Homily : ATTITUDE DEFINES DESTINATION

Homily : ATTITUDE DEFINES DESTINATION

27TH SEPTEMBER, 2020.
†26TH SUNDAY INORDINARYTIME:
Ezk 18:25-28/Ps 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9/Phil 2:1-11/Mat 21:28-32
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese)


It is generally believed in positive psychology that attitude is the only word that gives the value of 100 percentage if we code the letters with figures. Therefore our attitude towards, people, places, things defines our relationship with them as to whether we will relate well with them or not. So to say, having negative or positive attitude defines our destination; the kind of association we will have. In the 1st Reading, Prophet Ezekiel tells us about the negative attitude that the Israelites had towards God’s judgement.

They found themselves in Babylon after the destruction of Jerusalem. They believed that God was punishing them due to the sins of their fathers, therefore God had been unjust to them. The prophet reminded them that each one pays for the price of his/her deeds; so their deportation was due to their own sins, and not as a result of the sins of their forefathers.

They needed to have attitude of repentance so as to move them back to their own soil. He says “when the wicked man turns away from the wickedness…he shall surely live” (Ezk 18:27-28). Most times, we blame people for our unfortunate situations and misfortunes, and turn to have negative attitude towards them.

The 2nd Reading invites us to have a good attitude like Christ who despite being God, in all humility accepted all forms of humiliation for our sake to die. God therefore exalted him.

In the Gospel, Jesus gives a practical example about how our attitude influences our destination. The first son responded ‘no’ but changed his attitude and went to do the father’s will while the second son who responded ‘yes’ did not do the will of the fathers. Action, they say, speaks louder than words. When tax collectors and sinners changed their attitudes, they found themselves in the Lord’s place while the Jews who thought the Kingdom was theirs but did change their attitudes were shut off.

What is your attitude towards people, things and places you come across? May we purify our attitudes towards doing God’s will in His vineyard wherever we are.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•That we may develop positive mindset towards God and creation
~•That our children may find solace in God
~•That all the sick may accept sickness as sharing the suffering of the Lord, especially those affected by covid 19.
Lord hear us

Homily: FULFILLING THE GOD-INTENDED GOAL

Homily: FULFILLING THE GOD-INTENDED GOAL

20TH SEPTEMBER, 2020.
†25TH SUNDAYINORDINARYTIME:
Is 55:6-9/Ps 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18/Phil 1:20c-24, 27a/Mat 20:1-16
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese)


Human beings have the saying that, “the older the wine the sweeter it tastes.” Does this always apply at all times; and could the opposite be also true? Whatever the case may be, in God’s eyes, the sweetness of the wine does not reside in the length of period or duration it has stayed, for new or fresh wine can have equal taste as the old, and fulfill the goal for which it was produced.

In today’s Gospel passage, we read that different labourers were hired at different times of the day. The owner of the vineyard was so concerned that whoever was ready to work never lost such opportunity despite the time difference.

Human beings could classify them as early and late hours, but the instruction was the same: “go into my vineyard.” At the end, each worker received his due as had been set by the householder and not the labourers themselves.

Those labourers who grumbled did so because of their mentality about the correlation between number of hours worked and amount to be paid.

However, the just householder used the opportunity to purify their mentality to understand that God’s ways are not human ways, neither are human thoughts God’s, as Isaiah tells us in the 1st Reading. God’s ways and thoughts are always higher than human’s. God’s justice does not follow human accounting principles. In God’s eyes, there is no question about time or duration. What matters is fidelity of the worker in the Lord’s vineyard.

All workers are equal in the eyes of God; there are neither veterans nor amateur workers. And so, there is neither early nor late vocation, be it married or single life (like priest and Religious).

The fact that you married many years ago does not qualify you to be a good husband or wife. Similarly, one’s many years in Religious or clerical life does not make him/her better than the other who professed or ordained just the other day. You might have been living your vocation recycling the first day or even in infidelity; deceiving others.

