Friedenstraeger sollen nach Jesu Vorbild leben

9 Jul

Nehmt mein Joch auf euch und lernt von mir

14. Sonntag im Jahreskreis A: 9.Juli 2017
Thema: Leben nach dem Geist Jesu
1. Sach 9,9–10 : Er verkuendet fuer die Voelker den Frieden.
2. Ps 145: Ich will dich ruehmen, mein Gott und Koenig.
3. Rom 8,9.11–13 : Wenn ihr durch den Geist die suendigen Taten des Leibes toetet, werdet ihr leben.
4. Mt 11,25–30 : Nehmt mein Joch auf euch und lernt von mir.

Ziel: Friedenstraeger sollen nach Jesu Vorbild leben

Einfuehrung
Liebe Schwestern und Brueder, immer schon und auch heute brauchen Menschen Frieden. Wir hoeren von Kriegen in vielen Laendern der Welt. Wir hoeren von Menschen, die Fluechtlinge sind in ihrem eigenen Land Wir hoeren von Menschen, die Fluechtlinge sind in anderen Laendern. Wir hoeren von Menschen, die an Hungersnot sterben. Viele Menschen sterben an unheilbaren Krankheiten. Menschen leben in Angst vor Terroranschlaegen. In vielen Laendern fuehren Menschen ein unwuerdiges Leben in grosser Armut. Viele Kinder sind unterernaehrt, weil ihre Eltern kein Geld fuer gutes Essen haben. Ja, es gibt viele Menschen in der Welt, die schwere Lasten zu tragen haben. Die heutige Liturgie laedt uns ein, Friedenstraeger zu werden durch das Vorbild Jesu, der den Menschen Ruhe fuer die Seele schenkt.

A. Wir leben in einer unruhigen Welt

Liebe Schwestern und Brueder, wir leben in einer Welt, die sehr unruhig ist. Viele Menschen in Afrika, Amerika, Europa und Asien wollen Frieden haben. Leider herrschen dort Krieg, Hungersnot, Verfolgungen, grosse Armut und unheilbare Krankheiten. In vielen Laendern kaufen die Regierungen lieber Waffen als Lebensmittel. Die Laender, die Waffen produzieren, profitieren von Krieg und Blutvergiessen in den Regionenen, in denen sich die Menschen im Krieg befinden. Es gibt Konkurrenz bei der Suche nach Bodenschaetzen, und dies ist oft der Grund fuer Kriege in unserer Welt. Das Streben der Menschen, reich und reicher zu werden, bringt Ungerechtigkeit in unsere Welt. So haben wir eine Welt, die sehr unruhig ist. Wir haben eine Welt, in der Menschen planen, Kriege zu fuehren und nicht Frieden zu schaffen. Die heutige erste Lesung ist eine Einladung, Frieden zu verkuenden. Gott will uns aussenden, seinen Voelkern den Frieden zu verkuenden. Die Streitwagen unserer Tage, die teueren Kriegsmaschinen unserer Zeit, sollen vernichtet werden. Wir haben als Christen die Aufgabe, mit den Ressourcen unserer Erde Frieden zu schaffen. Menschen alleine aber koennen keinen Frieden schaffen. Das gelingt nur mit Gottes Herrschaft, einer Herrschaft, die gerecht ist und hilft.

B. Kommt zu mir und lernt von mir
Liebe Brueder und Schwestern, das heutige Evangelium handelt von der Einladung Jesu, Frieden zu halten. Alle Menschen, die unruhig sind, alle Menschen, die Angst haben, alle Menschen, die beschaeftigt sind mit der Waffenproduktion, alle sind eingeladen, zu Jesus zu kommen. Jesus sieht, dass wir schwere Lasten tragen. Jesus sieht, dass wir ein Joch tragen, das schwer ist. Ohne Jesus aber ist es nicht moeglich, Ruhe zu finden. Nur Jesus kann uns Ruhe verschaffen. Nur Jesus besitzt den Schluessel des Friedens in dieser Welt. Waehrend die Machthaber dieser Welt hochmuetig sind, ist Jesus guetig und von Herzen demuetig. Die Machthaber dieser Welt wollen ihre Feinde vernichten, Jesus moechte aber, dass wir unseren Feinden vergeben. Vergebung und nicht Vergeltung ist der Schluessel des Friedens. Nur die Waffe der Vergebung kann die Streitwagen unserer Zeit vernichten. Nur Vergebung kann die Kriege unserer Zeit beenden.

C. Leben nach dem Geist Jesu
Liebe Schwestern und Brueder, um Frieden zu schaffen, sollen wir nicht nach dem Fleisch, sondern nach dem Geist leben. Fleisch und Geist sind zwei Worte, die heute richtig verstanden werden muessen. Vom Fleisch kommen Hochmut, die Sehnsucht nach Macht und alle suendigen Taten, die Menschen begehen. Vom Geist kommt die Naechstenliebe und die Vergebung. Leben nach dem Geist bedeutet, dass wir nicht dem Fleisch verpflichtet sind. Leben nach dem Geist bedeutet, dass wir bereit sind, nach dem Vorbild Jesu zu leben und zu handeln. Obwohl Jesus der Sohn Gottes war, obwohl Jesus sehr viel Macht hatte, lebte er doch auf dieser Erde als Diener der Menschen. Er liess sich hinrichten, damit wir das Leben haben und es in Fuelle haben. Er wurde gewaltsam getoetet, damit wir in Frieden leben koennen. Jesus also laedt uns ein, sein Vorbild anzunehmen, um wahren Frieden auf Erden zu schaffen. So hat auch der heilige Paulus geschrieben: „Wir sollen die suendigen Taten des Leibes toeten, dann werden wir leben.“ Wer so lebt, der ist auch bereit, Frieden zu schaffen.

Wir sollen fuer geistliche Berufe beten, aber auch etwas Konkretes ausser dem Gebet tun

9 Jul

GEBETSSTUNDE UM GEISTLICHE BERUFE

IM STIFT ST. FLORIAN, UM 19:00 UHR, AM 5. JULI 2017

Mt 9,35-37: Die Ernte ist groß
„In jener Zeit,
35 zog Jesus durch alle Staedte und Doerfer, lehrte in ihren Synagogen, verkuendete das Evangelium vom Reich und heilte alle Krankheiten und Leiden. 36 Als er die vielen Menschen sah, hatte er Mitleid mit ihnen: denn sie waren muede und erschoepft wie Schafe, die keinen Hirten haben.
37 Da sagte er zu seinen Juengern: Die Ernte ist gross, aber es gibt wenig Arbeiter. 38 Bittet also den Herrn der Ernte, Arbeiter fuer seine Ernte auszusenden.“

Ziel: Wir sollen fuer geistliche Berufe beten, aber auch etwas Konkretes ausser dem Gebet tun, besonders fuer die Regionen, in denen viele junge Menschen den geistlichen Beruf ergreifen moechten.

Liebe Schwestern und Brueder,
heute sind wir versammelt, um um geistliche Berufe zu beten. Schon von Anfang an hat Jesus seinen Juengern aufgetragen, um Arbeiter fuer die grosse Ernte in Gottes Weinberg zu bitten. Die Katholische Kirche soll weltweit die Horizonte verschiedener Kulturen ueberschreiten. So hat Jesus auch seine Juenger aufgefordert: „Geht hinaus und verkuendet den Voelkern das Evangelium.“ Dieses Missionsgebot bedeutet, dass Gott Menschen braucht, die das Evangelium in die Welt bringen und kirchliche Gemeinden aufbauen und erhalten sollen.

