CHRIST THE KING
Christ is the King of the whole Universe. He is the principle of creation and redemption. ln everything, he is preeminent, “especially in the Church, through whom he extends his reign over all things (CCC 792). Jesus Christ is God. He is the Word who existed with the Father from all eternity (Jn 1:1). He took flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1: 14). After speaking in many and varied ways through the prophets, “now at last in these days God has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1: 1-2). Jesus Christ, therefore, the Word made flesh was sent as a man to all humanity. He “speaks the words of God” (John 3: 34) and completes the work of salvation which His Father gave Him to do. (John 5:36; John 1 7:4). To see Jesus is to see His Father (John 14:9). Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover, He confirmed with divine testimony from what revelation proclaimed, that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal (Dei Verbum 4).
The highest Revelation
Jesus Christ is the highest revelation. But the unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is partly God and partly human person, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human, no; Jesus became truly human person while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true human person (CCC 464). He “is the head of the body, the Church.” The whole history of salvation is focused on the revelation of the one true God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit to humanity and on how this one true God has reconciled with the fallen humanity through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who turn away from sin are now united with God (CCC 234). Thus, the empire of our Redeemer embraces all humanity. To use the words of, Pope Leo XIII: the empire of Christ “includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of humankind is subject to the power of Christ”(Philippians 2:1O); (Encyclical of Pope Pius XI on the feast of Christ the King: 18. http://www.vatican .va/content/pius xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_11121925_quas primas.html
Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior will come again as a King to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1) and the requirements for going to heaven are as follows: I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous 16 will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”(Mt 25:35-46).
My dear brothers and sisters, please if you want to go to heaven start practicing charity now. May the Holy Spirit inspire us and help us to practice charity by feeding the hungry, by visiting the sick, by visiting the prisoners, by clothing the naked, by helping the poor, by helping the Church, by praying for the living and the dead, by instructing the ignorant and by running away from sins so that when we die we see God and live with God forever, Amen.
Father Clement Uchendu C.S.Sp., PhD.
THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS
Jesus uses parables to invite men and women to the feast of the kingdom of God, or kingdom of Heaven or eternal life. But he also asks for a radical choice. That is, be makes it crystal clear that anyone who wants to enter the kingdom of God must surrender everything to God, including his or her life (Matthew 16:24-28; Mark 8:34-38; Lk 9;23-27). Anyone who wants to enter the kingdom of God must put the word of God into practice, only words are not enough, deeds are seriously required (Matthew 7:21-27; James 1:22-25); (Catechism of the Catholic Church 546) http: //www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/P1L.HTM#$M6
In the Gospel of today Jesus tells his listeners that the kingdom of God is like a man who was going on a journey and called his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; and to a third, one. He gave to each one according to that person’ s ability. After distributing the talents to his servants, he went on his journey. The one who received five talents went out immediately and began to trade with them; likewise, the one who received two. But the man who, received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.
After a long time, the man returned from the journey and began to settle accounts with those servants. The one who had received five talents came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more. His master said to him, “Well done, my good and faithful l servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share in your master’s joy.’ The one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more. ‘His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share in your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is, have your money back. His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! So, you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and the person will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what that person has will be taken away. Throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth’ (Mt 25:14-30).
The Master in this parable is God, the servants are humanity, the talents are different types of gifts, or talents or charisms which God has given to each human person (Cor12:1-31). The good servants are the good people in this world who use their gifts or positions of responsibilities to work hard for the greater glory of God and for the salvation of the souls. They keep the commandments of God. They live life of charity. The master’ s joy is Heaven (CCC 1022-1024). The bad servant represents the bad people in this world. They do not keep the commandments of God and they do not live life of charity. The darkness outside where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth’ is hell (CCC 1033).
May the Holy Spirit inspire us and help us to use our God-given talents to work for the greater glory of God and for the salvation of souls so that when we die, we see God and live with God for ever, Amen.
Father Clement Uchendu C.S.Sp., PhD
THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS
The parable of the ten virgins is focused on the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ at the end of time (Mt 25:31-46). It is a clarion call for preparation and readiness for the end of the world and the end of each person on earth. Jesus uses this parable to tell his listeners that anyone who wants to go to heaven must work for it. He tells his listeners that the kingdom of heaven can be compared to ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. “Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ The ten virgins got up immediately and “trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise,’ Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves. ‘And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other” virgins came “also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us. ‘But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you; I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Mt 25:1-13).
Jesus ends this parable with a warning to his listeners. He says, “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Mt 25:13). We do not know the day or the hour of the end of the world and we do not know the day or the hour of our death. We know’ that the world will come to an end one day (Mt 28: 16-20), but we should focus our attention more on the day of our death because whoever dies as God’s friend will go to heaven and live with God forever but whoever dies as God’s enemy will go to hell and suffer forever (Mt 25:46); and on each case, the end of the world will not change anything. So, my brothers and sisters let us focus our attention more on the day that we shall die.
