Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Pre-eminent

Friday of 22nd week in Ordinary Time Year I
(Col 1:15-20; Lk 5:33-39)
Today, Paul's letter to the Colossians introduces Jesus to us in an excellent way. This poetic rendition of Jesus is full of meaning and ever alive. It draws one to deep meditation.

“Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation...” St Paul explains that Jesus is pre-eminent over everything created, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities. Thus, “in Him all things hold together”, such that whatever does not find reference in Jesus is like a branch that is cut off. In Jesus the fullness of God dwells in our midst, and through His Cross we are reconciled to God.

It is only by revelation that one can grasp the mystery of Jesus as God among us. Faith is the key! Little wonder the Pharisees complained that Jesus' disciples were not seen fasting. He answered them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the Bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the Bridegroom is taken away from them,  and they will fast in those days.” In order words, Jesus is the reason we fast; we fast to be with Jesus. He is the pre-eminent; the answer to our prayers. This understanding is new and foreign to the Pharisees. 

“And no one puts new wine in old wineskins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.” A new order has dawned. Jesus Christ is the new way. He has been introduced to us perfectly as God in our midst, such that He is above all and leads all to God. “Make your own the mind of Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5). The new wine of love and grace that Christ pours into our hearts as the pre-eminent and first born of all creation cannot be contained in the old wineskin of the Pharisees, which places external legal observances above all others.

Thus we gather around the Eucharistic table, where Jesus is above all, the priest and victim, to offer ourselves and to receive Jesus as the answer to our prayers. In Him all things hold together.

Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
St Joseph the Worker Chaplaincy,
Trade Fair Complex,  Lagos.
Friday September 6th, 2019.

The Inheritance in Light

Thursday of 22nd week in Ordinary Time Year I
(Col 1:9-14; Lk 5:1-11)
St Paul was full of joy for the Colossians for their love, and he prayed that God sustain them in spiritual wisdom and understanding. He glorified God, “who has  qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” God delivered us from wasteful life—the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

In the Gospel, Peter and his companions had a wasteful night as they toiled through the sea but caught no fish. After using his boat to teach in the morning Jesus said to him, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” They did this and caught great shoal. This was an awesome experience for them. Jesus filled their emptiness; He transformed their labours to fruitfulness. But it was just a sign. There was still a greater inheritance He would invite them to share...

Peter got the sign. In a swift of reflection on the sudden catch, he got the message hidden in the sign. He fell at the feet of Jesus saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” It takes a humble and reflective person to allow his encounter with Jesus Christ to reveal and heal his hidden self. Now Peter offered himself not just his boat to Jesus. So from transforming his labours, Jesus would transfer him from the dominion of darkness to the Kingdom of Light through the forgiveness of his sins.

Finally, Jesus qualified them to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” Jesus became their ultimate inheritance! They laboured all night trying to catch fish, but the giver of fish offered Himself freely for them. Therefore, “They left everything and followed Him.”

Thus we need to grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that we can recognise the signs each day and locate ourselves in Jesus, to bear fruit in every good work. Then Jesus will qualify us, and transfer us to inherit His Kingdom of Light as we follow Him wholeheartedly.

Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
St Joseph the Worker Chaplaincy,
Trade Fair Complex,  Lagos.
Thursday September 5th, 2019.