Tuesday, November 23, 2010


"In him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him.
" From today's second reading.

"The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,.......'If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.'" From today's Gospel.

As I so often remind myself, and as I so often say in homilies, the Christian Faith and the Christian life are full of tensions. They are full of truths and commands that we need to hold together. Sometimes these truths and commands can seem to contradict each other and yet we know that they are all true. We must hold them all together without denying or watering down any of them, and also without emphasizing any at the expense of others. So it should come as no surprise to us that today's feast, of CHRIST THE KING, presents us with vital truths which we must again hold in tension, without compromise.

On the one hand Jesus Christ is a Glorious king full of majesty, power and might. He is the ruler of the whole universe and he will return in glory to judge all peoples, the living and the dead. But on the other hand Jesus Christ is a servant king, who comes in humility and meekness. He is a suffering king, who allows himself to be humiliated, to be beaten, to be insulted, to be tortured and to be killed. It is vital that we hold these two truths in tension.

Jesus Christ is a glorious resplendent king. He is God the Son, infinite in greatness and splendour. Together with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, He created the whole universe, visible and invisible. All things were made through him and for him, without him nothing was made that has been made, in him all things hold together. Consider the intricacies of our human bodies. Consider the billions of atoms and molecules, the many millions of cells, the tissues and tissue systems, the organs. Christ made everyone of us and keeps us in existence. Consider how many bilions of people there are in the world and yet how small this worls is compared with the Sun so many light years away. Consider that our sun is but one of billions in our galaxy, each millions of light years away from one another, and that our galaxy is but one of billions of galaxies in the universe.

Jesus Christ is the same person who made all of this and keeps it in existence. He is the King who governs the whole universe. What a glorious and powerful person is Jesus Christ! If we were to really see his glory and greatness, we could do nothing but bow down in awe and reverence. Actually that is exactly what all the angels and saints in heaven are doing right now. They are bowing before him crying out "Holy, Holy, Holy". What a mighty God we serve, a glorious God and King!

But I have a question to ask; how does Christ manifest his kingship to us? He manifests his kingship by love, a love which shows it self in humility and meekness. He manifests it by the love through which he becomes a servant. Christ came not to be served, but to serve. If I said that I wanted to become an ant because I love ants, you would say I was absolutely crazy! If I then went on to say that I wanted to be a SERVANT ANT, that I wanted to become an ant and serve then you would know that I was indeed mad. And yet in Christ, God became human and the difference between God and human beings is far greater than the difference between humans and ants. The difference between humans and ants is finite but the difference between God and humans is infinite. What love!!

Jesus Christ manifests his kingship to us through a love by which he became one with us, coming not as a great earthly king and ruler but by coming as a poor servant. The son of man came not to be served, but to serve. Indeed he came not just to serve but, even more, to give his life as a ransom for the many. Jesus Christ manifests his kingship to us through a love by which he suffers for us. As we see in today's Gospel, out of love for us Jesus allows himself to be subjected to absolute humiliation. They mock him, they insult him, they torture him, and they hang him on a cross as a criminal. The holy, powerful ruler of the whole universe, out of love for us allows himself to be killed for us!

St Paul puts it this way in Philippians chapter 2. "Jesus Christ who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but he emptied himself, he made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross!" Wow!

What is more, the physical and emotional suffering of Jesus was as nothing compared with the spiritual suffering he experienced. The spiritual suffering he experienced as he, the perfect and holy one, experienced the weight of our sin, the sin of every single man and woman that has ever existed. It felt like he had been completely abandoned by his Father with whom he had been in intimate fellowship from all eternity. We can never even begin to imagine the suffering that Jesus experienced...and he went through it all for us. What love...what love!

I'd like you to read to you the words of a hymn. I'd like you to read the words of "Meekness and Majesty" by Graham Kendrick. I'd like you to sing it too.

