Wednesday, February 24, 2010

THE SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT

COMING DOWN FROM THE MOUNT - LUKE: 9:37-50

"Oh faithless and perverse generation..."
"It needs very pure intention, as well as great spiritual discernment, always to recognise the divine voice" - R.H. BENSON
Lord it’s good to be here…
Jesus was not the type to fall easily into illusions: Human beings are fickle, lacking consistency. He knew that the day will come when the same people will act differently. So he warns his disciples to prepare for the worst that will happen to him. Sometimes in our lives its also good that we do prepare also for the worst incase what we want doesn't work or sabotaged. Of course I am not prophesying doom but to awaken your other world you always do not like to review or look at, but eventually will come some day.
"
A humble man receives praises the way a clean window takes the light of the sun. The truer and more intense the light is, the less you see the glass" -Thomas Merton-
If you pass near some of our parish churches on Sunday, at Communion time, you are likely to see a long line of people, their body turned towards the church, moving away quietly to their homes. These are people who would have protested against Peter. While Peter says: "Lord it is good to be here", they, probably would say, "Lord it is good for us to be else". The other day, while traveling up-country with a bus, in this bus there was this preacher preaching with his heart out really. I tend to believe that this kind of thing only happen in Africa, I stand to be informed. I wondered whether the people were listening, I was fascinated all through being by "fellow colleague", could say AMEN. But my fears were "are the people in the bus attentive as I was?" probably not. They may be used to this kind of sermons. I bet you, usually when you are focused you simply need silence around you, a noisy place "takes your peace away", like this bus preachers. I am not discrediting "my fellow colleague" in the ministry but "a place for everything and everything in its place" my father could always recite that to us as children to grow up and style up.
St. Paul reminds us of our call to holiness. In the first reading he says: "What God wants is for you all to be holy": He says that the way to holiness is a virtuous life, an upright life, chaste and honest in all we do. We may easily find these exhortations tiresome and boring. They may even cause an uneasy feeling in us. After all, we have heard them so often: Catechism at school, and perhaps from our parents.
To overcome vices, there is only one way, practice of virtue. The virtue, the value of fasting is given to us. The aim is always the Holiness.
Just think about today’s gospel what do you think? What have you learnt in regards to yourself? Is it going to affect you day, your week, and your life? Mind you, if a Hindu or Buddhist heard it read, he would probably take great interest, for Christian there is nothing exciting; we know it all too well! And yet this is our weakest point! What we think we know best is what we know least, parents and children, masters and servants, wives and husbands. "One thinks s/he knows the other quite well that s/he feels no need of consulting, speaking together. One may conclude that they no longer love one another, and no longer know one another". Such is the effect of Habit! It breaks up homes, kills love, and undermines faith.
This reminds me of a Christian who asked me after celebrating Mass what was the use of the bells during Mass. Is it to wake up the congregation for what is about to take place. The apostles too had these habits like ours. They were living with Jesus everyday, yet they did not know him. They needed a shock, a light, a revelation, a vision, which would make them wake up to "who it was that was living in their midst".
Lent is a time of conversion. If we are truly converted, we shall know Jesus better, and the better we know him, the greater will be our love for him and then we shall agree with Peter "Lord it is good for me to be here" as a member of a Christ’s body, as a converted Christian, carrying after my Lord. The cross of his Law the law of love, love, love, love, love of God and my neighbor. It is good for me to be here as one of the praying family of God, today, tomorrow and always. Amen.

"The eyes are blind when the mind is else where" - Latin Proverb

Padre Joseph Nyamunga Mubiru
P.O.BOX 15318-00509
NAIROBI-KENYA
BLOG: http://nyamusus.blogspot.com
Mob. +254-722-585-329

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT - WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WERE TEMPTED?

