Birthday greetings from Home Sweet Orphanage


Today has been my 30th birthday and I was able to celebrate with the children at Home Sweet Orphanage. The journey to the Orphanage started at around 8am and with God’s mercies, we were able to reach at around 10:30am.

The children were already in a jolly mood and expecting us, so at arrival the fun started. The pictures below give you a view of our time at arrival; the welcome and the singing. You remember Steve?  The boy I am holding in the picture below. I talked about him in my post after my last visit. He was abandoned at the Orphanage weeks ago, and current he is the newest and youngest boy at the Orphanage. Steven should be just close to two years. He was sick but is now recovering.

 

We then gave the children some entertainment. They were able to watch a movie and some gospel music on computer. They were so attentive here and they loved it. See the pictures below.

Then, you remember at my last visit I found that the only matron we had had gone away and the children had no body to care for them on close basis. I expressed the need to hire at least two matrons so that they can take good care of the children by monitoring their hygiene and the cleanliness of the place on top of preparing and serving meals for the children. A friend and reader of this blog who spiritually adopted the Orphanage also made a commitment to make a monthly contribution to pay for 2 matrons.  The matrons started their work, and the children were so happy with their new JJajas (Grandmoms). The pictures below show the new matrons.

 

Immediately after entertainment, came time lunch.  Thanks be to God that we were able to treat the children to a very tasty meal, the kind of which they would all love to have at least every after two weeks. These kids like beef, rice and matooke, and their favorite drink is soda. They enjoyed all this.

And then lastly came time for the baby boy to cut the cake. “Happy birthday Uncle Steve” the children shouted! The children all gathered around me as I blew the 30 candles before cutting the cake. It was a fun-filled exercise. Yes, they all had to remind us about their birthdays J. I served every one with a cake myself, and we chatted a few words and travelled back. It was 5pm by then. That is how enjoyable the day has been.

 

Every time I am at with these kids, I cannot forget to remind myself of how much I need to be of help to these innocent kinds. Their eyes are set on me and Uncle Robert. They trust that we can do the needful to bring them what they lack! And you can help us fulfill this obligation. I am sorry, but I cannot help to always ask for your donations. It is all for the sake of these young angels. They are called orphans, and it is true many of them are. Some have been abandoned by their poor parents, and yes they are poor. If not for Sweet Home Orphanage, they are homeless! Who more than these children could need your help? These could be some of the reasons to create a dark future for these children, but you and me can bring the light they now need.

I must say that because of the limited resources I had in my hands this time, I was able to take food and domestic items that will last only a few weeks. Consider sending us your donation now so that we can supply in more food and other needed items.

During the new month of July, we will specially fundraise for new bedding; at least 10 mattresses, blankets and pairs of bed sheets.  At least $500 is needed for this. We are also raising another $500 for a poultry project. That is why you should give now. Remember, any donation you are able to give us is welcome, appreciated and will be of great help

This is how you can donate. Click HERE and when you get to the YOU TURNS donate page, remember to quote that it is a gift to Ugandan Orphanage. Your donation will be forwarded to us and we will acknowledge receipt.

Thank you so much and may God bless you.

 

 

 

 

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My 30th birthday, a lesson from the Centurion in today’s gospel and the joy of a new priest in my diocese


 

                               Thank you  my friend for this cake

 

Dear Lord, I thank you for giving me another year of life. I thank you for all the people who have remembered me today, for all my achievements and all the friends you have given to me during the past year. I thank you for all the experiences, the successes and happy memories, for time of failure which reminded me of my own weaknesses and of my need for you, for times of joy when the sun was shining, for times of sorrow which drove me to you. Forgive me, Lord, for the hours I have wasted, for the chances I failed to take, for the opportunities I missed in the past year. Forgive me that I did not use my talents and abilities to the fullest because I was lazy and wanted things the easy way, or I did not completely trust in your support. Help me in the days which lie ahead to make this coming year better than last year and closer to you my Lord. Amen

 

Above are more gifts from family, and in an hours time from now I will be on the road traveling to celebrate with the kids at Home Sweet Orphanage. I know much awaits me there, and it will be a fun-filled day with the children. Pray for journey mercies.

 

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.”

The centurion, the one who expresses the words above, is one who is used to having power and commanding others.  We see this in his own appeal to Jesus, “And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

And yet here, he recognizes that his own power is nothing compared to that of Jesus.  How often do we find ourselves wanting to control a situation or tell God how something should be.  It sometimes takes us a while before we step back and realize that we are not ultimately in control.  The moment that we re-remember that we are not in control is actually quite liberating.  Placing our trust and faith in God over and over again is a part of our spiritual journey.

