Homilies & Reflections

One thing I ask of the Lord. This I long to dwell in the house of the Lord,
all the days of my life.

2022-04-20 - EARTH’S PASSING GLORIES. Reflection for Palm Sunday 2022 Author: Rev. Fr. Modestus Mgbaramuko

Readings: Lk 19:28-40; Is 50:4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Lk 22:14-23:56                                               

The journey of Jesus from Galilee into Jerusalem begins the events of the Christian holy week. Great apostolic preparations mark the “triumphal” entry. “Go into the village opposite you,” Jesus says. “Untie the colt and bring it to me (Lk 19:28). In the procession, the people hailed Jesus and threw their clothing on the donkey (Mt/Mk add the spreading of the branches along the way). John specifically names “palm branches” (12:13).

This Jerusalem entry was undoubtedly the high watermark of Jesus’ glory. Unlike John’s Gospel, which portrays Jesus as visiting Jerusalem several times (2:13; 5:1; 6:4; 10:22; and 12:12), the other gospels present Jesus’ Jerusalem entrance only nearing the end of his life. We see this in Luke’s example in today’s Gospel. Jesus publicly claims glory and renown. He accepts the praises, welcomes the rejoicing, and answers that even the “very stones would cry out his praise should the people keep quiet (Lk 19:40). On Palm Sunday, Jesus admits being the Messiah of Israel’s hopes. Jesus is the Blessed one. He comes “in the name of the Lord” revealed or foreseen in Israel’s fundamental law and prophecy (Lk 19:40).

However, Palm Sunday is equally remarkable in other ways. This day inaugurates the events leading to Jesus’ crucifixion. Juxtaposing Palm Sunday and Good Friday becomes as revelatory as we realize from today’s passion narrative. Hosanna and blessings on Sunday, but betrayal and crucifixion on Friday. The transitory pattern of all earthly glories stares us in the face today. The Jerusalem entry unfolds in Jesus’ trial scene to home in on the message of the worldly emptiness. Earth’s joys quickly grow dim; earthly glories come mixed with gloom and pain, and they pass away so soon. Remember Henry Francis Lyte of England and his hymn: Abide with me (penned on a Sunday in Sept. 1847). Fame is often fake in this world. They are but poor copies of heaven’s everlasting joy and eternal glory.

On Palm Sunday, the Gospel dramatizes the bitter cup of the sudden death of Jesus. It crowns the theology of Paul about Jesus, who emptied himself. Thus, the cross holds the culminating episode of Jesus’ entire earthly ministry. Luke records the essential parts of the occasion first while still sustaining the tensions of the scenes until their conclusion on the cross. Today, far more than an ordinary farewell of Jesus as a leader, preacher, or teacher to his followers, the Church dramatizes a dimension of the paschal mystery. If the wages of sin is death, and Jesus is the Saviour, then the blood of Jesus shed on Calvary is the wages paid for the remission or forgiveness of sins. And this is the mystery revealed afresh today.

Therefore, reading or listening to today’s crucifixion drama is not enough. We must pay attention to the fact that today, many people are still being led to the cross by the betrayal of those they love and cherish. Many still face crucifixion due to their race or color. Others live with intolerance, rejection, exclusion, and scorn. Golgotha still lingers in the abuse of our family values, in aspects of our respect for life, stretched to their breaking points by the pressure of extreme social ideologies.

 After Christ emptied himself and accepted our death on the cross, we need to do more to reform the structures of sin and return to God’s will for us. Today is a constant reminder that we all received grace upon grace from the fullness of Christ emptied on Calvary (Jn 1:16). We are not correct to live as if Christ did not come. We, who are Christians, must remember the price that Jesus paid. May Christ’s suffering and death continue to remind us of what it means to experience rejection, injustice, suffering, and the feeling of being overpowered.


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Date: 2022-09-08 - 2022-09-10

The Catholic Diocese of Umuahia wishes to invite everyone to join in celebrating "THE NATIVITY OF OUR BLESSED VIRGIN MARY"   From Thursday 8th to Saturday 10th of September 2022.   Venue: Mater Dei Cathedral at Marian shrine.   Time: 4:30pm on Thursday and Friday.   Saturday (Grand finale) - 9:00am

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logoThe Diocese of Umuahia was erected on June 23, 1958 with Most Rev. Anthony Gogo Nwaedo C.S.Sp. as its first Bishop and Most Rev Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji as the second Bishop. The diocese was carved out from the then Diocese of Owerri. Since its inception, two other dioceses: Okigwe (1981) and Aba (1990) have been excised from it. Its present area of about 2,460.40km2 spans six Local Government Areas: Umuahia North, Umuahia South, Ikwuano, Bende, Ohafia and Arochukwu.

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