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Where Does Your Temptation Comes From?

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Where Does Your Temptation Comes From?

It is very Vital to understand about Temptation and where/how it comes

Osuofia was very addicted to alcohol to the extent that he was always found drinking alcohol at very moment and at every place.  Drinking had become his second nature. Even his movement, manner of talking and ways of doing things had been affected greatly.

This marriage between Osuofia and alcohol was a public one known by all.  To employ the words of the new generation pastors, one could rightly say that Osuofia is possessed by the spirit of alcohol.

It was on a Ash-Wednesday,  the beginning of Lent, Osuofia staggered to the Church to receive his own ashes as he was a baptized Catholic. It was already after the mass, the priest was still at the sacristy.  

When Osuofia came to the priest requesting to receive his own ashes, the priest seized the opportunity to advise him on the need to work against his bad habit by abstaining from taking any alcoholic drink throughout the period of Lent.

Osuofia embraced the admonition of the priest and made up his mind to take up the challenge: no drinking of alcoholic drink for forty days. As he was returning to his home,  he was receiving invitation from his friends on the way to come and drink with them. It was unusual for him at that moment, and very tempting.

For some time, many of these friends had vowed never to invite him again to drink because they felt he was embarrasing them publicly. “Why now?” he thought as walked along. The temptation was indeed very difficult but Osuofia resisted them to the utmost dismay of all. Osuofia changed over night.  

The villagers were marvelled by this sudden change from a known public figure like Osuofia.  No one ever believed that Osuofia would resist alcohol in his life. Many occasions and ceremonies were taking place here and there which were very rare before, but Osuofia remained firm in his resolution.

Just few days to the end of the period of Lent, precisely on Palm Sunday, a well known rich man from the village, went for a thanksgiving Mass and he invited people to his residence for merriment.  Osuofia went for the occasion.  

He sat down quietly watching people drinking and enjoying themselves.  There were  many assorted food and drinks ranging from different brands. The sight was difficult for Osuofia to resist. He fought within himself, but felt tempted beyond his capacity and gave in instantly, and drank like never before. That day he was carried home by few of his friends. Osuofia ended up going back to square one. What a pity!!!

On this first Sunday of Lent child of God, I invite you to reflect with me on the Message: “Where does your Temptation comes from?” The temptation of Jesus as related by Mark in today’s gospel is our temptation as we journey on Earth towards our eternal Home. Nothing changes, the same temptation but in different forms.

Mark does not give us the details unlike the other Synoptics but the content still remain the same. In other gospels Mathew, Luke and John, we can see detailed presentation of that episode.

Jesus was tempted trice and he prevailed over the devil. He was tempted on:
✓ Hedonism(Food)
✓ Egosim (Power)
✓ Materialism( Riches)

John the evangelist in his Epistles succinctly called these temptations in the world as ;
a. Lust of Eyes
b. Lust of Body
c. The Pride of Life(I Jn. 2:16)
N/B. These are the areas child of God is being tempted by the devil in our everyday life.

A. Hedonism (An Easy way out of the supposed pain and suffering). Temptation in this way comes in the sense of pleasure which is the “Lust of Body”(Here we are tempted to care for the body more than our soul and spirit)

When Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread He replied; “Man shall not live by bread alone(Cf. Matt. 4:4, Deut. 8:3). Alot of Christians are falling everyday to this temptation.

B. Egosim(Pride of life-Power). Anything that leads to arrogance, boast and sensitation. John the Evangelist says; “if anyone loves the world, then the love of the father is not in him (cf. I Jn. 2:15)
It was the first son committed by our first parents. They wanted to be like God(Cf. Gen. 3:5-6).

C. Materialism( Lust of Eyes- Riches). The devil asked Jesus to bow to him and he will give Him the whole world. Child of God if you where in Jesus’ be sincere what would be your response? Bearing in mind that the devil tempts us not with his real identity but through a supposed destiny helper or sponsor in life. Jesus quickly responded by scolding the hell out of diabolos, satana, Ekwe ya su; “Away from me, for it is written you shall worship the Lord your God” replied Jesus(Cf. Matt. 4:10).
Here, we are meant to believe that all we need in life to be happy is to acquire Wealth, fame and become earthly Celebrities. We have fallen into these temptations bothering on “Fame, Popularity, Power, Pomposity and Lust for Money and Riches”.

