Scripture Reading: Mark 9:42-50

St. Bernard says that human beings are a heap of worms, and the food of worms by whom they will ultimately be devoured. Hence, the ruthlessness with which God treats sin, and demands sin to be treated, is very obvious in the scriptures. His hopes and plans for mankind when He finished creation, didn’t stop God from destroying almost all human race just to eradicate sin. He demanded a thorough search in the time of Achan, and executed a swift judgment when sin was discovered. His love for David didn’t make Him wink at sin when David strayed; He passed an unchanging verdict. Sin has been the only one thing that succeeds to create an irreconcilable gulf between God and His creature (Isa. 59:1-2). Once it comes, a sharp separation occurs, and for this reason, God doesn’t take it lightly.

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Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1-3
Most times we often battle sin with our physical might and as such even when we make resolutions not to sin, we end up even sinning the more. The truth is that when the Holy Spirit truly lives in us, He cannot share our body with sin, sin must eventually give way. We have struggled and struggled to reject evil habits all to no avail. Our human nature would always like to sin than to endure sufferings by frustrating sin, so our struggle against sin will yield a positive result only if we have truly subjected ourselves to the control of the Holy Spirit. One great thing about the Holy Spirit with respect to our struggle against sin is that it gives us the firmness that the duration of temptations and trials cannot break.

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Scripture Reading: John 2:1-3

Signs and wonders are given to us to reveal Jesus’ glory, and for no other reason. When Jesus arrived, He was met with mankind’s universal problem — They had no wine! Wine is always symbolic of joy in the Bible, and this is the area that always starts to deteriorate first as we face the day-to-day problems of life. Wine is not easy to produce and it has a lot of beneficial uses.

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Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:14-15

Today, our reflection decries the desire for immediate repayment for one good deed done. It also calls us to forbid the desire to seek personal gains, and immediate benefits especially with respect to spiritual matters. Today we are invited to a deeper Christian life which enables us to operate without seeking our personal glory. The truth, dear Child of God, is that every individual has the tendency to desire immediate rewards for whatever good rendered. It is also true that individuals want to be glorified, praised and even worshipped for any great achievement recorded. Judas was so carried away by what he stood to gain; this led him to seek self-benefits while following the Lord. He was following the Lord with strings attached. His sole aim of following the Lord was not to be a committed disciple like the other disciples, hence, calamity befell him. So beloved in Christ, we are challenged to review the reasons we seek the face of the Lord. Look at our world today, many present day disciples are not following the Lord because of their love and determination to please Him with their treasures, talents and time. Most workers in the vineyard of God these days do so perhaps, primarily to satisfy themselves. Self-love is the dominant reason for most pastoral engagements.

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Today, our Lord brings to our consciousness the ugly conditions of God’s children all over the world and our inactivity about them. Think about the torments, tribulations, trials, terrible denials, and the taunting. Many are persecuted, many are deprived of what is due them because they are Christians. In fact, John L. Allen Jnr. calls it a global war against Christians and he listed out ten forms that this war is being meted out against Christians thus, “Societal discrimination, institutional discrimination, employment discrimination, legal discrimination, suppression of Christian missionary activities, suppression of conversion to Christianity, forced conversion from Christianity, suppression of corporate worship, violence against believers and community oppression.”

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Scripture Reading: John 9:1-41

As in last week’s Gospel about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman, today’s reading has many allusions to Baptism. In the first part of today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus’ response to a prevalent belief of his time: that misfortune and disability were the result of sin. That belief is why Jesus is asked the question of whose sin caused the man’s blindness—his own or his parents’. Jesus does not answer directly, but instead gives the question an entirely different dimension—through this man’s disability, God’s power will be made manifest. Jesus then heals the man.

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Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:29-32

There is something we must not give attention to, it is any opportunity to exchange words with your fellow human beings. St. Peter cautions thus, “Who among you delights in life, longs for time to enjoy prosperity? Guard your tongues from evil, your lips from any breath of deceit, turn away from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:10-11) (NJB). Today, the Lord draws our attention to some important issues concerning the act of quarrelling.

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Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-35

One thing that hinders our daily walk with Jesus is the desire of our human nature. It is our human desire to accept that once we have started with Jesus and things begin to go well for us, Jesus can now leave us to continue the Journey of life ourselves. It is, however, unfortunate that some believers, having been endowed with tremendous spiritual powers, suddenly become proud and disobedient. Some believers do not take seriously the Lord’s injunction. It is very easy for one to be doing his own things and yet believe he is doing such for God. Every child of God should guard against the tendency to do their own things.

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Scripture Reading: John 17-11-12
Hear the gentle voice of Jesus speaking to you this moment, “My child, you are in the world, but not of the world. Don’t get entangled! Don’t get corrupt! Don’t compromise!” Beloved in Christ, we need to constantly remind ourselves that we are not of this world, otherwise we will forget. Basically, the power of worldly influence can also make us forget. If you sit back and observe closely, you will discover that the gap between believers and the world is gradually closing up. The contamination, stains and corruptions of this world affect us without us being aware of it, and when it does begin to manifest in our lives, we assume it is the actual way of life.

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Scripture Reading: James 1:12-18
Thomas a’ Kempis says, “No man is so perfect and holy as not to have sometimes temptations; and we cannot be wholly without them.” But he also cautioned that, “Inconsistency of mind, and small confidence in God, is the beginning of all evil temptations.” Testing has been in every facet of life, though the methods may be different. Our attitudes and reactions to events of life matters a lot. And so the claims we have of holiness, integrity, honesty, faithfulness must be tested. Indeed, today, our Lord challenges us not to fall when we are tested.

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