What I am drawn to in the Gospel is the absolute faith with which the centurion approaches Jesus on behalf of his servant.  He does not doubt that Jesus’ words alone can heal his servant, even without a physical encounter with Jesus.  Each time we receive the Eucharist at mass we, unworthy as we are, are deemed worthy for a physical encounter with Christ.  Wow!  And yet so often the reality of Christ within us, under our roofs, in our homes is such a challenge to grasp and a reality that I don’t always approach with the faith and trust of the centurion.

Like the centurion and his servant, we have the opportunity to be transformed with each encounter with Christ, whether it is through prayer or meditation, through interactions in our daily lives, or through receiving Him in the Eucharist.

Let us pray that we can approach Jesus Christ in the Eucharist with the same humility and faith that the centurion approached Jesus at Capernaum.  When we invite Jesus into our hearts and our homes, under our own roofs, we allow Him to transform us and work miracles in our own lives.

And……joy fills Mbarara Diocese as we get yet one more priest. Deacon Kenneth Beingana will be ordained priest today at Nyamitanga Cathedral. We thank God for his life and pray that God’s guidance will dwell with him as he takes up this new life-calling. We remember to pray for all our priests.

         Deacon Kenneth Beingana Muntu

Peter and Paul or Peter vs Paul


St Augustine writes (Sermon 295): ‘Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and, even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles’ blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labours, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith.’

The Church is founded on the apostles, especially on St. Peter, the first Pope, and on St. Paul, an apostle and the first Christian missionary. Therefore, today’s solemn feast day of Saints Peter and Paul is a celebration in which we thank the Lord for His great gift to us of the Church. Saints Peter and Paul each played a unique part in setting the foundations of the Church as we know it today. The all-too-human Peter ensured Christianity’s roots were anchored firmly in Jewish Old Testament tradition. Peter, as leader of the apostles, was chosen by Jesus to have a special relationship with him.  He was sent with John to prepare for the last Passover before Jesus’ death. Quite rightly, his name is first on every list of apostles. His choice as the rock, upon which Christ would build the Church, established a fresh tradition that has extended down through history to the present Pope.

We would probably go to confession to Peter sooner than to any of the other apostles. He is perhaps a more striking example of the simple fact of holiness. Jesus says to us as he said, in effect, to Peter: “It is not you who have chosen me, but I who have chosen you. Peter, it is not human wisdom that makes it possible for you to believe, but my Father’s revelation. I, not you, build my Church.” Paul’s experience of the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus was the driving force that made him one of the most zealous, dynamic and courageous ambassadors of Christ the Church has ever had. But persecution, humiliation and weakness became his day-by-day carrying of the cross, material for further transformation. The dying Christ was in him; the living Christ was his life.

 

Paul’s experience of the risen Christ on the road to Damascus ensured that the Church would be extended to the Gentiles worldwide, as Christ had commanded. Paul’s central conviction was simple and absolute: only Christ can save humanity. No human effort, not even the most scrupulous observance of law, can create a state of human goodness, which we can bring to God as reparation for sin and payment for grace. To be saved from sin, from the devil and from death, humanity must open itself completely to the saving power of Christ.

Peter and Paul never taught the same gospel. When Peter taught the kingdom gospel at Pentecost Saul was rejecting the Messiah. When Paul preached the gospel of the grace of God Peter’s gospel of the kingdom to Israel was limited to the circumcision.

However, the main similarity between their messages exists in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 1:10).

In comparison, let’s look at the differences in Peter’s and Paul’s ministries.

1. Peter was called by the Lord as he appeared in a human body on the earth; Paul was called by the ascended, glorified Lord from heaven.

2. Peter was given the “gospel of the kingdom“ (gospel of the circumcision, ref. Acts 2:38,39). While he did take it to one Gentile, he was told to go only to Israel with it (ref. Matt. 10:5,6); Paul was given the “gospel of Christ”(gospel of the uncircumcision) . While he did offer it to the Jews, he was told to take it “far hence unto the Gentiles.”3

3. Peter was given the keys of the kingdom, and with them the power to retain or remit sins; Paul, while he manifested all the signs of an apostle, received no such power.