FIRST READING: DEUTERONOMY 26:4-10, SECOND READING ROMANS 10:8-13, GOSPEL LK 4:1-13
"IT IS ONE THING TO BE TEMPTED, ANOTHER THING TO FALL" – Shakespeare
At baptism of Jesus, the Father declared him his beloved son, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him and filled him. This was a very glorious day.
What is surprising is that the same spirit who had filled Christ with glory, immediately afterwards leads him through the wilderness to be tempted. This is a consoling consideration for us. It’s impossible to escape the assault of temptation in this life. Their sources are varied. One thing is sure they are not meant to make us fall. They are examinations. The questions are not phrased with the intention of making the students fail. What the examiner wants is to test the candidate’s knowledge and ability to communicate it. Temptations are sent to test the strength of our mind, heart and soul.
And we should not be surprised that with the years temptations become stronger. This is parallel to what happens in other aspects of life. A student at the secondary level is not given questions of of Advanced level student. I need not to mention the university examinations! The hours you spend in the examination room are a real martyrdom. So is with games: a good team does not challenge weak ones. If it does then it fails to prove its worth. This is the purpose of God to allowing temptations to assail us that may prove our manhood and emerge the stronger for the fight.
And Satan tempted Jesus! Satan, a word which comes back time and again in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. It’s used even of human beings sometimes. The meaning that runs through this is thus that Satan means "adversary". To him is attributed all the evil that befall man, physical and moral. Holy Scripture in fact is St. Peter compares him to "a roaring lion, prowling round, looking for someone to devour" and warns us to be calm but vigilant. To be on the look out.
Sometimes i always wonder why we should be vigilant while Satan always comes to us in visible form. As long as we do not see him easily forget that he exists, and that he is our adversary and even among our fellow human beings we have adversaries. Adversary always presents to us a choice. In whatever situation we have to make a choice or we have to decide. In our life as far as we are living on this planet earth there comes a moment to decide.
Our lord was presented three situations and he had to decide which the truth is and the falsehood, for the good or evil side. Our mind is always obscured during moments of temptation. Jesus had a clear vision of what is good and he could not mistake it. Lack of vision always makes us hesitate or worse still make a wrong decision. This is why we should never cease to pray for the grace which enlightens the mind to see the truth, to see the good in the moment of temptation.
Jesus did not suffer moral weakness. Once he saw the good he could not hesitate to do the good while for us we are born with that moral weakness and it’s made greater with each fall. Think of a drunkard with each act he sinks lower. Our weakness becomes greater with each bad example we give.
The time of lent is sacred. We are invited by mother church to offer special prayers for ourselves, to mortify our flesh in enjoyments of life which are legitimate, so that we may gradually gain the necessary moral strength to deny ourselves in what is wrong and sinful.
Let us in this Sunday mass of the first Sunday of this holy season resolve to take full advantage of the graces of the time in spirit of the Church in union with our Lord Jesus Christ.
"To pray against temptations, and yet to rush into occasions, is to thrust your fingers into the fire, and then pray they might not be burnt" - Secker

Monday, February 8, 2010

AN OPEN LETTER TO THOSE WHO DONT GO TO CHURCH

Dear fellow brothers and sisters,
I greet you as someone who is looking for meaning and happiness, as we all are. I know you are sincere or else you wouldn’t be reading this letter. I know this first of all: we miss you at church. There is not a Sunday goes by when your absence isn’t felt. You are missed. Join us.
Yes, I know this isn’t simple thing. The heart has its reasons. Some friend of mine told me that the church has her complexities that is why its difficult for him to walk regularly through the church door. Sometimes the church blocks God’s love as much as it reveals it. But how do we get past its dark side? The church has a long history both of grace and of sin and we who make up the church on earth don’t do God very well. Nobody does, we need to admit that.
I can only guess your reasons for not coming to church regularly or not coming to church at all: perhaps you have been hurt by the church, by the institution itself or by one of its priests or ministers. Perhaps you have been one of those who have experienced its callous, as insensitive, as denigrating you in some way. Perhaps you are intellectually disenchanted with the church, unable to secure its claims with your own sane grip on life and its mysteries. Perhaps you have found what you are looking for elsewhere, outside the doors of the church you attended when you were little. Or perhaps you have just drifted away and don’t feel a need for church in your life. Perhaps you are convinced that Jesus and his teaching are in fact tainted by the church, that Jesus never wanted to found a church, but wanted only that people take his teachings to heart and live in love and graciousness.
There are many reasons as to why people don’t go to church. I can only guess at yours. But your reason for not going to church is not important for this letter. I don’t want to defend the church here, make some kind of apologetics for it, or argue against any of the reasons that people give for not coming to church. And I don’t want to try to show you reasons why, I think, its important to go to church. This is not an apologetics, but a plea, an invitation.
Come back! Try us again! Or if you have never belonged to the church, try us, may be this time you will find life in the church and be able to drink in some of its graces. May you find it in you to forgive the church for its faults, see those faults are your own faults and see why Jesus picked such imperfect vehicle to carry on his presence? May be this time you will be able to see in the church what Jesus saw in it. Imperfect body made up of of men and women like you and me, full of sin, full of our selves, petty, small- hearted, less-than-sincere, miserly, and tainted, but also full of grace, full of Christ, big-hearted, sincere, generous, and pure, a group of men and women worth dying for and belonging to.
Come and be with us! A fellow pilgrim and a flawed church member

--
Padre Joseph Nyamunga Mubiru
P.O.BOX 15318-00509
NAIROBI-KENYA
BLOG: http://nyamusus.blogspot.com
Mob. +254-722-585-329

IN MEMORY OF DAVID JACOBUS BOSCH

TRANSFORMING MISSION : David Bosch- Some Personal Reflections by Willem Saaymann, Prof. Emeritus in Missiology at Unisa, Pretoria, Sout...