LOVE OF GOD
Sunday Jesus told us that we should not fear human beings because they do not have much power. Their power is extremely limited. They can kill only the body, but they cannot touch the soul. He said that the only one we should fear is God. This is because God has an unlimited power over everyone and over everything (Mt 10:28). God has an unlimited power over everyone because God is infinite. All the attributes or qualities of God are infinite. Everything about God has no beginning and no end.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus in the same line of thought obliges us to love God above everyone else including your father, your mother, your son, and your daughter. This is not a suggestion or a proposition it is a command. It is a law. It is an obligation. Remember that Jesus has summarized the ten commandments of God into two commandments and calls them the commandments of love (Mt 22: 4 40 Mk 12:28 4 Lk 10:25 28). In today’s Gospel therefore, Jesus is e plaining the first of these two commandments of love. Remember that when the Doctor of the law said to Jesus: Teacher which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He answered to him: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. lease take note here. He then went further and said: The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. He then added: The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Mt 22: 4 40).
What Jesus is telling us in today’s Gospel is that these two commandments are very important but if you find yourself in a situation where you have to choose between loving God more than anyone else or loving your father, or your mother, or your son or your daughter or yourself more than God you should chose to love God more than yourself and anyone else. Jesus is our model and he teaches in words and in practice. He has what he is telling us today into practice in the Garden of Gethsemane when he was praying to God the Father before his passion. He says: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me yet, not as I will, but as you will” (Mt 26: 9). At the end, he abandoned his will and drank that cup in accordance with the will the Father (Gal 1:4). This shows that Jesus loves God the Father more than himself. The love he has for God the Father is greater than the love he has for himself. The greater love he has for God the Father made him to abandon his will and embrace the will of God the Father.
Love influences our desires, our thoughts, our decision making, our choices and above all our will. If you love God more than yourself and everyone else, then you will never do anything to displease God. Even if the action is pleasing to you, to your loved ones or to anyone else. Anyone who does not place God above family ties cannot be a disciple of Jesus (Lk 14:26).
We now conclude by reminding ourselves that the will of God which includes greater love for God is paramount to everything. May the Holy Spirit inspire us and help us to love God more than anyone else including ourselves so after following Jesus faithfully with our different types of crosses in this world, at the end our life we enter into heaven and continue to praise God with all the Angels and Saints for ever and ever Amen.
Father Clement Uchendu C.S.Sp. PhD
Dear friends, every time we come to Church, we celebrate the kingdom of God, celebrate the Father God who sent His Only Son Jesus Christ to preach the kingdom of God and every time we come to Church, we celebrate Jesus who gave us the blessing to call God Father.
As we celebrate Father’s day, I invite you all to meditate upon the graciousness and mercy of God our Father and thank Him for giving us generous and kind fathers who dedicate and sacrifice their time, energy and resource to make us strong, wonderful and responsible citizens in the world.
The Father God is our creator and when He breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of people, life began. Adam and Eve began their spiritual journey on earth. But as they went away from God, their life source was taken away from them; they experienced suffering, pain, sickness and eventually death. But God who loves is creatures so much sent is son who again breathed on the disciples saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” and thus life was restored and that life is still continuing through people. Yes, God calls men in a special way to continue is creation activity. Continuing is creation activity demands tremendous spiritual responsibility. They have to sacrifice and dedicate themselves more than hundred percent to protect their family and raise their children holy. here can they draw energy to do so? They can draw spiritual energy and strength only from God. on this Father’s Day, we especially thank God for our fathers for their dedication and sacrifice and ask God to bless them.
In the gospels, Jesus says how much even the mortal fathers love their children saying, if you ask for fish, will he give you a snake, will he give you a stone instead of bread. They know how to give you good things. Yes, fathers know how to protect and love their children. Because of the earthly fathers, children learn to love more and more the heavenly Fathers. As Jesus says, they come to know, even the mortal fathers know how to give good gifts to children how much more the heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit the life to those who ask Him. That is why Jesus says, “Ask, you will receive, search, you will find and knock the door will be opened”.
Father is the one who knows the meaning of forgiveness and acceptance. Though his children are like prodigal son going away from him, wasting their lives and living an immoral life but when they come back to him saying, “dad, I am sorry. Please forgive me”. They will never get mad at them, instead he will accept them immediately saying to everyone, “my son or my daughter was lost and now they are found. They were dead and now they are alive”
As we celebrate Father’s Day, let us thank God for fathers who raise their children strong and religious and who dedicate their lives for their family and children. May God bless them. Amen.