Meekness and majesty
Manhood and Deity
In perfect harmony
The Man who is God
Lord of eternity
Dwells in humanity
Kneels in humility
And washes our feet

O what a mystery
Meekness and majesty
Bow down and worship
For this is your God
This is your God

Father's pure radiance
Perfect in innocence
Yet learns obedience
To death on a cross
Suffering to give us life
Conquering through sacrifice
And as they crucify
Prays: 'Father forgive.'

O what a mystery
Meekness and majesty
Bow down and worship
For this is your God
This is your God

Wisdom unsearchable
God the invisible
Love indestructible
In frailty appears
Lord of infinity
Stooping so tenderly
Lifts our humanity
To the heights of His throne

O what a mystery
Meekness and majesty
Bow down and worship
For this is your God
This is your God

Brothers and sisters, let us pray that God reveals to us in a very deep way what it means that Jesus is King. Let us pray that we see something of his majesty and power, of his greatness and might. Let us understand how we should quake with fear in our sinfulness before such a holy king. Yet, as we see his humility, his service, his suffering let us also understand that instead of banishing us to hell, as we deserve, that this great King calls us into intimacy with him. Let us understand that he calls us into a relationship of deep, deep, deep love with him. Let us understand that in his love, Christ the King of the whole universe freely offers us not just mercy, not just the mercy of a forgiveness which we could never deserve but that also, on top of such amazing mercy, he offers us grace upon grace, gift upon gift. Let us understand that above all he offers us the grace, the unmerited gift, of becoming his brothers and sisters, and through him becoming children of God the Father, sons and daughters of God, princes and princesses!

Brothers and sisters let us understand this and let us turn to Christ in repentance for our sins. Let us place our faith in him and follow him as our King, as our Lord and master. Let us allow him to transform us to become who he wants us to be and so that we can live as he wants us to live - as his brothers and sisters who reveal his love to the world. Let us allow him to transform us so that we can follow his example of love, humility and service, not trying to prove ourselves as great but rather seeking to take the last place,

considering others before ourselves, seeking to serve and to serve and to serve.

Let us allow Christ to transform us through his Holy Spirit so that we live according to the values of HIS kingdom and not the kingdom of the world. The kingdom of the world says run after money, sex and power. Jesus says in my kingdom, blessed are the poor, blessed are the pure hearted, blessed are the humble and meek. The kingdom of the world says it doesn't matter if you trample on others to get promotion, to get more money and influence. Jesus says seek to serve, seek to lift up others above yourself. The world says forget the poor, even oppress them. Jesus says care for the poor and the needy, seek justice for them - and then when you have done that, then go even further, give out of your very need. The world says have sex outside marriage, Jesus says be pure and chaste, that there should not even be a hint of sexual imorality and impurity in our lives.

You know sometimes we go to Church and we proclaim that Jesus is our King. We sing about it and dance about it (or at least if you are a charismatic or pentecostal like me then you do!). We even kneel down and make wonderful sounding prayers about how Jesus is our King and Lord. But then once we leave the Church, outside the 4 walls, we allow ourselves to be ruled by greed, lust, anger and pride. We backbite, we gossip, we slander, we oppress the poor, we have sex outside marriage, we pay unjust wages, we get drunk, we steal, we are corrupt, we let hatred and resentment fester in our hearts, we refuse to forgive.

Brothers and sisters THAT is not the way to acknowledge Jesus as our king...let us repent. Let us repent of every way in which our life outside the Church walls denies his Kingship in our lives. Let us repent and place our faith in Christ, let us allow Christ, through his grace, to truly make him our King. So that when he comes again at the end of time, or when we are judged by him when we die, we will be ready for him. So that we will be ready for him not because of our goodness or our greatness but because we have accepted HIS love, HIS mercy and HIS grace, and because we have allowed HIM to transform us and make us ready for him.

I'll finish by encouraging you to read and sing another Graham Kendrick hymn; "The Servant King".