4. Peter told Israel, at Jerusalem, to “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins… and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.4 Paul told a group of Jews and Gentiles at Antioch ( through Christ’s death and resurrection) “that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”5 (Acts 13:38,39) This effectively removed the keeping of the law from the salvation equation. No such declaration was ever made by Peter, either in the Acts or his letters. In chapter one of his first letter to “the strangers” who had been “scattered throughout” the provinces of Asia Minor, Peter instructs them that “the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” would come at the end of a faithfully lived life, which matches the Lord’s requirement to Israel in the gospels of Matthew and Mark that they must “endure unto the end” to be saved.6 There is no such requirement of faithfulness/continuance7 in Paul’s gospel, but rather that one only trust (believe on) the Lord Jesus Christ (believing that he died for your sins), and thou shalt be saved,8 i.e., your sins are  atoned for now , not at the end of your life of faith.

5. Peter was told by the Lord in His earthly ministry, that his reward would be to sit on one of twelve thrones in an earthly kingdom, “judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”10 Paul, because he was counted “a blasphemer”,11 could not be a part of this particular kingdom (ref. Matt. 12:31,32 to see why this was the case). He was told that his destiny was a heavenly kingdom (2 Tim 4:18)

6. Peter was the pattern for believing, repentant Israel. Paul was the pattern for the first of “them that should hereafter believe on him (Christ, that he died for their sins) to life everlasting.”12

7. While Peter claimed his gospel was prophesied of in the old testament (Acts 3:24); Paul said his gospel was a mystery, not made known until it was revealed through him (Romans 16:25,26; Eph. 3:5)

From all this we can readily see that it was the same Lord who gave Peter and Paul their marching orders, but in no way did he give them the same message to be delivered to their respective hearers.

 

 

 

Lord, thank you for having rescued me! Let me walk in joyful hope that you will take care of me today.


Today’s first reading really reminded me that sometimes, life may throw you lemons when you were expecting oranges, and while you were not expecting lemons you still have to make juice. The man in the first reading understood this concept very well. He was a cripple that had to live off of the monetary charity of others because he was unable to work.  However, he had faith that Peter and John would help him by donating money.  But the man received something so much better.

Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: In the Name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. –Acts 3:1-10

Rather than getting money, he truly received a better gift, he received the gift to walk and work. He could be an independent man, and not rely on the charity of others. He was so amazed and excited that he followed the men into the temple, all the while praising God. People were naturally shocked and in awe to see this man jumping around and praising God at the top of his lungs. How this could be done is truly a miracle!

While I cannot guarantee that anyone reading this reflection will miraculously be healed, richer, smarter, or whatever each of us long for, I can guarantee that if you have faith good things tend to work themselves out. As I said, sometimes the results may not be what we are looking for, but they happen for a reason. So it is fine to have expectations and hope for things, but don’t be surprised if God and life throws you a few curve balls.

In the readings today, both St. Peter and St. Paul rejoice in God’s rescue of them. God’s rescue of St. Peter was so dramatic that Peter thought it all was a dream until the angel left him and he was outside of the prison.  St Paul writes of an equally dramatic rescue from the lion’s mouth by the Lord.

As dramatic as these rescues sound, they also underscore the truth that each of us can rely on God. Of course, we know that we have been rescued from sin and death through Jesus’ resurrection. But if we were to look closely, we would discover numerous day-to-day examples of how God has rescued us. What about that time you were feeling downcast because of some huge problem in your life—and the Holy Spirit filled you with hope and lifted your spirits? Or when you real­ized at the last minute that a deci­sion you were going to make could lead you into sin, and you changed your mind?

Remember that the name Jesus means “God saves.” He didn’t come to save you from sin and then just leave you to figure out the rest of your life. No, He came to show you how to live under His protection. He came so that, even if you did find yourself in a perilous situation, you would not panic but would turn to His Spirit for wisdom and guidance and peace.

Never lose sight of how much Jesus loves you. In prayer today, join with the psalmist—and with Peter and Paul—in rejoicing in the Lord, who is your Savior today and every day!  The words of the psalm express how we can follow their example:
“Look to Him that you may be radiant in joy and your faces may not blush with shame.”

 

Today’s parable teaches us to hear and act upon the sayings of Jesus.


