TRUE GREATNESS

Wednesday 24th February – Wednesday of the 2nd week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 20: 17 – 28

TRUE GREATNESS

What names come to mind when you think of great people? Our young minds would think of stars in the fields of music, sports, movie industry or very rich individuals in the world. But is that really what it means to be great? Consider this list: Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King (Jnr), Bishop Oscar Romero, St Francis of Assissi, St Maria Goretti, Nelson Mandela, William Wilberforce, Pope St John Paul II the great.  Do they make the list of great souls in your mind?

One thing is common to these people – they lived for others. They became famous not because they desired it; their fame was a result of their desire to live for others. They were servants, giving their lives for the sake of the health, freedom, peace and spiritual growth of others and as they did this, the world took note. Did they face trials? Sure! They faced opposition, rejection, imprisonment, near assassination, and eventual assassination for some; yet they attained greatness through servant hood.

Beloved, do you desire greatness? Why not seek for true greatness which not only man but God himself approves? Christ tells us today: “Anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first…must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mt 20: 26-28). Today, look around you for opportunities to serve others and bring the love of Christ to them and you will be mapping out your way to true greatness.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you have given me an example of humility and true greatness. Please help me to follow you in sincerity and seek to serve those around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 375 – How is authority exercised correctly?

Authority is exercised properly when it is understood according to Jesus’ example as service. It must never be arbitrary. Jesus showed us once and for all how authority should be exercised. He, the greatest authority, served others and took the last place. Jesus even washed the feet of his disciples (Jn 13:1-20).

HIDE A TREASURE: “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant” Matthew 20: 26 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 18: 18-20; Psalm 31: 5-6, 14-16; Matthew 20: 17-28

FILL THE LAND WITH KNOWLEGE

Thursday 1st October – Solemnity of Our Lady Queen & Patroness of Nigeria

Reflection: Isaiah 11:1-10

FILL THE LAND WITH KNOWLEGE

The land will be as full of knowledge of the Lord as the seas are full of water” Isaiah 11:9

Today’s first reading gives us an inkling to what would become of our nation when we have godly leaders. Christ Jesus during his earthly ministry had respect for civil authority. He’s answer to the religious leaders who wanted to test him: “Well, then, pay to the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and pay to God what belongs to God” (Mark 12:17) shows clearly that He knew the importance of leadership and intended that His followers fulfil their civil responsibilities without compromising or neglecting their relationship with God.

Beloved, until a new branch sprouts from a good stump, the vital needs of the people would not be addressed by our leaders (Isaiah 11:1-5). A new nation would be born only when all strive to overcome evil with good, pray earnestly and for and elect leaders who have the fear of God. However for this new nation to emerge it begins with each of us in our various avenues of leadership; bearing in mind that leaders are a product of their people. Do we desire change in our leaders without making any effort to actualize this in our own lives? What are we doing to let the peace of Christ reign in our lives and in our relationship with others?

Christ beckons on us today to intensify our commitment to Him. He alone can bring lasting peace to our nation and our world. When our nation is conquered for Christ, its inhabitants will be virtuous and godly; our leaders will uphold truth and justice and peace will reign in our land. We must work earnestly to fill the land with the knowledge of God by our prayers and lively witness to our faith at every level of leadership we find ourselves.

Peace be with our country. Mother Mary, patroness of Nigeria, intercede for us always; Amen.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, the hearts of kings are in your hands. Please touch our hearts and those of our leaders and grant that your peace may flow through them. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 440 – Are Christians obliged to become involved in politics and soceity?

It is a special duty of the Christian- Laity people to become involved in politics, society, and commerce in the spirit of the Gospel: in charity, truth, and justice. Partisan political activity is, however, incompatible with the ministry of bishops,- priests, and religious, who must be of service to everyone.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Because everyone will do what is right, there will be peace and security forever. God’s people will be free from worries, and their homes peaceful and safe”. Isaiah 32:17-18 GNB

Today’s readings: Isaiah 11:1-10; Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17; Eph 2:13-22; Matt 2:13-15.19-23

TRUE LEADERSHIP

Wednesday 27th May – Wednesday of week 8 of the year

Reflection: Mark 10:32-45

TRUE LEADERSHIP

Our Blessed Lord called His disciples to himself and taught them what true leadership means. For His disciples, leadership involves service – a leader is one who is to serve and not to be served. This concept of humility in leadership is illustrated in the parable of the grain of wheat. “Truly I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24). The grain of wheat can boast of its great potential; however without first dying, it remains only a grain. But if it surrenders itself to death in the dirt of the soil, it bears much fruit and is respected for what it is.

