“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God- not because of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NRSV)

Today, many Christians interpret the above passage of scripture as an endorsement for their doctrine of eternal security – this is a view that once you have been saved, you can never lose your salvation regardless of what you do. How very convenient that seems! It’s no wonder why it has gained wide acceptance by many Christians despite its disharmony with scriptural truth and its inconsistence with the testimonies of the early Christian Church.

Now, before we dive into this muddy controversy, it is didactic that we straighten things out clearly. From the dawn of Christianity, the above passage from Ephesians 2 has always been understood as an indication that our salvation was made possible by the complete redemptive work of Christ on the Cross. This act that was purely an unmerited grace – a divine gift from God and no man could have saved himself otherwise. However, despite our access to this superabundant grace completed by Christ, our continuous and consistent cooperation with God is essential if we must be saved. This was obviously what Apostle Paul meant when he stated in the subsequent verse of that same chapter:
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 RSV)

Image source: Google

Let’s chew on that for a while. We have been created in Christ Jesus for good works and we are called to walk in them. Have you ever wondered, why did Apostle Paul take this twist just right after he had stated that we have been saved by grace through faith and not because of works? He was trying to clarify that despite salvation being complete in Christ Jesus, we also have a crucial role to play – to walk in the path of righteousness till the end.

Kindly consider this analogy, you have been offered a ticket that admits you to an important event; you accepted the ticket but never went for that event. Does the ticket fulfil its purpose? Of course not! Yet the problem isn’t that you don’t have the ticket, it is that you haven’t fulfilled your own part.

Yes, we may have received an assurance of salvation in Christ Jesus, however if we fail to put our faith to work and do not walk in righteousness, what good is there for us? If you can lose your ticket to an event after it has been purchased for you then you could also lose your salvation if you do not cooperate with God’s redeeming plan for you. You do not have to take my word for it, take what our savior himself said:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
(John 15:1-2 RSV)

Beloved, the words of Christ are very decisive, He expects that we bear fruits. His completed work requires our cooperation not because he hasn’t done enough to save us but because salvation is a grace and grace is a gift, a gift needs to be accepted.

Moving on from the “once saved, always saved” quagmire, some have conveniently lodged their spiritual ineptitude on a mere acceptance of Romans 10:9 “that if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him out from the dead, you will be saved”.
Failing to interpret a passage of scriptures in harmony with others and in its full context is like dishing out half-truth. It is like telling people to launch a plane into the air without teaching them all the skills they need to navigate their way through aerospace. A faith built on half-truth is a faith bound to crash as history has proven.

If we truly value our salvation, then we must be interested in the full truth. We must step back from all those trendy doctrines built on convenience and get back to the beginning. What do the early Christian Church believe about salvation?

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling”(Philippians 2:12 RSV)

Wait a minute! Work out your salvation with fear and trembling? Apostle Paul was an intelligent evangelist, he understood the danger of half-truth. He knew that it was very possible for the Philippians to merely make a public consent to the faith in his presence then fail to put in the work necessary to get the ultimate reward. He made it clear that it is possible to lose assurance of salvation. So he urged that they hold firmly to what they have not with boastful pride or ignorance but with fear and trembling.

The early Christians were never taught they could settle for a mere confession of believe in Christ. They knew that there was something they needed to be done in response to the love of God who has given Himself to us through His son Jesus Christ our Lord. They were inspired by the example of Apostle Paul:
“…but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others, I myself should not be disqualified” 1 Corinthians 9:7 (NRSV)

Like Apostle Paul, the early Christians knew that salvation despite being complete was not a one-off action. It requires a consistent and continuous effort to abandon the life of sin, to put to death the lustful desires of the flesh and to strive towards holiness every single day.

What better warning do we need to know that there could be a disqualification. God never obliterates our free will, neither does he force his gift on us. He consistently offers us His love and mercy but we must we be willing to despise all our sinful ways so we could walk in the newness of life that He offers us.

