LIVING IN THE LIGHT

Sunday 26th March – 4th Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Ephesians 5: 8-14

LIVING IN THE LIGHT

The discovery of the filament light bulb is one that has transformed our human experience in a tremendous way. People who hitherto depended solely on the light of the sun to get all their activities done now had the opportunity to get more things done through the aid of artificial light hence, prolonging productive hours of the day. The most beautiful thing attribute about light is its ability to make things clear. Little wonder Christ calls his disciples the “light of the world.”

St Paul admonishes us today to be children of light, following in the footsteps of Christ and dispelling the darkness of sin and evil in our world through the lives we live. Beloved, you can look around you and wonder if anything you can ever do will make a difference. You may think of acts of love and kindness are insignificant, considering the depth of decay. The good news is that the tiniest speck of light stands out amid darkness. The little you do counts a great deal.

Let us begin this week with a renewed commitment to shine Christ’s light by refusing to gossip, saving a school mate from bullies, breaking the chain of a rumour against someone, helping someone in dire need. Let us try to discover what the Lord wants of us (cf Eph 5:10) with regards to the situations around us and let us trust in the good shepherd to guide us as we follow Him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the privilege of belonging to you. Please help me to bring your light and love to an aching world. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 219 – How often must a Catholic Christian participate in the celebration of the Eucharist?

A Catholic Christian is obliged to attend Holy Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation. Anyone who is really seeking Jesus’ friendship responds as often as possible to Jesus’ personal invitation to the feast

Hide a treasure: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” Matthew 5:16 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: 1 Sam 16: 1, 6-7, 10-13; Ps 23:1-6; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9: 1-41

HEALING OUR BLINDNESS

Friday 4th December – Friday of the 1st week of Advent

Reflection: Matthew 9: 27-31

HEALING OUR BLINDNESS

One of the recurring marks of the messiah’s presence foretold by the prophets is restoration of sight to the blind. “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened…” (Is 35:5); “I will lead the blind in a way they know not…I will turn the darkness before them into light” (Is 42:16) and in today’s first reading, “in that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.” (Is 29:18).

Yet, this restoration was not limited to those who were physically blind. The more important restoration is for all of us, blinded by sin and groping in the darkness of a godless world. The blind men in today’s gospel reading had heard about Christ and recognised that He was the only solution to their helpless state hence, once they knew He was close by, they continued to follow Him, seeking an encounter that they were certain would transform their lives – and they were not disappointed.

Beloved, do you recognise your spiritual blindness and your need for Christ? Through baptism which is also called “enlightenment”, the person baptised has been “enlightened” by Christ, the true light and becomes “light” himself (cf CCC 1216). Christ has begun the work of restoring our sight through our baptism. Yet, it is only in staying close to Him that we can prevent ourselves from being blinded again by sin. It is in being true disciples that we can prevent our intellect from being darkened and our will to do good from being weakened by the opposing standards of this world. Like the blind men did, it is only in witnessing to His saving power through a lively faith that we can clearly see the eternal hope which our Christian call holds for us. Let us ask our Lord to restore our sight so that we may ever live true to our call.

PRAYER: Thank you dear Lord for the gift of faith. Please rescue me from the blindness of sin and help me to truly live as a son of light. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1216 – “This bath (Baptism) is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding…” Having received in Baptism the Word, “the true light that enlightens every man,” the person baptised has been “enlightened,” he becomes a “son of light,” indeed, he becomes “light” himself.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I ask that your minds be opened to see his light, so that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people.” Ephesians 1:18 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 29: 17-24; Psalm 27: 1,4, 13-14; Matthew 9: 27-31

COME TO THE LIGHT

Sunday 15th March – 4th Sunday of Lent

Reflection: John 3:14-21

COME TO THE LIGHT

At the heart of the good news is the message of reconciliation. Through the death of His only beloved Son, God has reconciled us to himself and made us his adopted children, opening the way to eternal life for us all. Yet, as Christ tells Nicodemus, for us to benefit from the redemption, we must believe in Christ Jesus.

Believing in Christ is not merely a passive proclamation which we make at baptism; it is an active participation in the life to which He calls us – a life of holiness. Through Christ, light has come into the world and this light must be reflected in our daily lives. It must permeate every aspect of our lives and illumine the areas that have been darkened by sin. As we welcome the light of Christ, we are transformed by Him and freed from condemnation.

Beloved, are you still living in the darkness of sin and lustful passions that lead unto death? Are you willing to come to the light of Christ? Through your baptism, you have already become a child of God; you have entered into a covenant with Him and this covenant must shape the life you live. Today, Christ beckons on you to come out of the darkness of sin and embrace the life to which He has called you – a truly abundant life. Remember that when we stay away from the light, we are judged and condemned.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I confess all my sins today (mention your sins), please forgive and let me dwell in the light of Christ forever. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 200: What happens in Baptism?