A. Die Katholische Kirche wurde weltweit aufgebaut durch Missionare
Wir sollten dankbar sein, dass sich sowohl in der Vergangenheit als auch heute Menschen gefunden haben, die den Ruf Jesu gehoert haben, um das Evangelium zu den Menschen zu bringen. Von Jerusalem aus wurde das Evangelium in allen Kontinenten bekannt gemacht. Von Petrus und Paulus und allen anderen Aposteln wurde das Christentum im Roemischen Reich verbreitet und von dort weiter in der ganzen Welt. Dies war moeglich dank vieler Menschen, besonders der Gruender verschiedener Orden und Kloester, von denen die Missionare hinausgegangen sind, um das Evangelium zu verkuenden.

B. Warum wir beten sollen
Diese Mission hat frueher wie heute niemals genug Arbeiter gehabt. Heutzu- tage gibt es eine Krise in einigen Gebieten der Welt, in denen es kaum noch geistliche Berufe gibt. Das gilt besonders fuer Europa und Nord Amerika. Die geistlichen Berufe sind in Europa seit Jahrzehnten jedes Jahr weniger geworden. Heute spricht man von Pfarrverband oder Pastoralzone, wenn mehr als zwei Pfarren zusammengeschlossen sind und von einem Pfarrer betreut werden. Viele Kloester sind geschlossen worden, weil es niemanden mehr gab, um das Kloster zu erhalten. Auch viele Priesterseminare sind geschlossen worden, weil es keine Seminaristen mehr gab. Diese Situation ist der Grund, warum wir heute versammelt sind, um geistliche Berufe zu beten. Unsere Kirche braucht freiwillige Arbeiter, um Gottes Ernte einzubringen.

C. Es genuegt nicht, nur zu beten

Liebe Schwestern und Brueder, es genuegt nicht, nur zu beten. Wir sollten der Realitaet in die Augen schauen und dann entscheiden, welche Loesung es geben kann.
Es gibt Gruende, warum die geistlichen Berufe in einigen Regionen der Welt zurueckgegangen sind. Die Entwicklung Europas ist mehr auf materiellen Gewinn aufgebaut. Die Menschen haben durch die Naturwissenschaften viel entdeckt und sie benutzt, um einen hohen Wohlstand zu erreichen. Gleichzeitig ist eine Ideologie der Freiheit und Selbstverwirklichung eine Pflicht fuer viele geworden, so dass die katholische Lehre als feindlich angesehen wird, wenn es darum geht, den Menschen Freude und Selbstverwirklichung zu bringen. Die Saekularisierung laesst keinen Raum mehr fuer das Geistliche. Die Oekonomie spricht sich gegen zu grosse Familien aus. Die Mentalitaet der Lehrer und Lehrerinnen in den Schulen laesst oft keinen Samen keimen fuer geistliche Berufungen. Viele Priester und Geistliche sind oft in der Gesellschaft nicht gut angesehen. Deshalb werden viele Jungen kein gutes Vorbild in ihnen sehen. Am Ende sind die Kirchenbesucher weniger geworden und geistliche Berufe auch noch weniger.
Es ist also wichtig, dass wir unsere Gesellschaft genau anschauen und etwas tun, wenn wir wieder eine neue Zeit in der Kirche haben wollen. Es ist noetig, die Familien-Pastoral zu verstaerken, eine Familien-freundliche politische Atmosphaere zu entwicklen und eine Bereitschaft, auf vieles Materielles zu verzichten, um wieder geistliche Berufe in unserer Gesellschaft zu foerdern.
Waehrend es in Europa eine grosse Krise der geistlichen Berufungen gibt, ist es nicht so in Afrika. Seit 1996 bin ich selber mit der Arbeit im Priesterseminar beschaeftigt: als Lehrer, Professor und Berufsausbilder. Unsere Priesterseminare sind voll, und wir brauchen noch neue Seminare. Ebenso ist es mit Berufungen fuer geistliche Schwestern und Brueder. Wir sollten dankbar sein, dass in der Vergangenheit von Europa und Nord Amerika Missionare nach Afrika und Asien gereist sind und dort das Evangelium verkuendet haben. Jetzt sollten Menschen in Europa und Nordamerika dankbar sein, dass Missionare aus Afrika und Asien zu ihnen kommen, um ihnen das Evangelium zu verkuenden und die Kirche wieder zu staerken. Heute soll man verstehen, dass die Zukunft der Kirche Europas und Amerikas in Afrika und Asien liegt. Deshalb ist es dringend erforderlich, dass dorthin materielle und finanzielle Unterstuetzung geschickt wird, weil die Katholische Kirche in diesen Kontinenten noch eine Kirche in Not ist.
Es wird lange dauern, bis die Kultur in Europa wieder christenfreundlich wird. Deshalb braucht der Katholische Kirche in Europa Unterstuetzung von Schwester-Kirchen. Es wird nicht helfen, immer mehr Pfarren ohne Priester zusammenzuschliessen, weil dann die christliche Gemeinschaft in jeder Pfarre langsam ausstirbt. Die Kirche braucht Priester, Schwestern und Brueder. Der heilige Agustinus hat das schon gesehen und hat als neuer Bischof Gruppen von Maennern und Frauen als Geistliche ausgebildet, dass sie die lokalen Kirchen dienen.

D. Die Geistlichen sind nicht die Angestellten der Kirche

Preister, Diakone, Schwestern und Brueder sind nicht die Angestellten der Kirche. Sie sind freiwillige Arbeiter der Ernte des Herrn. Sie machen nicht ihren Beruf als Job, sondern leben nach ihrer Berufung. Solche Arbeiter sind sehr wichtig fuer die Kirche, weil die Institution Kirche es sich nicht immer leisten kann, angestellte Arbeiter zu bezahlen. Die Angestellten tragen auch nicht immer im Herzen die Frohbotschaft Jesu, und deshalb sind sie kein guter Ersatz fuer Priester, Diakone, Schwestern und Brueder. „Ora et labora“ – beten und arbeiten oder etwas tun, soll unser Spruchband sein, das uns begleitet, wenn wir um Geistliche Berufe beten. Lasset uns beten fuer geistliche Berufe in unserem Land und auch die geistliche Berufe in anderen Regionen der Welt unterstuetzen

Christen sollen unbegrenzte Gastfreundschaft als Kennzeichen des Glaubens ueben

9 Jul

Wer euch aufnimmt, der nimmt mich auf

13. Sonntag im Jahreskreis A: 2.Juli 2017

Thema: Christsein foerdert Gastfreundschaft
1. 2 Kön 4,8–10.14–16 : Dort lebte eine vornehme Frau, die ihn dringend bat, bei ihr zu essen.
2. Ps 89,2–3.16-19 : Von den Taten deiner Huld, Herr, will ich ewig singen.
3. Rom 6,3–4.8–11 : Die Gemeinschaft der Getauften mit Christus
4. Mt 10,37–42 : Wie Christus von den Toten auferweckt wurde, so sollen auch wir als neue Menschen leben..