How unwise it will be for us to merely pocket the ticket God gave us and refuse to make it to the heaven. Isn’t this what we do when we presume that God’s grace will do for us what we have been instructed to do. Again scripture decries presumption:
“Bear fruit that that befits repentance…even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire”. (Matthew 3:8,10 RSV)

God in His benevolence does not bear for us the fruits which we ought to bear ourselves. Rather than remain persistent in sin, let us cooperate with His grace and do what we ought to do, so that He can transform us.
To sin is human, but to persist in sin is devilish.
– St Catherine of Siena

Posted in Message, Scriptural Reflection | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment


The Gospel or the Good News of Christ since the day of Pentecost has been spreading across cultural boundaries. Today, the Gospel is moving at a faster pace than it did in the earlier days of Christianity, all thanks to the Holy Spirit at work in the media.

It is no longer unusual to hear the Gospel from the pulpit in our various churches; someone knocks on our doors to share the Good News with us; in the bus or on a train, someone is always there, reaching out to us with a Christian tract; when we turn on our television and radio set, there is always a Christian preacher on air or an advertorial inviting us to a spiritual program, like never before since the history of mankind; the internet and social media platforms are flooded with evangelists-known and unknown, reputable and unpopular, they are always there to say something about the Good News.

Beloved, it is the will of God that the message of salvation should reach the ends of the earth. Indeed, this was the primary mission He entrusted to the first Apostles during the Great Commission. (See Matthew 28:16-20).
Today, across the globe there are countless preachers and teachers of the Good News of Christ. Some were genuinely called like the first Apostles while others are not. Some are genuinely confirmed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, as teachers and preachers (See 1 Corinthians 12), they disseminate the true Gospel of Christ without the intention of pleasing or deceiving the hearers while others are only out there for themselves – to sustain their selfish interest, they are willing to twist the gospel in order to gain support and recognition from their congregation or audience.

We must all know that not everyone who preaches or teaches the Gospel of Christ has our salvation at heart. Today, there are false preachers and teachers across the world. Their messages are not in line with the true Gospel of Christ. Many have become tools in satan’s hands to create confusion, doubts in the minds of men and women, young and old, and sway them away from the path that leads to salvation.

Source: Google

Apostle John in his epistle warned us to beware of these false ministers of the gospel (See 1 John 4:1). Capitalizing on our weaknesses, they manipulate scriptures to control our minds. Beloved, Scriptures urged us to test every spirit but hold fast to what is good.

At a time like this, we must all pray for the spirit of discernment so that our minds may be equipped to identify falsehood. When we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, we would not be gullible to our emotions and no matter how beautiful or mind-blowing a false preacher packages his/her message, we would be able to discern if that message is true or false.

It is our duty to study the Scriptures daily and to seek the Holy Spirit to grant us understanding of each verse and chapter of the Holy Bible. Even if it is just a chapter, read and meditate on it daily. You may also start by reading a group of verses in chapter daily.

Beloved, through the Scriptures you will understand the true purpose of your life; you will understand Christ’s expectation from us as we sojourn through life. Be eager to hear the Good News but respond to what you hear according to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and in accordance with the Scriptures.

Do not be quick to consume every verse of the Scripture you hear from hook, line and seeker as this could be hazardous to your faith. Verify every Scriptural verse(s) from a contextual point of view. Kindly emulate the Beroeans:

These Jews (in Beroea) were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcome the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things (Spoken by Apostle Paul and Silas) were so (true). (Acts 17:11 NRSV)

“Walk with me, good and loving God, as I journey through life. May I take Your hand and be led by Your Holy Spirit. Fill me, inspire me, free me to respond generously to Your call. For I believe You desire my deepest joy and it is only in Your company that my soul will be satisfied, and my life will find its meaning and purpose.” Amen.

Posted in Message | Leave a comment


When you hear the words “Power”, “Dictatorship” and “Oppression”, what comes to mind?

When you hear the sound (of gunshot):… what comes to mind? Terrorists? A robbery? Police brutality? A sad experience of losing a loved one? The list goes on.