In Baptism we become members of the Body of Christ, sisters and brothers of our Redeemer, and children of God. We are freed from sin, snatched from death, and destined from then on for a life in the joy of the redeemed

HIDE A TREASURE: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and this is not your doing, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: 2 Chronicle 36:14-16, 19-23; Psalm 137: 1-6; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21.

THE LIGHT OF MEN


Thursday 25th December – Christmas Day, Solemnity (Mass during the day)

Reflection: John 1:1-18

THE LIGHT OF MEN

In him was life, and the life was the light of men” John 1:4

Glory to God in the highest and peace to men of goodwill! It is yuletide again; a time of reunion and togetherness. Christmas is a time to share, following the example of our Father who gave his only son to redeem us. What a perfect example of love which we ought to imitate as children of God every day of our lives.

Today’s reading reminds us of the mystery of the incarnation; the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). The miracle of the incarnation showcases God’s mercy and brings to fulfillment His plan of redemption. To refuse to ponder on such great mystery is to deliberately remain in the darkness of ignorance and this ultimately prevents us from celebrating the birth of Christ in its truest sense – it reduces our celebration to mere eating and drinking without leading us to appreciate God for the gift of our salvation.

Beloved in Christ, our lives must be purified by the event of Christmas. As we gather together to celebrate with our family and friends, we must seek ways in which we can be better Christians. Let us allow the light of Christ to permeate every area of our lives and dispel the darkness of hatred, malice, discord and all forms of unrighteousness so that our lives can radiate God’s light and love to others as we share and celebrate today. Let us do all things with the consciousness of Christ’s presence, the joy of the EMMANUEL – God with us. Jesus Christ is the light of the world and in him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). He is the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6) which our family and the world constantly needs.

Seek him more in your life and allow him to be the king of your heart. This is the greatest gift you can offer the new born King. Welcome; my Lord and King. Happy Birthday to you, the Light of men. Merry Christmas!!!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please dispel all darkness in my life and family with the light of your presence. Let me rejoice in your saving power always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 76Why did God become man in Jesus?

“For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven” (Nicene Creed).
In Jesus Christ, God reconciled the world to himself and redeemed mankind from the imprisonment of sin. “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son” (Jn 3:16). In Jesus, God took on our mortal human flesh (incarnation), shared our earthly lot, our sufferings, and our death, and became one like us in all things but sin.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”
Isaiah 9:2 GNB

Readings for Today: Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98:1-6; Hebrews 1:1-6; John 1:1-18

LIGHT OF THE WORLD

Sunday, 9th February – 5th Sunday of the year

Reflection: Matthew 5: 13-16

LIGHT OF THE WORLD

All creation is eagerly expecting the birth in glory of the children of God (Romans 8:19). From God the incomprehensible light, we Christians, take our source to be light in the darkness of the world: a light that darkness should not overcome (John 1:5). We are in the world but not of the world, hence, we must not allow the cares of the world to put off the light of Christ in us. We must not allow the unfaithfulness and ingratitude we have experienced from others in the past to put off the generous and good spirit in us. We must not let ourselves be shaped by the world where we live; rather, we should be transformed through the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2).

Dear Friends, each time we share our bread with the hungry, shelter the homeless, encourage the down casted, fight for the cause of right or defend the helpless, we are shining forth the light of God in us. Each time we take the pain to correct those who go astray in love and not allow them to perish, each time we offer our time, talent and treasure for the good of others in the community or for service to God in His Church, we are shining forth our light as God’s Children. Each time we discharge our duties accordingly as students, as citizens of the country and as children to our parents and God; we are shining forth the light of God in us.

Let us ask ourselves; how much have I allowed the light of God in me to shine forth? Have I covered up my light because of past hurts or what others will say or think of me? Does my way of life lead others to God? Let us pray for the grace to be Light of the world and Salt of the earth.

PRAYER: Lord help me to live for you, that through my daily activities others may come to know you through me. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 11: WHY DO WE HAND ON THE FAITH?

No genuine Christian leaves the transmission of the faith exclusively to specialists (teachers, pastors, missionaries). We are Christ for others…He says to himself, “The Lord needs me! I have been baptized and confirmed and am responsible for helping the people around me to learn about God and ‘to come to the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Timothy 2:4b).” Mother Teresa used a good comparison: “Often you can see power lines running alongside the street. Unless current is flowing through them, there is no light. The power line is you and I! The current is God! We have the power to allow the current to flow through us and thus generate the light of the world.