In our vocations, families or communities, workplaces, what matters most is how one has fulfilled the goal intended by the Maker. Paul, in the 2nd Reading, caught between his human desires and God’s will, decided to make the will of God prevail in his life. May we fulfil the God-intended goals in our life.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•For the grace to fulfill and help othersto fulfill the God-given goals.
~•That we may cultivate a sense of deep faith in God’s love and providence in our communities and families
~•That leaders may have equal empathy for all covid 19 patients without discrimination of any kind.
Lord hear us

Homily :FORGIVENESS HAS NO FINITUDE

Homily :FORGIVENESS HAS NO FINITUDE

13TH SEPTEMBER, 2020.
†24TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME:
Sir 27:30-28:7/Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12/Rom 14:7-9/Mat 18:21-35
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese)


Almost everybody knows the famous saying of Pope Alexander that, “to err is human, to forgive is divine.” Each of us, one way or another, has either been a victim or culprit of injustice at one moment of our lives. Human beings can never avoid offending others or being offended. What makes a difference is having the ability to forgive amicably. The three (3) Readings give us the parameters for that cause. In the ancient times, retaliation and vengeance were the order of the day; people paid dearly for the offences commited by suffering even sometimes greater violence than what they had caused. The Mosaic law “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth…” (Ex 21:24) was introduced as a way of ensuring justice. But in the 1st Reading, Bin Sirach tells us that retaliation adds salt to injury rather than healing the wound. He insists that anyone who harbours anger against one’s offence must forget obtaining compassion from the Lord. So he recommends that forgiving other’s offences is an indispensable condition for one to obtain pardon from God for one’s offences. Similarly, during Jesus’ time the scribes and the Rabbis also recommended that people should forgive rather than holding grudges and vengeance, but should not exceed three times. This, perhaps, might have confused Peter and his fellows. In today’s Gospel passage, Peter seeks clarification from his master: “Lord, how often…seven times?” Jesus’ reply and his subsequent parable teach us that forgiveness has not finitude, and does not follow principles of accounting. Its foundation is on the immensity God’s mercy. Therefore, Christians must forgive just as the heavenly Father forgives, for “none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself” as Paul tells is in the 2nd Reading. It is recommended that the best and effective way to retaliate is to forgive and love without condition or limit.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•For the grace to be instruments of pardon and peace
~•That our world leaders may shun from all forms of apathy and promote peaceful coexistence
~•That we may not deny the sick and the suffering our Christian compassion and care.
Lord hear us

Homily : FRATERNAL CORRECTION IS DIVINE

Homily : FRATERNAL CORRECTION IS DIVINE

6TH SEPTEMBER, 2020
†23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Ezk 33:7-9/Ps 95:1-2, 6-7,abc, 7d-9/Rom 13:8-10/Mat 18:15-20
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese)


One saying among the Akans of Ghana goes that, “the lizard does not eat pepper for the frog to sweat.” In other words, people suffer the consequences of the sins they have committed and not for others.

But today’s 1st Reading seems to overturn this saying even though that is not the case. God tells prophet Ezekiel that sin can have communal effect so people must not think about themselves alone, but be the keeper of their brethren so as to help others to walk in right path.

No wonder another Akan saying goes that, “if an elder sits unconcerned for children to eat snake, he is also counted among snake eaters. Each one is called to be responsible, at least in parts, for what happens to others. Jesus gives us the direction for fraternal correction in charity.

For Jesus, the process of forgiveness must be initiated by the person offended; to go to the offender. It must begin with face to face talk, and upon failing to resolve, seek the assistance of one or two warm-hearted people. Should the second attempt fail, involve community of believers, and even if the last recourse fails, treat that person as a Gentile, an outcast or tax collector. What does it mean to do this? Jesus tells us to love the offender until we have won him/her back to the right track, for He came as a friend of Gentiles and tax collectors (Mat 11:19).

To forgive is divine. Therefore, we should not tire in fraternal correction in spite of the challenges associated with it. Note that fraternal correction does not absolve us from the responsibility of correcting with conviction and courage.

The prophet of God (Christian) should not condone or connive with evil or sin. The world faces evils such as: adultery, bribery and corruption, racism or ethnocentricism, hatred, injustices and discrimination, etc.Christians must stand firm and talk against.