Sadly, these have become the major outcomes of gun violence and the earth is overburdened by the corpses of those whose lives have been pinned down with indignation. The society is overwhelmed with the outcry of mothers whose sons would no longer return home because their lives have been taken away by some gunslingers enraged with bitter passion for vengeance. “How did we get ourselves into this mess?

”It is in our quest to protect ourselves, we have placed the power of life and death into the hands anyone. Now it seems we all live in this prison of fear because our streets are filled with gun slinging executioners. Yes, at the grip of a gun the fearful becomes fearless, the weak becomes powerful, and the insane becomes merciless

Under the wrath of ruthless hearts who couldn’t restrain themselves, the triggers have been pulled and:

Presidents were slain

Cites were turned into ruins

High schools were invaded

Children were made orphans

Parents mourned their children

Women were made widows and what is more

Graves were enriched and the earth groans as she watches us take our own.

image source: Google

As the popular line from Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s song goes, “they leave sorrow, tears and blood, (as) their regular trademark.”

I perceive that watching action movies have somehow twisted our minds that we have become so accustomed to shooting and killing; But life my friend isn’t another movie. In real life, those killed by guns are gone forever. There’s no come back

Doesn’t it scare you to know that there are 8 million new small arms and up to 15 billion rounds of ammunition produced each year?

The names of these guns bring to mind the memories of blood, hatred, terror, misery and the inhumane acts of men.

An estimated 2,000 people are injured by gunshots every single day;

At least 2 million people are living with firearm injuries around the globe.

The small arms trade is worth an estimated US$8.5 billion per year.

Ever wondered why gun producers keep lobbying against gun control in many counties across the globe? The love for money has overshadowed the love for their fellow countrymen.

Even more sad is the fact that most of these small arms are used in developing nations to terrorize and oppress individuals and communities; to silence the voices against dictatorship and bad governance.

Let us be honest, this isn’t protection. This is the monstrous cycle of death that leaves nothing but sorrow, tears and blood as a regular trademark.

° If you still have a trace of sanity in you then I beckon you to heed these words:

° Silence the gun and respect the dignity of human life

° If your life is important to you. Then why point a gun to another.

° Why take that which you cannot give.

In my short time on earth, I have learnt just this.The most powerful force isn’t that created by Pistols, battle rifles, assault rifles, machine guns, AK47, M16 rifle, MG42 or submachine gun. No.The most heroic acts were never those created from Terror attacks, Suicides or homicides, not even police shootings or war fights.The greatest act has always been and will always be: The act of Love.

See, Love is the greatest power that exists on the face of the earth and only the strong have been mighty enough to wield this power.

° Violence is for the weak my friend but you were born to love and be loved. It’s what makes us human – Inhumane is a word reserved for those who behave in a hateful manner.

Challenge yourself today to be strong enough to wield Love in the face of fierce opposition because in the end, you will always win.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti

Posted in Message | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment



In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (Jn. 14:2). 
It is a known fact that the earth with all its seeming beauty is not our true home. Death is an inevitable reality but it still isnt an end in itself.  One day, we shall shed this mortal body of ours and our soul shall leave earth to face immortality in heaven or in hell. But Christ tells us in the Gospel, He is preparing a place for us in heaven.

The real question then is: Are we prepared for that place?

Sometimes, we could become ignorant of how to navigate in our journey from earth to eternity. We tend to focus on the here and now at the detriment of the eternal. We commit most part of our life towards dominating the world (our career, our social circle, our relationship and our financial life). Many times we get carried away in the rat race of life without even pausing to ask ourselves:

Where am I heading? or better yet Where is life leading me?

Image source: Pinterest

The problem most times is that we live our lives forgetting that we shall someday return to the righteous judge. The one who shall judge every man and woman according to his or her works. (See Romans 2:6). He shall gather His wheat (that is, righteous ones) into the barn, but the chaff (that is, sinners) He will cast into unquenchable fire. (See Matthew. 13:30)

The Fathers mansion is the real treasure our only assurance in the life hereafter. Hence, it should be our major focus in life. (See Colossians 3:1-4) So, it will be unwise not to live for it. As Christ warns us in Marks gospel For what profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his or her life? (Mark 8:36). We must constantly check our lives to be sure we are not losing our souls to the vanities of life.

