Catholic Diocese of Zaria, Nigeria Appeal April 1/2

03-26-2017Weekly ReflectionRev. Barnabas Duniya

The Diocese of Zaria, Nigeria was erected on March 3, 2001 via promulgation by Blessed John Paul II with Bishop George J. Dodo appointed as first bishop. The Diocese of Zaria is located in Kaduna State of Nigeria with the majority of the population as Muslims. Zaria town has a total population of about 1.8m people and out of this 68,000 are Catholics.


God Looks at the Heart

03-26-2017HomiliesFather Tony Okolo

The first reading and the gospel have some messages in common, in the sense that both readings present to us the human way of seeing things and the divine way. Most often human judgment is defective because it looks at outside appearance while divine light looks at the inner core of the person that is, the heart. In today’s Sunday liturgy we see that the divine light and wisdom of God far outweighs the human wisdom and knowledge. In the first reading, God saw something in the young David which Jesse and his sons could not recognize or see. David was in the field tending the sheep of his father when God chose him to be the leader and king of his people. Even though he was young and inexperienced, God saw his heart and chose him to lead his people. His strength and success came not from himself but from God who anointed him with the power and wisdom of his own spirit.


Third Sunday of Lent

03-19-2017HomiliesDeacon Jeffrey Arner

Have you every tried to go through life and not even consider God in His master plan working through every decision and action that we throw at Him? Chances are you might be doing that right now. You are probably thinking about your next meal or whom you are going to meet. You might even be thinking how you are going to spend your day relaxing or not relaxing. Most likely you aren't even thinking about when or how God is going to encounter you.

In the stories we hear from the Exodus and in John we see how God encounters his people. It is through a very basic need, "Thirst". The Israelites who were in the desert were growing more and more thirsty traveling from Egypt. We are told that they were, in fact, testing God to see if He was with them. In the Gospel from John we hear of a woman from Samaria who was drawing water from Jacob's well in the middle of the day. In both accounts God encounters His people, providing nourishment and hope.


The Vocation of the Christian

03-12-2017HomiliesRev. Barnabas Duniya

The life of a Christian can be compared to a journey undertaken in the company of the Master. Abraham was the first to set off on this journey in answer to a call from God. Therefore, we are catechumen invited to leave our 'Country' only to show the light of our vocation.

The blessedness which is the heritage of Israel (Ps.33:12) is Abram's gift to the world: "… and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Gen.12:3).

St. Paul has no other purpose than to convince us that God's purpose is God's grace, God's steadfast love. Love is its own justification, its own purpose. God's love is God's purpose in all creation and in all redemption (2Tm.1:9-10; Lk16:22).


First Sunday of Lent

03-05-2017Weekly ReflectionFr. Chauncey Winkler

God has created us and breathed his own life into us. He created this world for us to live in, supply all of our needs and to commune with him. We begin in a garden of God’s own design.

But, when the ancient serpent persuades us to doubt God by tempting us with the power to define (or redefine) good and evil according to our own will or desire, we find that his advice only leads us to a war within ourselves and between ourselves. Before Adam and Eve took the serpents advice we knew an inner peace and harmony. Our thoughts, our will, our passions were all working together. As people at peace with God and at peace within ourselves, we were always at peace with one another. But when we betrayed God’s gift by trying to take control and define (or redefine) human nature according to our own will, by deciding the definition of good and evil for ourselves, our mind, will and passions began to turn on one another. We lost God’s peace within ourselves and between ourselves. Adam and Eve covered themselves because they no longer trusted each other completely.


I will not Forget You says Our Lord

02-26-2017HomiliesFather Anthony Okolo, CSSp

In the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah God says, “Can a mother forget her infant, be withouttenderness for the child of her womb? But even if she forgets I will not forget you.” This is God’s assurance to his people. He promises never to forget, us his people, at any time. In times of trial,the people of Israel often felt God had abandoned them. Nothing could be further from the truthsince, as Isaiah stated, the Lord’s love for his people is greater than that, a nursing or expectantmother has for her child. At times we face similar situations or difficulties in our lives when we feelGod has abandoned us but in today’s first reading from prophet Isaiah, God assures us that Hecannot forget us because his love for us endures forever. God is so compassionate and caringthat he cannot abandon us at any time.


Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

02-19-2017HomiliesDeacon Patrick Toilolo

In our first reading the Lord said to Moses to tell the people, "Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy." In our second reading St. Paul writing to the Corinthians says, "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy." At the end of the gospel reading Jesus tells us, "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." From these verses we hear that we are called to be holy, that we are temples of God, which are holy, and we are called to be perfect like God the Father. Perfect in this passage means love. We are called to love like God. That's a tall order? How do we live a holy and perfect life in today's society?


