Remember that we had said earlier that carpenters used their hands to construct and carve furniture. What else could be more dramatic and explanatory that this carpenter carried the cross to the point that his hands were fastened tightly to the cross by the 7-9 inches long iron material nails, symbolic of the relationship and interaction between himself [as a carpenter], his primary tools [his hands] fastened lovingly to his most primary material [the wood of the cross]? An extra step is taken to drive nails through his legs onto the cross. Oh yes! This gruesome action translates to an even more gracious effect; not only are his hands outstretched on the cross but his legs also are fixed firmly to it, thereby making his whole body, his very presence, press against the cross to endorse the cross as the one true glorification of God, the utter fullness of love.

Mass Reflection from A Catholic Moment Today’s Readings: Isaiah 49: 1-6, from Psalm 71, John 13: 21-33, 36-38 What were Jesus’ eyes saying when He spoke the truth, “One of you will betray me”? The scene is the Last Supper. Jesus and the disciples are “at table.” Jesus has just washed His disciples’ feet. He has not yet instituted the Eucharist.  Stirred by some inner prompting, I imagine Jesus looking up from His food and gazing around the room at each person. As He moved from one to another, His eyes peered deep into each soul. As His eyes came to Judas, Jesus saw the darkness and truth in Judas’ soul. He saw betrayal.

By REV. FR. VICTOR OKHIRIA, Assistant Parish Priest, Catholic Church of The Assumption, Falomo, Lagos. Once upon a time in a lowly and humble town, emerged a young boy, the only child of his parents. His Jewish father was a very well-known man since his occupation revolved around the market place. Now, in Jewish culture of that time [1st Century] it was required of fathers to teach their sons their own profession or trade [in addition to their sons’ formal education], between the ages of five to ten [5-10] years. Definitely, this Jewish man adhered to this practice and taught his son his occupation but as the young boy becomes a man, he has his own ambitions and prospects. This grown up man went to the synagogue on the Jewish day to worship God as it was his weekly practice and being a frequent worshipper, he was invited to read from the scriptures by the president of the synagogue who had the authority to choose those who would read from the Torah. In a loud and clear voice, he reads from an ancient prophecy that announces liberation to all those in those in bondage; a liberation that is far greater than the Exodus from Egypt and the return from Babylon. When he finished reading, he sat down to instruct them; oh yes! He would instruct them because they had heard how wonderfully he had preached in the neighbouring towns while he worshipped in their synagogues, and since he was in his hometown synagogue, he was accorded the honour to teach. When he was done, there was a deathly silence in the synagogue and all eyes were fixed on him… The mood of the crowd shifts dramatically, they were amazed to a depth that they questioned “is he not the carpenter’s son?” [Luke 4:22; Matt 13:55]. His father Joseph was a carpenter but also he, Jesus, was a carpenter by Tradition.

An excerpt from a letter Blessed Alvaro del Portillo sent to the faithful of the Prelature on April 1, 1993.
We are on the threshold of Holy Week. In a few days we will take part in the liturgical ceremonies of the solemn Easter Triduum. We will share in the final hours of our Lord Jesus Christ's earthly life, when he offered himself to the Eternal Father as Priest and Victim of the New Covenant, sealing with his Blood the reconciliation of mankind to God. It is a drama we can never grow accustomed to: the Innocent One laden with the faults of sinners, the Just One dying in place of the unjust! Nevertheless, the tragedy of Holy Week is a source of immense joy for Christians. O happy fault, which gained for us so great a Redeemer![1] the Church sings in the Easter Proclamation, referring to our first parents' sin. And we would like to say the same about our own daily faults, when these lead us to amend our lives with a sorrow born love and contrition.

Palm Sunday, Lenten Reflection Day 40: Following Jesus with clean hands and a pure heart Readings: Luke 19:28-40, Isaiah 50:4-7, Psalm 21:8-9,17-20,23-24, Philippians 2:6-11,  Luke 22:14-23:56 or  Luke 23:1-49 [audio mp3=""][/audio]  ...

Homily for March 19, 2016. Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary Bible Study: 2nd Samuel 7, 4 to 16. Romans 4, 13 to 22 and Matthew 1, 16 to 24. In God’s plan of salvation for mankind, it was his will that his son Jesus Christ would be born as a man, raised as a man and die as a man that humanity as a whole may be saved. This was a plan that took thousands of years to execute, a plan that even prophets who were lived centuries before Jesus spoke about.

Homily for March 18, 2016. Friday of the 5th week of Lent Readings: Jeremiah 20:10-13, Psalm 17:2-7, John 10:31-42 Going through our readings this morning, one immediately gets a sense of how hard it must have been for Jesus as well as for the prophet Jeremiah. Not only was his life threatened, the Jews picked up stones before his very presence to stone Jesus to death. Jesus tried to reason things out with them but to no avail.

Homily for March 17, 2016. Feast of St. Patrick, 2nd Patron of Nigeria Bible Study: 1st Peter 4, 7 to 11. And Luke 5, 1 to 11. Today, we take a little break from our Lenten series to reflect on Saint Patrick, a great icon of evangelisation in Ireland. Given that Nigeria as a country was mostly evangelized by the Irish missionaries, St. Patrick in a way is also our Patron Saint. If he had not allowed himself to be used by God so powerfully, millions of souls would never have seen the light.