It is not the will of God that anyone should perish, Christ came into the world to show us the way to the Father and to die for our sins so that we may have eternal life. (John 3:16).

How then do we make ourselves fit for this prepared mansion?

  1. Christ – The Way to the Father: As Christ’s followers, Jesus calls us daily to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him. By following in His footsteps, we are certain to walk through the narrow gate that leads to eternal life. (Mtt. 16:24; 7:14).

Beloved, the cross may look rough and it may seem like a symbol of suffering to many. But for us Christians, it is a symbol of compassion and sacrificial love (John. 3:16), intercession, mercy, forgiveness and redemption (Luke. 23:34, John. 19:30), submission to God’s will (Luke. 23:47), and commendation of one another into each others care and that of our Blessed Mother Mary (John. 19:26-27).

  1. Christ – The Truth: As Christ talked about His imminent death, doubts filled the hearts of His Apostles. “They were troubled.”  (John. 14:1a). “We hope this Man is not playing games with us?” Hence, the reason behind His transfiguration and His appearances to His Disciples/Apostles after His resurrection and Ascension.

Strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit and fuelled by the Truth, the Apostles witnessed to the Good News. And they were glad to suffer humiliation on account of Christ. (See Acts 5:41). 

Beloved, are you willing to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ? Remember Whoever tries to save his or her life will lose it, but whoever loses his or  her life for My sake, will save it (Luke 17:33).

  1. Christ – The Life: “…the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matt. 24:13) “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me, even though they die, will live.” (Jn. 11:25) So don’t abandon your cross. “Trust in God still, and trust in Me.” (Jn. 14:1b) Remember, victory awaits you at Calvary. 

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. 

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Posted in Message, The Message from the Pew | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Maiden was with a child

A Maiden was with a child.
In search for an inn to have the long awaited Messiah;
Many prophets foretold His coming;
Many from generation to generations longed for His arrival.

That night, the Saviour was at the doorsteps of many
Yet, the earth was completely oblivious of the moment
It was the night of His Nativity
But all they could see was a pregnant woman
And a troubled man standing at their door.

Doors were slammed against Him,
Hisses were blown towards them.
The hosts of heaven watched the unfolding of one of the greatest mysteries of life God in the midst of His people,
Yet none of his creatures would welcome the Saviour.

The cherubs, the seraphs and all the heavenly choir took their positions
Chanting sonorous hymns in exaltation of God above.
The angels were at hand to break forth the good news to mankind
That night! That very night, the Messiah, the Chief Shepherd of men was born in a manger.
The prophecy is fulfilled.

Yes, for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His
Shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Emmanuel is His name God with us.

Even today He stands at door of your hearts,
Seeking a place to stay for the night.
Don’t shut the doors the second time
But open up your heart to let Him in.
Allow Him fill your heart with Joy, Peace and blessing.
He is the redeemer.
He has come to save you!

Posted in Message, Scriptural Reflection | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nigeria Independence Day

Nigeria Independence Day

Click Here for Audio Version

1st October, 1960

It was the dawn of a new era.
A nation was born, she was named Nigeria.
Yes, it was a day of freedom.
Freedom from the hands of our colonial masters;
It ignited celebration across the nation
From east to west, north to south we could hear jubilation.

Men and women, young and old in their beautiful traditional attires
and costumes rolled out with songs of joy.
They danced excitedly to the rhythm of musical instruments at their disposal;

Today, this freedom from colonial masters turned out to become slavery to god fathers.
The once self-reliant nation with oil boom and plenty of agricultural products
for local consumption and export now relies more on importation and foreign loans.

With the upsurge of different sect groups and kidnappers among other social ills,
Our mother land has become a murder land
while our father land has become farther for Nigerians in Diaspora.
Selfishness, greed, anti-ethnic and religious bigotry have fractured our nation,
and destroyed the fabric of our image locally and internationally.