In this parable, the bridegroom represents our Lord Jesus Christ, the wedding feast is heaven, the ten virgins are not only the Christians but all humanity. Jesus came to save all humanity. He says, and ‘Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he or she has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (Jn 3:14-18). Jesus also says, “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself” (Jn12:32). The wise virgins are the good people on earth. They are ready and waiting for the coming of the Lord by living good life and the foolish virgins are bad people. They are not keeping watch; they are doing all sorts of evil. The time of waiting for the arrival of the Bridegroom is our time on earth. We must stay awake always. We must never fall asleep. Jesus has warned us in this parable that death will come like a thief when we least expect it (Mt 24:32-44, 25:13 Thess 5:2; Rev. 16:15). We must stay away from all kinds of sins. Fearing the Lord is wisdom; and avoiding evil is understanding (Job 28:28). Our primary responsibility is to keep the ten commandments of God (Exodus 20:1-21; Deut 5:1-22) and the best way to keep the ten commandments of God is by loving the Lord our God, with all our he art, with all our soul and with all our mind, and by loving our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mt 22:34-40;Mk 12:28-34; Lk 10:25-28). We must continue to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ in everything we do. We must remember that when Jesus was on earth, he went about doing good (Acts 10:36-38). We must imitate him by doing good always.
May the Holy Spirit inspire us and help us to be ready and waiting for the day of our death by avoiding evil and by doing good always so that when we die, we see God and live with God for ever, Amen.
Father Clement Uchendu C.S.Sp., PhD
SOLEMINITY OF ALL SAINTS
The author of the book of Revelation had a vision of those who are in heaven and declared: 1, John heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of Israel: twelve thousand were marked from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand from the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand from the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand from the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand from the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand from the tribe of Manasseh, twelve thousand from the tribe of Simeon , twelve thousand from the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand from the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand from the tribe of Joseph, and twelve thousand were marked from the tribe of Benjamin. After this I had a vision of a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.” All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed: “Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from? “I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.” He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” For this reason, they stand before God’s throne and worship God day and night in God’s temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them. They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them. For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev 7:4-17).
The Church celebrates the solemnity of all the saints today; even those who are not yet canonized are included in this feast because they are already in Heaven. This is an opportunity for us to reflect on our lives and decide where we want to spend our eternity and start working for it now. Each Person receives his/her eternal retribution in his/her immortal soul at the very moment of his/her death, in a particular judgment that refers his/her life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of Heaven ‘through a purification or immediately, or immediate and everlasting damnation. Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live forever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they “see God as God is,” face to face. This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity, this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the Angels and all the Blessed or Saints is called “Heaven.” Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfilment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness (CCC 1022-1024).
All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned (CCC 1030-1031)
We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love God. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against God, against our neighbor or against ourselves: Anyone who does not love remains in death. Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brothers and sisters. To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from God forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell. “ (CCC 1033). Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire” (CCC 103 5). May the Holy Spirit inspire us and enable us to decide that we are going to spend our eternity in Heaven and help us to start working for it from now until we breathe our last breath, Amen.
Father Clement Uchendu C.S.Sp., PhD
THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT
In today’s Gospel the enemies of Jesus again out of jealousy wanted to entrap him with a difficult question. Jesus did not commit any offence they were jealous of him because he was a holy man, be was a powerful preacher, be was a miracle worker and above all be pulled large crowds. He preached the truth and lived what he preached. Nobody could be compared to him. For this reason, he was a thorn in the flesh of the religious leaders and the elders of the people of Israel. The crowds Jove him but the religious leaders of the people of Israel especially the chief priests, the scribes, some pharisees and the elders of the people bate him terribly. They have unanimously agreed that they must kill him. They spend a lot of time and energy to plan and figure out how to arrest him by treachery and put him to death (Mk 3:6 Mk 14:1 -2; Luke 22:1-6; John l l:45-54); (CCC 574).
One of the ways through which they wanted to achieve this goal has been by asking him difficult questions with the aim to embarrass him in public as an illiterate (Jn 7:14-15) and a nonentity who is unqualified to be a religious leader because he lacks the required knowledge and status to teach and lead the people of God. Their effort to prove this point is shown clearly in today’ s Gospel when a scholar of the Law came forward and tested Jesus with a difficult theological question saying: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” They expected him to fail this question and lose the crowd. But the answer they received from Jesus was amazing. Jesus outsmarted them and answered, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (Deut 6:4-5). This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev 19 :18). The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Mt 22:34-40).
The ten Commandments state what is required in love of God and neighbor. Three were written on one tablet and seven on the other. The first three Commandments are focused on love of God and the other seven are focused on love of neighbor. The ten commandments are engraved by God in the human heart. They express the fundamental duties of the human person towards God and towards his or her neighbor, (CCC 2067) (CCC 2072). The Decalogue forms a coherent whole. Each “word” refers to each of the other s and to all of them; they reciprocally condition one another. To transgress one commandment is to infringe all the others. One cannot honor another person without blessing God who created that person, and one cannot adore God without loving all men and women who are God’s creatures. The Decalogue thus brings both the religious and the social life of the humankind into unity (CCC 2069). Jesus has done a genuinely nice job by explaining the ten commandments as two commandments of love. The Decalogue must thus be interpreted as two-fold but a single commandment of love, the fullness of the Law (CCC 2055). We can thus say that another name for the ten commandments of God is love. Jesus left an important assignment for his disciples and for us today and that assignment is no other thing to love. On one occasion he says: I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another (Jn 13:34).
This is my commandment t: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what this master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but 1 who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another (Jn 15:12-17). May the Holy Spirit inspire us and help us to love God, to love ourselves and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves so that when we die, we see God and live with God for ever, Amen! (Mt 22:34-40; Mk 12:28-34; Lk 10:25-28).
Le Pere Clement Uchendu C.S.Sp., PhD.