Saturday, May 26, 2018

God's Mystery and Consequences of Living in His Spirit( Most Holy Trinity B)

Homily Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity Year B: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
·         Deut 4:32-34, 39-40;
·          Ps 33:4-9, 18-20, 22;
·         Rom 8:14-17
·         Matt 28:16-20

God's Mystery and Consequences of Living in His Spirit

In today’s responsorial Psalm we heard, “Blessed are those (or those people) whom the Lord has chosen as his own.” Or “Happy are the nations whose God is the Lord, the people chosen as his very own’” (NAB). Depending on your translation. Whatever translation you have, today’s responsorial Psalm, in a sense, captures the essence of what we celebrate today, namely, Israel in the presence of God; the Church, everywhere, every nations, our communities in the presence of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!.
As Moses and Paul would  note in the 1st and 2nd readings, Deuteronomy 4 and Romans 8:14-17, we celebrate today, the consequences of faithfulness, of hope (Duet 4:32-34, 39-40). The Consequences of living in the presence of the Lord, hoping in him, relying on his love and kindness (Rom 8:14-1), include reception of the gifts of adoption, oneness with Jesus, God’s Son, enabling them to call God, Abba, Father (Matt 28:16-20).

 This enabling mysterious working of the spirit of the Lord in each of us, who trust in him, surpasses our human understanding, questioning, rationalization and philosophizing. It takes those who live in the Spirit of the Lord to appreciate the fact and truth of the three persons in One God; the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity; a Triune God who loves and cares for us; the mystery of all that God has done for us in our lives, which has always been the subject of faith and reflection for many saints, including Augustine.

Scripturally, today’s readings highlight this mystery of our faith. An important one for that matter. In the 1st reading, Deuteronomy 4, Moses, Israel’s early and greatest prophet exhorts the community of the need to abide with the Lord, keep the faith, and stick with God. He rhetorically reminds them all that God has done for them- the mysteries of creation and wonders in the past including their difficult years in eh wilderness of life and the mystery of freedom and liberation God brought them. For those who live in the spirit of the Lord, God can do for them, what humanly seems impossible.

 I am sure as you reflect on this text, you may have your personal testimonies. Recall God’s wonders including the miracle of the air or oxygen we breathe, the wars he defeated the enemies, the 10 plagues, the miracle of the red sea- all these should strengthen our faith and enable us believe more and more in God- keeping his statues and his basic commandments, namely love of neighbor and God!

He is a miracle working God who out of love journeyed in his son to save us- a son who left us with the Spirit at Pentecost. Each of us become adopted sons and daughters of God when we aloud this spirit of God to lead us. We want not only to read the fruit of this spirit but we want this spirit to lead us always, even as we bring others to catholic faith by our words and deeds.
  Like Moses, Paul though originally addressing the Romans, in the 2nd reading, says, “brothers a sisters, those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons (and daughters) of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you receive the spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, Abba, Father… ” (Rom 8:14-17). What Moses did for his community, exhorting and strengthening their faith and hope, Paul has done for his in Romans 8.  For Paul, this Spirit of God which makes us adopted sons and daughters has eschatological consequence because as heirs and co-heirs (synklēromenoi) we can hope for an inheritance. It allows us to suffer with him (sympaschomen). It allows us to glorify with him (syndaxaschōmen) at the resurrection.

This is the mystery, the faith, the spirit, we celebrate today. It goes back even to the days and times of our baptism as noted in the Gospel. We were all baptized not only with water, but in the name of God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:16-20).
As commissioned disciples in the Gospel, by the new Moses, Christ, our redeemer, we are not just only to live always according to the spirit of God, of peace, unity, faith, prayer, love, obedience and complete self-surrendering, but  also we are to go forth, baptize and bring people to Christ and Christ to people.

This is also what Pope Francis has always stand for, since the beginning of his papacy. He notes in his Evangelii Gaudium that, each of us with the spirit in dwelt in us, we must be a church, a community of faith that is willing to reach out, even to the margins. Reason and personal human will should not only be sources of our holiness and reliability in God’s mysteries or trusting in him, but importantly faith, openness to God’s spirit that is also modeled by the gospel beatitudes (Matt 25, Gaudete et exsultate) must be on the top of the list of our spiritual agenda.