We are limping as a nation and our coat of arms
Unity and faith, peace and progress keeps ebbing away
Our religious groups – the conscience of this nation are founded on peace and love
But why the chaos and hatred in our land?

Our last military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar in his words said,
We cannot bequeath chaos, disunity, a state of insecurity
and hopelessness to the future generations of Nigerians.”

So, we must purge ourselves of anti-ethnic and religious bigotry
We must tame our greed and eradicate the abuse of power or office
We must make our land more productive, more inhabitable, more hospitable and secure
We must create a nation where public resources are utilized for the good of all and not just a few
Where men and women, young and old have a fair share of the dividends of democracy
and the voice of the poor in the rural settlement is heard and given due attention.

Our concern for the men and women in Aso Rock, the upper and lower chambers
must not be more than that towards the men and women in the rural areas
They must have access to quality education,
Good and affordable health care services and good transportation system.

Their allowances is paid as and at when they are due
We must encourage creativity and reward genuine success
We must raise people of conscience and build a nation of conscience
We must harness our intellectual knowledge,
human and natural resources to build a nation of global admiration.

We must have the will and the courage to begin anew
in order to build a united nation of peace, progress and prosperity.
May the labour of our heroes past never be in vain. Amen.

Posted in Message | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

  • Philippians 4:13

Have you ever stumbled upon this verse of scriptures in the past? How did you feel when it happened? Let me guess! You were probably excited when you first read, heard or received admonition on this particular verse. Perhaps you have also been able to conquer or overcome some of life’s challenges with the help of this scriptural passage. It is truly amazing to note that we have been able to conquer different challenges of life based on our faith in Christ and His grace.

Many Christians have given tremendous testimonies of their victories that we will run out of words when we begin to list the numerous achievements we have made, all thanks to the grace and strength of Christ that has been sufficient. Ofcourse, it is always interesting and faith-charged atmosphere when we sit back and listen to these testimonies. But have you noticed that most of our testimonies do not include how we have conquered un-forgiveness through Christ who strengthens us? That sounds odd right? Well then, let me ask you a question: Is forgiveness excluded from this scriptural text: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me?”.

The next question that may come to mind is why do many of us fail to consider reconciliation or forgiveness as a victory? The answer is not far from the fact that right from time immemorial, humans have always wanted to get even with those they perceive as their enemies. On this ground, some will never ask for the grace to reconcile with an offender or an enemy. Instead of taking the step towards reconciliation, some will resist the grace and the strength of Christ, they will forsake the courage and the will bestowed on us by Christ and refuse to reconcile with an offender.

What is the mind of Christ when we act in this way? Is Christ pleased with us when we respond to His grace only for selfish gains? We say to ourselves “Ha! It is difficult to let go!“ But that is why grace is available – to make us able to accomplish that which is beyond our strength.

The unforgiving must have thought: “It is impossible to forgive such an offence,” “he/she does not deserve mercy for such a heinous act.” Who really deserves mercy, you? Can you look at the mirror and tell yourself that you deserve mercy? We all enjoy God’s mercy because of His love. God wants us to do the same to our offenders because His spirit of love and mercy dwells in us. (See Colossians 3:13)

Beloved in Christ, the strength and the empowerment we received from Christ urges us to offer love, mercy and selfless service to men and women created in the image and after the likeness of God. So, when next you fail to forgive, always remember, you are resisting the spirit of Christ who strengthens us to do all things. Even the seemingly impossible!

He who knows how to forgive prepares for himself many graces from God. As often as I look upon the cross, so often will I forgive with all my heart.

  • St. Maria Faustina


Lord Jesus, You are the God of love and mercy. Thank You for the love and mercy You shown me on the cross of Calvary. Help me to conquer the spirit of unforgiveness, and the grace to forgive my transgressors. Amen.

Posted in Scriptural Reflection, The Message from the Pew | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment




What a priceless gift to mankind

What a source of joy and a delight to human race

In her, love is personified

In her presence joy flows unceasing

Mother, You are the best!


Your touch comforts

Your words heal

Your smiles keep me going

Your kisses and hugs made me feel precious

And in your hands I found love and solace

Mother, You are the best!


