From the Desk of Fr. Joseph

From the Desk of Fr. Joseph


Daily Reflectionsduring the cancellation of Masses due to the Coronavirus

January 18January 24

January 18

We Have Sinned and Need God’s Help

We are made for God, but the world’s enticements tend to prevent us from seeking the things of heaven. Even though we fail many times to give our lives entirely for the service of God and for doing his will, God is faithful, and he continues to seek us by sending Jesus Christ to lead us back to himself. God speaks to our hearts and mind by the proclamation of his word. St Paul reminds us that “The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” (Heb 4:12). The word of God is the shining light of the heart to help us see the darkness of sin that blinds our eyes of faith from seeing and accepting the love of God. Once sin takes root in our lives, we become like prisoners and could not get free without help. Jesus is the living mercy and forgiveness of God sent to heal the wounds of our sins.

God calls priests to share in the mission of Jesus Christ, the High Priest to bring about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to become the doctors of souls administering the healing medicine of mercy. The priests are the instruments that God uses to reach out to his children who are held captives by Evil One’s power. The priests are human and weak people who need others to pray for them and God to assist them in everything they are called to do. The priests, too, and the faithful need healing, the forgiveness of sin, because they join the rest of the Christian family in waging war against the enemy of God, the Evil One.

God is the one who calls weak men from the Christian family so that he may use their weakness to lead others to the table of reconciliation. St. Paul makes it clear to us that “Every priest is taken from men and made their representative before God to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins” (Heb 5:1-10), for their own sins and for the sins of every child of God who seeks forgiveness in humility and contrite heart. We all need each other to wrestle with sin that always poisons our relationship with God and each other.

No one is entirely immune to sin. We all need God’s intervention through the gift of the Son, who is our Savior and, the Holy Spirit, the light of the truth that comes to our aid in times of need for freedom and redemption. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 19

We are God’s Blessings

When someone begins a project, there is hope that it would one day come to completion. Great joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction of any work become fully realized at the end of the work itself. Being a Christian is a project and work, and some people ask: When will it come to an end? What is the reward or satisfaction that comes from being a Christian? Many people were once disciples of Christ but later in life gave up the labor of service and prayer. Faith in God is a life-time project; the work of love that comes to an end when all things are finally united to the Father in the Kingdom of Heaven. The reward that we receive because of living the faith is not measured in material value but in essence, is the gift of life, a share in the life of Christ, and outpouring of the Holy Spirit given to all who believe in the Son of Mary and Joseph, Jesus Christ.  

St. Paul encourages all Christians to continue living their faith in good and bad times because God, who is love, merciful, and generous, is aware and happy with the work of those who remain at the service of heaven. St. Paul says, “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones” (Heb 6:10-20). God calls us to become his co-workers in the vineyard of repentance and reconciliation. The work itself belongs to God, but we are his instruments that he uses to accomplish his goal of salvation and freedom from the power of sin.

God can achieve great things through us if we accept to work with him in humility and obedience to his plan and will. Our ultimate satisfaction should be about desiring to do all things for the glory of love. Our hope and joy of the Gospel are magnified and made present by the promise of God contained in these words: “I will indeed bless you and multiply you” (Heb 6:10-20).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 20

Martyr of Love

Today we celebrate the life of a holy and courageous saint, martyr of love, St. Fabian, the Pope in 236. God chose him from the laity by sending his Spirit in the form of a dove giving a sign to the electors that heaven has spoken eloquently, surprisingly, and visibly by anointing a humble farmer to become a witness of love, a defender of the faith who embraced the gift of the cross fully. Saints are our teachers of the faith, reminding us that death cannot separate us from the love of God and that in death, we magnify the victory of Christ and reveal the arrival of the Kingdom of God unveiled by the blood of love, adorned by the gift of grace, and sealed by the sun of glory.

St. Fabian and all the saints are people who lived their lives on earth striving to respond to one question only; a question asked by Jesus: “Do you love me more than these?” (Jn 21:15-17). The meaning and purpose of Christianity, in a nutshell, is an ongoing work of responding to the question of love. The martyrs are people who chose to witness their love for Christ by sharing fully in his cross, by drinking of the cup of joy and redemption. The question that Jesus asked St. Peter is our question too. Christians, each individually and communally, are called to strive to live and love the Gospel of Christ not in words only but, at the same time, in action. A call to share in the martyrdom of suffering and poverty of our brothers and sisters, treated unjustly by the virus of greed and pride that mask God’s generosity, abundance, goodness, and blessings for all.

God asks us to “be examples to the flock” to serve others, not for selfish gain but the glory of love and the Kingdom of heaven (1 Pt 5:1-4). God has sent his Spirit upon all the faithful, asking, Do you love me more than the attractions of this World? Do you love me more than the preservation of your life on earth? How would you respond to God’s call of love? Can you also say without reservation: “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will” (Ps 40:8).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 21

The great Treasure of Love

At only age 12, St Agnes found profound and intimate meaning in these words: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want” (Ps 23:1). She gave herself entirely to God, who gave himself completely to her in the love of Christ on the cross. She was a stunning girl, and many young men tried to win her heart, enticing, and seducing her with material wealth, but she could not give up her cherished lover, Jesus Christ, who was her greatest treasure. She was fond of telling her admirers, “Jesus Christ is my only Spouse.”

The bond of love that St. Agnes shared with the Lord was unbreakable, a tender and mature fire of love that radiated within her inmost being with a glow of divine beauty. Her thirst for the heavenly union was quenched by these words: “Remain in my love, says the Lord; whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit” (Jn 15:9, 5). She boasted in the Lord by offering her virginity as a pure sacrifice, a fruit of doing God’s will. (1Cor 1:26-31). She chose to die on her wedding bed of faith than to live in the filth of opulence of earthly honor. Many people pleaded with her to save herself from imminent destruction, to give in to the demand of flesh inflicted upon her by men of wickedness, but she could not disappoint her most beloved, Prince and King of heaven on earth. In response to those who expressed pity for her, she said: “I would offend my Spouse…if I were to try to please you. He chose me first, and He shall have me!” She welcomed the stroke of the sword that dismembered her head with the joy of great peace that mesmerized the gaze of onlookers.

How is your relationship with God? Are you able to choose him above all things? God chose us above all things by offering his Son to die for our sins so that we may be free and have eternal life. St. Agnes, virgin, and martyr is our role model, heroes of our faith given to us as a gift to help us remain steadfast in our journey as God’s holy people. God is our treasure of love worth living and dying for in union with Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Mt 13:44-46). Remain untainted since you are made for glorious love.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 22

Appreciating the Gift of Life

Life is continuous under attack right from conception to the end. A society that tends to move away from the source and summit of life tends to usurp God’s power and change the real path of life as a divine gift that should be handled with care and sanctity. When God is removed from being at the center of life, the rest of creation loses meaning, purpose, and identity. God gives us the light of truth and wisdom to understand the unbreakable bond between the Creator and the rest of creation. Blindness to realize that God created human beings in his own image and likeness leads to reckless and savage behavior that diminishes our responsibility to protect and cherish the goodness and beauty of the handwork of God of which we have been called and mandated respect. 

Today we pray for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. We should see ourselves in the suffering and pain of so many innocent lives by realizing that if it were not due to the love, care, and unselfishness of our beloved parents, we would not be breathing today. Prophet Isaiah saw the cry of the weak, the same tears that continue to disturb our conscience with an unrelenting appeal for action. The prophet captured in words the silent prayer that the innocent souls offer to God and summon us to awareness, saying, “Hear me, O coastlands, listen, O distant peoples. The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name” (Is 49:1-6).

The Church’s mission on earth is to protect life for every person, unveil the Creator’s hidden face that makes every being unique and mysterious in the making. Life is a gift given to us for the service of God and the whole of humanity, doing all things for the greater glory of life eternal. St. John Paul the II was a true shepherd and defender of life for all people, especially the most vulnerable. In his Apostolic Journey to the United States of America in 1979, he spoke words of wisdom that never lose their beauty and truthfulness necessary for the people of our age to hear anew. In a homily at the Capital Mall on October 7, he said: “Human life is precious because it is the gift of a God whose love is infinite; and when God gives life, it is forever.” The Pontiff also quoted Thomas Jefferson’s wisdom, who once said: “The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the just and only legitimate object of good government” (March 31, 1809).  The sole mandate of leaders is to protect life, promote it, and enable it to flourish to the full. On judgment day, we shall give an account of how we took care of God’s gift and blessings of life placed under our care. Do not be careless with what belongs to God, life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 23

Martyrs of Love

Saints are martyrs of love; they gave themselves entirely to Christ in body and soul, so that in the bond of the cross, they could water and nourish the hearts of God’s seekers by the flow of the blood of their unshakable faith. They are the souls in heaven who, while still on earth, listened attentively to God’s higher calling to see his face in the life of the poor, to encounter him in the vulnerable, and love him in the little ones. The stories of their living the faith, sharing in the cross of Christ, are the hidden treasures of the Church that the pilgrim faithful must consult and follow as the compass of the Kingdom of heaven on earth.

The saints were able to remain faithful to their calling and service to peace, justice, and redemption because, in Christ, they could affirm their covenant and trust in God’s power by saying, “The Lord delivered me from all my fears” (Ps 34: 5). Like each person, they were not born saints but became holy men and women by seeking the truth, believing the Gospel of hope, and witnessing the joy of reconciliation. The saints are not unforgotten names of the dead buried in the books of the memories but are the heartbeat, holy calling, and witness of love. They are still active in the Church’s life on earth, a guide of the faithful to choose a path illumined by a heavenly star.

Today the Church invites us to turn our gaze to contemplate the holy life of St. of America, Marianne Cope, who came to the United States from Germany at age one in 1862, later joined the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis. On the day of her canonization on earth and glorious weeding in heaven, Benedict XVI spoke beautifully about her, saying, “Mother Marianne willingly embraced a call to care for the lepers of Hawaii after many others had refused.” Her calling was to do what no other person wanted to undertake. In the lepers’ sufferings, her love became one with the love of the later saint, Father Damien, whom she cared for until death. Speaking of her heroic service to the Church, the pontiff said: “At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage and enthusiasm. She is a shining and energetic example of the best of the tradition of the Catholic nursing sisters and of the spirit of her beloved Saint Francis.”

We are all called to be saints of God on earth, to be a holy people who seek to do the will of God. Our courage, determination, and hope for service to live the faith is rooted in these uplifting words: “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:10).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 24

Repent and Believe in the Gospel

God calls us to turn away from the path of sin and return to him. He sends his messengers to teach us what we must do to reconcile with Him and others. When the Prophet Jonah communicated to the people of Nineveh about their sins, and, after warning them of the coming of God’s judgment, they changed their evils ways. The people believed Jonah and repented their sins. God is merciful, and when he sees that the people have returned to their senses and begin to walk with him in the way of justice and peace, He forgives them and sends the Holy Spirit to help them in their lives of faith (Jon 3:1-5, 10).

Jesus came to heal the wound of sin, to open the path of the cross, the way of redemption. Like Jonah, who called the people of Nineveh to change their lives, Jesus, sent by the Father, also calls the people of the world to choose God. Christ proclaims the Gospel of God, saying “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:14-20). How many would heed Christ’s call and return home by following the path of reconciliation for the forgiveness of sins? It is the Church’s mission to shine forth the light of mercy to people who walk in darkness so that they may begin to experience the healing grace of God, the joy of freedom to captives.

The message of repentance is for every one of us since we are all infected by the original sin of pride that blinds us from seeing and experiencing the love of God, which is the medicine that can allow us to share in the life of God.

The time to respond to God’s call to a change of life is now and today. We cannot delay our response to God’s invitation. We should learn from the first disciples who were summoned from their workplaces and states of life and left immediately to follow Jesus. The response to God’s call, the “Yes” of faith should flow from the imitation of our Mother Mary, who said “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

God wants everyone to have the opportunity to come to the heavenly banquet. While we are still living, God allows us to make choices every day to determine where our souls will find rest after our death. The world as we know it is diminishing, and for that reason, we must be wise and choose what is eternal. The wise will choose Christ. The wise will choose repentance, and then the wise will begin to walk with the Lord, embracing the light of love that makes all things new and beautiful.

God is calling you today to follow him. How are you going to respond? Repent and believe in the Gospel, for your redemption is at hand (Mk 1:15).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


January 11January 17

January 11

The Kingdom of God is Here: Repent

Jesus began his ministry on earth after thirty years of hiddenness-learning from Joseph the art of work in silence and from Mary the wisdom of faith and contemplation of the things of heaven. He then walked through the waters of baptism, rested in the desert of prayer, a sign of his revelation as the Savior, Light of truth, the font of grace.

The prophets of old saw his coming and spoke eloquently about it by calling those who believe to a life of holiness. St. John the Baptist, the prophet of old and new beginning, encountered Christ and leaped for joy, and later, saw heavens open, heard a voice in the likeness of a magnificent dove proclaimed him the beloved son of God. At last, he introduced him to his disciples, saying: “The Lamp of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29). 

In union with Saint John the Baptist’s mission, who called people to a change of life, to forsake sin and embrace the way of God, Jesus furthered the same goal by becoming the visible agent of healing and reconciliation. The Son of God laid the foundation of his work by articulating the essence of his mission on earth by proclaiming: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15). The Lord is the fulfillment of the prophecies and promises made to our fathers and mothers in faith. Jesus introduces heaven on earth and invites all people to partake at the table of glory by passing through the open gate of reconciliation and accepting to believe in the Son of God, and following in the footsteps of humility, service, and surrender to the will of the Father.

The people who accept to respond to the call of discipleship, willing to learn from him the hidden plan of salvation, and, to live and serve in the light of the Gospel, the Lord summons: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19). The Lord has come to make us co-workers in the Kingdom of God; a people who see what God does in Christ, hear what God manifests in the Spirit of truth, and witness to others the light of resurrection by carrying and kissing the cross of love, mercy, and charity.

How do you respond to the invitation of Christ, to the love that sets us free and make us beloved children of the Father? Today the Lord calls you again: The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 12

Jesus-the Teacher of Love

Jesus is a teacher of faith, love, and hope. A call to repentant sin and an invitation to choose the way of truth is a school of new life that seeks to know and embrace the things of God. It is holy teaching that is superior to earthly learning; it is a revelation of the mysteries of salvation, giving eyes to see the things of heaven. Those who listened to the wisdom of the Lord were amazed and asked, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him” (Mk 1:28). 

God’s word has the power to train minds in the truth of the Gospel, open the hearts to love beauty and goodness present in creation, and inspire the soul to give thanks and praise in worship and celebration of the gift of grace and the light of mercy. God comes to encounter us in the Word made flesh and dwelt among us. Saint Paul, whose life was transformed by consuming and contemplating the richness of the word of new life, said, “Receive the word of God, not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God” (1Thes 2:13).  Believers in the word of God have the path of change, a way of life illuminated by the light of the cross, the sign of the vision of hope, the victory of eternal life.

The word of God proclaimed and lived by Jesus Christ becomes effective in people’s lives only when they receive it with the heart of faith, and when they practice in everyday life the content of the Gospel of change.  Those who are not ashamed of Christ, those who are not shy to live and witness the power of God on earth, those who are not afraid to stand their ground to shine the light of Christ on earth by singing, “I will proclaim your name to my brethren, in the midst of the assembly I will praise you,” (Heb 2:12).

How do you live your faith in everyday life? Are you afraid to be identified as a follower of Jesus Christ? Can you say with confidence before others that you are a brother and friend of Christ? The faithful are called to practice what we know to be true and to reveal to the world what we love in Christ and receive in the gift of grace and outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 13

Living the Faith

In every age, the Church has experienced opposition of faith, dealing with people who try to obscure the teaching and light of the Gospel with false and human ideologies that seek to mask God’s love and justice. Jesus Christ paid the price on the cross for challenging false teachers, a people who taught the word of God but were unable to practice what they propagated. According to Christ’s assessment, they were like blind teachers guiding other blind ignorant to the pit of destruction. The followers of Christ are not immune to the present age “antichrist” (1Jn 2:18-25). The faithful cannot shy away from teaching the truth of the Gospel, living the law of love, and witnessing the justice of mercy and unity.

If we are afraid to live and practice our faith in the world, Christ would be ashamed of us when we stand before the throne of judgment on the last day. Jesus calls all the faithful to become not only those who hear the word but fail to practice it in life. The Lord says, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16).

Saint Hilary of Poitiers, whom we celebrate today, was a defender of the faith’s authentic teaching. Living in the fourth century, he challenged Arianism, teaching to deny the divinity of Jesus Christ by highlighting that he was only a super-human but not God. In defending the Deity of Jesus Christ, Son of God, he said, “God knows not how to be anything other than love, he knows not how to be anyone other than the Father. Those who love are not envious and the one who is the Father is so in his totality. This name admits no compromise, as if God were father in some aspects and not in others” (De Trinitate 9, 61).

Jesus reminds us of our identity, that we are united with God, that we are the living light that must shine before others so that in our good deeds of faith and love, they may see the face of Christ and give praise to heaven. The Lord says, “A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden” (Mt 5:13-19). If we are not living the faith and practicing the Gospel of love by being the signs of hope in a world full of despair and negativity, we are then the present age antichrist. It is not those who say that they do not believe in Jesus who is anti-faith, but, instead, it is you I who know the truth of the Gospel only in word without translating it to real-life so that its power of change and transformation may take root in our minds and hearts.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 14

Witnessing the Joy of the Gospel

No one can hide from others the joy of the Gospel, the healing of mercy and forgiveness, the touch of pity and compassion that spring forth from the heart of God. The people who have encountered the love of Jesus Christ, the people who are aware of the gift and power of the cross, the death, and resurrection of the Lord, are the living witness of faith. Like the leper touched by Christ and restored to good health, those who have found favor with God goes out to share the joy of the good news with others (Mk 1:40-45). Sharing the joy of the Gospel with others, giving testimony of a life of what Jesus has done in one’s life, is powerful and can speak to the minds and hearts of those who still hunger for God. Every Christian has a mission on earth to make God known to others by the manner of their lives. An encounter with Christ is a source of change and transformation, leaving behind the darkness of sin and embracing the way of light, Christ the Savior.

Healing happens when we can identify the sins that prevent us from entering fully into the life of Christ. Like the leper who was fully aware of his illness, we too must learn how to identify our sickness and seek proper healing in Christ, the healer. We must go out to meet the Lord, asking him to have mercy on us, to pray in humility and surrender to the power of God, and to trust and believe that nothing is impossible for God (Lk 1:37). Prayer and faith in Jesus Christ are our keys to healing and the seal of peace that the world needs. 

We all need the touch and healing of Jesus Christ; we need peace in our hearts and joy in our souls. What must we do to receive the healing power of Christ the Lord?  Jesus continues to become the fountain of healing and the source of peace by “preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom” (Mt 4:23). We, too, can benefit from the healing power of the Word of God when we heed this call: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:8).

We must remain vigilant to the Evil One’s temptation by continually praying for the Spirit of God to help us see things clearly and choose what is good and pleasing in God’s eye. Saint Paul pleads with each of us, saying, “Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. Encourage yourselves daily while it is still ‘today,’ so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin” (Heb 3:7-14). Hold on to Christ to the end no matter the challenges of life, for we are held firmly and gently by the grasp of his holy hand, guiding us to the silence of peace.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 15

Faith that Heals

Faith in Jesus has the power to heal, forgive sin, and restore oneself to the love of God. It is evident in the Scripture how Jesus Christ brings many people to healing based on their faith. No walls or barriers can limit the power of faith to overcome any obstacle that could block the path of connection to God and receive the gift of grace. When Jesus sees the sign of faith in a person or people, he says, “Child, your sins are forgiven” (Mk 2:1-12), or “Daughter… “Your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be free of your affliction” (Mk 5:34). Faith reveals itself in the manner of one’s life.

What makes Christianity unique and special and different from any other discipline and ways of acquiring insight in life on earth is the gift of faith and grace that comes from God and enters into the hearts of those who are open to receive Christ in their lives. Faith is a way of knowing and understanding things and life aided by God’s Spirit and wisdom. With faith, one can see things just as God sees them. Faith can see beyond created things and see the things of heaven, just like St Stephen was able to see the vision of the glory of God and rejoiced in the beauty of what was revealed to him by offering a holy sacrifice of his own life as a sign and testimony (Acts 7:54- 8:2).  

Sin is an obstacle to faith, and that is the reason why Jesus came to overcome the darkness of evil that blinds our vision from seeing the light of Christ. Jesus is the “great prophet” that “has arisen in our midst,” and in him, we now know and believe that “God has visited his people” (Lk 7:16). Faith is to trust that all things are made possible with God even when there is no visible evidence or reason to lead one to believe.

Faith helps us to become fully aware of what God is doing in the world and in our lives seeking us to restore our lives to himself. The Psalmist warns, “Do not forget the works of the Lord!” (Ps 78:3). Faith enables us to lead a holy life guide by the Spirit of love and the wisdom of hope that seeks to witness and share the joy of the healing Gospel with others.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 16

Jesus-Savior of Sinners

Jesus came into the world to save captives, prisoners held by the power of darkness, sin. The Lord interacted and made sinners his friends to win their hearts to forsake evil ways and choose the path of light. It is common to hear people say that they have stopped going to Church because the leaders and the faithful are just a bunch of sinners. The Church is indeed full of those aware that they are sinners in constant need of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love. It is wrong to think that the faithful are already holy and saints who cannot sin anymore. The goal of every Christian is to remain vigilant in prayer, asking God to send his Spirit and protective angels to assist us in our journey of faith, in our fight against the enticement of the Evil One. While we are still sojourners on earth, we remain prone to sin and in need of Jesus Christ, who alone has overcome the power of sin on the cross by turning the sting of death to life eternal.

Jesus was a sign of scandal to many blind teachers of the people who thought that sinners did not have a place in God’s house, table, and care. Jesus continues to remind us of his mission on earth and the purpose of the Church, saying, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (Mk 2:13-17). It requires humility and sincerity of heart to acknowledge that we need God’s help to lead us to holiness. We all need the gift of the Holy Spirit to come to our aid since the master of sin is an evil spirit that can be fought only by the good spirit of God.

St Paul was a great sinner; he arrested and incarcerated the faithful who believed and witnessed Jesus Christ to others. He tasted the mercy of God, who called him while he was still a sinner to come and become an Apostle of the Gospel of healing and redemption. Due to his experience of living in sin and awareness of the gift of grace that God extended to him in compassion and kindness, he is well-placed to teach us about the way of light. He said: “let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin,” Jesus Christ, Savior of humankind (Heb 412-16).

The Church may be involved in many projects that help people, and the faithful may also be doing many service activities in the world. First and foremost, we must not forget the heart of faith and the Church’s mission on earth as already defined by Christ Jesus, who says, “The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim liberty to captives” (Lk 4:18).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 17,

The Call of God

God comes to call us to return to him, walk in his light, and work with him to build the Kingdom of heaven on earth. How many are attentive to the call of God? How many people would respond when God calls and choose to do his will? The Church, and especially our own diocese, struggles to find enough men and women who could give their lives for the service of God. The vocations to priesthood and sisterhood has become less attractive to the people of this age. Why is this happening? Does it mean that God has stopped calling young people to serve the vineyard of his mission to the Gospel? God continues to invite each of us to become his partner in the service of the Church. The challenge we face is that many people of this age have become deaf to the voice of God. The noise of the enticement of this world’s material things is louder than the whispering voice of God that can only be heard by the silent heart that awaits the promptings of the Spirit.

Are we awake in faith or asleep in doubt and allure of the world? By being watchful in prayer, we can hear the voice of God, the same voice that called the young Samuel, who responded, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Sm 3:3-10,19). We can hear the voice of God when we continue to respond to the question when Jesus asks each of us “What are you looking for?” (Jn 1:35-42) We must choose Christ as our goal of life so that when he responds to our search, we may be ready to hear his word and embrace it in love.

 An encounter with Christ brings change and transformation. It fills us with grace, the Holy Spirit, and abundant joy that we cannot hide in our hearts. Once the love and mercy of God touch us, we become like St. Andrew, who went out to announce to his brother Simon, “We have found Messiah” (Jn 1:35-42). Many people are still ignorant of Christ because you and I have not fully encountered him in person and are afraid to proclaim him to others. Jesus is calling you today to come and find rest in him. What would you say to his invitation? Please join me in responding to the call of service of love and charity by making the words of the psalmist our own, a testimony of our faith, when he calls out “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will” (Ps 40:8-9).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


January 4January 10

January 4

Charity of the Mind and Heart

The Catholic education system in the United States can trace its beginning with Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, whom we honor and celebrate today. She was a wise woman with a far-reaching vision to understand that for faith to find a path in people’s hearts; their minds should receive training to reason and think sensibly, intellectually, and responsibly. She is the first native-born citizen of the U.S. to be raised to the chair of sainthood. She is a beginner of many things, a lover of God above all things. Her trademark of living her faith was the imitation of Christ-response to the call of service to charity. She is remembered as the first to establish a Catholic school and founded a religious community of women in the United States of America.

St. Seton was a woman who had encountered the light of Christ through many crosses and trials that she had to experience in her life. She found the purpose and meaning of life in the word of God, proclaiming, “the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen” (Mt. 4:12-17, 23-25). She became the living light of wisdom to young people and the comforting hand of kindness to heartbroken widows. She understood the language of the young since she was a mother with children to love and teach. After her husband’s death, she tasted the bitterness of losing a loved one and a breadwinner and soulmate. She became a friend of other widows, helping them find a new and better soulmate in Jesus Christ, the defender of the poor and the lover of the little ones.

Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed the work of St. Seton, the charity of educating the mind, heart, and soul of the little ones and the humble. He said, “To all of you I say: bear witness to hope. Nourish your witness with prayer. Account for the hope that characterizes your lives (1Pet 3:15) by living the truth which you propose to your students. Help them to know and love the One you have encountered, whose truth and goodness you have experienced with joy. With Saint Augustine, let us say: ‘we who speak and you who listen acknowledge ourselves as fellow disciples of a single teacher’ (Sermons, 23:2)- Address to Catholic Educators, April 17, 2008).

The people who have experienced the light of truth and anointing with the Spirit of wisdom and love know that we “belong to God” as his beloved children waiting in hope for the final day of redemption. St. Seton’s advice to all the faithful is: “Let your chief study be to acquaint yourself with God because there is nothing greater than God, and because it is the only knowledge which can fill the heart with a peace and joy, which nothing can disturb” (Spiritual Writings, sec, 6.182, 298). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 5

The Saint of Love in Action

Saint John Neumann is a fruit of the American Catholic Church to the Universal Church, a saint whose love for Christ was lived by attending diligently to the needs of the poor, immigrants, and young people. He manifested Christ’s light to all people under his care by sharing their crosses, a sign of holiness in the school of the passion of purification and service. In a homily of canonization, Pope Paul VI spoke of the holy character of St. Neumann. He said, “His love for people was authentic brotherly love. It was real charity: missionary and pastoral charity. It meant that he gave himself to others. Like Jesus the Good Shepherd, he lay down his life for the sheep, for Christ’s flock: to provide their needs, to lead them to salvation (Paul VI, June 19, 1977).

The humble Saint was a true shepherd who made use of earthly things to magnify the power of the Word of God and to glorify the beauty of heaven. He chose to live a simple life in imitation of Christ, Mary, and Joseph, so that he may travel along the way of faith without being distracted and captured by the allure of the passing things. He taught others by his way of life to find satisfaction in loving God and peace in receiving and adoring Christ, and joy in embracing Mary, the Mother of the Church and the faithful. 

You, too, are called by God to become the light of love on earth. God is our Father, and we are his children; we resemble him when we strive to remain in union with him by becoming agents of the Good News who plant the seed of justice and kindness in our society. We are called to “love one another because love is of God” and is the source of a meaningful life (1Jn 4:7-10). 

Jesus reminds us that loving others means sharing with them what we have and our lives. Nothing is impossible where the seed of love is planted. It is easy when faced with a challenge to hold on to what we think is impossible, but Jesus says to us, in time of need, “Give them some food yourselves” (Mk 634-44). We have all we need to serve God and do his will; we have love, have Jesus Christ, have the Holy Spirit- we are complete and whole, have faith.

May we too become like St. Neumann, who “once…saw a child going from door to door with a bag on his back. His heart was touched, and in his childlike compassion, he exclaimed, ‘Oh, if I only had a bag, I would go about begging with the poor boy, and then would get more!”

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 6

A Saint of Simplicity

Today we celebrate the Epiphany of light, Epiphany of holiness that Saint Andre Bessette of Quebec, Canada, lived by practicing the charity of simplicity, hospitality, and service to all whose life was like sheep without a shepherd. Today, the Church invites the faithful, all who have walked in the darkness of life to rise, to lift their eyes to heaven and see the star at its appearance because it is the sign of a new beginning brought about by the spirit of love and truth. The holy Saint of Canada and the Church is a teacher of the power of simplicity of love and charity rooted in the contemplation of God’s word.

The root of holiness that St. Andre manifested in his obedience to God’s service and in his peace to serve at the table of humility just like St Joseph, who was his trusted teacher in the ways of heaven, sprang from the font of the heart of love. He lived and breathed in the spirit of these words, “God so loved us, we also must love one another” (1 Jn 4:11-18). The Saint of simplicity brought love to perfection when he learned to seek and see the face of God in the suffering, little ones, and the despairing people of growing faith who thirsted for the healing of heart and freedom of spirit.

Epiphany of the Lord, revelation of justice and freedom is a source of life for those who are guided by the light of this wisdom: “if we love one another, God remains in us,” for “he has given us of his Spirit” of truth and redemption (1Jn 4:11-18). The world needs God. How can we become living radiance in the world? We can learn from St. Andre that the path of holiness is marked by the signs of “Suffering and poverty,” “prayer and an intense inner life,” “boundless charity, and submission “through love to the divine will.” His advice to all the children of God is, “Do not seek to have your trials removed,” he said, “ask rather for the grace to bear them well” (Benedict XVI, Canonization, October 17, 2010). 

To all who believe, the Lord says: “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” For today is the rising star of love for all people.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 7

The breath of love

Jesus gave us a new commandment, a new way of being and living in the world peacefully and happily: the law of love. The Lord said: “Love one another as I have loved you.” The way of love which we have been called to practice is not from us but, first and foremost, is of God, given to each of us as a gift in the Son and in the bond of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s love for us is the measure of how you, too, should love one another. The Lord shows us the model of love by embracing our suffering on the cross by sharing our life so that in his mercy, he may open a path for us to God’s compassionate heart.

Can we say with confidence that we love God with all our minds, hearts, and souls? What signs can we show to prove that we are guided by the principle of love and the Spirit of charity? St John the Evangelist teaches us how to know if we are truly following the way of divine love. He warned, “whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1Jn 4:19-5:4). God whom we seek in books, prayer, and fasting, is in our midst dwelling in our neighbors, especially the poor, strangers, and the little ones. Our hope to grow in a relationship with God must pass through the hearts of the people we encounter because by serving them in charity, we touch the living and holy merciful hands of God.

