In the fifth Joyful Mystery, we meditate on the finding of our Lord Jesus in the Temple. Earlier in the course of our meditations on these mysteries we call Joyful we have seen how the coming of Christ to the world, born of a woman- Mary, has taught us some things about the coming of Christ- the Divine Life into every soul. We have taken a look at the safeguards and the necessary things that characterize that ‘advent’. But today something has happened which we must consider and which also happens to the individual soul into whom Divine Life has been born. What happened? Mary and Joseph lost Jesus on their way back from Jerusalem!!!
This also happens in the life of each one of us. The Divine life which we have received can be lost. We should not feel frustrated or hopeless when this time comes, no matter how many times they come. Our lady and Joseph lost the Christ child after 12 years of being with him, nursing him and nurturing him, so we should not lose heart if this happens to us! Instead we should take a cue from Mary and diligently set out looking for him again. Each time we realize that we have become lax, and have let the flesh dominate and stifle the life of the Spirit in us, we should not give up or despair, we should set out searching for him the very moment we realize he is gone. Continue reading “Mystery Lost but Found”
As we continue our meditations on the Joyful mysteries, reflecting on the passages in St. Luke’s gospel, we come across today the presentation of the child Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem. Luke however tells us that the God-Man was given a name, ‘Jesus‘.(Luke 2:21). This should lead one to ask, what exactly is in a name? The answer to this thankfully is not far-fetched, for Luke tells us that this name was the name the angel had told Mary at the annunciation and so it would be wise to consider what exactly he said about this name and for the purpose of our reflection, St. Matthew helps us with this. When this Angel appeared to St. Joseph, he said of this name: ‘She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins‘.(Matthew 1:21) And so, his name signified his purpose.
It is not without reason therefore that when Divine life is born into a soul at baptism, a name is given to the new person, for he has been born again in Christ, to a new purpose.
But again, this new life is, like Christ, brought to the temple.It is important that at this point we pause to consider what is going on here, for the temple is one of the greatest symbols of the Old covenant. Many have come out, without proper understanding of the relationship between the Old and the New to paint such a picture of our most holy faith as though there was some kind of fight or dichotomy or discord between the Old and the New covenants which flowed from the One Father. The true relationship between the two is this-the former was there for the latter and the latter was the fulfillment of the former. The Old covenant was to prepare God’s people for the New, and the New accomplish what the Old had started. Christ himself said: ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.…’. (Matthew 5:17) Continue reading “Temple in Mystery”
Last time, I wrote to you all concerning the first Christian Evangelist- our mother Mary, little did I know that in discussing those elements of the faith with you, I was delving into the first two joyful mysteries of the Holy Rosary!!! Since we considered ‘conversion’ and ‘evangelization’ the last time, it seems to me that there is a pattern in these mysteries which relates how our Lord was born into the world to how he is born into our lives. So I feel compelled to follow this pattern to where it leads. I have done something of this kind in a previous article while focusing on the account in St. Matthew’s gospel in How Christ comes to be with us
Since it is after we learn about Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth that we meditate on the mystery of the birth of Christ Jesus to the world, born of woman- the Blessed Virgin Mary, It would seem that the fruit or consequence of evangelization is the birth of Christ in a soul. And like we said before, evangelization becomes a necessary precedent to the birth of a new Divino-human life on earth;a new Christ, every day in the world. For when we received the faith, believed and received power to be children of God in Baptism, we ceased to be merely human; we became ‘conformed to the image of Christ’ (Romans 8:29)-we became divine as well for divine life dwelt within us. And this was made possible by the action of the Holy Spirit through the merits of Christ on the cross. So what are you waiting for? Being ‘Christ‘ , you have a ‘mission‘ to ‘Christen‘ others- to be a ‘fisher of men’.(Luke 5:10) Continue reading “The Next steps in Mystery”
As Christians, the importance of evangelization to our faith cannot be over-emphasized. It occupies so central a place in our very concept of faith- for if God, out of love for us, sent his son to lead us back to him by reproducing his very life in us, the fruit and indeed the proof of that very life of God in us is a life that seeks to also reach out to others. Like I have pointed out in a previous article, we were saved by the one mediator between God and man- Jesus Christ, who scripture says, ‘gave himself a ransom for all’. (1 Timothy 2:6). A true Christian spirit therefore consists in a ‘being for all’. Also, as St. Paul points out in Philippians 2, it follows that the kind of mind we should have amongst ourselves is such that was present in Christ Jesus who ‘emptied himself’ (Gr. Kenosis) for us, and so we should empty ourselves for others.