In the same vein, to be a successful leader, one must necessarily learn how to serve. The mark of nobility in Christian leadership is the privilege to serve and not to be served. To lead is to live by example; it entails dying to our own personal desires and working rather for the good of all. The world, is “power-drunk”, and can never thoroughly grasp the paradox that only humility really leads to greatness. The strength of a leader is measured by the safety of his followers and his followers can only feel safe in the hands of a servant-leader.

Beloved, we all have been chosen to lead; either as leaders of a group, a class or even as elders to our younger ones. Our responsibility is that of service. Christ calls us to lead by example, serving the common good and not our own interest. Dear friend, always remember, every opportunity you have to lead is a privilege and you will have to give an account of your stewardship in the end.

PRAYER: Lord help me that in discharging my duties I may learn humility and give me the grace to daily die to myself and daily rise to new life in you. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 89 – To whom does Jesus promise “the kingdom of God”?

God wills “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). The “kingdom of God” begins in those who allow themselves to be transformed by God’s love. In Jesus’ experience these are above all the poor and the lowly.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Whoever would be great amongst you must be your servant” Mark 10: 43 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Sirach 36:1-2, 5-7,13-19, Psalm 79: 8-13, Mark 10: 32-45

OBEY YOUR LEADERS

Saturday 7th February – Saturday of week 4 of the year

Reflection: Hebrews 13:15-17, 20-21

OBEY YOUR LEADERS

Our leaders in every facet of life and especially, our spiritual leaders like Priests, Youth Coordinators, Chaplains etc are God’s instrument on earth to lead us and guide us especially as young people to the right path. Our spiritual lives have been entrusted into the hands of these people (our leaders), such that as today’s reading tells us, they will be required to give an account of their spiritual guidance (Hebrews 13:17).
Today’s reading charges us, especially as youth to obey these leaders and co-operate with them so that they can discharge their duties without difficulty. This is why we need to identify with the youth apostolate in our Parishes and Communities and partake fully in its activities so as not to deny ourselves of spiritual guidance. Dear friend, your spiritual live should go deeper than mere going to Church as a routine; as you grow in maturity, God calls you to surrender your entire life to Him and seek the spiritual guidance of those He has placed over you.
In what ways are you disobeying your Parish Priest, Parents, Youth Leaders or Teachers? Today, make a commitment to be obedient and you will find that God has a lot to teach you through these leaders and your elders.

PRAYER: Father, I pray for a humble spirit to obey the leaders you have put in place to lead me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 141 – What is the Pope’s responsibility?
As successor of St. Peter and head of the college of bishops, the Pope is the source and guarantor of the Church’s unity. He has the supreme pastoral authority and the final authority in doctrinal and disciplinary decisions.

HIDE A TREASURE: Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account.” Hebrews 13:17 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Hebrews 13: 15-17, 20-21; Psalm 23: 1-6; Mark 6:30-34

THE SERVANT-LEADER

Friday 25th July – Feast of St. James, Apostle

Reflection: 1 Corinthians 4: 8-13

THE SERVANT-LEADER

In our contemporary society, every young person is aspiring for one leadership position or the other. Little do they know that “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” Leadership in our day has become an avenue to gain fame and popularity among the people, or to dominate and exercise authority over the led. What does it truly mean to be a leader? A leader is one who is ready to forgo his own pleasure for the benefit of the followers. A leader is a servant who is sensitive to the need of every one of his followers. A good leader leads by example.

Today’s text reveals St. Paul as a leader par-excellence. He possessed all these qualities of leadership listed above. He became weak so that his followers may be strong, he became poor that they may be rich; he was humiliated, so that his followers might be honoured. In fact, he became all things to all men for the sake of Christ. Such leadership qualities are rare these days. Hence, one would need to go back to the Sovereign Leader himself, Jesus Christ to learn what it means to lead. Beloved, Jesus has taught us that he who desires to be the first among many must first of all become the servant of all (Mark 9: 35).

Simply stated, a leader should be an embodiment of divine love. If you are already occupying one leadership position or the other anywhere, then you must ask yourself a question to know if you have these qualities in large measure. And if you don’t, then cry to God for them. The reason is because every position ofthe authority you occupy is an opportunity to make a life changing impact towards the people you are leading, failure to do this is tantamount to disappointing God.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, give me the grace to be a servant leader like yourself. Help to make a meaningful impact in every leadership position I find myself. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1804: “The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “…If one of you wants to be great, he must be the servant of the rest.”  Matthew 20:26b GNB

Readings for Today: 2 Corinthians 4:7-15; Psalm 126; Matthew 20: 20-26