Ziel: Christen sollen unbegrenzte Gastfreundschaft als Kennzeichen des Glaubens ueben

Einfuehrung
Liebe Schwestern und Brueder, die Kirche is eine Pilgerschaft. Jesus hat seine Nachfolger ausgesandt, das Evangelium weltweit zu verkuenden. Als Prediger, die unterwegs sind, brauchen die Juenger Jesu Unterkunft und Unterstuetzung. Wer sich um die Weitergabe des Evangeliums bemueht, erwartet Gastfreundschaft von den Menschen, zu denen er ausgesandt ist. Deshalb sagt das heutige Evangelium: „Wer euch aufnimmt, der nimmt mich auf.“ Wir sind also als Christen aufgefordert, eine unbegrenzte Gastfreundschaft zu ueben als Zeichen unseres Glaubens an Jesus.

A. Gastfreundschaft von einer heidinischen und kinderlosen Frau

Liebe Schwestern und Brueder, Menschen, die unbegrenzte Gastfreundschaft ueben, werden auch von Gott ihren Lohn erhalten. Die heutige erste Lesung erzaehlt von einer heidnischen Frau, die kinderlos war. Diese Frau war eine vornehme Frau. Sie war verheiratet. Ihr fehlte nichts ausser Kinder. Dem Propheten Elischa, der oft unterwegs war, wurde von dieser Frau Unterkunft geschenkt. Mit Verstaendnis von ihrem Mann bereitet sie ein gewoehnliches Zimmer fuer Elischa in ihrem Hause vor. Der Prophet war ein Fremder in diesem Land. Er aber fand Wohnung bei dieser Familie. Man glaubte damals oft, dass Frauen, die kinderlos in der Ehe waren, boese Menschen waren, weil sie kein erfuelltes Leben hatten. Das Gegenteil sehen wir hier: Diese kinderlose Frau hat muetterliche Liebe. Sie hat diese Liebe dem Propheten Elischa erwiesen. Die heutige erste Lesung erzaehlt uns, dass Gott durch seinen Propheten der Frau schenkt, was ihr fehlt, d.h. Kinder. Es ist also nicht umsonst, dass diese Frau gute Taten vollbracht hat. Gott hat ihre guten Taten gesehen und belohnt.

B. Wer euch aufnimmt, der nimmt mich auf

Das heutige Evangelium handelt von dem Leben in der Nachfolge Jesu. Die Maenner und Frauen, die an Jesus glauben, sollen bereit sein, auf vieles zu verzichten. Sie sollen nicht an ihrer Familie festhalten; sie sollen bereit sein, die Botschaft Jesu weiterzutragen; sie sollen bereit sein, auf eine eigene Familie zu verzichten; auch sollen sie bereit sein, zu leiden. Sie sollen immer unterwegs sein, um das Evangelium zu verkuenden. Das Leben in der Nachfolge Jesu ist auch ein grosses Risiko, dass die Juenger Jesu Verfolgungen erleiden muessen, vielleicht auch getoetet werden. Sie haben keine Sicherheit fuer Essen, Schlafen oder Gesundheit. Sie muessen einfach gehen oder reisen. Sie haben einen grenzenlosen Auftrag, und ihre einzige Hoffnung ist, dass sie irgendwo Menschen finden werden, die sie in ihrem Hause aufnehmen und ihnen zu trinken und zu essen geben.
Jesus selber hat dieses Leben ohne Sicherheit erlebt. Er war ein Wanderprediger. Er hatte kein eigenes Hause oder Buero. Oft war er hungrig, wurde verfolgt und schliesslich sogar getoetet. Aber Er ist von den Toten auferweckt worden und hat den Menschen das Ewige Leben geschenkt. Die Juenger Jesu sollten so wie ihr Meister und Herr leben. Wie Jesus oft als Gast eingeladen wurde, so werden auch seine Juenger als Gast eingeladen. Wer sie einlaedt, wird auch seinen Lohn erhalten.

C. Christen sollen als neue Menschen leben

Liebe Schwestern und Brueder, jeder, der getauft ist auf den Namen Jesu, soll sein Leben fuehren, wie Jesus es uns gelehrt hat. Jesus hat selber die alle Gesetze des Alten Testamentes in dem Liebesgebot zusammengefasst: die Liebe zu Gott und die Liebe zu unseren Naechsten. Diese Liebe zu Gott fordert von uns Christen, Jesus als unseren einzigen Herrn zu haben. Das bedeutet, dass wir nur ihn ehren und ihm gehorchen. Wenn es Konflikte gibt, dann sollen wir die Entscheidungen fuer Jesus treffen. Das Gebot der Naechstenliebe fordert uns, Gastfreundschaft mit allen Menschen zu ueben. Bei Jesus gibt es kein Trennungsband, keine Mauer, keine Apartheid zwischen Menschen. Alle Menschen sind Geschwister. Alle Menschen haben Gott als ihren Vater. Sie sind also alle Gottes Kinder. Wir Christen also sind Brueder und Schwestern, und wir sollten unsere Naechstenliebe auch gegenueber den Nicht-Christen und auch gegenueber unseren Feinden zeigen. So hat Jesus es gelehrt: Liebt euere Feinde und betet fuer die, die euch verfolgen.
Liebe Brueder und Schwestern, es ist schoen, dass ich von heute an bis Ende Juli bei euch ein Gastpriester sein darf. Ich freue mich auf eure Gastfreundschaft. Die heutige Liturgie will uns lehren, dass wir gut miteinander umgehen. Lasst uns unbegrenzte Gastfreundschaft als Kennzeichen unseres christlichen Glaubens ueben.

Im Kampf und Laufe des christlichen Lebens halten wir die Treue zu Jesus

9 Jul

Für wen haltet ihr mich?

PETRUS U. PAULUS HOCHFEST : 29.Juni 2017

Thema: Der Tod als Aufbruch zu Christus
1. Apg 12,1–11 : Hinrichtung des Jakobus – Befreiung des Petrus.
2. Ps 34,2–9 R: All meinen Ängsten hat der Herr mich entrissen.
3. 2 Tim 4,6–8.17–18 Paulus, gefangen und verlassen, legt Rechenschaft ab.
4. Mt 16,13–19: Du bist der Messias, Du bist Petrus und auf diesen Felsen werde ich meine Kirche bauen..

Ziel: Im Kampf und Laufe des christlichen Lebens halten wir die Treue zu Jesus.

Einfuehrung
Liebe Schwestern und Brueder, heute feiern wir das Hochfest der groessten Apostel Jesu: Petrus und Paulus. Wir sollen uns aber erinnern, dass sie viele Verfolgungen und den Maertyrertod erlitten haben. Sie haben die Treue zu Jesus, unserem Erloeser, gehalten, und heute sind sie unsere grossen Vorbilder im Kampf und Laufe unseres christlichen Lebens. Beide hatten Jesus als den Sohn des lebendiges Gottes erkannt, und beide hatten fuer diesen Glauben den Maertyerrtod erlitten, und beide sind die Felsen, auf denen die christliche Kirche aufgebaut ist. Wir sind also eingeladen, auch im Kampf und Laufe unseres Lebens die Treue zu Jesus zu halten.