HIDE A TREASURE: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Behave as Children of light; the fruits of light are kindness, justice and truth in every form.” Ephesians 5:8-9 CCB

Readings for today: Isaiah 58:7-10, Psalm 112:4-9, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Matthew 5:13-16

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE

Thursday, 30th January – Thursday of week 3 of the year

Reflection: Mark 4: 21-25

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE

In a country like Nigeria where power outages are still part of our everyday life, we would be able to appreciate the concept of light and darkness and I bet we all will agree with St John’s gospel that darkness cannot overcome light (John 1:5). No matter how dark a room is, the light of a single candle cannot be hidden by the darkness.

At our baptism, our admission into God’s family, we all were given lighted candles, signifying that we are given Christ, the light of the world who calls as His disciples to be light of the world too. A light always shows the way, giving illumination and direction to a dark path. Hence, you and I are called to be light even in the darkness of this world. As young people, we come face to face daily with worldly ways of doing things from the media, internet, friends, colleagues etc. The world upholds its own sinful standards in several issues such as fornication, lies, fraud, exam malpractice etc. We must not blend to the standards of this world because love for the world is enmity with God (1John 1:15).

Dear friend, Christ reminds us today that a lamp brought into the house cannot be put under a bed. Instead it is put on a stand so its light is seen everywhere in the house. Do not be afraid of standing out for Christ(Philippians 2:14). Do not be afraid of being the lone voice speaking the truth or being the only one in your class not engaging in sexual immorality. Each day, spend time with Christ studying His word and in prayers. Avail yourself of the privilege of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist as He is the strength for our journey of faith.

 Remember you are called by Jesus through your baptism to stand out and shine the light of truth and righteousness and someday, you will be called to account for how well you obeyed this call.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you for the privilege of belonging to the family of God through my baptism. Please grant me the grace and the courage to shine as a light in this fallen world. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 11 – Why do we hand on the faith?

We hand on the faith because Jesus commands us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19).

No genuine Christian leaves the transmission of the faith exclusively to specialists (teachers, pastors, missionaries). We are Christ for others. This means that every genuine Christian would like God to come to other people, too. He says to himself, “The Lord needs me! I have been baptized and confirmed and am responsible for helping the people around me to learn about God and ‘to come to the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Tim 2:4b).” Mother Teresa used a good comparison: “Often you can see power lines running alongside the street. Unless current is flowing through them, there is no light. The power line is you and I! The current is God! We have the power to allow the current to flow through us and thus to generate the light of the world: JESUS—or to refuse to be used and, thus, allow the darkness to spread.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven” Matthew 5:16 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 2 Samuel 7: 18-19, 24-29; Psalm 132: 1-5, 11-14; Mark 4: 21-25

LIGHT AND DARKNESS

Monday, 27th January – Monday of week 3 of the year

Reflection: Mark 3:22-30

LIGHT AND DARKNESS

The Kingdom of God is an everlasting one. Everything that happens and would happen is known to God and is revealed in the living word of God. God confirmed the unity of his kingdom when satan was cast down from heaven because he rebelled against God. (Rev12:7-9). This episode was further made known by Apostle John in his (1John 1:5); when he declared God as light which is devoid of darkness.

Dear friends, there are no two ways to our eternal home. The only way is Jesus Christ who is the light of the world. You cannot have two masters (Matthew 6:24), you either serve God or serve the devil. You can either shine for Christ or shine for the devil. Therefore, it is important for us to have a clear-cut understanding of the fruits of our actions. Does my life constantly open others to temptation and sin? Do I still harbor malice, hatred, lust, jealousy and other fruits of human nature (Gal 5:19-21) and still live as if nothing is wrong? These are manifestations of darkness with which the light cannot live.

In our reading today, Jesus was wrongly acclaimed to possess the evil nature; casting out demons with the power of Beelzebul. What an evil contention by the scribes! Dear friends, bearing good fruits for Christ will raise oppositions and all manner of slander. The world will testify against us and plant weeds amongst our plants. There would be times of suffering and division from even our own friends because we want to live for Christ. Let us be courageous and never give in to our human nature. Let us live by the Spirit who will help to sustain our light to our perfect end.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, sustain the light of the Gospel in your body, the Church. Help me to look forward always to a new horizon of your light in my life. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 347 – Why is “not practicing what you preach” such a serious deficiency in a Christian?

Agreement between one’s life and one’s witness is the first requirement for proclaiming the Gospel. Not practicing what you profess is therefore HYPOCRISY, a betrayal of the Christian duty to be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”

HIDE A TREASURE

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden”. Matthew 5:14 GNB

Readings for Today: 2 Samuel 5:1-7,10; Ps 89; Mark 3:22-30