The parables of the mustard seed and of the yeast remind us that small things count.


Central to the gospels is Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ primary mission to His people was to offer them a possibility of salvation, which, for the most part, He expressed to them by the term, Kingdom
of God. Jesus also saw the appearance of the Kingdom of God as manifested in His exorcisms and healings.How does God’s kingdom come, and how is His will done? Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that the wheat flour is permeated by the crushed and broken yeast spread throughout the whole batch. That’s how His kingdom comes. Our faith must permeate the whole batch of our lives, not just compartments of our life here and there. Our Christianity must be alive and continuously operating at home, at work, in the grocery store, and in the most thorny, complicated areas of life.
The Lord sends us daily opportunities to be salt, light, and yeast in the world. Let Jesus take control of your life. Then let other people in, to see what God can do when you allow Him to take those crushing blows of life and turn them to good. Jesus “kneads” us because he “needs” us to be His living witnesses in the world now.

Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed, or to what happens to a mustard seed. The mustard plant begins as inconspicuous, the smallest of all seeds, but becomes conspicuous, a large tree. The emphasis of the parable is on the contrast between beginning and end. The depiction of the mustard plant as tree, large enough to support birds in its branches, is a metaphor of the Kingdom of God as offering protection to those within it. Jesus’ point is that the Kingdom of God is an historical process, beginning inconspicuously, but leading to conspicuous results.

Here in Uganda, the young people have a slogan that “Big is big”. In saying this, they intend to mean that our origin justifies our future. This is not so with the Kingdom of God!
At first, the Kingdom of God appears to be small while our culture of death is mammoth. Furthermore, the kingdom of God often seems slow in developing. It seems as if it takes forever to make even a little progress. This could be very discouraging. However, a tiny mustard seed will eventually grow to become “a large shrub”, and yeast will slowly, imperceptibly, yet effectively cause a mass of dough to rise.

Jesus promises to do what we think impossible. In our weakness, His power will reach perfection. He makes “all things work together for the good of those who love” Him. If we believe in Jesus, we will do greater works than He did. Jesus will do more than we ever “ask or imagine”. “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love Him”. The small, slow people of God’s kingdom will be the conquerors of the world and even more than conquerors. Praise Jesus!

The parables of the mustard seed and of the yeast remind us that small things count. Each of us have been drawn to the Kingdom of God through myriad small things – whether they be kindnesses, words of encouragement, good examples, or even bad examples, which somehow have all been coordinated to show us something about the divine life. Yes, even our families may be doing this, as wacky and imperfect as they may be. So let us not neglect those small things. Let us pause and give thanks, and remember the power of God’s love that finds us and enriches us in mysterious ways. Let us be grateful for the mystery that is bigger than ourselves and better than we could ever imagine.

 
 
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UPDATE: Love and greetings from Home Sweet Orphanage


My journey to and from the Orphanage yesterday was good and safe. Thanks be to God for the journey mercies.  I was able to attend an early morning Mass at my parish before I traveled. I have always gone to the Orphanage on Saturdays, but because we were going to give the children a special treat (serve a special meal for them), it was necessary that we do it on Sunday since some of them go to school on Saturday. And, my next visit there will also be on a Sunday, 18th November, for the Confirmation of one of the children. You will get some details towards the end of this post.

It was raining the entire journey to, and it took much longer than usual. I arrived at the Orphanage a few minutes after 11am.

The children gave me a warm welcome, singing and dancing. I was happy that this time, they looked healthier and happier. Yes, there is a difference you and me are bringing into their lives. I was able to record a video of the children singing and dancing, but unfortunately my blog is not upgraded to allow me to embed it here. I will try uploading it on youtube and sharing the link with you.

There is an exercise I have so long wanted to do; have a file for every child with his/her photo and all the basic details.  This time I was able to do this. Every child now has a fine that contains their basic details and background. I will only be able to share them on facebook, it is quicker to upload them there than here.

  

All together the children are 47, but only 33 stay permanently at the Orphanage premises. Due to lack of space and supplies like mattresses and blankets in their dormitory, the 14 were placed in the care of 7 foster families in the neighborhood. However, they can always come to the Orphanage for basic supplies.