It is easy to love God, whom we do not see, than to welcome and receive a neighbor or stranger, which we encounter every day. We struggle to deal with a neighbor because they mirror back to us what is hidden within our hearts, the lies and fears we mask, and are afraid to change. But even our relationship with God should lead us to a change of life so that we may resemble his face. Where there is love, the light of life shines forth, and the power of faith attracts others like nectar, enticing the appetite of bees. 

Love is the only assured power that could conquer the hearts of people and the world of division and heal all things by the word of truth received with the hearing of faith, humility, and justice for all. (1 Jn 4:19-5:4).  Like Jesus, who fully embodied the love of the Father by seeking to do God’s will in all things, we, God’s children, must also imitate our Master, teacher, and walk in the way of peace and salvation. The law of love which we must practice is written in these commands: “The Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim liberty to captives (Lk 4:14-22). We must discover our own poverty of the Spirit and look to Christ for help to be more like him, seeking to do what is good in the eyes of God.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 8

Healed by the Epiphany of Merciful Love

What does it mean to say that “Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people”? (Mt 423). Is it true that Jesus managed to heal all the sick in his society? Jesus came into the world to announce the epiphany of a new world, a Kingdom of God. The birth of Jesus, His crucifixion, and His resurrection are the medicine and therapy that heal all people of the infection of sin that infect the human soul and poison the human spirit that wound the unity.  The people who receive the Word of God with the heart of faith are the ones who experience the healing power of divine love. Epiphany is a universal light that shines for all the world’s people to see, follow, and believe in the birth of the long-awaited Savior and Redeemer.

Does Jesus continue to heal the sick who asks him for intervention? Many people had abandoned their faith, believing that Jesus failed to respond to their prayer when they asked for healing of their sickness. Jesus is more than just curing sick flesh. Yes, he has the power to heal the human body if he chooses to do so, not for his own glory but to reveal and magnify the power of God. Seeking Christ for the sole purpose of solving human and earthly problems is to mask the original mission of Christ: He came to his own people to bring spiritual healing, to reveal the truth to the mind, and save the soul from damnation, in preparation for the joy and glory of the coming Kingdom of heaven.

Through the Sacraments, the Church uses the power of grace to inspire the faithful who partake at the table of divine healing, not to hide the light of Christ that they have become in faith and love.  We, the faithful, are the healing light of Christ when we are not afraid to live, witness, and share the joy of the Gospel with others who seek the Lord. The Lord reminds us of our mission of the Gospel on earth, saying: “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Mt 5:16).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 9

Christ the Light of New Life

Baptism allows us to become children of God. Due to our first parent’s sin, Adam and Eve, who turned their back against the light of love, friendship, and union with God, they lost the purity of being in the presence of the Father and became blind to the vision of the things of heaven. Separated from God or by hiding from the sight of heaven, the horizon of their vision became narrow, and they could now see themselves as the center of the universe. We, sons and daughters of Adam, the children of pride and greed, inherited the corrupt mind and heart of our first parents and are in perpetual need of healing, freedom, and redemption.

Only God, the Father, who is faithful to the covenant of love, can bring about healing and reconciliation that we all need to enter into God’s dwelling place. Through the gift of a Son, Jesus Christ, God seeks to restore creation to his original perfect plan as was already designed before the epiphany of sin. John the Baptist arrived ahead of the Lord to prepare the way for his birth. He called people to repentance of sin through the baptism of water of purification. John was not Christ but faithfully spoke of him, served him by way of simplicity, died for him by the manner of witness to the truth. Before he breathed his last, he said: “So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease” (Jn 3:30).

Jesus arrived in the world as the shining light that takes away the darkness of sin, to lead us into the way eternal life. Christ is the living baptism of the children of the Kingdom of God, a baptism of blood, light, and Spirit of truth. Baptism brings about new life in us so that we may begin to follow in the footstep of the Son of God guided by the light of the Gospel. We, “the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen” (Mt 4:16).

Christians who have received new birth in Jesus Christ should live in imitation of Christ, seeking to do the will of God in all things, rejecting the darkness of sin, and glorifying the name of God that he may increase in love as we decease in selfishness, greed, and pride.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 10

One Baptism

At the beginning of his mission on earth, Jesus affirmed that the way to new life, the path to becoming a child of God, is through the waters of purity. The Son of God did not need baptism since he is light, and the darkness of sin has no power over him. Nonetheless, Jesus was baptized to open for us the way to being renewed and restored into the image of God. At the holy hour of his baptism, the heavens opened, and a voice thundered “You are my beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased” (Mk 1:7-11).

The gift of grace has transformed all the baptized into union with Christ. They, too, have become beloved sons and daughters of God, a holy people who are found pleasing to God, a people called to imitate Christ by doing the will of the Father in the service of the Kingdom of heaven. The water purifies sin. The blood becomes the victory of life over death. The Holy Spirit is the bond of love and power of revelation-making present God among us, within us, and for us who believe.

The baptism of the Son of Mary and Joseph should remind us of our own baptism, the day that we became children of God, the day that we responded individually and communally to become members of the Family of God and partners in the holy mission of establishing the Kingdom of heaven on earth. Christians are people who dwell in the world and become inwardly made anew, transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit into the pattern of God-like living and witnessing the light of the Gospel, the way to eternal life. Jesus is our role model for living heaven on earth since he gave his life entirely for the service of God’s people.

 Like Jesus Christ, we, too, must strive to become sources of peace and justice in the world, a people eager to do what is good and pleasing to God. How are you living your baptismal identity as a beloved child of God? What can you do to lead the people living in the darkness of sin into the light of Christ, the Savior of the world? It is never too late to renew our baptismal covenant of love for God and charity to our neighbor in the light of servic`e.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


December 28 – January 3

December 28

Saving Innocent Life

The greatest evil of this age is the night of the killing of babies in their mothers’ wombs. Many women worldwide have made their wombs into a field of hate sacrifice for the martyrs of the growing seeds of faith. The prophets had said: Out of Egypt I called my son” We too, lamenting the annihilation of many lives through the evil act of abortion and selling of babies, can say: out of graves, greed, and selfishness, I hear the cry of the innocent souls (Mt 2:13-18).

Led by the evil spirit, Herod “ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity.” The same demon leads many people, misleading them to ignorance of the truth of the sanctity of life for all souls right from creation. Life is a token of grace from the Creator given to us as a gift of love that grows and multiplies when it is valued and cherished as a free and outpouring blessing from the Father.

Millions of innocent lives globally do not grow to see the light of the day, their dreams remain unfulfilled, and their hopes for becoming the living likeness of God does not come to fruition. The prophecy of the prophet Jeremiah is becoming real, fulfilled in this age: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more” (Mt 2:13-18).

Christmas is a time of joy, a period to celebrate the life of Jesus in the world, coming to set us free from the darkness of sin that blinds our vision from seeing all things with the eyes of God. Today’s celebration is not about tears of happiness but of sadness of many lives whose emerging stars do not become signs of the good news; instead, they bring gloom and upon the sky of despair.

Pope Francis invites the faithful to become agents of life and the protectors of the innocents. He says, “we hear these children and their cries of pain; we also hear the cry of the Church our Mother, who weeps not only for the pain caused to her youngest sons and daughter,” but to every life which is treated inhumanly in disregard to the fact that we all have a common source and summit, God (Letter, December 28, 2016, Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs).

Find how you, too, could join hands with those who Labor Day and night to protect, improve, and share life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 29

Piercing Joy

The birth of Jesus Christ is a joy to Mary and Joseph from God, who showed them a great favor by calling them, despite being unworthy servants, to become the parents and protectors and teachers of the Savoir of the world. The joy was for all the world’s people-hope for Israel’s sons and daughters, and justice and truth to the Gentiles. Jesus’ parents offered a sacrifice to God for the gift of life and the light of peace.

The people who waited in prayer for the coming of a Savior rejoiced when his star appeared.  Simeon, a “righteous and devout” man, filled with the Holy Spirit, rejoiced too when he saw the Savior. He said to Mary, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:22-35).

Jesus is the answer to those who seek the way of truth. To unbelievers in the Word of God, the Son of Mary is a sign of contradiction in their chaotic life. The followers of Jesus, just like their Master, are going to receive the same piercing opposition inflicted on them by those who are trying to construct a human kingdom on earth in rejection of the Kingdom of God that Jesus ushered by his birth.

What would you do when you face challenges in life when the enemies of God test your faith? Saint Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury whom we celebrate on this day of the Octave of Christmas, became a martyr of Christ to defend the truth. He could have chosen an easy path and mask the truth of the Gospel and not be killed, but he chose the same life that Mary lived, living with a piercing heart that contemplates heavenly victory. At the hour of his death, he spoke with the assassin, saying, “I am ready to die for God, for justice, and for the liberty of his Church…I have defended the Church as far as I was able during my life when I saw it oppressed, and I shall be happy if by my death at least, I can restore its peace and liberty.”

Those who live their faith no matter the cost to the end of time, are the living shining light of Christmas joy, bringing gladness on earth, and rejoicing in heaven (1Jn 2:3-11, Ps 96:11).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 30

Seeking the Star of Wisdom, Peace, and Love

How many people are aware of what just took place in the world a few days ago? Are all the people aware that “a great light has come upon the earth?” Many people have been busy preparing for the Christmas holiday, traveling, purchasing gifts, and decorating houses to the point that they miss the joyful celebration of the Nativity of the Star of David, the Savior of the World. The business entities have managed to corrupt the essence of Christmas joy from being a Holy Day of an encounter with Emmanuel- God-with-us to a holiday of acquiring and buying more things.

The Star of truth that overcome all lies has come into the world to open our eyes of the heart to see all things clearly with the vision of faith, to love what God loves in his Son, and to hate what God detests in human pride, greed, and selfishness. St. John, whose heart was united to the heart of Christ to the point of death and beyond, gives warning to the faithful with words of wisdom and love. He said, “Do not love the world or the things of the world.” He further explained, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” He reminded Christians to be aware that “the world and its enticement are passing away. He offered a word of hope, saying, “But whoever does the will of God remains forever” (1 Jn 2:12-17). 

The light of heaven shining on earth in the Son of Mary and Joseph is upon us to teach us to seek the things of heaven while we continue to use the things of the world for the greater glory of God. To fully reap the fruits of the Christmas joy and peace abundantly, we must approach the manger not with empty hands and hearts but as people filled with the Spirit of adoration singing the song of angels and saints: Alleluia, Jesus is with us.

How are we going to bring the light of Christ into a confusing world? Prophetess Anna teaches us that we must learn how to welcome Jesus into our homes, society, and hearts. The path is to worship God “night and day with fasting and prayer” giving “thanks to God” and, speaking with others “about the child, who our awaited redeemer, the Star of wisdom, the warmth of peace, and the flame of love (Lk 2:36-40).  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 31

Jesus the healing light

Be aware of the enemies of the light of truth, Jesus Christ-the shining Star in the “dark night of the soul.” Earthly powers of darkness of lies want to obscure and prevent the appearance of the bright day of the Kingdom of heaven ushered by the Nativity of the Lord. They are afraid that the heavenly glory would reveal their hidden evil, an attempt to contaminate the purity of minds and hearts of God’s children. St. John alerts us to become smart and wise in dealing with those who adore creation instead of giving thanks and glory to the Creator of all things. He said, “now many antichrists have appeared… They went out from us” to wage war with the Prince of Peace. (1Jn 2:18-21).

Those who have encountered the Baby Jesus by way of worship, praise, and adoration, are now marked and sealed by the anointing of God’s Spirit and should be able to see through worldly lies and choose the way of God in all things. Christ has become our knowledge and truth that must shine through our words and actions so that those who seek God may experience his touch by our acts of mercy, justice, and love (1Jn 2:18-21).

Due to human weakness caused by the power of sin, we are incapable of choosing what is good according to God’s plan. Jesus Christ, the healer of all our weakness, has come to lead us back to the way of truth and life. His presence with us is our hope since we know that “The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. To those who accepted him he gave the power to become the children of God” (Jn 1:14, 12). Christians are God’s children; they possess within them the Spirit of the light of truth, and, for this reason, they should witness in their life the likeness of the Father by testifying to the power of heavenly glory and grace that bring meaning to life eternal (Jn 1:1-18).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 1, 2021

Saint Joseph a Blessing of Homes

The year 2020 goes down as one of the gloomy, frightening, and deadening periods in Humanity’s history. A year of isolation, masking, fear, and suffering. The pandemic came along and rained down havoc and panic globally. Millions of people in despair, losing jobs, the investment market tumbling and crashing, learning institutions closing doors, and hospitals becoming overwhelmed by the overflowing multitude in distress. Many people have lost their lives, dying alone without loved ones to hold their hands and assure them of their total support as they make their final exit out of this world. It was a moment that could be described as a “dark night of the soul.” I witnessed and participated in a new way of dying, where the family members were only allowed to stand outside the window as they looked in disbelief, agony, and tears how the life of their dear one wilted rapidly into thin air. This is a year like no other, and we pray and hope that the light of Emmanuel, God is with us, will make all things new as we commence the year 2021.

The year 2021 is a year of change and a new beginning, rising from the ashes of Covid-19 with eyes illuminated by the healing light of the vaccine of hope. The pang of death that consumed the year 2020 is not over yet; it is making inroads into the territory of the year 2021. Even though our resolve and faith are still under attack by the lethal shots coming from an unrelenting pandemic, our desire to have a year full of blessings of healing, protection, and renewal is unquenchable. We have a partner who will walk and work with us as we retrace our way back to God’s mercy and compassion: Saint Joseph, master dreamer of the things of heaven.  

Our hope is in God, who is our blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace! (Nm 6:22-27). We are not alone since Mary, the Mother of God is making a journey of faith, love, and hope with us as we look intently in contemplation and gaze to the Star of the Kingdom of heaven (Lk 2:16-21). Our hope is in the intercession of Saint Joseph, the blessing of families and homes.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 2

The Beauty of Imitation of Saints 

Today we celebrate the life and wisdom of two great friends, Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church. They lived a life rooted in God’s love and his teaching, which became the fountain of their wisdom to spread the beauty of Jesus Christ in the art of good learning, an imitation of the manner of their holiness. Great Fathers of the Church who were not afraid to defend and articulate clearly and firmly the authentic treasures of faith of the Church when erroneous teachings were taking root in people’s hearts, contaminating the sanctity of their souls, and corrupting their minds.

Saints Basil and Gregory were true masters of feeding the mind with the pure teaching of heavenly origin but, at the same time, were servants of charity who invited the faithful to live the faith that they had received in the humility of the gift of love. St. Basil calls us to seek and find in the poor the hidden rich face of Christ that we long to resemble and imitate in all things. He said: “All the destitute look to our hands just as we look to those of God when we are in need.” What we ask of the Lord to do for us, the needy ask us to do for them in haste. Gregory praised the holiness and authenticity of faith and service that his friend lived and witnessed to all. After Basil’s death, he said: “Basil convinces us that since we are human beings, we must neither despise men nor offend Christ…rather, we ourselves must benefit by learning from the misfortunes of others and must lend God our compassion, for we are in need of mercy” (Gregory Nazianzus, Orationes 43, 63; PG 36, 580b).

Our faith in God’s truth is more than just philosophical and intellectual ideas that feed our minds but should become the source and heartbeat of inspiration to the thirsty hearts and a catalyst of change and transformation of life. According to St. Paul, Christians should be people with a new vision of life on earth, with eyes that can see the things of heaven despite the competing darkness that strives to cloud and maroon the brightness of the light of the Gospel. He said, “I…urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph 4:1-7, 11-13).

Saint Basil and Gregory were united by the Gospel message of love and peace that enable them to become trusted guides and teachers of the path of grace and glory. We, too, can imitate the model of life and follow the same path traveled by these servants of God.  St. Gregory teaches us the course that we must all seek and travel. He said: “Nothing seems to me greater than this: to silence one’s senses, to emerge from the flesh of the world, to withdraw into oneself, no longer to be concerned with human things other than what is strictly necessary; to converse with oneself and with God, to lead a life that transcends the visible; to bear in one’s soul divine images, ever pure…and become so more and more, taking light from light” ( Orationes 2: 7; SC 247:96).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

January 3

Epiphany of the Light of Christ 

Saint John Paul II wondered aloud in the form of a question, “Who does not feel the need for a “star to guide him on his earthly journey?” In response to the question, he said: “Individuals and nations both feel the need” to be guided by the radiance of heavenly truth that overcomes the darkness of lies. Human beings, when left on their own accord, are not able to discover the path of illumination due to the mask of fog of sin that banket the horizon of hope. Jesus Christ, the heavenly light shining on earth, comes to our aid to restore what the power of sin and blindness had robed us by disconnecting our spirit from God’s Spirit, the source of the Epiphany of Nativity (St. John Paull II, January 6, 2006, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord). 

To dwell in a world filled with darkness can be scary and depressing. St. Paul spoke about the reality of the nature of life situations that we must deal with in everyday life, saying, “See, darkness covers the earth.” For Christians, “light has come, the glory of the Lord shines” in the star of revelation, the Spirit of the Living Word. (Eph 3:2-3, 5-6, Is 60:1-6). 

The visible star of the night can lead our eyes and feet to a place where it must come to a stop so that to allow the epiphany of inner vision, a new way of seeing the invisible mystery of God contained and hidden in a Baby, Emmanuel, God-with-us. By adoring the Son of Mary and Joseph, the living star begins to rise in the hearts of believers.

The nations of the world seek the true light that can lead them out of ignorance into the Creator’s plan of salvation.  God seeks those who can worship him in the light of love. Would you allow God to work and walk with you, to become the living light of his mercy, charity, and justice in the world? All the nations through our ministry to the Word of God, “shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord” (Ps 72:11).  

The people of the world ask: “Where is the newborn king of the Jews,” the Prince of Peace? (Mt 2:1-12). Who would lead others to Christ the King? St. John Paul II calls us with words of faith and trust, saying, “Do not be afraid of the darkness of the world, because the one who is calling you is “the light of the world (Jn 8,12), “the bright morning star” (Apoc 22,16). And those who come to the Lord in homage and gifts shall, in return, become “overjoyed at seeing the star” (Mt. 2:1-12).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


December 21 – 27

December 21

You are the Light of the World

Christians are the shining light of the world, a world clouded by the darkness of sin. Jesus has come into the world to transform creation by the light of heaven so that those who believe in him may radiate rays of truth and spirit. (Jn 5:13-19). 

The Word of God is the light that can penetrate people’s hearts and satisfy the yearning and thirsting of human souls. The light shines when the Gospel of Christ is proclaimed, meditated upon, believed, and witnessed in everyday circumstances. The Lord has called ministers to serve faithfully at the table of the Word. St. Paul pleads with the servants of the Gospel, saying. “proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching…put up with hardship” (2Tm 4:1-5). The message of the Lord is not always welcome by the people of the world since it calls them to a change of life, rejection of false teaching, and embracing the truth of justice. Change is not easy and is always confronted by opposition, doubt, and aggression.

Rejection of the light of truth cannot deem or put off the more profound longing to encounter God who is love. Jesus encourages his disciples not to hide the light despite many challenges that the faithful must deal with as they live the Gospel’s life. The Lord says, “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Jn 5: 13-19). The light must shine brightly in acts of mercy, justice, and charity.

Pope Benedict XVI teaches that St. Peter Canisius, priest, and doctor of the Church whom we celebrate today, can help us to become the living light of truth in the world. The spirituality of St. Canisius was based on the conviction that “no soul anxious for perfection fails to practice prayer daily, mental prayer, an ordinary means that enables the disciple of Jesus to live in intimacy with the divine Teacher” (General Audience, February 9, 2011).

What must we do to become the visible light of the invisible grace and glory that our souls desire? The pontiff shows us how to shine, saying, “Among the thousands of activities and multiple distractions that surround us, we must find moments for recollection before the Lord every day, in order to listen to him and speak with him” and respond in faith and trust to his mission by crying out, “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will” (Ps 40:8-9).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 22

My Soul give thanks to God

In a time of need for a baby, Hannah cried to God in prayer, asking for a favor, that he may wipe away her tears of barrenness, and shame those who laughed and tormented her for being unproductive. She was a woman of faith who trusted that God would come to her rescue, for she too was a beloved daughter of Israel deserving blessings. In the wake of her faith, her prayer was answered, and she said, “the Lord granted my request.” She received a gift of life, a token of a baby, whom she loved so much to the extent of offering him to God as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. In her prayer of offering and consecration, she sang, “Now I, in turn, give him (the child) to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord” (1Sm 1:24-28).

The power of faith in God can, indeed, move hearts and make anything possible. Do you have the same faith as Hannah? Where and who do you turn to when you are in dire need of help? Hannah and our Holy Mother, Mary, are effective role models worth imitating, women whose hearts were intertwined with the spirit of God, women of great faith, trust, and surrender to the Divine will and plan. These women are our beautiful mothers in the journey of faith, who lived their lives entirely for one reason only: to praise the Lord with their minds, hearts, and souls in the fabric of their whole being. The sound of their breathing and contemplation resounded in this song: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior…for he has looked upon his lowly servant… He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation” (Lk 1:46-56).

We are the sons and daughters of the holy women and men who have received favors and blessings from God in every generation. Do we sincerely know what our world and our lives need so urgently? We, Mary, and Joseph’s children need Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, to come into our lives and make us a worthy offering of thanksgiving and praise to God in love. But how many will be ready and prepared to receive the gift of Mary, Baby Jesus, when his presence is announced by the heavenly choir, the constellation of the dancing star? Like Hannah and Mary, how many will return to offer a sacrifice of faith, love, and joy to the Prince of Peace?

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 23

The Power in a Name

As we approach the Nativity of the Lord, today’s readings invite us to focus on the act of naming a person. Each of us has a name or names for identification. But how many of us know the meaning that their names represent?  I hear parents who bring their children to Church to receive the Sacrament of Baptism say that the names given to their children did not have any significance apart from that the name sounded nice.

When John the Baptist was born, the family and relatives gathered to name him according to their tradition but were shocked when the mother and the father came up with a name they did not expect. The mother said, “He will be called John,” and the father reaffirmed the name, saying, “John is his name” (Lk 1:57-66). God was involved in giving the name since he had a mission for the child to be born. How many of us seek God’s intervention in prayer to come up with a name that our children should possess? 

A name carries a deeper meaning. The Catholic Church encourages parents to give their children saints names. Christians are children of God, and our goal in life is to live here on earth a holy life, and then at the end of life here below, all of us may be received in heaven, to be counted among the saints. The saints become our role models, and we believe that they pray for us that despite challenges of faith here on earth, we may remain faithful to the end by seeking to do the will of God.

John had a mission to come and prepare the way for the Lord, preach the repentance of sin, and offer a baptism with water of purification. We know that the Son of Mary and Joseph also has a name given to him by God. His name is Jesus, Emmanuel; God is with us. His name carries a meaning that he is the Savior that the world was waiting for to come and set us free from the bondage of sin. The name of Jesus has the power to forgive sin, to heal souls, and become a source of peace and joy to all who call upon him in faith and trust.

What do you know about the saint that you bear his name? As you prepare to receive Jesus Christ, maybe it is an opportune time to learn more about your saint’s life and, ask him or her to help you to be more like them, and even better, to become the living face of Jesus Christ on earth shining the light of God with us. 

 Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 24

Jesus Christ our Peace

During this Christmas celebration, many people are going to be alone and lonely. A lady just shared with me recently how the special day to celebrate our Lord’s birth, the occasion of great joy, will not bring laughter into her house this year since her family is not gathering due to the pandemic. Jesus Christ comes to take away our loneliness and to remove division and bring people into one family. St. Paul learned how to see the face of God in all things advising others to “give thanks to God in all circumstances” (1Thes 5:18). Just because life brings difficulties and challenges does not mean that God is missing in those situations. Our God is present with us both in good and bad times. He says, “I have been with you wherever you went” (2 Sm 1-5, 8-16). The rest of the family may not come home this Christmas, but the people of faith know that Jesus Christ is coming home to dwell with us.

The Lord is coming to take away our loneliness by bringing the warmth and the joy of the Good News that first filled the hearts of Mary and Joseph, the first tabernacle and manger of God on earth. They did not have a beautifully decorated house to receive the King of heaven and earth or many people to welcome the Prince of Peace; instead, they managed to turn their hearts to become the appropriate house for the Lord. Those who receive Baby Jesus with an open heart are assured of this divine gift, “I will establish a house for you” (2 Sm 1-5,8-16) in the Kingdom of God.

Covid-19 has managed to disrupt our Christmas celebration, but let us not allow it to rob us of the joy of the Nativity of the Savior from our hearts and souls. The Lord whom we have been waiting for in prayer, reconciliation, in acts of charity, and contemplation is our heavenly gift wrapped in these words: I will guide your “feet into the way of peace” (Lk 1:79).

What can we do on the special day of the Lord’s Nativity to become the rising star of peace and joy now and hereafter?

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 25

Christmas gift: Joy to the World

The greatest enemy of the joy of Christmas is fear. Life brings challenging questions and darkness that blinds the heart’s eyes from seeing a clear sight of a future full of hope. It is easy and tempting to believe that life is all about suffering, pain, and disappointments and fail to discover the hidden goodness of the hand of God guiding us along or molding our inner being to conform to his plan for salvation.

Today, the birthday of the Prince of Peace, the people of the world, with eyes of faith looking intently to the holy sky of wonder, gazing in a prayer of adoration and contemplation, would not be disappointed because, in the shining of the star of the night, hope appears, new beginning revealed. And, a sweet voice of thunder fills every corner of the universe, shaking every soul, proclaiming, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing” (Is 9:2).

Those who heeded the call of Advent: to wait for the Lord, to prepare the way for Emanuel, to rejoice in prayer and thanksgiving, and open the heart for the gift of love, are the ones who would harvest rich fruits of an encounter with the Son of God, Mary, and Joseph, healing peace and comforting freedom. To those who looked forward to the day of Jesus Christ by acts of reconciliation and charity, the angel of the Lord says, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David, a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. Now, come and worship him in Spirit and truth with souls raised to heaven singing songs of holy saints- “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Lk 2:1-14).

Emmanuel, God is with us, has come to the world to do the will of the Father, to seek the lost in sin and bring them back home in a place where the light of love and peace shines day and night to eternity.  Would you allow him to establish a permanent dwelling in your life? Would you allow him to change and transform your heart and your whole being so that you may become the light of hope and faith in times of darkness and fear in the world? Do not forget that he came to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good” (Ti 2:14)- righteous, gracious and, holy in the eyes of God.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 26

Holy Death

A man approaching the hour of death one time said to me, “Father, my greatest fear in life is not poverty, pandemic, or even death. What I am afraid of is to die alone.” The Covid-19 has brought about a new way of dying: to die alone. To die alone is not just to die once, but twice. A gentleman shared with me about a relative’s death in a nursing home due to the pandemic. They were not allowed into the room to be with their loved ones in the scary moment of taking-in the last precious breath of life. As they stood outside the window of their dying, dear ones, they prayed for his soul as tears filled their eyes in pain and sorrow. Despite the thick wall of fear of the virus that created a buffer zone between them, the man saw a miracle of love, care, and comfort expressed by the nursing home staff in that moment of need. 

The man said, “I was brought to tears when I saw the nursing home administrator and a couple of nurses stood around the bed of our dying relative. They held his feeble hands, lifeless shoulder, and sang in prayer.” The man was amazed by the divine action of generous love done to their family member. The man said: “Our prayers outside were united with the prayers of the staff inside the room of death, but at that moment, my soul was at peace for a felt so deep within my heart that at this moment of prayer, God is opening the gate of paradise to our loved one, since the Lord says: “For where two or three gathers in my name, there am I with them” (Mt 18:20). At last, he said, “I just witnessed a holy death that turned my tears of sorrow and pain to tears of faith, joy, and peace.”

Listening to this story of how these men and women of faith, hope, and love confronted death in the hour of the dividing pandemic, offered me a new lens to look at the first martyrdom of St. Stephen, coming in the wake of the joyful celebration of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. St. Stephine was stoned to death by confronting the darkness of sin by becoming the living witness of light of truth and faith. He did not allow fear of death to stand between him and heaven; with eyes of courage and anointing with the Spirit of “grace and power” and wisdom, he cried, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 6: 859). Indeed, this was a holy witness of eternal life that continues to unite all people to the redeeming power of the cross.

Death and persecution will follow us in our journey of faith, but our souls must never stop singing: “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit” (Ps 31:6). Pandemic or stones of hate cannot separate us from Emmanuel’s’ love-God is with us.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 27

The Joy of a Family

Jesus Christ came into the world through the way of the Holy Family of Mary and Joseph. God is the center of every family, sanctifying the institution of love and life, forming it into a home of the sacred art of revelation. Family is God’s gift of goodness and unity that springs from the heart of the Trinity.

Pope Francis calls the Church to hold dear the gift of a family because, without unity in homes, we cannot have a peaceful nation and a universe where justice rains down upon every heart that longs to be treated as children of God. In his Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde, the Pontiff invites the faithful to learn from St. Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church, how to love life and cherish the gift and beauty of a family in the same manner he loved Mary and cared for Jesus. Pope Francis observes “With a Father’s Heart.” He says, “Each of us can discover in Joseph-the man who goes unnoticed, a daily discreet and hidden presence- an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.” He explains, “Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. A word of recognition and of gratitude is due to them all” (Patris Corde), for this is pleasing to God, who hides in the visible Son of Mary and a carpenter of the house of King David.

We live today in a society where the family’s divine structure is constantly under attack, where the bond of love and the gift of life are being emptied of their sacred origins and summit. Many of the new forms of families invented nowadays are for conveniences that can be discarded at any time since they act as vehicles used to realize selfish goals that lack stability, authenticity, and truth of beauty and goodness. Living in a throw-away culture, many enter into marriage with the same set of minds, waiting impatiently for a time to end the relationship and move on seeking something or somebody else.

The Holy Family is a school of all families and St. Joseph leads the way by his quiet example of work to create a Kingdom of service, humility, holiness, and hiddenness in the Spirit of love. Their house was a holy ground of prayer where dreams became a reality, and contemplation the source of peace and joy. Their Son “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him” (Lk 2:39-40). 

A word of wisdom is in order to the ones who fail to show respect to their fathers and love to their mothers. Listen to this teaching, which assures that an act of “kindness to a father will not be forgotten, firmly planted against the debt of your sins-a house raised in justice to you” (Sir 3:2-6, 12-14).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


December 14 – 20

December 14

The Wisdom of the Cross

Today we celebrate the life of St. John of the Cross, the mystical Doctor of the Church. A holy man of God who spoke of the things of heaven with great love. He was always misunderstood by many who did not have the eyes to see the hidden things of God, the revealed truth of the Gospel. He spoke from the depth of the heart, revealing the beauty of God’s love and mercy to those who were willing to embrace the Word of God, but to those who used the faculty of their minds only could not grasp the richness of his wisdom. He spoke from the fountain of grace the words of the Spirit of truth in a manner only accessible to the little ones and the humble of heart. He taught and preached, “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1cor 2:1-10).

Seeking to know the things of heaven and striving to communicate God’s revealed truth using earthly means of communication is a demanding task shrouded with many difficulties and opposition. We reside in a world that glorifies things accessible to the senses but is suspicious and doubtful of what is invisible to the eye even though visible to the heart of faith. The people who show us the way to God, prophets who invite us to a change of life are seen as enemies of progress, haters of unbridle freedom, and rebels of conformity, who end up in prison or exile.