To acquire Wealth is not an evil but the insatiable desire and lust for it over and above your love for God is dangerous and catastrophic.

Today Jesus calls us to REPENTANCE in today’s gospel. Repentance would start from having a rethink from every attitude of Hedonism, Egosim and Materialism In which we have been imprisoned for years and decades. Lenten season is another opportunity presented by the Church wish to help her children take giant and bold steps at redeeming their relationship with the Lord. I ask again “WHERE DOES YOUR TEMPTATION COKES FROM? WHAT TEMPTS YOU?, AND WHO TEMPTS YOU? Blessings to you and your family on this special sunday+.

Remember to pray your ROSARY EVERYDAY it is Powerful. “A CHRISTIAN IS NOT AN ORDINARY PERSON AND THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN IS A LIFE OF WARFARE”.

Gen. 9:8-15, Ps. 25:2-9, I Pet. 3:18-22, Mk. 1:12-15

Fr. Emmanuel Uzoh(Nwachinaemere)

Peace be with you.

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The Greatest Food That Changes Us For Better

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The Greatest Food That Changes Us For The Better

What you need to know about The Greatest Food That Changes Us For Better

Once upon a time, an old rich man was dying, and his three sons seeing that the end was near for their Dad starting living with reckless abandon; lavishing his wealth and wallowing in outright wantonness. The old man was grieved but pretended to put on a brave face, while all the time thinking of a better plan to teach these prodigal sons of his lessons; that they will not forget in a hurry. One day he summoned and explained to them that the greatest part of his wealth and riches have been hidden in one of the foundations of the mansion, insisting that when he eventually dies, they should demolish the mansion and dig out the treasures.

The sons were overjoyed and wished silently for such day to arrive. Their father died and they took no time in demolishing the beautiful mansion to locate the hidden treasure. But they came up with a wooden box, pried it open and saw a note that said: “my sons, there is no treasure to find. What I did was for you to struggle and build your own house and stop relying on my sweats and lavishing my efforts”. The devastation that greeted these sons was better imagined than said.

Today we celebrate ONE of the greatest gifts given to us by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Since Jesus was not capricious like the old rich man in our story, He gave us two great gifts before his death.

1. The gift of His BODY AND BLOOD on Holy Thursday, which we celebrate today with pomp and pageantry and

2. The gift of His Mother the Blessed Virgin Mary on Good Friday. (John 19:26-27). These two great gifts have no equal in the history of humanity. Today we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), a feast that demands our total attention and expression. A feast that calls us to express profoundly what we believe and teach! It is a day to appreciate and give thanks for the Gift of the Eucharist, it is day to learn more about the Holy Eucharist and become more devoted, it is day to express our faith in the real presence of the Holy Eucharist, since with our reason and intellect alone we cannot understand or love the Holy Eucharist enough.

This explains the reason for the eucharistic procession of today, telling and showing the world that Jesus is really present in the Holy Eucharist. (for pastoral reasons, some countries have different dates for this eucharistic procession like in Nigeria because of the weather condition, it has been shifted to the last Sunday of the year-Christ the King).

In sum, the Eucharistic food and drink are truly Jesus himself, not a mere symbol of his love. Some mainstream protestant churches teach the “symbolic” presence of Jesus, which is different from the “real presence” taught by Jesus and the Church.

Even though, this has been a source of debates for centuries, just as the disciples of Jesus refused to accept this teaching when they first heard it. However, we can never be tired of stating the obvious that: The words of Jesus are not symbolic, He meant every word to be understood as He said them: “Take … eat … this IS my Body which will be given up for you” (He did not say “This represents my body”), and “Take … drink …This is … my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal Covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many….” (nor did He say, “This represents my blood…”). We have the testamentary evidences of the saints to buttress this fact and even some heretics who later got converted on account of their encounter with the real presence.

There are many things to say and learn of the Holy Eucharist, but we should keep always in mind that the Eucharist is a sacrament of love and for Vatican Council II “the Holy Eucharist is the center and culmination of Christian life ” (Lumen Gentium, 11). As a sacrament of love, we are called to be “eucharist” to others by “breaking and sharing” what we have and are.

We pray for the grace of a worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist and ask for God’s pardon and mercy in the sacrament of Penance, when we find ourselves unworthy to receive such great a gift. The riches and graces of the Holy Eucharist are inexhaustible, small wonder it is known by many numerous names.