If there is anything we want to take home today on this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, it is faith not doubt, unity not division, hope not despair, openness to God’s Spirit, trust rather than distrust, and total acceptance of the will God, the consequences of living according to his spirit, especially in moments of temptations and lack of intelligible explanations to certain circumstances of our lives.   “May your love and kindness be upon us, as we place all our hope in you’ (ps 33:22).

Reflection Questions:
  • 1.      What have we learned from today’s solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity?
  • 2.      What does today’s scriptures say to us in light of the mystery we celebrate?
  • 3.      How does today's lessons impact or change the way we introduce our neighbors to Christ or Christ to our neighbors?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Using the Gifts of the Holy Spirit -Given to Us!(Pentecost - Year B)

Homily Pentecost Sunday Year B (Mass during the Day): Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
·         Acts 2:1-11;
·          Psalm 103;
·         I Cor 12:2-3, 12-13
·         Gal 5:16-25
·          John 20:19-20.

Using the Gifts of the Holy Spirit -Given to Us!

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Pentecost, 50 days after the celebration of Easter- the resurrection of Christ. The Jews celebrated this feast 50 days after the Feast of Passover- thanking God for the gift of harvest as well for His Sinaitic Covenant with Moses which also occurs 50 days after the beginning of the Exodus in Egypt. There have been many harvests in our lives and of course, some more cultivation and work to do- using the gifts that has been given to us!

For us, in our various dioceses and places of worship, today marks the end of the Easter Season and commemorates the day that the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles, especially, Peter, Stephen and Paul as they spread the gospel in the early the Church.  It’s the role of this spirit on the Church' evangelizing mission that we celebrate today. Since we are all members of the church, it is also a celebration of the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives as Christian men, women and children. We need this gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives today more than ever. There is need to use them as well, in order for us to be able to function as true Christians and agents of evangelization without fear and intimidation, despair, quarrel, discrimination and desire for vengeance, bigotry, division and unhealthy competition.

I remember when I was a kid between the ages of 4-10. I always wanted to hold onto my mom whom I loved and depended on. I always cried, sad and disturbed the whole neighborhood each time my mother would leave me home for grocery store in the local market area. Sometimes we do feel the same each time somebody we love is about to leave us.
The Apostles felt the same – they were sad when Jesus indicated last week, in the reading of the Solemnity of Ascension that he was leaving to go to the Father. But, he promised them the Holy Spirit. He planned for them. This planned came to be in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit narrated in today’s Gospel (John 20:19-23).

Holy Spirit was important even throughout the ministry of Jesus.  Remember at his baptism the Spirit descended upon Jesus and named him as his beloved Son of the Father. At the beginning of his public ministry in Luke chapter 4, Jesus invoked the prophecy of Isa 61- “The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me. He has anointed me to bring Good news to the poor, and liberty to the captives….”   It was this same Spirit of the Lord that raised Jesus from the dead, and enabled him ascends to the Father.

Just as it was not easy for me when my mum would leave me home momentarily to get to the store for groceries or for any us to lose a dear one, the Bible Readings of today( from Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s Letter to the Corinthian and the Gospel of John) not only present us with the challenges that face the early Christian community after the Ascension of Jesus.
St. Luke tells us in his volume 2, Acts of the Apostles how the persecuted, frightened and post-ascension church could not really teach the mission of Jesus to the understanding of everyone from different tribes and culture until they had received the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit the early church was filled with fear, wrangling, uncertainties and confusions.

It was the Holy Spirit that enables the Apostles to face with love and patience the ridicule, the rejection they had to deal with after the ascension of Jesus. It was the Holy Spirit that enables them to be understood by people of all nations listed in today’s first reading. The Spirit of unity. The spirit of endurance in the face of persecution; the spirit of holiness as stressed by Pope Francis in his Gaudete et Exsultate (2018). 

It is the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord, to deal with the challenges that face us today in our families, in the society, in schools, offices, and places of work, in our nations as followers of Christ.