In the cold, you clothed me

When I was hungry, you fed me

When I was sick, you were at hand to support me

When I was rejected, you welcomed me

Mother, You are the best!


My joy, was your joy

My beauty, was your beauty

My success, was your success

My failure, was your pain

Mother, You are the best!


Thank you for the love

Thank you for the kisses

Thank you for the hugs

Thank you for the encouragement

Thank you for being my cheerleader

Thank you Mother. You are the best

Posted in Message | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Once upon a time, many years ago
In the midst of a crooked and dark world
Came the Light of the world
His brightness exposed the hypocrisy of men
His rays were to direct men in the path of righteousness

But men chose to remain in darkness rather than embrace the light
They were comfortable in their life of hypocrisy
And they were prepared to do anything to obliterate the Light
Day and night they sought for that opportunity to eliminate the Light

As the saying goes,
“If the enemy within does not pull one down, the enemy without can hardly pull one down.”
For greed and the love of money
He was betrayed by a friend’s kiss
Sold for 30 pieces of Silver

He was bound with chains and presented before Annas, Caiphas, Pilate and Herod
He stood alone before His adversaries
And was accused by false witnesses
With no one to defend His case

His friends and apostles deserted Him
The one who vowed to die for Him, denied Him
Those who enjoyed His company, His love and His adversaries shouted:
Crucify Him! Crucify Him! He deserves to die

In their quest to have Him crucified, to extinguish the Light
They chose a thief over Him
He was denied justice for fear of a riot
Handed over to hostile and brutal men

In chains, He was scourged and disfigured
His skin torn apart by whips and curbs
He was slapped and spat upon
He was crowned with thorns, blindfolded and mocked

Like an innocent lamb led to the slaughter
He was burdened with a heavy-rugged wooden cross
And journeyed to Calvary – the hill of His crucifixion
More than once He fell under the weight of the cross

Mercilessly, they stabbed Him with nails
Fastened to the cross with a heavy smashed hammer
And pain exploded like a bomb of fire in His brain
Stripped of His garment and suspended among thieves to bleed to die

His mother watched in silence and in sorrow
The earthly distanced themselves from Him
While the heavenly watched on in silence
No wonder He cried out aloud with all the energy He could muster:
“My God, My God why have Thou forsaken Me.”

On the cross, He was taunted
He was given gall and vinegar to drink
But He prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Quietly He said, “It is finished.”
Bowed His head and gave up His Spirit

The Temple’s curtain torn apart
Darkness covered the earth
The quake and the tombs were opened
And the bodies of the many saints arose
“This was the Son of God!” as exclaimed
But the Light will rise again and shine brightly and unceasingly

For many, this was a suicide journey
No! It was a journey of love
It was a journey of mercy
It was a journey of salvation
It was a journey of redemption – to rescue our souls from the chains of Hades
This is the victory over death
Yes, on the cross Satan lost the battle.
Men and women can now experience the Beatific Vision
And reign with the Saviour in His heavenly Kingdom.

We adore You O Christ and we praise You, because of Your holy cross You redeemed the world

Audio Version

Posted in Message, Scriptural Reflection, The Message from the Pew | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing. [CC 755]

To say, Christ is the vine and we are the braches [See John 15:5], it means we are part of the whole – the body of Christ. This was opined by Apostle Paul when he said: Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. [1 Corinthians 12:27]
But how do we become part of this whole – the body of Christ, the Vine, the Church, the Family of God’s people, His kingdom on earth? This answer was made known to Nicodemus by our Saviour Jesus Christ: “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” [John 3:5]

Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua),4 and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”5 [CC1213]

So, through faith and baptism we become members of the body of Christ because through the immersion we are buried with Him and rise with Him through His resurrection. [See CC1214]; the white baptismal garment means we put on Christ ie a new creation; the candle light means Christ has enlightened us and we are now the light of the world. [See CC 1243]

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, we become part of the body of Christ – the Vine, the family of God’s people through faith and baptism but we remain in the Vine by being a light to the world.