Those residing permanently at the Orphanage are:

Name                  SEX Age Class
Nampijja Jovita      F 4yrs Not in school yet
Nagayi Annet         F 5yrs Not in school
Kibirige Steven      M 2yrs Not in school
Nakayiza Patricia    F 3yrs Baby Class
Nayigga Majorine    F 3yrs Not in school
Nazziwa Mangeli      F 7yrs P.1
Ssemata Wikliff       M 7yrs Baby Class
Lukyamuzi Augustine M 5yrs P.2
Matovu Ronald          M 11yrs P.2
Walakila Darvine       M 8yrs P.1
Nakakande Teddy      F 13yrs P.6
Ssango Godfrey         M 11yrs P.4
Nakaggwa Prossy      F 12yrs P.3
Namwanje Prossy      F 13yrs P.6
Nakazi Goretti           F 9yrs P.2
Nakamya Maurice      F 13yrs P.5
Mubiru Francis           M 11yrs P.3
Namusoke Oliver       F 9yrs P.2
Kajubi John Paul        M 10yrs P.2
Kayanja Martin          M 13yrs P.5
Muyanja Frank          M 11yrs P.1
Nalwaga Christine      F 9yrs P.2
Nabiddo Teddy           F 11yrs P.3
Ssekitende Emmanuel M 15yrs P.7
Kyeyune Fahad            M 5yrs Baby Class
Nalugave Mary             F 14yrs P.6
Nabakooza Robinah      F 10yrs P.3
Nakawooya Benitah      F 1yr Not in school
Kalule Peter                 M 11yrs P.2
Matovu Ivan                M 9yrs P.2
Kiiza Angela                F 15yrs Senior 1
Nkonywa Deogratias     M 12yrs P.4
Kyeyune Alafat            M 9yrs P.2

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you so much

I want to thank you all who have continued to support and help these kids in all ways possible. Those of you who sent in your donations towards this particular visit, thank you so much and God bless you.  R.B. H sent in $250, B.G $65, C.C $50, S.W $25 and S.F $20. Most of you our benefactors have asked me not to publish your identities,  but for the sake of accountability, I am using the initials and you can easily tell that I received your gift and it has been used to help these children.

Other than the nice food, sweets and biscuits that the children enjoyed most today, your donations have helped us to supply 50kg of Posho and 30kg of beans (food enough for the next couple weeks), Vaseline, washing soap and other domestic need

I asked each one of them to write to you a letter, but unfortunately, they all ended up writing to me J I have here a pile of letters that I will enjoy reading all day tomorrow. Here are some of them.

             

                        Christmas gifts and party

We are organizing that the children can be able to attend the annual Children’s Christmas party, that will taking place on Saturday, 15th December. Each child would need at least $15 to attend. This involves the cost of meals and transport to the venue. This means we will need up to $600 if our children are to join the many other children for this Christmas fun.

I thank you who have already sent in Christmas parcels for the children. I am expecting one from R. B. H to arrive later this week, and one more from B.G to arrive in December.

If you have any items that you wish to send to the kids as Christmas gifts, contact me for the postal details.

                                     URGENT NEEDS

While it has not been in my intentions to solicit donations from you until end of November when I will so much need your help towards the Christmas party, I found a few issues that need attention and I cannot avoid sharing them here:

  • One of the children, Angella, will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on 18th November. For this function, she needs a white dress, a pair of white shoes, a Bible and may be a cake that she will share with the rest of the kids in that joyous day.  All these items can cost up to $40. She seeks your help. I pray that someone out there reading this can consider making her day.

  • There is a pending medical bill that urgently needs to be paid. The bill was accumulated when some of the kids; Steven, Jovita and Annet got sick some time back. It is $52.

HOW TO DONATE

Visit YOU TURNS by clicking HERE. The donate button is on top of the right hand side. Once you are on the donation page, leave a message “Donation for Home Sweet Orphanage”. Your donation will reach me and will be used to help the Orphanage.

May God bless you and keep you safe.

God has given us signs to follow. We can get help along the way to interpret those signs to find God and to do the right thing.


Jesus uses weather signs to make His point in today’s Gospel. Most of the time, it’s easy to predict the weather.  Likewise, we should know when something we are about to do is leading us down the wrong path. Sometimes we just ignore the signs. Some of us are procrastinators. Or we want the sign to say something else; we want to point it in a different direction.

I can judge what is right, but the right road can be harder or more uncomfortable, so I want to ignore the signs and take an easier road. But I know from sign after sign that the easier road isn’t always easier. The present time seems to leave much to interpretation. Life can be complicated and messy. God has given us signs to follow. We can get help along the way to interpret those signs to find God and to do the right thing.