 

Jesus taught that it isn’t enough to acknowledge Him in word alone; it is necessary that we repent of sin, that we live a holy life, that we love one another. When we repent of our sins, we restore our relationship with the Lord. Then He takes even the most messed up lives and works them together for the good of those who love Him. Resist temptation. Obey the Lord. Repent. Love Jesus

There are others, whose faith relies solely upon hearing a message and nothing more. Two kinds of hearers are represented as two builders. Today’s parable teaches us to hear and act upon the sayings of Jesus. Some build their hopes upon worldly prosperity; others upon outward professions of religion. But their hopes are all built on sand, too weak to bear the demands of the faith, upon which we build our hopes of heaven. The coming storm will try everyone’s faith.  Some of you may be feeling your houses shaking already; the world is still experiencing the repercussions of a struggling economy.  More and more of us are feeling vulnerable from the ongoing struggle.  This is exactly how we rekindle our faith, hold on to the life raft, and pray our way back to wholeness again.  Our Saint for today gave us a very good example of reaching out to help another, of how to live a life of piety and how to survive the difficult times.  His understanding of Scripture was phenomenal, and so we ask you, St. Irenaeus to pray for all of us who will come back to God’s Word today.  And Pray, Pray, Pray, with this Scripture and ask others to pray for you too.  We really are all in this together.

The crowds were astonished at the wisdom and power of Jesus’ doctrine. And this sermon, which is often read, is always new. Let us be decided and earnest, making Christ the main subject of our thoughts. Let us not confuse our faith with worldly rewards. May God make us wise builders for eternity; then nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ! Let us put ourselves into the space that God’s love creates for us, without fear or doubt. In this silent space we will discover what God wants from us. Not hypocrisy—just saying ‘Lord, Lord’—but faith which is as solid as a house built on a rock, resisting all attacks. Lord, please grant us the grace of perseverance throughout our lives to remain faithful to our covenant with you.

By their fruit you will know them.


 

Today’s Gospel reading is a somber warning, and it rings just as true for us today as it did for Jesus’ friends and disciples two thousand years ago. Evil is something we do not usually take time to talk about, but we must recognize that the enemy is always at work against us. He is always there, tempting us to turn our backs on God.

 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.” -Matthew 7:15

 We have become so desensitized to immorality that most people barely notice it. It seems that countless television commercials use immoral sexual references or examples to sell their products. It has become a part of our daily lives, yet it is, perhaps, the greatest sin of the modern world. We must stay on guard and look for the wolves, who prowl about in sheep’s clothing. We must be willing to stand up against such injustices and abominations and live for the Truth. We must strive to create a culture of life in which we will see the goodness of God reflected in the human body, not the degradation of humans to mere beasts.

Jesus warned us about them, charlatans who use God’s gift of communication skills for selfish gain. Many have been misled by these ‘modern prophets’ with their glib tongues and flair for the dramatic. Their proficiency in memorizing verses in the Bible give them the confidence to draw out “tithes” and “love offerings” from the wallets of their members, promising them “the floodgates of heaven to pour down blessings upon you without measure” (Mal.3:10). They blatantly use the Word of God to enrich themselves. But their temporal wealth and power will reserve for them a special place in damnation. This New Age Movement boasts that its leaders have a very intimate relationship with God and they experience visions, encounters and conversations with the Supreme Being. But the clearest ‘fruit’ that this movement comes from the Prince of Lies is its teaching that there is no need to strive for righteousness or holiness because God loves you no matter what you do. According to these false prophets, sin is a natural human weakness that God in His goodness has already forgiven. This is a clear contradiction of God’s Word that says, “You are not a God who delights in evil… you hate all who do iniquity” (Psalm 5:5-6).

By their fruit you will know them

Do we realize here that Christ doesn’t care about quantity but rather quality? “Every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.” False prophets are not easily recognizable. They may speak angelically, act immaculately and even look heavenly, but “underneath they are ravenous wolves.” We know you cannot “judge a book by its cover.” The Lord knows that, too. But we have a dilemma. We can see the face but not the heart. Actions that are in conflict with intentions; the body pitted against the soul. What do we have “underneath” it all? Underneath is the key word here. We are asked by the Lord to look deep down and see what man is made of. He should be made of Christ. “Remain in me, as I remain in you.” How do we know who is the scoundrel and who is the Saint?” “By their fruit, you will know them.” Love produces more love. Forgiveness gives birth to mercy and compassion. Sacrifice yields an abundance of fruit. In reality, the Lord is saying “by their fruit, you will know Him!”
Work for the Lord

Laborers of the vineyard work for the Master of the vineyard. All glory, all honor, all worship belong to the Master. The way they work will tell us much about who they are. When there is conflict, there is rebellion, division and murder. SIN abounds everywhere and it is open season on God!! The true prophets beg for instruction, for discernment, to be led, to have their hearts near the Lord, to turn away from all that distracts them from the Holy One. (Psalm 119) In summary, they long for, search for, ask for, speak for and live for the Lord.
Point to the Lord

All things and people must point to Him. The true prophets point to God.