A. Für wen haltet ihr mich?
Liebe Schwestern und Brueder, was wir heute feiern, ist das Bekenntnis des Glaubens, das Petrus gegenueber Jesus gemacht hat. Jesus hat sich persoenlich an seine Junger gewandt und gefragt: „Ihr aber, für wen haltet ihr mich?“ Und Petrus bekannte seinen Glauben an Jesus: „Du bist der Messias, der Sohn des lebendigen Gottes!“ Liebe Schwestern und Brueder, Jesus hat viele Sorgen gehabt, weil die Menschen, unter denen er so viele Wunder gewirkt hatte, denen er Essen geschenkt hatte, denen er Daemonen ausgetrieben hatte, ihn nocht nicht verstanden hatten und ihn noch nicht als den Sohn Gottes erkannt hatten. So fragte er seine Juenger nach der Meinung der Leute ueber ihn. Keine Antwort war richtig. Dann fragte er die Juenger nach ihrer eigenen Meinung, und Peterus gab die richtige Antwort: Er bekannte Jesus als Sohn des lebendigen Gottes, als den Messias. Dass Jesus der Messias sei, das hatten die anderen Menschen noch nicht erkannt, weil sie noch nicht bereit waren, ihn anzunehmen. Auch Petrus wurde dieser Glaube von Gott dem Vater geschenkt. Dass Jesus der Messias sei, wurde am Kreuz klar bekannt von einem Solidaten. Seine Identitaet aber wurde fuer alle klar nach seiner Auferstehung und seiner Auffahrt in den Himmel.
Petrus hat auch eine neue Identitaet bekommen. Er ist nicht nur Simon, der Sohn des Jonas, ER ist jetzt PETRUS, und sein neuer Name hat eine Funktion: Jesus wird auf seinem Glauben seine Kirche aufbauen und die Maechtigen der Unterwelt werden sie nicht zerstoeren.
Der heilige Paulus hatte urspruenglich einen anderen Namen: Er hiess Saulus. Saulus traf Jesus in einer Vision auf dem Weg nach Damaskus. Saulus fragte: „Wer bist du ?“ Jesus antwortetete: „Ich bin Jesus, den du verfolgst.“ Diese persoenliche Begegnung mit Jesus war der Umkehrpunkt fuer Saulus. Jetzt wird er Paulus genannt. Durch seinen Glauben wird das Christentum unter den Nationen weltweit ausgebreitet.
Liebe Schwestern und Brueder, wenn wir Jesus als Messias bekennen, wird auch er sich zu uns bekennen und auch uns einen neuen Namen geben. So sagte Er zu Simon, dem Sohn des Jonas: Du bist Petrus. Und zu Saulus sagte Er: Du bist Paulus. Petrus und Paulus sind Namen der Bekenntnisse. Sie sind Namen des Glaubens. Sie sind Tauf-Namen. Wenn wir in Christus getauft sind, dann erhalten wir eine neue Identitaet. Wir sind eine neue Schoepfung.

B. Das Neue Leben in Christus
Liebe Schwestern liebe Brueder, dass neue Leben in Christus ist ein Leben des Kreuzes, ein Leben der Mission und ein Leben durch den Tod zu Christus hin. Die erste Lesung erzaehlt von der Hinrichtung des Jakob, dem Haupt der Kirche in Jerusalem. Die Juden wollten alle Juenger Jesu vernichten. So gefiel es ihnen, dass Herodes Jokobus hinrichtete, und Herodes wollte auch Petrus als Pascha-Opfer hinrichten lassen. Petrus aber wurde vom Engel des Herrn aus der Gefangenschaft wunderbarerweise befreit. Der Herr Jesus konnte also nicht seine Juenger im Stich lassen. Die Juenger hatten ihre Mission zu erfuellen. Es war noch nicht die Zeit fuer Petrus, getoetet zu werden. Verfolgungen wuerden sicher kommen, auch der Maertyrertod. Aber die Juenger Jesu sollten zu ihm Vertrauen haben, weil Er bereit war, sie von ihren Feinden zu befreien. Auch wenn sie den Tod erlitten, wollte Jesus Christus sie von den Toten befreien zum ewigen Leben.
Der Lebenslauf des Paulus zeigt, wie er Verfolgungen erlitt, wie er auch koerperlich misshandelt wurde, und wie er oft laengere Zeit in Gefangenschaft war.
Am Ende ihres Lebens waren Petrus and Paulus in Gefangenscahft in Rom. Beide erlitten den Maertyrertod. Petrus wurde gekreuzigt. Paulus wurde enthauptet. Beide wurden in Rom bestattet: Paulus an der Strasse nach Ostia, heute befinden sich seine sterblichen Ueberreste in der Paulus- Basilika. Petrus wurde am Vatikan-Huegel bestattet, heute befinden sich seine sterblichn Ueberreste in der Petrus-Basilika.
Beide haben ihr Leben fuer Christus geopfert. Wir ehren sie heute, weil sie die Treue an Jesus festgehalten hatten.

C. Im Kampf und Laufe des christlichen Lebens halten wir die Treue an Jesus fest.
Liebe Schwestern und Brueder, jeder, der getauft ist auf den Namen Jesu, hat eine Mission in der Welt. Wir sollen das Evangelium verkuenden nicht nur in unserer Heimat, sondern auch als Missionsprediger sollen wir anderen Menschen den Glauben an Jesus weitergeben. Die Missionare aus Jeruslaem sind im ganzen Roemischen Reich gewesen und haben die Frohbotschaft verkuendigt. Heute sind wir Christen in Deutschland, weil die Missionare zu diesem Land gekommen sind. Einige haben auch ihr Leben als Maertyrer fuer Christus hingegeben. Der heilige Bonifatius zum Beispiel kam aus England und hat Deutschland Christus gebracht, aber er wurde erschlagen in Friesland bei Dokkum. Es gibt viele Missionare, die fuer Christus ihr Leben verloren haben, aber Christus hat ihnen das Ewige Leben geschenkt.

Am Ende seines Lebens konnte Paulus demuetigerweise sagen: „Ich habe den guten Kampf gekaempft, den Lauf vollendet, die Treue gehalten.“ Fuer Paulus ist der Tod ein Aufbruch zu Christus.

Lieber Schwestern und Brueder, wir sind alle im Weltkampf des Glaubens an Jesus Christus. Es gibt Verfolgungen in vielen Laendern gegen Christen. Wir sollen den Mut nicht verlieren. Paulus and Petrus sind Sieger ihrer Zeit und unserer Zeit. Wie sie sollen auch wir am Ende unseres Lebens sagen duerfen: „Ich habe den guten Kampf gekaempft, den Lauf vollendet, die Treue gehalten.“

Daily Reflections of DIVINE MERCY WEEK

8 Jul

MONDAY, YEAR A APRIL 24, 2017

Theme: Share Christ’s Divine Life
1. Acts 4:23-31: AS they prayed, they weill all filled with Holy Spirit
2. Ps 2: Blessed are they who put their trust in God.
3. Jn 3: 1-8: Unless a man is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.

Aim: To live with courage the life of Faith after baptism.

A. Withstanding Persecution
Dear Friends, the First Letter of St. Peter in Yesterday’s Liturgy encouraged the believers to withstand persecutions and even death, because their inheritance is not kept here but in heavens. Those who are baptised, are baptised in the Spirit and they become a new creation. They are no longer ruled by the flesh. They live a life according to the Spirit.
The first reading today is a continuation of this theme of having a new life, and what it means to witness to the Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ.
After Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension to heaven, having mandated his disciples to go out and forgive sins and even retain the forgiveness of those who resist the Gospel, the disciples began proclaiming the good news of the resurrection. Many people came to them and were converted. Those who killed Jesus felt very threatened. They decided also to persecute and kill those who proclaimed that Jesus was alive.
Peter and John, the first Apostles to go to the Tomb and finding it empty, the privileged disciples who witnessed the appearances of the Risen Lord, were the first to proclaim the Good News of the Resurrection. Today’s reading reports that they were arrested by the religious leaders. When they were released, they were not downcast. Instead they saw in their persecution the fulfilment of the Scriptures. What God in David fortold is being fulfilled. We have a people who are arrogant. People who do not want to accept the Truth. So they want also to silence the witnesses of the Resurrection.
But this arrogance will not manage to overcome the courage of the Apostles because of two things. They are people of PRAYER. Secondly, they are filled with the HOLY SPIRIT.

