Homily For Christmas Day, Year B

Behold, The Word Is Among Us!

Readings: (1st: Ish 52, 7-10; Ps: 97, 1-6; 2nd: Heb 1, 1-6; Gos: John 1, 1-18)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today is Christmas day, the day we have long waited and prepared for. Christmas is a milestone in the history of our salvation. So, it is wonderful to know that God is with us. The central message of today’s celebration is the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have every reason to be happy because, the prince of peace is born.

Our first reading from Isaiah finds its sphere of accomplishment in the birth, ministry and life of Christ. Isaiah proclaims: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the one who brings the Good News.” Indeed, the good news himself is among us. The onus now lies on us to spread it. It is the good news of love, peace, hope, happiness and salvation.

Therefore, all who have waited faithfully, patiently, and vigilantly must shout for joy because God is with us. Hence, Isaiah calls us to celebrate Emmanuel, God with us. It is a call to adore and worship the new born king. It is a call to be joyful and to spread the good news.

In our second reading, the letter to the Hebrews captures, and presents what God did for us today in a spectacular manner: “God Spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time…he has spoken to us through the son…He is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature….” The letter to the Hebrews simply means that God has fulfilled the promise he made by revealing the hidden mystery of salvation to us.

Today, revelation has reached its climax. The hidden mystery of the old covenant has been revealed in the Word made flesh. Therefore, we need no further revelation, because, God himself has revealed himself fully in Christ, the radiant light of the father’s glory.

The gospel of John concisely gives us the synopsis of what happened today, the divine incarnation of God: “The Word was with God…The Word was made flesh, He lived among us, and we saw His glory.” Today, God the Son has revealed God the Father. The Word which was with the Father as Spirit, is now with us both as flesh, as well as spirit.

What we celebrate today is love because: “…God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son (Jn 3, 16). We must be ready to share this love. God send Christ out of love. Christ accepted to come to us because of his love for us. Also, Mary and Joseph cooperated with God to bring Christ into the world due to their love for humanity.

Today, we celebrate sacrifice.  So, we too must be ready to sacrifice something for the good of our brothers and sisters as Christ did by leaving his heavenly throne in order to be with us. Today, we celebrate humility. We must learn humility from Christ, who, though was rich, became poor for our sake. Yes, he was born in the lowliest place, the manager.

Finally, today, we celebrate the reign of peace, because the prince of peace is with us. Today, we celebrate today hope because Christ’s birth is the hope of our salvation. Today is a day of joy. Therefore, let us: “Sing psalms to the Lord with harp, with the sound of music, with trumpets and the sound of the horn, let us acclaim the King and the Lord,” who is with us.

Merry Christmas!

Peace be with you all!

Maranatha!

Homily For 4th Sunday Of Advent, Year B

The Mystery In Mary, The Ark Of The New Covenant

Readings: 1st: 1Sam 7, 1-5. 8-16: Ps 88, 2-5. 27. 29; 2nd: Rom 16, 25-27: Gos: Lk 1, 26-38

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today is the fourth and last Sunday of Advent. Today’s celebration is a great song to the everlasting love of God revealed in his covenant with his servant David. The mystery of the Old Covenant will soon to be revealed in Mary, the ark of God’s New Covenant.

In our first reading, in appreciation of God’s love, David wished to build a house for God. However, God would not allow him. Instead, God made a promise to David, and sealed it with a covenant: “…I will preserve the offspring of your body after you…I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to me …your throne will be established forever” This promise and covenant is what we expect to be fulfilled soon.

It is based on this same promise that both Luke and Matthew proceeded to traced and wrote the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Mt 1:1-17; Lk 3: 23-38). The reason was to prove that Jesus is actually an off spring of David, and one whom the prophets spoke about. The hidden mystery of the old covenant is about to be revealed in the new covenant.

n our second reading, Paul gives glory to God because of the strength he gave him to preach the good news. He equally, throws more light on the fact that Jesus is the Mystery that has been kept hidden for ages. His revelation is the salvation of the world. This good news is the mystery which God himself concealed in the old covenant.

As we continue our preparation for Christmas, we must continue to give all glory to God for what he is about to do in our lives and in our world. Hence, Paul’s message today sets us on the track towards the incarnation of God’s word which is very close at hand.

The Gospel of today presents us with two important figures in the “drama of the nativity of Christ.” First the angel Gabriel, the faithful messenger appears with a message. His message is about the fulfillment of a promise. It is also, about the revelation of the hidden mystery of the old covenant in the new. Jesus Christ is that mystery!