Jesus explains to us that if we know enough to come in out of the rain or to postpone an event because of weather, we should be aware of The Kingdom of God around us. It is said that a lack of awareness of right and wrong is due to the effect of sin in our lives. This can only be reversed with the help of the Holy Spirit working in us as we strive to be in a state of grace. If we are open to God’s help, then the Gospels can be important learning moments for us to change our ways — just as we would naturally do in the material world. More so, we must change and learn for everlasting life. Sin is real and it is perilous for us to ignore it.

There are signs which indicate the weather is changing and so we must plan accordingly. This is also true spiritually. The spiritual barometric pressure indicates a storm brewing and we must repent accordingly. If we have not let God still the storm inside us, the storm outside us will destroy us. We must settle with our opponent and be reconciled before the storm hits. We should repent while we have the opportunity; later, night will come when no man can repent.

“Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin. Say not: ‘Great is His mercy; my many sins He will forgive.’ For mercy and anger alike are with Him; upon the wicked alights His wrath. Delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day”. “Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!”

We live now in a season of mercy, but this season will change into a time of judgment, and mercy will be nothing but the lost opportunity of a lifetime. We sometimes take for granted the blood of Jesus and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There will be a day when confession will be too late. “A time will come when you will long to see one day of the Son of Man but will not see it” . Eventually, the Lord will respect our freedom and give us what we want even if that includes eternal separation from Him. The leaves are falling; it’s getting colder. Repent now.

Lord, my comfort and security come from you alone.


“Even though you have many possessions, it is not what gives you life.” When we hear something like this our natural defense mechanisms kick in, causing us to think that we don’t value possessions much. We say to ourselves that we are not rich; we don’t have abundant possessions, and we live differently. Most of our lives, however, are engaged in collecting more things and desiring more things.

The man of today’s Gospel reading was a fool because he grew “rich for himself instead of growing rich in the sight of God”. God our Father is rich in mercy. He also possesses the great and unfathomable wealth of His grace. As God the Father’s children, we inherit even now “the wealth of His glorious heritage to be distributed among the members of the Church”. God’s children are the richest people in the world, but not necessarily rich by worldly standards.

The man we read about today decided to save for the future. He said to himself: “You have blessings in reserve for years to come. Relax! Eat heartily, drink well. Enjoy yourself” (Lk 12:19). In today’s culture, we would call him a “wise man,” “but God said to him, ‘You fool!’ ” (Lk 12:20) Unless we receive a special revelation as did Joseph, we are not to save our money and possessions; rather, we are to distribute them. This comes as a terrible shock to a society full of savings accounts. Let’s ask ourselves how we would feel if we lost it all? What if we lost our home, car and bank account? How then would we feel? We certainly recognize that for most of us some possessions as well as shelter are necessary evils for our sheer survival. We should not, however, become unduly attached to them. Who among us can say that, while we accept good things from God, we also accept bad luck? The only way we should live to realize and accept God’s truth: our life is, indeed, worth more than our possessions. It is good to be prudent for our material welfare; but let’s also be prudent spiritually. We will all die and our possessions will go to someone else; so let’s provide for that as well!

We grow “rich in the sight of God” by inheriting as fully as possible His riches. We do this by living fully our Baptisms as faithful sons and daughters of God our Father. We store up riches in heaven by selling what we have and giving alms. To build a secure foundation for the future, we should “be rich in good works and generous, sharing what” we have. God the Father wants His children to be rich with His riches and by His standards. Forfeit everything: count “all else rubbish so that Christ may be” your Wealth. Grow “rich in the sight of God.”

We pray:

Jesus, our faith can be so easily undermined. The world works against our faith: many say there is no God, and others act as though you, Lord, no longer matter. There are false gods which we are told to worship—money, possessions, success. Yet, Lord, you said that our life is not made secure by what we own, even when we have more than we need.

Dear Jesus, I pray that these words will sink deep into my heart and mind. May my faith in you grow as I break away from the false gods that I worship, and may I grow more and more in the realization that my comfort and security come from you alone.

Jesus, working through the Spirit, “will give [us] words and a wisdom” that those to whom we witness cannot oppose or contradict.