Dear Friends, today’s first reading is giving us an advice of how we should behave in times of adversity, how we should behave when our faith is at stake:
We should take recourse to prayer. In prayer we shall find comfort and encouragement. In prayer also we shall receive the power of God through his Spirit.

B. Understanding Baptism
This power is given to those who are born again. To be born again is not to be taken literally as Nicodemus wanted to do. The being born of Christians is not taking on a new flesh. It is a receiving of a new sonship through the Spirit of God, the Spirit who makes all possible which to us humans is impossible. We do not need to explain how we are born again, because this borders with the mystery of our salvation. We are know God but we believe in his Power, the Transforming Power, that is able to make us a new creation through the sacrament of Baptism.
Baptism is itself like the mystery of the incarnation. Mary could not understand how she could conceive without a man. Nicodemus too could not understand how one could be born again without returning to the Mother’s womb.

C. What it means to share in the divine Life of the Risen Lord
1. To share in divine Life ushered by the Resurrection requires that one must be baptised. The Early Church emphasized the necessity of Baptism in order to belong to the Church and eventually share in the Kingdom of God.
2. One who accepts to be a Christian, to belong to the New Way, must be a person of prayer, with a deep Trust in God. Through Prayer, the believers are strengthen by the Holy Spirit to withstand all trials, including persecution and Martyrdom.
3. We are being invited to Share in Divine Life of the Risen Lord by concretely accepting to face the challenges of everyday life inspired by the principles of the Gospel.

TUESDAY, SECOND WEEK OF EASTER APRIL 25, 2017
ST. MARK THE EVANGELIST

Theme: Go Out and witness to the Risen Lord

1. 1 Pt 5:5-14: Through humility, be servants of each other. Be vigilant against the Devil.
2. Ps 88: I will sing forever of your Love, O Lord.
3. Mk 16: 15-20: Go out to the whole World, proclaim the Good News to all Creation. .

Aim: Believe in Jesus, live in humility and proclaim the Good News.

Mark the Evangelist is the traditionally ascribed author of the Gospel of Mark. Mark is said to have founded the Church of Alexandria, one of the most important episcopal sees of Early Christianity. His feast day is celebrated on April 25, and his symbol is the winged lion.
Mark accompanied St. Paul on his first Missionary Journey, along with Barnabas. He later made Journeys with Barnabas alone. His Gospel, according to some sources, is based on St. Peter’s Teaching in Rome. His Gospel is concise, direct and vivid.

A. Sharing in Divine Life Through Humility and Vigilance

Dear Friends,
The call to Share in the Divine Life of the Risen Lord, is today made more vivid as we celebrate the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. The First reading from the first Letter of St. Peter is an exhortation to us believers to develop a certain way of life conducive to keeping fidelity to our faith. It is the call to live in humility, imitating our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Paul tells us that although Jesus was God, he accepted to humble himself and became one of us, and even went beyond to dying on the Cross. He taught us to be servant of each other in order to be great.
The same reading is an exhortation to put all our Trust in the Risen Lord. We should unloard all our worries on to him, since he looks after us. He is our Shepherd. He feeds his flock. He does not leave his flock unattended.
St. Peter asks of us to be vigilant. There are temptations all around us. There are many enducements all around us. The way we have chosen is not a stable one. We need to protect ourselves against the forces that might want to pull us back. Two tools will help us to withstand these temptations: Strength of faith and knowing that everywhere Christians are persecuted for their faith.
Dear Friends, sharing in the Divine Life of the Risen Lord on Earth involves tracing this very footsteps as he lived on this earth. This entails accepting suffering as well. This suffering however is not worth comparing to the Glory that awaits us.
As Christians we live in hope and Trust in God who is our surety. As Peter says, He will confirm, strengthen and Support us.

B. The Mission to Proclaim the Good News
The Gospel today is an order: “Go out to the Whole World; proclaim the Good News to all Creation”. Dear Friends, to share in the Divinity of Christ means to go out. To go out of ourselves to encounter those outside of us. To go out of our own environment to meet those who are in need of us. We go out with a message: the Good News, that Jesus is Risen from the Dead, that he can never die again, and that Death has no more power over him; that he will come to take us to share in his life of Glory in Heaven.
The Lord who send us out, also equips us with the tools necessary for this mission: The power to cast our devils, the ability to speak in different languages, the protection against all harm; the power to heal the sick.
St. Mark the Evangelist went out of his own country. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas on the Mission of proclaiming the Gospel. More importantly he put the Good News in writing so that all generations, all nations and all peoples would read it and proclaim it.

C. Conclusion
As followers of the Risen Lord, the right way to conduct ourselves is that of humility, vigilance and courage. WE are called to go out without fear and witness to the Risen Lord in Word and Deed. The God would raised Jesus from the Dead will not leave us in danger, instead he will confirm, strengthen, and support us. Ours is only to say Yes to his command to proclaim the Gospel to all Creation.

WEDNESDAY, SECOND WEEK OF EASTER APRIL 26, 2017

Theme: Witnessing to Christ in Persecution

1. Acts 5:17-26: The men you imprisoned are in the Temple preaching.
2. Jn 3: 16-21: God sent his Son in the World that through him the World might be saved. .

Aim: The Lord Jesus is ready to rescue his beloved ones, those who witness to him.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. The Angel of the Lord opened the prison Gates
Dear Friends,
When the Lord Jesus promises to those who believe in him, that they shall not be harmed, that he will protect them, that he will be their advocate and guide, his are not empty words. The Lord brings to pass what he has promised.
In the First reading today, we have heard of how the Lord sent his Angel to open the Prison Gates without breaking them. He opened for his Apostles who had been imprisoned because of jealousy of the High Priest.
The High Priest is jealous of the New Life, the Life of Faith in the Risen Lord. He sees that his following is beginning to dwindle. So he plots to stop it before it is too late. He thinks that by imprisoning the Apostles, this new movement of faith would stop.
Unfortunately, this High Priest does not understand that he is fighting THE HIGH PRIEST, THE LORD HIMSELF. He does not understand that his office is already surpassed. He continues to prefer darkness to Light. The Risen Lord however cannot allow anyone to block his message und his messengers. He will open the prison gates and send his messengers back to the Temple to preach.
The reading of today casts doubt about the seriousness of this High Priest who arrested the Apostles. He has no time to go the Temple. Early morning instead of going to pray, he convenes a meeting away from the Temple. He wants to pass Judgement against the Apostles without recourse to God. Unfortunately, the Apostles are better Priests than himself. They are early in the morning in the Temple. They are not only praying but proclaiming the Good News of the New Way of Life. Indeed the People are very close to them, they are listening attentively to the Message. Their adherence to the New Way becomes as it were a protection for the Apostles against any harm from the Priest of the Temple. The captain of the Temple and his forces were afraid to use force in case the people stoned them.
2. Who ever refuses to believe is condemned already
The Invitation of Today’s Gospel is to believe in the Risen Lord. Jesus is Risen. Jesus is the High Priest, seated at the Right hand of the Father. Jesus is Lord of Heaven and Earth. Jesus will come to Judge the Living and the Dead.
He who believes in the Risen Lord, will have Life and have it in full. He who believes already has passed the judgement. The believer has chosen the Light of Faith.
The Gospel text today points out that many people prefer the darkness to the light. Many people prefer to remain in their sins that to repent them. Many people would prefer to remain unbelievers for other interests than be believers and be saved.
Dear Friends, the Gospel today is an invitation to stick to our faith, even in face of dangers to our earthly existence. The Apostles are our examples. They refused to denounce their Master. They knew the Truth about his Resurrection. Those who refused to accept this Truth and chose to fight the New Way of Life cannot win. The Risen Lord has enough power and authority to make his project succeed.