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
“My Lord and my God” exclaimed the apostle Thomas when he finally touched Jesus Himself. Thomas found it really difficult to believe in the Resurrection. For many today, to believe that Jesus is God is difficult. To believe that we eat His flesh and drink His blood is practically impossible. Yet, God is with us! God is present in our lives daily. God seeks us each, personally and individually, so that we can share His life.
Just as the early followers of Jesus found it difficult to accept these teachings, so also today we find it difficult to accept. When we read of the early followers of Jesus, we begin to see that belief does transform their lives completely. They can no longer contain themselves and speak of the “wonderful works of God” to all who will listen to them. The first reading today is from the Book of Deuteronomy and speaks of the testing of the people who fled Egypt with Moses and who form the Chosen People. The reading is clear: God lead them into the desert to test them by affliction and to find out whether or not it was their intention to keep the Commandments of God.
You and I are taken into the desert in our own time and we are tested. Faith is a serious commitment. Faith in this God of our ancestors, the God of Moses, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of the early apostles and followers of Jesus this is a strong faith! The challenge to each of us today is the same: are you willing to obey this God and to do His will.
This faith is expressed in the First Letter to the Corinthians, from which is taken our second reading today: we are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. We are one in Christ Jesus! This faith should unite us and make possible our love for every other person in the world. It is all of us who form one body.
The gospel from John today speaks clearly also: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” Even the Jewish contemporaries of Jesus found this kind of speaking impossible to accept.
We Christians can be honest today: we are invited to believe that Jesus is God. We are invited to believe that God is Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are invited to believe that Jesus has given Himself to us as flesh and blood to eat and drink. We are invited to believe that this flesh and blood are given to us in the Holy Mass. We are invited to believe that God Himself will transform us if we believe in Him and try to do His will. My sisters and brothers, we have been invited. May we partake of the banquet!
Your brother in the Lord,
ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. ln You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant hears you.” Amen.
May 17th Homily
Unless a Marine Corps recruiter has visited your home, you’ve probably never heard of Benefit Tags. Benefit tags are instruments a recruiter uses to “sell” the Marine Corps to a potential Recruit. They are little plastic rectangular tags small enough to fit on a key chain similar to a speedy rewards tag, or Kroger rewards tag. Each of the eight tags states a benefit to joining the Marine Corps. Benefit tags say things like: Travel and Adventure, Leadership Skills, Self-Reliance, Self-Discipline, Educational Opportunities, and Technical Skills to name a few. When I was on recruiting duty in northeast Mississippi, I would have my prospect pick three and then give them the spiel. Each sales pitch would be met with belief, skepticism or disbelief. If they believe, you move to the next tag or go for the close: Are you ready to join the Marines?
If the prospect is skeptical or disbelieving, a recruiter has to offer proof that their words are true. Recall the first reading. Philip is on recruiting duty for the Lord!
Imagine Philip going to downtown Samaria and setting up a table in the square somewhere, talking to people as they pass by. He throws down carved stone “benefit tags” with words on them like love and kindness, compassion and mercy, peace and joy. He invites the passerby’s “Pick three”! Then he begins telling the people about God who loves them more that they will ever know, and about Jesus. Philip is telling the Samaritans about how the Son of God was crucified, and rose from the dead so that they could gain eternal life. The Samaritans came to believe by the words Philip spoke, and also by the works Philip did by casting out demons, healing cripples and those who were paralyzed. By word and deed Philip offered proof that Jesus is who he says he is. That Jesus can heal them of their afflictions and their sins. Then, Philip goes for the close: Are you ready to be Baptized?
Like Philip, you and I are recruiters for God. We know the spiel, and are called to tell others of our hope in the rising of Christ, who made a way for ours, and their, eternal salvation. Invoking the Holy Spirit’s help, we become living examples for others to see. As we live our lives in joy and peace, keeping the commandments as our guideline, others see that living a Christian life is every bit rewarding as it is intended to be.
Brothers and Sisters, God is all about our salvation. Jesus came into the world just like you and I to be a witness to God and his majesty. Because Jesus died to redeem us, and then rose from the dead, we have hope that when we die, we too shall rise with Him. Jesus and the Holy Spirit work in concert for our salvation. The Holy Spirit, which is God’s power in action, leads us on the path to salvation. We are led by the Holy Spirit, just like the Jews were led by the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Some of us might be crippled by sin, others paralyzed by fear, whatever we are going through in our lives, God is right there with us. He will not leave us orphans, He will be with us.
OF FR. FRANCIS TANDOH C.S.Sp.