However, the driving forces for correction must be compassion, concern for the neighbour showed in charity or love as St Paul tells us in the 2nd Reading.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•That the Lord may grant us forgiving hearts
~•That we may build communities rooted in prayer, strong in faith and active in charity
~•For grace among our leaders not to take advantage on people’s situation, especially in this period of covid 19 pandemic
Lord hear us

Homily :NIGHT COMES BEFORE THE DAY

Homily :NIGHT COMES BEFORE THE DAY

30TH AUGUST, 2020.
†22ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME:
Jer 20:7-9/Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9/Rom 12:1-2/Mat 16:21-27
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese)


Today’s Gospel passage seems to present a sharp contrast to that of last Sunday, even though it is not the case. It is amazing that Peter who was being praised by his master for allowing the Holy Spirit to influence him in order to reveal the identity of Jesus, is today being rebuked to get behind for allowing the devil to deceive him that suffering should be far from Lord.

What changed? Could it be as a result of the extreme love he had for his master that he could not imagine Jesus to suffer? He bodly chose his words, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” Jesus used the opportunity to teach Peter and all his disciples that a disciple ought to follow and not be ahead and instruct the master.

By this, we would understand that following Jesus is like desiring the rose flower where one must pass through the thorny stem before reaching the beautiful flower. Just as night comes before the day, so must cross come before the crown. Anyone who preaches that Christianity is all-rosy and trouble-free religion is an enemy of Christ and full of satanic ideas.

Such a person must be asked to get behind with his/her wishful thinking. Any attempt to find Jesus without the cross ends up in finding the cross without Jesus.

In the 1st Reading, Jeremiah too, seemingly might have conceived the idea that following the Lord is free from sorrows. His enemies arrested him, beat him up and dragged him to court, and he felt being abandoned by God.

He was so shocked that God had left him to suffer violent persecution, and concluded, “O Lord, you have deceived me…” But he later understood that despite all trials he could not abandone his prophetic mission.

Such is an invitation Paul gives to us as Christians; to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Sacrifice must be poured down in order to cause effect. We must be ready to pour down our lives in sorrow in order to gain eternal joy, for day comes after night.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•That Christ may nurture in us what is good and keep safe what is nurtured
~•That we may avoid subtle temptation of desiring Christ without the cross
~•That Christ may restore the hope of our pupils and students who have lost hope due to the adverse effect of covid 19 pandemic.
Lord hear us

Homily :PRESENTING THE IDENTITY OF CHRIST IN YOU

23RD AUGUST, 2020.
†21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Is 22:19-23/Ps 138:1-2a, 2bcd-3, 6&8/Rom 11:33-36/Mat 16:13-18
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese
)


The Irish born English satirist, Jonathan Swift, once said, “A carpenter is known by his chips.” The Gospel of today confronts us to discover the identity of Jesus Christ in our life. Jesus, at Caeserea Philippi posed the examination question to the disciples: “Who do men say that the Son of man is?”

The disciples were quick to give the opinions of others. The challenge came when the ball was in their court, “But who do you say I am?” There might have been some dead silence before the ‘captain of the school’, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit could reveal Jesus’ identity as the Christ (Anointed). St Paul says “…no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1Cor 12:3). Peter, having revealed the identity of Jesus, also got to know his own identity and responsibilities as Jesus told him, “…you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church”.

If Jesus should give us the same exam question, what will you score? Who is Jesus to you; what kind of image or identity of Christ do you present to people? People will dicover who Jesus is through the way you present your life as a Christian. If you present Christ to others as a deceiver, drunkard, corrupt, adulterous, selfish, etc, they get it like that. So also will people know Christ in you as prayerful, faithful, disciplined, helper, humble, kind, etc if you do so.

Once you discover and live the true identity of Christ, he gives you the assurance to overcome the devil; “the gates of Hades shall not prevail it.” The authority Christ grants to his people is of service not of imposition.

The 1st Reading asserts to that fact. God removed the proud master of the royal palace, Shebna, from office. His power and responsibilities were given to the humble and faithful Eliakim. God detests pride and loves the humility. In His own wisdom, He humbles the proud and raises the humble.