Conclusion
We are being encouraged to persevere and persist in doing what is right. Although we may face many challenges, some of which might be even life threatening, some of which might deny us our freedom, yet we should be certain that the Risen Lord, who overcame the powers of death, will bring us to success. Our Mission to proclaim the Gospel cannot end in vain. It will end in victory. Let us therefore not fear to witness to the Divine Life of the Risen Lord which we have received through the new birth.

THURSDAY, SECOND WEEK OF EASTER APRIL 27, 2017

Theme: Whom to Fear
1. Acts 5:27-33: Obedience to God comes before obedience to men.
2. Jn 3: 31-36: The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to him .

Aim: Put God first.

A. Whom to obey
Dear Friends, witnessing to the Risen Lord, often will demand from us to make tough choices. Often we are told to obey our elders. There are however situations, where obedience to our elders can do a lot of harm to our salvation or even to our institutions when what they demand us to do is contrary to the God’s will. This was the case with the Apostles, faced with the demand of the priests, Pharisees and Sadducees not to talk about Jesus and not to preach the Good News that invoked the Name of Jesus.
Peter representing the Apostles, and representing us, has given us the Principal to follow, when hard situations are before us regarding obedience, namely, “Obedience to God come before obedience to man”.
Dear Friends, there are today many people languishing in prison because they prefer to follow their consciences rather than accept the status quo. Many people have lost their jobs when it requires them to act against their beliefs. We must therefore be ready to pay the cost of these decisions.
B. Jesus the beloved Son of God, God has entrusted everything to him.
The Gospel today shows that Jesus, after his Resurrection was entrusted with full power. God entrusted him everything. He has the key to Life, he has the Key to death. He has the key to forgiveness but also the key to condemn. Anyone therefore who decides against him, is making a wrong choice since he or she cannot win. The Gospel reminds us and exhorts us to have Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. Whoever shares in the divine life of Jesus, the Christ, must be ready to accept the cost of discipleship, which means total obedience to the demands of the Gospel, namely obedience to Jesus and the requirement to preach the Gospel to all Creation, even in face of opposition or even threat of death

FRIDAY, SECOND WEEK OF EASTER APRIL 28, 2017

Theme: God’s Providence

1. Acts 5:34-42: Leave these men alone and let them go. Then they preached daily in Temple and private houses.
2. Ps 26: One thing I ask of the Lord, to live in the house of the Lord.
3. Jn 6: 1-15: Jesus gave all who were seated enough of bread and fish to eat, and more was left .

Aim: We shall live and succeed by God’s providence.

A. Do not worry about who will defend you ?
Dear Friends, the call to share in the divine life of the Risen Lord, has its own risks. There is hatred, there is persecution, there is taking the followers of Jesus in court. Jesus had already foretold all this. Jesus himself underwent all these challenges. Yet he remained obedient to his Father’s will. He did not shun his call.
The first reading today illustrated God’s provident action to the persecuted disciples after the resurrection. They were being persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and harassed. There seemed to be no hope that they would one day enjoy peace.
Today’s first reading presents an unexpected defence from unexpected Source. This comes in the person of Gamaliel, a distinguished Pharisee and great Teacher, who commanded the respect of all those who were persecuted the disciples of Jesus. He made it clear, that Jesus was not the first person killed in the movement of the Jews to get liberated from the oppressors. Many figures like Theudas und Judas had come before Jesus. They were killed and their movements died out. Not so however is with the movement of jesus which is gaining strength day by day. Gamaliel gave a wise counsel, namely to let time be the judge. If the movement of the disciples of Jesus comes from men, it would die out, but if it comes from God, then it shall continue despite the persecutions and harassment. It would be fighting against God himself, and no man can win such a fight.
Indeed Gamaliel was right. The Movement of the Disciples was from God and it has continued to flourish till our own day.

B. Do not worry about Food.
God’s providence is seen in today’s Gospel, where Jesus feeds so many people using a few loaves of bread and a few pieces of fish. As the number of the disciples grew, one of the questions was how the communities would be maintained. We are told in the first chapters of the Acts of Apostles, that those who followed the new way sold all they had and brought them at the feet of the disciples and put all at the common use. Every one was happy with what they shared. This however was not to last forever. Some disciples fell to temptations of selfishness and began hiding something for themselves. Certainly many without working meant that there would be little resources to share. How then would they survive. The Gospel of today shows that Jesus is able to feed his followers even from scanty resources.
The priority of the disciples after the resurrection therefore is not the care about material things and material comfort or even subsistence. The apostles in the chapter six of the acts of Apostles will indicate that distributing food is not their primary duty. All the apostles and disciples must first proclaim the kingdom of God and all the rest shall be given to them.

C. Believe in God’s Providence
We have the duty to work and fend for what we have to eat. We spend some time therefore in the field struggling to produce what we shall eat. Paul himself encourages everyone to work for what he eats. Yet such efforts should never take priority over the mandate to go out and preach the Gospel.
Sharing in the divine life of the Risen Lord means to believe in God’s providence. God is not only ready to defend us against those who persecute us; he is also ready to provide for our material needs.

SATURDAY, SECOND WEEK OF EASTER APRIL 29, 2017
St. Catherine of Siena virgin and doctor of the Church

Theme: Do not be Afraid
1. Acts 6:1-7: They elected seven men full of the Holy Spirit.
2. Ps 32: May your Love be upon us Lord, as we put our trust in you.
3. Jn 6: 16-21: They saw Jesus walking on the Lake.

Aim: Love God whole heartedly and serve him unreservedly

Catherine of Siena born in 1347 in Siena, became a member of the Order of St. Dominic. Full of Love of God and neighbour, strove to bring peace to the quarrelling factions in Italy and restore the rights of Papacy. The Pope lived in Avignon, in France. She was contemplative and ascetic.

A. Discrimination vs Love and Preaching
Dear Friends, sharing in the Divine life of the Risen Lord, requires that we have unconditional Love for each other. This Love is for our neighbours first rather than for ourselves. Unfortunately, this new Love could not easily be absorbed by the Hebrew speaking Christians who took themselves as the stand. They loved themselves first. This attitude resulted into discrimination, as the widows of the Greek speaking Jews were often not served if the Hebrew widows had not all received the service. This was uncristinan and the Greek members brought this at the attention of the Apostles, who decided to choose seven men full of the Holy Spirit and Wisdom.
We are seeing here a parallel of the building of the the nation of Israel by Moses, when he freed the people from Egypt. God advised him to choose 70 elders and to task them with light matters so that he was to concentrate only the the most important issues of leadership.
Likewise, the community of believers is increasing in number. The Twelve Apostles cannot have enough time to involve themselves in the daily scripples and complaints of the believers. They have to delegate some of their powers to the Deacons to help in some of the dimensions of life which do not necessarily require the presence of the Apostles.
This is the birth of the principle of Subsidiarity and also the beginning of creating a hierarchy among the Christian communities.