Therefore, the body of Christ – the Church encompasses arrays of baptized persons – rich and poor; slaves and masters; young and old; men and women; boys and girls; single and married. There are variations in economical, social, cultural, ethnic, financial and spiritual status of these persons. Irrespective of these differences in status, by virtue of their baptism they are given equal status in Christ Jesus as Apostle Paul stated in his letter to the Galatians:
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [Galatians 3:27-28]

This single and encompassing pieces of clothing binding the various parts of the body of Christ is purposed for all Christ’s faithful to be people oriented; functioning together in love, fellowship, respect for one another and willingness to forgive irrespective of race, ethnicity, colour and gender. And kindly know that works of mercy comes before the works of worship [See Matthew 5:23-24; Luke 10:25-37, Luke 13:10-17]. For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen [1 John 4:20b]. And in truth acts of mercy are acts of worship [See Proverbs 14:31]. Mercy encompasses forgiveness and charity.

Just like the parts of the human body, Christians must learn to share in the pain, joy and the general wellbeing of every member of the Household of God. In truth, that is what it takes to remain in the Vine or to be light to the world. The church, the body of Christ, was purchased to give glory to God [See 1 Corinthians 6: 20], it is holy and not for sexual immorality [See 1 Corinthians 6: 18] but as the Shrine of the Holy Spirit [See 1 Corinthians 6: 19]. The body cannot grow if we continue to envy, fight and speak evil of one other [See James 4:1-2, 11].

So, let us be careful not to create more division within the Christendom. Let us put an end to sayings like: I belong to Paul, I belong to Apollos [See I Corinthians 3:4-6]. Before His Passion, Christ prayed earnestly for us to be one. [See John 17:21-23]. So, why are we rebelling against Christ’s will for His people?

Apostle Paul once appealed to the people of Galatians, “…serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. [See Galatians. 5:13-15]

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. [1 Corinthians 3:17]
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. [Galatians 5:6; I Corinthians 13:1-13]
The body is called to walk in love for by this shall all men know we are His disciples [See John 13: 35], then we can disciple the nations. Individually, everyone is called to discover their specific purpose in the Body and minister in that capacity according to the gifts we were given [See Romans 12: 6-8]. This is a call for the laity to be more involved and not be bench warmers or church attenders.

In his book: Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren said:
The difference between being a church attender and a church member is commitment. Attenders are spectators from the sidelines; members get involved in the ministry. Attenders are consumers; members are contributors. Attenders want the benefits of a church without sharing the responsibility.

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, where do you belong – a church attender or a member of the household of God? It is just a personal question for self-reflection.
Dear people of God, we all have special gifts of the Holy Spirit to contribute toward the unit of the body of Christ – His church. We all have talents that we help us to be fruitful in service toward God and humanity because the mission of the body of Christ is, to be salt of the earth and light of the world [See Matthew 5:13-16]

Finally, in one of his weekly General Audience addresses to the faithful gathering in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said:
The image of the body helps us understand this deep connection between the Church and Christ, that St. Paul develops especially in the First Letter to the Corinthians (cf. ch. 12). Above all, the body brings to mind a living reality. The Church is not a care association, or a cultural or political one, but is a living body, which walks and acts in history. And this body has a head, Jesus, who guides, nourishes and sustains it. This is a point that I would like to emphasize: if you separate the head from the rest of the body, the whole person cannot survive. So it is in the Church: we need to stay connected to Jesus in an increasingly intense way.

But not only that: as in a body, it is important for the lifeblood to pass through it, so we must allow Jesus to operate in us, must allow his Word to guide us, his Eucharistic presence to nourish us, animate us, we must allow his love to give strength to our loving our neighbor. And this, always! Always! Dear brothers and sisters, let us remain united to Jesus, let us trust him, let us orient our lives according to his Gospel, nourishing ourselves with daily prayer, listening to the Word of God and participation in the Sacraments.”

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Amen

Jesus Christ Speaks
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35 NRSV).

Posted in Message, The Message from the Pew | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment