Power in the Name of Jesus

09-26-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

In today’s gospel Jesus teaches the need to recognize the gifts of others even when they are not of our group, the reward for a charity done to those who preach the word of God and to cut off anything that would separate us from God. Mark’s Gospel of today, sets off with John’s questions to Jesus about an unknown exorcist who was driving out demons in Jesus’ name. John’s question might have been motivated by jealousy. The disciple of Jesus observed that the unknown exorcist invoked Jesus’ name and was successful in his healing efforts. This unknown healer recognized the power of Jesus’ name, yet he was not a follower of Jesus. In Jesus’ reply: Jesus acknowledges that deeds of faith can precede the words of faith.


Faith, Trust and Humility of a Child

09-19-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

Last week’s gospel presented us with the question Jesus asked His disciples: who do people say that the Son of Man is? The different responses of the disciples failed to give a correct answer to the identity of who Jesus is, which prompted Him to ask them more directly, but “who you say that I Am?” Then, Peter spoke on behalf of the apostles that He was the Christ which means the Anointed One.


Who is Jesus for You?

09-12-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

In today’s gospel reading Jesus asks His disciples “who do the people say the Son of Man is?” The disciples told Him what other people say “You are John the Baptist, others say Elijah, others Jeremiah, and still others say one of the prophets.” Thereafter, He asks them a direct question, “but you who have been with Me all this time, who do you think I Am?” Peter speaking on behalf of the other apostles said, “You are the Christ.” The second part of Jesus question was a personal question in the same way this same question is what each one is called to answer personally, “who is Jesus for you?” How do you respond to the question of who Jesus is?


Be Strong, Fear Not, for Your God Comes to Save You

09-05-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

The passage of today’s first reading from the Prophet Isaiah may have been written during the Babylonian exile. There were very difficult moments in the life and history of Israel when they seem to have lost all hope of returning back to Jerusalem. It was in the midst of this hopeless situation that the prophecy of Isaiah comes to console and encourage the people, “Thus, says the Lord, say to those whose hearts are frightened or the fearful heart, be strong, fear not. Here comes your God, He comes with vindication He comes to save you.” God not only offers those words of hope and courage, but He assures them that He comes to save them. He goes further to prophecy to them that “the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared and the lame leap like a stag and the tongue of the mute will sing.”


God's Decrees Give Life

08-29-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

Moses in the first reading of today prepares for his final departure as the Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land. Knowing that his death is at sight he gives his final farewell message to the people. The message is anchored on the commandments, God has given them as a people and he encourages them not to remove or add anything to that law. He reiterates that this law is a special gift that reveals God’s closeness to the people of Israel, it also had to be guarded and preserved just as it was revealed. This is why he warns them not to add or remove anything from the law because it is sacred and meant to be a guiding light for them. The observance of this word of God would keep them alive, as they enter to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of their fathers is giving them.


Jesus is the Holy One God and we Believe and are Convinced.

08-22-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

Today’s Gospel reading concludes the discourse on the bread of life we have been reading for the past four weeks now .The central argument John sets out in his gospel was to prove to his audience that Jesus is the Holy One of God. He is the anointed Messiah who came down from heaven. He is the Bread of Life, the Light of the world and the Good Shepherd. This is evident in the response of Peter to Jesus when he asked the twelve “Do you also want to leave” and Peter answered, “ Master to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that You are the Holy One of God.” Peter’s answer seals the murmurings, and quarrelling among the disciples on how this Man can give us his flesh to eat. Peter has always been inspired by the Holy Spirit to reveal the true identity of Jesus at a very critical moment and this is what he has demonstrated again by this response to Jesus’ question that Jesus has the key to eternal life and there is no other place to go than to Jesus.


Heaven is Our Goal

08-15-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven. It means that Mary was taken body and soul into heaven. It was not by her own power that she was assumed into heaven, but by the special grace of God that her body should not experience corruption of decay as she was preserved from the beginning to give birth to one who is Holy. Her Assumption was a privilege she enjoyed as the Mother of God and totally sinless she was rewarded by God for that act. The feast celebrates the special place that Mary has in the life of the Church. By her assumption we can understand that Mary, because of the dignity of her motherhood and her own personal submission to God’s will at every stage of her life, takes precedence over everyone in sharing of God’s glory which is the destiny of all of us who die united with Christ her Son.


