10-24-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The Gospel this weekend tells the story of the encounter between Jesus and Bartimaeus the blind beggar. We are told by Mark that Jesus was leaving Jericho and a large crowd was following Him and His disciples. By the roadside, on the path Jesus was to walk, was a blind beggar who obviously had heard about Jesus, His message and miracles. He must have decided that this was his opportunity to meet the Messiah and he was not going to let it pass by. But reaching Jesus was a herculean task for a blind beggar. First, he was blind and could not detect with precision who among the crowd was Jesus, or how he was going to navigate his way through this crowd to Jesus, even if somehow he was able to identify Christ. These huddles could deter any blindman from even making an attempt, but not Bartimaeus. He was a man of resilient faith so seizing the moment became his natural decision. St. Mark tells us that Bartimaeus began to cry out, addressing Jesus with His Mesianic title, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.’’ The busybody crowd tried to stop him, for them this beggar was wasting his time and constituting a public nuisance. Bartimaeus persisted and St. Mark tells us Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” The faith of a poor blind beggar stopped the movement of the “Son of David” and the huge crowd. Faith truly moves mountains.

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He Did Not Come to be Served, But to Serve

10-17-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

According to the Gospel of St. Mark, Jesus predicted His passion, death and resurrection three times. He first did so after the confession of Peter at Caesarea Philippi and Simon Peter’s response was to take Him aside and attempt to rebuke Him. The second time was as they passed through Galilee; the apostles could not understand Him, yet they responded by maintaining silence because they were afraid to question Him. The third and final prediction was on their way to Jerusalem. He took His disciples aside and revealed to them what awaited Him in the eternal city. This final prediction shares the same setting with, and in fact precedes, the events in the Gospel of today.

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For All Good Things Are Possible

10-10-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Everyday, life requires us to make choices in the face of so many options. To make some choices, one needs to forgo some other options competing for our attention. This weekend’s readings are centered on the choices we should make, the options we have to renounce in order to make the right choices and the consequences that arise from the choices we make. The book of Wisdom presents its author (presumably king Solomon) recalling how in the midst of so many attractive mundane options, he chose wisdom and renounced material treasure. For him, wisdom was his preferred choice because “her radiance never ceases”. The consequence of his choice here is that he received along with wisdom even those things he did not ask for. This reminds us of Jesus admonishing his disciples to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” (Matthew 6:33).

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What God Has Joined Together, No Human Being Must Separate

10-03-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The Readings of this Sunday evoke a serious discussion on marriage and family. In our time, marriage and family have become controversial topics of discussion, especially when we seek to understand them without reference to God’s will as found in Sacred Scripture. The Readings of today discuss the origin, intention and purpose of marriage as designed and instituted by God, Himself. Genesis 1 and 2 present the Story of Creation; God created everything that would be needed by human beings, and then made Adam out of clay breathing His Spirit into him to animate him. After Adam was presented with all of God’s creation to name and have, God saw that Adam was not happy and satisfied because none of the other creatures were like him. In Genesis 2:18, God decided that “it is not good for a man to be alone”, so God fashioned one who would be like Adam, from Adam and corresponding to Adam in dignity, to be his “helper”. When Eve was made, Adam, in great delight and gratitude, spoke the first recorded words of a human person in the Bible: “this one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, this one shall be called woman”. The author of Genesis concludes today’s scripture text with a theological explanation for the unity and indissolubility of every validly contracted marriage.

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"For Whoever is Not Against Us is For Us"

09-26-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The Gospel today is full of mesianic teachings on sundry issues. We are informed at the beginning of the Gospel that John, Jesus’ most beloved disciple, came to Jesus to report that while carrying out their apostolic mandate, the apostles found someone driving out demons in Jesus’ name and they stopped him because he (the exorcist) was not one of the apostles. John might have expected to be applauded by Jesus for ensuring a purist integrity of the apostolic college, but Jesus asked him not to prevent the man. The jealousy and intolerance exhibited by the apostles mirrors the attitude of Joshua, son of Nun, the designated successor of Moses. Joshua asked Moses to prevent Eldad and Medad from prophesying in the camp after failing to show up at the tent where the Holy Spirit rested on the seventy elders when Moses met with them. Their names were on the list of appointed elders, but for whatever reason, they did not make it to the tent, yet received the Holy Spirit and so prophesied in the camp, an indication that they were also enabled by God. Moses responded by rebuking the jealousy in Joshua and by affirming the universality of God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus’ response to John was consistent with the views of Moses.

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The First Shall be Last

09-19-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

The apostles of Jesus were very interesting characters. They were from various backgrounds and had different occupations prior to their call to become part of Jesus’ inner circle. Some were fishermen, some tax collectors, some zealots and the like; none of them had a refined scholarly background. Jesus called and chose them to be His closest companions and collaborators. For about three years, they lived with Him and learned at His feet. Jesus had a style of teaching the people in parables, but He cultivated the habit of interpreting and explaining these parables and metaphors with His apostles. He would later discard parables and speak “plainly” to them after Peter’s confession. According to St. Mark, the first thing He revealed to them was the imminent events of His Passion, death and resurrection. The reaction of the apostles to this teaching was unfortunately selfish and disappointingly insensitive. Imagine their Lord talking about leaving them through scandalous death on the cross and all the apostles could think was to argue who among them was the greatest and most likely to replace Jesus. By doing this, the apostles proved to be no different from the “wicked” whom the first reading tells us planned evil against the “just one” for daring to reproach them on account of their transgressions. The “wicked” sinned through vicious connivance, the apostles erred by neglect and insensitivity. Although they had no physical or emotional help to off er the Divine Redeemer, they could have at least shared a sober silence to transmit a solemn understanding of the Lord’s mood at the very least.

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Who do You Say that I Am?

09-12-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Towards the end of His mission on earth, Jesus saw the need to begin speaking “openly” or “plainly” to His disciples and no longer with the use of parables and metaphors. To be able to do this well, the Divine Redeemer decided to assess His apostle’s’ understanding of his person and mission. He asked them two questions. The first was: “Who do people say I am?” The apostles gave various answers. Some told Him that people thought He was John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets. Having gathered public opinion about Himself, Jesus asked the apostles, “But who do you say I am?” This time, only Simon Peter replied. Mark reports in today’s gospel that Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”

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"Ephphata" (Be Opened!)

09-05-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

In today’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah preaches a message of hope to a despairing Israel facing a period of national misfortune. Israel, in Isaiah’s time, was being tossed from Assyrian domination to Babylonian captivity and exile. There were also various physical limitations and gross lack that made life quite difficult. The temptation to give up was palpable. It was at this time that the prophet Isaiah preached the imminent arrival of God who would redeem, rehabilitate and restore Israel to her pre-exile enviable state. The despairing exiles are urged to be strong and to fear not, for God is here to open the eyes of the blind, open the ears of the deaf, vindicate and save Israel. This prophecy speaks to the present situation of many in our world. There are too many people suffering with physical and spiritual privations. Despair for such brethren can seem a veritable option, but God is not just on the way; He is here to save and restore us if we let Him.

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