembrance (memorial) of His Passion (death on the Cross for love of us);
  • An opportunity to worship and adore Him in His Real Presence;
  • And experience the fruits of our redemption as often as we approach him in the sacrament.
  1. WORSHIP

Catholic worship exists and thrives because of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is Jesus Himself, in body, blood, soul and divinity, to nourish us in soul and body. Jesus left us this rare and extravagant gift of Himself because he knows that without Him we cannot perform any good or meritorious action (cf. Jn 15:5). It is also interesting that His divine present only appears on the altar during the sacrifice of the Mass, when a Catholic priest says the words that Jesus Himself said at the Last Supper when he took bread and wine and gave thanks. From this sacrament we are also given Jesus, placed in the tabernacle and in the monstrance for us, to worship. All of Catholic worship draws strength and points to the Eucharist as their source and summit. If you wish to offer God a most solemn worship and the highest honour, attend Mass!

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  1. THANKSGIVING

“Eucharistia”, the Greek word from which the English word “Eucharist” is derived, means “Thanksgiving”. This refers to the prayer of Thanksgiving which Jesus offered when he lifted up the bread and wine in prayer at the Last Supper (1Cor 11:23-27). When we come to mass, we come to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving. This is symbolised in the offering we bring to the altar just before the priest blesses the gifts. Through our offering, we give ourselves to God along with the fruits of our labour. God accepts our offering, blesses us and transforms our gifts into His body and blood and returns it to us in the Eucharist for our spiritual nourishment.

  1. BANQUET

The Eucharist is called a Sacred Banquet because it mirrors the celebration which we shall have in heaven. Jesus told his disciples that he will not drink wine until he drinks it anew in heaven; this is an indication that the Eucharist is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet (Mk 14:25). The best party of all time happens every time you come to mass and admission is absolutely free!

  1. FAMILY

When we gather around the table of the Word and Eucharist, we answer God’s call to make our home with Him. Jesus should be the king of your home and the head of your family. By nourishing us at the table of His Word and Eucharist, he fills us with love for each other. We are no longer to look at each other as strangers but siblings of our one and true Father (Gal 3:28; Col 3:11). Draw strength and inspiration from the Eucharistic table to gather as a family daily in prayer. A Eucharistic family prays together and by praying together they remain together.

You have six reasons to relish every moment at mass tomorrow. God bless!

Yours,

BLOGATRON