Jesus is Truly the Bread of Life that Strengthens Us

08-08-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

Elijah in the first reading of today presents a very despairing situation as a result of the challenges he faces in his ministry to the point that he prayed for death. However, instead of granting his request God sends him heavenly nourishment through the angels to keep him going. There are times we are confronted with life challenges that like Elijah we become so depressed that we may have prayed that God take our life. The good news is that the angels are never far from us when we face such life challenges. The angel of God comes as well to provide us the strength we need to embark on the journey of life but recognizing the angel depends on how open we are to see them in moments of trials and difficult situations. Paul in the second reading calls our attention to certain things we must get rid of in our life so as to enrich our relationship with God and one another. According to Paul. “All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting and reviling must be removed …forgiving one another as God has forgiven us”. The truth is that resentment, bitterness and anger not only create a big barrier in our relationship with God but are capable of harming our physical health and even at times affect our internal organs. Anytime we allow bitterness, unforgiving spirit and anger to take hold of us we chain ourselves and refuse to unlock the chain to set ourselves free.


Do Not Work for Food that Perishes

08-01-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

Today’s gospel reading is a continuation of last Sunday’s reading where Jesus multiplied five barley loaves and two fish to feed the people and at the end they were all satisfied with about twelve basket as left over. This miracle is more than just feeding the people to satisfy their physical hunger, it goes to point to Jesus as the bread of life and as one who sustains life. Having fed very well, the crowd were so amazed at the miracle that they started looking for Jesus. On seeing Jesus they told him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus immediately told them “you were looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.” He then told them “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life”. The question for our personal reflection is, what is this food that endures for eternal life and how do we work for it?


Our Little Efforts put in Jesus’ Hands Yields Bountiful Results

07-25-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

The first reading and the gospel have a common theme, the scarcity of resources at hand to satisfy the hunger of a large crowd. In the first reading, a man came bringing to Elisha, twenty barley loaves of bread made from first fruit and fresh grain and Elisha commanded the man to give it to the people to eat. The servant objected saying “how can I set this before a hundred people”. Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat. For thus says he Lord, they shall eat and there shall be left over's. When they had eaten, there was left over's as the Lord had said.” In the Gospel, Jesus asked the disciple, “Where can we buy enough food for the people to eat”. Philip replied, just like the servant in the first reading responded with negative attitude, “Two hundred days wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little”. John in this passage tells us that Jesus said this to test him, because He Himself knew what he was going to do.


God is Always Moved with Compassion in our Situation

07-18-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

In today’s first reading Prophet Jeremiah was very hard on the leaders, who led his people astray, during his prophecy. Thus, these leaders instead of caring and looking after the people, they exploited and scatter them especially with their actions and inactions. They were more about themselves than the flock that has been entrusted to them. This is why the prophet cries “Woe to the shepherd who mislead and scattered the flock of My pasture” says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, “the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd My people; you have scattered and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.”


Take Nothing for the Journey for God’s Providence is Real

07-11-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

In the first reading, God invites Amos to go and prophesy to His chosen people. Amos was never a prophet or known to belong to the lineage of prophets. He was only a shepherd tending his sheep and a wood cutter, but from this humble job God called him to serve His people as a prophet. In the same way, God can call any of us from whatever our duty may be to serve as a prophet or in any other capacity among the people of God. It may also happen, that in our Christian journey, we might be called upon to accept challenges that we feel ill-equipped to take on. In whichever situation, God is always there to support us in any responsibility He calls us to do.


Miracles Happen when We Believe in the Prophet Sent to Us

07-04-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp

According to the Living Liturgy 2021 “Each reading this Sunday is about those who were singed by failure and vulnerability, but who continue to be a guiding light to their communities. Ezekiel is sent by God to the people named as rebels, who are obstinate, defiant and deaf to God’s word. Paul in the second reading finds himself facing opposition both from those who regard themselves as super apostles and who tout around the word of God for their own reputation, and from the members of the Corinthian church who have fallen under their influence. And Jesus in the Gospel is found to be unacceptable in his own hometown of Nazareth.” In the first reading from the Prophecy of Ezekiel, the Lord sent him to go and deliver His message to His people whether they accept it or not, but let that word be spoken to them. The Lord knows they are hard and obstinate of heart, but still He wants His words to be spoken to them by His prophet Ezekiel. This is a responsibility to every guardian, teacher and parents who have been entrusted with people to look after. The truth must be spoken whether accepted or not by those you look after.