Some of these challenges you know better than I do may include, division, discrimination, quarrels, religious violent (as in Nigeria and in other parts of the world) pride, boasting, abusing our gifts and selfishness in our homes and in politics and in our communities. These are some of the problems that St. Paul addresses in the early Corinthian Church, in our 2nd reading of today (1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13)

For Paul in Baptism we are all one body in Christ. Just as the eye cannot say I don’t need the fingers or the nose, my legs or ears are not necessarily, we need one another in Christ. You can't say your next door neighbor or the next person on your left or right is not important. Everyone is needed. All the gifts we have are important and we need your gifts to live in fullness with Christ.  None of us sitting here is a chance factor before God or is not gifted with one gift or another. We are all gifted.

For Paul the sharing of these various spiritual gifts enriches the Church, since they all come from the same Spirit for the common good. In other words these gifts are meant for the common good, for the community.  They may reside in some of us informs of prophecy, teaching, administration, acts of charity, healing, speaking in tongues, apostles, prophets, etc . But usually what this spirit brings should be joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22ff). We need to use them!

Jesus breathed this same Spirit on the Apostles on the evening of that Easter Sunday in today’s Gospel. It is the Spirit of peace, shalom, wholeness to be agents of evangelization and forgiveness. We need to use them!

Let us pray at this Mass for the gift of the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives, those situations in our home, state, and political capitals, so that we may constantly not only feel the presence of God, his peace and joy in our lives, but be able to willingly share it with our neighbors.
Reflection Questions:
  • 1.      In the light of today’s celebration can we identify in our lives- those gifts of the Holy Spirit- in us- and how we have used them?
  • 2.      In moments of despair and persecution (of any kind), how do we trust in the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church?
  • 3.      In what manner do we share this trust of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church with our world today- as Peter, Stephen, Paul and the early Apostles did?

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Be lifted up and Make known the Gospel(Ascension year B)

Homily for the Ascension of Our Lord Year B: Fr .Michael Ufok Udoekpo
  • ·         Acts 1:1-11;
  • ·          Ps 47:2-3, 6-9;
  • ·          Eph 1:17-23
  • ·         Mark 16:15-20

Be lifted up and Make known the Gospel

  In different parts of the world, including the ecclesiastical Provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha and Philadelphia here in the States, the Solemnity of Ascension was celebrated on Thursday after the Sixth Sunday of Easter. In other places including the Archdiocese (Milwaukee), Ascension is celebrated today, the Seventh Sunday of Easter.
 Ascension celebrates in a sense the Paschal mysteries of Christ (recall his birth-ministry-passion-death-resurrection and Ascension), and the continuity in the church of the mission begun by Christ her founder.  Remember, during the Passion Week, it was evident that the death of Christ was never going to be a defeat, but a victory, an exaltation, a glorification and a lifting up of the Son of Man, “when I am lifted up from the earth I will draw everyone to myself,” ( John 12:32).

On the Cross, he rose above the pettiness of those who had anything to do with His persecution. He drew to himself the Jews, the Gentiles, men and women, including, the Roman soldiers, the Beloved Disciples, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, everyone was at the foot of the Cross.  With his resurrection and appearances many also including the doubting Thomas came to belief in Christ and finally was able to say, My Lord and My God.”

 The readings of today continue to testify to God’s work in Christ Jesus. In Marks account of the Ascension after Jesus had chatted with his friends and the disciples about faith and continuous spreading of the gospel to all parts of the world fearlessly Jesus, “was lifted up into heaven” where he took his seat at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19). Luke who expanded on Mark presents the same testimony in his second volume, the first reading, Acts of the Apostles (1:1-11) confirmed by Paul in the Second reading in Eph 1:17-23.  It is the story of God’s plan of salvation rooted in the story Israel and continue in the Church as witnessed by the Apostles.

 In all these God’ plan is at work. He seated Jesus at his right hand to watch over us; to judge the living and the dead. From there he sends us the Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth, the Spirit of mission, the spirit of Evangelization.  Even after the Ascension, the end of today’s Gospel says, “they went forth and preached everywhere while the Lord worked with them and confirm the word through accompanying signs.”