Mary’s role in the history of salvation stands out clearly today. She receives the message with humility: “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it is done unto me according to your words.” With these humble words, she accepted her role in the history of salvation. Mary’s faith was a statement of her total self-donation to God’s own will for our salvation.

Her response was a statement of her humility, generosity, courage, and love for humanity. Hence through here generosity, Mary reminds us that this is a season of joy, receiving and sharing. Today, as the angel brought the good news to Mary so also, we must continue spreading this message.

Finally, as we wait for the next couple of hours for the manifestation of the new covenant and the fulfillment of God’s promise to his servant David, let us join the psalmist in proclaiming: “I will sing forever of your love, O lord.  In all the ages, my mouth will proclaim your truth!”

Peace be with You!

Maranatha!

Homilia Del Cuarto Domingo De Adviento, Año B

El Misterio En María, La Arca De La Nueva Alianza

Lecturas: 1ra: 1Sam 7, 1-5. 8-16: Sal 88, 2-5. 27. 29; 2da: Ro 16, 25-27: Ev: Lc 1, 26-38

Esta breve reflexión fue escrita por el Reverendo Padre Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. Él es un sacerdote católico y un miembro de la Congregación de los Padres y Hermanos del Espíritu Santo (Espirítanos). Él está trabajando con el Grupo Internacional Espirítano De Puerto Rico y República Dominicana. Él es el administrador de la Parroquia La Resurrección del Señor, Canóvanas y el Canciller de la Diócesis de Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. Para más detalles y comentarios se puede contactarlo en: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, cancilleriadfh@gmail.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com

Hoy es el cuarto y último domingo de Adviento. La celebración de hoy es un gran cantico para el eterno amor de Dios revelado en su alianza con su siervo David. El misterio de la antigua alianza pronto será revelado en María, la arca de la nueva alianza de Dios.

En nuestra primera lectura, en agradecimiento al amor de Dios, David quiso construir una casa para Dios. Sin embargo, Dios no lo permitiría. En cambio, Dios le hizo una promesa a David, y la selló con una alianza: “… Preservaré a la descendencia de tu cuerpo después de ti… Seré un padre para él, y él será un hijo para mí… tu trono será establecido para siempre.” Esta promesa y alianza es lo que esperamos que se cumpla pronto.

Se basa en esta misma promesa que tanto Lucas como Mateo procedieron a trazar y escribieron la genealogía de Jesucristo (Mt 1:1-17; Lc 3:23-38). La razón era demostrar que Jesús es realmente del linaje de David, y el que los profetas hablaron. El misterio oculto de la antigua alianza está a punto de ser revelado en la nueva alianza. 

A medida que continuemos con nuestra preparación para la Navidad, debemos seguir dando toda la gloria a Dios por lo que él está a punto de hacer en nuestras vidas y en nuestro mundo. Por lo tanto, el mensaje de Pablo hoy nos pone en la pista hacia la encarnación de la palabra de Dios que está muy cerca.

El Evangelio de hoy nos presenta dos figuras importantes en el “drama de la natividad de Cristo”. Primero el ángel Gabriel, el mensajero fiel aparece con un mensaje. Su mensaje es sobre el cumplimiento de una promesa. Es también, sobre la revelación del misterio oculto en la antigua alianza en la nueva. ¡Jesucristo es ese misterio!

El papel de María en la historia de la salvación se destaca claramente hoy. Ella recibe el mensaje con humildad: “Yo soy la esclava del Señor, hágase conmigo según tu voluntad.” Con estas humildes palabras, María aceptó su papel en la historia de la salvación. La fe de María fue una declaración de su total auto-donación a la voluntad de Dios para nuestra salvación.

Su respuesta fue una declaración de su humildad, generosidad, coraje y amor por la humanidad. Por lo tanto, la generosidad de María nos recuerda que esta es una temporada de gozo, de recibir y de compartir. Hoy, como el ángel trajo la buena nueva a María, así también, debemos continuar difundiendo este mensaje.

Finalmente, mientras que esperamos las próximas dos horas para la manifestación de la nueva alianza y el cumplimiento de la promesa de Dios a su siervo David y a nosotros, nos unimos al salmista para proclamar: “Cantaré eternamente el amor del Señor. ¡Anunciare su fidelidad por todas las edades!

¡La paz sea con ustedes! 

¡Maranatha!

