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HOMILY OF THE 5TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
HAVING A DIVINE ENCOUNTER Fifth_sunday

My dear friends in Christ, I welcome you to this Sunday’s reflection. Last Sunday we called to mind that we all are God’s spokesperson and have been endowed with different gifts which we are to use in preaching God’s love, even though we may experience some opposition even from our friends and family. From today’s readings, Isaiah encounters God in the first reading, Paul narrates his encounter with Christ in the second reading and Peter encounters Christ in the gospel reading. These different encounters challenge us and leave us with the following lessons:

In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah encounters God. This encounter exposes his unworthiness just as the encounter between Christ and Peter exposed Peter’s unworthiness. Yet, Isaiah was called to be a prophet. Paul, a persecutor was admitted as preacher and Peter was invited to become a fisher of men (an apostle). What keeps troubling my mind is: why will God call these people even in their unworthy state? Ordinary human experience seem to explain this. If we happen to encounter two doctors; the one that listens to my complaints and after my complaints gives me diagnoses and places me on medication and another who after listening to me tells me, “There is nothing to worry about, we shall find a solution to your challenge, I have experienced what you are experiencing and was fine after.” I, suppose, we shall trust the later doctor more, not just because of his expertise in handling the case but because he has experienced my challenge and later became fine. So also, God calls these people because of the experience they have had. They are considered worthy for the mission. You remember the saying, “Experience is the best teacher.” That is why Jesus had to come down instead of staying there in heaven to activate our salvation. Jesus had our human experience. An important lesson here is that, no human; priest, prophet, minister or anyone is worthy and complete before God yet we all are chosen. That is why we are not to judge anyone.

I have heard some people say that there is no need to go for confession or pray for forgives since after pleading for forgives one goes back to the same sin. My dear friends in Christ, the truth is that one’s sin should make him/her cry more for God’s mercy. Isaiah’s unworthiness did not make him run away from God and his message. The weakness of Peter did not make him run away as an apostle rather he was desirous for God’s forgiveness. When Adam/Eve hid from God after their sin, they were punished; the same was the case Cain after killing Abel. David’s sin made him recognize the need for God’s forgiveness and he remained a friend of God. Isaiah’s confession made God purify his lips, forgiven and made fit for the work (Is 6:6-7). Peter’s confession made Christ forgive him and admitted into the collage of the apostle (Lk 5:8,10). Remember, “...cut off from me, you can do nothing” (Jn 5:5b). Do not run away from God, He forgives even the darkest sin (Is 1:18).

One day, a young girl told me how she has prayed for a year and half for a particular intention without receiving an answer to her prayers and how she has vowed never to pray again. I also know that many people are in her shoes in this regard. Notwithstanding, our gospel reading today teaches us an important lesson. Peter had laboured all through the night (the best time for fishing) and caught nothing even though he was a professional fisherman. In our human understanding we may say he has failed. When he encountered Christ, he was told to put out his net for a catch (by a non-professional fisherman; Christ). Even though he almost doubted, he tried again and what marvellous catch he had. You may have prayed for years and have gotten no answer. What you need to do is to pray again and again. You will have a miraculous experience of an answered prayer. Do not forget the response of Peter when Christ told him to lower his net again, “... Lord, if you say so, I will” (Lk 5:5). Hence the best way to have a prayer answered is by submitting to the will of God.

Do you notice that for sometimes now Jesus has been preaching in the synagogue but today he preaches from the boat of Peter. The boat is a symbolical representation of the Church and Peter represents the authority on which the Church was founded. Jesus preaching from the boat came at the moment when many people were pressing round him. My friends in Christ, it is important we identify with the Church always. No matter how busy we are, let us make out time and go to the Church so that we can listen to Christ who preaches to us through the Church. With this identification with the church, we shall have tremendous encounter of God who will help us fill our own boats (houses) with a great number of fishes (blessings) beyond our expectations. Let us ask God to help us have an encounter of Him, an encounter that will shape us and remould us, so that we can courageously like the Psalmist join the angels in praising Him, Amen.

Reflection by Fr. Livinus Chukwuemeka, SMMM @ February 05, 2022

HOMILY OF THE 5TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME Fifth_sunday

Bishop Anthony Gogo Nwedo, C.S.Sp., was born into the Nzeribe Royal Family in the ancient and beautiful city of Oguta in 1912. His great grandfather, Eze Onumonu, was the Obi of Oguta. His father was the late Nwedo Nzeribe and his mother was Mrs. Monica Ubelife Nwedo also of blessed memory, both of Umudei village in Oguta. He was the first son of his parents. Gogo Nwedo was born when his uncle, Chief Akpati Nzeribe, was the Warrant Chief of Oguta. In fact, the small Catholic Church in Oguta the known as “Uka Akpati” was built quite close to the Warrant Chief’s home for security reasons. Certainly this nearness of the Church to the family must have influenced Gogo’s choice for vocation.

Bishop Anthony Gogo Nwedo, C.S.Sp., was born into the Nzeribe Royal Family in the ancient and beautiful city of Oguta in 1912. His great grandfather, Eze Onumonu, was the Obi of Oguta. His father was the late Nwedo Nzeribe and his mother was Mrs. Monica Ubelife Nwedo also of blessed memory, both of Umudei village in Oguta. He was the first son of his parents. Gogo Nwedo was born when his uncle, Chief Akpati Nzeribe, was the Warrant Chief of Oguta. In fact, the small Catholic Church in Oguta the known as “Uka Akpati” was built quite close to the Warrant Chief’s home for security reasons. Certainly this nearness of the Church to the family must have influenced Gogo’s choice for vocation.

Bishop Anthony Gogo Nwedo, C.S.Sp., was born into the Nzeribe Royal Family in the ancient and beautiful city of Oguta in 1912. His great grandfather, Eze Onumonu, was the Obi of Oguta. His father was the late Nwedo Nzeribe and his mother was Mrs. Monica Ubelife Nwedo also of blessed memory, both of Umudei village in Oguta. He was the first son of his parents. Gogo Nwedo was born when his uncle, Chief Akpati Nzeribe, was the Warrant Chief of Oguta. In fact, the small Catholic Church in Oguta the known as “Uka Akpati” was built quite close to the Warrant Chief’s home for security reasons. Certainly this nearness of the Church to the family must have influenced Gogo’s choice for vocation.

Bishop Anthony Gogo Nwedo, C.S.Sp., was born into the Nzeribe Royal Family in the ancient and beautiful city of Oguta in 1912. His great grandfather, Eze Onumonu, was the Obi of Oguta. His father was the late Nwedo Nzeribe and his mother was Mrs. Monica Ubelife Nwedo also of blessed memory, both of Umudei village in Oguta. He was the first son of his parents. Gogo Nwedo was born when his uncle, Chief Akpati Nzeribe, was the Warrant Chief of Oguta. In fact, the small Catholic Church in Oguta the known as “Uka Akpati” was built quite close to the Warrant Chief’s home for security reasons. Certainly this nearness of the Church to the family must have influenced Gogo’s choice for vocation.