 God never disappoint anyone who trust in Him.  He continues to be at work in us. When we are down he is prepared to lift us up. When we are discouraged he is there to offer us courage. The mission he commissions us today “go out to the whole world and proclaim the gospel,” is not measured by distance. It is measured by faith.  There is mission to be done in this parish/school and residence home/families. It is measured by hope. It is measured by love. It is measured by the way we imitate Christ, his principles and values, in every circumstances of life.

  We are called to be missionaries even onto ourselves, to our children, to our spouses, friends, families and next door neighbors. We are called to preach, pray for and lift out our children and friends out of drug abuse? With his Ascension we are called to transcend faithlessness and continue to pray for our nations to recognize more and more the place of God in our lives, in our politics and homes.

I was so impressed and up lifted yesterday when a friend of mine in New York, actually called from Arizona asking for prayer for his brother, whom he believe was in a very dark and bad place (state of life)... After listening I offered few words of encouragement and upliftment to the family.

Although Christ has departs, today’s solemnity reminds us that Christ still remains with us in the tabernacle, in the Holy Eucharist, in kinds words we share with our neighbors. He is with us in the passages of the Scripture. He is with us in our schools, in our studies, offices, work places and where we live (here in this residence home).  He says, in Matthew 28:19-20 “I am with you always, until the end of the time.”  He is with us in the Church. The story began in the Gospels continue in the Acts of the Apostles and in Pauline writings, including Ephesians today’s second reading and the alternate one, Letter to the Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23.

As Christ was lifted up, let us pray at this Mass that we be lifted up in Spirit to be able to lift up others, especially the poor, the sick and the needy. May we in this changing world continue to believe and make known the Good News of Christ, in our words and actions, in our homes, families and in every situation in life we may find ourselves!
 Reflection Question:
  • 1.      In the light of today’s scriptures what is the spiritual meaning of Ascension for you?
  • 2.      Though Christ has ascended do you see the call to continuity of his mission in the life of the church today?
  • 3.      How do you drive home in our despaired neighbors,  the hope that Christ is watching over his Church, he is present, and that we are called to continue his mission.?

Divine Necessity that We Be One!(7th Sunday Easter B)

Homily Seventh Sunday of Easter Year B: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
  • ·         Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26;
  • ·         1 John 4: 11-16
  • ·         John 17:11b-19

 Divine Necessity that We Be One!

“Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying, “ Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one”(John 17:11b).

There is no better day to read the priestly prayer of Jesus than on the occasion of Johannine Jesus’ last discourse, preparing his disciples for the Post-Ascension or Pre-pentecost periods of evangelization. The question is what becomes of the Church and Christ’s disciples after his ascension?

 Going by the scriptures Christ recommends unity and trust in his Divine will, purpose and fulfillment. He will never abandon his church, his disciples.

 This will make sense  for us who, today, live in a broken world, plagued with wars, inadequate inter-religious and cultural dialogues, threats of wars, high of rate divorce, terrorism, kidnappings, proliferation of churches, religious fundamentalism and extremism, divisions of all kinds, racism and discrimination on our streets, shopping centers, offices, places of work and worship centers.

 Scripturally, in Luke’s view, the writer of the first reading (Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26), the definite plan or purpose of God for each  of us underlies all the “events” he narrates. This plan is evident from vocabulary he uses, such as “the plan” or “purpose of God” (hē boulē tou theou), the divine necessity that certain things “must’ (dei) happen, the manner in which God ‘appoints” or “determines” (horizō) what happens or must be “fulfilled” (plēroō).   David served this plan (Acts 13:36), and the Messiah was crucified “according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23, cf. 4:280. At Miletus Paul reminds the elders of Ephesus that he never failed to tell them “the whole purpose of God’ (20:27). By refusing John’s baptism, the Pharisees and lawyers rejected this plan (Luke 7:30), and even after the resurrection of the Messiah they still oppose it (Act 5:38-39).

