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Sunday reflections

Sunday reflections (267)

Find all the sunday reflections by our priests at the parish here.

Apr 7, 2015

Easter Sunday

Written by Published in Sunday reflections

Theme: It is the good news of our salvation

We have journeyed with Jesus Christ since Ash Wednesday, climax on Palm Sunday, setting stage for action on Holy Thursday, the challenge of Good Friday and the JOY of Easter Sunday. What could be your version of the good news of Jesus of Nazareth? In the film, after the crucifixion of Jesus on Calvary and his hasty burial, members of the Sanhedrin received shocking news informing them that the itinerant teacher and healer was alive after his followers claimed that his tomb had been found empty. Others people were spreading the news that they had experienced his risen presence. At that, the Jewish official moaned softly and sighed almost inaudibly. And so indeed it was; the resurrection of Jesus marked the beginning of a new way of life centered in Christ Jesus, who died but now lives forever.

Acts 2:14.22-33 Ps.151; Mt.28:8-15.

Theme of the readings.

The Easter message is Jn.3:16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave it his only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.’ In other words the suffering, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus is not a chain of events meant only to prove the divinity of God but rather it is a sequence of accomplishment of the means of human salvation. You and I have been saved by the water, blood and Cross of Jesus. So keep your eyes fixed on the crucified and Risen Lord!

Theme: Do this in memory of me

My brothers and sisters in Christ, in order to prepare ourselves to commemorate the glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on Easter Day, today, we are celebrating Holy Thursday. This Feast solemnly commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist. During the history of the Holy Catholic Church, this special Feast has been associated with the reconciliation of penitents, the consecration of the holy oils, the washing of the feet, the commemoration of the Blessed Eucharist and Institution of Ministerial Priesthood. Holy Thursday is the night on which our Lord Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples. What went through their mind on that night, we will never know. We can only imagine. What we do know is that Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from the world and to go to the Father.

While Jesus had been preparing His disciples for some time, hinting to them that He was about to be betrayed and crucified, the disciples did not appear to perceive what Jesus was telling them. Remember, they were fishermen by origin. They had barely any education except that they knew about boats and nets. Before celebrating this last meal with his disciples, Jesus washed their feet saying that “as I have loved you, you also love one another” John 13: 34. The significance of this is that God intends to make sure that love and service are at the heart of his followers. Like the rest of us the disciples had been more impressed with his miracles, infinite wisdom and His endless knowledge but what was of value was love. While they affirmed that Jesus was the Son of God and the Messiah, their actions at the time of his arrest will clearly tell us that they were very weak in human nature and only love could strengthen. Today our love for one another must rise and shine.

Theme: Fidelity leads to victory

In most areas of the world, a visit from the Roman Pontiff would be received with great anticipation. As soon as the scheduled visit is announced, elaborate preparations begin, sometimes as early as one or two years in advance. Certain cities have chosen to build a vast meeting center to accommodate the thousands who will come to acknowledge the visit of one so important. Roads are repaired, landscapes are refurbished with fresh plantings of flowering trees, bushes and plants.

In Africa however preparations are less complex, but no less taxing. For example, when Popes Paul VI and John Paul II visited Uganda, the roadways were edged with freshly cut matoke or banana plants. Considering the fact that matoke is the main staple of the daily diet in Uganda, the people had paid great tribute to these Pontiffs in cutting down and offering their very sustenance food to welcome them. Colorful flower petals arranged in various designs decorated the pathways and the people turned out in their Sunday best, stood along both sides of the roads shouting their welcome in each place the Pope passed.

Theme: Wounded healers

A missionary went to Sudan to preach the good news, he encountered untold hardships. During his seven-year mission, he suffered hunger and privation; for seventeen months he was held in Jaffa Prison and was subjected to incredible abuse and torture. As a result, his body was scarred for life from the beatings and by the iron shackles and chains he was forced to wear. Throughout many sufferings he remained undeterred in his resolve. When he was miraculously released from prison, he asked the civil authorities for permission to resume his work for the sake of the gospel. With indignation, the man in charge denied him request, saying, ‘my people are not foolish enough to listen to anything you say but I fear they may be impressed by your scars and thereby be convinced to turn to your religion!’ As the days of Lent flow away, we are leading nearer and nearer to the culmination of this holy season. The Church, through the liturgical readings, has kept us alert to what Jesus is saying to us. At this point we are invited to be once again impressed by the scars of Jesus and thereby be more deeply convinced of the saving merciful love of God for all people.