St Paul, in the 2nd Reading, praises God for depth of His wisdom, knowledge and correct judgement, and asserts that God is the source of all authority in heaven and on earth. If the wisdom of God guides us, we will be able to dicover and live the identity of Christ which gives us our identity.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•For the grace to discover and live the true identity which Christ gives us
~• That Church and world leaders may exercise their responsibilities under God’s wisdom
~•That Christ will be the consoler of all the who have lost hope due to covid 19 pandemic.
Lord hear us

Homily : TRUE FAITH BREAKS BARRIERS

16TH AUGUST, 2020.
†20TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Is 56:1, 6-7/Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6&8/Rom 11:13-15, 29-32/Mat 15:21-28
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese)


In today’s Gospel, we see an encounter between Jesus and Syro-Phoenician (Canaanite) woman. Not only was she a Gentile but also a Canaanite. And to understand this said encounter very well, it is important to know that prior to Jesus’ time, there was an unresolved conflict between Israelites and Canaanites.

The Canaanites had drawn Israelites away from their faith in the Lord and seduced them into worshipping the god of Baal which the end result was doom and disaster for Israelites. This created a serious enmity between the two. Surely, it is not only familiarity that breeds contempt; unresolved conflict also breeds contempt. But what is so striking is that this Canaanite woman beat the odds to approach Jesus for help for her possessed daughter though she was fully aware of the ill-relationship between her people and the Jews. Initially, Jesus seemed to be harsh on the woman from his reply to the woman’s request,

“It is not fair to throw the children’s bread into dogs.” The woman acknowledged, but knowing what she wanted, she remained focused and persisted to say that dogs can enjoy crumbs that fall from the dining table.

The Akan proverb goes that, “the one who wishes to drink water from the river does not consider the dirty river bank.” The woman’s humble persistence made Jesus unable to argue further but to help her. Her deep rooted faith was rewarded with healing for her daughter. Napoleon Hill says that, “patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”

Jesus granted the woman’s request to fulfil what Isaiah says in the 1st Reading that God is the Father of all, so foreigners will also be brought to God’s mountain as opposed to Israel’s preconceived notion that God was for Israel alone. Anyone who encounters the Trinitarian God is able to go beyond his/her family or cultural ties and reach out to others.

Paul tells us in the 2nd Reading that it is God’s own initiative that all who express faith in Him be saved. So to say, salvation is not a result of privilege or just belonging to a particular group of people, but because God wills.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•That our humble persistence in prayer may never go unanswered
~•That our plans and actions may work for the progress and development of all peoples
~•That all may be comforted in this pandemic.
Lord hear us

Homily : FAITH TRANSFORMS DISPAIR TO HOPE

9TH AUGUST, 2020.
†19TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
1Kgs 19:9a, 11-13a/Ps 85:8ab&9, 10-11, 12-13/Rom 9:1-5/Mat 14:22-33
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese)


The 3 Readings of today give us a lot of puzzling questions, making us conceive the idea about God as ‘a God of last minute’, but He is not like what we think. In the 1st Reading, Elijah, who was fleeing for his life which was at stake, discovered God at the last minute when his hope was gone.

He had protested against “cultural colonisation” which queen Jezebel had caused to Israel. He fled to hide in the cave waiting for God in supernatural realities like wind, earthquake and fire, only to find Him in an unexpected still small voice. This shaped Elijah’s previous idea about God. In the Gospel, the disciples might have also conceived the notion about Jesus as last minute helper.

They had suffered the ferocity of the sea for nine strong hours, all their hopes were gone only to find Jesus walking majestically on the sea. They might have asked themselves ‘which so-called Lord is unconcerned like this, sending us to suffer on the sea and there he comes walking?’

No wonder they perceived him to be a ghost. Like in Elijah’s case, Jesus used their state of despair to teach them that only undoubted faith in his everlasting presence was required.

Similarly, in our lives we face such kind of loneliness, shattered by dispair. There are moments that we experience state of helplessness leading to hopelessness.

We encounter terrible moments that make us feel like dying like St Paul in the 2nd Reading. But in that fourth watch of the night is when the Lord proves his presence among us in a still voice. In our darkest moments of life, the Lord of light brings light to brighten our darkness.

All we need is faith in him.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•That the Lord may brighten our darkest night in life
~•That families may have time for family prayers and so contemplate God’s saving help
~•That the Lord will save our world caught up with whirlwind of coronavirus pandemic.
Lord hear us

ANNOUNCEMENT 👍📢📢📢📢📢📢📢📢📢📢