Because God’s plan or purpose underlies all that happens in Israel’s history, certain things “must” (dei) occur. The twelve-year-old child already knows that he must be in his Father’ house (Luke 2:49). Jesus must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God (4:43). There is a divine necessity underlying his journey to Jerusalem (13:33) because the Son of Man must suffer, die, and rise from the dead (17:25; 24:7), and the Messiah “must suffer in order to enter into his glory” (24:26), and ascended into heaven (Luke 9:51; Acts 1:1-11) as we saw on Ascension Day. In short, everything written in the scriptures about Jesus must be fulfilled (22:37; 24:44): who betrays him, and who is elected to replace his betrayer were all in God’ plan.  

So it’s that divine necessity and fulfilment that continues in today’s first reading, about Judas and Matthias elected to replace Judas. What this means is that God knows our in and out. He watches over us who believe. Since he knew from the beginning as we heard in John’s Gospel 17:11b-19 that a time will come when he will no longer be with his disciples, with us, physically, his priestly prayer is that they remain one, we remain one, united in faith, soul and mind.

Also in light of the second reading 1 John 4:11-16, he wants us to remain with the Father and stick around him in love and unity with one another. He prayed that through the gift of the Holy Spirit each of us may be brought into that kind of deep union of hope and friendship that he had shared with God His Father.

Besides faith, hope and love, stressed in the 2nd reading, prayer and openness for the guidance of the Holy Spirit are key principles for true discipleship in the divine plan of God. The union of the disciples and the church can be achieved through incessant prayer, even in making choices or key decision like the selection of Matthias to replace Judas who had betrayed Christ and gone his way.

 In doing this we are told in that first reading, the church prayed and said:
“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two (Judas called Barsabbas and Matthias) you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas has turned away to go to his own place.”

How many of us have not turned away once in a while or tempted to do so from the teachings of the Church, from the teachings of the Holy Scripture from our faith tradition, from the teachings of Christ, love, charity, peace, serenity, gentleness, humility forgiveness, unity, or from pursuing dialogue and oneness, especially in those moments we experience hopelessness, and perhaps thought God must have abandoned his plans an wishes that we be one?

God never abandon his plans and wishes for us, that we be one. With prayer everything is possible.  With prayer we can make a U-turn back to Christ, for those who had gone astray or may have lost faith in divine necessity. With prayer we can remain with him trusting in his plans, praying for one another, promoting inter cultural and religious dialogue wherever we are. We can be one in the choices that we make—those choices that benefits the community as well.

 Prior to our decisions and choice making, be it that of the college to go to, a particular doctor to visit, suggestions to make at family and executive meetings, which mass to attend or what menu to choose from, a particular book to read, movie to watch or friends to hang out with, at the United Nations, cabinet meetings, parish councils, diocesan senates, we want to pray, we want to always consult our advocate; counselor, the Holy Spirit, through prayers- that God may guide our decision according to his divine plans that we may all be one!

Reflection Questions:
  • 1.      How often do we realize that in everything God has a plan and a divine necessity?
  • 2.      In what ways have we worked to promote unity and dialogue in our broken homes, families, societies, dioceses, offices and religious communities?
  • 3.      How often do we pray before we make our choices and life decisions?

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Universality of God’s Love(6th Sunday of Easter B)

Homily Sixth Sunday of Easter Year B : Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo
  • ·         Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48;
  • ·         1 John 4:7-14
  • ·         John 15:9-19

Universality of God’s Love
 Today we celebrate a God who loves us as a loving mother would! This Divine love is universal. It has no boundary. It’s available for both Jews and Gentiles alike. This is true in today’s readings and in most of the writings of Saint Paul. Romans 2:1-16 is also uppermost in my mind!
However, in today’s Gospel, John 15, soon after his farewell discourse and prediction of his death, Jesus, says to his worried disciples, “As the Father loves, me so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love… No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”
 For those who may still have doubt after reading or listening to this words of Jesus in John 15, the  2nd reading, 1 John, does so well to reaffirm that  “God is love,” (Deus Caritas est) as revealed in his Son, whom we are called this day to imitate by loving everyone around us; Jew or Gentile.