Theme: Lord, make me remember

Having arrived at the halfway in our annual Lenten journey we are invited today to look back on what has transpired this far and to press onward for what is yet to come. The saying goes that “those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it” cf. George Santayana The Life of Reason, 1905. It is most sure that this same understanding of the human experience prompted the Chronicles to lead their contemporaries through a quick overview of their past performance as a people.

The word of God today invites us to reflect on the transcendent God who has chosen to be friendly to humankind. The demands of the law and authentic worship featured in our readings should be understood not as orders that burden us but as a divine gift and gracious guidance. Rather than think of the commandments just as rules set forth by a potentate, perhaps it is more appropriate to regard them as words to live by. Indeed, in both Hebrew/debarim and Greek/decalogue the commandments are not called rules but words which have been offered within the context of an ongoing dialogue also known as the covenant. God’s commandment is always a word addressed by a person to a person. It is only under a regime of dialogue and communion that it becomes livable.

Theme: Allowing God to take over

Several months ago, the television and print media carried the story in a certain country of a person who died in tragic circumstances. Armed attackers surprised the family that was on their way home. Although most of the family members were able to escape, some of the bullets had hit the young boy, while he slept in the back seat. A short time later, the child was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. People were shocked and outraged as the sad news was reported. But public outrage was soon replaced by wonder and admiration. The boy’s family arranged that all of their son’s vital organs be harvested and donated. As a result, the lives of eight people, each of whom received one or more of the child’ healthy organs, were forever changed. For some it meant being able to see again; for others death was postponed because a young vital organ had replaced an aged defective one. Because organ donation is such a rarity in the world of today, the gift of life was all the more remarkable. As I heard the story of the young boy and learned of the aftermath of his death, I was reminded of another time and place and the death of another son, whose dying brought life to so many. It is the life-giving death of this other son, namely, Jesus, which is the focus of our scripture readings for today.

Theme:  Watching and overcoming temptation

For the better part of my life, I have thought of Lent as a season of introspection, a time of taking personal inventory, a period of soul-searching and self-examination. These six weeks, set aside each year by the Church, have afforded me an annual opportunity for a sort of spiritual spring cleaning. I have looked at Lent as an invitation to recognize my failures and sinfulness, to seek forgiveness and to form a new resolve in order to grow deeper in faith, more fervent in love and firm in hope. Admittedly, this personal experience of Lent is necessary and important, however, if I look only within myself, my focus becomes too narrow, my horizons too limited, my ideals too personal. But there is another aspect of this season which merits consideration. Through the readings, signs and bywords which characterize the Lenten respite, the Church challenges each one of us to turn his/her gaze away from self in order to look at God.

Theme: Be purified and be reconciled with God

My brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are entering a new season, one of penance and mortification. Together, we have gathered here to celebrate Ash Wednesday, the first of forty days of the Lenten Season that precedes Easter. On this special occasion, we are called to be reconciled to God. Through the sacramental of ashes that is symbolic of penance, we are reminded that we as sinners are but dust and ashes cf. Genesis 18:27

Today, in preparation for the joy of Easter that approaches, we need to call upon the mercy of the Lord Jesus, asking Him for His blessings and forgiveness for the Heavenly Father does not want us to die but to live with the risen Christ who reigns forever and ever. As such, through the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, we ought to prepare ourselves to celebrate the death and glorious Resurrection of Christ our Saviour by being cleansed from our sins through a renewal of spirit.

Theme: Nothing can quarantine us from the love of God

Through the centuries, humanity has been beset by a myriad of illnesses some of which have altered the course of history. For example, in 1348 the Black Death or Bubonic plague first reached Europe from the East. By 1350, more than half the population of the continent had died. In about 20 years, the plague reduced the population of the civilized world by 75 percent! In 1918 influenza claimed more than 20,000,000 people worldwide; with more than 548,000 succumbing in Africa alone.

In the 1940s, polio swept the world, leaving thousands crippled and maimed in its wake. Nearer to our times, cancers of all kind continue to afflict and kill thousands, Malaria still kill people today in millions while Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and EBOLA have yet to be completely understood and are far from being controlled. When these and so many other common ailments strike, one of the first reactions is to quarantine the sick so as to protect the healthy. Separated from rest of society, those held in quarantine suffer doubly, first from their illness and then from the isolation. In the ancient world, victims of leprosy knew all too well this double dose of suffering.

Theme: Dealing With Discrepancies

Only some will argue about the fact that God’s concerns are universal and that the call to discipleship has been graciously and indiscriminately extended to all people of every race, nationality, gender, creed and background. It is only when we come to put facts into practice that a gaping rift between the ideal and the reality we too easily accept. What accounts for this discrepancy? All such discrepancies can be answered in one word: PREJUDICE. Prejudice creates the gaping rift between God’s universal vision and our often myopic and selective insight. Prejudice decides that certain people are better than others and more worthy of attention, while it writes off others as valueless and not worth the effort.

