Sunday Homily : BE LED BY THE STAR OF CHRIST

Sunday Homily : BE LED BY THE STAR OF CHRIST

SUNDAY, 3RD JANUARY, 2021.
†SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD
Is 60:1-6/Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13/Eph 3:2-3, 5-6/Mat 2:1-12


(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Catholic Diocese of Machakos)


From the Koine Greek, “Epiphaneia” (Epiphany) means self manifestation or revelation or appearance.

Today’s Solemnity celebrates the self revelation of God Incarnate (Jesus) as Light to humanity. God, since creation has constantly revealed himself in different ways, and in our times, he has revealed himself through his Only Begotten Son (cf: Heb 1:1-2).

In the 1st Reading, Isaiah foresaw that Jerusalem, which had become a mass of ruins like the forlorn or childless widow, would become resplendent and beautiful once again like a young girl. He prophesied that the darkness of sorrow which had covered the earth would be wiped away by the light of joy of God, and as a result all people would troupe towards the light. In the Gospel, the Magi (who represent the pagan people of the earth) following the Star to discover the Light (Jesus) is fulfilment of the prophecy.

They allowed themselves to be led by the light of Christ and so discovered the truth. On their journey, they had a “Herod Moment”; a time of confusion, difficulty, discord, jealousy, hatred, discrimination and the like.

However, as the Raggae evangelist, Lucky Dube sang “Nobody can stop Raggae”, the Herod moment did not last. Herod was defeated. The star appeared once again and led them to the manger where the offered their gifts of gold to Christ the Eternal King, frankincense to Christ the High Priest, and myrrh to Christ the Everlasting Prophet whose body would see no corruption.

Paul, in the 2nd Reading, tells us that being led by the star has a liberative, salvific and unifying effects. The Light of Christ which has made manifest to all people (Greeks and Gentiles alike; men and women alike) has put darkness into asunder; God’s love has overcome human hatred.

May we be led by the Star of Christ always and discover the truth.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•That the Star of Christ may confuse all “Herods” in our life
~•Lord, guide us by your knowledge of truth
~•That this New Year may give new hope to all the sick
Immanuel, hear us

New Year Homily : A NEW BEGINNING OF PEACE

New Year Homily : A NEW BEGINNING OF PEACE

FRIDAY, 1ST JANUARY, 2021.
THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS
†Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God:
Num 6:22-27/Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6&8/Gal 4:4-7/Lk 2:16-21


(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Catholic Diocese of Machakos)


By the ticking of the clock (just a second) a new day, a new month and a new year has dawned on us. We begin the new year by acknowledging and honouring Mary as the “Theotokos” (Mother of God). It is new dawn of blessing and peace.

The Lord declared through Moses to Aaron and the entire Israel that, “So they shall put my name upon the sons of Israel and I will bless them” (Num 6:27). The blessing is in three folds; that the Lord will keep us, be gracious, and grant peace. This formula is not magic to think that Christians may not have problems any more, but rather that our faith will help us go through every problem and overcome it. The blessing makes us understand things that happen to us as being in the plan of God.

Pope Paul VI in 1968, declared this day as World Day of Peace. Following the example of Mary, we are called to live in peace with one another. In the Gospel, we are told that after she received the news about baby Jesus from the shepherds, she kept everything and pondered it in her heart.

Mary knew that the heart has reasons which the mind cannot never understand. We could say that Mary signed a blank cheque that God would fill the amount Himself. She shows us a perfect example that people who are blessed are not chaotic. They live in peace with one another.

Therefore, if you are pronouncing blessings and at the same time you are the source of chaos, confusion and discord in your family, workplace, community, etc then something wrong somewhere. In the 2nd Reading, Paul tells us that by the birth of Jesus, we have become heirs of the Kingdom that we can confidently call God “Abba” (Father).

May that reflect in our daily dealings with others throughout this New Year.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•Lord, be gracious and bless us
~•That we may experience total peace in our life
~•That our sick people may have hearts of peace and have their health restored
.

Reflection for the week :The Family Of God

By : Attah Boakye Joseph, Kumasi Catholic Archdiocese

Now his Parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, Joseph and His mother did not know it, but supposing Him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but when they began to search for Him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for Him. After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at his understanding and his answers . And when His Parents saw Him, they were astonished. And His mother said to Him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold your Father and I have been searching for you in great distress”


And He said to them, ” why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s House? And they did not understand the saying that He spoke to them. And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And His mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and Man. Luke 2:41-52.


Brethren in Christ Jesus, what a joy it is to live in a happy Family! The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph were happy despite their fair share of trials and troubles. Joseph and Mary had to flee into Egypt for Herod sought to kill the Child. The twelve year old teenage Jesus got lost on the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Imagine the agony that Joseph and Mary went through as they were looking for Him for three days.

Later, Joseph died leaving Mary and Jesus in grief. Jesus Himself was killed in the prime of life.
Despite all this, theirs was a Happy Family. What was the secret of that happiness? Reverence, their lives were centred on God. We need to pray as a Family today and any other day. The Family that prays together stay together.