“I tell you, whoever acknowledges Me before men — the Son of Man will acknowledge him before the angels of God.” —Luke 12:8

In this Year of Faith, several billion people desperately need to be introduced to Jesus, the only Way, Truth, Life, Savior, and God. The most deprived people in the world are those who have not come to know, love, and worship Jesus. Until we give our lives to Jesus, we have not begun to fully live.

Consequently, because life in Christ is most important, and because God Who is Love wants the best for everyone, the Lord must insist that we acknowledge Him before men. He must hold us accountable if we don’t acknowledge Him. To strongly encourage us to invite others to live for Jesus, the Lord even promised to send the Holy Spirit, Who will teach us “all that should be said” at the moment when we are sharing our faith.

But, whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God

What is denial of the Son of God? Surely it isn’t just saying the words: “Jesus is not the Incarnate Son of God!” But rather, it involves behaving like Jesus’ teachings are irrelevant. All we need is faith and love, and the Lord must and will make us great evangelizers and missionaries. Therefore, because we believe in Jesus and because we love the most deprived people in the world, let us center our lives around sharing our faith. In love, what else can we do?

Only God knows what lies at the depths of the hearts of men and women. He knows what will reach a person’s heart and what won’t. We Christians, who are charged with making disciples, are “fishers of men”. We are like fishermen casting a line. Fishermen generally see only the surface of the water, not the fish under the water. Likewise, we see the outside of a person to whom we witness, but not the inside, while the Lord sees the inside as well. We Christians need “inside information” if we are to reach a human heart.

When Jesus called us to be fishers of men, He gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us to fish. The Spirit gives us that inside information, teaching us at any given “moment all that should be said”. If we use our own words, they might be eloquent, but they will ultimately be ineffective in catching men. However, the Spirit’s words spoken through us will reach hearts.

“I tell you, whoever acknowledges Me before men — the Son of Man will acknowledge him before the angels of God.” —Luke 12:8

In this Year of Faith, several billion people desperately need to be introduced to Jesus, the only Way, Truth, Life, Savior, and God. The most deprived people in the world are those who have not come to know, love, and worship Jesus. Until we give our lives to Jesus, we have not begun to fully live.

Consequently, because life in Christ is most important, and because God Who is Love wants the best for everyone, the Lord must insist that we acknowledge Him before men. He must hold us accountable if we don’t acknowledge Him. To strongly encourage us to invite others to live for Jesus, the Lord even promised to send the Holy Spirit, Who will teach us “all that should be said” at the moment when we are sharing our faith.

But, whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God

What is denial of the Son of God? Surely it isn’t just saying the words: “Jesus is not the Incarnate Son of God!” But rather, it involves behaving like Jesus’ teachings are irrelevant. All we need is faith and love, and the Lord must and will make us great evangelizers and missionaries. Therefore, because we believe in Jesus and because we love the most deprived people in the world, let us center our lives around sharing our faith. In love, what else can we do?

Only God knows what lies at the depths of the hearts of men and women. He knows what will reach a person’s heart and what won’t. We Christians, who are charged with making disciples, are “fishers of men”. We are like fishermen casting a line. Fishermen generally see only the surface of the water, not the fish under the water. Likewise, we see the outside of a person to whom we witness, but not the inside, while the Lord sees the inside as well. We Christians need “inside information” if we are to reach a human heart.

When Jesus called us to be fishers of men, He gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us to fish. The Spirit gives us that inside information, teaching us at any given “moment all that should be said”. If we use our own words, they might be eloquent, but they will ultimately be ineffective in catching men. However, the Spirit’s words spoken through us will reach hearts.

Jesus, working through the Spirit, “will give [us] words and a wisdom” that those to whom we witness cannot oppose or contradict. Let us constantly, moment by moment, seek the Holy Spirit. He is the Master Communicator, and is able to teach us what to say. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s lead”. Come, Holy Spirit!

Let us constantly, moment by moment, seek the Holy Spirit. He is the Master Communicator, and is able to teach us what to say. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s lead”. Come, Holy Spirit!

We, by our baptism, are all evangelists. We are called to bring the Good News to the hungering world.


St. Luke left his profession as a doctor to tag along behind Paul on some of his missionary journeys. He had known that in following Jesus He was not assured of having a roof over his head. However, he still probably wasn’t prepared for years of hunger, thirst, poverty, homelessness, manual labor, insult, persecution, and slander. The benefits of working for Jesus didn’t seem that good. You couldn’t have even a walking staff, a traveling bag, or sandals. He must have looked and felt like a failure on many occasions. However, after having put his hand to the plow, Luke did not look back. He persevered. Luke did one of the greatest, most fruitful works in history. He wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Be like Luke. Work “for food that remains unto life eternal”. Your obscure and difficult life will also be of eternal significance, if you do God’s will.