From heaven you came
Helpless babe
Entered our world
Your glory veiled
Not to be served
But to serve
And give Your life
That we might live

This is our God
The Servant King
He calls us now
To follow Him
To bring our lives
As a daily offering
Of worship to
The Servant King

There in the garden
Of tears
My heavy load
He chose to bear
His heart with sorrow
Was torn
'Yet not My will
But Yours,' He said

This is our God
The Servant King
He calls us now
To follow Him
To bring our lives
As a daily offering
Of worship to
The Servant King

Come see His hands
And His feet
The scars that speak
Of sacrifice
Hands that flung stars
Into space
To cruel nails

This is our God
The Servant King
He calls us now
To follow Him
To bring our lives
As a daily offering
Of worship to
The Servant King

So let us learn
How to serve
And in our lives
Enthrone Him
Each other's needs
To prefer
For it is Christ
We're serving

This is our God
The Servant King
He calls us now
To follow Him
To bring our lives
As a daily offering
Of worship to
The Servant King


Fr. Paul Uwemedimo

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just a quick note

I'm in Abuja at a leadership training conference of the International
Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services 7th - 15th of November. The
programme is very full (6am till evening everyday) so I don't know
whether I'll be posting homilies - we will see.

I posted the above on facebook yesterday. Actually yesterday I ended
up giving the homily since the archbishop could not make it! Just a
few minutes before the mass I was asked and did not know what to the
say!! But as I got up to give the homily the Holy Spirit gave me the
right words. PRAISE GOD!

I'm writing this just before going to a conference session. Have
already said morning prayers, celebrated mass and had breakfast and am
about to attend a session.

Fr. Paul Uwemedimo

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The king of the world will raise us up, to live again forever


This homily was NOT an easy one for me to write. If I had kept it to the aspects of heaven it would have been much easier for me to write. In fact it would have been a real joy. However, I believed I had to be faithful to what the Catholic Church teaches and to what I believe is the teaching of Jesus himself. This meant I had to include the reality of hell. I know some friends of mine who are not Christians are likely to see this homily and that they may be offended. They may disagree with Christian teaching on heaven, and maybe see it as a fairy tale or wishful thinking, but at least most of them will not find it offensive.


 But the idea of hell can be offensive and seem repugnant. Indeed even some Christians may find this teaching offensive, though Jesus very clearly spoke and taught about the reality of hell. All I can do is stress that I do not believe God is a vindictive tyrant looking to send people to hell. The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way "God predestines no one to go to hell; for this a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end' [1037]. According to Catholic teaching, for a sin to be mortal it not only has to concern a serious or 'grave' matter but it also has to be committed with "full knowledge and deliberate consent"  [1857].


So the way I would try to explain it is that God is desperately offering all of us his love and forgiveness, but that we have the choice to refuse it and to exclude ourselves from his love and life. But I guess that thinking, and maybe debating, about such matters may become the subject of another blog at some stage in the future, or maybe of messages and discussions between some of us. What follows though is a homily for those who do believe, it does not engage in apologetics, or in philosophical arguments, or even in theological arguments. It is really just some teaching and preaching and it is not complete nor does it try to explain everything or how different aspects fit together.



The homily as written below still needs a lot more work. Aside from matters of editing, there are A LOT of other things I would have liked to include and some nuances that it might have been good to have made. I would also  have liked to say more about how we are to live now in this world and about work with the poor.


 Because of all this I was not sure whether to post this homily, or whether to post it now. However, since most readers will be in the Philippines, seven or eight hours ahead of me in Nigeria, I think I will indeed post it now so that people can read it in good time. Maybe at a later stage I will come back and rewrite it, I don't know. It might depend on whether I get any comments about it


Anyway for it is now approaching midnight here in Nigeria and I am celebrating mass at 7am. I will use the homily below as the basis for my preached homily, but I might end up saying something rather different, we shall see!