Prayer must be accompanied by a spirit of work. Each member of the family needs to do his or her bit. Like the parts of the body help one another, so ought we to help one another. St Paul admonishes, ” He who does not work must not eat!” Brethren, in the Holy family, there was Respect. Mary and Joseph as spouses respected each other, Jesus respected them for even though He was God, He was subject to them. Mary and Joseph respected Jesus. When Mary did not understand Him, she ponders His words in her Heart.


Brethren in the Lord, after the joyful liturgical celebration of Christmas where we have contemplated the mystery of Word made flesh, today we fix our eyes on Joseph, Mary along with Jesus who form the Holy Family. Church attributes great importance to this feast, because of the primary role of family in the life of a person. One wonders even God, to come to us, among all other possibilities, took the route of a family. He chose a family to be born, to live and grow. He needed a Father and Mother to learn to speak, walk and work. Our families become Holy, only when God occupies a central role and everything is encountered there in the light of God. Mary constantly encountered God through His Word, and received guidance.

Joseph was inclined to listen to God’s messages. Jesus grew to be a person of prayer, fasted and observed Holy days. Jesus received all these habits from His family life of Nazareth. They were a model family in which both Parents worked hard, helped each other, understood and accepted each other, and took good care of their Child so that He might grow up not only in human knowledge but also as a child of God. Jesus brought Holiness to the family of Joseph and Mary. Jesus brings Holiness to us also by accepting us in His family. Beloved ones, we need to hand over every aspect of our families lives to Jesus and He will not disappoint us. He brings, peace, joy, togetherness and oneness into our families if only we allow Him alone to control our families. Why don’t we invite Him and hand over everything to Him right now? He is able to see us through. With Jesus, all things are possible. Good morning to all Brethren. Have peaceful Sunday and Happy and prosperous new year in advance. Please let us continue to pray for our dear Nation Ghana for peace and unity. Let us also pray for the Sick and Needy in our societies.

Thank you all. SHALOM.

Homily : THEME: CARING FOR MY FAMILY, MY RESPONSIBILITY

Homily : THEME: CARING FOR MY FAMILY, MY RESPONSIBILITY

27TH DECEMBER, 2020.
SUNDAY WITHIN CHRISTMAS OCTAVE
†THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH
Gen 15:1-6; 21:1-3/Ps 105:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9/Heb 11:8, 11-12, 17-19/Lk 2:22-40


(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Catholic Diocese of Machakos)


Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Model family. What does the celebration mean to us? In the 1st Reading, Abraham showed much concern about his family. He had a dialogue with God concerning the future of his family.

By believing in God’s promises God granted Isaac to Abraham and Sarah even in their old age. In the 2nd Reading, the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews, acknowledges the faith of Abraham and Sarah which brought forth Isaac.

Revelations come and are fulfilled in the family when members believe in God’s promises, become responsible and care for one another.

In the Gospel, Mary and Joseph, following the Mosaic law (Ex 13:11-16) presented the infant Jesus to God the Father in the Temple to show the religious upbringing of Jesus.

As responsible parents, they knew and performed their roles to the utmost level. It had enormous influence on their child — who “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.” Parents and guardians must understand that they teach their children not so much by what they say but what they do. And the surest way to live authentic family life is to offer one another to God in prayer.

All families, be it biological or foster or created families, in their care for one another, must endeavour to pray for one another, for the family that prays together stays to together.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•That the Church may continue to protect, preserve and promote family life using the Holy Family as a model
~•That our world leaders may recognise and acknowledge that we are all members of the same human family
~•That all who are homeless may experience the care and love of God.

Homily :HOUSING THE LORD IN ORDINARINESS

Homily :HOUSING THE LORD IN ORDINARINESS

20TH DECEMBER, 2020.
†4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
2Sam 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16/Ps 89:2-3, 4-5, 27&29/Rom 16:25-27/Lk 1:26-38


(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Catholic Diocese of Machakos)


King David in his last years of life had 2 main worries among others: the succession to his kingdom, and building a temple to the Lord.

In the 1st Reading, he shared his dream with his counsellor and prophet, Nathan who approved the king’s plan to build the temple but advised him accordingly that David’s son, Solomon would rather execute the task. This was because David’s hands were full of blood (2Chr 22:8-10). The bottom line remains that David had the desire to house the Lord. He could not think that it was right for him to live comfortably in that elegant palace while the Arc of the Covenant, which represented God’s presence among His people, remained in a shepherd’s tent. Nathan’s advice to David, and his prophecy about the succession cleared David’s worries. And surprisingly, the prophecy was accomplished far beyond what David and even Nathan had envisaged; for they had thought about earthly kingdom but God gave David a descendant with heavenly Kingdom (Jesus the son of Mary). David’s dynasty became everlasting.

The Gospel passage teaches us about how Mary on her part; a teenager, a “nobody” per se, unschooled village girl of Nazareth accepted to house the Lord. Even in her uncertainty, she made simple statement of affirmation: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done accordingto your word.” By this, Mary offered her whole self to house God Himself, and thus became the principal character or actor on the Lord’s Advent stage.

God makes us extraordinary when we give Him our ordinary without reservations. He desires not the skill of our hands but the love of our hearts.

This is the mystery which had been kept secret for long ages and is now revealed as St Paul tells us in the 2nd Reading. Having known this, we can join Paul to say “to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”

PRAYER GUIDE
~•That we may house the Lord in our ordinary life
~•That the Lord’s Advent may create an avenue for all without home or shelter
~•Lord, grant eternal joy and peace to all our faithful departed.
Lord hear us Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus!

Homily:RESPONSIBLE ACCOUNTABILITY

Homily:RESPONSIBLE ACCOUNTABILITY

15TH NOVEMBER, 2020.
†33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Prv 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31/Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5/1Thes 5:1-6/Mat 25:14-30
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese)


A seminarian was once dismissed and he confronted the Rector saying, “I haven not done anything and you have dismissed me; this is not fair!” The Rector replied him that, “It is because you have not done anything that is why I have dismissed you because in this seminary one has to do something.” Mahatma Gandhi once said, “It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.”

Today’s Gospel teaches us that insofar as we are not masters or owners but trustees or caretakers, we are responsible for giving accounts on every gifts or talents received from the master. The master entrusted with the servants different gifts or talents in proportion to their abilities. Each accounted responsibly.

However, the one who received one talent wanted to play a smart game on the master but it backfired and was condemned. The lesson to be drawn are many; first, every Christian must take it as a responsibility to help make the community grow, develop and bring transformation in the world. Secondly, our gifts are diverse and different according to each one’s ability; no need to compare our gifts or feel jealous about the gifts others have that you do not have. All that is required is to make industrious use of the gifts received and not to look down upon other people’s gifts.

The 1st Reading gives us an example of a very industrious woman — how precious she is. Such a person, the writer says, keeps peace, serenity and harmony in his home; she has great and generous heart in using her gifts. Such a person is also very religious and keeps the commandments of God.

The first of all the gifts is to live the Gospel message wherever we are, and not allow the wordly pleasures and pressures allure or overcome us and shield our talents.

In doing so, St Paul tells us in the 2nd Reading that we must be vigilant and sober at all times so as to avoid being overtaken by evil. Each Christian must be a symbol of light and day, and must shun away from all things of darkness.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•To have reverential fear of God and have wisdom in utilising our gifts
~•That our world may preserve, protect and promote life and dignity of all
~•That our faithful departed may see the perpetual light of God, especially those who have succumbed to covid 19.
Lord hear us

It is my desire to pray for you always; be assured!!!

Homily :THE JOY OF LOVING GOD AND NEIGHBOUR

Homily :THE JOY OF LOVING GOD AND NEIGHBOUR

25TH OCTOBER, 2020.
†30TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Ex 22:21-27/Ps 18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 47&51/1Thes 1:5c-10/Mat 22:34-40
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese)


The Akan proverb goes literally that, “it is God who scratches the body of an animal without tail.” God really protects and defends the weak creatures. Among such category are the 3 groups mentioned in the 1st Reading; strangers, widows and the orphans. In ancient times, there were no embassies to protect the citizens of a particular country living in another countries. Such people were therefore subjected to severe tortures, maltreatment and injustices. On their part, orphans and widows were considered as rags that anyone could use the way they wanted. The 1st Reading is about the legislation which was passed to forbid Israelites to do injustices to the strangers, widows and orphans; “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him…shall not inflict any widow or orphan.” We are no different from the Israelites; we commit injustices to people of other nations, tribes or religion. Do we not give preferential treatments in jobs, schools, and even in the church? People in position tend to surround themselves with only people of the tribes or families and friends, despising other people. Sadly, some people take advantage of others who are need of jobs, those who have little or less education to the extent of exchanging their security of jobs with bribes and sexual gains. All these are injustices to the weak of our time. To overcome these, we need to love God above all else and our neighbours as ourselves as Jesus summaries the Decalogue into two. This is the only way to go; that, the love of God be extended to all people without discrimination of any sort. In the 2nd Reading, Paul recommends that Christian communities must keep in touch, know one another, exchange news and live in unity. Paul commends the Thessalonians for expressing the faith they have received in their way of life. Can we also be imitators? Unfortunately, selfishness is killing this world. Selfishness is like trying to fill a sack riddled with countless holes. And selfish people are never happy because they are never satisfied. The remedy is love of God and love of neighbour.

PRAYER GUIDE
~•For the grace to overcome all forms of selfishness
~•That we may be instruments of compassion and love to all people
~•For change of mind and heart for all who are taking advantage of people in need, especially during this time of covid 19.
Lord hear us

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