Homily For 3rd (“Gaudate”) Sunday Of Advent, Year B

Rejoice, Rejoice All You Who Are Faithful!

Readings: (1st: Is 61, 1-2.10-11: Ps: Lk 1, 46-54; 2nd: 2 Th 5, 16-22: Gos: Jh 1, 6-8. 19-28)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

The third Sunday of Advent is a Sunday of joy (Gaudete). Having come thus far in our journey, the Church says to us as the prophet Nehemiah said to the Israelites: “Go and enjoy…Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh 8, 10). However, after today, we must continue our journey with a new zeal and expectation.

In our first reading today, Isaiah busts out in Joy as he experienced the divine presence and hand of God tremendously at work in his life and mission: “The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for the Lord has anointed me to…” This is a song of joy and satisfaction of an empowered person. He recounts what God has done in his life.

This too should be our song today because, we have been filled with the Spirit of God. We are filled in order to be strengthened for the last phase of our journey this Advent. So, in appreciation for this, we shout for joy to the Lord. This is the great joy that Gaudate Sunday provokes. That is, the joy that our Saviour is near.

Our second reading is an explicit exaltation from Paul to us especially on this great and joy-filled Sunday of Advent: “Be happy at all times, pray constantly, and for all things give thanks to God…” In this brief exaltation, we find a wonderful progression. First, it is an exaltation to be happy, joyful and cheerful because our journey so far has been so good.

Second, it is an exaltation to “Pray constantly,” to be vigilant. Therefore, for Gaudate Sunday to be truly meaningful, it must provoke a great feeling of joy and thankfulness, while still strongly preserving, and keeping us focused on our journey and duty this glorious season of Advent. It is not the end our journey.

Once again, today our gospel revolves round the prophecy and clarion call of the “Prophet of Prophets,” John the BaptistThe major difference between today’s gospel and that of last week rests simply on the fact that they are accounts from different writers Mark and John. The message remains functionally and ontologically the same. It is still from: “The voice that cries in the wilderness, make a straight way for the Lord.” 

Why is this reading and call being repeated this joyful Sunday? It is for the purpose of emphasis. It is to remind us that, though we are given a little time to relax and rejoice today, that the clarion call is still there: “Make a straight way for the Lord.” In order words, our preparation continues. So, it is a way of keeping us alert so that we do not lose focus of where we are actually going to: “It is NOT Christmas yet!” The joy of this Sunday foreshadows the fullness of joy that Christmas brings.

Finally, brethren, as we rejoice today, let us say a loud amen to the prayer of Paul: “May the God of Peace make you perfect and holy, and may you all be kept safe and blameless…for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ…God has called you and he will not fail you.” Surely, He will not fail us until we have received Christ, the fullness of our joy and salvation.  Surely, he will not fail us because: “All His promises are yes, and amen (2 Cor 1, 20).

Peace be with You!

Maranatha!!

 

Homily For 2nd Sunday Of Advent, Year B

Why Is Jesus Christ Coming?
Readings: (1st: Is 40, 1-5.9-11: Ps 84, 9-14; 2nd: 2 Pt 3, 8-14; Gos: Mk 1, 1-8)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