My written homily follows:

7th November 2010, 32nd Sunday Ordinary time Year C


The king of the world will raise us up, to live again forever


1st reading                               2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9 -14

Responsorial Psalm   Psalm 16

2nd reading                              2 Thessalonians 2:166 – 3:5

Gospel                                    Luke 20:27 -38


"The king of the world will raise us up, to live again forever" (1st reading)


"I shall be filled when I awake, with the sight of your glory" (psalm)


"The Lord…is God, not of the dead, but of the living" (Gospel)


Today's readings focus on a vital truth; THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY. Death is not the end! When we die we do not just fade into oblivion to be no more. No! After death there will be a resurrection of our body, which will in some mysterious way be transfigured in Christ. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ, and through the action of the Holy Spirit, we have a sure hope. Jesus Christ, through his own death and through his glorious resurrection, has transformed our death from an enemy into a friend. Because of Jesus Christ, death is now a gateway into eternity. An eternity which God wants us to spend experiencing his glory, savouring his love and goodness.


I need to say however that this eternity can be spent with God or without God. Sometimes we do not like to dwell on all the aspects of the teachings of Jesus. But we need to listen to the hard teachings of Jesus as well as those that are easy to accept.  Possibly in the past Catholics dwelt too much on the reality of hell, I do not know, I did not live in those times. But now however, perhaps we Catholics do not dwell enough on either the reality of heaven or the reality of hell.


Today's readings help us focus us on the teachings of the Scriptures, the teachings of Jesus, and the teachings of the Church about death and the resurrection of the body. Let me very quickly review that teaching, including those aspects which we may find very hard to accept.



Bodily death would not have happened were it not for original sin. But now at death the human soul is separated from the body. "Death" also, says the Catechism of the Catholic Church [1021], "puts an end to human life as the time to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ". Immediately upon our death there will be what the Church calls the "particular judgment" that refers our life to Christ. As St John of the Cross says, we shall be judged on our love. This judgment will be our gateway either into "the blessedness of heaven – through a purification, or immediately" or into "immediate and everlasting damnation"[CCC 1022].


Those who die "in God's grace and friendship" will "live for ever with Christ"[1023], even though they may need to be "undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven" [1030]. But those who freely refuse to love God and accept his love, his mercy, and his grace exclude them selves from communion with God. Thus "to die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him by our own free choice" and consigning ourselves to hell  [1033].


Our eternal fate will be decided immediately upon death at the particular judgment. But following the teaching of Jesus, the Church teaches that as well as the particular judgment when we die, there will be a general judgment at the end of time. At the end of time Christ will return in glory to transform and renew not just humanity, but the whole world, indeed the whole cosmos. When he comes he will carry out the "last judgment". At this time the resurrection of the dead will happen.


In some way, beyond our understanding, when Christ returns at the end of time ALL those who have ever died will rise again and somehow their souls will be reunited with their bodies. At this time each person's particular judgment will be publicly affirmed and Christ will separate "the sheep from the goats". The condemned will then "go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" [Matthew 25].


This talk of judgment and hell can be quite frightening. But actually it should be seen as a wonderful call to repentance and faith in Christ. The reality is that God is a God of love and mercy. He loves us so much that he sent his only Son Jesus to die so that we might have life. The reality is that all of us deserve punishment. The reality is also that nobody could be good enough to deserve God's love or to earn a place in heaven. But the good news of Jesus Christ is that we do not have to try to do this. But that, through Jesus Christ, God in his love is offering us forgiveness and the grace to transform us.



If we are in Christ we have no reason to fear death, indeed we have every reason to eagerly look forward to it. We should enjoy life here on earth. But if we truly understand and believe our faith then, like St Paul we will long to go and be fully with the Lord. It may well be that at death we have to experience that purifying fire of God's love which Catholics call purgatory. But if we die in Christ then we can be assured that we will live for eternity experiencing the love of God for which we were made, not as souls but as bodily beings, and not simply as individuals but in loving communion with others.