St. John of the Cross was a man who embraced the word of Christ, saying, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:25-33). He was not afraid to suffer for speaking of what the Spirit of God had revealed to him in love and humility.  Pope Benedict XVI says that St. John of the Cross “did not ‘float on mystical clouds’; rather he had a very hard life, practical and concrete…he was exposed to unbelievable insults and physical abuse.” He explains: “His life was hard, yet it was precisely during the months he spent in prison that he wrote on of his most beautiful works. From his experience, we can learn that “the journey with Christ, traveling with Christ, ‘the Way,’ is not an additional burden in our life, it is not something that would make our burden even heavier but something quite different. It is a light, a power that helps us to bear it” (General Audience February 16, 2011).

We, too, like St. John of the Cross, no matter the struggles of faith facing us, we must remain faithful in proclaiming “Jesus Christ, and him crucified,” who is “God’s wisdom” and the Spirit salvation (1Cor 2:1-10).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 15

Say no to Sin

Today’s responsorial psalms capture the heart of Advent and a glimpse of the meaning of the Nativity of the Lord. In a song of alleluia, it sings, “Come, O Lord, do not delay; forgive the sins of your people.” We are in a moment of waiting for the coming of the Son of God, or expressed differently, one of the little ones from St. Bruno’s school, a boy of grade two, said during Eucharistic celebration that “Advent is a time to learn to be patient in prayer.” The Lord comes to meet us, and for this reason, we should not delay our decision to turn our lives around and return to him, who loves us.

The mission of the Lord coming into our life is to set us free from the bondage of sin, to reconcile us with God and choose him above all things. The Nativity of the Lord is a day of hope and joy when we celebrate the dawn of a new beginning when Emmanuel, God with us, comes to lead us to the way of salvation. We are created for holiness, and the purpose of our life on earth should be about seeking to be like our Holy Father.

According to Pope Francis, we have the time we need to make a life-changing decision. He says, “It does not pay to be clever- to continually postpone a serious evaluation of one’s own life, taking advantage of the Lord’s patience.” He calls the faithful “to say ‘no’ to evil and ‘yes’ to God.” What is stopping you from giving your life entirely to the Lord? The Lord is a gentle and humble guest who does not force himself to come and dwell in a place where he has not been invited. How can you prepare yourself during this Advent to receive the baby Jesus who comes with the gifts from heaven- grace and the fruit of the Spirit?

The Pontiff teaches us how to make the house of our hearts ready for the Lord, saying, “Say ‘no’ to evil and ‘yes’ to God.”  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 16

Turn to me

We live in a changing world propelled by the power of science and technology. Something new is invented every day, which is a clear sign that human beings have a greater capacity and possibility to continue to rise higher and become more than what they are today. The persistent thirst to undertake new research and innovation tells us that humanity is never satisfied with what they have spent ample resources, energy, and time creating. Each time something new is discovered, it brings happiness, which is short-lived and lacking in value instead of causing the highest life satisfaction.  In order to fill the emptiness created in one’s life by the many things already accumulated, one continues unabated to travel the path of collecting new things hoping that may be the next acquisition would bring about the elusive contentment in life.

The things we create and possess are good in themselves, but when they are not used properly and responsibly, they turn against us by becoming our masters, prisons, and even gods that we worship. Human beings are made by and for God and given created things to service the gracious plan of the Creator. The moment God is not at the center of all things, creation, which, by nature, is good, loses its spark, light, and beauty and become hostile, unwelcoming, and unhospitable.

An authentic achievement and development in life and society arrive when God the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit is acknowledged, accepted, and depended on as the sole designer and planner of all things. Fulfillment and satisfaction that the human heart longs and thirsts for are assured when we learn to turn our gaze to God with gentle and humbling souls of praise to the might works of love that saves.

Advent is a time when each of us must pose an important question: What am I looking for in life? Do I seek to acquire many things, or have a longing to be possessed by one Person only-Jesus Christ? The question of St John the Baptist that his disciples expressed to Jesus should become our own too. “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (Lk 18-23). If you are attentive to your inner longing, and sincere in your search for the truth of life, and contemplate the things of heaven, you shall hear in a whisper of silence these inspiring and hopeful words: “I am the Lord, there is no other… Turn to me and be safe,” (Is 45:6-8, 21-25). Repent and believe in the Prince of Peace.

 Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 17

A Generation of God

How can we describe the present age? Is it a generation resting close to the heart of God or deaf to his word of truth and life? God lives and works with people from one generation to another, people willing to hear his voice, seek his face, and trust in his love and plan. God reveals his face and plans not in a vacuum but in real life, working in partnership with those he calls, teach, guide, and lead along the path of heaven.

Our first parents in faith: Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, David, and many other holy men and women walked and worked with God in realizing his plan for salvation.  God called them, and they responded in the assembly of worship and praise to listen attentively and obediently to the word, command, and directive of life in conformity to the pattern of heaven. God called simple and ordinary men and women, not because they possessed certain superior qualities that the rest of the other people lacked. The call was based on pure love, mercy, and grace of God. It is God’s nature to share the overflow of his richness with everyone but choosing others to become the channel and means of bringing about his generous gifts of blessing.

Our first parents were aware that their call to work with God was a gift from heaven. They were obedient to God’s command and led others to the mountain of praise, through the waters of freedom and the table of sacrifice ad thanksgiving. Their children were summoned to know and follow the way of God so that everything may go well for them as they travel along the path that leads back to the Father.

What about our generation? Do we continue to walk along the path set for us by our parents in faith? Many have left God’s direction and have created their own path, ultimately leading to destruction and death. God does not want us to be separated from him, and for this reason, He sent His Son from the house of Abraham, David, and Joseph to lead us along the way to justice and peace.

How are you prepared to receive the Prince of peace? “God comes to teach us the path of knowledge, in the “spirit of wisdom, the guiding “power and love” that can renew the face of the earth and bring healing to the broken hearts of the children of God. You are a child of God, called to imitate the way of life of justice and peace lived by our parents in faith.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 18

God of Justice

Everywhere in the world, we hear the cry of people who yearn for justice. How are we involved in the work of creating a society where justice can flow like a river filled with freshwater newness? We must not forget that the cry of the poor and the tears of those unjustly treated reaches into the heart of God.

How is God’s justice different from the one that the world gives? The righteousness that comes from the world is limited and is prone to change with time and favors the strong and powerful at the expense of society’s week and vulnerable. God’s justice is pure, holy, and true. God reveals his identity as the one who is just and assigns the mark of goodness in all things. God’s justice takes shape in Jesus Christ and becomes light to the blind, freedom to prisoners, and healing of peace to those burdened by the power of the cross. 

Jesus Christ, the justice of God on earth, is coming to “do what is right” to save the lost and lead them back home under the care and protective eyes of the Father (Jer 23:5-8).  The day of the Lord is a moment of great joy in heaven and earth that ushers a new Kingdom full of hope. The Psalmist describes the state of God’s presence in life, saying, “Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever” (Ps 72:7). The Spirit of justice from the heart of God is poured into the hearts of believers, who should become gifts and means of true justice that rejoices in recognizing the face of God in creation.   

For Christians, Justice in the world means acknowledging God as our Creator of all things, as the Father who loves us, and as the giver of life who comes to reconcile us in Jesus Christ. We are just when we believe that “God is with us” in all times, and when we put into practice what we have heard in the word of God, and when we take the Holy Mother into our homes to become our communal rest in the hands of love (Mt 1:25).

Joseph Oganda

December 19

The Angels of God: Friends of Souls

The day of great joy, the day announced by the angel of God, Gabriel, is approaching in hast, the day when the long-awaited King of Israel and Savior of the world is born of the Virgin Mary, a Holy Lady betrothed to a man named Joseph of the family of David. God reveals his salvation plan through holy messengers sent to prepare the way for the Lord, calling people to believe the message from heaven. 

Who are the angels? And what is their role in the life of faith? Archangel Gabriel says, I “stand before God,” seeing the face of God, and adoring and rejoicing in knowing the content of divine plan of salvation. He serves at the command of God, not seeking to do his own will but to become the voice of the word of God. The Holy Angel says, “I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news” that you shall conceive the Word in your heart and bear fruits that will remain, the fruit of the Spirit, love (Lk 1:5-25).

God’s ways and plan are sometimes hidden from the visible eyes; hence, a need for heavenly intervention to see and understand the divine revelation. The angels are sent and given to us to become our teachers of the things of heaven, our spiritual homeland, a holy place, which we long to return and rest forever. We can begin to have the taste of the coming birth of Emmanuel by revisiting the great joy of Elizabeth, who conceived in her womb a gift of life from above. In her great joy, her soul leaped for joy, crying in thanksgiving, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others” (Lk 1:5-25). 

The birth of Samson and John the Baptist reminds us that nothing is impossible for God. The Lord continues to send his angels to help us in our journey of faith on earth. How many of us are even aware that they have angels who protect, guide, teach them the way to God’s Kingdom? Believing in an angel and accepting the good news that they bring from heaven prepares our mind, heart, and soul to welcome Jesus in faith when he comes in the glory of the star of the night of nativity. Do not quench the voice of an angel seeking to rise from the depth of your spirit- they are the friends of our soul, the mirror of God’s face.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 20

Do not be Afraid

Today, the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Church lights the candle of love. In order to understand how we have made it to this glorious day, we must return to the beginning to retrace our Advent footsteps. We began the journey of waiting for the Lord by lighting the candle of hope-longing for a savior. The light of peace, lit in the second week, challenged us to confront our hidden darkness of sin, seeking reconciliation, repentance, and renewal of life and healing of the wounded souls. The joy of the soul was expressed by the candle of the third week of Advent, allowing our hearts to have a taste of heavenly rejoicing which comes to fill the inner emptiness of human beings on the day of the shining star, the holy day of the great nativity. Emmanuel, whom we long for, is “God with us,” the gift of love in the Person of the Son of Mary and Joseph, immaculate and holy parents. Are you now ready to receive Jesus Christ, the light of heaven and earth? If not, what is preventing you from raising your soul upward to God in faith, love, and hope?

The enemy of love, joy, and peace is fear. Sin causes fear in our hearts, blinding our visions from seeing what God sees, hearing what God says, and believing what God knows and reveals in the light of the good news from the Angel Gabriel. Faith in the Word of God is the power that takes away the fears that cripple our souls and prevent us from dancing for joy for the gracious news of God coming to dwell among us to bridge the distance between heaven and earth and announce the year of the Kingdom of salvation (Nm 24:15-17, Lk 1:26-38).  

What must we do in order to reap the fruits of Advent and be ready to welcome the Baby Jesus? We must know how to confront our fears in life to be free and turn our gaze to the heavenly horizon. Pope Benedict XVI said that “this world of ours is a world of fear: the fear of misery and poverty, the fear of illness and suffering, the fear of solitude, the fear of death.” He further explains that “We have in this world a widely developed insurance system; it is good that it exists. But we know that at the moment of deep suffering, at the moment of the ultimate loneliness of death, no insurance policy will be able to protect us.” He offers a message of hope, saying, “The only valid insurance in those moments is the one that comes to us from the Lord, who also assures us: “Do not fear, I am always with you.” We can fall, but in the end, we fall into God’s hands, and God’s hands are good hands” (Advent homily, 2005).

Like Mary and Joseph, you do not have to be afraid “for you have found favor with God,” and the “Holy Spirit will come upon you” to keep you and protect, to lead you and embrace, to inspire you and satisfy your heart’s desires (Lk 1:26-38).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


December 6 – 13

December 7

To us, Christ is all!

Pope Benedict XVI gave a General Audience, 2007 on St. Ambrose. The Bishop of the Church whom we celebrate today was a holy man who taught and evangelized the Gospel truth. Even though he was unable to speak at the hour of his death, he could be seen still moving his lips in prayer with eyes gazing to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, His friend, and companion in suffering and salvation. The pontiff said, “This was his last catechesis: in the silence of the words, he continued to speak with the witness of his life.” 

The holy doctor of the Church lived his life of faith to “sing the goodness of the Lord” and proclaim God’s faithfulness and kindness (Ps 98). The hand of God was with him as he went about preaching the “riches of Christ,” unveiling the light of the mystery of love and manifesting the wisdom of God flowing from the fountain of the Spirit (Ps 98).

Advent is a time to ask if your life resembles the manner of St. Ambrose, a way of life that seeks the goodness of the Lord, a faithful life that works to witness the gospel of kindness and compassion. Christ comes not only to set us free from the power of sin but also to make us his co-witnesses of the light of love and mercy that can attract those who thirst for redemption, who find rest on the to the holy mountain of transfiguration- the city of peace and justice. The Lord worked with St. Ambrose to the end. He now invites each of us to join in the work of saving souls. The Lord says, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd” (Jn 10:11-16). Would you allow God to use you to shine his light of love, charity, and justice on earth?

Like St. Ambrose, our mission in life should be: “Omnia Christus est nobis! To us Christ is all!” Who is this Christ? According to Benedict XVI, Christ is the one “If you have a wound to heal, he is the doctor; if you are parched by fever, he is the spring; if you are oppressed by injustice, he is justice; if you are in need of help, he is the strength; if you fear death, he is life; if you desire Heaven, he is the way; if you are in the darkness, he is light… Taste and see how good is the Lord: blessed is the man (and woman) who hopes un him!” (General Audience, 2007). To us Christ is all!

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 8

Immaculate Conception

The Virgin Mary is a co-partner in the plan of salvation. God prepared her for the mission to become the Mother of Jesus Christ before she was conceived in her mother’s womb. It echoes the prophecy of the Prophet Jerimiah, saying: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jr 1:1). Mary becomes the Mother of God, the living temple of the Trinity, and the light of the Kingdom of heaven on earth.

Today, we contemplate the mystery of the Immaculate Conception, Mary being conceived without original sin. She became the new Eve, the mother of the redeemed, the holy people of God, with sons buried in the waters of purification and daughters raised in the light of the Spirit of new life, becoming a holy family. Mary is rich in grace to make her sons and daughters glory in the Holy Spirit of newness. St. Paul captures how God has incorporated Mary and all the faithful in the design of salvation, saying, “He chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him” (Eph 1:3-6,11-12).

God has called us to a holy life by sending His only Son, born of the Virgin Mary, so that those who believe in the Word of God may become adopted children of heaven. The Mother of the Church teaches us how to live by imitating the way of her Son, Jesus Christ, who came to do the will of the Father. By accepting Mary to become our teacher of the faith, as an exemplar of silent contemplation on the content of the wealth of divine love, our hearts find rest and peace in these words: “you have found favor with God” (Lk 1:26-38).

The humble Lady was a Woman of prayer seeking to do the will of God in all things. We, her sons and daughters in faith, must learn to walk along the path of love, charity, and unity that she lived as witness to the Church “for nothing will be impossible for God” (Lk 1: 37). Pope Pius IX believes that Mary’s life of Immaculate Conception is worth imitating. He says: “she was always united with God and joined by him to an eternal covenant; she was never in darkness but always in light; and therefore, she was entirely a fit habitation for Christ, not because of the state of her body, but because of her original grace” (Ineffabilis Deus). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 9

Encountering God in the Little Ones

Today the Church celebrates the gift of faith lived and expressed by St. Juan Diego, a simple and humble man from Mexico who encountered the Virgin Mary as he made his way to Church to take part in the Holy Sacrifice. The Holy Mother chose St. Juan to bring a message to his bishop: to construct a shrine at the site of her epiphany so that those who seek her help in prayer may come to experience the love and mercy of the Son-the fulfillment of new life.

St. Juan represents the lowly of heart, the poor in Spirit, and the humble, those who place their hope in God for justice and hunger for peace. It is true that God has no favoritism, that God does not look at one’s appearance, but what is in a person’s heart so that all who seek him with a sincere intention would never be disappointed. St Paul perfectly captures what God accomplished through St. Juan and still hopes to do with us who have faith in the Word of God. He says, “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human beings might boast before God” (1 Cor 1:26-31).

Christ whom we long to meet this Advent and hope to see in the shining star of the City of Jerusalem on the blessed day of holy birth is present in our midst in the life of the little ones and the poor. Christians are the people who continue to encounter the Son of Mary and the Risen Lord by their acts of love and charity extended to all people. 

The Mother of God who imprinted her face on St Diego’s tilma wants to reproduce the same image in our hearts so that those who meet and encounter us, as children and friends of Christ, may have their inner dwelling filled with the light of grace and the Spirit of beauty and love. According to St John Paul II, our God “makes no distinctions of race or culture” (Homily of the Canonization of Juan Diego, 2002). The faithful, inspired by the Spirit of wisdom, have a calling to work in the vineyard of service and love so that at the end of life, all may receive the reward of heavenly glory and eternal joy. (Mt 11:25).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 10                                     Loreto: Our New Home

One needs to gaze in adoration and contemplation the sites, houses, and places where God chooses to appear, revealing his face and manifesting the plan for salvation. In the Old Testament, we are aware of how the Lord appeared to Moses in “Horeb, the mountain of God in the burning bush (Ex 3:1-3). The servant of God, Prophet Elijah, hiding in a cave experienced the moving power of the presence of the Lord, who passed by him in a silent “gentle whisper” of wind, the breath of the Spirit (1Kgs 19:11-12). The Psalmist captures the longing of every believer, saying, “One thing I have asked of the Lord; this is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and seek Him in His temple” (Ps 27:4).

Places, where God comes to meet his people are transformed and made holy by the Spirit’s power. The angel of the Lord, in a voice of warning, asked Moses to take off his sandals, for the place where he stood was a holy ground” (Ex 3:5). The places of worship, places where we receive baptism, places where the table of sacrifice of God’s word and the Eucharist is offered are holy grounds. Those who approach these dwelling places of God must come in the Spirit of faith, humility, and wonder with an open heart that longs for healing and wholeness of life.

When life becomes challenging, when darkness blinds our eyes and prevents our hearts from seeing the vision of the goodness and the presence of God in our lives, it is wise to turn to God for help, especially by coming to rest in his holy ground and temple. What Jesus said to Mary and Joseph, he says to each of us, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:49). You, too, can understand the meaning of your life when you find dwelling and rest in your Father’s house.

Today the Church directs our attention to contemplate the Marian shrine at Loreto in Italy, a holy replica of Nazareth, the house of Mary where the Angle Gabriel brought the good news of Incarnation, God becoming Man in the womb of the humble and faith fille Lady of Annunciation. Loreto, the new Nazareth, is a sign of the Kingdom of heaven on earth. In the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “the Lord will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us!” (Is 7:10-14; 8:10, Lk 1:26-38).

What can you learn from the holy ground of Loreto? Benedict XVI says, “In the present crisis affecting not only the economy but also many sectors of society, the Incarnation of the Son of God speaks to us of how important man is to God, and God to man.” He says, “Without God, man ultimately chooses selfishness over solidarity and love, material things over values, having over being.” He pleads, “We must return to God, so that man may return to being man.” He assures us that With God, even in difficult times of crisis, there is always a horizon of hope: the Incarnation tells us that we are never alone, that God has come to humanity and that he accompanies us” (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily, at Loreto, 2012).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 11

I Call you Friends

The disciples of Jesus Christ, those who follow in his footstep, the ones he calls friends, are not immune to the enemies of the Gospel truth, the same mistreatment that the Lord experienced on the cross. St Paul warned the Church to be aware of the coming power of darkness. He says, “I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. And from your own group, men will come forward, perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them” (Acts 20:17-18, 28-32, 36). The Church, beginning with Christ on the cross, has never experienced a moment of total peace in the world. Despite the challenges of faith that the Christians experience as they live and witness the Word of God, the reward of salvation that awaits every believer in the Kingdom of glory outweighs the perennial obstacles of grace made visible.

Those who are persecuted because of their faith are the present age living Jesus Christ. The power of love gives the faithful courage and strength to face the challenges of Christian life joyfully. The friends of the Lord learn and imitate him by living the commandment of love. The Lord says. “You are my friends if you do what I command you… This I command you: love one another” (Jn 15:9-17). The hardest part of the Christian faith and love is that we are called to show mercy to both the good and the bad alike. Even those who reject the Gospel and are still ignorant of the truth are to be treated with love and charity, praying and hoping that in God’s time, the light of peace and justice would bring them to awareness of God’s mercy of change.

Today we celebrate the life of St. Damasus I, a Pontiff who experienced difficulties in his service to the Church. The opposition came from within and outside the Church. He was a man of faith and courage, and even though the Church was going through turmoil, he was still able to bring about many transformations in the Church. In his time, Christianity became the Roman state’s official religion, and Latin became the Church’s liturgical language. He also tasked St. Jerome with the labor of translating the Scriptures into Latin, hence the birth of the Vulgate Bible.

We do not have to be discouraged when we see the present age Church going through challenging experiences. The Church history teaches us that the road that leads to the Kingdom of God is made of the blood of Christ Jesus. The Church is hopeful since She stands on the foundation of these words, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 12

Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Sign of Hope

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a gift, sign, and blessing to Mexico, the continent of America, and the universal Church. She is the fountain of the fullness of grace and the Holy Spirit that sustains and inspires faith in Jesus Christ. Mary continues to appear in many parts of the world, calling and inspiring the people of God to choose the way of the Son, who is our love and redemption. The people who come in faith to the holy grounds of the epiphany of the Queen of heaven are strengthened, inspired, healed, and made whole by the richness of the Spirit of Jesus Christ that the Holy Mother is the custodian and the giver.

Celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe within the season of Advent points to the Christmas feast. The day of shining Star of David, the King of heaven and earth, and the servant of God of love and mercy. The humble Lady, the friend of St. Juan Diego, is paving the way of salvation, announcing with her immaculate manifestation the fulfillment of the prophecy of the prophets of old who had acclaimed: “Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, the creator of heaven and earth. You are the highest honor of our race. Your deed of hope will never be forgotten by those who tell of the might of God” (Judith 13:18-19). The Son of Man comes to the world through the hospitality of the Mother of the Church and teacher of silent contemplation.

We, the Christians, are the living channels through which the blessing of God given to our Mother in faith continues to overflow into the world by becoming the signs of hope when the manner of our lives magnifies the mighty power of God. Like the Woman of great faith, she who believed in the Word of God, we, too, can make her “yes” of trust and obedience become the guiding light of our journey to the Kingdom of heaven. Together with the Lady of Guadalupe, we must pray and sing, saying: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 13

The Joy of God with us

At the beginning of Advent, as we lit the candle of hope, the word of God proclaimed, “What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'” (Mk 13:37). The central message that led to the second week of Advent was contained in the words, “ask,” “seek,” and “wait” for the Lord (Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14). The candle of peace of the second week of Advent calls us to prepare the way for the Lord, to “proclaim a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mk 1:1-8). According to St. Peter, God “is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2Pt 3:8-14). Christianity is about establishing a new culture and a world where all people may become aware of their sins and return to God the Father through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ and by anointing with the Holy Spirit.

How many of us will be fully prepared to receive the Son of Man, Emmanuel, when he is born of Mary, the Mother of the Church? Each day is a gift given to us by God to make up our minds while we are still journeying here below, to “judge wisely the things of the earth, and hold firm to the things of heaven.” Our mission as Christians is to choose God in all things by responding to the gift of his love, the seal of salvation. 

Choosing God is a source of joy that brings sweetness into our souls, a glorious taste of the heavenly Kingdom, a city prepared for each of us who believe in the Son of God and Joseph. The burning candle, symbolic of the joyful celebration of the third week of Advent, gives us a glimpse of the eternal banquet. The good news is that Jesus Christ, whom we look forward to encountering, already dwells in our midst. St. John says, “there is one among you whom you do not recognize” (Jn 1:6-8, 19-28). Where is Emmanuel, who is present with us? And why are we not able to see and recognize him? 

Prophet Isaiah directs our eyes to a place where we can see the face of Christ and live. He says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me…he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives (Is 61:1-2,10-11). Being deaf to the cries of the poor, the blind, and the unjustly treated is to reject “God with us,” to close the doors of our hearts from receiving the gift of love and mercy, our assurance of eternal joy (Is 61:1-2, 10-11). 

St. Paul teaches those who have found joy in Christ how to live as Children of God. He says, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1Thes 5:16-24).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 30 – December 6

November 30

 Co-workers of the Apostle

When Jesus called the Apostles from the trusted disciples, He had a plan to have close companionship with those who were to continue to further the mission of God. The Apostles were ordinary and simple people, hopeful people, who were waiting in prayer for the coming of the Savior of the world. They were called from stations of their regular works in order to do the work of God, to become fishers of men and women. Today we celebrate one of the Apostles, Saint Andrew, the brother to St. Peter; he too left everything and followed Christ (Mt 4:18-22). The Apostles were men of faith, leaving behind the sources of their livelihood and willing to begin to learn a new trade of following an itinerant preacher, Jesus, who promised them a place of honor and victory not of the earth but for eternal dwelling. They were men of great vision who trusted the Son of Man as the source and means of hope for freedom and redemption. For them to begin to walk with the Lord, learning from Him how to seek and love the things of God, was not something that they were waiting to be realized only in the future. Still, even with the little faith like a mastered seed, they had already started to taste the sweetness of heaven in the humility, simplicity, and love that Jesus shared with them.

According to St. Paul, the mission of the Apostles was to respond to the questions: “How can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent?” (Rom 10:9-18). The word of God can spread to the whole world when dedicated people are willing to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. The ministers of the Gospel and the Christians, filled with the Holy Spirit, have a mission to become co-workers of Christ in witnessing the light of the resurrection.

Many people in our society and around the world have not heard about Jesus Christ. How are we involved in the work of supporting the spreading of the Gospel? Since all of us cannot leave our homeland and go to the whole world to proclaim the Gospel, let us then support mission and evangelization and programs aimed at spreading the faith and the light of charity. You can help those who need bibles, rosaries, and bread and wine for the Eucharist Celebration through our parish.

Remember, “faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes through the word of Christ” that you are called support (Rom 10:9-18). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 1

Put on the Spirit of Advent

Put on the Spirit of Advent and shine like a star in the darkness of life. Advent, the mark of the beginning of the new liturgical year of the Church’s Calendar, reminds us that this is the time of waiting in prayer, charity, and justice for the coming of Jesus Christ in our lives. The Lord comes to teach us how to see things in a new way, looking with the eyes of God, the vision of goodness and love. Jesus, “turning to the disciples in private, said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it” (Luke 10:21- 24).

Christ comes in Spirit and flesh to teach us how to see the things of heaven while we are still pilgrims on the earth. The Spirit, the gift of God’s love, comes to our aid to awaken within us the sight that could see the power of God’s hand active in creation unveiling the hidden goodness contained in all things. The Spirit from God is “a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a Spirit of counsel and of strength, a Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord” (Is 11:1-10).  The Spirit rests upon what is simple in stature, filling it to the brim to the point of overflowing, turning drylands and deserts of hearts to sources of extraordinary blessings of rich fruits of news life. 

It is the will of God that the Spirit should reveal the hidden truth of salvation to the humble of hearts, to the little ones who look to heaven for help and seek to see the face of God and dance for joy in the music of the Son. (Luke 10:21- 24). 

Why is the Lord coming to the world? He is justice and peace. But how does the Lord intend to accomplish His holy mission of love on earth? “He shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lowly” (Ps 72). You too must practice service to the poor and the afflicted as a sign of your preparation for the coming of “Emmanuel, God with us” (Mt 1:23).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 2

Time for Change

Advent is a holy time to wait for the coming of the Lord to save us from the power of sin. We have received a calling to wait for Emmanuel as wise and not foolish people, becoming awake in every situation of our lives.  Advent is when you hear a higher calling to be attentive to the cry of the needy among us. The Lord, who comes to save us, is active in the world. All that we need is to have the eyes of faith able to see things the way God sees them. It is going to be very challenging to encounter Emmanuel, God with us on the night of the shining star of salvation in a baby if, for most of our lives, we had remain blinded and could not see the hand of God in those who seek our love and help.

How is this Advent going to be different for you? What is within you that needs change and transformation? We need to turn around our lives and, helped by the Holy Spirit; we may begin even now to see the face of God in our neighbors. Advent allows us to return to God through the way of reconciliation, to spend quality time in prayer, contemplating in silence the goodness of God and, to become instruments of healing and comfort to those who struggle with the challenges of life.

Jesus gives us a new life principle that should guide every decision we make when we confront any situation where others need our help. He says: “I do not want to send them away hungry” (Mt 15:29-37). It is easy to walk away and not attend to the cry of those in need, merely assuming that someone else or the government, or the Church is going to do something for them. You, too, just like Christ Jesus, whom you follow and have become co-partner in the work of salvation, can indeed become a source of healing, peace, and joy. 

Like Christ, moved with pity, you too can share with others the little you have in faith and, the Lord of Advent would bring about fulfillment and satisfaction in the hearts of those moved with the Spirit of compassion, kindness, and generosity.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 3

The Mission of Love

Today the Church celebrates the life of St. Francis Xavier, Patron Saint of Foreign Missions. He is one of the Jesuit Society founders in the 1500s, including St. Ignatius of Loyola. He heard the call: “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News” (Mark 16:15) and, in response, he left his home in Spain to travel to the foreign lands of India and Japan to evangelize and plant the seed of the word of God in the hearts of the people of God. 

Every Christian has received a call and mandate to become an active witness of the word of God. All of us cannot leave our own homes and countries to travel to foreign lands to witness the Gospel message, but each of us can become the living light of Christ right where we dwell and work. God’s word is living and effective when it is believed and practiced by the followers of Christ in everyday life. In imitation of St. Xavier, you too can become the present age agents of the Kingdom of love, charity, and peace that our world craves and needs so urgently. 

St. Xavier and many other holy men and women are the heroes of the Church. They sacrificed their lives for the mission of salvation and were willing to leave everything and acquire only one perfect gift of eternal life, Christ, who made this promise: “I am with you always, until the end of the world” (Mt 28: 20). Christ is the chief agent of the mission work, but you and I are the instruments of the power of the Gospel that brings about the fruit of the Spirit in the world, the fruits of faith, hope, and joy. The warning of St. Paul when the word of God is not preached and shared with others should become our everyday concern: “an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!” (1Cor 9:16-19, 22-23). 

Meditate and contemplate on the words of St. Xavier that you too may find the path of your calling in the mission of love eternal. St. Francis wrote a letter to St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1544, saying, “What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you.” He prayed: “This thought would certainly stir most of them (Christians) to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves over entirely to God’s will and his choice. They would cry out with all their hearts: Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like.” 

Joseph Oganda

December 4

Seeking to see the Face of God 

Advent is time to wait for the coming of Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the promises made by the prophets of God who were sent to prepare the way of redemption. Those who wait for the Lord seek to see the shining light of salvation (Ps 17:1). Jesus comes as the light of the truth that opens the eyes blinded by the darkness of sin. Those who receive him with the hearts of faith are marked by the oil of salvation, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and emit the fragrance of love and peace (Mt 9:27-31).

During Advent, each of us must look within ourselves to discover our own sins of biases, injustices, and deafness of heart that make us incapable of hearing the cry of the poor who need our helping hand. When we are not in constant awareness of our own inner weaknesses that need the healing of the Spirit of mercy and reconciliation, we can become the agents of division.