On this second week of Advent, we continue to prepare for the Lord’s coming. Today, the church calls us to reflect on the good news of this season. Thus, we are to reflect on the reason of Christ’s coming, and on what we are expected to do this season.
Today, our readings focus on the nearness of the Lord’s coming and the need for repentance for the forgiveness of sins. So, one very important question today is, why is Christ coming? He is coming because he loves us. He is coming to save us. He is coming to make all things new. He has a mission, and that mission is for us, and for our salvation.
In our first reading, Isaiah implores us to: “prepare a way for the Lord… Here is the Lord, coming with power…” Today he sounds very optimistic. Last week, he made a petition, asking God to “tear down the heaven and come down.” His prayer of hope is already bearing fruits soon. So, God says this week, “console my people, console them…”
Like Isaiah, we too must progress in our journey this Advent. Isaiah’s prophecy today is a great hope booster. That is, that our salvation is close at hand. So, let us continue to wait for the Lord’s coming. However, it is not yet over. The fulfillment of this hope still lies ahead. So, rather than relax, we must heed his call, “prepare a way for the Lord…”
In the second reading, Peter assures us that Christ will certainly come. Once again, like the Prophet Isaiah, he gives a boost to our hope. He encourages us not to lose hope in the prophetic promises of the coming of the Messiah. Today, Peter makes the following very important points. The first is about the “The Day of the Lord.” He reminds us that it will come like a thief. Therefore, this is a season to be alert and vigilant.
Second, Peter reminds us that our “long time” is nothing, compared to God’s time. Hence, there is a difference between God’s time and ours. Our human time is “Chronos.” That is, the sequential time. While God’s reckoning of time is “Kairos” That is, a special moment that seems almost timeless or ageless. Hence, we say: “God’s time is the best time!”
In today’s gospel, like Isaiah, John the Baptist brings us the good news about the Lord’s imminent coming. He makes two explicit calls to us. The first is, a call to repent for the forgiveness of our sins. Advent is the time to reconcile with God whom we have severally offended through our words and actions.
Repentance and reconciliation are very important conditions for us to welcome Christ worthily. This is what the prophets (Isaiah and John the Baptist), and the Apostle Peter mean by, “preparing a way for the Lord” and “living holy and saintly lives.” If we repent sincerely this season, then the salvation that Jesus brings will be ours. If we clean up ourselves properly, we need not be afraid of the Day of the Lord.
Finally, anticipation of the Lord’s coming should not merely determine our manner of lives. Rather, it should motivate us to repentance, holiness of life, godliness, and of course, joyfulness. Therefore, as we continue to wait and prepare, let us humbly pray with the psalmist: “O Lord, let us see your mercy, and give us your saving help.”
Peace be with You!
Maranatha!

 

Homily For 1st Sunday Of Advent, Year B

Advent: Season Of Great Expectation And Joyful Hope
Readings: (1st: Ish 63, 16-17. 64, 1-8: Ps 79, 2-119; 2nd: I Cor 1, 3-9; Gos: Mtt 13, 33-37)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent and of a new liturgical calendar, year B. Remarkably, as we begin a new liturgical year today, we move from the gospel according to Matthew’s to the gospel according to Mark, the shortest of the four canonical Gospels.
Advent is a season of hope and a period during which as Christians we await the fulfillment of the promise of God through his prophets. In addition to being a season of hope, it is equally, a season of patience and prayer. During these four weeks, what are we expected to do? We are expected to prepare for the birth of the messiah. It suffices to note that while we prepare physically, the most important must be the spiritual preparation.
Our first reading from Isaiah is both a prophetic message, as well as a prayer of hope. Isaiah begins by acknowledging the greatness of God: “O Lord you are our Father, Our Redeemer is your ancient name…” Then, he makes a petition to God: “Why leave us to stray from your ways…Oh that you would tear the heavens open and come down…?”
This is a prayer of hope. As Isaiah rightly demanded, God will not keep silent until we are saved. That salvation is what our hope in Christ will accomplish for us. Therefore, when Isaiah asks God to tear the heavens and come down, he expects God to come quickly.
This is Our Lord’s prayer, “…Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” It is also Paul’s petition, “Maranatha!” It is the cry of the Spirit and the Bride: “Come, Lord Jesus” (CCC 2817). God’s power and salvation is what we hope to see at the end of this season. That is, when God’s word would become flesh and born of a virgin.
In our second reading, Paul encourages us to be faithful as we wait for the coming of Christ. Though, Paul was referring to the parousia, yet, this reading is very ad rem to this season of Advent. Paul reminds us that we have received the gifts of the Spirit. It is these gifts of the Spirit that will strengthen us as we wait in joyful hope for Christ.
Our life is a long vigil, waiting for the Lord to be revealed in all his glory. So, we wait with expectation and joyful hope because His is Spirit is with us. If we walk with him this season, God will not fail us because: “our expectation shall not be cut short” (Pr 23, 18). So, as the Spirit guides us, we must prepare prayerfully, through the help of the Sacraments. This is especially, through the sacrament of reconciliation.
The gospel of today is a clarion call to be awake and alert. Only the Spirit of God can help us do this faithfully. Therefore, rather than obey the spirit of this world this season, we must obey the Spirit of God, who sustains us. So, let us to have our minds fixed on him.
It suffices to note that if we light up our houses and streets, without lightening up our lives spiritually for Christ to walk into it; if we prepare all things and places without preparing a manger for baby Jesus in our lives then, our preparation would not be complete.
Finally, as we eagerly anticipate the coming of the Lord this season, our hope and expectation should prompt us to be always awake and vigilant. It should make us prepare adequately in order to avail ourselves of Jesus’ mercy. Therefore, our constant prayer during this season as Paul constantly prayed should be: “Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!”
Peace be with you all!
Maranatha!!