B. Jesus Walks on the Water
The Gospel presents to us the apostles in great danger, as their boat on the sea is threaten by violent waves to the point of sinking. Jesus characteristically tells them: “Do not be afraid, it is I”. This event is very important both in the lives of the Apostles but also in the life of the Church. When the going is not easy, when the Church is under many threats like a boat at a rough see, Jesus says: “Do not be afraid”. We should not be afraid, because Jesus has the power of all other powers. Even the forces of nature obey him. There is nothing that is capable of overcoming his might.
This awareness of the all powerful nature of Jesus made St. Paul write his poem: What can separate us from the Love of Christ ? Nothing can.

C. Example of St. Catherine of Siena
Today we are celebrating the memoria of St. Catherine of Siena, a woman who excelled where men of her time had failed. She was a Dominican Sister, ascetic and contemplative. She waged a lot of influence in striving for peace in Italy between warring factions and cities. She was also instrumental for the return of the Pope from Avignon in France back to Rome. She reminds us, that with God nothing is impossible. She trusted in God, she participated in the divine life of the Risen Lord, and was able to command respect and obedience from all those who came in contact with her. With God, nothing is impossible.

THE DIVINE LIFESTYLE OF BELIEVERS

8 Jul

LOW SUNDAY OR DIVINE SUNDAY, YEAR A APRIL 23, 2017

Theme: THE DIVINE LIFESTYLE OF BELIEVERS
1. Acts 2:42-47: The New Lifestyle of Believers in the Risen Lord
2. Ps 117: Give thanks to the Lord, for his Love is without End.
3. 1 Pt 1: 3-9: We have received a new birth – through the Risen Lord.
4. Jn 20: 19-31: As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.

Aim: That we may share in Christ’s Divine Life.

Introduction
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The three readings of today’s liturgy contain the call to share in the Divine Life of the Risen Lord and his mission of Divine Mercy. The First Reading (Act 2:42-47) presents to us the new life-style of those who believed and were baptised in the Name of the Risen Lord. Their New Life-style is explained in the Second reading (1 Pt1:3-9) in which Peter tells us that we have received a new Birth through the Victory of the Risen Lord to become Children of God with an inheritance that is heavenly. The Gospel reminds us that now we have the Mission to do the divine Work which God the Father had entrusted to his Son Jesus, the Christ. This new State of Life and Mission would not have been possible, save the Divine Mercy of God, who sent his Son that we might be saved through him. So today, Mother Church celebrates what is known as Divine Mercy Sunday.

A. Beginning a New Life in Christ, the Risen Lord
The first summary is taken from Acts 2:42-47. ‘The new converts remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. The many miracles and signs worked through the apostles made a deep impression on everyone. The faithful all lived together, and owned everything in common; they sold their goods and possessions and shared out the proceeds among themselves according to what each one needed. They went as a body to the Temple every day but met in their houses for the breaking of bread; they shared their food gladly and generously; they praised God and were looked up to by everyone. Day by day the Lord added to their community those destined to be saved.’
The First reading has presented us the summary of the new Life style of those who accepted Jesus as the Christ, and were baptised in his name by which they acquired the status of believers. This narration is similar to what many of you have experienced by joining Katigondo Seminary in which you gain a new status of being called a Major Seminarian. It is the experience of initiation into a new community.
a. Entering Katigondo Seminary for training.
Before entering Katigondo Seminary, one has already covered some years of preparation in the minor seminary or at least one year of preparation in one’s Diocese after successfully completing secondary School training. One will make an application, undergo scrutiny involving medical check up and finally receive an invitation to come to Katigondo. The day of arrival is very important. The new entrants are received at the seminary gate and directed to the Rector’s office where they are registered, given keys of their assigned rooms, and the booklet called Life at Katigondo. Then they are escorted to their rooms and showed also other important places where to go after. For a week they undergo an orientation course in which they are instructed how to live as a major seminarian in Katigondo. After this week of orientation life begins:
Some new members however might receive unsolicited instruction when the old members arrive. They might be asked: in which Team are you ? If one replies for example that he has been given a room in Team X: He might get a reply like this: “You man, you are finished”, and they will tell him how Team X Chaplain is very tough, and how life there is difficult. Those who have received such information at the end of their stay confess that they had been misinformed and misled. They confess that team 10 with their chaplain, is the best to live in this seminary.
b. The New life of converts to the New Church
Dear Friends, the first reading is a summary of the life in the New Church of the Followers of the Jesus Christ after the Resurrection. Those who have been baptised in Easter Vigil, how do they conduct their lives:
1. They remain faithful to the teaching of the apostles.
2. They remain faithful to brotherhood
3. they remain faithful to the breaking of bread
4. and they remain faithful to prayers.
The reading elaborates especially three very important and practical aspects: the life of brotherhood and the life of prayer and Eucharist.
1) Life of brotherhood: the faithful lived together; they owned everything in common; they sold their goods and possessions and shared the proceeds among themselves, and they shared according to what each needed and not according to what each contributed. This is the ideal brotherhood or sisterhood, a similar narration which we find in the Republic of Plato: to work to the best of our abilities and to share according to each one’s needs and not wants or desires. It is a life of paradise on earth. This is not a life of mere mortals.
2) Life of Prayer: They moved as a body every day to the Temple for prayers. Dear friends, these words: they moved as a body, are very important. They moved as one family, as one group, clearly identified. They moved as body with one purpose. Moving as a body also involves the element of security. There is a saying that an animal which stays out of the herd is likely to be eaten by predators. To move as a body is very important even today. In a body, one expects to have support, to be advised, to feel one with the rest. To move alone is to expose oneself to temptations and to many dangers.
3) They met in their houses for breaking of bread and shared their food gladly and generously. The Converts, who will later be called Christians, now called believers, could not celebrate the Eucharist in the Temple. They did this in their houses. And in addition to the Eucharist, they would also continue and have their meals. It is very important to note the words that Luke uses: They shared their food – gladly and generously. We see a community full of life, joy and enthusiasm. We see a community full of readiness to give, to share, without reserve. They felt at home, in every house in which they celebrated the Eucharist. At this material time, we are not hearing of complaints, that some are eating more than others, we do not hear of complaints of segregation, we do not hear of any quarrels. Instead, after eating, their lips were full of praise to God and their joy and love for each other radiated out. Indeed, everyone look up to them. They became models of life and consequently, many people became attracted to their groups and their numbers increased day by day. They did not need to proclaim that Jesus is Risen, their style of life Proclaimed the good News and people came to them, they were instructed and baptised, and the community of believers continued to grow. They witnessed the Risen Lord by their way of Life. Indeed they fulfilled what Jesus said in the Gospel according to John: By this they will know you are my disciples: Love one another. I can assure you brothers and sisters: a community without love is not worth imitating. It repels those who would have liked to join it. A community full of love is like a magnet. It attracts all who come in contact with it.