Prejudice has gone to the voting polls and presidential palaces worldwide leaving thousands refuges, dead and displaced. Prejudice organized and executed the systematic annihilation of six million Jews whose beliefs and traditions were considered a threat to racial purity. Prejudice rounded up and forcibly detained and executed European citizens in Nazi camps during World War II. Prejudice denied women in the U.S. the right to vote until 1921. Prejudice kept Citizens of South Africa divided for decades until some had to go to war. Prejudice Kept North and South Sudan at war against one another for 50 years and thereafter a useless civil war that is leaving millions dead or in exile.

Theme: A Prophet Like Moses

In every age there has always been urgent need for men, women and children of courage willing to raise their voices in the service of the truth and to confront injustice wherever and whenever it existed. Such work however requires a thick skin; a heart warm enough to forgive and big enough to forget the offenses of others; a willingness to begin anew each day, enough strength of spirit to be lonely and unpopular, a faith that believes that the impossible can be realized and that the seemingly insurmountable is only a stepping stone to further challenges. Those who attempt this often difficult and unpleasant task should expect no gratitude or praise for their efforts; rather, they must accept to bear the brunt of criticism and at times hostility. Those seeking stability, security and personal satisfaction should channel their efforts elsewhere.

As unappealing as it seems, these courageous, willing and capable are those few people who through the centuries have had the generosity of heart and the clarity of spirit to respond to this world’s challenge. We call these courageous souls witness, martyrs and prophets. As regards the history of our salvation, these were the people who were sensitive enough to hear the call of God and strong enough to respond to it. These were the people who so understood and accepted their solidarity with the worldwide human family that they were ready to suffer its rejection rather than shun their responsibility to bring the light and truth of God’s Word to bear on every aspect of the human experience. Depending on what the situation or particular circumstance may warrant, the Word of God, as mediated by the prophets can either “root up and tear down, destroy and demolish or build and plant” Jeremiah 1:10.

Theme: Work and prayer must be our choice

What do you do for a living? What are you going to do when you grow up? Questions like these have launched many a conversation. But, far from simply being ‘ice-breakers’ or ‘small-talk’, questions like these probe an elemental aspect of the human experience. Why? Because these are not fundamentally questions about jobs and pay but questions about life. . . my life, your life. Work is whatever we put ourselves into, whatever we expend energy on for the sake of accomplishing or achieving something. Ideally, work is not what we do for a living but what we do with our living.

Fortunate are those whose work is a fulfilling and worthwhile expression of their talents and character. Personally, I have always felt most privileged in that, for all of my adult life, I have been either teaching Catholic faith or writing about it. For me, this has been a labor that I thoroughly enjoy and in which I find ever-growing fulfillment. I have often compared myself to a tennis player who spends their day at a game they love and makes a living at it! However, I am well aware that mine is not a universal experience.

For many people, work is a burdensome task which is unhappily carried out because life’s necessities demand that it be so. There are many who must spend hours each day, year in and year out, at a job which is unfulfilling in order to put food on the table, pay for life demands and put fuel in the car. How can such work bring meaning or joy to life? How can it be an adequate expression of a person’s unique gifts and personality? Obviously it cannot, but there is a remedy to this seemingly irreparable situation. While one may not be able to leave the job or the work is required to do, it is possible to change the attitude with which work is approached and accomplished.

 Theme: Here I am

A simple glance at the readings of today will enable you to easily identify their unifying theme, which is ‘vocation’. Samuel was called by God for service and was aided to discern the authenticity of his vocation by his mentor, Eli. In the second reading, Paul’s exhorts Corinthians to keep focused on their vocation to follow Christ. This demands a new way of life which reflects the presence of the Spirit. St John describes Christian vocation as a personal invitation to come to Christ, see the truth and to stay faithful with him throughout life. All these combined remind us of our vocation as the baptized; we need to respect our vocations.

Is.60:1-6; Ps.71; Eph.3:2-6; Mt.2:1-12.

Theme of the readings

"Open your treasures!" This theme indicates the action of the Wise men when they found the Messiah. We are told that they opened their treasures and gave gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to the new born king. They gave the best and most valuable gifts from what they had as a sign of their gratitude to God for the fulfilment of the Promises of God to the world. 

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Luganda: 7:30 am.  English: 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 5;00 pm.

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About Our Church

Welcome to Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. We are located near Bugolobi Township in Nakawa Division. It is about 5 kms from the City Centre of Kampala. Mbuya Catholic Parish is a vibrant and diverse community made up of people from different parts of Uganda. We welcome you warmly and joyfully.

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