Consider Your Priorities

02-17-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Emmanuel I. Ihemedu

What an audience Jesus has in today's Gospel! "A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of people from all over Judea and Jerusalem and thecoastal region of Tyre and Sidon." Disciples, pagans, and devout Jews gathered together to hear Jesus speak in the Sermon on the Mount. All of these peoplehad something in common. God was someone to be bargained with, and if God liked you, you were rewarded with good fortune.

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Do You Have Enough?

02-10-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Emmanuel I. Ihemedu

Do you have enough? Many of us come from a nation of material abundance. We have all the things we could possibly need not only to survive but to thrive - food, shelter, mental ability, income, access to medical care. Most people in human history lived with far less than we. So why are we so dissatisfied? Some Christians can be drawn to the "prosperity Gospel." This is the idea that following God will bring us material abundance in this life.

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Prophetic Voices

02-03-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Emmanuel I. Ihemedu

Today's Gospel is one of tension and contradiction. We enter the scene at the local synagogue. It is near the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry, and he has returned home to Nazareth for a short while. There, in the midst of the men who watched him grow up and who played with him as a boy in the dusty streets, Jesus proclaims that he is the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah. The response is understandably mixed. "All spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, 'Isn't this the son of Joseph?'"

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Will you love in the Spirit of the Lord today?

01-27-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Emmanuel I. Ihemedu

"He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up." Did you grow up in a small town? Whenever you see stories of tight-knit communities, a common refrain is that everybody knows everybody and that's very difficult to change. If you leave and return, people expect you to be and act a certain way, and it's strange for them if you do not. In today's Gospel, we see that Jesus was already moving "in the power of the Spirit and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He...was praised by all." His ministry has begun! News of his growing popularity must have proceeded him to Nazareth.

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Who is God in Your Life?

01-20-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Emmanuel I. Ihemedu

When you think of being Catholic, what do you think of? Perhaps you grew up with your only associations being fasting, nuns with rulers, and "Catholic guilt." Our faith can sometimes have the connotation of restriction and absence, not abundance.

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What are you waiting for?

01-13-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Emmanuel I. Ihemedu

Think of what it's like to wait a long time. Can you imagine what it would be like to wait for centuries? No one person lives that long, of course. But for the Israelites, they had heard the stories from generation to generation. They had been conquered time and time again, and now "the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ." They had been waiting for a Messiah, one who did miraculous deeds and said profound things; someone aglow with the glory of God.

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The Season of Joy!

12-23-2018Pastor's LetterRev. Emmanuel I. Ihemedu

We are at it again, Christmas season. Instead of bringing joy, the complexities of this season can rob us of the joy that God intended it to bring in our lives. Perhaps for you this season has become a time of loneliness and sadness because of the loss of a loved one. Or maybe you dread this Christmas season because for you, it is marked by intense stress-related activities the gifts you have to buy; hosting out of town family members; long trip to visit with loved ones; elaborate meals to cook; reconnecting with family members or inlaws you don’t want to see. If Christmas is bringing you something other than joy, something is amiss.

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The Way of the Lord is Upon Us!

12-16-2018Pastor's LetterRev. Emmanuel I. Ihemedu

Hundreds of years before the birth of our Lord, the prophet Zephaniah parted the murky pall that hung over God’s people and saw a day of unbridled joy. Yes, judgment had come upon the nation. Yes, exile had interrupted everyone’s dreams for a better life. Yes, God’s people had lost so much faith in the Onewho parted the Red Sea and established David’s kingdom.

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The Word of the Lord is Coming to You!

12-09-2018Pastor's LetterRev. Emmanuel I. Ihemedu

The gospel tells us that the word of the Lord visited JB (John the Baptist) in the wilderness. God can pitch his tent with you, to address you in what seems to be your very ordinary life. The word of the Lord can visit us as it did with JB when our lives are in the wilderness places of life. We usually expect God to show up when everything is polished and prepared, but in fact, the Scripture suggests God, more times than not, comes to us when the garden of life has become a desert when dreams have died and health has waned.

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Do You Know That Jesus is On His Way?

12-02-2018Pastor's LetterRev. Emmanuel I. Ihemedu

Did you realize that when you awoke this morning, you opened your eyes to a brand!new year? That’s right! When the sun’s light kissed your face and quickened your pulse and drew you into this second day of December, you breathed the air of a new year of worship? Why? Because today is the first day, the first Sunday of a new year of Christian worship. The season of Advent marks the beginning of the Church year. So, I say Happy New year!

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