Choose Life and Live

02-12-2017HomiliesFr. Tony Okolo

In the first reading from the book of Sirach, Ben Sirach tells us to choose between life and death.He goes on to tell us that it is within us to choose between life and death. He says, “If you trust inGod, you too shall live; he has set before you fire and water to whichever you choose, stretch forthyour hand. Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be givenhim.” What it means is that it is in the capacity of human beings to choose what he wants in life.God does not interfere with our human freedom. He has given us the will and intellect to choosehow we wish to live our life. If we choose life, the road is there for us, if on the other side wechoose death the door is equally open. However, the question is what the writer means by “life”.What does it mean to choose life? Is it just from conception till our last breath? And does deathmean when we give up the ghost.


Add Flavor to the Lives of the People Around

02-05-2017HomiliesFr. Tony Okolo

In the ancient period and time of Jesus, salt was of a great value. It serves multiple purposes. It wasused to purify things. When things like fruits and vegetable are sensed to be contaminated, salt wasused to wash it and purify it. Because of its whiteness it is connected with purity. The Romans saidthat salt was the purest of all things because it came from the purest of things; the sun and the sea.It was used for preservatives, thus to keep meat from decaying salt was used to keep it fresh. However the greatest and most obvious quality of salt is that salt lends flavor to things. We allknow how insipid a food without salt tastes. Thus, Jesus, very much aware of the great value of saltin his time uses it to point to his followers what they are expected to be.


4th Sunday of Ordinary Time

01-29-2017HomiliesFr. Chauncey Winkler

The Sermon of the Mount is Good News. Jesus looked at the people with compassion, loved them and gave them Good News for their lives.

He saw people who were desperate, needing to beg God for the strength to carry on, for the strength to draw another breath. He saw people who were not independent and confident of their self-sufficiency and he said to them "I tell you that you are blessed. You are happy. You are the fortunate ones. For the kingdom of God is not conquered by those who are strong but given to those who know they are needy. Blessed are you the poor in spirit, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.


The Truth

01-22-2017HomiliesRev. Bala Barnabas Duniya

Jesus started his public ministry in Galilee, considered a land of pagans, a people held in contemptby the Jews (1Macc.5:15). The light that shone out from Galilee is destined to illumine people allover the world. The land which, in the time of Isaiah, was ravaged by invaders and planted by sizeable numbers of foreigners is now the first to receive the light of salvation and to hear the Messiah’s preaching (Is.8:23-9:1).


How does the word "obedience" make you feel?

01-15-2017HomiliesDeacon Mike Woiwode

How does the word "obedience" make you feel? Does it sound like a bad thing? After all, we all like to be able to make our own choices. Does obedience to someone make you feel inferior as a person? I have found that most people, in general, don't like the word, "obedience", myself included. We fear it will take away our freedom. It's hard to trust someone enough to give them control in our lives. But most of all, are we afraid to trust God enough to give Him the "obedience" He deserves. What if He asks us to do something that is very hard? What if God wants us to give up things that are important to us? Or maybe obedience reveals a level of pride in us that we are avoiding. Pride is the most deadly of the seven deadly sins and obedience is a great destroyer of pride. It is very difficult to be full of pride while being obedient to God at the same time.


Jesus is the Star that Guides all People

01-08-2017HomiliesFather Anthony Okolo, CSSp

Today, being the feast of Epiphany we celebrate Jesus the incarnate word being revealed to all the nations of the world. The Church calls it, the feast of appearance or manifestation of the Lord. Epiphany comes from the Greek word and means "Manifestation". The Church celebrates the light of God's revelation of his Son as human in Jesus Christ. The story of the magi is the story of the ways in which God reveals Himself to us and even more about the different responses and reactions this revelation receives. The Lord of the universe who reveals the star of Bethlehem to the Gentiles of the East so they could come and worship Jesus, the Prince of Peace and Kings of Kings gives each one of us the same light of revelation to recognize and accept Jesus as Our Lord and Savior.


Mary, Model of all Mothers

01-01-2017HomiliesRev. Bala Barnabas Duniya

History has it that, on the first of January Christians celebrate several festive events. We celebrate, first of all, New Year's Day; then we think of the circumcision of Jesus which took place, Luke tells us, eight days after his birth (Lk.2:21); the day was later on dedicated to Mary Mother of God, and finally in 1968 Pope Paul VI chose January 1st as the "World Day of Peace". Today we celebrate the unparalleled and incomparable greatness of God that made Him to stoop so low and call one of His own creatures, Mary, to be the Mother of His Son Jesus, our Redeemer. Faith and the obedience of Mary enabled her to listen and respond to the invitation of God.