We should long for this, but in the meantime what are we to do? Sit back and wait? No we should prepare ourselves by even now allowing Christ to transform us with his love. We should show that we are indeed "in Christ", that we have indeed responded to God's love, by showing fruits of repentance and faith in our lives. We should remember Christ's call to practical love- especially to love the poor. If we have indeed responded to God's love then this will be shown in our love for others, especially in our love for the poor – love which expresses itself in actions.



November 5th 2010, Saturday 31st week, Ordinary time, Year II

1st reading Philippians 4:10 – 19, Responsorial Psalm 111, Gospel Luke 16: 9 -15

We so often water down the teaching of Jesus. We so often seek to explain why Jesus did NOT really mean what he was saying. I myself am certainly guilty of this. Now, it is true that Jesus does sometimes use hyperbole, that is to say an exaggeration in order to make a point. It is also true that Jesus sometimes uses images and parables which are not meant to be taken literally. However, so often we use such truths as excuses to refuse to face up to the Truth, as an excuse to stop ourselves facing up to what Jesus says, as an excuse to facing up to Jesus Himself.

I think we are often guilty of doing this with the teaching of Jesus in verse 13 of today's Gospel. WE CANNOT SERVE BOTH GOD AND WEALTH1. Riches and wealth are good. Our God is a God of abundance and he wants us to share in the abundance of his creation. However, the problem is that so often when we have possessions we allow them to possess us! So often the more wealth and material possessions that we have the more concerned we are about holding on to it all. That becomes a preoccupation and takes over our heart, our thoughts and our actions. This stops us loving God as we are called to – with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. It also stops us loving our neigbour as ourself. It stops us loving with a generous costly love. We live in luxury, or at least relative luxury. Yet we see people poor and in need and we rationalise why we should not help them out of our abundance and our excess. Even if we did that it would simply be justice and as Christians we are called to go further than mere justice!

As Christians we are called to justice, that is more than basic. But even more than justice we are called to charity. Not charity as it is commonly thought of now. Not a charity mentality that encourages dependency, nor a charity which gives a pittance out of our excess. Rather charity that is the love of God burning in our hearts. Charity that gives joyfully and generously in a costly sacrificial way. Charity which gives of our money and wealth, but also gives our very selves. Charity which helps others realise their dignity, value and worth. Charity which helps others become the people they are meant to be.

As for ourselves and our own needs, let us recognize the dignity of work and our responsibility to work. Let us also ask God in our prayers for what we need, and even for what we do not need but which we want! If we do this, we will sometimes receive in amazing ways. But, whatever we do or do not receive, let us be like St Paul. St Paul, as today's first reading proclaims, knew how to be poor and how to be rich. He was ready for anything: full stomach or empty stomach, poverty or plenty. God does NOT promise that we will always have an abundance of material riches in this world!

Let us also be open to the fact that God may indeed call us to give away much of our wealth. Indeed some of us he may call to give up all of our wealth. Let us not be like the rich young man who was unwilling to give away his wealth to the poor so he could follow Jesus. Whatever wealth and money we may have let us always use it to help others. Let wealth and money be what we use under God, under the Lordship of Christ. Let not wealth be our master which we slavishly serve. Let us trust, as Jesus says, that our heavenly Father knows what we need and seek first the Kingdom of God. Let us not be a slave, or even a servant of money. Because WE CANNOT SERVE BOTH GOD AND WEALTH.

1Some translations say money, some translations say riches, some translations say mammon -the original Greek word is from the aramaic word mamon or mamona which means "riches", "property", "material possessions", "wealth", "money", "profit". Some bible scholars believe that the word derives from that to which we entrust ourselves or in which we put our faith.

Fr. Paul Uwemedimo

Friday, November 5, 2010


5th November 2010, Friday 31st Week Year II

1st Reading: Philippians:317 -4:1


The Christian Faith and the Christian life are full of tensions. They are full of truths and imperatives that we need to hold together. Sometimes these can seem to be contradictory but we must nevertheless hold them all together without denying or watering down any of them and also without emphasizing any at the expense of others. Obvious examples are that God is one but that God is three, that Christ is fully divine but that he is fully human. Other obvious examples are between God's work and our work, between God's sovereignty and human freedom, between God's grace and our choice, between faith and works.