I sometimes like to put it this way; Jesus died on the cross for us so that we may die on the cross for others. The divine life that was emptied out into us was not just meant to be contained in us-No. It was rather meant to be emptied out as well into others. Evangelization is therefore a fruit of conversion, of salvation. Imagine a world full of Christian evangelists, of ‘other christs‘.
The centrality of this truth is shown forth from the very first day the good news of Christ’s birth came to earth- to man. Continue reading “The first Christian Evangelist”
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 940 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 16 trips to carry that many people.
Click here to see the complete report.
By: Chibuzor F. Ogamba
Choose you this day,
Two arms reach out to me,
Each one reaching deep,
And touching the deepest desire,
Choose you this day,
Tormented every day,
Tested in every single way,
By desire that knows not its needs,
Choose you this day,
The beauty of life and yet the horror of it,
The pursuit of the one thing I know not,
Yet finding so many that seem like it, Continue reading “Choose You This Day”
I thought to myself that I couldn’t leave the month of September without sharing with you my favorite bible passage from this month. And guess what, it’s a passage many of us are very familiar with but yet most times we miss the vital message from this passage. This favorite passage of mine is Philippians 2:1-11. So if you could read along with me… PS This will be long…
Here St. Paul starts out by admonishing the people of Philippi to imbibe some certain virtues in communion with one another, and for me, this forms the basis or background for what he is going to be telling us in the next 10 verses. What was St. Paul saying? That if there was any encouragement in Christ to be found amongst them, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection or sympathy, the faithful of Philippi should complete his Joy by being of the same mind, having the same love and being in full accord with one another. He advises them to shun selfishness or conceit, but that rather in humility they should ’count others as more important than yourselves’, looking out for other people’s interests and not their individual interests alone. (cf. Philippians 2:1-4). These may sound like mere virtues which are extrinsic or external and which the faithful of Philippi should acquire to, in a way, garnish their Christianity and make them look nice before other people, but St. Paul disagrees with this notion. For him, this mind which he want us to have is not extrinsic to our Christian heritage but indeed flows from it, because this mind was also in Christ Jesus. (cf. Philippians 2:5).
How was this mind in Christ Jesus? St. Paul tells us, ‘who though he was in the form (Gr. morphe) of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped (Gr. harpagmos) but emptied himself (Gr. Kenosis) taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.’ The Greek for ‘grasped’ here could also mean ‘exploited’ or ‘used to his own advantage’, as Pauline scholarship agrees, and so there we have it. It is clear therefore that the central theme of Paul’s message can be said to be ‘humility=divinity’. Most times we tend to think that God exercises his divinity by ‘superiority’ or by ‘Lording’ himself over us. We have the conception that He is God because He is creator. This is indeed a false conception. God is indeed eternal but He is not an ‘Eternal Creator’, Creation is by no means an intrinsic attribute of God, God was never compelled to create, either by something within himself or outside himself. There is however one thing God is eternally, and that is an ‘Eternal Father’. When we read 1 John 4:8 and learn that God IS Love, we realize that Love is indeed an intrinsic attribute of his being. His being goes concurrently and is indeed synonymous with his love. And so being an eternal Father, what he does eternally is to make his very being a gift of love, his very being an outpouring or an emptying (kenosis) of his life in love to another. Continue reading “Equality with God”