B. What caused the Change in the believers ?
The second reading explains to us the source of this new life.
1. Those who are called believers in fact got a new birth. They were baptised in the name of Jesus, the Risen Lord. They shared in his divine life. It is not they who lived, but Christ lived in them.
2. They are now new creatures, no longer under the bondage of sin which separates people from each other and consequently from God. These through baptism, become Sons and daughter of God. They are no longer the cursed children of Adam, born with original sin. They have been washed white with the blood of the Lamb. They are taken back to the garden of Eden. They are able to live in paradise on earth. As Children of God, they are sharing in divine life.
3. Their life is full of joy, because nobody can take this joy away from them. They have been promised an inheritance in heaven. There in heaven lies their treasure. They live with a sure hope and promise of eternal life.
4. They live with self- confidence. God will guide them and protect them till the end of time. This guarantee of God’s nearness and protection is the source of courage for the believers, to withstand persecutions, harassments and even death. The believers will thank God for having been tortured and imprisoned for the sake of Jesus. Some will be put to death, but this will only serve to strengthen the community of believers. Frankly speaking, the believers no longer live according to the normal principles of life. They way they live cannot be explained unless one recognises that they have received a divine force, that theirs is a share in the divine life, made possible through the Sacrifice of Jesus, who rose from the and has bequeathed his life to those who believe in him.

C. The Mission of Divine Mercy
Dear Friends, the New Life Style, which is a restored life resembling that before The Fall is a life which contains a missionary mandate to exercise God’s power of forgiveness that ushers into peace.
1. The New Community of believers are messengers of Peace: because that is the greeting that they should always take with them on mission: Peace be with you. Christians are not messengers of war. They are to carry the peace to the world, which they world itself cannot give.
2. This peace is possible only through forgiving. This forgiveness too does not originate from human power. It originates from God the Father: Jesus mandates his disciples in these words: “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you: ” The mission the Father gave to his Son is now given to the disciples. Notice that John does not give this privilege to the Apostles. It is the disciples whom he appeared to, this time including Thomas. We know from other texts, that there were other disciples who were with the Apostles in hiding, those who were witnesses of his life, passion and death and resurrection. By this criterion, Matthias will be chosen to take the place of Judas. Everyone therefore who believes in the Risen Lord, becomes partaker of this Mission of Divine Mercy, the Mission to forgive our brothers and sisters according to how Jesus would forgive them.

D. Our Life in the Risen Lord
Dear Friends, the community of Katigondo and all who are celebrating with us, the basic question now is: How far are we nearer to this First Community of Believers, who led a divine life style because they shared the new life of the Risen Lord? How are we committed to the life of brotherhood, the life of prayer, the life the Eucharist and the mission of forgiveness? Do we realise that we have the Spirit of Christ and the power to share in the divine life of the Risen Lord? We are being invited not only to be sharers of the divine life of the Risen Lord here on earth but to make it efficacious, visible and missionary. Precisely our community should radiate that divine Mercy and Love that God showed us through his Risen Son, Jesus Christ by being faithful and committed to the teaching of the Apostles, to brotherhood, to prayers, to the Eucharist and to a life of joy and forgiveness.

GOD IS WITH US

8 Jul

CHRISTMAS SUNDAY

25TH DECEMBER 2016 YEAR A

THEME: GOD IS WITH US

1. Isa 52:7-10: Messengers from Mountains announcing Good News of restoration
2. Ps 98: All the Ends of the Earth have seen the salvation of our God
3. Heb 1:1-6: Now God has spoken to us directly through his Son
4. Jn 1:1-18: The Word was made flesh and dwells among us.

Aim: To know that our flesh is the only means of being saved; so it has to learn to obey

Introduction
Dear brothers and Sisters, today we are celebrating the Feast of God becoming Flesh. God is becoming one like us. He is no longer a spirit. God has bones, flesh and blood. God has become truly a human being in order to speak to us in our own language and in our own environment. He loves our flesh, he wants to make it holy and to enable us both body and soul and spirit, to come back to God. Without our bodies, there is no resurrection, there is no defeat for death, and there is no redemption. God will redeem us therefore through our own flesh. Jesus has come to share our humanity that we should also share in his divinity.

A. Good News for People who lived in darkness and shadow of death
Dear Brothers and sisters, the Feast of today is celebrating the Good News, that a Child is born, who will restore us from the oppression of our enemies. The first enemy for the Jews were the foreign powers who had not only occupied Israel but had reduced the Temple into ruins, and had carried many people into exile where there was no possibility of official worship, where they had no king, no leader and no hope to become a people a gain. The first reading announces that a messenger is coming. He is announcing that Israel is going to be restored. That Israel is going to become a Kingdom again, that Israel is going to have Temple and its own government. It is the news of liberation. The Prophet Isaiah was announcing many years before the birth of the Saviour, that time would come when Israel would be redeemed.

B. All Prophets and Messengers failed to make people convert
The Second reading from the letter to the Hebrews underlines the fact, that God used different means to make people understand that he would redeem them, but they never accepted that message. After trying all means and failed, he had yet the remaining card, the last card. This was to come directly by sending his only Son to become a human being like us. In this way he hoped that by looking at a fellow human being, who would be completely obedient to his Father’s Will, to God’s Will, also others would do the same. Jesus came as a truly human being, born of a woman like any other man, belonging to a certain family, like any other child, not privileged like many well to do but identifying with the poor and marginalized. The Son of God came in the most simple and humble way, in order to reach the most humble and to raise them up to the greatest heights when they accept his teaching. Did he succeed?

C. People preferred darkness to light
Dear Friends, the Gospel today is what is known as the Introduction of the whole Message as found in the Gospel according to John. The Child, who has been born in a humble way, is in fact God himself. It is through him that all things came to be. It is through him that all things will be restored. There is no power in heaven and on Earth which is greater than him. He is the Light. By his light, the darkness of the World, the evil forces in the World are defeated.
Yet he came to his own but they did not receive him. Many people chose to remain in their darkness. Many people preferred to remain in their sins. Many people even today still prefer to remain in a state of war, injustice, and ignorance, when true knowledge, liberation and peace are available. Even today, there are people who have rejected Jesus, they have rejected salvation, they have chosen the way of death.
Some however received him. These he made them into children of God and showered them with all Graces. Those who accept Jesus, live in this world as he did. They proclaim to others the Good News, the do good to others through charitable deeds, they heal the sick, they visit those in prison and under oppression, and they are looking for all opportunities to reconcile those in antagonism and war. Those who accept Jesus, lead a life of freedom, free from slavery of attachment to material possessions, free from bodily lusts, free from greed for power. They are free from all earthly enslaving cravings in order to be free to serve God.

D. WE shall have eternal life only through our bodies
Dear Friends, today we are celebrating the Feast of Incarnation. God made man. God- with – us. Emmanuel, the child Jesus is born. He has come to tell us that our bodies are good. He has come to teach us that our bodies are the temples of God. He has come to tell us that what is saved is not the Soul alone but the soul and the body. All over the world, today people are indeed enjoying eats and drinks. They are using their bodies to celebrate the birthday of Jesus, who is the source of all life. We are celebrating bodily life which is the door to eternal life that includes our glorified bodies. Dear Friends without Christmas, there is no Easter. Without the body, there is no resurrection.
For the body to be redeemed, we have to learn to obey. We have to learn to work with it in the right way. We have to stop it from separating us from what God wants. This is obedience. Jesus himself learnt to obey. We too with Him shall learn to obey in order to be saved. Let us glorify God and enjoy doing God’s will through our bodies.