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Parish priest of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Amaifeke, Rev. Fr. Cajetan Uzoma Oleaghara, has admonished the importance of the Mass saying “It is the highest sacrifice anyone can think of, be it to the idols or any other thing”.
He made this revelation while observing the homily last Sunday, just as he pointed that “God is not foolish that he does not understand our problems. No charm will ever save you when you don’t trust in Him. Going to the native doctors will not be of any help to you if you don’t trust the Lord.
Basing his homily on the theme: “The Love of God and Love of Neighbour,” Fr. Oleaghara, stated the importance of loving one’s neighbour, but added, nobody would ever claim to love his neighbour without loving God.
“Gathering wealth is vanity upon vanity. Look around for the one you are better off and assist the person. Most of us are so wicked that we still have food stuffs like bags of rice stocked somewhere since 2016 and we cannot have the spirit to give to those who really need them” .
Buttressing his point the more, the newly posted priest, quoted the Deuteronomy 6:5 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul, and with all your strength”, even as he noted “You cannot be so pious and religious, while you do not love your neighbour. Lack of trust has dealt with us in the society. In the olden days, fences were not built to demarcate brothers from each other, but today, the reverse is the case due to insecurity and the fear of the known. Bear it in mind that the greatest fear one can be afraid of is fear itself”.
Based on the readings of the day, taken from Deuteronomy 6:2-6, Hebrew 7:23-28 and Mark 12:28-34, the first reading, second reading and the Gospel respectively, the Ihioma born priest, stressed, “The basis of this New Covenant is the sacrifice of love offered this sacrifice which gave perfect glory to the father. So as Christians, God expects us to offer this same sacrifice. In the first reading, Moses reminds us that being faithful to God and His commandments is the best way to posterity and eternal life”.
“God concludes it with the famous call known in Hebrew as Shema Isreal (Hear, O Isreal). This is the centerpiece of the Jewish prayers, which forms part of some Christian prayers, a prayer which Jesus Christ also prayed. So, he uses these same words in Today’s gospel. The word is both a call and a reminder of the unity and greatness of God hence, it is a call to be faithful to God through the sacrifice of love, and just as to obey God is to love Him.
“The second reading is a continuation of the discourse on the eternal priesthood of Christ. The letter to the Hebrew contrasts the priesthood of Christ with that of the Old Testament. In obedience to the will of his father, Christ offered the greatest sacrifice of love with His own life. It was necessary for Him to die, in order to save us as recorded in 1 John 2:2, Hebrew 10:10-14). However, the major difference is that the priesthood of the old covenant was terminated and conquered by death. On the contrary, Christ defeated and conquered death through his resurrection and ascension into heaven. There, he remains our eternal high priest”.
Furthermore, the Charismatic priest opined, “By obeying the father’s will, Christ remained holy and innocent. He not only loved the father, but he loved us too. Greater love has no one than this: To lay down one’s life for one’s friends as it is in John 15:13. God demonstrates his own love in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. “In today’s Gospel, Christ summarized the Ten Commandments into two with the same words used by Moses. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul, even as he added that you shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
“Unfortunately, he continued, “due to the natural human instincts of self –preservation, pride and selfishness, it seems practically impossible to love neither God nor neighbour as a result of “Ego”. Christ is not asking us to do what he could not do. He overcame all these enemies of love. Any Christian who overcomes these enemies will love sincerely. The good news is the Christ knows it is possible. If it were not so, He would not have commanded us to love. So to love God and our neighbour as our self is a “debt” we ust pay, according to Romans 13:8. It is the sacrifice of the new covenant which the new people of God and indeed every “Born again” child of God must offer.
“These may necessarily mean dying on the cross as Christ did, but it could be demonstrated through small, but concrete gesture like a sincere smile, good words and charity. It may not only mean doing something extra-ordinary, also doing something simple. So like Christ our eternal high priest, when we offer this sacrifice and debt of love that gives perfect glory to God, then shall we sing with the Psalmist, ”I love you Lord my strength”.
The Eucharistic service featured the praise and worship, special blessings, and the usual monthly fund raising for projects in the parish, done on every first Sundays among others.