The Harvest is Abundant, but Laborers Are Few . . . .

Jesus needs many more workers to reach the more than four-billion people who don’t know Him. He also needs many more workers to help the nearly two-billion Christians grow in holiness. Therefore, “take courage” and work for Jesus. Work, even if you think you have worked “in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent” your strength. Work, even if you consider yourself inadequate and without much to offer compared to other parts of Christ’s body. Work, even if you or others think you’re not needed. Work, even if you are very late for work. The Lord in His mercy may give you a full-life’s pay for very little time on the job. Work, even if you have to suffer, as Jesus the Worker suffered.

So many people are hungering to hear the word of the Lord without knowing that they hunger. We can look at the world around us and see how many are wandering around completely lost. We, by our baptism, are all evangelists. We are all called to follow the Apostles and St. Luke, the Evangelist. We are called to bring the Good News to the hungering world. We don’t know how to do this well. We stumble, fall and fail. But the Lord rewards our effort. He lifts us up and guides us on our way.

Be who you are. That is the best evangelism. If you are a believer, live like a believer. More importantly, love like a believer — show the world that you live a faith grounded in love, powered by love. Your prayers and your loving outreach to those around you are your most powerful tools in evangelizing the world. Rely on God and He will evangelize through you and for you.

“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” True or False??


Our readings today have something in common; insistence on ritualistic cleansing laws while refusing to observe the greater good—giving to those in need! You’ve heard the expression: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” That’s not in the Bible and it’s not true. Not that there’s no value to cleanliness, but it’s not among the highest values.

The Pharisees once again try to challenge Christ, trying to find fault with His teachings. We hear this theme so frequently that we can find ourselves getting aggravated. Who are they to challenge anything the Son of God has to share with us? However, if we are honest with ourselves, many of us judge other people’s intentions. Judging others is really beyond our capability. We can never know the intentions of another person. Surely we have enough to do, keeping our own intentions and actions in order. Christ turned to these Pharisees and said, “You Pharisees! You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but within you are filled with rapaciousness and evil. Fools! Did not He Who made the outside make the inside too?”

The Pharisees were very interested in cleanliness, in the washings of hands, dishes, and utensils, and they considered themselves wise, but Jesus called them “fools”. The apostle Paul said: “If any one of you thinks he is wise in a worldly way, he had better become a fool”. As St. Paul says in the first reading, if we try to be justified by observing the law, we separate ourselves from Christ. St. Paul says the only thing that counts is “faith working through love.” It’s so simple that we almost can’t believe it: Listen to Jesus. Love God. Care for and serve others. And the rest will take care of itself.

We clean our teeth, take showers, vacuum carpets, wash cars, clean streets, shampoo rugs, and use mouthwash. We take time and spend money to wash just about everything, when the highest priority should not be the outside appearance but the inside.

How often do we sincerely ask the Lord to wash us clean? “Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me”. How often do we go to Confession and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Have we washed our robes in the blood of the Lamb? Do we stand clean before the Lord, “holy and immaculate, without stain or wrinkle or anything of that sort”?

Jesus’ blood is the strongest purifying agent possible. Only our unwillingness can prevent us from being clean and holy as He is holy.

Jesus tells the Pharisee to “give alms” so that “everything will be clean for you.” In other words, give and give some more if you want to please God. Giving to and serving others emanate from within, and that is where God dwells. No amount of legal observance that neglects compassion and assistance to those in need can ever please God. One might ask why Christ wants us to give alms. Giving of our means, time and/or talent reminds us that we are all brothers and sisters on earth. It helps to keep us humble.

Let us not get into the position of the Pharisees who judged Christ as we judge our neighbor. As St. James says, “There is but one Lawgiver and Judge, who is able to save and destroy. Who then are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11,2)

Jesus goes on and says: “Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be” . If we treasure a healthy bank account balance, our heart will be on our bank account balance. If we treasure the things of God, our hearts won’t be tight, but rather open. To all who fear that the Father will not provide, Jesus proclaims: “Do not live in fear, little flock. It has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms”.