Thursday, January 16, 2020


                    Reflection for Friday  of the First Week in Ordinary Time Year A
                                       (1Sam 8:4-7, 10-22; Mk 2:1-12)
Now our beloved Samuel is old. Unfortunately, his children did like the sons of Eli, unfit to succeed him. Inspired by fear of the unknown future, the elders of Israel asked Samuel for a king, “Now appoint for us a king to govern us like all the nations.” Israel was surrounded by pagan kings, who made themselves gods over their people. Secular life has always been alluring with its show of glamour and promise of self-emancipation. And the elders of Israel fell to the trap. Samuel was heartbroken. Fear has always been the silent hand that draws a religious man to secular living. The people persisted on their request...

Samuel knew the danger of Israel not being directly under God's kingship. The Lord said to him, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.” Samuel warned them about the consequences of their choice. The king would emancipate himself at their expense. In place of freedom, he would enslave their sons and daughters, and place tax burdens on them. The earthly king would be a cause of tears for them...

In contrast to the description of secular authority given above, Jesus comes to emancipate the people, to liberate the captives and heal the sick. He said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” The beauty of Jesus' Kingship is that it takes care of our spiritual needs. He defends our case just as He argued in favour of the paralysed man against the hypocritical Scribes. No King like Jesus! He released the man and set him free. “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” He rules both in our body and soul. “The son of man came not to be served but to serve,  and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28).
They asked Samuel for a king as we are in need of direction today! We may want to choose who influences us or who wins our allegiance. Secularism promises a lot without God, but abandons her subjects half way, and turns them into objects for the secular king! But Jesus is our Mediator;  He gathers us as one and defends our course. Therefore, Jesus is the ultimate response of God to our desire for a King. If we remain under the authority of Jesus Christ, fear cannot push us into empty promises. 

Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R 
Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church
Tedi-Muwo, Ooh, Lagos.
Friday 17th January, 2020.
Memorial of St Anthony the Great.  


                               Reflection for Thursday   of the First Week in Ordinary Time Year A
                                                             (1Sam 4: 1-11; Mk 1:40-45)
Surprisingly, Samuel’s name was not mentioned in the first reading of today. That quickly reminds us that he had no part in what happened afterwards. Israel had lost favour with God, and as a result, could no more win their battles. Instead of retracing their steps, they blamed God for their calamity, “Why has the Lord put us to rout today before the Philistines?” They tried to force the hand of God to their victory. “Righteousness exalted a nation, but sin is a disgrace to it” (Proverbs 14:34). The two corrupt sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, brought the Ark of the Covenant to the Battleground. This was their last hope. At this time even their hope in God could not stand, for they tried to put God at their service instead returning to the true service of God. “And the Ark of God was captured; and two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.”
How can we win the battles of life in the name of God without total surrender to His will? So the leper expressed total surrender to the will of Jesus by ‘begging', ‘kneeling', and saying, ‘If you will, you can make me clean.” In the will of God is abundance of grace! If we submit to God's ordinances, we shall fight battles of life but always win God's friendship. Hence Jesus was moved with compassion towards the man. It was as if He mingled Himself with the man's battle with leprosy! “And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.”

We have victory within our reach. The calamity the befell Israel at Ebenezer in the hands of the Philistines resurfaces when a Christian seeks God’s intervention without making effort to give his life to Christ. Total surrender to Jesus is where we ‘encamped' for the battles ahead. “You are my hiding place; you will save me from trouble” (Ps 32:7). We must wear the will of God like an amour over the forces that wage war against us. Within it, our battles become Jesus’ own; then, we have surrendered to victory.  

Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu,C.Ss.R
Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 
Tedi-Muwo,  Lagos. Thursday 16th January, 2020.