Eucharist, Lord’s Supper, Breaking of Bread, Synaxis, Memorial, Holy Sacrifice, Divine Liturgy, Sacred Mysteries, Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, Holy Things, Bread of Angels, Bread from Heaven, Medicine of immortality, Viaticum, Holy Mass (CCC 1328-1332).

Here is an interesting story that illustrates the skepticism of an unbeliever with regards to the Eucharist and the tremendous wisdom that a believer draws from it. A man came to a priest and wanted to make fun of his faith, so he asked, “How can bread and wine turn into the Body and Blood of Christ?” The priest answered, “No problem. You yourself change food into your body and blood, so why can’t Christ do the same?” But the objector did not give up. He asked, “But how can the entire Christ be in such a small host?” “In the same way that the vast landscape before you can fit into your little eye.” But he still persisted, “How can the same Christ be present in all your churches at the same time?” The priest then took a mirror and let the man look into it. Then let the mirror fall to the ground and broke it and said to the skeptic, “There is only one of you and yet you can find your face reflected in each piece of that broken mirror at the same time.”

Finally, let us always prepare ourselves to receive the Holy Eucharist, physically and spiritually, may we become devotees of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament since He became a “prisoner of love” for us in the Holy Eucharist especially in our Tabernacles. May we become adorers, people who worship and adore the Lord and also love our neighbours. Many saints lived only on the Holy Eucharist, which shows that it nourishes our Body and Soul.

Let us join St. Thomas Aquinas’ prayer of devotion in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament: “O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament Divine! All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!” MAY OUR ADORATION OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST NEVER CEASE! AND MAY WE BECOME EUCHARIST FOR OTHERS TOO! GOD BLESS YOU AND HAPPY SUNDAY. Do have a blessed week +. Blessings to you and to your family. PRAY YOUR ROSARY DAILY. Please do say a prayer for me as I uplift you in my prayers too. “A CHRISTIAN IS NOT AN ORDINARY PERSON AND THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN IS A LIFE OF WARFARE”.

      PEACE BE WITH YOU.
FR EMMANUEL UZOH (NWACHINAEMERE)

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Nobody Is An Assistant Jesus

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Nobody Is An Assistant Jesus

Beloved, there are different sets of Christians in the world today. We can know them by their deeds.
Below are some of their uncountable activities that will make one sit back and wonder if truly these people are Christians or not, or they have taken the position of God.

1. Some quotes and interprets Bible as if they were the sole author.
2. Some command God as if He is their servant.
3. Some remote control God in His dispensation of blessings. They claim that if I curse you, nobody can bless you, and vice versa, using the Bible to justify themselves.
4. Some claim to be called and sent by God, and yet perpetrate evil.
5. Some claim to see vision without television, speaking when God has not spoken; giving fake prophecy which had shattered many families and friends .
6. Some give judgment to others such as telling some persons that they are candidates of heaven, while some are candidates of hellfire.

Hmm, imagine a human being who is not sure of his or her salvation telling people who are a candidate of heaven or hellfire.
These sets of people act as deputy Jesus. They are the people Jesus is referring to in the Gospel when He said: ‘I tell you most solemnly, no servant is greater than his master, no messenger is greater than the man who sent him.’
Such Christians seem to have God’s password at hand.
What a foolish person acting in an empty world of foolishness.

One thing we should know is that anybody who claims to be a Christian and fall into any of the above-listed categories or even worse than that should know that he or she is a proud Christian. Such do not have any iota of humility in him or her.

Jesus said, ‘I tell you most solemnly, whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’ My dear, what it simply means in my opinion is that in welcoming the message and the messenger of Christ, we should be careful not to be filled with pride, rather with humility. More so, not to be deceived by fake prophets. The Church teachings and the Bible is more than enough to be filled with God’s message.

From the first reading, Paul narrated how God has been saving His people Israel up to the time of John the Baptist. In this regard, let us emulate the humility of John who says “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one (Jesus) is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”

In summary, the word of God is sown in the heart of a humble Christian, and a humble Christian does not claim to know more than his or her master, rather such persons bend low to learn more.
However, whoever claims to be an assistant Jesus, has no Spirit of God in him or her. Hence, such a person lives in a fools paradise.

Let us bend low and learn from Jesus. We all are in the school of Jesus, He is our master, He knows more than us. Happy Thursday to you! Blessings to you and your family +. Plz Pray the Holy Rosary everyday for it is Powerful. Remember always; “A CHRISTIAN IS NOT AN ORDINARY PERSON AND THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN IS A LIFE OF WARFARE”.