I read a story of a Catholic international student who went to one of the universities in Minnesota. He was shocked, and his faith was shaken to the core when he went to a Catholic Church close to his resident only to discover that he was not welcome there. He said that after attending the Church for a few weeks, some parishioners came and advised him to go to a different church where there were people who looked like him. He had to take a bus to travel more than one hour, passing several Catholic Churches along the way to go to this one Church that could accommodate him.

The disturbed student struggled with what it means to be a Catholic believer and a Church member. He used a story to challenge and explain the kind of blindness of faith and deafness of love that many professed Christians still embrace in their hearts and dictate how they act in life. He said: “A rabbi asked his students in class: when does one know when the night has ended, and the day has begun?” After listening to many incorrect answers, the rabbi interjected, saying, “Students, one knows the night has ended and the day has begun when you can look at a face never before seen and recognize the stranger as a brother or sister. Until that moment, no matter how bright the day is, it is still night.”

Are you open to strangers? Do you extend your hand to the poor? Is your heart moved with pity and compassion when you encounter someone who struggles and needs a helping hand? Advent is a precious moment that you and I can cry out to God, saying, Please, open my heart of faith to see your face of love in the suffering and struggles of those who are less fortunate.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 5

The Kingdom is at Hand

God is the King who rules not with the power of domination but instead with the power of salvation, freedom, and peace. Those who hunger for Him and seek Him with a sincere heart find Him in the Son, who comes to the world to announce the good news that the “Kingdom is at hand” (Mt 3:2). The Kingdom of God is God’s presence in the life of His people here and eternally.

In the Kingdom of God, blessed are they who wait for the Lord, blessed are they who seek to see the face of God, and blessed are they who long do the will of God” ( Is 30:18, Jn 6:38, Ps 80). There is a great temptation in the Church where many people proclaim that they seek the Kingdom of God in all things; but in reality, they are creating a human kingdom, an earthly kingdom, a kingdom that satisfies the needs of flesh as opposed to the needs of the Spirit of truth.

In his General Audience on November 25, 2020, Pope Francis expressed his concern of many groups in the Church seeking solutions on challenging matters of faith by relying heavily on the human capacity instead of embracing the Holy Spirit’s guiding wisdom. He warned that quick answers to the mystery of faith and life are human making and lack the heavenly blessing. The Pontiff believes that proper discussions on faith issues in the Church should follow the way of discernment, adoration, and silent contemplation, waiting for the Lord to appear. He warned that any dialogue not marked by the Spirit of “prayer, Eucharist, community, and preaching” is against the will of God and is poisonous to the breath of love, peace, and unity.  

We are called not to replace God from the heart and the center of His Kingdom but instead should serve His mission as obedient servants who wait faithfully and actively for the return of the Master who will judge every deed. God provides for the needs of those who belong to His Kingdom. He says, “The Lord will give the bread you need and the water for which you thirst (Is 30:19-21).

Are you working with Jesus Christ, or are you against Him? Are you seeking to do the will of God in all things, or are you doing your own business? Advent allows us to purify our intentions and actions in order to serve the plan and the will of God in all things. Our vocation should conform to the mission of Jesus Christ, who commands us, saying, “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand'” ( Mt 10:1-8).   

Fr. Joseph Oganda

December 6

The Power of Reconciliation

The Pandemic has adversely affected millions of people globally and is especially impacting charitable organizations serving as the rescue centers for the poor, sick, homeless, and strangers. The Catholic Church is known worldwide for establishing many projects meant to attend to the needs of those who are less fortunate. Church institutions are among the struggling safe havens for the needy. Just this week alone, I have received four different requests from organizations operated by religious communities seeking financial assistance to enable them to continue to serve many people who flock to their facilities, asking for help.

It is a noble and godly act to establish projects that respond to the needs of those who struggle in life.  We as people of God should continue to support the excellent work done by the charitable and Church organizations. During this Advent, it is also reasonable to ask what the core purpose of the Church on earth is. What does Jesus seek, through us, to accomplish on earth? The Church is more than just about creating projects, no matter how the services offered are necessary. There are also civil institutions with extensive resources and well-trained professionals able to provide similar services effectively.

As we wait for the return of Jesus Christ, we the faithful must continue to discern the central mission of the Church on earth. At the beginning of His service on earth, Jesus announced the purpose of His coming into the world when he said “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel!” (Mk 1:15). What makes the Church a unique organization on earth is that she is about establishing the Kingdom of God through the means of repentance and reconciliation.  She is about leading believers along the way of faith to accept and embrace Christ Jesus, who is the living Gospel of love, mercy, and peace. 

Without the Sacrament of Repentance and the gift of reconciliation with the Father in the Spirit of love, the Church loses its identity, its attraction, and central mission on earth. The Church without Repentance and Reconciliation becomes much like any other organization that can only offer material solutions to the challenges of life. The Church must remain the fountain of healing from sin in the power of forgiveness, in the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Know that the Lord “is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2Pt 3: 8-14). Pope Francis invites you to seize the moment of Advent to return to the Lord with your whole heart. He says reconciliation with God “is the first step on the Christian path; it entails entering through the open door which is Christ, where he, the Savior, awaits us and offers us a new and joyful life” (popefrancishomilies.com/reconciliation).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


November 23 – November 29

November 23

The Friends of Christ 

Today we celebrate the life of Saint Clement I, Pope and Martyr, who rested at Christ’s feet and served diligently and courageously in the spirit of Saints Peter and Paul. He was so close to the Apostles that some Fathers of the Church named him “apostolic man” or “almost apostle.” Working as a co-servant of St. Peter, learning about the law of love and humility prepared him to become the defender and protector of faith by assuming the Chair of the City of God.

St. Clement is counted among the saints who suffered for their faith in conformity to Christ-death on the cross. According to St. John the Evangelist, they “are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb. On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished” (Rev 14: 1-5) and they the school of faith, witnesses of love worth imitating by the little ones who seek day and night to see the face of God (Ps 24: 6)

In your service to God, learn to “put in more than all the rest,” making an offering of “livelihood” for this is pleasing to heaven where abundant blessing flow to the faithful who place their trust and hope in God of plenty (Lk 21:1-4). St. Clement teaches that “let the rich man distribute to the necessity of the poor, and let the poor bless God who gives him one to supply his want.” The Saint of Humility, love, and charity explains, “We must look upon all the things of this world, as none of ours, and not desire them. This world and that to come are two enemies. We cannot, therefore, be friends to both; but we must resolve which we would forsake, and which we would enjoy.”

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 24

Signs of the Day of the Lord

The world as we know it is passing away, the siren of the harvest time thunder around us so that those who have ears to hear may listen and return to the Holy City of God wholeheartedly and begin to walk in His ways. The signs of the immanent fading and death of created things are before our eyes. When we see a loved one experience terminal illness that ultimately results in death, it is one of the many indications of the fading of time. Peace is the gift of new life, the grace of heaven that fills believers’ hearts, a symbol of the active presence of Christ in the world. When the darkness of division, injustice, and evil fills the earth, and when the poor and the disadvantaged continue to cry to God for help, and when we ignore to attend to the less fortunate, we become goats and not the good sheep that the Lord assembles by the word of life.

God’s timing is different from human plans and goals. Some people push to the future what they could do in the present, to build their relationship with God and others. Recently a lady who lost her mother was in great pain because she died before they were able to reconcile and restore their wounded love. Christ, who comes to seek the lost, teaches that it is not the wish of God the Father for us to lose the opportunity to enter the Kingdom of heaven. The Lord calls upon us, saying, “If today, you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Let us use and enjoy this world’s things, not as unwise people and unaware of the coming day of the Lord. The Lord warns, “All that you see here- the days will come when there will be not left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down” (Lk 21:5-11).

Heaven is a journey of faith that you must choose everyday, longing for it, and working towards its realization when it appears. There are no part-time Christians. We are always Christians, in all places, and every circumstance. To those of us who do not give-up living the faith and are not ashamed to witness the love for Christ in the world, the Lord has in store a reward of eternal life. He says, “Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev 2:10).   

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 25

Persevere to the End

The life of the disciples of Christ Jesus on earth must be a living song of thanksgiving, a melody of praise that mimic heavenly music of saints filled with the joy of victory- of life over death. John the Evangelist, the saint of love, received honor and blessing to taste a vision of grace that brought him in spirit to partake of heavenly celebration. He joined in the song of angels as they sing: “Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty…and true are your ways. Who will not…glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed” (Rv 15:1-4). We must continue to magnify the wonders of God by shining forth the light of His goodness that fills the face of the earth. God does not want to remain hidden or a mystery to His chosen ones, but through acts of living and witnessing the faith, He desires to reveal Himself to all the people as the King of heaven and earth, the source of life and love.

Christ’s disciples will continue to experience opposition of faith from those who promote worldly freedom instead of heavenly redemption. Jesus has ushered a new Kingdom of light, and those who seek Him with a sincere heart and humble mind must glory and rejoice in the Gospel truth that has the power to overcome the darkness of sin, the blindness of pride, and the slavery of ignorance of the things of heaven. Despite on-going hatred to the faith and constant attempt to frustrate the work of God and minimize the power of the Holy Spirit on earth, the Lord encourages the Christians to continue living the faith, saying, “Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rv 2:10). 

You must continue to fight the battle of faith, looking forward in hope for the gift of the crown of eternal life that Jesus has promised to all who believe in Him. The way of salvation includes carrying one’s cross everyday following faithfully in the footsteps of Christ-seeking to do God’s will in all things. Jesus warns us that the faithful will undergo persecution for being His witnesses. How many are strong enough to withstand the enemy of truth till the end of the age? Jesus says, “By your perseverance, you will secure your lives” (Lk 21:12-19).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 26

Give Thanks

Today families and friends gather to give thanks, to appreciate each other, to renew relationships, and to celebrate memories, the treasures of the bond of love. As people travel to be together with their loved ones, one place that will be deserted is the Churches. God is the main reason for us to give thanks since He is the source and summit of everything. Due to the sin of pride, many people think that they are the sole power of the achievements they have attained in life, hence, removing the Creator from the order of life. To have a meaningful and enriching family gathering, God must be welcomed as the special guest in every home so that seated at the table of plenty, minds, and hearts may be opened to have a vision of the table of the holy sacrifice, a feast of new life.

For Christians, the Eucharist is the Thanksgiving Mass, an expression of our gratitude to God for sending His only Son to set us free from sin so that now we can be called the family of God. Life is a gift from God, and each day is a given opportunity to be aware of the blessings that have been poured upon us. St Paul reminds us that “In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1Thes 5:18). It displeases God when one complains when one chooses to look always at the negative aspects of things instead of holding on to what is positive and good.

We express our gratitude to God by praising Him in prayer, songs, and acts of charity and almsgiving. What an excellent way to celebrate God in the time of pandemic by being mindful of those who have lost work and need help.  Some have lost loved ones and maybe lonely and sad and pray for someone to visit them or invite them to their family table. Christians are members of one family of God, a family without borders, a family that does the will of God, filled with grace, rich in peace, and “not lacking any spiritual gift” of service in the Kingdom of God (1Cor 1:3-9).

 How will you make this thanksgiving an act of praising God for the gift of the Son, life, and family? We must wonder with Christ, who asks, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” (Lk 17:11-19).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 27

Rejoice in a New Song: Jerusalema

Strive to have your name written in the book of life. God has given us enough time on earth so that to make the decision to choose Him, walk in His ways, and serve Him in all things in preparation for the reward of heaven. Judgment awaits all of us when we shall be called to stand before the throne of light to account for our time on earth. God is the Master of time; you and I are called to dwell and serve within His infinite plan of redemption. We must live as wise people knowing that all things belong to God, who has invited us to be His partners, friends, and family workers for the Kingdom of peace on earth as it is heaven. The attraction and the glitters of the planet, the desire to acquire and possess worldly things, is a heavy yoke that we must carry and wrestle with knowing that we are made for the possession of God, longing for the day when we could see God face to face. 

Our body on earth should be an instrument that manifests the goodness of God by magnifying the light of mercy and love.  The people who seek God with sincere hearts as St. John the Evangelist did could be rewarded with the blessing to see with the eyes of faith the glory of heaven, the hope of eternal life. The friends of St. John, the lovers of Christ, may come to share in the same vision of the revelation of heavenly glory and beauty and cry in joyful melody: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 20:1-4, 11-21:2).

Please, desire a place in the new Jerusalem, the city of peace.  Sing and dance with the people of the world the music Jerusalema, our hope for the Kingdom of God. Go to YouTube and find the piece, Jerusama. Enjoy heaven when you can, “here God lives among his people” (Rev. 21:3).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 28

The Tree of New Life

On October 7, 2020, we celebrated Our Lady of the Rosary. While Bishop McGovern was leading the Christians of Belleville in the prayer of the mysteries of salvation, Tony Kellerman, a parishioner of Sacred Heart Parish and staff member, was visited by heavenly grace, the vision of the tree of beauty, of the family of God. St. John the Evangelist unveils the meaning of the tree of life that springs from the heart of God and the Lamb, saying, “An angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb…On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit…And he said to me, the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits, sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon. Behold, I am coming soon.” Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book,” of the tree of life. (Rev 22:1-7).

The Tree of Life is the image of the Kingdom of heaven, a dwelling for saints and angels. It requires the eyes of faith, the heart of humility, and the little ones’ character to understand the treasures hidden beneath the wood of revelation.  The tree of grace is the source of the presence of God’s goodness in creation, the light of the design of heavenly beauty.

The tree of new life that God has given us to behold and cherish is a school of meditation and contemplation of the words and wonders of God so that we may begin to taste the joy of the Kingdom of hope. The Lord said to the faithful, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy…from the anxieties of daily life and the day catch you by surprise like a trap…be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength…to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk 21:34-36).

We must be actively involved in our Christian life so that the light and the power of faith may reach all people at home and abroad.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 29

“Watch!” 

Advent is a time to “watch!” The Lord promises to return, to find us awake and alert, ready to receive him and to rise with Him into the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus warns, “You do not know when the time will come…May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping…what I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'” (Mk 13:33-37). We should not forget that in darkness, and in the struggles of life, the star of the Son of David still shines above. Those who slow down and look to the sky with the eyes of hope will see the light of God, Emmanuel.

We must return to God with all our hearts, minds, and souls, seeking what pleases Him by serving in His vineyard of salvation. The enemy of grace is the Evil One, tempting us in all things so that we may forget the richness of God’s goodness bestowed upon us from the beginning of creation. When Christ returns, will he find us doing what is right in the eyes of love? We know that “all of us have become like unclean people, all our good deeds are like polluted rags…There is none who calls upon your name…Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are the potter: we are all the work of your hands” (Is 64:2-7). Our hope is in your mercy and forgiveness. Restore us in your abounding love, that in imitation of the service of your Servant, Christ Jesus, we may come to heavenly glory and are counted among the holy ones.

Advent is that holy time when we can evaluate our lives by shining the light of the Gospel in every aspect of our activities. In this manner, the darkness of sin may come to light and be healed by the Sacrament of Reconciliation. God wants to tend our wounds of division and restore us to the fullness of peace so that our hearts may thirst for the unity of eternal oneness in the Trinity.

Our hearts should join in communion with all the saints in heaven as we sing out together “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face, and we shall be saved” (Ps 80:4). 

Fr. Joseph Ogand


November 16 – November 22

November 16

“I Want to See”

God is a mystery, but He does not remain hidden from those who long to see His face, those who seek Him with a sincere heart. He reveals Himself to them as the light of life that takes away the blindness of sin. For those who pray persistently and approach God in faith and trust, He asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” God wants us to clearly articulate our intentions, the reasons why we seek Him, and what precisely we want Him to do for us. A blind man seated by the roadside where Jesus was going pass by had a longing of seeing Him and follow Him on the way of faith. The response of the blind man should become the voice of all people of God, saying, “Lord, please let me see” (Lk 18:35-43).

Just because we have eyes to see does not mean that we see everything clearly with the eyes of God. God sees not as human beings do for, we seek what is visible, but God sees what is invisible, spiritual, and perfect according to His heavenly design. Sin makes us blind and prevents us from seeing the goodness of God that fills the face of the earth. 

Christians have been given the sight of faith to see the things of heaven while they are still pilgrims on the earth. God reveals His plan to the chosen, humble, and meek of heart, preparing them for the final reward of heavenly glory. God warns those who assume that they are Christians just because they were baptized and attend Sunday Celebration. Christianity demands that we live and practice the faith in every circumstance of life, laboring for change, to be the face of Christ on earth. 

Pay attention to God’s warning and act on it. He says, “you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (Rev 1:1-4; 2:1-5). Seek the Lord while He is near, return o Him with your whole heart, mind, and soul cry out: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” (Lk 18:35-43).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 17

Queen of Charity

Today we celebrate Elizabeth of Hungary, Queen, lover of the poor and the sick. Her life is a testimony and a school that reveals how a person rich in material things and powerful in status can also become humble of heart and a servant of the poor. There was no contradiction in her life. Wealth did not become a hindrance for her to live and express her love for God and neighbor. She used the wealth of this world to magnify the treasures of heaven, to shine forth the face of God in the act of charity, simplicity, and humility.

St. Elizabeth found in the word of God the guiding compass and principle of life. She listened to the Gospel of truth and inspired by the Holy Spirit, acted on it by practicing the law of love and charity, faith and justice, and hope and generosity. She took to heart meditating and contemplating these words, “If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children let us love not in word or speech but indeed and truth” (1 Jn 3:14-18). You, too, can find meaning and purpose in these words of God calling us to be imitators of St. Elizabeth, the defender and friend of the poor and the little ones.

Do not be afraid to extend your hand and heart to the poor. By serving the poor’s needs, by sharing the gifts and talents of your life, you lose nothing; instead, you gain earthly happiness and heavenly joy. Model your life in the manner of St. Elizabeth. Pope Benedict XVI says, “Elizabeth’s marriage was profoundly happy: she helped her husband to raise his human qualities to supernatural level and he, in exchange, stood up for his wife’s generosity to the poor and for her religious practices. Increasingly admired for his wife’s great faith, Ludwig said to her, referring to her attention to the poor: “Dear Elizabeth, it is Christ whom you have cleansed, nourished and cared for.” A clear witness to how faith and love of God and neighbor strengthen family life and deepen ever more the matrimonial union” (General Audience 20 October 2010). 

The new commandment that you must strive to practice is, “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will, in return, be measured out to you” (Lk 6:27-38).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 18

The Vision of Heaven 

God continues to reveal His face and communicate to us His plans in many ways. God’s word proclaimed and preached is one of the many ways that God uses to speak to our hearts and minds. God can use many approaches to make Himself known to the world since He is not limited or conditioned by any factor. The Psalms reminds us that the “earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.  It means that creation is a book of God, and those with the eyes of faith can experience the power of his design.  

Human beings in a unique way bear the likeness and image of God, and those who seek to see the face of Christ must look intently with the eyes of compassion at those who suffer and, in their cry and tears, would encounter the divine incarnate. God is gently present in places that appear disgusting and ugly to the human eye; He is the friend of the poor, guest of sinners, and defender of the oppressed.

God is Spirit, and He reveals Himself in visions and dreams. St. John the Evangelist, the visionary of love, shares with us the hidden mysteries of heaven that could open our hearts to the heart of God so that we may see with the eyes of faith What awaits the holy ones in the glory of eternal life. He says, “I, John, had a vision of an open door to heaven, and I heard the trumpetlike voice that had spoken to me before, saying “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen afterward.” At once I was caught up in spirit” (Rev 4:1-11). God reveals His plans through visions, dreams, the gift of Spirit, and grace to teach us about the things of heaven. We must remain attentive in meditation and contemplation and be ready to respond when He calls and say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1Sam 3:9).

You must strive to see and encounter the one who “chose you from the world, to go and bear fruits that will last” forever to eternity (Jn 15:16). You cannot bear rich fruits of faith on earth and receive the reward of merciful love in heaven when you do not strive persistently to seek Him, in word, creation, and in neighbor, especially in the suffering of the hungry and strangers.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 19

The Vision of New Life

A gentleman recently came to talk with and was concerned with some of the Church’s teachings and practices. He felt that the Church leaders were the ones who came together to craft the rules and laws that guide the life and path of the faithful. He argued that he did not agree with some of the Church’s teachings since they were simply ideas of men who were only after power and control and that the Holy Spirit did not guide them. He intended to choose and pick what to believe and practice. The question that we must ask is, what is the source of laws, rules, principles that guide the Church’s life, and the practice of faith?   

God, the Father, in union with Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, is the source of the law of love and the summit of the rule of faith-the light of life eternal. It appears according to the vision of St. John that the Seven Sacraments, sources of grace that breathe new life into the Church, is a gift from God of revelation. The Evangelist said that “He had seven horns and seven eyes; these are the seven spirits of God sent out into the whole world…He came and received the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones” (Rev 5:1-10). The four living creatures may stand for the four Gospels, and the twenty-four elders represent the twenty-four letters of the New Testament written by the Apostles hence, making the total books in the New Testament of the Bible twenty-seven. The seven horns can stand for the seven Sacraments of the Church, and the seven eyes representing the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. From the vision, we can deduce a pattern and structure of how God’s children are supposed to worship and express their love for the Father.  

The leaders of the Church do not invent the manner of worship; it is a gift from God given to them in the fullness of grace and in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that makes known to the heart what is pure, true, and holy (Lk 19:41-44, Ps 95:8).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 20

The Word of Change

Those who hear the word of God, meditate, and contemplate the message can attest to the truth that it can “taste sweet in the mouth” and “bitter” in the heart (Rv 10:8-11). When God’s word is proclaimed and preached, it sounds pleasant to the ears and attractive to many people. The challenge that many people experience with the word of God is that by nature, it is not a message to entertain and make us feel good, but instead, it has the intention to shine light in the darkness of life so that those who can see with the eyes of faith may embrace a life of change. Change is not easy, and many people reject and fight any message that challenges how we live life comfortably.

The word of God shines forth a new way of life guided by the truth of God, the Gospel of Christ Jesus. To become children of God, members of the family of the Father, then, believers must decide to reject sin and follow Christ, who is the way to eternal life. The word of God is a person of the Son of God who calls us to an encounter with Him, who is the image of God the Father. Believers can grow in their faith and relationship with God when they become more than just people who hear the word and then forget about it. Christ tells us that “the word of God is living and active” and can penetrate deep into the hearts of those who believe (Heb 4:12). Christ seeks those who do not just call Him Lord, Lord but do not act on His word of salvation.

The Church is the school of learning how to speak the language of God, the language of prayer, worship, and thanksgiving. (Lk 19:45-48) Christ says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middle of them” (Mt 18:20). We come to the Church to connect with God, who loves us, and also to hear the message of hope that gives us purpose to continue to live in a world full of darkness with courage and hope in imitation of Christ in acts of love, charity, and kindness.  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 21

The Presentation in the Temple

Today we celebrate the Presentation of the Virgin Mary into the Temple. The celebration reminds us of the day of our baptism and confirmation, a new birth with water and the Holy Spirit, becoming children of God. Entering into God’s holy ground is coming into a place of light and purity, where the darkness of sin is washed away, and fear conquered by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Unity with God teaches us that we belong to the Father and that we are nothing without Him. We approach His sanctuary in humility and trust so that He may heal the wounds that separate us from the fountain of love.  The Church is our home, a place of peace and tranquility. The Lord says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…you will find rest for your soul” (Mt 11:28-30). After struggling with life challenges in the world, we must return to the Father in the house of prayer to receive the word of wisdom and the food of new life.

God created each of us for a good reason and purpose only known to Him. We approach His table of light that He may teach us what He would like our lives to be about on earth in grace and faith. We come to sit at the feet of Christ Jesus that He may teach us the plan and the will of the Father, and that helped by the gift of Spirit of truth, we may learn to walk in the ways of God by imitating the model of Mary and Holy men and women.

In a world where everyone wants only to do what they think is right for them, the Virgin Mary teaches us the perfect path to seek to know and do the will of God. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Lk 11:28). The house of God is the dwelling place for all God’s children. What do you do to become part of the family of God? Is going to Sunday alone makes one a child of God and a family of believers? One more thing must be done so that to qualify to inherit the Kingdom of God. Jesus says, “whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mt 12: 50).  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 22

Christ the King

Christ is the King of heaven and earth, the one who seeks the lost, protects the weak, feeds the hungry, binds the wounds of the sick, and separates sheep from goats. The Lord is King, different from the earthly kings who impose their authority over others by excessively using their position and power for personal glorification. Many people live miserable lives since their leaders are corrupt. Those same “leaders” violate the law of justice and are enemies of peace and unity. The ill-treated in society continue to cry for justice, praying to God that He may come to their rescue, and to send a King of light, love, and redemption.

The Son of God humbled Himself, coming in human form to set free those who are lost in the darkness of sin. The Lord says, “I myself will look after and tend my sheep…I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered…I myself will pasture my sheep…I myself will give them rest” (Ez 34:11-12, 15-17). The Good Shepherd comes to do the will of the Father and gives Himself as a ransom for the many. We have hope in life because our Master – our King – is crucified on the cross to open for us the way to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Our King, and our friend, does not impose His authority over us but gives us the freedom to choose or reject His offer of salvation. At the end of life, there will be a day of Judgement, providing an account of how we had lived our lives on earth. Are you a sheep or a goat? How can you know if you are the chosen, a member of the faithful flock that follows the Lord to the safety of the Kingdom of rest? The test for whether or not you are chosen is found in Mathew, where our life choices are challenged. “I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill, and you cared for me, in prison, and you visited me” (Mt 25:35-46). Do these acts, and you will live forever in the Kingdom of God.

In Christ the King, we can joyfully acclaim The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want” (Ps 23:1).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


November 9 – November 15

November 9

The Living House of God

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, the Pope’s Cathedral, the seat of the Church’s unity. St John Lateran is regarded as the “Mother and Head of all Churches in Rome and the World.” The Church is more than just a building but a holy ground where sinners are purified and made clean by the water of rebirth. The building itself becomes a symbol of oneness where people of different nations come together under one roof as a holy people made whole by the blood of the cross. The Lord, Jesus Christ, who is the spiritual temple of the Father, the way to heaven, reminds us that God’s dwelling place is a house of prayer.

Prayer connects us to God and each other, a language of the angels and saints in heaven and earth. The house of the holy sacrifice gives us a unique identity, enabling us to become a family and people of God. The one House of God is the branch and extension of the many houses of the faithful. In the holy ground, we find peace, comfort, protection, love, shared concerns, nourishment, education, and formation. In God, the Father, and head of the family of the faithful spring forth all that we need to make our homes a hospitable and welcoming place for all people, especially the poor.

An elderly lady knocked at the rectory door at night, and when I opened, I was surprised to see her standing out in the dark at an odd hour of the night. After I greeted her and inquired what she was looking for, she said: “Tomorrow, I need to go to the hospital to have my cancer treatment, but I do not have money to fuel the car. I did not know what to do, and I went around asking for help, and other people told me to come to this house that I would find help.”

You and I are the sick dealing with the cancer of sin, and we live our lives in the world trying to find a solution, healing that the world cannot give. We must all find our way back to the house of God, for this is our hospital where we are helped by God, giving us His Son to be our healing medicine of love and mercy. 

Where do you go when you need peace, healing, and merciful love? Those who seek help in the house of God “shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine” (Ez 47:12). You have acquired a new identity, a living building of God, “for the temple of God, which you are, is holy” (1 Cor 3:9-11, 16-17).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 10

Witnesses of the Gospel of Love

A gentleman recently asked me if I was aware that non-Christians in the entire world are more than the ones who are Christians. He was also concerned about his own children who were not practicing their faith. He did not know what to do to bring change to the minds and hearts of his family members who do not believe in God. He thinks that his first mission as a Christian father was to his family, to lead them to God. He shared with me that each time he brings about faith issues in discussion with his family, it does not end well. He is concerned that his son and daughter-in-law are trying to prevent him from being with his grandchildren for fear that he would corrupt their minds with the faith matters. He said: “They are afraid that I am going to infect the minds of the little ones with my backward and cultic beliefs.” The man was hopeful that there is power in prayer to bring transformation, and he intended to continue to offer his family to God. He asked me, “Father, what can I do to convince my unbelieving family members to accept Jesus Christ in their lives?

I meet many families who have the same concern about their families who are not Christians. They want the best for them, and they continue to pray for them that one day a miracle will happen that they may find their way back to God. St. Monica did not give up on Augustine, her son, who later became a believer, a teacher of the Church, and a Saint of God. What can one do to bring faith to those who do not believe or are hostile to the word of God? The Lord teaches us what must be done, saying, “Come after me…and I will make you fishers of me” (Mk 1:17). Following the teaching of Christ and doing the will of God by becoming a living witness of the Gospel of love, charity, mercy, justice, and forgiveness, can appeal to many hearts than trying to use many convincing words to change minds.

The Gospel must be lived in everyday life so that those who still walk in the darkness of sin and ignorance may see the light of faith and long for the gift of grace that we may become partners of Christ in the mission of salvation.

 Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 11

The Logic of Love 

When bishop McGovern visited Sacred Heart and Immaculate Conception a few days ago, we were glad to celebrate table sacrifice of sharing and love with him. He spoke about his favorite saint, St. Martin of Tours, bishop whom we honor today in his homily. St. Martin, a darling of Europe, was born in Pannonia, Hungary, a military man who served his country with courage. As a young boy, though born of pagan parents, his heart was thirsting for God. Bishop McGovern shared a story of what young Martin did to a poor man, an act that the bishop admires, seeks to embrace, and called us to imitate. It is reported that “While still a young soldier, he met a poor man on the street numb and trembling from the cold. He then took his own cloak and, cutting it in two with his sword, gave half to that man. Jesus appeared to him that night in a dream, smiling, dressed in the same cloak.”

St. Martin’s story, encountering Christ Jesus in the poor, is a reminder to all the faithful that the sure road to the Kingdom of God passes where the less-fortunate congregate. Christ continues to identify Himself as the one dwelling in the poor and, for those who long to find Him, attention, and sharing with those in need is necessary. At judgment day, the Lord will say to each of us: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:31-40).

Following in the footsteps of St. Martin, may we strive to grow in the logic of love, “logic of sharing,” and the logic of “fraternal charity” that seeks to heal the wounds of injustices in our society with a vaccine of reconciliation, which is the good news with a hundred percent effectiveness. Pope Benedict XVI reflecting on the saint of charity, prays for us, saying, “May St Martin help us to understand that only by means of a common commitment to sharing is it possible to respond to the great challenge of our times” ( Benedict XVI, Angelus, November 11, 2007).

At dinner, bishop McGovern asked, “What should we do as individuals, parishes, and diocese to renew the logic of faith and the commitment of love revealed to us in the model of Christ Jesus?” And the Lord says: “I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 12 

Rooted in Unity 

Saint John Paull II reminds us of the sacrifice that St. Josaphat Kuncewicz, Bishop and Martyr, whose life we celebrate today. He says that he “gave his life for the great cause of Church unity.” God created us for unity, and the Church’s mission on earth is to amplify its effect and power to restore all things to their original design. The blessing of oneness is a precious gift, and many saints have given their lives to attain this highest cause. Human beings do not create unity, but God is the source. St. John Paul II says, “Unity can be achieved only with the assistance of divine grace.” The fruits of life in heaven, such as unity, is attained by the labor of prayer (St. John Paull II, June 11, 1999, Warsaw).