Today's first reading gives us one side of another such tension. For us Christians, our homeland is in heaven. In other words we are pilgrims, visitors, or aliens in this world. As St Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 15:19, if our hope in Christ is for this life alone then we are to be more pitied than anyone else in the world. The Scriptures are full of exhortations to fix our hearts and minds on heavenly things and never to set our hearts on the things of this world. This life is only a beginning, or indeed just a precursor to the beginning. Death is not the end. As the liturgy says "the sadness of death gives way to the bright promise of immortality...when the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven".

It is so important to affirm and hold onto these truths. Many have watered it down or even denied them. However, in affirming these truths we must not deny or water down another set of truths. We must also always remember that this world is good and that we have a responsibility to care for it. Christ came to redeem the world and not just to prepare us for heaven. We are called to allow the Gospel of Christ to transform and permeate every aspect of this world, this includes the material realm, the social realm, the cultural realm, the economic realm and the political realm. Jesus Christ came to liberate us above all from sin and the Evil One, but he also came to liberate us from EVERYTHING that oppresses us.

It has been said that Christians are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. Unfortunately this has indeed often been the case. Christians have often withdrawn from the world seeing it as evil, or if not evil then irrelevant to the task of saving souls. But we are called to love bodily people and not simply invisible souls. How could parents say to their child that since all that matters is heaven that they are not going to provide for the child materially? Parents are concerned with all aspects of their children's lives and that is right. So we too must be concerned with all aspects of people's lives and we should also care about this world God has given us, a world which he declared to be good.

Christians should be at the forefront of efforts to change this world for the good. We should be at the forefront of efforts to care for the poor and needy, the sick and the lonely. We should also be at the forefront of seeking to end hunger, homelessness, and all forms of poverty. We should be at the forefront of fighting against injustice, oppression and seeking to stop violence and wars. We should be at the forefront of seeking to change social structures to build a world of greater prosperity, peace and abundance. But on doing this we should never identify human liberation with salvation in Jesus Christ, building the the kingdom of heaven is not the same as building the earthly kingdom. Christians know that we are awaiting the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ at the end of time when he comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead. We also know that it is only then that he will finally establish the fullness of his heavenly Kingdom.

So even as we affirm the intrinsic goodness of creation, and even as we throw ourselves wholeheartedly into the work of transforming this present world, we still recognize the fact that our time here on earth is but a preparation for the rest of eternity. Without any contradiction we know that our citizenship is in heaven. We proclaim the goodness of the present world, the reality of the future kingdom of heaven, and the good news that this future heavenly kingdom has already broken into the present world through the person of Jesus Christ. We celebrate and proclaim his life, death and resurrection. We celebrate and proclaim the Gospel of grace, the good news of God's mercy, the infinite love of God revealed and made manifest in Jesus Christ. We echo the call of Jesus for people to follow him in a life of discipleship and to even now to experience a foretaste of heaven through repentance and faith. And as we do this we have on our lips the cry of the early Christians: "Maranatha, come Lord Jesus, come"

Fr. Paul Uwemedimo

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Homily for Wed 31st week Year II

I was trying to post this unsuccessfully yesterday. I try again now!

Here is my Homily for today's mass (mass readings: Philippians 2: 12 – 18, Psalm 26, Luke 14: 25 -33)

What matters in life? What really matters in life? This is a question that I think we must continually ask ourselves...again and again and again.

The psalmist shows us one important answer in today's responsorial psalm.

"There is one thing I ask of the Lord," he says ."For this I long, to live in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life, to savour the sweetness of the Lord".