The Catholic points to Christ. The Baptist points to Christ. The saints point to Christ. The Lord points to the Father!! All things point to, lead to, and end in the Father. The false prophets end in themselves. It’s all about them! When everything is said and done the only thing that “remains in me” must be CHRIST. “It is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me.”
Live in the Lord

Who or what lives in you? God is the strength of his people. In Him, we, His chosen, live in safety. “Save us, Lord, who share in your life, and give us your blessing; be our shepherd forever.” (Psalm 27:8-9) The one who bears fruit is the one who lives in and for the Lord. Amen.

How many people have you loved and forgiven today? Remember, every good tree bears good fruit… Jesus says, “By their fruit you will know” if they belong to me.

 

 

 

The wide gate opens to Satan’s way, the narrow one opens to Christ’s.


We learned years ago in our Catechism that our purpose on earth was to know, to love and to serve God. The manner in which we choose to do this varies from one person to another. In the gospel for today, Christ instructs us:

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to Life. And those who find it are few.

 

Our Lord advises that we should “enter through the narrow gate,” not the “wide one.”   Both are unlocked, and each gives access to a way with its own destination.  One has “Death” blazed across it and the way it opens up leads to a dead end:  it gradually leads to death.  The sign on the other says “Life,” and the way it opens leads to eternal life in the Kingdom of God.  Our Lord leaves it up to us to choose which one to enter. Unfortunately this beautiful world of ours has both good and evil. As we pursue our day-to-day routines, we must keep this in mind. We can easily “go off the track” if we rely on worldly values rather than the guidelines given us by Christ in the gospel. Our choice will reflect the destination we want, and it will likely govern our other choices along the way.  So it’s good to examine our choices:  those made, and those anticipated. Another perspective is that our choices along the way and over time will likely reflect in the practical order what we really want, and will reveal the gate we choose as well as the destination we are in fact headed for.

We adults tend to criticize teenagers at times when they use the excuse “everyone is doing it” as a reason for questionable behavior, but adults can get carried away by the crowd mentality too. As we go about the days of our lives, whose values are we going to follow? Ignatius of Loyola offers a wonderful consideration to help us do the examination – to see which choices lead to death, and which to life.  He divides them according to “the Standard of Satan” and  “the Standard of Christ.”  Each has three precepts.

Satan’s Gate

  • The first precept under Satan’s Standard is greed.  We all need money and things money buys.  But when the purchases become wasteful or frivolous, we’re at Satan’s gate.   Hoarding it and possessing it becomes the point.  When this gets compulsive we’re hooked and are heading full steam to the destination Satan has in mind, where freedom from greed is lost.  Once there, our self image and personal identity shifts from who we are to what we have.
  • The second is self-centered ambition.  This precept gets especially attractive when we’ve already followed the first.  It leads to inordinate pursuit of popularity, celebrity, and success for its own sake.  This can also become addictive.  When it does, our ability to give others their due and to  relate to them with love gets smothered, and Satan’s third precept becomes attractive.
  • The third is arrogant pride.  Chosen, it moves us to lust for power, bully others, and crave control over everything life offers (including the lives of others).  This way can get addictive too, and when it does, we’re all but dead.  Only God can free us.

Christ’s Gate

  • The Lord’s first precept is poverty of spirit.  It gives access to a way of avoiding inordinate attachment to money and possessions; it secures our personal identity and freedom; and it fosters a desire for total dependence on God.   This way is attractive because it corresponds to our deepest longings and it keeps us free from inordinate attachments.
  • His second is to go the way Christ Himself did — even if it means contempt and humiliation.  It discourages self serving behavior and fosters the desire to serve others and trust God.  When we go this way, we look progressively more for God’s will in all things, and the grace of God will gird our loins to suffer humiliations, insult, and rejection as Christ did.   This is the way to the Kingdom of God, and it heads towards the third of Our Lord’s precepts.
  • His third precept is humility.   It opens the way to live as Christ did.  The further we go, the more we see our very world as a place where God wants us to become partners with Christ to establish God’s Kingdom.  As we get closer to our destination, we will commit to a humble life dedicated to unconditional love and service of God and others.

In conclusion, this all sums up with a Golden Rule for living a Christian life. ‘Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.’  Jesus commands us to do for others the good that we wish for ourselves. How radical in a world marked by a principle of retaliation, and obsessed with consumerism and individualism! This brings the perspective of a merciful and compassionate God.