Before Jesus returned to the Father, His farewell message to the faithful was a prayer and longing for unity. He says:  “Holy Father, I pray not only for these but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (Jn 17:20-26). 

The Church loses flavor, attraction, and ardor on earth if she stops to work for the unity of all people. The Lord has left us an example to follow, to become instruments of unity that springs from the bond of love of God and neighbor. The world is experiencing so much division and is in dire need of healing, reconciliation with God, nature, oneself, and others. The disciples of Jesus Christ can become the agents of unity when they first practice what they hope to be magnified in the world.  When the world notices that we are working together as God’s children, they too will desire to have what we witness in love, charity, and peace.

The Church bleeds when her members fight and when the leaders of the Gospel preach confusing messages.  Pope Francis reminds us that “we are not saved alone” (Fratelli Tutti); hence, we should come together to form a fraternity rooted in love and founded on faith.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 13

The Courage of Love: Witness of Charity 

Jesus Christ has revealed to us a new commandment-loving God and one another. Love is the source and summit of all things, and it has a grounded foundation upon which everything finds meaning and stability. In Christ Jesus, we receive a call to share in the divine love, the bond of the Holy Spirit, so that inspired by the fire of grace, we may experience transformation to radiate the light of goodness in the world by becoming the face of Gon on earth. Love is a burning flame in the heart that cannot be hidden; it seeks an opening so that it may consume the world through acts of faith and the power of the Gospel lived and witnessed by the faithful in charity (2Jn 4-9).

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, virgin, celebrated today, was moved by the fire of love that propelled her to leave her native land Italy, to come to the United States of America.  She brought the Gospel of charity and service to many Italians who had moved to the New land.  She witnessed the faith by serving the poor, teaching God’s word, and becoming a model of hope. Her mantra of service is, “I will go anywhere and do anything to communicate the love of Jesus to those who do not know Him, or have forgotten Him.” All the baptized should have the same intent and thirst expressed by St. Cabrini, a longing to share the Gospel of love.

Mother Cabrini was a friend and imitator of the Blessed Virgin Mary. With the Mother of God at her side, she was confident that nothing is impossible, for the Lord was with her. Her call to the faithful was for them not to be afraid to invite Mary into their lives. She said, “If you are in danger if your hearts are confused, turn to Mary. She is our comfort, our help. Turn toward her, and you will be saved.”

Like Mother Cabrini, let us “follow the law” (Ps 119:1) of love and charity as we bring Christ to others by the manner of our lives of faith. Mother Cabrini used to say, “The Heart of Jesus does things in such a hurry that I can barely keep up with Him” (St. John Paul II, A letter to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, 2000). God wants to touch people’s lives in a hurry through our willingness to serve in His vineyard, the Church. Would I give Him a chance to work through and with me?

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 14

Co-workers of Christ

There are some compassionate, loving, and generous parishioners in the parishes where I serve.  I preached about the sufferings of some widows, widowers, orphans, priests, and nuns who were seriously affected by the pandemic effect. Some of the faithful were moved with pity and responded in kindness to their needs. Some of these brothers and sisters did not have food, house, clothing, and other basic needs. For example, a priest did not have food to eat at his rectory; he also lacked the money he needed to buy bread and wine for Mass. Due to fear brought about by the Coronavirus and the restrictions put in place by the governments to control the spread of the virus, many could not come to Church. As a result, the Sunday contribution for the support of the Church was adversely affected.

The faithful who responded in kindness to those in need did so not because they knew them, or because they were rich materially, or because they expected them to pay back in equal measure, but because they are the ones who have seen the face of Christ in the voice of those who suffer. They chose to respond to Christ, who is rich in all things and yet humble for our sake, for salvation. They responded to the pain of the little ones of God because they have come to understand the more profound meaning of the passion of the cross, a narrow path to victory, to secure a place in the Kingdom of God.

Christians are called not to be deaf to the needs of others but must become attentive, awake, vigilant, and aware of the needs of everyone (Lk 18:1-8). God is the one who is kind, loving, compassionate, and He calls us to imitate Christ, who died to establish the Kingdom of justice, freedom, and hope.

How can you become active in your faith? What can you do to respond to the cry of Christ in the poorest of the poor? St. John the Evangelist calls us to embody the spirit of love for God and neighbor. He said: “Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers and sisters, especially for strangers…Please help them in a way worthy of God…Therefore, we ought to support such persons, so that we may be co-workers in the truth” (3Jn 5-8).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 15

Prepare for the Day of Judgement 

There is a place of “wailing and grinding of teeth” and “joy” in the Kingdom of God (Mt 25:14-30). Every day, God allows us to decide what kind of life we choose to live in preparation for the last day’s judgment and blessing. The world is God’s vineyard, a place where we are all invited to exercise the gift of grace, and to serve in the mission of salvation in imitation of Christ, who is the way to the Father.

God has shared with us His treasures that we need to be co-workers of Jesus Christ in the work of evangelization. The question is, how do we use our God-given talents and gifts to serve His people? Are the fruits of our work helpful or hurtful? We are not called to be idle or lazy people who think only about themselves and ignore the cry of the poor and, at the same time, not actively involved in making sure that the Gospel of truth and justice spreads to every part of the world. All Christians are missionaries by their ways of charity and in the work of the Gospel of love and mercy.

The time is coming when you and I will be called before God to account for how we have used His resources. St. Paul said: “You yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night…But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day…Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober” (1Thes 5:1-6). Let us produce fruits of the Spirit, let us shine forth the light of faith, let us be rooted in love and charity, and let us be agents of hope, ever longing to see the face of God. 

The one who serves the Lord with sincerity of heart is like a wise woman who “reaches out her hand to the poor and extends her arms to the needy” (Prv 31:10-13, 19-20,30-31). God has prepared a place in heaven for those who serve Him on earth. At the appointed time, the Master will say “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy” (Mt 25:14-30).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


November 2 – November 11

November 2

Hope for the Faithful Departed 

Yesterday we celebrated all Saints in Heaven, and today we Commemorate all the Faithful Departed. One may ask, who are the Faithful Departed? What difference does it make to celebrate them? I believe that we all have friends and family members who have died, especially those who were Christians at their passing. Death happens to all of us. I believe that we are closer to the mouth of our graves at the end of each day than we were yesterday. Even though death is a mystery, but our resolve to understand it can bring us purpose in life and prepare us to accept it as a path of life, a passage of peace, and a seal of hope in Christ the Savior.

God created us to live and not die. Sin came into the world to rob us of the gift of life by wounding our souls and causing death. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself the yoke of death and leads us to the Kingdom of eternal life and to freedom. All our loved ones and friends, the baptized, and the faithful departed share in the life of Christ. We hope that “If then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more: death no longer has power over him” (Rom 6:3-9). 

One may wonder what happens to the faithful departed after death. The book of wisdom unveils the hidden truth that shines beyond the darkness of the grave of uncertainty and despair. We learn that the “souls of the just are in the hand of God…they are in peace…their hope full of immortality” abiding in “love,” “grace and mercy”(Wis 3:1-9) for God chose them to be His own.  

We die to dwell in the house of the Lord forever as the chosen ones made pure by the fire of the Holy Spirit and made new by the gentle waters of transformation, becoming God’s children called to join the multitude of the holy choir in heaven. We are made to sing the song of hope and joy: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want” (Ps 23:1).

Christians are encouraged to offer Mass intentions for the Departed Faithful. According to St Augustine, in doing so, “we are not just making a crown but instead are offering Christ who was slaughtered for our sins, and thus begging the merciful God to take pity both on them and on ourselves” ( Catechesis, 23 [myst. 5]).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 3

The Power of Love and Charity

Christian faith is a new way of life that enables us to approach God with the heart of humility and obedience. We remain students of Christ Jesus, who teaches us by His way of life to seek the path of the Father and to embrace His plan even if it means drinking the cup of salvation. With its teaching, the world wants us to believe that simplicity of life and gentleness of the heart is a sign of weakness. To become a true faithful disciple of Christ, we must resemble our master in all things, “our kindness should be known to all” (Phil 4:4-9), especially to the poor and the ones who are treated unjustly.

Acts of kindness and generosity practiced by believers are living signs of God’s presence near His chosen people. God’s people are the living Gospel that the world awaits to shine forth the light of divine love and a glow of compassion.   

Even if people around us are unbelievers, the disciples of Christ are encouraged to live and witness the power of salvation. St. Paul teaches, “Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 4:4-9). The world is thirsting for peace, for the Risen Lord, for a new way of living guided by the law of love as Christ loved by giving His life on the cross to make children of the Father (Jn 13:34).

How are we signs and instruments of peace? What do we do to grow in the humility of service for the glory of love? We can learn from Saint Martin de Porres how to grow in our call to holiness and service at the table of sacrifice, love, and charity. St. John XXIII honors the Saint of Charity by saying: “When Martin had come to realize that Christ Jesus suffered for us and that he carried our sins on his body to the cross, he would meditate with remarkable ardor and affection about Christ on the cross. Whenever he would contemplate Christ’s terrible torture, he would be reduced to tears. He had an exceptional love for the great sacrament of the Eucharist and often spent long hours in prayer before the blessed sacrament. His desire was to receive the sacrament in communion as often as he could” (Homily of canonization, 1962).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 4

Service of Unity

Christians possess the gift of faith-knowledge of understanding of the things of heaven; the light of grace poured generously to all who believe in the Word of Christ. Faith’s blessing is a new way of vision that enables the faithful to seek and find God’s goodness in creation. No believer is better or superior to the other since the same Spirit of God gives the gifts and talents, they possess for the sole purpose of building the Kingdom of heaven on earth. It is the power of God’s wisdom, creativity, and the gift of life that works through us, making all things new according to the divine pattern and plan for eternal unity. St Paul captured the thread that unites all of us by saying, “For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one Body in Christ and individually parts of one another” (Rom 12:3-13). 

God gives us the Spirit of great treasures that works through us to create heaven on earth, a society that practice the law of love and hates evil. Children of God promote “what is good,” honor others, serve the Lord, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer, serve the poor, and rejoices in hope for the fulfillment of the glory of heaven (Rom 12:3-13). When Christians work together as children of God, they become the harmonious melody of unity, appealing to hearts to silently give glory and praise to the Father praying, “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord” (Ps 89:2).

The division that we experience within ourselves and also in the society is from the Evil One, for we are called to become “one flock,” under the leadership of “one shepherd” Jesus Christ, who came to do the will of the Father and to give his life for the healing of dissensions (Jn 10:11-16). What do you do as a disciple of Christ to create an environment of reconciliation?

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 5

At the Service of the Gospel

Jesus was sent by God the Father into the world to seek and save the ones held by the power of sin. He calls the lost, saying, “Come to me, all who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). Jesus is the fulfillment of deep human desires, longing for union with the Father. The Church and the Disciples have a mission that springs from the fountain of baptism to become the flowing living water of faith and life that can flood the hungry and thirsty hearts with the Gospel of healing, purity, and new life. 

The Church’s mission on earth is to bring the Gospel of redemption to every corner of the world. The authority, power, and inspiration of doing the work of faith and labor of love are anchored on the hope of this commandment and commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:19-20). 

How are we involved in seeking the lost in sin and ignorance, sharing of our faith with the weak in faith, and supporting the work of New Evangelization at home and universally? We must be the people whose hearts long for the Lord (Ps 105:3), the ones who have encountered Him in the breaking of the word and bread and now can acclaim: We have seen the Risen Lord, He is alive, come and see Him, the Savior of the world (Mt 28:6).

The joy of the Saints in heaven should be the joy of the faithful on earth to have “one sinner who repents” (Lk 15:1-10). To make sure that the work of evangelization succeeds, all the faithful must actively participate. They must “preach salvation to all. Knowing that the Gospel message is not reserved to a small group of the initiated, the privileged or the elect, but is destined for everyone” (St. Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi # 57).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 6

The Cross of Change

Do not be an enemy of the cross of Christ as the prideful people do; instead, be an imitator of the holy the men and women who are our teachers of faith and models of hope in Christ (Phil 3: 1—4:1). We must be children whose light of life is the word of God heard and practiced in all things (1Jn 2:5).

The world is full of many enticing things that can preoccupy one’s life, spending precious time by exhausting life’s energy to acquire and possess earthly wealth without counting the cost. The urge and the rush to have more than enough can never be satisfied here on earth, turning a person to experience unhappiness, to become an empty vessel. One may be rich in the things of the world and, at the same time, become deficient in the things of heaven, becoming blind to what matters most to God. Material things, as good as they are, have the power to deform the design of creation according to God’s plan by masking the spiritual dimension of life, denying humanity an opportunity to live life to the full.

The cross may not be appealing and attractive to the people of the world, but it is the means through which we find the path to new life. It is the way of the sacrifice of love, mercy, and forgiveness of sin that leads to authentic living-life illumined by the gift of grace, a share in the life of God, a transformation into becoming the beloved children of the Father.  Jesus Christ has transformed the tree of the cross, making it the sure path to the heavenly Kingdom. Christians are the people who can bring to the world the light of salvation to those who still desire to partake worthily at the table of salvation. We, the disciple of Christ, must not tire or be afraid to shine forth the light of the cross so that the power of darkness of sin may be conquered and usher a new day of the Kingdom of God.

Fr. Joseph Oganda  

November 7

A Plea for Help

The Coronavirus pandemic is causing unbearable pain, suffering, and despair in the life of many people around the world. The poor are the most affected, and the Church is not spared either. Nowadays, when I hear my cellphone rings, my heart sinks and skips a beat for dread of uncertainty that awaits me on the other side of the line. In this period of the virus, over ninety percent of the calls I receive are pleas of people asking for help, a request for financial support for basic needs, for food purchase. We have managed to help some through friends and kind and generous Christians, but the needs keep rising while the resources run low. My heart wants to help, but I lack the means to make it happens. It pained my heart to the core when a priest I know reached out to me, asking me to assist him since he did not have food to eat in the rectory. According to the priest, the virus has prevented his parishioners, who are also poor, from coming to Church. Without their little support, the Church is unable to hold services. He was not asking for a car, a house, or money to construct a school; instead, he said: “Give me soothing to eat.” Now, when I eat, I think of him, and when I am full, I hear his voice whispering silently, “Do not forget me. I am hungry. I thirst.”

The lamentation of the priest and the poor who now lack food to sustain them during this pandemic period reminds me of the cry of Jesus on the cross of salvation, saying, “I thirst.” The pandemic is terrible in itself, but at the same time, it has brought us an opportunity to live and express our commitment to faith, to labor for love, and to persevere in hope by sharing in the suffering of our fellow brothers and sisters. A shared cross makes us strong. Christians have the call to share their gifts with the Church and the ministers of the Gospel locally and universally. It pleases God when we are engaged in the work of charity and almsgiving and food sharing. Those who extend their hands of generosity are, in turn, receive blessings from the table of plenty of the Kingdom of God.

In this hour of need, how can you join in the sharing of the cross of others? What can you do to wipe the tears from the faces that cry in the voice of Christ: “I thirst” or the ones who plead: “give me something to eat.” We are not alone in this holy act of love, charity, and kindness; Christ is with us. Confidently we can also say with Him, “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me…and it was kind of you to share in my distress” (Phil 4:10-29), in my need for help and compassion.  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 8

Stay Awake and Pray

In Romans (Rom 14:18-9) St. Paul says, “Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” He explained further that “For this reason, Christ died and returned to life, that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living”. Death is a mystery that creates fear, sadness, and hopelessness in our lives, stealing from us the golden opportunity to enjoy life to its fullest. All of us desire to understand the complexity of dying and hopefully acquire the means to tame and overcome our anxieties. The irony is that while humanity has succeeded in conquering many of the world’s mysteries through science and technology death remains slippery and hard to understand fully with the human mind. We need the light of faith to help us break through the imposing walls of death and arrive at eternal life.

Death is more than just the demise of our human body.  It involves the spiritual dimension of life as well, which is eternal and longs to rise to the source of all things, God – who is Spirit and truth. It is Christ Jesus who, by his own death on the cross, has managed to overcome the power of sin, the fruit of death. On the cross, Christ unites our lives with Him so that His death becomes the outpouring gift of new life. For this reason, as St Paul wisely discovered, in and through Christ, whether we die or live, we still belong to the Lord. The body will succumb to death due to weakness and the passing of time, but those who share in the faith and love of Christ are fully alive and death has no power over them anymore. 

Death is coming to all of us. The question is, how are you prepared for the final day? We cannot live as people who are unwise, as people who do not reflect, meditate and contemplate about the meaning of life, being awake, attentive, and ready to welcome the Lord when He calls us back home where “we shall always be with the Lord” (1Thes 4:18). You must continue to thirst for the Lord (Ps 63:2), persevering in hope and prayer, doing acts of love and charity that can keep your heart “awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Mt:25:1-13).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 26 – November 1

October 26

“Behave Like God”

God chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy like Him in all things and, become instruments of change in the world shining like stars of salvation on earth as in heaven. He chose us out of love in Christ Jesus to become adopted sons and daughters of the Kingdom of Glory (Eph 1:1-10). Many people live on earth without being aware of their intimate bond with God, who has a plan for their lives. The Church’s mission is to help those who still walk in the darkness of ignorance of the Gospel of love and mercy to find their way back to the fountain of life and peace. 

The disciples of Christ are people who still live on earth but as pilgrim people with a burning hope to find fulfillment in the glory of God. They are the people who are gifted and guided by the eyes of faith that can penetrate through ordinary things and see the face of holiness. There is a law of love-wisdom of faith and light of hope that the disciples of Christ Jesus must learn, master, and practice always in all things so that they may have the key to eternal life. Saint Paul, an artist of faith, beautifully captures the image and character of a true follower of the way of light. He says, “Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. Explaining how to practice the Gospel of salvation in everyday life, he says, “Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma” (Eph 4:32-5:8).  

Are we living our lives as followers of Christ or as imitators of the world? Our calling is to “live as children of light” (Eph5:8) to “behave like God” (Eph 5:1), to do good, and continuously work for the realization of the Kingdom of love. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 27

The Mastery of the Kingdom of God

Jesus came into the world, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and calling people to a new way of life by the forgiveness of sin (Lk 13:18-21). The Kingdom of God is about creating a new world illuminated by the light of the Gospel that overcomes the darkness of sin, opening the hearts of stones to be attentive to the Spirit of truth. God sent His beloved Son Jesus Christ to become the means to enter a holy dwelling place, a glorious home prepared before the beginning of the world for those who believe in the Word of God. Christ reminds us that he is the “way, truth, and life” that leads to the Father and, those who follow Him would have the “light of life” and would see “heaven open” before their eyes of faith and humility, longing for the glorious redemption.

God sent His Son on earth to reveal to us the hidden mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven; by humbling Himself in human flesh, and by accepting to drink the cup of the cross, He sets us free from the bondage of sin by the power of mercy and love. With Christ as our guide and the Holy Spirit as our teacher about the things of God, the disciples have the means of grace to see the glory of heaven. Christ is the visible symbol and sacrament of the Kingdom of God, and those who believe in Him and follow the law of love are already tasting the sweetness of the eternal life even though they are still sojourners on earth. 

The Kingdom of Salvation is revealed to the humble hearts, the little ones who can see all things with the eyes of faith and are willing to practice the Gospel of love. In fact, the signs of Heavenly Kingdom appear in simple and everyday acts of love, peace, kindness, and justice that all the children of God are invited to practice (Eph 5: 21-32).

The Holy Spirit helps the faithful with the power they need to work in the vineyard of the Kingdom of God and, to produce the fruits of eternal life. How do you live your life everyday as a child of the Kingdom of heaven?  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 28

Holy and Apostolic Church

The Church, a holy building, standing majestically on the foundation of Jesus Christ, is rooted in the Father as the stable ground that does not falter (Eph 2:20). Upon this divine structure stands the chosen Apostles as the living beacon of hope working together as one family to build a house of God, a dwelling for all the believers. The Apostles are heroes of faith and witnesses of the mystery of salvation as lived by Jesu Christ, whom they could touch, see, and encounter as the Son of God dwelling among them. Apostles became Christ’s co-workers, shared in His life, experienced the redeeming power of love and mercy, and tasted the harshness of the cross of the Good News of the Kingdom of heaven.

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Simon and Jude, Apostles, holy men who followed Jesus Christ to the end of heavenly victory. They were friends united by the bond of the Gospel that gave them the courage to witness the light of resurrection both in word and action. Due to unwavering desire to share the joy of the Gospel, the power of Apostles’ voices of truth continues to touch the hearts of the faithful everywhere. Their Spirit continues to shine forth in the Church and the hearts of believers, urging them not to be afraid to plant the seed of faith or be ashamed to witness the power of the cross that sets prisoners free and wipe the tears of the sorrowful.

The Risen Lord gave the Apostles a mission to take the Gospel to the rest of the world (Mt 28:19-20).  St. Jude and James, as well as the other Apostles, took to heart their vocation to live, preach and spread the Word of God. The Church that springs from the fountain of the Apostles’ faith has one mission on earth, to build the culture of love, life, and peace. 

St John Paull II reminds us of the dire need of the Church and calls us to act like the Apostles James and Jude and their companions. The Pontiff says: “The Gospel message has still not been heard by two-thirds of the world’s population.” He asks, “Who will meet this need?” And the Lord says: “Whoever loves father or mother, son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Mt 10:37).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 30 

Do Good Always

Christians are called to practice discernment of life, to do what is good and holy, and can add value to life in the imitation of Christ. (Phil 1:1-11). God created everyone with a good plan that one must strive to know and follow faithfully. Not living in conformity to God’s design for one’s life is a path that leads to despair and unhappiness. Pope Francis warns that “the Christian life is a constant battle” (Rejoice and Be Glad) with the powers of the world and the Evil One. Jesus came into the world to wage Spiritual war with the Evil One, an enemy of truth and justice. The Lord overcomes evil by doing the will of the Father, giving his life for the salvation of the world.

Christians are not immune to the attacks that come from the Evil One, but the good news is that Jesus continues to guide the way and the Holy Spirit shines forth the light of the truth that believes can rely on in rejecting the allure of easy way of life that the world offers. Jesus said that believers would go through the experiences that He confronted on earth, rejection, opposition, and even death for the sake of witnessing their faith.

Pope Francis warns that “we should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea.” He cation that “this mistake would lead us to let down our guard, to grow careless and end up more vulnerable.” The medicine that keeps the devil at bay is to develop a desire to grow in faith and relationship with God by practicing the service of charity and embracing humility of confession. We must be the people who long to be vested by the crown of the “fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ” and shines forth the “glory” of love for God and neighbor ( Phil 1:1-11).

The practice of the discernment of life inspires us to follow the way of the Lord by practicing the law of the Gospel (Jn 20:27). How can we learn and grow in the practice of the discernment of life? Pope Francis shows what one must do to grow in faith, to practice “faith-filled prayer, a meditation on the word of God, the celebration of Mass, Eucharistic adoration, sacramental Reconciliation, works of charity…missionary outreach.” Practice these acts of love, and you will send the Evil One packing to look for another place to dwell.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 31

Magnify Christ with your life

Christ must be proclaimed in word so that those who hear and believe the Gospel truth may return to the fold of the Father. All the baptized have a mission to make sure that the salvation of Jesus Christ reaches to the ends of the world. Not everyone can leave their family and homeland to traverse the whole world to proclaim the good news of justice and peace. God has called some people to become missionaries of faith, to take the Gospel of love to others, but they are our representatives in those lands. They are the courageous soul on the front line of the battle to win others for Christ, but they depend on the support we give them so that they may do the work of God with joy and generosity. All the Christians should find ways to support the mission work, for we are workers of evangelization. Saint John Paul II knows about the need for so many souls that have not heard the word of God. He says: “The Gospel message has still not been heard by two-thirds of the world’s population.” The pontiff then poses a question that requires a discernment of life that can lead to an act of love. He asks, “Who will meet this need?”

The work of evangelization begins in our own homes, in places of work, with our friends, local church, and our immediate society before we extend our wings of faith to other parts of the world by supporting our heroes, missionaries. Ours should be an evangelization of life of which St. Paul describes. “Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death” (Phil 1: 18-26). We must become the face of Jesus so that those who meet us, especially in our labor of love and charity, may acclaim: Now, I have seen Christ in the manner of your gentleness and kindness.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect Evangelist of the Gospel of truth. His humility of heart and willingness to carry the yoke of our sins is a gift of love and mercy that enables believers to imitate Him and live the faith faithfully (Mt 11:29). Our prayer is the force that allows the word of God to be planted in the hearts of others. We must have a thirsting soul for the living God (Ps 42) so that we may become an instrument of the living Gospel of love to our people at home and universally.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

November 1

The Tree of Saints: The Splendor of Love

Today, we celebrate the Saints in heaven, who were first and foremost holy on earth before they were honored by God on our behalf. By learning about them and from them, we too may imitate their holiness of life and unite in the family of God. Saints are the people who were guided by the same light of the Beatitudes (Mt 5:1-12), following the ways of mercy, humility, and service to the poor. Saints are people, like you and me, who shared in the suffering of believers and who magnified the radiant beauty of the tree of life, which bears the fruits of the art of perfect love.

Saints are the souls that have received the promise of Christ who said “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God” (Mt 5:8), and in seeing Him as He is, they “shall be like Him” (1 Jn 3:1-3). The Psalmist acclaim the Saints when he prays “Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face” (Ps 24:6). A desire to see Jesus Christ, a thirst to encounter Him as a loving friend, and a hunger for joy in partaking in His Body and Blood are burning hopes for every child of God. The Saints in heaven have received their reward of faith on earth that now they can fully share in the glorious splendor of God. The faithful on earth, souls that yearn to have an intimate union with God, are the living saints, pilgrims who are illuminated by the light of the Spirit whose eyes of faith can see “heaven open” and cry “I thirst” (Act 7:58, Jn 19:29).

The Saints are our friends, the symbols of hope unveiling the hidden mysteries of life after death. We are united with them in one heart of praise and thanksgiving as the blessed people of God that St. John the Evangelist describes as, “…. the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb” (Rev 7:2-4, 9-14). 

We are all called to be saints, to embrace a life of holiness, having a longing to be close to the heart of Christ meditating and contemplating the things of heaven. Pope Benedict XVI tells what it takes to be a saint even now on earth as we continue to strive in the way of faith. He says, “to be a Saint requires neither extraordinary actions or works nor the possession of exceptional charisms.” He explains what is necessary, saying, “first of all to listen to Jesus and then to follow him without losing heart when faced by difficulties” (Homily November 1, 2006).  

Fr. Joseph Oganda


October 19 – October 25

October 19

Work for True Wealth

What is your greatest desire and longing in life? The hunger and craving for earthly riches have captured the human heart. People sacrifice so much to increase their material wealth to appear important and successful in the world’s eye. The people of the world measure a person’s worth, value, and importance based on what they have and not who they are-a child of God, a handiwork of the Creator of all things. A life built on the foundation of created things passes away so fast and withers over time, leaving one empty, disappointed, and spiritually poor.

Human beings are made of body and spirit. The time directed towards developing the needs of the body should equally be applied in growing the spiritual dimension. Failure to cultivate a life that equally serves physical hunger, and the spiritual longing is detrimental to a person’s well-being.  The body and the spirit are always at war with each other competing for the control one’s life.

God is Spirit, revealing Himself to the world by taking human flesh in the Son. He humbles Himself coming in human flesh so that by lifting us on the cross, he brought about healing from the power of sin and made us adopted children of God, inheritors of the Holy Spirit and candidates of the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus warns us not to be foolish people who are rich in worldly things while remain poor on “what matters to God.” He says, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions” (Lk 12:13-21). 

While we are pilgrims on earth, we must seek and find authentic wealth that will remain forever to eternal life- the treasures of kindness, mercy, and grace (Eph 2:1-10). When “we are wrapped up in worldly concerns, and the more we devote ourselves to external things, the more insensitive we become in spirit” and blind to the need of the poor. (St. Gregory, the Great, Pope). 

Desire heaven, desire peace, desire joy-these perdure, and do not disappoint.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 20

Be Vigilant: Pray

A husband and wife attended a prayer gathering organized by the leaders of the Church to pray for this nation- to ask God to rain down the Spirit of unity, healing, and peace that we all need. The people cried to God for the gift of mercy and forgiveness for the many ills we have communally committed against the sacredness of life, especially against the innocent souls aborted in our society every year. Prayer is our way of pleading with God to open the hearts of people who are enemies of the gift of life that they may become changed and understand the shared responsibility towards protecting and cherishing life.

After the prayer ended, I asked the couples how they were doing, and the lady responded, “not very good.” I inquired about the issue they were dealing with, and the lady said: “Father, my cancer is back with vengeance and force.” She explained, “There isn’t much the doctors can do about it, and they have given me approximately six months to live.” I know the couple as genuinely lovely to everybody, faithful to God, friendly, and hospitable. They have been battling this cancer for a while.

Before we parted ways, I told them that it must be a heavy burden to carry and wrestle with every day. In response, the lady said: “The experience with this illness has taught me a valuable lesson of life that it is not always possible to understand what a person deals with until you have carried that cross yourself.” I asked them how they planned to confront this devastating news, and said, “we will continue to do what we have always done in our lives, pray.” 

The couple have found stability in prayer both in bad and good times. They were not going to allow even the harshness of cancer to rob them of the treasure of peace and hope that prayer offers. 

What about you? How do you prepare yourself for a day when God would call you back home? And Jesus says: “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk 21:36). We must stay awake and fight the cancer of sin by taking the therapy of reconciliation.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 21

“Stay Awake”

Christianity is a call to “stay awake”(Mt 24:42,44) in life, practice discernment, and seek light instead of the darkness of sin. Jesus is the new light of the truth that leads the way to the Kingdom of God. Christ’s death and resurrection brought hope of new life through the waters of baptism, and by the gift of the Holy Spirit. The faithful share in the blood of Christ that make them adopted children of God. The disciples are now coworkers with Christ; people are given a mission to spread and witness the Gospel of new life. 

The disciples of Christ are pilgrims who are on the way to heavenly destination, waiting in hope and faith for the second coming of Jesus Christ. The Lord promised that He would return to take us home, to reconcile us with the Father. No one knows when the Lord will return to hand over everything back to the Father. One thing for sure is that each day is a gift and opportunity to unlock the path of our hearts and be ready to respond to the call of the cross and resurrection. How many are prepared to respond to the invitation to leave this world and return to the Father? Each of us should always be prepared to open the door when God knocks, when He calls.

How do we prepare for the Lord while we are still on the journey to eternal life?  Pope Francis says that to “stay awake” is to be at the service of God and neighbor, at all times by having one’s heart “free and oriented in the right direction,” seeking to do the will of God by imitating the humility and simplicity of Christ Jesus. He who became poor to make us rich in what matters to God. The Pontiff warns that “The sleep from which we must awake is created by indifference, by vanity, and by the inability to establish genuinely human relationships and to take care of our brothers and sisters who find themselves alone, abandoned, or ill.” 

Jesus says, “Stay Awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come” (Mt 24:42,44) to call you home.

Fr Joseph Oganda

October 22

“Do you Love Me?”

Jesus asked St. Peter a fundamental question: “Do you love me?” (Jn 21:16) Christianity is about authentic love for God and neighbor. Every disciple of Christ must confront this one question that can determine the direction of ones’ life. The love that St. John Paul II received when he was baptized and anointed with the Holy Spirit prepared him for an ultimate question asked at the point of his invitation to become the servant of the poor. He, too, like St. Peter, was asked, “Do you love me more than these?” (Jn 21:15- 17). He accepted the office of feeding the flock with the Gospel of truth by becoming the living witness of Christ, who is the perfect love of the Father made Incarnate.

It is not enough to express love for God but what is needed most is that it must be an exceeding love, first love made pure by having faith and trust in the Son of God. Love that Jesus longs to find in us is a gift of grace that opens the hearts of believers to respond to the vocation of service and salvation. It is a call extended to everyone whom the Son of Man died for on the cross.

The call to love God and serve neighbor in the world is louder in the present age when many people tend to be deaf to God’s word. Many people in our society are lost since they are seeking the path of worldly love which cannot bring true satisfaction and fulfillment reserved to God alone.

God, the lover of the poor, continues to seek those who can respond to the call to love and service others by witnessing the Gospel of charity and almsgiving. How many are still attentive to God’s call? And who will say: “Here I am. Send me?” (Is 6:8) St. John Paull II says, “Today Christ is asking each of you the same question: do you love me? He is not asking you whether you know how to speak to crowds, whether you can direct an organization or manage an estate. He is asking you to love him. All the rest will ensue. In fact, walking in Jesus’ footstep is not immediately expressed in things to do or say, but first of all, in loving him, in staying with him, in totally accepting him into one’s life.”

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 23

A Longing to see the Face of God

The water of baptism makes us children of God, and the gift of the Holy Spirit makes us partakers of the banquet of the Gospel of truth and new life. God has “revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom” (Mt 11:25). The Son of God, and a share in the cross of new life, give the disciples a reason to begin to have a glimpse of heaven with the eyes of faith while they are still pilgrims on the earth. The glory of heaven that we can taste at the table of sacrifice is a source of change and transformation that summons us to become the light of love on earth.

Christians have been given the eyes of faith to help them see more clearly and live authentic lives. The disciples of Christ cannot continue to live their lives on earth as non-believers do, as people who are guided only by what is visible to the sensual eyes. We are challenged by Christ, who says, “You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” (Lk 12:54-59).

The present time is full of evil and opposition to God, rejection of the Gospel of truth. The world needs living and effective persons to shine the light of peace, joy, and justice. Christ wants to work through us to bring healing in our lives and society. Would you allow Christ to work through you to bring about the Kingdom of heaven? To become partners of Christ in the mission of salvation, then we must become of one heart with the Psalmist and acclaim, “Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face” (Ps 24:6). A face made glorious by divine reflection illuminating the rays of humility and gentleness,” a face made beautiful by the light of “the bond of peace” and love (Eph 4:1-6), a holy face.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 24

“Repent!”

If we do not bear fruits of faith, love, and charity, we are like a barren tree that uses the ground resources and give nothing in return. A time comes when a farmer decides to cut down a tree and throw it into a fire to create room for another plant that can produce fruits. The Christians are the trees of God planted on a mountain to produce good fruits that can last forever. By the water of baptism, we have become children of the Father and co-workers of Jesus Christ called to live and witness the Gospel of mercy, charity, and the Kingdom of God. Christianity is not a private business that one engages in without being mindful of the rest of God’s people. We are Christians for others, just as Jesus Christ died on the cross for all people so that they may receive redemption. Our joy in life is to see that all people are saved and restored to God’s Kingdom. We must be concerned when we see that majority of people are not following the way that Christ has left for us, the path of justice, peace, and unity?

Sin is the enemy, the virus that prevents us from becoming more productive in the vineyard of the Lord. Jesus died to overcome evil so that those who believe in Him may become children of the Father. Once we are set free from sin by the blood of the cross, we should strive to live in the light of the Spirit of truth. To continue to embrace the darkness of sin after sharing in one cup of salvation is a rejection of God’s great love and mercy.

God is patient with us and continues to give us many opportunities to come back to our senses and return to Him, who is our Father and has a good plan for each of us.  The Lord says, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man…but rather in his conversion that he may live” (Ez 33:11). We choose our self-destruction by taking the path of pride and indifference that leads only to death.

Use the time that God has given you to decide and plan your life’s goal and purpose. Choose God, and you will never regret it because He loves you and does not want to see that you perish. But if you ignore the call to change, hear this warning: “But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish” (Lk 13:1-9).

 Fr Joseph Oganda

October 25

Redeemed by Love and Compassion

God is “compassionate,” He hears the cry of the poor and the oppressed (Ex 22: 20-26) and humbles Himself to come and share in their sufferings. To mistreat others is an attack on God Himself, and no one who perpetrates acts of injustice can claim that they are Christians or that they know God. Those who know God and are the disciples of Jesus Christ cannot be agents of evil on earth since by the waters of baptism and by the anointing with the Holy Spirit they have become children of God.

Scripture minds us that we should treat others the same way we would like to be treated by others. When we see another person suffering or is in need, we must put ourselves in their shoes and respond to their needs and tears as if we are attending to Jesus Christ, who is the protector of the poor. When we ignore those who seek our helping hand, we close the door to blessings for ourselves since Christ, whom we long to see and encounter, is fully present in the little ones, widows, orphans, the poor, and the oppressed.

Just because we may be doing well in life does not mean that we should be indifferent to those who may be in need. God reminds us that we need redemption, and He sent His Son to die for us, so we cannot claim that we are better than others who may be carrying heavy crosses in their lives. God has given us all that we need to live in service to the Church in the world. We shall be asked to account for how we utilized the resources and gifts that God had given us to become co-workers with Christ in the field of redemption.

If we truly “love” God, who is our “strength” (Ps 18:2), then we would likewise love the weak who are our brothers and sisters in need of kindness and almsgiving. Our faith must be seen in everyday life when we become “imitators of Christ and the holy people of God who witness the Gospel of love and compassion (1 Thes 1:5-10, Mt 22:34-40).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


October 12 – October 18

October 12

A Miracle of Change

A lady one time said to me, “Father, I believe that if the Church can perform many signs, miracles, and spectacular deeds, many people who are not believers would change their ways and become Christians.” She further stated, “just imagine if the Church was able to cure miraculously and instantly all those who are admitted in hospitals how amazing and powerful it could be!” Is it true that what people need to become Christians and committed followers of Jesus Christ are miracles and signs? It is true that human beings are visual-oriented and need observable evidence to approve and believe an idea or fact.

Christianity is like a bird that needs two functioning wings to fly. It can be incredibly challenging to attempt to fly with only one wing. Christianity has faith and reason as her wings that enable her to fly from heaven to earth and from earth to eternity. These two organs of truth must work together as intended by the creator. Reason flourishes from what is visible while faith springs from what is invisible. The need for a miracle and sign as an appetizer to faith is not just a thing of this age alone, but even those had encounter with Jesus demanded signs.

Jesus’ response to those who seek signs so that to believe is, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah” (Lk 11:29-32). The people of Nineveh believed Jonah, who challenged them to leave their evil ways and change their lives. Jesus says that He is the sign that people need; He is the promise of the Father that has come to lead people to a new life of change and transformation. His death on the cross and sacrifice of love is the sign and miracle of mercy and forgiveness that we all need to bring healing for eternal life.

 We need the miracle of spiritual awakening and growth in faith that can open the hearts of the people to discover in their lives the ongoing work of God, the creation of a new life of holiness and goodness of the Father. Jesus says to those who seek miracles: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed” (Jn 20:29) for yours is the Kingdom of God. 

One gentleman said to me: “We must strive to become the miracle we want because we are the people of the living faith in Jesus Christ.”

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 13

The Law of Almsgiving

A lady was surprised to learn that serving the needs of the poor, sharing one’s resources with the poor is a means of purifying hearts from the darkness of sins. She began to practice the act of charity and sharing in the suffering of others and soon discovered that peace and fulfillment of life was the immediate reward that was starting to spring forth from her heart. She was guided by the words of Jesus, who says: “But as to what is within, give alms and behold, everything will be clean for you” (Lk 11:37-41). Her faith was changed from becoming an observation of rules and practices of outward rituals to something more personal, intimate, and creative. By the help of the Holy Spirit, she practiced the Gospel of love, mercy, and almsgiving, and believed that the “word of God is living and effective” (Heb 4:12). She discovered a new law of life, the law of love and compassion “able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” (Heb 4:12). 

We all need stipulated laws to guide how to live and relate with each other on earth. Where there is no law or where the wisdom of law is rejected, chaos and lawlessness become the rule of life. The faithful are confronted by the rules of the world, which promotes the external observance of norms without paying attention to the light of the internal well-being of the Gospel of truth. Christians also need the law of God to guide them to live their faith in conformity to the plan of salvation.

God’s law is the law of love expressed through the living of faith in acts of mercy, forgiveness, and almsgiving that purify hearts and minds to seek and find the path of eternal life. The law of God is written in the hearts of the faithful through the power of the Holy Spirit. The gift of grace that springs from the Spirit of God enables the disciples of Christ to abide by the law of love as they look forward and “wait for the hope of righteousness” (Gal 5:1-6) that make them “free” from the power of darkness, the evil spirit of rebellion and pride.

The law of God is a gift of mercy and forgives sin, removing obstacles of division, and restoring the humble of hearts to the family of the Holy Trinity. Jesus Christ is the Law of God made visible to the world, calling all who believe to a new way of life, service to the poor in acts of charity and almsgiving.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 14

Life in the Spirit

Our lives are fields of war, a battleground where the “passions and desires” of human flesh fight against “the fruit of the Spirit.” The body seeks to cultivate a field that produces bitter fruits of “immorality, impurity, licentiousness…hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts…” The Spirit on the other hand, strives to create a holy ground of the Kingdom of God adorned with the beautiful flowers of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” ( Gal 5: 18-25).

We are the field of God. Each of us must ask, what kind of fruits am I producing? Do I produce good grapes of joy, peace, love, or harmful and poisonous seeds of suffering and death? Christians and non-believers still dwell in the body, but for the disciples of Christ, something of transformation has taken place by the gift of the cross, a sacrifice of love. The faithful live by surrendering the forces of flesh to the power of the Spirit since they have been crucified with Christ.

Christians are new people who must strive to “live in the Spirit” and “follow the Spirit” of truth and life eternal. The Spirit makes us God’s children, a people who seek to know and do the will of the Father, a people who are guided by the wisdom and the light of the Gospel of love. We, the vineyard of the Lord, have received the seed of the Word of God planted in our hearts. Are we actively involved in the work of God striving to produce good fruits? The world would be changed to shine forth the goodness of God if each of us were busy working in our inner field, cultivating the fruits of love and peace.

What is stopping you from becoming the change we want to see in the world? You have the power of the Spirit to become the living Christ, “the light of life” (Jn 8:12), begin to shine forth.    

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 15

“My God, I Love You”

Today we celebrate the life and faith of Saint Teresa of Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church. She is a teacher and exemplar of the power of love that can transform the minds and hearts of those who believe in Jesus Christ, the living and efficacious love of God. She found meaning and stability in the words of Jesus, who says, “Remain in my love, says the Lord; whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruits”( (Jn 15:9, 5). She had a special and intimate relationship with Christ to the extent that she consecrated her whole life to the service of the Kingdom of love. In fact, she said that her “vocation is love.” The love of God and neighbor became the pupil of her eyes, the way of the light of the truth that led her humble vision to see “heaven open” (Acts 7:56).

She is a saint of “little ways” who learned to encounter Christ in simple means that the learned of the world would disregard and reject. She had lovely eyes and a beautiful heart that could see beyond what is visible and arrive at what is invisible through the gift of grace that reveals God’s goodness hidden in creation. It was a way of contemplating the work of the hand of God, the splendor of grace. She is among the “chosen from the world to go and bear fruits that would remain” (Jn 15: 16), the fruits of love, faith, and hope.

Her gentleness of heart, the humility of mind, and purity of soul was a burning fire of holy life that brought warmth, peace, and great joy to those who encountered her in person and in her writings. The depth of her life bore fruits of wisdom that still shine the light of the truth of the Gospel brightly. She taught, “Let nothing disturb you; let nothing frighten you; all things are passing away: God never changes.” She found meaning in the words of Jesus, who says, “You are anxious and worried about many things”(Lk 10:38-42), only Christ suffice.

How intimate is your relationship with Christ? We, too, like St. Theresa, must become aware that our common Vocation is love. We can do this when we remain connected to Christ, the vine of the Kingdom of heaven, for without Him, we cannot bear any fruits of faith (Jn 15:1-8). May the last words of the Lady of the “Little Way,” the words she proclaimed before surrendering her soul entirely to the Trinity of love, become our treasures of hope. She cried in trust and joy in words that mark the signature of her faith and teaching, saying, “My God, I love you.” 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 16

The Chosen One

I watched an interview where a single mother of a teenage girl, an angel who came to the rescue of three little sisters who were being raped by their own father. The story is that the mother of three girls of eight, four, and two years old, left her family during this pandemic and did not return home. Meanwhile, the father was busy raping the eight-year-old girl, repeatedly causing her many injuries, pain, and suffering. The eight-year-old girl was forced to become the mother of the family, taking care of the littles, cooking, cleaning the house, washing clothes, and at night abused sexually by the person who is supposed to care, protect, and love her as a father.

The good Samaritan, the lady who rescued them, happened to be visiting different houses of hungry and poor people to distribute free food.  When she came to the shanty where the three girls lived, she noticed that something was wrong. The neighbors confirmed to her that the father had been abusing the children. The lady moved with pity and concern, decided to take the hurting children to the hospital, reported the matter to the police, and now leaves with them in her small house until a permanent solution is found.

When the lady was asked why she decided to host the three girls while she was a single mother who did not have enough for herself, she responded, “God has chosen me to give them love and God would provide for us.” Many people, friends, and family members pleaded with her not to care for those children since her only responsibility was to care for her daughter alone. She did not give in to others’ pressure but chose to be moved with compassion, kindness, and generosity, and acted in love for God and neighbor.

The interviewer called the lady an angel of God. Yes, she is an angel of love whose only mission is her willingness to share in the suffering of the little ones, opening her small house, heart, and faith to the poor of the poor. She is the embodiment of the Psalms of today: “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own” (Ps 33:12). You, too, are chosen to go to the world and produce fruits of eternal life. How do you practice your faith as a chosen one? Jesus says: “Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows” (Lk 12:1-7) attend to the needs of the little ones by loving in words and actions.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 17

Workers of Unity of Life in the Trinity

Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop, and Martyr believed that Christianity is about unity with the Trinity and life in Christ, a share in the cross of redemption.  Ignatius was of one heart with the Lord and saw all things through the lens of the unity of believers, ministers of the Gospel, and God. The work of the Church on earth was for him a labor of building the Kingdom of oneness where God the Father was the head, the Son being the heart, and the Holy Spirit the soul of love that binds all things together.

The message of unity is needed in the world, in our societies, homes, and our own lives. Division, frictions, and wars seem to have taken over the world, creating a culture of despair and death. Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that it was St. Ignatius, who was “the first person in Christian literature to attribute to the Church the adjective ‘catholic’ or ‘universal.’ The saint of unity acclaim: “Where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Smyrnaeans, 8:2). Jesus Christ now dwells in the hearts of the faithful. Christians can bring the light and breath of unity to the world that binds, heals, and renews all things to its original beauty and goodness. If the world is not set ablaze with the fire of unity, it means that the Christians, who are supposed to be the means of oneness, have lost connection with God, the source of life.  

St. Ignatius died for his faith in Jesus Christ; he shared entirely in the suffering of Christ to the end, encouraging believers to “stand firm in the Lord,” no matter the cost.  We, too, must be “imitators” of him who was not ashamed to share in the one cup of freedom. (Phil 3: 17-4:1). In choosing to die for Christ, he said: “It is better for me to die on behalf Jesus Christ than to reign over all the ends of the earth…Him I seek, who died for us: Him I desire, who rose again for our sake…Permit me to be an imitator of the Passion of my God!”  (Romans, 5-6).

We are called to produce fruits of faith, fruits of love that remains as the seal of hope of eternal life. Those who die in Christ are means of “much fruit” (Jn 12: 22-24), death to sin, and resurrection to peace. As imitators of St. Ignatius and as disciples of Christ, how do we work for unity that make us authentic Catholic Church in the world clouded by the darkness of division and suffering?  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 18

Resisting the Plot to Destroy Faith

Some people oppose God and plot ways to prevent the spread of the Church and the proclamation of the Gospel truth. Jesus, too, was confronted by groups of people who tried to undermine His mission to lead others to the way of truth, repentance, and salvation. Change is challenging and demanding. Those who benefit from unjust dealings and undertakings of evil resist any attempts to usher new ways of life, impeding Christians who walk the path of justice, healing, and reconciliation.

We today are undergoing the same struggles experienced by the faithful in the time of Christ as they dealt with loud voices that undermined the work of the Church as it has battled evil in the world. Modern society encourages people to seek things that would satisfy their earthly needs instead of those that may lead them to awaken their hearts to the illuminating guidance of God’s Spirit, the light of truth and life. Those who seek to live spiritual lives in society are treated with contempt and derision as if they are enemies of progress and freedom to do whatever one desires.

We must be aware of these ongoing wars and struggles of faith that the Church experiences. The faithful are called to become partners of Christ in the work of salvation so that the light of change and transformation may shine forth in society. To perform that critical work we must deal with the following questions: 

  • How do we continue to live and witness our faith in Jesus Christ amidst evil opposition? 
  • When faced with challenges brought about by following Christ, will we be ashamed of Christ and abandon the faith? 

We are God’s Chosen who are expected to endure in the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ as we continue to excel in our “work of faith and labor of love” despite the challenges and opposition from the evil spirit (1Thes 1:1-5). Christ calls us to a new way of life when He challenges us to “Shine like lights in the world as you hold on to the word of life” (Phil 2:15-16).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


October 5 – October 11

October 5

“Who is my Neighbor?”

There are two essential questions that each of us must continuously wrestle with: “What must I do to inherit eternal life? And who is my neighbor?” (Lk 10:25-37). The goal of life on earth is to journey towards realization of rest in eternal life, union with God the Father, who is the source and summit of all things. We cannot leave to chance the need to seek and find the way to heaven.

The Scripture contains the Word of God, the light of truth that teaches and unveils the hidden law of new life, the law of compassion, kindness, and love of the Kingdom of heaven. Christians are called to practice the law of love of God and neighbor. “But who is my neighbor?” Recently, one parishioner asked me this question when I encouraged her to be mindful of her neighbor? Do you know who your neighbor is? We all become neighbors to each other when we meet at the heart of the cross, when we share in suffering, and when we extend the hands of mercy, generosity, and goodness to everyone in need and especially to those who may appear to be strangers to us.  

We live in a society that does not fully embrace the Gospel of God. Many preachers and Christians pick and choose from the Scripture messages that would fit their preconceived agenda and goal instead of what God commands. St Paul warns us to be vigilant against those who “wish to pervert the Gospel of Christ” and preach the human gospel of the worldly kingdom (Gal 1:6-12). God, through Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, calls us to expand our visions of who is my family, who is my neighbor? We should learn from Christ, who gave His life as a ransom for many, how to treat others the way we would want them to treat us.

The blood of the cross makes us neighbors of each other and, loving one another as Jesus has loved us is the means to eternal life. Jesus is the Good Samaritan who commands us: “Go and do likewise,” be “moved with compassion” and “mercy” towards your neighbor in need, and you will inherit the joy and glory of heavenly bliss. (Lk 10: 25-37).  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 6

Seeking “Paths of Interior Liberation”

In the world, people are remarkably busy chasing after so many things until they are left with limited time to enjoy and value the beauty of life. Jesus reminds us that amidst the chaotic drama of life that we live, “there is need of only one thing” (Lk 10:38-42). What is the one thing that can give meaning to life? Mary, Martha’s sister, is praised by Christ for finding the main thing that life should spring forth. Mary discovered that the most important thing is to sit “beside the Lord at his feet, listening to him speak” (Lk 10:38-42). While Martha was burdened with bodily needs, her sister, on the other hand, realized that rest in Jesus Christ should form the foundation of every work. The Lord is the Word of life through whom all things find their origin and summit.

Being with Jesus listening to His words, and contemplating the mysteries of salvation is the perfect labor that all the disciples of Christ are invited to learn and embrace before they are sent out into the world to witness the light of the Gospel of transformation. The work of salvation that all the disciples are called to become partners is first and foremost belongs to God, who calls us in mercy and love to share in his vineyard. When we disconnect work, prayer, union with God, and service of others, then what emerges as the fruit of our sweat is words of complaint instead of good fruits of joy, praise, and thanksgiving. 

St. Bruno, whose life we celebrate today, like Mary, found the true meaning of life and work by dwelling in the presence of the Lord. His advice to all who would like to find meaning and worth in everything they do is “never to lose sight of the highest vocation, which is to remain forever with the Lord.” Pope John Paul II celebrates St. Bruno’s gift of contemplation, points out that the faithful need to develop “paths of interior liberation and docility to the Holy Spirit” that teach us how to work for “mutual love,” choosing the “better part” of eternal life (Lk 10:38-42).

The shortest path to freedom is through “interior” dwelling in the presence of Jesus Christ, waiting patiently in prayer for the outpouring of the Spirit of truth and life eternal. What is stopping you from choosing the “better part” of life, Christ?

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 7

The Rosary: “The Gospel Prayer”

Jesus’ life can be described as a way of prayer. He was always in union and conversation with God, the Father. He came into the world not to do His own will but that of the Father. He came to know the plan of salvation through prayer and He accomplished the will of the Father in prayer. Through prayer, he learned to be humble and obedient to the Father and setting an example to His disciples to imitate.

After Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples who had asked Him to teach them how to pray, began to practice what they had seen and learned from Him, becoming a people rooted in prayer. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, became the Mother of the disciples and the perfect teacher of prayer (Acts 1:12-14). The Mother of God was an encouragement and a sign of hope to the disciples since she was a Lady of great faith, “full of grace,” rich in blessings, and the Lord was with her (Lk 1:2). 

The disciples knew that “nothing will be impossible for God” (Lk 1:26-38) if they remained in union with the Blessed Virgin Mary in prayer. How can the Son of Man reject a petition offered by His Mother on behalf of the holy Church? Those who receive Mary to be their companion in faith are rewarded by the same gift that heaven poured in her heart, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you” (Lk 1:26-38). The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is a fruit of prayer turning one’s gaze and heart to see the glory of God and witness in the world the same love that Christ expressed on the cross.

Our Lady of the Rosary teaches us how to enter the mystery of salvation by contemplating the “compendium of the entire Gospel.” Saint Paul VI reminds us of the true meaning of the Rosary in the journey of faith and redemption. He calls it a “Gospel prayer,” the fountain of hope, the weapon against evil, and the cord of bond that unites God’s people responding to the call to be vigilant and awake for the Lord’s visitation. 

The Rosary is a school of prayer that every believer must learn to embrace as a new way of living faith in union with Mary and the Holy Trinity. Pope Paul VI teaches about the treasures hidden in the book of the Rosary. He says, “by its nature the recitation of the Rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lod’s life as seen through the eyes of her who was closest to the Lord. In this way, the unfathomable riches of these mysteries are unfolded” to the people of faith.

What is preventing you from encountering the living Christ through the way of the Rosary of Mary and of the Holy Church?

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 8

Prayer in the Spirit

While growing up, I used to see my parents begin and end a day in prayer. We, their children, were schooled in the rhythm of their prayer life. I did not understand why prayer was so important to them to an extent that they could not allow us to go to sleep without first turning our gaze to heaven in praise and thanksgiving.  The grandparents were not different either. When I visited them, I experienced a life intertwined with prayer. When the grandparents were working on a farm, I could notice that their hands were busy, but at the same time, their lips were also moving as if they were whispering or murmuring something. I used to look at their lips, trying to figure out what they were saying silently. One time I asked my grandma what she was communicating with her lips while working with her hands. She said: “I am praying.” Then I asked, how can you pray and work at the same time? She responded, “Prayer is uninterrupted holy work of love of the Spirit groaning in the hearts of believers.”

How is your prayer life? How do you pray? Prayer is a way of life in Christ that we must learn and mature in by asking Jesus to “teach us how to pray.” Jesus teaches that “God is Spirit and truth” and that “He seeks those who would worship Him in Spirit.” It is the Spirit dwelling within us that prays and produces words of worship on our lips. St Paul admonishes those who give lip service to God while their hearts are far away from the fountain of the Spirit. He says, “Are you so stupid? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?” (Gal 3:1-5). 

The heartbeat of Christianity is prayer, a source of the Spirit of truth to those who seek to “listen to the words of” hope (Acts 16:14). To pray is to be “persistent” in pursuing what is good, beautiful, and divine. The hearts of the disciples of Christ must stay awake “for everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Lk 11:5-13). Jesus gives promise to those who pray from the heart, saying, “how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (L11:5-13). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 9

The School of Suffering in Christ

Suffering is a mystery of life that every generation tries to understand and overcome. It is not easy to find a person who seeks to suffer as a way of life. On many occasions, suffering finds us even when we try to avoid it. The nature of grief is that it has the power to divide or unite people. Human beings can become channels of suffering to others, especially when they become agents of evil, enemies of justice, and obstacles of peace. When people fail to work for unity and find ways to alleviate pain and miseries in life, then what follows is division and chaos in the world. 

Jesus Christs comes to the world to overcome pain and misery in life, heal division amongst people, and create a family united with the bond of friendship by offering Himself as the medicine of the world’s sin. He overcomes the power of suffering by sharing in the cross of everyone. He says, “The prince of this world will now be cast out, and when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to myself” (Jn 12: 31-32). The cross of Jesus Christ, a sign of passion and death, has been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit to become a symbol of unity and a means of freedom, a gift of new life.

Christians are pilgrims of faith on earth journeying toward the Kingdom of hope, seekers of a city illuminated by the light of love and mercy. The road to eternal life is rough and full of challenges, and only a few people find, accept, and follow it. Abraham, our Father in faith, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother in faith, both experienced suffering and obstacles in response to their call to become partners of God in the plan of salvation. But they were never alone in their struggles as they battled with the desires and longings of this world. God, in His angels, was with them to guide them along the way.

We, the children of Abraham and Mary, are the inheritors of God’s promise: “the Spirit through faith” (Gal 3:7-14). What is our mission on earth? We have received a to share in the cross of Christ by being agents of God’s justice, which is mercy, by becoming instruments of peace, which the gift of love, and by witnessing the Gospel of new life, which is the service to the sick, lonely, and the hungry.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 10

The Power of Practicing Faith

We are supposed to be incredibly grateful to our parents for the gift of life, love, and care they gave us unselfishly. We live in a society that keeps changing rapidly, less valuing the importance of family fabric and the blessing of a father and mother. We need to acclaim: “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed” (Lk 11:27-28). A mother is a teacher of true love, a giver of life, and a witness of service. These are essential qualities of life that every child needs to acquire because failure to impart them to their hearts and minds is a recipe for bringing to birth a monster and an evil person. 

Being a Christian parent is a blessing to a family because they welcome God to partner with them in bringing up their children. Jesus says: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Lk 11: 27-28). Christians are the family of God on earth because they are the people who hear the Gospel of truth and act on it in every situation. The character of the members of God’s family is marked by the sign of humility, sharing, and forgiveness, ingredients of a bond of love, and holy living.

The world can become ones again a Kingdom of goodness and beauty when the disciples of Christ become the bearer of the Good News of resurrection, healing and mercy, and forgiveness of sin. Authentic change and transformation that we long to see in the world begin in each of us, in our homes and families, before extended to society. When we see evil flourishing in the world around us, we must ask ourselves, what is my contribution to the evil that seeks to destroy families and life? How can I become an instrument of goodness, truth, and healing?

Jesus has left us a simple yet immensely powerful medicine of darkness that seeks to destroy lives and families. He says: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Lk 11: 27-28). The people of faith are “one in Christ Jesus” and “are all children of God” called to share in the “promise” of salvation, a share in the family of God the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 11

A Call to the Banquet of Salvation

How would you describe yourself in your journey of faith? Jesus says, “Many are invited, but few are chosen” (Mt 22:1-14). Are you among the invited and chosen, or are you among those who will not be chosen? Every day God allows each of us to make faith decisions.  We can either choose the way of Christ, or reject His offers of salvation, embracing instead worldly ways and things. The world is full of enticing attractions, things of human creation that seem to turn the hearts of those less wise away from the promise of the Kingdom of heaven.

The Son of God came to invite everyone who believes in the Gospel of truth to a heavenly celebration, to a new way of life fashioned in the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s message to the chosen is, “Behold, I have prepared my banquet…and everything is ready; come to the feast” (Mt 22:1-14). God created us that we may journey toward Him, to seek and gain that intimate union with Him, sharing at His table the sacrifice of love where His only beloved Son becomes the living cup of joy.

Some may choose to reject God’s call to share at the banquet of love, but in the end, they come to realize sadly that the things of this world are incapable of fulfilling their deepest inner longings for God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love. We need help from God to have the discipline to overcome the temptations from the evil spirit, who works tirelessly to take us away from God’s care. God has sent His Son and the angels to defend us from the enemies of truth and to lead us safely to eternal life.

The chosen ones of God should arm themselves with this prayer: “May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts so that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call” (Eph 1:17-18). We must renew everyday the creed of our response to the invitation to partake at the table of new life. Our voices of affirmation must join that of the Psalmist and say, “I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life” (Ps 23:6).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 28 – October 4

September 28

Unwavering Faith

Life is a mystery, a wonderful gift from God given to us to value and cherish. It is not wise to take life for granted but should appreciate every moment of it and use it well for the service of God and neighbor. We tend to think that we have absolute say and control over our lives, but in fact, life is fragile; one day, it can be blooming like a beautiful flower, and the next day it could be withering and dying. 

A story of the drama of life say it all. A husband and wife who had worked for many years saving and investing their resources were happy to announce that they were planning to retire and begin to enjoy the fruits of their labor. A doctor’s visit left them with the devastating news that one of the couples was seriously ill with a life-threatening complication. Their faith in God was tested, and their love for life was shaken.

How do you deal with life-threatening situations? When your faith face struggles, and when the darkness of fear obscures the light of hope, where do you turn for help?  Job, a scriptural figure whose faith and love for God was extremely attacked by the evil spirit, teaches us how to face our own hour of darkness. When Job lost all his wealth, family, friends, and health, he did not deny God but remained committed to His design for goodness, mercy and care. In time of suffering, confusion, and darkness, Job, proclaimed his trust and faith in God, saying, “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Jb 1:6-22). Job was not going to let anything separate him from God’s love. Due to his unwavering faith, he was rescued from Satan’s hand and restored to God’s care and protection and later received a rewarded of good health, prosperous family, and abundant blessings.

Christians are going to face challenges of faith, but when it happens, what would you do? We must imitate the Master who “came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mt 10:45). Many people experience temptation when confronted with the struggles of the cross, confronted with a choice of either to stay or walk away from God. But few who have learned Job’s wisdom to surrender to the will and plan of God remain faithful to the end, trusting in the eternal healing power and victory of love.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 29

Angels of God: Our Friends in Faith

Christians form part of a family of God, Archangels, angles, and Saints in heaven. Many people do not have enough knowledge of who the angles are and what mission they have in the plan of God. Other people do not believe in angels’ presence, while others regard them as fable stories that parents tell their children to help them go to sleep. Some reject the teaching about angels, saying it is for simple minds.

The Scripture is rich with the message about the angels of God, spirits of good news opposing the evil angels that work against heavenly glory. The angels are our companions helping us to fight the good fight of faith. Prophet Daniel received a vision to see what eyes had not seen: “War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon,” Satan and evil Spirits (Dn 7: 9-19, 13-14). We are part of this fight here on earth. Jesus also spoke to His disciples that time would come for a victory when they will see “heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending in the Son of Man” (Jn 1:47-51). Angels form part of our faith, and our companions send by God to protect, guide and remind us of the things of love and heaven.

Today is the Feast of the three Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, servants of God and defenders of the faith and the faithful. Pope Benedict XVI asks: “But what is an Angel?” Basing his teaching on the Scripture, the Pontiff says, “An Angel is a creature who stands before God, oriented to God with his whole being. All three names of the Archangels end with the word “El,” which means “God.” He explains, “God is inscribed in their names, in their nature. Their true nature is existing in his sight and for him.” (Benedict XVI, Memorial of the three Angels, September 2007).

The Archangels have a mission of God to accomplish both in heaven and on earth. Benedict XVI explains that “they are God’s messengers. They bring God to men; they open heaven and thus open earth.” St Michael is a defender of the faith, St. Gabriel is a bearer of Good News of Salvation, and St. Raphael is a healer of the wounds of sin. Call upon angels when you pray, and they would lead you to God, to the glory of the Kingdom of heaven.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 30

“Follow Me”: The Way of the Scripture

Christianity stands on the foundation of the premise: “Follow me” (Lk 9: 57-62). Two words proclaimed by Jesus, words with great power to change the trajectory of creation, shape, and bend all things to grow toward Christ, the Sun of new life. The people who hear the voice of Christ and respond in humility and obedience are filled with the gift of the Holy Spirit, the teacher of heavenly truth and wisdom. Jesus was sent by the Father to proclaim the Kingdom of God’s presence and to invite the contrite of heart to a new life of reconciliation and forgiveness of sin. The Lord fulfilled His mission by the power of the Word that He proclaimed, lived, and witnessed in the Spirit of truth and healing.

The disciples of Christ are people called to follow the Lord by striving in faith and longing to grow in relationship and depth of love with God by deepening their understanding of the truth contained in the Sacred Scripture. The path that leads one to grow in the love of God and neighbor is love for the Word of God. Today we celebrate St. Jerome, Priest, and Doctor of the Church who dedicated his whole life to read, learn, meditate, teach, interpret, and love the Word of God. He found a treasure of great value in studying and loving the Word of Christ. His life, hunger for divine truth, was an embodiment of the message of St. Paul: “I consider all things so much rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him” (Phil 3: 8-9). St Jerome found peace and joy when he chewed in Spirit and contemplated in faith and love the words of inspiration in the Sacred Tradition and Scripture.

St. Jerome warns the disciples of Christ that “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” We cannot claim that we are faithful followers of the Son of God when we do not know the content of His teaching. He says: “If you pray, you speak with the Spouse; if you read, it is he who speaks to you.” How do you follow Jesus Christ? The way to the Kingdom of heaven is the Word of God, and the people who eat of the food of eternal life become the family of God.     

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 1

The “Little Way of Love” 

The disciples of Jesus wanted to follow Him faithfully in all things, but they were not yet free from the desires of this world. Instead of being preoccupied with the things of heaven, they were busy wondering, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” (Mt 18: 1-4) The disciples were yet to understand the kind of new world and life Jesus was establishing was not of this earth but heavenly realm. Jesus taught His disciples what is necessary for one to enter the Kingdom of God. He says: “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:1-4). A child’s image stands out as a perfect sign of humility, trust, and unconditional love that the little ones have for their parents who care and protect them.  Christians have a call to grow in relationship with Christ, to encounter Him as the one who has humbled Himself to come as a baby to save the world. The essence of the call is for the change of mind and heart brought about by the gift of the Holy Spirit and faith in the Son of God, in the witnessing of the Gospel of love.

Today we celebrate the life of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church, who was young age-wise but very mature in faith and love for Jesus Christ.  When others would be seeking ways to be the greatest in the Kingdom of God, she instead was busy praying and yarning to be the little of the little ones. She learned to seek God, not in great things but simple acts of love, obedience, and charity.  

St. Therese spent her time contemplating the depth of God’s love for her and the people of the world. Her soul found comfort in the assurance words of the Psalmist: “In you, Lord, I have found peace” (Ps 13: 1-3). She was a lover of the little Jesus and a faithful and true friend of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who protected her with maternal care and warmth contained in these words: “As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you” ( Is 6:10-14).

Instead of trying to seek God by embracing great things, let us learn from St. Therese that God still comes to meet us as a baby, the Son of Mary and our brother. St Therese teaches us that God is “love and mercy” and that we should not be afraid to seek him with our whole life. Pope Benedict XVI summarizes the holy life of St. Therese as: “Trust and Love” which he calls the “beacons, that illumined the whole of her journey to holiness” from where she continues to “guide others on the same ‘little way of trust and love,’ of spiritual childhood.”

We, too, our vocation is love, and our mission is to serve God in “little ways” of acts of charity. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 2 

Guardian Angels: Faith Companions

How many of us believe in the presence of the angels of God? Pope Francis asks: “Do you speak to your angel? Do you know the name of your angel? Do you listen to your angel? Do you let yourself be taken by the hand along the path or pushed to move?” God created each of us and assigned angels to be our companions in the journey of faith, pilgrims seeking the way to Jesus Christ. In the world, there are evil spirits or bad angels that are tempting us and trying to block the path that leads to the Kingdom of God. We need help from heaven; we need good angels, good spirits to help us overcome the power of weakness to remain faithful to the plan of God and do the will of Christ.

God assures us that we are not alone in the journey of faith. He says: “See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared” (Ex 23: 20-23).  The angels are in the presence of God, and they know what God has planned for each of us. They come to serve by helping us to hear the voice of God calling us to a change of mind and heart so that in obedience and humility, we too, like little ones, may accept to do the will of God in all things. We learn the willingness to do the will of God from Christ, who was obedient and meek like a lamb led to the table of the sacrifice of love.

The evil spirit wants to confuse our minds and close our hearts, not to hear the voice of God who continues to speak to us through the guardian angels. God appeals to us to “be attentive and heed the voice” (Ex 23: 20-23) of our protective guardians who care and want the best for each of us. God warns: “Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin.” (Ex 23: 20-23) The angels have the “authority” of God and should be received as the messengers of the Good News and our friends. 

We cannot make it to the Kingdom of God alone without help. Let us embrace the advice of Pope Francis: “The angel helps me walk along the path because he looks at the Father who knows the way. Let us not forget this traveling companion” who prays for us and with us. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 3

 The Light of the Cross: The Vision of Hope

It is too hard for the human mind to grasp the mystery of something good emerging from something terrible like pain and suffering. The world teaches us that we should avoid and reject anything that may cause us discomfort. When Job suffered so much by losing all his properties, family, and friends, no one believed anything worthwhile could spring from his dire situation. Everybody seemed to have lost faith in God and Job and thought that his suffering was evidence of punishment (Jb 1:13-22). On the other hand, Job kept the amber of hope alive, trusting in God, who is kind and merciful, would not forsake him even if everybody did. Job was faithful to the end, knowing that an affliction is a school of wisdom and knowledge (Ps 119:66) where the faithful receive training, purification, and strength to share in the redeeming suffering of God who enters into our darkness with the shining light of hope and new life, and a new beginning.

What did Job learn from his many sufferings? He acclaims, “I had heard of you by word of mouth, but now my eyes have seen you” (Jb 42: 5-6). How can one see God? It is possible to see the face of God as the one who suffers with us, just like a loving mother takes to heart the pain of her beloved little child. We are that child of God, the Father, who humbles Himself in the Son of Man to share our sufferings on the cross.

Jesus Christ, who calls us to follow Him, has shown us the means to the Father as path the less traveled of the cross. Only those who share in the cross of Christ can see the mysteries of the Kingdom” (Mt 11:25). The world may teach us that nothing good comes from suffering, but for the disciples of Christ, it is the vision of hope, the light of salvation. Do not be afraid to invite Jesus into the world of your troubles for He brings the word of comfort, saying, “I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you” ( (Lk 10:17-24).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

October 4

Serving in the Vineyard of Salvation

Last Sunday, St. Paul called the disciples to “have…the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:1-5). The call to follow the Lord is a call to a change of our lives so that we may imitate the way of life lived by the Lord, who was humble and obedient, and willing to do only the will of the Father. We are tempted by worldliness to create a differing path of life, looking away from God for help. We are created in God’s image, and He has invited us into a life of holiness in which Jesus is the teacher and the exemplar. In Him, we can continue to grow into the likeness of the Father, working for the realization of goodness and justice on earth as it is in heaven.

Christianity is a new way of living life on earth while guided by the light of the Holy Spirit and truth that reminds us of all that Jesus has revealed and taught about the Father. We are learners of the Gospel truth, called to seek, find, and witness to others the Good News of redemption. We do not invent our own way of living the faith but instead conform to the life of Christ. St. Paul tells us to “Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 4:6-9). It is not enough to acquire intellectual knowledge about God, to only know. Instead, we must go further to act on what we learn about God. True and abiding faith requires a change of mind and a transformation of the heart so that one may live only to do God’s will in all things. 

We should never forget our identity and the purpose of our lives as Christians. Jesus reminds us of the vision of life when he says, “I have chosen you from the world…to go and bear fruits that will remain” (Jn 15:16). How do you live your life in the world as a chosen child of heaven? What actions of charity and kindness are you doing as evidence of the fruits of your faith in God? We will be called to account for how we used the gifts and blessings from God to serve His people. God’s time for you to act is now and today, so do not delay your return to the “vineyard” of peace and salvation (Mt 21:33-43).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 21 – September 27

September 21

A Call to Sinners

Jesus came to the world to “call sinners,” (Mt 9:9-13) seek the lost and guide them to a new way of life that leads to the Father. Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle, and Evangelist, who, before his calling to follow Jesus, was a tax collector, a man regarded by the people of his time to be a sinner. He was a public sinner an associate of other sinners like him.

Jesus called Matthew, who, in turn, invited Him in his house, where he prepared a table for all people in the company of the Lord. Also invited at the table were many other sinners. Jesus caused a scandal when the leaders of the time saw Him dining with sinners. Jesus responded to their concern by saying, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do” (Mt 9:9-13). And He declared the kind of worship that pleases God, saying, “I desire mercy not sacrifice” (Mt 9:9-13). Jesus is creating a new way of life where people are taught the true nature of God, as the one who is rich in grace and accepts all who are humble and gentle of heart. 

Saint Matthew knew of his sins and was aware that he did not deserve God’s kindness and compassion but moved by Christ’s mercy and love; he left everything and followed him. He was chosen to become a witness to God’s great love. He lived and died imitating Jesus Christ by preaching the Good News of salvation and shining forth the light of the resurrection.

How would you describe yourself? Are you a sinner or a righteous person? It is a sign of pride and ignorance to claim that one is not a sinner. When St. Peter was allowed to come to the sacred space of the Lord, he was overwhelmed by the light of Christ and truth and became frightened, and cried out, “go away from me, Lord…for I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8). Like St. Peter, this should become the attitude of every sincere and humble Christian. We, too, can learn from Pope Francis the new way of humility that acknowledges and cherishes the grace of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love. Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, agreed to rise to the Chair of St Peter by pronouncing these memorable words: “I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lords Jesus Christ.” I seek to act in the same manner what about you? 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 22

Who is my Family?

A new identity of the family confronts Christians. The society teaches that a family comprises blood relatives, and sometimes it may include those related through marriage, the in-laws. Worldwide, the institution of marriage is under attack. The people who seek to destroy the family’s fabric are plotting ways to redefine and reconstruct all beings’ structure in opposition to the Creator’s design. The question about family is a concern in our age, just as it was in the time of Jesus Christ when He walked on earth. Recently a lady was conversing with me trying to find ways to live and practice her faith actively in the world.  When Invited her not to forget to extend her heart and hand to her neighbor and Christian family, she asked the scriptural question: “But who is my neighbor?” 

When Christ Jesus was informed that His mother and brothers were seeking to see him, He responded by saying, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it” (Lk 8:19-21). The Lord expanded the space of family to include every believer, every child of God. The new family that Jesus creates is constituted of the blood of the cross and the bond of love, faith, and hope. God calls all who believe in the Son to share in one family of the Trinity, the fountain, and eternal life.

Christians are on earth to shine forth the light of God’s holy family so that those still blinded by the darkness of sin may have the vision of God’s plan for the redemption of families, the holy Church. You are part of God’s family when you do not shut your “ears to the cry of the poor” (Prv 21: 1-6, 10-13). Christ, who is the new face of the family of God that we have become in the sharing of one cup, is the poor of the poor that we are called to serve as members of God’s family. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 23

Suffering: The Key of Salvation

Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Padre Pio, was a man who fully shared the suffering of Jesus Christ, the gift of salvation. His life became an embodiment of the good news of new life that St. Paul described as, “I have been crucified with Christ, yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:19-20). He did not regard his suffering as something disgusting to be rejected and hated but instead, allow it to become the means through which to encounter God who humbled Himself to the point of embracing the tree of life. He believed that he was blessed and perfectly loved by God, who exalted him to the highest chair of the cross, to partake of the cup of redemption.

Padre Pio, the man of holy suffering, turned his passion into a golden pedagogy of teaching the mystery of faith. He was able to speak eloquently the language of the weary and the sorrowful of heart; not only in words, but also in flesh and blood since his own veins were filled with the blood of agony that kept his gaze fixed on the Lord Crucified. Prayer kept him sane amidst the weight of the cross. He took to heart the comforting words of Jesus: “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk 21:36). He lived to pray, suffered to learn, and accepted all things for the glory of love and the grace of faith.

He was a master of confession, calling God’s children to return to the table of mercy and love by rejecting the allure of sin and accepting the light of the Gospel to guide their lives in all things. He spent hours on the holy ground of confession, and those who approached God with a humble and contrite heart, left with a soul made pure, free, filled with the Spirit of peace and joy. He reminded the people of God that the way to salvation springs from these words: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16: 24-27). Do you still practice the Sacrament of reconciliation? It is the way of saints and the little ones who God leads to the Kingdom of God.

Pope John Paul II, a friend of Padre Pio, spoke about the hidden meaning in the school of suffering that St. Pio lived to the end. The Pontiff said: “difficulties and sorrows, if accepted out of love, are transformed into a privileged way of holiness, which opens onto the horizons of a greater good, known only to the Lord.”  Padre Pio found the “key to open the heart of God” in prayer, Eucharist, reconciliation, service, and shared suffering of the cross. Do not be afraid to imitate his way, for it is a sacred path to the Kingdom of heaven.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 24

Seek the Lord While He is Near

The longing of life is to seek God and attain union with the Trinity, share in one love that can restore all things to their original perfection, imagining the Creator’s goodness. Human beings are not at peace until their hearts are trained to contemplate heavenly things that can bring joy to the soul. Due to sin’s weakness that has blinded our vision from recognizing the blessing of God’s love, mercy, and kindness, we are incapable of accessing the Kingdom of heaven without help from above. Jesus has come to the world to guide and show us the means to the house of God. He says: “I am the way and the truth and the life…no one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6).

The allure and enjoyment of worldly things that disappear like a mist and those who build their hopes on created things are like people who have constructed their houses on weak and unstable ground. Wisdom teaches us that without God in the plan of life, all things become only “vanity of vanities” (Eccl 1:2-11). God comes to help us reorganize our lives so that to conform to His divine plan. He is the Lord who is “our refuge” teaching us to “gain wisdom of heart,” enabling us to “prosper” “that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days” as we glory in the gift of “kindness” (Ps 90).

Herod, the tetrarch, heard about Jesus and the power of His teaching and miracles of healing that He performed, and he “kept trying to see him” (Lk 9: 7-9). Even though he did not agree completely with the message of the Gospel that called all people to a change of mind and heart to follow the new way of the King of Justice and peace, but he could feel within his deeper longing that there was something special about Jesus Christ. Like Herod, we, too, must strive to reach beyond the confinements of the world and created things and desire to have union with God. Jesus has come to our aid, but He cannot force Himself on us unless we are willing to embrace him with an open heart.

Seek the Lord while He is near for, He is the way to the Father, the means of peace and joy that you need to experience a life of contentment and fulfillment. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

September 25

Solitude: The School of Resurrection 

We live in a fast-moving world full of noises and sometimes entangled in a chaotic web. Living in an environment that is contaminated by the forces of confusion means that the state of serenity and calm that can sustain a healthy and meaningful life is compromised. Human beings spring from the fountain of sacred silence that nourishes their well-being and direct their path to conform to the Creator’s design. Jesus mastered how to dwell uninterrupted in God’s presence and remain in the bond of the Holy Spirit. He was a living witness and example for His disciples to imitate how to live for God and labor to realize heaven on earth.

It happens that “Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,” (Lk 9: 18-22) speaking the perfect language of God, a language that He was determined to teach by way of His life, He asked the disciples, “who do the crowds say that I am?” (Lk 9:18-22) The fruit of prayer in solitude is a need for a deeper understanding of heavenly things and a longing for an intimate union with God. We are part of the crowd, a people searching for the meaning of things and life. In the school of solitude, one learns that to understand the depth of life, one must rise above the crowd and develop a personal thirst for an encounter with Christ, to strive to respond to the question that the Lord asks: “But who do you say that I am?” (Lk 9:18-22).

Life is about responding to the question, “who do you say that I am?” The world as we know it is passing away; and, human beings, according to the wisdom of the Palmist, “is like a breath; his days, like passing shadow” (Ps 144:1-4). God assigned time to all things: “Time to be born, and time to die,” (Eccl 3:1-11); but for those who believe that Jesus is the “Christ of God,” the Redeemer of the world, He has put in their hearts a “timeless” soul filled with the breath of eternity.

You, too, are asked, who is Jesus for you? The people who have encountered Jesus the Savior realize that He is the time-eternal, the source, and summit of all things, the meaning of all things. Christians must imitate Jesus’ way of life, the one who “came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” ( Mk 10:45), the one who leads us along the way of the cross and brings us to the school of the solitude of resurrection.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 26

Saints: The Treasures of Faith

Saints are the treasures of faith; the people who followed Jesus Christ not only by embracing the Gospel message but also by living and witnessing the power of the cross. They are the people who perfectly embodied the Holy Spirit and became the means of change and transformation of life. It was not always easy for them to practice their faith peacefully in their communities. Some of them were opposed and rejected by their own family members, friends, leaders of the people, those who felt challenged, and threatened by the goodness and purity of the way of their life. Many saints were forced to renounce their faith or face martyrdom. Today we celebrate the life and witness of two brothers, tweens, who were killed for their faith: Cosmas and Damian. They were holy physicians who did more than healing sick bodies but, at the same time, became healers of souls; they served others with generosity and kindness of heart. They brought complete healing to those who came to them for help, sometimes ministering to them without asking for payment, for they knew that their greatest reward is the gift of the glory of the Kingdom of heaven.

When the leaders of the people heard of their good works, they were summoned and given the opportunity to identify themselves and explain who gave them authority and power to attend to the needs of the people. The two brothers were not afraid of the leaders or death that they knew awaited them. They proclaimed to the leaders that they were Christians, the follower of Jesus Christ. Because of their testimony that they were the disciples of the Lord, they paid the price by their blood. But they are not dead for “the souls of the just are in the hands of God, and no torment shall touch them…they are in peace” (Wis 3:1-9).

How do you live and witness your faith in the world? Are you a co-worker of Jesus Christ in the vineyard of redemption? Or are you afraid and ashamed of God? The saints took this warning to heart: “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father” (Mt. 10: 28-33). Be proud of Christ, who loved you and all people to the cross, witness your faith in all things, and look forward to the treasures of heavenly glory and eternal peace.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 27

Seeking to do the Will of God

What does it take to do God’s will? We must manage competing interests.  On one hand we are challenged to seek and do what is right. The opposing interest rebels and seeks to do what is evil. Everyone needs to be aware of these conflicting and competing interests within each of us. Being in a state of constant tension ruptures inner peace and harmony, pushing us to become prone to making wrong decisions about healthy and wise choices in life. 

The main cause of this ongoing battle is sin. The wound that sin inflicts in the heart cannot be healed by “flesh and blood” – human willpower, strength, and ability alone. Instead, the open wound requires a superior medicine, an intervention from God in the form of His gift of Jesus Christ, who comes to forgive sin. 

Sin leads to death if it is not healed through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The wounded heart cannot be purified by the waters of new life when one refuses to believe in the healing, merciful, and forgiving power of Jesus Christ that restores life to its original form – the image of love and goodness. Those who approach God with sincere, humble, and contrite hearts are made well by these purifying words: “since he has turned away from all the sins that he has committed, he shall surely live” (Ez 18:25-28).

It is not enough for one to confess one’s sins. What is needed most is a change of mind and heart, a walk away from evil acts, and choosing a new way of living life that imitates Christ, who longed to do only the will of the Father (Mt 21:28-32). What is the sign to show if a person is living a transformed life? According to St. Paul, it happens when you “have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2: 1-5).

What is the attitude of Christ that all the disciples must embrace? The modern-day disciples of Jesus Christ learn from Him and follow His way that leads to the Kingdom of heaven. Those who love God and neighbor, those who practice the law of justice “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory…each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others” (Phil 2:1-5). Seek the will of God, and you shall live eternally.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


September 14 – September 20

September 14

The Power of the Cross

One of humanity’s greatest sins is a failure to trust in God’s love, care, and protection (Ps 78:7). The chosen people of Israel that Moses guided to freedom as commanded by God lost faith in him and lost hope in God. Sin has consequences; it weakens the bond of love people have with God and each other. It breeds a dark culture that cherishes the creation of an individualistic empire. Those who follow Moses declared their sin, saying, “We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you” (Nm 21:4-9).

When people become preoccupied with created things to the extent of ignoring the Creator of heaven and earth, they soon begin to worship the fruits of their hands, the images of their own making. The Psalmist warns, “Do not forget the works of the Lord!” (Ps 78:7). We are God’s handiwork, and He continues to form and mold us into His image and likeness. To think that we do not need God since we can provide for our earthly needs by our strength is a sin of ignorance and pride, which leads to “death and decay” (Sir 27: 30- 28:7). 

God continues to seek the lost, calling all people to return to His care and love. Those who hear and respond to His call are the ones whose eyes can now look to the cross with the eyes of faith and confess: “We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.” Christ is exalted on the cross for the sake of the salvation of the world. Those who look to the cross with the eyes of faith and trust in the Son of God, the humble one, who shares human sins, find in Christ, healing from division, pride, and death.

Jesus Christ, who says that He is the way to the Father, reveals to us that the new path to eternal life is to carry one’s cross and follow the way of faith and love. The exaltation of Christ is an exaltation of all believers who continue to shoulder their crosses everyday, trusting and believing in the Power of the Cross of salvation.

Discover your cross and look to the exalted Christ in faith and you would find your peace.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

Septembers 15

Our Lady of Sorrow

When the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Sorrow, said yes to the call to become the Mother of Jesus Christ, she also said yes to the coming sorrow of the cross of salvation. Mary was more than just a mother; she also shared in her Son’s suffering by following the same path that the Lord took to the cross. When the disciples of Christ deserted the Lord in fear of suffering and death, Our Lady of Sorrow stood at the foot of the cross praying for the salvation of the world and the victory of life over death and was given to the world to become the Mother of believers. Jesus said to his Mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother” (Jn 19:25-27).

The Blessed Virgin Mary became truly the Mother of believers and the Church at the heart of suffering. A conception of a new life began to take root at the heart of suffering, the way of Paschal Mystery. At the hour of pain and suffering, the Lord, the Mother, and the disciples become the Church, the one body of God on earth as it is in heaven. The disciples of Christ are going to continue to experience challenges and sorrows of faith on earth as they strive to follow the path of Jesus and imitate the courage and love of Mary.

St Paul reminds us how we are connected to Jesus Christ, saying, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body…and we were all given to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:12-14, 27-31) of death and new life. Everything that Jesus lived and experienced on earth must be tasted by those who choose to respond to His call for “We are his people: the sheep of his flock” (Ps 100:3). We would love to have Christianity without the cross, but that is not what Jesus won for us. The world would like to lead us along the easy way where one does not have to deal with the exaltation of the cross and the sorrow of love to the end as our Mother did.

The disciple at the foot of the cross with Mary listened to the command of Jesus to take Mary home to be his Mother in faith both in good and bad times. What about you; are you ready to take Mary to be your Mother in faith? Are you prepared to call on the name of Mary in time of suffering and death?

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 16

The Excellent Way:  Love

Every Christian strives to find an “excellent way” of the Kingdom of God (1Cor 12:31-13-13). Christianity is a new way of life that leads to the ultimate destination and all things. There is only one way to the Creator; Jesus is the way to the truth of generous and selfless love offered to all at the tree of the cross. The world competes with the way to eternal life, blinding people’s minds and hearts from seeing and hearing God’s Word, the light of life. It is common to hear many people in the society claim that they all have truth and, for that reason, are not interested in what the Church teaches as an excellent way to the truth of eternal life. Truth is a person, the Son of God, who is “kind, merciful, and rich in compassion” to all (Ps 103:8).

Those who find an excellent way to eternal life, those who encounter Jesus Christ the gift of love, are the ones ready to defend the way of truth by the witness of their lives. Today we celebrate the victory of two great saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, who were more than preachers of God’s word but at the same time shared in the sacrifice of the cross. When the Church was facing persecution, when many Christians were afraid to show in the public that they were disciples of Christ, the two holy saints lived and died defending the Gospel truth, the way of love.

The Church is still facing persecution even in our age. How do you live your faith beyond the walls of the Church? How many of us seek the Spirit of the excellent way and truth to guide them in every decision they make in life? This nation is preparing to elect leaders. Christians and non-Christian will have the opportunity to exercise their power to choose. Let us not misuse the grace to choose good leaders since it is a gift from God. The Psalmist says, “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own” (Ps 33:12). God chose us first in love that we, too, guided by the Spirit of truth and wisdom, may return to the fountain of faith to reveal to us those already chosen by God to build the Kingdom of justice and unity on earth. We are God’s hands of Love. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 17

Witnesses of the Gospel of Salvation

The apostles and the disciples of Jesus Christ have become the witnesses of the Gospel of salvation. All the followers of the Lord are to speak and preach the good news of God, who comes in the Son to forgive sin. What they preach, they must also live in everyday life for all to see and come to know and believe in the gift and grace of God’s love for all.

Salvation is costly; it is paid by the blood of the Son of God. St Paul reminds us of what God has done for us in His great love: “Christ died for our sins…he was raised” (Cor 15:1-11) to new life for our redemption. This is the core message of the preaching of the Church. Those who believe the word of the cross, the victory of life over death accomplished in Jesus Christ, now share in the resurrection of the Lord, walking in the light of God’s grace.

Christians are not immune to the virus of sin and, for that matter, are to remain vigilant in prayer and seek divine help to overcome temptations of the Evil One who opposes God’s work of the sacrifice of the cross. The journey of faith is long and challenging, and many are tempted to lose heart and hope to remain focused on the final goal of eternal life. To the weary of heart, the Lord calls, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). We have all sinned and need God’s loving mercy and forgiveness. Those who have received God’s kindness and compassion are to remember Him giving thanks “for he is good” (Ps 118: 1) to all who believe and trust in His care and protection.

Forgiveness of sin is a symbol and means of “great love,” and when we practice the act of charity and the art of almsgiving from the heart made pure, we shall receive a reward of graceful peace- the wellspring of heavenly blessing that brings us fulfillment and contentment of life. We do not have anything of our own to give to God and others; instead, we have everything of God’s making to share with everyone in the abundance of love and joy. Are you aware that the fruit of the cross, Christ’s love has transformed our nature into the living witness of the Gospel of salvation?  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 18

Resurrection: The Light of New Life

What makes the Church unique on earth is her treasures of the cross of new life and the light of the resurrection. There are those who oppose the Gospel truth that there is resurrection. St Paul argues that “if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. Then we are also false witnesses of God” (1Cor 15: 12- 20). The human mind and reason alone without the aid of the light of the Holy Spirit is incapable of fully understanding the divine design of the resurrection of anew people of God.

God in Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit manifested in the ministry of the Church, calls His children scattered in the world to a new way of living a life guided by the grace of heaven that changes the minds and hearts to image the divine likeness. God works through the disciples to shine forth the glory of His love and mercy and to bring the fullness of joy to the heart (Ps 17:15).

The Lord came to usher in the world, the Kingdom of God (Mt 11:25). Christ lived and died to open the way to the Father for those who believe in Him and follow His teaching of life eternal. The Church though, is in the world but is heavenly, and her main plan and mission is to work to bring about the Kingdom of heaven to earth. Christians must be people who do not just know about the Kingdom of God but are living witnesses of what they believe and, become agents of the new evangelization.

In a little way, each person must find how to work to realize the Kingdom of heaven. Through the power of resurrection, we are all united with the Risen Lord, and are sent to labor for the salvation of souls not alone but as co-workers of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. How are you involved in God’s work to save lives, to witness the Gospel or resurrection, and celebrate together the sacrifice of love and mercy? Those who serve God with humble and gentle hearts have the grace to taste the sweetness of heavenly joy (Ps 17:15).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 19

Life After Death

The question about what happens after one die is an age-old concern that almost everybody strives to understand. A few days ago, a worried lady came to me in tears, concerned about her daughter’s state, who had died many years ago. She wondered what will happen to her daughter, who had died before accepting Jesus in her life. Do you find yourself also wanting to know and understand what will happen to you and loved ones after death? I do think about and reflect on these things. I cannot leave it to chance but instead, meditate and contemplate the mystery of death and life. It is an act that I have allowed to form part of my everyday life and influence my decisions. The hour of death is ticking, and it cannot be stopped, but it can be accepted and embraced with the awareness of faith of eternal life, the grace of the gift of the cross of new life.

Just last Sunday, we had from the Scripture inviting us to “remember our last days, to remember death.”  The disciples of Jesus Christ dealt with the same problem; they asked: “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come back?” (1 Cor 15:35-37, 42-49). Life does not make much sense if there is nothing else after death. Many believe that there is nothing else beyond life on earth. For that reason, they are using the world’s things to satisfy their hunger and longing for ultimate meaning, which can only be fulfilled by God the Creator, in the gift of the Son, who is the perfect love of redemption.

To think and believe that there is no life after death is to become a “fool,” ignorance of the power of the cross and the grace of the resurrection. St Paul reminds us that the dead will rise to new form life that he describes as: “It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible. It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious. It is sown weak; it is raised powerful. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Cor 15:35-37, 42-49).