    Peace be with you.
+ FR. EMMANUEL UZOH (NWACHINAEMERE)

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The Reward For Sacrifice Is Transformation

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The Reward For Sacrifice Is Transformation

This is what most of us do not know – The Reward For Sacrifice Is Transformation

The late Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, CSSp has a beautiful and nice way he employed in explaining and navigating around the event of the Transfiguration of our lord.

There is a mysterious story in 2Kings that can help us understand what is happening in the transfiguration. Israel is at war with Aram, and Elisha, the man of God, is using his prophetic powers to reveal the strategic plans of the Aramean army to the Israelites.

At first the King of Aram thinks that one of his officers is playing the spy, but when he learns the truth, he dispatches troops to go and capture Elisha who is residing in Dothan. The Aramean troops move in under cover of darkness and surround the city. In the morning Elisha’s servant is the first to discover that they are surrounded and fears for his master’s safety.

He runs to Elisha and says, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” The prophet answers “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” But who would believe that when the surrounding mountainside was covered with advancing enemy troops? So, Elisha prays, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opens the servant’s eyes, and he looks and sees the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:8-23).

This vision was all that Elisha’s disciple needed to reassure him. At the end of the story, not only was the prophet of God safe but the invading army was totally humiliated. The Church introduces this reading of Jesus’ transfiguration during Lent, so that the transfiguration of Jesus would transform us.

The Lenten disciplines and practices if performed with the spirit of Jesus should be able to transform us. This transformation like holiness is a gradual process, it does not happen overnight. However, we need to pray in the spirit of Elisha so that our spiritual eyes be opened to understand the full import of this transfiguration event during this period.

I wish to start this homily with another very important story about an elderly priest who shared his experience with me that touched me in a very special way. It was about 40 years ago in a certain parish in a remote village where he was finding it difficult to survive with regard to his basic needs.

The people in that parish were very poor but they were doing their best to sustain their priest. After his lunch one Christmas day, the priest decided to take a stroll round the village in order to observe how the people celebrate the Christmas. As he was strolling round, he was attracted by sound of crying and weeping from a small hut in front of him. He went in to know what the problem was. They were three kids with their poor widowed mother.

They were crying because they had nothing to eat on a Christmas day. Imagine the pains of these kids who were being starved on such a day when their fellow kids elsewhere had sumptuous meal with drinks. Touched by their predicament, the priest went home immediately and brought along with him the only bag of rice left in his store. He gave the bag of rice to the family with some affordable money for condiments. Considering the condition of his parish, it was really a great sacrifice on the part of the priest but he was happy to have eased the pains of such a wretched family.

According to the priest, he never came in contact with that family again as he was transferred the following month for an urgent assignment. After thirty years, he was suprised with the visit of one of the children of that widow he helped. Having been enormously blessed by God, this young man went in search of that priest that put smiles on their faces many years back. The sacrifice of the priest alleviated their pains at that moment which left a deep impact on him.

When he later found the priest, he was overjoyed and he expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the priest. From then till date, he has been sending one trailer bag of rice to the priest every December for the less privileged, and also a huge sum of money to the priest on monthly basis for his upkeep. What a great show of gratitude!

The most appreciated gifts are not those that are ‘Very Expensive’, but those that involves ‘Sacrifice’. A gift is a sacrifice when it involves the greatest value of the giver. The receiver of a sacrifice is highly valued by the giver either to be equal to the sacrifice being made or more than it. That is the reason why it is normally said: “Gift is given, but sacrifice is made”. The verb “to make” involves the person more than the verb “to give”.

Thus, when a gift reaches the height of a sacrifice, it is no longer given, but it is made. The receiver of a sacrifice always feel highly rated by the giver and is always disposed to reward the giver accordingly. When the receiver is a Superior like God, then the reward of the sacrifice would be enormous. Great Biblical heroes understood what it means to offer sacrifice to God. They were greatly rewarded by God in their readiness to give everything to God. The readings of this Second Sunday of Lent present us with some of these heroes of faith who offered sacrifice to God and were rewarded accordingl

From the first reading from the Book of Genesis, God tested Abraham by demanding a great sacrifice, the sacrifice of his son, Isaac. Abraham had two sons, Ishmael, the child from the slave girl, Hagar, and then Isaac, the child of God’s promise from Sarah. The Lord had told Abraham to send Ishmael and Hagar away and to concentrate on Isaac, because it is through Isaac that Abraham’s descendant would be great.