I am Fr. Francis Tandoh. I was born to the parents of Mr. Andrew Tandoh & Mrs. Dorothy (Payne) Tandoh. I am the fourth child from a family of 12 children with ten surviving. I pursued my elementary and high school education in Kumasi, Ghana. I received my call to the priesthood at an early age. I attended St. Hubert’s Seminary in Kumasi. I left the seminary to continue my Sixth Form (at a time high school was seven years in Ghana) education in T. I. Ahamadya Islamic School, in Kumasi. I entered the teaching career and taught in St. Benedict Middle School, Kumasi, Ghana, from 1981-83.
I decided to join the Missionary and Religious Order of the Holy Spirit Congregation and entered into the Postulancy in 1983. I completed my Novitiate and started my philosophical studies in 1985, at the School of philosophy Insukka, Nigeria. I took some time off reflecting on my vocation to the priesthood. During this time, I taught Social Studies in St. Anthony Junior High School, in Kumasi Ghana. At the same time, I was engaged in a rural ministry for young adults.
I went to continue my studies for the Priesthood and missionary life in the Spiritan International School of Theology, Enugu, Nigeria. I was ordained in the Star of the Sea Catholic Cathedral by the late Most Rev. Charles Kweku Sam on July 24, 1993, in Takoradi, Ghana, my home Diocese, after completing my theological studies.
I hold a degree in Religious Education; master’s in educational administration/Leadership. I hold a certificate in Pastoral Counseling; I am a certified Clinical Chaplain with CPSP. I suspended my candidacy as a student in licentiate/Doctoral degree with Marian Research Institute, University of Dayton, due to my parish workload, but I hope to take it up very soon. Before my ordination, I was the Publicity Officer for the Kumasi Diocesan Youth Council; Bursar Holy Ghost Pre-Novitiate, Ghana.
In my Ministry as a Priest, I single-handedly founded a benevolent group called Spiritan Friends, who support the Spiritans and their ministries. I have served at Our Lady of Fatima Parish while in residence as Religion Teacher in St. Edward’s Middle School, Bwiam the Gambia and St. Peters High School; Pastor Star of the Sea Parish, an affluent Parish of 1000 families; Pastor St. Charles Luanga Parish of about 2000 in Sunday mass attendance. Rector St. Peters Seminary, all in the Gambia.
I was transferred here to the United States in 1996 to serve as the Mission Coordinator for the Holy Spirit Fathers, West Africa Province, now Ghana Province, a position that I still served until 2016. My main work was to write grants and preach
in Catholic Churches to creating awareness about the missions, especially in Africa in soliciting funds to support the church’s activities in Africa, especially in training priest for the Spiritans coming from Ghana. To support myself I was employed to be the Religious Education Director in Resurrection Catholic School, now St. Benedict the Moor Catholic School, while still being the Parochial Vicar for St. James and Resurrection Parishes in Dayton Ohio until my appointment as the Pastor of St. James and Resurrection Parishes, in December 2000.
In 2000 soon after my appointment, I led the parish community of 400 families through a church building campaign, Vision to Victory, which finally gave them a new church edifice, with a new parish, St. Benedict the Moor. The church holds 1050
people in the sanctuary and a hall which seats 600 people, I am the first pastor of this newly created parish. In that same year, I was appointed the Pastor of St. Augustine, Germantown and St. Mary, Camden with Fr. Joshua Otusafo as my Associate.
In July 2009 in addition to the three Parishes, I was asked to be the Pastor of St. Mary’s and Holy Family in Dayton. In 2010/2011, Holy Family Parish was closed to the English Congregation due to financial constraints. I still have all these three Parishes. St. Mary’s Camden was given out to the Preble County Parishes in 2014.
Recently in 2015, I led my parishes into accepting the only Catholic school in the West side of Dayton that was closing, reasons being poor Academic Standards and Financial Constraints. Today St. Benedict the Moor School is opened and thriving academically and raising good students for the future of our community and country. Advocacy has been my passion for the ministry. I believe the word becomes more meaningful when parishioners see it reflected in the community and their life. For
more than six years I was the Co-chairperson and Chairperson of Leaders of Equality of Action in Dayton (LEAD). LEAD is an interfaith Justice Group who work with City leaders and Congregations to hold the system and Politicians accountable to bring freedom and peace into the community. In my terms we were able to have victories with the RTA busing Board to be more inclusive, the City of Dayton to change its ordinance to be friendlier to Ex-Offenders (Bann the Box), City increasing the demolishing of dilapidated buildings and many more victories.
As I celebrate this weekend the 25 years milestone today, it is my will to work together with all of you who are my flock to expand the missionary work of God with affection and love for the good of you, my parishioners, and the community that we serve. May the good Lord who has entrusted me with his flock help me with good health, courage and good directions that comes from the guidance of his spirit to bring it to a fruitful end.
Thank you for your support during all these years