Rev Fr Joseph Nyarko Asare of Obuasi Catholic Diocese
God created Adam alone and he was intended to be alone with God. A helper was given him because he couldn’t handle relationship with God alone. God’s original intention does not include associating with friends and family. He expects a walk alone with him.
What we have not realized is that we easily sin when we get too excited about enjoying friends at the expense of enjoying God. Hmmmmm, at Genesis 3, Adam and Eve couldn’t realize the presence of God because they were too concerned with their companionship above the original relationship with God.
God is never jealous when we ignore Him. The danger is that we end up in nakedness and create disaster for ourselves. Thankfully, God mostly give us plan “B” but that includes sweating and pain on our part. Be positive if you are now moving with the plan B for God will make you prosper again and permit a future access to the original plan. Enjoy family and friends but never do so at the expense of God. You were originally made for God, others came in because we failed to make God our biggest companion.
Don’t be afraid to create an intimate connection with God.
Reflection for the week : 20th – 27th September, 2020 Reference text: 1 Samuel 9:1-10
By Rev Fr Joseph Nyarko Asare of Obuasi Catholic Diocese
Kish had his donkeys missing and he sent the most handsome man in Israel, his son Saul to go in search of the strayed beasts with a servant. After a frantic search that yielded no positive signs of finding the donkeys, Samuel decided to get back home. Saul, however listened to the counsel of the servant to go to the prophet. This simple obedient of a handsome son to a servant was to change Saul’s life and destiny forever.
The position and status of life do not necessarily reflect ones level of intelligence and wisdom. There is always an opportunity to learn from others, especially subordinates, children and the depraved. Each individual you meet, slave or free, is God’s image and likeness endowed with glory and honour and capable of causing a great impact in your life.
The fourth commandment is always valid, no matter how great and powerful you become. Servants could have been tasked to go in search of strayed monkeys, but Kish preferred to send the son Saul and the son respectively obeyed. Our parents deserve our honour and respect irrespective of the way they live or think. There is great blessings in honouring your parents.
It is amazing how Saul seriously took the father’s mission and how he frantically and selflessly embarked on it. God, our Father, has given each one a task to accomplish with his/her life and in the society in which one live. How seriously do we take God’s commands and instructions?
May Saul’s behaviour and its effect instruct us. Let us learn to obey God and all legitimate authority; let us make God our all in all and it shall be well with us.
Reflection for the week : 6th-13th September, 2020
If you are to go through life and have all the experiences of the fore-fathers all by yourself, instead of learning from their past to build a better future, I can bet that you are never going to break new grounds for yourself and others. You may even end up getting out of life without realizing how. In secondary school history, a common jargon we teased the non-History students with was, “Learn history and grow wise”. It is said that new brooms sweep well but old brooms know every corner. A good, God fearing Samuel will have missed a great encounter with God if a sinful, indulging father but experienced Eli was not around. God calls the young Samuel and it is through the direction of Eli that young Samuel responds to the Divine call and receives beautiful assurances for the future and other messages. We are mostly tempted to think that certificates, technological know-how, or resources makes us so independent from the older generations that we tolerate nothing they can offer us.
The lecturer, a senior colleague at work, our parents, opinion leaders and bosses have gone through life and graduated from the school of experience. Like Eli for Samuel, God has given them to us as models and guardians for a sweet future. They hold the light to the future that circumstances will not allow them to participate in. They are like the bridges which connect all to the city but they never have the opportunity to enter it at all. We must, humbly, draw near to the elderly for the rich experiences they have gone through. May we respect the adults and experienced, be ready to learn from them, take interest in their little admonitions and learn from their mistakes. Like Samuel, we shall all be great for heeding to the voices of the various Eli’s of our life.
And, when we move up, remember to send a token of appreciation to those who helped you up.
Reflection for the week : By Rev Fr Joseph Nyarko Asare
(Catholic Diocese of Obuasi)
Sunday 30th August – 6th September, 2020
We cannot claim to be Christians if we are not ready to remain truthful, sincere, on fire, and upright in the radical sense. From our roots up, there must be the burning sensation in us to do good, damning the consequences.
We cannot follow the truth with a heart that easily compromises, that sacrifices truth on the altar of fear and intimidation, that looks on as evil persists, and a heart that is not burning with objectivity.
The calling is straightforward in today’s readings. We must be rid of every encumbrance, and especially of sin. We are to persevere in running the race marked out for us. This is where the problem lies: we want to serve God without tears, sweat or challenge. Let me give a gentle reminder: there is no short cut to heaven for the way remains Jesus (together with the readiness to follow him with the cross).
Tolerance has no place in matters of objective reality. We do not tolerate lies in order to enjoy “false or hypocritical peace”. Jeremiah teaches us the path. He will die rather than change God’s word or message. What he did is as dangerous as a pastor going to a politician (like Pres Mahama and Nana Akoffo Addo or Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump) in the presence of party fanatics, in some few weeks before elections, to say, “My brother/sister, forget about the elections for God says you are going to lose and lose big”.
Jeremiah is thrown into the well for predicting defeat to an army about to launch an attack on an enemy territory. Truly, there was no need to give hope to a force about to be defeated (since God’s insight is perfectly correct). Present day pastors and ministers will give hope and motivation to those on the wrong path for fear of persecution.
We do not want to lose friendship with colleagues, family members and neighbours, so we offend God without considering the effects. That is how depraved we have become as believers in Jesus Christ. Let us allow the fire of Jesus to defreeze our lukewarm hearts and institutions.
(By Rev Fr Joseph Nyarko Asare of Obuasi Catholic Diocese)
Sunday 23rd – Sunday 30th, August, 2020
When you are fighting your enemy in darkness, the most effective weapon, the reliably undeniable need, is a light. This is so because we need to know the enemy plainly so as to hit at the target and significantly eliminate the unfortunate situation of wasting our weapons.
The stated Psalm tells us that the Word of the Lord is a light unto our feet and a lamp for our paths. Two lessons are directly discernable from this:
1) Jesus is the light of the earth since he is the Word who came to dwell among us and to liberate us from the powers of darkness. Without Jesus, no battle can be won. One cannot persist in sin and expect victories since that one is very prayerful and generous. Before you go for that all night, prayer session, counselling, or breakthrough, ask yourself whether you have the light (Jesus) needed to wage war in the darkness.
2) The Bible is the Word of the Lord. Since the Word is a light and the Bible contains the Word, I need to be a person of the Word (Bible) if I am to win my battles. I may be righteous, holy and innocent, but none of these is a justification for avoiding the study of and the praying with the Bible. Beyond being light the Word is sharper than two edged sword.
If I have the true light, Jesus, I will gradually discover that:
The devil does not wield all power
There is an already won victory in the cross
The enemy has no control beyond what I personally grant him over my life and that I can take back my freedom anytime in Jesus’ name.
The power of God now is as effective and potent as it was at creation and the time of the resurrection, etc.
Reflection ffor the week Sunday 16th – Sunday 21st, August 2020
(Rev Fr Joseph Nyarko Asare)
( Obuasi Catholic Diocese)
As public servants, we work tirelessly all week and only have the weekend to relax. In as much as I don’t discourage attending all night sessions or praying at night, it is good we get our priorities right and understand the basic principles of praying at night. People mostly ask, “Is waking up and praying at say 12 midnight or after the best time God hears and answer our prayers?”
God hears the cry of the poor. It takes purity of heart to see God. The Lord is close to the broken hearted. These and others answer the prayers God hears. The YES of God at day will never become NO at night. Again, the night is as clear as the day for the Lord; with Him, night and day are the same (Psalm 139:12). God is all powerful at all times and moments. Space and time has no control over the power of Gòd or the expression of His love. Let me give some interesting observations. Among all the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, etc), only Jacob is recorded as praying at night and these occurred only twice in his life: when leaving the family at Cana to Laban’s house and when returning from Laban. The first was even a dream and not a night prayer as such. Among the kings, only Solomon is mentioned as having a night encounter, and this was a dream and not prayer time. None of the prophets has a recorded of praying at night. In the New Testament, we know Jesus prayed at night, the Apostles and the early Church did same. Note that they didn’t sleep in order to wake up and pray at midnight. Rather, they prayed and the session entered into the night. But people prayed at night and there was nothing wrong with that. Several reasons motivate the praying at night:
We are to pray without ceasing, and night is included in that direction.
Time: people are occupied with active responsibilities during the day and can only get time to be with the Lord at night. Jesus mostly prayed at night and early dawn because He was mostly occupied at day.
Spirituality: Some believe they can get answers at night better than during the day. I see nothing wrong with them because God encounters us differently and variously. Some met God in noise and others in silence, some on their knees and others while standing, some on the mountains and others in the lowland or seas, some at day and others at night. God responds to our schedules and mindset, especially when it doesn’t contradict love of Him and of neighbour.
Weather: The night is quiet, conducive, without much interruptions and distractions. These motivate and propel prayer; hence, some pray at night.
Demons don’t only work at night. Psalm 91 mentions the arrows that fly by day and the plague that ravages at noon (Psalm 91:5b, 6b). In fact, many of us don’t pray at siesta and nothing happens to us because we have not admitted demonic works at day. Can’t we do same for our night .
God is not less powerful at day. Almost 90% of Biblical miracles, Old and New Testaments, happened in the day. God remains same and He works same even in our days. Let me hasten to add that few miracles occurred at night because most activities and ministry occurred during the day.
Time zones differ from place to place. My night is someone’s dawn, noon or evening. Night is not experienced at the same time by all people.
Finally, interestingly, God is available 24/7 with His complete power, love and care. Any moment of prayer is a powerful moment. Time of the day is not too relevant. Let me restate that: the night is as clear as the day for the Lord; with Him, night and day are the same (Psalm 91:12). God bless you.
By: (Rev Fr Joseph Nyarko Asare of Obuasi Catholic Diocese)
Reflection for the week : August 8-12th, 2020: We bless the Lord for a new week and we continue our reflection on prayer. We pick Moses as a pattern of prayer.
It is God who makes himself present so that we commune with him. Moses experiences the presence of God and gathers the inner courage to commune with him. He prays so directly, sincerely, straight forward and confidently, humbly trusting God’s intervention and presence.
The results is marvelously wonderful; “Look, I am now making a covenant: I shall work such wonders at the head of your people as has never been worked in any country…”
Prayer is not about shouting so loud that you lose your voice, it is not jumping and moving up and down so much so that you end up sweating heavily, it is not so much about how skillful you craft your words or how long you try to “convince” the Lord.
A cultivation of the Lord’s presence at the place we intend to pray
An admittance of God’s power and readiness to lovingly hear whatever you say
Sincerely opening the heart to God; being “naked” in his presence
Simply telling the Loving Father that which has filled your heart.
Believing that in all that you have said, the Lord will give you the best, not the good nor the better.
At prayers, may we not behave as if we are holier than the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s ears are not too hard to hear nor is his hands so short to save. We pray to a loving Father not an unapproachable major or king who can only be approached through a strict protocol procedures.
In almost all the houses Jesus ate, the meals were prepared for many and not only for Jesus. The implication is that people who invited Jesus were resourceful enough to cater for a relatively large following. He even asked the disciples to choose and live in families and houses that could sustain and provide for them in their entire stay in that community (Cf. Matthew 10:11).
The call to modesty implies the availability of plenty and resourcefulness. You are called to live a life that does not project personal abilities and possessions. This is modesty. The basic sense here is that you are permitted to develop abilities and build wealth as far as you do not project these above God and human life. The Master spoke truth in rich homes, to rich hosts, and other rich guests. Jesus criticised rich Martha, corrected rich Simeon, the Pharisee, embraced the rich tax collector Zacchaeus, spoke plainly to leading Pharisees but ate the best from their tables, enjoyed good night rests in their houses, and received their donations. Jesus had Judas as a personal treasure and used a furnished Upper Room of somebody’s house for the last supper. God want to be at the centre of everything and every life. He does not hate the rich and their riches; He wants to be the lord of our lives and every possession and ability. Jesus is “happier” when all is well with us. Note that God made Solomon rich even when the young king has not prayed for it. Getting all the others is very legitimate for those who have sought the kingdom and its righteousness.
Like any other loving person will do, remaining with the poor does not mean you want them to remain poor, consoling the one weeping is not an endorsement of sorrow, and welcoming sinners is not a petmission for sinning. God treats sinners, the poor, needy, afflicted, marginalised, etc. well because they are human beings not because they are vulnerable. Their vulnerability is not the underlying condition for the Lord’s attention. No, God has a special care for them because they are human beings without much care and love.
Jesus preaches the positive message of developing, increasing, and enlarging what we have. He once said that more will be given those who has; and those without will be denied the little they possess. Holiness of life must never be seen as an endorsement of wretchedness and low standard living. Have you checked the durability of Church buildings, the system of care for priests and religious, and how we ensure the healthcare, safety, protection, and empowerment of the Ministers of the Gospel? These are Christians like you; seeking these same kind of “good living” presented as “basic-decent-care”. It is godly and Christian to do same and seek the best life too.
Missionaries and mission is sponsored by people in other continents or with the means to support. These are Christians like you and children of the same God we worship. God want both your liberated spirit and body. Jesus preached both the corporeal and spiritual works of mercy. He cares about the body as much as He cares about your spirit. He calls your body His temple and dwelling place.
Learn how to be holy and prayerful. Also, learn how to exercise and keep fit, how to invest and make money, how to live well and joyfully. Indeed, this will offer you the best opportunity to serve God deeply and intensely.
(Rev. Fr. Joseph Nyarko Asare of Obuasi Catholic Diocese)
Reflection for the Week, July 19 -26, 2020
Get knowledge or you will remain a slave. Without a proper search for the truth, you remain a slave. Jesus taught more in his time and giving knowledge was more important for Him than working miracles. He even said that miracle seekers are perverse people.
God never wished us to be poor, vulnerable, destitute, etc. He wants us to live well, happy and glorious. At creation, He gave us Eden; in eternity, we will enjoy a painless life. It is unreasonable to conclude that a loving God who lives in glory will locate us in a miserable life of shame and suffering.
Suffering is not to be desired. Enduring suffering for the sake of Christ does not render suffering an inherent good. The fact that we can create and recycle refuge does not make rubbish valuable. There is value in suffering does not mean suffering is valuable in itself. Unless the process is evil and contrary to God’s Word, we must, as a matter of duty, seek to eliminate all forms of suffering and pains.
Unconsciously, same pious Christians who promote good healthcare, solid education, empowerment, and decent life for the poorly are the same people who get suspicious of the rich and well to do. Condemnation of evil means of acquiring wealth should be seen in the same light of condemning examination malpractice, false prophets, and corrupted politicians. In the same way as we motivate and encourage academic excellence, authentic Gospel ministration, and God-fearing civil leaders, so must we encourage and promote and motivate decent creation of wealth, genuine search for comfort and the promotion of a good life.
Gospel sense of “poor in spirit” is not a call to wretchedness and physical poverty. Materialism is bad but making money and building a decent life is godly. If we worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, etc, then that God cannot be an enemy of prosperity. We are not banned from being wealthy for spiritual poverty is not wretchedness.
The Gospel guides our lives. We are not mere capitalist controlled by the principles of capitalism; we are not materialistic but we know that God created, for us, the visible and invisible. We are body and spirit sustained by prayer and social-economic interventions. Even the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is not governed by prayer alone. The Church universal, each Diocese, Parish, and Institution have financial teams and experts, create annual budgets and raise funds. It is Christian to do same for your family and life.
Jesus expects us to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, house the destitute, care for the sick, and visit and comfort prisoners, etc. If the faithful do not create, manage and sustain wealth, these activities would be impossible. Don’t be afraid to be rich; only make Jesus is both first and at the center. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto you.
Just think about it, Samuel’s father had the capacity to organise annual pilgrimage and feasts, Saul’s father had working servants, David’s father possessed sheep, Elisha was called at his working place, Joseph had a profession, wealthy women accompanied Jesus, etc. Never glorify material poverty. In our next article for reflection, we will look at “THE COURAGE TO BE A PIOUS, RICH CHRISTIAN”. May God make us rich and prosperous.
Reflection: July 12-19th ,2020- Religion was meant to give, protect, and promote freedom. Then, crooked fellows used same to restrict, enslave, and manipulate the simple minds. The problem now is that: those who know the distortion are either afraid to correct it or are misrepresented as irreligious. Unfortunately, people are so ignorant that some even feel sermons are more powerful than the Bible; common sense is now considered an unwanted, second hand good instead of seeing it as a valuable gift of God; and we have people who know powerful commentaries and preachers more than Jesus and the Bible. As a Christian, baptism opened the door of grace for me. I am a Christian because, after believing, I got baptized. Being a Catholic, I consulted the official faith teachings (Catechism) of the Church and discovered the following. By summary, part (yes, just some) of the effects of baptism (Cf. CCC 1263-1265) are: regeneration and renewal. Baptism causes purification from sins (let me add, and slavery) and gives a new birth in the Holy Spirit. It makes one a new creature; an adopted child of God, who becomes a partaker of the divine nature, member of Christ and a coheir with Him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. Now, this is a real elevation, a great empowerment, a reason to be bold, cheerful, enterprising, etc. Becoming a Christian is never a life of timidity, naivity, stupidity, and servitude. We don’t even join a social club to be miserable; how much more a spiritual union with God as patron and chairman. Only a fool joins a group that makes him/her worse off. Becoming a Christian is not a change of prison sentence or a change of our slave master. We do not get out of the rule of sin (death, evil, Satan) to become a slave of a pius system, revered leadership, and untouchable authority. Never allow any minister of God to suppress or enslave you with fear or unwholesome screwed teachings. Please, know God’s Word and seek personal intimacy with Him. The Church’s role is to facilitate this life in holiness, freedom, and authentic joy. My capacity to growth, self actualisation, discovery, inner peace, and genuine joy must be enhanced when I become a member of the body of Christ. Like Paul, without being coerced or intimidated, I must begin to see a deep change and value that make me see my current state as far better than my previous life. This must be an experiential knowledge and not a mere speculative rhetoric. Permit me to explain the effects of baptism further with a direct quote of CCC 1266: “The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:
enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues;
giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues. Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its roots in Baptism. I don’t know why believers become more vulnerable after embracing Jesus. Possibly, they do not encounter Jesus; they only meet a crooked self-made-agent of Christ or a fake community. At best, they become part of good-intentioned community with no touch of the freedom Jesus gives. We will continue our discussion under the sub-theme ” Wretchedness is not Spiritual Poverty”. But, permit me to end with a word about Joseph, the head of the Holy Family and a symbol of religiousity and authentic service to God. Joseph became God’s unique instrument and earthly father of Jesus. He, however, died as a known accomplishec carpenter who did not quit his skills because he was taking care of Jesus. Never throw your reason and skill away because of baptism. May the calling rather empower you to put reason and skill to the best use