This universal invitation to love as God loves is again displayed in Acts of the Apostles 15, today’s 1st reading where Cornelius a Gentile receives the gift of the Holy Spirit and Peter clearly preaches the impartiality and the universal love of God. Peter says, “in truth I see that God shows no partiality (prosōpolēmptēs), an expression in Greek, that Saint Paul also uses in Romans 2:11 to stress the  universal love, redemption, judgment, and righteousness of God to everyone, Jews and Gentiles, who believe in him.

As witnessed throughout scriptures, it is not just and empty love, but Divine love full of actions through God’s incarnation, becoming human in his Son to be with us, teach us, walk with us, eat with us, preach to us, and heal us. Christ love for his father in turn, is in action through his obedient ministry. Though he was in the form of God, he did not for once, count equality with God his father, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant (Phil 2:6-11).

 Throughout his ministry from baptism to the cross he humbly proved his love for us in changing water to wine (John 2), in encouraging non-believers to believe (John 3), in reaching out to the poor, the weak and foreigners, the “Samaritan women,” (John 4) in healing the sick, raising the death (John 6-11), washing the feet of his disciples (John 13), and marching freely to the cross. In fact, “no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”

We are truly God’s friends no matter where we come from or what language we speak, or look like! It does matter if you are, “Peter, Cornelius, Saul or James.” Our friend Jesus expects us to imitate him. Don’t we ordinarily say, “Show me your friend I will tell you who you are?” If we are God’s friends, we are expected to remain in him, keep his ethics, morality, commandments, values, theologies, spiritualties. We are expected to put who our divine friend is into practice. 
We can do this by bearing witness to him like Peter in today’s first reading. Peter brought the spirituality of his friend, Jesus to the Gentiles, beginning with the house of Cornelius, whom he baptized in the name of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit. We are told, “While Peter was speaking, preaching the word of God, the Holy Spirit fell upon “all” who were listening to the word of God.

This God is love and his love is universally in action. It reaches to the Jews and Gentiles! This is the true love of God. Of course, in our own practical situations, the test of true love, in fact is not just by what we feel, but by what we do which affects our neighbors. Do I speak well about my neighbor, pray for them? Am I able to hold that elevator/ door for my incoming friend or senior?  Am I patriotic!  Am I charitable and sensitive especially to the needs of the poor?

 What effects has the papacy of Pope Francis has on me thus far? Am I understanding, prudent, modest in what I say, write, eat, drink and wear? Am I kind, generous, gracious, compassionate, joyful, not instigating violent, hatred, jealousy and division, or rushing to judge my neighbors without the facts? Am I conscious that I am limited in many ways!  

[ Again, on a Mother’s Day ([ forth coming... in the States) we might ask Am I loving, forgiving, caring, generous, obedient to my superiors, parents,  available, approachable, affectionate, impartial as our loving mothers?
There is a story of a Maltese loving mother who gave birth to conjoin-Siamese baby boys. Any surgery to separate them would result from one baby boy giving up his life for the other. It was a very difficult choice for both parents, especially the mom, who really spoke up, passionately. Her argument was that she loved both children equally, without partiality (prosōpolēmptēs).  I am sure many of us have also seen or heard about children, sons and daughters, husbands in prison who are loved by their moms and wives in spite of who they are.
Of course, we also live in a challenging time that some children, husbands tend to ignore if not abandon their parents, wives or aged moms in nursing homes, without visitation. Sometimes we forget their roles in our lives, and in our families. Without our moms many of us would not be here today. So today is the day we reflect on the love of our mothers, the role of women in the church and society,  appreciate them, pray for them, visit with them, take them out for dinner, if you can, or call them on the telephone if they are far away from you!]
As we celebrate God’s love today let us allow Jesus’ universal love to challenge us in our brokenness, in our tendencies to segregate, discriminate against those we shortsightedly presume are politically, socially, economically, culturally or religiously inferior to us.
 Reflection Questions
  • 1.       How often do we practice the oneness and the universality of God’s love stressed in today’s scriptures?
  • 2.        How often or what prevents us from recognizing that there is no partiality in God, in his love, in his righteousness, in his judgment for Jews and Gentiles ( Rom 2:11, Acts 10:34)
  • 3.       In the face of socio- political, economic, cultural and racial challenges of our time how often do we examplarily assist members of our faith communities to remain in God’s love (John 15)?