We are made for God, to know God, to see God, and to experience God. We are made for a deep and intimate relationship of love with God, to be united to God through love, to have fellowship with God, to be in communion with God. On paper, or on the computer screen, this can sound very academic – especially if we use words like "communion" and "beatific vision". But the reality is far from academic. The reality is explosive, as those who have experienced even just a taste of it are impelled to declare. Without experiencing this reality there will always be something vital missing in our lives: - a hunger that cannot be satisfied, a thirst that cannot be quenched, an emptiness that cannot be filled.

How can we experience this reality? Actually, in it's fullness we will not, we cannot, experience this reality in the present world. We cannot experience it this side of heaven. That is reserved for when we see God face to face in the heavenly kingdom. In this world we will inevitably experience suffering. In this world, there will always be something missing. However, we can, and we should, right here and now experience a foretaste of this reality. But how?

The short answer is that this can only happen through God's grace. As today's first reading reminds us "It is God, for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and the action into us". From beginning to end, our desire for God and our response to God's love is a matter of grace. It is God's work. It is only by the grace of God, which comes through Jesus Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit, that we can be brought into a relationship of love. However, through God's grace we also need to be active in responding to God's love and in deepening our love relationship through Christ.

The response we need to make is costly. God's grace is free and, by definition, it is a gift. But as Dietrich Bonhoffer famously said, the grace that Christ brings though free is most certainly not cheap. We want cheap grace. We want grace without the Cross, grace without repentance, grace without self denial. But that is not the grace of Christ! If we want to experience the great treasure that Christ brings, we will need, as he says in today's gospel, to carry his cross and come after him. If we are not willing to do this, says Christ, then we cannot be his disciples.

And so as we consider what matters in life, and whether we will live for what matters, we need to count the cost. This is the challenge Christ gives us in today's Gospel. Coming to Jesus and being his disciple is the way to God. It is the way, even now, to experience a foretaste of heaven. It is the way to God the Father, who alone brings life. Christ is calling us to receive this life, to receive God's love. But first we need to count the cost, the cost of giving up our possessions, the cost of giving up our families, so that they no longer take first place on our lives. It is the cost of repentance and faith. Repenting of anything that we put before God and turning away from sin and towards God. It is the cost of faith, believing faith, obedient faith, a faith that works itself out in love.

It is worth it, it really is worth it. What really matters in life is that, through grace, we respond and deepen our union with God, that we grow in our relationship of love with God, that we grow in holiness. If we do this, if we respond in repentance and faith it will be costly and it will need to be shown in our love for others and especially in our love for the poor. It will need to be shown in loving and costly actions. We tend to shrink away from this in fear. But why should we fear this? Do we not know that God is all-loving and wants the very best for us? Let us trust in him, it is this way that we will receive what our hearts truly desire. As the psalmist says in today's psalm "The Lord is my light and my help; whom shall I fear?...Hope in Him, hold firm and take heart. Hope in the Lord!"

Fr. Paul Uwemedimo

My Blog adventures

Well. My blog adventure is slowly, but I believe surely, developing. I am convinced that the internet and the new social networks are an important area for ministry in general and also for my ministry. I am however still not quite sure how I should use everything. Still I believe that I am moving in the right way and that I will learn and improve on the way, often through trial and error.

Anyway, I have decided that, for the moment at least, I will have three blog sites. The first site, for the moment called Missionary Servants of God's Love For the Poor is concerned with seeking to make God's love for the poor better known and to inspire, encourage, challenge and otherwise help people to themselves in some way to become "Missionary Servants of God's Love For the Poor".

The second blog site, for the moment called Fr Umo is a blog site for my musings and my pontifications. It will contain all the blog posts from the first site plus various Christian thoughts, reflections, comments and homilies (mainly on the Catholic liturgical readings).

The third blog site will, this one, is called Fr Paul U and it contain all the blog posts from Fr Umo plus anything else I want to write which does not fit into the criteria for the first two blogs: eg commenting about the weather in Manila.

I will get there!