God put Abraham to the test about ten years or more after Ishmael’s exile when Isaac was about 13 years old. The narrative begins by revealing that Abraham was being tested. It was God’s plan that Abraham should experience the test of a covenant ordeal. A covenant ordeal is a testing of the obedience of faith of a person in the special relationship of a covenant union with God.

In ancient times, human sacrifice was a widespread practice. It was practiced by the Moabites, who in desperate situation, would sacrifice the first born to their god, Chemosh (2 Kings 3:26-27). The Ammonites were offering their children to Molech (Leviticus 18:21). The valley of Gehenna was cursed because it was the place where the children had been slain (2 Kings 23:10).

Thus, in a world where this practice was considered normal, it was understandable why God would demand such from Abraham. Abraham on the other hand, did not see it as abnormal. Most importantly, Abraham had always blindly believed in the Lord. He left his homeland, renounced the security of his house and the protection which came from the family and the tribe to which he belonged, cut the connection with the past, sure that God would fulfil his promise, would give him a land, a blessing and above all, numerous descendants.

Even at this moment when it seemed to him that God contradicted himself, Abraham unwaveringly maintained his faith. In obedience, Abraham took his son, Isaac, who carried the wood for his sacrifice. Innocently, Isaac inquired from his father about the lamb of sacrifice.

In trying to conceal the truth from his son, Abraham made a prophecy that would later become fulfilled: “God Himself will provide the Lamb for the sacrifice ” (Genesis 22:8). On the Mount of Moriah where Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac, he built an altar, arranged the wood, tied his son as a sacrificial lamb, and took knife to slaughter him. Isaac did not resist or flee from his aged father when he realised that he was to be sacrificed.

At that instant, God intervened and provided a sacrificial lamb as Abraham has foretold. Then comes the reward: He is promised many offspring, victory in all endeavors, and that he will be a blessing. Singing……”Abraham’s blessings are mine (2x). I am blessed in the morning, I am blessed in the evening. Abraham’s blessings are mine.” But we have to do what Abraham did in order that the blessings may be ours.

LESSONS TO NOTE.

  1. Do you know that God can transform you? God transforming you does not make you special or better than others, after all everyone could be transformed. Find out then how God can transform you and the purpose of such transformation.
  2. Listen, Moses and Elijah appearing and discussing with Jesus means Jesus Has Taken Over From Them. He is now in-charge even of my life, your life and the life of every person. He is not like many Nigerian Politicians and Christian Leaders, who buy their way to offices just to work for their selfish interests. Nigerians clamour for change but how can she change where almost all the citizens connive with corrupt and godless politicians to steal? How do we do our own Handover?
  3. Marks says went up to the mountain to pray and his transformation took place while he was praying. Child of God do not forget the importance of prayer in your life. But be informed that God answers the prayer of the Just Man. Who is a Just Person? To avoid confusion, Jesus remains the only model as far as being just is concerned.
  4. As Moses and Elijah handed over the Law and the prophets to Jesus, may you through prayers handover your CHALLENGES, PROBLEMS, DIFFICULTIES, FAMILY AND BUSINESS TO GOD HAT HE MAY TRANSFORM THEM TO GOD. Child of God as you pray, may you never get tired of matching your prayers with Sacrifice and Good Actions.
  5. Like the disciples, always remember to show a sense of Awe at the presence of God. While lying down in fear, Jesus touched the disciples, asked them to GET UP and not be afraid because they were in good hands. I pray for you today child of God, may God touch you in your tears, sorrows, fears, confusion, frustration and raise you up since you are in good Hands in the mighty name of Jesus Amen!!!

Finally, child of God let us dispose ourselves to offer sacrifices when the need arises. Obedience without Sacrifice has no atom of Reward. Blessings to you and your family+. Remember to participate actively in this period of 40days journey with Christ. “A CHRISTIAN IS NOT AN ORDINARY PERSON AND THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN IS A LIFE OF WARFARE”. Happy Sunday to you.

Genesis 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18. Ps 116:10, 15-19. Romans 8:31b-34. Mark 9:2-10

The Reward For Sacrifice Is Transformation

FR. EMMANUEL UZOH(NWACHINAEMERE)

Peace be with you

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