Christians are people who believe in the resurrection and, for this reason, should live their lives on earth as people who have faith in the power of the Holy Spirit to restore life to image the goodness of the Father. “Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Rom 14:8), and for this reason, we should live as people who “walk in the presence of God, in the light of the living” (Ps 56:14).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 20

“Seek the Lord while He is Near”

God is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness…good to all and compassionate toward all his works” (Ps 145:2-3). He seeks His children who are lost in the darkness of sin and the power of death and leads them to the more joyful paths of love and life that Jesus Christ offers us in the exaltation of the cross of new life. Today is the opportune time to seek the Lord. There is no reason to delay the dedication of our lives to follow without compromise the way that Jesus has revealed to us by the manner of His humility and obedience to the will of the Father. God speaks to us when we are told “Today, if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb 3:15). Today is the time to look to the exalted cross with the eyes of faith, to partake at the table of mercy with the heart of love, and to wait in hope for the redemption of souls in the Kingdom of heaven.

Life on earth as we know it is passing away so fast. For this reason, we must actively “remember our last days…remember death (Sir 28: 6) and begin to reorganize our lives to conform to life as God knows and orders it. Our work on earth is to “seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near” (Is 55:6-9). We cannot afford to lose this golden and glorious opportunity to reconcile with God and be counted among His beloved and faithful servants, people close to His heart.

Even though, due to our ignorance of sin, we seem to choose again and again an immediate and passing pleasure of this world, we can still “turn to the Lord for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving” (Is 55: 6-9). But we must act today and without delay, for we do not know when the Lord will call us to give an account of how we had made use of the gifts and treasures of life that He gave us in love.

We are pilgrim people on earth who are walking toward the realization of the reward of eternal life. How are we to conduct ourselves as we journey towards the Kingdom of heaven? You must not become “idle” (Mt 20:1-16); you must be busy with the things of God, you must, “only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil 1:20-24, 27). We must become hands of love, fingers of mercy and hearts of kindness and compassion for the Lord is our “rock” and “redemption” (Ps 78). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda


September 7 – September 13

September 7

“My Sheep Follows Me”

The use of imagery in communication, especially in preaching, is an immensely powerful and effective tool to vividly capture life’s complex truth. Jesus employed the power of imagery to teach the hidden mysteries of faith, embody the truth of the Gospel, and invite people to associate themselves to the message as something that they can relate to in ordinary and everyday life. Pope Francis says: “An attractive image makes the message seem familiar, close to home, practical and related to everyday life. A successful image can make people savor the message, awaken a desire and move the will towards the Gospel.” (The Joy of the Gospel). A relevant image can unmask the beauty and treasure of the Word of God.

Jesus says: “My sheep hear my voice…I know them, and they follow me” (Jn 20: 27). The followers of Christ are called sheep. What does this image teach us about our lives as Christians? The sheep hear the shepherd; they do not listen to themselves but look to the master for direction. Jesus Himself became the perfect sheep that listened to the Father’s plan and followed God’s will by dying for the world’s salvation. As with the Lord, a sheep is obedient and humble, not rebellious to the master’s guidance to a place of freshwater and food for new life.

Christians, the sheep of the Lord, can learn from the lambs how to listen to the voice of a good and trustworthy master and teacher who also protects them from harm. Who do we follow in life, Christ, or the world? Only the lamb of God and not the attraction of this world can lead us safely to the sacrificial table of life eternal.

We can say that we are authentic followers of Christ when we imitate the way of His life and when we too, like Him, are willing to sacrifice ourselves for the greater good of others in acts of charity, work for justice, and desire to do the will of God in all things. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 8

“God is with us”

A celebration of a birthday is significant for many people since it marks the beginning of one’s life on earth. The Catholic Church celebrates St. John’s the Baptist birthday as a voice in the wilderness announcing the coming of “Emmanuel, God is with us,” and proclaiming repentance (Mk 1:4). The Blessed Virgin Mary’s birthday we celebrate for through her, Emmanuel, was conceived in faith and embraced in love and brought to birth in the world. Mary’s birth is the dawn of a new world where God comes to earth to make a dwelling with His people in the Son, and through the Holy Spirit. The Mother of God gave us a reason to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God, who comes to be with us: to transform our hearts with the grace of the cross and become children of the Father.

The celebration of life’s gift reminds all people to become aware of their source: God. The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s birth is a call for each one of us that we all have a common source, God, who continues to breathe fresh meaning and purpose within us. When people are not aware that life is a gift that should be cherished, protected, and used for the service of God and others, then it becomes easy to violate the sacredness of life by wounding the bond of love, justice, and goodness, a sign of “God with us.”

Saint John Paul II, on a Feast of the celebration of the birth of the Virgin Mary, reminds us of the tears of many innocent lives that continue to cry for justice. He says: “At this moment our gaze broadens to take in all innocent children in every corner of the earth who are victims of the violence of adults. Children forced to use weapons and taught to hate and kill; children induced to beg in the streets, exploited for easy earnings; children ill-treated and humiliated by arrogant, abusive grown-up; children left to themselves, deprived of the warmth of a family and prospects of a future; children who die of hunger, children killed in the many wars in various regions of the world.” The suffering of all these innocent souls is the sufferings of the followers of Jesus Christ. United with the Blessed Virgin Mary in prayer and acts of charity and justice, we cannot ignore the “cry of pain from children whose dignity is offended…it must not leave anyone indifferent.” (John Paull II, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, General Audience, 2004).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 9

The World is Passing Away

Today we celebrate St. Peter Clever, a Jesuit Priest who took to heart the warning of St Paul, who said: “the world in its present form is passing away” (Cor 7:25-31). He grew up in well to do family but did not allow the allure of earthly riches blind his vision from seeking holiness, what is eternal. He gave his life to the service of God and especially by becoming the apostles of slaves and the poor of the land of South America. His ultimate purpose was to work for the realization of the Kingdom of God. His unwavering faith in Jesus Christ made him share the suffering of the unjustly treated in society. He served others guided by the light of the Gospel: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours” ( Lk 6:20-26).

St. Clever sacrificed earthly wealth for the sake of inheriting heavenly treasures. The longing and desire for the final union with God who humbled Himself to come and dwell among us as the poor of the poor; the rejected and crucified, made him join his heart with the holy ones and sing a song of victory, “Rejoice and leap for joy! Your reward will be great in heaven” ( Lk 6:23). 

The saint of the slaves began to taste heaven when the poor he served accepted him as their co-brother in suffering. He witnessed heaven on earth when offering food to the hungry, supplying medicine to the sick, winning souls for God by the waters of baptism, and healing the wounds of the sorrowful.

He learned the language of the poor and communicated to them the grammar of God, selfless love. The baptized and anointed are also invited by virtue of their calling to serve the needs of the poor among us. St. Peter teaches how to become a living voice of the simple of hearts, saying, “We must speak to them with our hands before we try to speak to them with our lips” (St. Peter Clever). By serving the poor in the world that passes away, we prepare for the eternal reward, a share in God’s life with all the saints in heaven.   

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 10 

A Search for “Everlasting Way”

Human beings are created with a capacity to search for truth and the ultimate meaning of life. The desire to understand the complexity of the things and the need to explore and tame the world for human use is an ongoing timeless undertaking. The faculty of reason helps humanity to gain knowledge of their surroundings and understand how things in the world work in relationship with each other. Human beings cannot arrive at the ultimate truth by the power reason alone. It is common knowledge that many understand that human beings are both body and spirit. The mind can explore the physical world but is incapable of accessing the depth of the spiritual realm. Humility is the beginning of true knowledge that can unlock the spiritual world.

The humble of heart realize that they have to surrender all their faculties to God so that in the gift and power of the Spirit they may be taught like little ones the things of God: “What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1Cor 2: 9) the things of the kingdom of heaven. The Psalmist came to this awareness and cried out in request: “Guide me, Lord along the everlasting way” (Ps 139:24). In Jesus Christ, God the Father, and through the Holy Spirit is the humble and gentle teacher who can open to humanity the way to eternal life. The ultimate goal of life is to achieve unity with God, the source, and the summit of all things.

God teaches us the way of love as the holy and sure path that leads to everlasting life. Love of God and neighbor is the “perfection” of life (1Jn 4:12). Jesus describes the nature of love as: “do to others as you would have them do to you” (Lk 6: 27-38). God’s love for humanity is expressed in the gift of mercy that Jesus offered on the cross. He teaches us to become instruments of mercy, too, saying, “Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.” He calls us to make our life a living gift of sacrifice for others just as He becomes a sacrifice of reconciliation and a sacrament of divine love to the believers. He says: “Give and gifts will be given to you” (Lk 6: 27-38) in the present and eternal dwelling.

The search for the way of everlasting life is an ongoing process, and those who find Jesus Christ, who is the “way and life,” are called to become role models for others to follow, witnessing love in acts of mercy, humility, and charity.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 11

“Run so as to Win”

Christians, pilgrims on earth, are like runners competing for a final victory, a reward of eternal life. According to St Paul, runners must “exercise discipline in every way” if they intend to finish the race and win a crown. He warns that those who do not abide by the competition rule may be “disqualified” despite taking part in the run. He strongly recommends, “run so as to win…a prize” (1Cor 9:16-19, 22-27).

Those who are called to preach the Gospel of truth and those invited to hear God’s Word must all run the race of faith inspired by the Spirit of hope to win the glory of salvation. Spiritual runners must be trained in Christ’s ways and find rest in the “dwelling place of the mighty God” (Ps 84:2). Jesus, who came to do the will of the Father, teaches us that we do not set the journey’s pace, but only God who does it for us while we follow, trusting in obedience and humility.

Running the race of faith is knowing and practicing the Gospel truth in one’s life and being a role model to others still living in the darkness of sin. Our goal should be “to win over as many as possible” (1Cor 9:16-19, 22-27) to Christ. In order to “have a share in” in the Kingdom of God, each of us must be actively involved in the mission of evangelization, planting the seed of the Gospel of love and justice so that the fruits of peace and unity may flourish in the world. We become winners when one lost soul is brought back home to the Father.

Every baptized person is an agent of serving the Kingdom of God by announcing and witnessing the message of reconciliation that God has entrusted to us in Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. How many of us are actively involved in the service of God’s people? Do you run the race of faith by extending your hands of charity and mercy to others as to win eternal glory and love? 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 12 

One Cup one People

Christians are people marked by one identity, they “partake of the one loaf” and one cup, a sign of unity on earth and a symbol of perfect sacrifice in heaven (1Cor 10:14-22). Christians who partake of the Body and Blood of Christ share in His life; are transformed to become the living face of God on earth. Those who eat the food of eternal life are invited to have the “mind of Christ” and a gentle and humble heart that seeks to do God’s will in all things.

The life of partakers of God’s table becomes a “sacrifice of praise” (Ps 116:17) and a service of love and mercy. A way of living that follows the path of Jesus Christ, who did not count equality with the Father but instead surrendered His life for the salvation of all people. The Lord went about preaching the Good News of reconciliation, the same message He has entrusted to those who believe in Him. We can partake worthily at the table of new life when we remain active at the service of reconciliation, leading the way for others to follow by putting into practice the invitation, “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:8).

Those fed by the food of angels and holy ones have become the temple of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. The bond that they share is intimate and unbreakable. Jesus says, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him” (Jn 14:23). The followers of Christ are those who listen to the Word of God and put it into practice in the world by becoming the shining light on a high mountain covered with the darkness of evil. 

What use is there for us to call ourselves Christians when at the same time, we refuse to practice the truth of the Gospel. If we are authentic followers of Christ, then it means that our actions must be guided by the light of God’s Word and produce good fruits of justice, peace, and charity. The Lord asks, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?” (Lk 6: 43-49).  What is the sign of a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ? The Lord describes what makes one a trustful child of God as to listen to the Word and act on the message of eternal life (Lk 6: 43-49). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 13

God of Mercy and Compassion

Last Sunday, the Psalmist sang: “If today you hear His voice harden not your hearts.” That is a clarion call for us to change our minds and hearts, and a resounding call to reconciliation, healing and freedom from the chains of sin. God continues to call us to repent and embrace Christ, who heals by the gift of the cross.

The mission of the Church on earth is to continue to announce the Good News of the forgiveness of sin in Jesus Christ. The faithful, those who follow Christ in all things, have a new commandment of mercy, to “Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven” (Sir 27: 30-28). Whatever we desire God to do for us in kindness and compassion, we must be willing to do to others in love, charity, and mercy.  

God gives numerous opportunities to everyone who sins to return to Him for forgiveness in humility and contrition. He is a loving and caring Father who wants to see that we all find the right path to Jesus Christ, the way of redemption. When we refuse to forgive others for their wrongs toward us, we close the door for our healing and forgiveness. Our mission is to announce the Good News of healing, to extend to others the same forgiveness we that pour richly on the cross of redemption and freedom.

We must have the same attitude as God toward all people. In Psalms we are told “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion” (Ps 103:8). The new commandment of love challenges us to offer forgiveness of the heart (Jn 13:34, Mt 18:21-35).  The world is in dire need of healing from the divisions that sins bring about. We, as the partners of Jesus Christ, must never tire of working for reconciliation. We cannot give to others what we do not practice. If we want the power of healing, forgiveness, and merciful love to take root in people’s hearts, then it must begin with us by approaching God in the Sacrament of healing. In that case, going out to the world to become agents of compassion, kindness, and pity is the vaccine of faith, the medicine of new life over the darkness of death. (Rom 14:7-9). 

Jesus has given us work to do in union with Him. The Lord entrusts to us the message of reconciliation. (2Cor 5:19). How many of us truly embrace that trust and are busy working daily in the fields of reconciliation?

Fr. Joseph Oganda


August 31 – September 6

August 31

Jesus is Rejected

Jesus taught and did many signs and miracles among His own people, but many still rejected Him. What were the obstacles that blocked people’s eyes from recognizing Jesus as the Savior, the Son of God, the one that the prophets had talked about to come at an appropriate time? The struggle of the people of Jesus’ time was the failure to believe in Jesus Christ, which is also the same challenge of the present age.  Humanity is waiting for a savior in their own making, a savior who is human, who can fit within their own agenda, the one that they can choose and control. It was difficult for people to accept that God could come to the world in the form of a son of a carpenter from Nazareth. To express their disappointment and rejection of Jesus, the people said: “Is this not the son of Joseph?” (Lk 4:16-30). 

The people struggled to believe that the Son of Mary and Joseph of humble background is also divine, the Son of God. What is needed to see beyond the appearance that in Jesus, God is truly present in our midst is faith, the gift of grace, and the Holy Spirit. It is God alone who can come to people’s aid to know the identity of Jesus Christ as the beloved Son, the one that all people must listen to and follow (Mt 3:17).

Believers can see God’s work and power on earth when they embrace the call to humility, to become little ones, a people with a gentle heart that seeks to encounter God in the gift of love on the cross (Mt 5:5). St. Paul discovered authentic intelligence and wisdom of God in Christ, in the power of the cross. St. Paul said, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1Cor 2:1-5). Many people would like to become followers of Christ if the cross is not part of the package.

Satan is an obstacle in our faith, and we must be aware of its evil tricks to entice us to seek earthly salvation that does not require any sacrifice. God has designed the path of salvation that passes through the way of the cross, and those who choose to follow Christ must deny themselves, carry their cross everyday and come after Jesus- the gift of new life over death (Mt 16:21-27).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 1

Jesus is Accepted

Jesus’ own people rejected Him, refused to listen to His teaching even though they saw that there was power in His words and in what He did, but His people could not open their hearts to Him. To show how they despised Him, and how they looked down on Him, they asked, “Is this not the Son of Joseph?” (Lk 4:16-30). The people knew His family as carpenter’s by trade, not a very prestigious profession by the standard of the people of that era. Jesus was rejected by His people not that His message was less important, but simply because they could not accept that a young man from a down-to-earth family could rise to the level of becoming wise and teacher of the faith. The People chose to judge the Lord with the human standards and the world’s values while remaining blind to the gift of faith and grace that could open hearts to experience the Spirit of God manifested in the goodness of creation. (Lk 4:16-30).

Once Jesus was rejected by His own people, He was not discouraged but continued to do the work of the Father who sent Him to bring salvation to everyone who believes in Him. Jesus went about seeking the sick, the poor, and the lost with the power of the Gospel. He fed the hungry and healed the sick by overcoming the power of the evil spirits. The people “were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out” (Lk 4:31-37). You, too, should not stop to ask: What is there about Jesus? What is there about His words and teachings and the gift of the cross? What is in Jesus that continues to inspire many people to sacrifice their lives to witness their love for Him and His mission on earth?

What about you and me; do we accept or reject Jesus? We must acquire God’s vision to see in Jesus what those who believe Him saw. The gift of faith heals our blindness that we too may join our voices with all the faithful and proclaim: “A great prophet has arisen in our midst and God has visited his people” (Lk 7:16). Our God is the Lord of humility; he humbles Himself and comes to meet us a baby, as a poor one, and as a stranger. Even now, Christ is present in our midst; Christ is the poor and the stranger that we sometimes do not want to encounter. What is preventing you from experiencing, “God, who has visited His people?”

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 2

Partners of Jesus Christ

Christians are “the people the Lord has chosen to be his own” ( Ps 33: 12), the people who are “God’s core-workers, the people who are “God’s field and building” (Lk 4:38-44). How many are aware of who they are, the purpose of their calling, and the mission of their vocation on earth? Recently in a conversation with a lady, she broke in tears after becoming aware that she too was a beloved and chosen daughter of God. She said: “Father, I feel overwhelmed and humbled to know that God chose me and called me even before I was born to share in His love.” She went on to say, “I want to cherish this awareness, I want not to be passive in my faith and relationship with God, I want to be actively involved in the work and life of the Church.”

What about you, are you aware that through the cross of Jesus Christ, the baptism with the waters of new life, and the anointing with the Holy Spirit that you too, are now children of God? Are you aware that you are partners with God in the work of salvation? How many are actively working in the world to plant the seeds of faith and charity? Christianity is not a private and individual entity that one acquires and hides. Christians are the living light of Christ on earth that should stand tall on the mountain of the world to shine brightly the truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom of heaven for all to see and come to believe in the power of divine love.

Christians must learn to do what St. Peter’s mother-in-law did after Jesus brought healing to her life and peace to her house. She was thankful to what God did for her in His mercy and expressed her gratitude: “she got up immediately and waited on them” (Lk 4:38-44). Are you aware of the many good things God is doing in your life? Do you do something in return, serve others, share the goodness of God with them? We must follow the footstep of our master; we must do and embody what He lived and died for: “The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim liberty to captives” (Lk 4:15).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 3

Humility of Life

To become a Christian, one needs the grace of humility of life. When St. Peter encountered Jesus Christ in act of mercy and forgiveness, he knew of his unworthiness to stand in the presence of the Lord. In response to his to contrite heart, he cried out: “depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:1-11). God comes to meet us not because we are worthy of His love but simply because His mercy is pure and perfect. God in Christ comes to meet us in our weakness to make us strong in the power of the Holy Spirit. He comes to transform our lives and become partners with Him in seeking the lost and bring them back home to the Father of love and mercy and compassion.

Jesus calls us just the same way He invited the first disciples to work with Him to bring the good news of the Kingdom of God on earth. The baptized have been given a mission to invite others to faith. Jesus says, “Do not be afraid; from now on, you will be catching men” for God (Lk 5:1-11). How many of us can say that we actively live our lives as Christians on earth, catching men and women for the Kingdom of heaven? If our labor as Christians do not involve seeking the lost sheep as Jesus did and bringing them to share in the table sacrifice of love, then, we have become lukewarm Christians. Our vocation is to continue the work of Christ on earth, to catch men and women with the honey of charity and justice, and the joy of the Eucharist.

We cannot be afraid to witness the Gospel truth because the Lord is with us as the one working through us and with us in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus continues to call us in these words, “Come after me…and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19). St Gregory the Great invites each of us to thirst and yearn for eternal life to approach the threshold of life by practicing the “art of arts”- serving the needs of the poor by drinking from the same cup.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 4

God, the Artist of Salvation

Jesus Christ is the perfect artist of salvation. The Psalmist discovered God’s genius handiwork and proclaimed, “the salvation of the just comes from the Lord” (PS 37:39). St Paul speaks of God’s creative work, saying, “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness” (1Cor 4:1-5). The art of God is a masterpiece of the revelation of new life that brings forth the splendor of the Gospel to the hearts that thirst and hunger for the breath of redemption.

Christians are the divine art of God that reflect the face of Jesus Christ when they are guided in all things by the principle of heavenly star: “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12). The cross is the mother of all arts that carries the hidden mystery of the work of God to recreate all things anew by the blood of Christ, and by faith in the Son of God. Becoming members of the school of God’s artistic work of salvation entails carrying the cross of justice, peace, and joy everyday to follow Christ Jesus, to do the will of the Father.

Jesus brought something new into the world, the perfection of all things. The disciples and the crowds that followed Him noticed that He was not a duplicate of the old prophets, but someone who was creating a new way of life. The people questioned the way of new life He was establishing since to them, it was in contradiction to the old ways. They said, “The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink” (Lk 5: 33-39).

Jesus brought a new art of life, eating and drinking the Body and Blood of salvation, the food of the kingdom of heaven on earth. The faithful, the living art of grace, are called to become the partners of God, to shine forth the light of goodness and to work for the redemption of souls by becoming agents of justice, unity, and charity on earth.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

September 5

A Call to Serve

Saint Paul poses an important question that must be reflected upon: “What do you possess that you have not received?” (1Cor 4:6-15). Humanity tends to forget that the world and all that in it is a gift from God. Human beings can use their God-given intelligence and creativity to fashion new things. Many people think that since they can invent and make new things, they are gods and do not need any divine intervention to direct their lives. Human pride blinds the eye of the mind and closes the heart from becoming aware that everything depends on the intelligence, design, and the grace of the Creator. 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humbled Himself to take upon himself human flesh in order to teach us the way of humility, a path that leads to doing the will of the Father even to the point of death on the cross. Jesus says, “I am the way and truth and the life…no one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6). The Lord teaches us and leaves us an example to follow: to see God, serve Him, and imitate Christ, especially by offering ourselves for the service of the Kingdom of heaven and surrendering to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

St John the Baptist teaches us how to serve at the vineyard of the Lord; he said: “Christ must increase, and I must decrease.” God is at work within and through us as the agents change, ministering to the realization of the Kingdom of heaven. The knowledge that God is the one in control of everything and of our lives can help us trust in the power of the Spirit of God within us, but it can also enable us to see the face of God in our neighbors. 

The grace of God is present and active in the life of the faithful, producing the fruits of faith and love when we remain partners of Christ inviting others to experience the joy of the Gospel, and love of the cross. Ask yourself, Is Jesus the driver of your life? Is seeking to do the will of God the goal and purpose of your life? What are you willing to sacrifice to come to the Kingdom of God? We are called to serve at the table of new life in the act of doing the will of God, seeking the lost and feeding the hungry.

Fr. Joseph Oganda   

September 6

Warning! Be Transformed

Warning! Forsake sin, seek reconciliation with God, and work to transform your mind and heart to hunger for what is true and thirst for what is holy and perfect. Sin corrupts life, blinds the eye from accessing the truth of the Gospel, and dulls the soul from yearning to know and do God’s will. The work of the ministers of the Word of God is to redirect the path of the lost back to the way of truth. God says, “You, son of man, I have appointed watchman…when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me” (Ez 33:7-9). Many ministers of the present age have relinquished their God-given mission to call sin by name, to warn people from abandoning the way of life eternal, and to call the lost and “blind” back to the fountain of reconciliation.

God speaks words of reconciliation, words with power and authority that spring from the Spirit of Love and Mercy. God’s message to all His children is “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:8). God calls each of us every day to choose a life of change and transformation, a turning of one’s mind and heart to love the things of heaven and use the created things for the greater glory of God. Now is the time to “owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another…as yourself” (Rom 13:8-10).

Sin is an enemy of good health and fulfillment of life. We all need help from the holy Church to be cured and restored to the care and protection of God the Father. God says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18: 15-20). At the heart of the Church is Jesus Christ, who is reconciling the world in the power of the cross of salvation, the sacrifice of love, and the blessing of charity. Heed the warning!  Find a dwelling in the Church and be transformed by the light of the Gospel of light, love, and life eternal.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


August 24 – 30

August 24

“Come and See”

“Can anything good come from Nazareth? Can anything good emerge from the son of a poor couple: Mary and Joseph? Can anything good come from Jesus Christ, from Church? St. Nathaniel asked Jesus this vital question on behalf of all of us who are still on earth and seek the meaning of life. We want to discover the reason and purpose of our lives. We search for that meaning on earth by engaging the created things and realizing that there is more to life than what the world could give. The search goes on because our longing cannot rest until it arrives at what could bring the joy of peace to human life and the whole world. (Jn 1:45-51).

When Jesus arrived in people’s lives, He brought the good news; He announced that the way, truth, and life to the Father was Himself. He did not look like the savior; the people were waiting to come. He was poor, humble, and young, and people struggled to believe in Him. St. Nathaniel who struggles as the rest of the Israelites to receive Jesus as the Son of God was given an exceptional opportunity to “come and see” in person, experience, an encounter with the Lord, called to be one of the twelve Apostles, representing the new tribe of holy people, children of God. He was a man open to learning, a man of faith, and because of his humble and gentle heart, he received the light of grace to see the glory of Jesus Christ right at the beginning of his journey with him, and proclaimed, “You are the Son of the living God” (Jn 1:45-51).

Those who approach Jesus in faith, even though the world may see nothing good in Him realize that the longing of their hearts for the meaning of life comes to fulfillment in being with Jesus Christ. He completes life and quenches the thirst of hearts and open souls to see heaven open and the glory of God coming down in the splendor of love that restores everything to their original identity- friends, and sons and daughters of God.

St. Nathaniel was brought to Christ by a friend, St. Philip. Are you a friend of Christ? If you are, what is stopping you from inviting others to come and encounter Jesus: the way, truth, and life to the Father? Sometimes all it takes to transform a friend’s heart and life is to say, “Come and see.” (Jn 1:45-51).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 25

Becoming Clean Inside

A friend shared with me a story of what took place in her Church recently. At the end of Sunday service, some of her Church members surprised her when they decided to visit her house. The friends from the Church were planning to accompany her and her children as they left the Church. The lady was overjoyed and welcomed everyone to her home. One of her best friends was concerned and called her aside to advise her not to go ahead with the plan without necessary plans. She was worried that the friend’s house might not be clean and that she needed time before the quests arrive to organize everything to make the place look good.

The host lady was not bothered by the cleanliness of the house. She said to her friend: “I always make sure that my house is clean. I live there, and I like to be in a clean place. I do not need to organize anything before visitors arrive, for the house is already clean, and they are most welcome to visit any time.” Are you comfortable to receive unannounced visitors? Is the inside of your house always clean or only the outside is beautified? Are you clean within and ready to welcome Jesus when He knocks at the door of your life? 

The friend’s story sheds light on the warning that Jesus directed to the leaders of the people who were misleading others. It is a warning that applies to all the faithful; the people already made children of God and witnesses the Gospel of love, peace, and justice. Jesus warns: “You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean” (Mt 23:23-26).

How can you and I keep the inside of our hearts always clean and ready to receive Jesus, who wants to come and dine with us? Jesus summons us not to neglect “mercy and fidelity” (Mt 23:23-26), forgiveness and faith, and justice and charity. The Psalmist reminds us that the “Lord comes to judge the earth” (Ps 96:13) if the house of your life is clean to receive the gift of peace and blessings.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 26

Becoming a Model of Christ

The Catholic Church’s requirement to receive the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation is to have a sponsor, a faithful believer, willing to become a spiritual guide to the person they represent. Many people do not deeply understand the essence of a Christian sponsor for a person planning to join a community of believers. Some people choose their friends who are not even practicing Catholics to become their godparents. Why does the Church ask those preparing to join the Church to have a sponsor? What qualities should a sponsor have?

St. Paul teaches us that a sponsor should be a “model” of faith, a person who live and witness the light of the truth of the Gospel in the word, a person worth following. St Paul says, “we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you so that you might imitate us.” (2Thes 3:6-10, 16-18). Those who join the Christian faith need a person who could guide them along the path of faith, helping them to live a life that conforms to Jesus Christ, who is the perfect model of life eternal. Jesus Himself said to His disciples, “I have given you a model to follow so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (Jn 13:14-15),  serve one another.

Not everyone qualifies to become an exemplar of faith, love, and hope to those who are new in the Church. It is not wise to choose those who fail to practice their faith actively to become godparents. They are the people Jesus describes as, “on the outside, you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing” (Mt 23:27-32). A sponsor should be a person who “keeps the word of Christ” and follow the commandment of love of God and neighbor, a person who leads with an example of acts of charity, justice, and unity.

No one comes to faith alone, and no one walks alone, each of us needs help so that we may grow in our relationship with God and others. The baptized have been called by Jesus Christ to know the faith, live the faith, and witness the joy of the Gospel of love and hope. How many can say that they live by the creed of their calling to imitate Christ in all things? How many of us who are sponsors of others, are striving to be in touch with them and lead them to Jesus Christ, the Savior of the Word? Like St. Philip, let it become our mission to call others to Christ, saying, “Come and see” (Jn 1:45).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 27

Tears of Faith: A mother’s Love

We celebrate the life of St. Monica, the mother of St Augustine, a woman of piety and charity who dedicated her life for the service of her family and the Church. Prayer was her vocation, requesting God to change the hearts of her family members who were not believers in Christ. She prayed for many years for her son Augustine to become a Christian. After waiting patiently in faith and hope, God finally answered her prayer, and Augustine, returned to faith, served the Church intelligently by being a teacher of love and truth. Many mothers and fathers pray day and night asking God to be merciful to their loved ones and restore them to His loving and watchful care.

St. Monica longed to see the day when Augustine would turn his mind and heart to the service of God. When Augustine finally became a Christian after being guided and molded by St. Ambrose, St. Monica was now ready to surrender her soul to God of eternal life. As she was nearing death, St. Monica spoke to her son rejoicing. She said: “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” Her tears of faith, a sign of a mother’s love, were turned into tears of joy and peace. 

This week I met a man of great faith like St. Monica, a man who was looking forward for the day to return to the Father. He said to me, “Father, I am grateful to God for everything He has done in my life. I have been blessed and lived a fulfilled life. Now I am ready to die when God calls me back home.” His only concern was that all his two children who grew up in faith were not actively involved in the life of the Church. He said sadly, “I hope and pray that my children and grandchildren would one day return to the Church.”

Jesus sees the tears of mothers and fathers who cry to God for their loved ones to return home to the table of sacrifice of love. “Moved with pity,” the Lord Jesus who answered St. Monica’s prayer would not forsake those who are patient, persistent, and have faith in God’s timing to finally act according to His will and plan. To those who seek the Lord with sincere hearts, to those who wait for His intervention in the struggle of faith would hear His command: “young man (and woman), I tell you, arise” ( Lk 7:11-17).

Fr. Joseph Oganda  

August 28

Saint Augustine: The Fruit of Prayer

St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, spent many years praying to God to bring her son back to faith. It became her vocation and mission to live and pray for the conversion of Augustine’s mind, heart, and soul. When Augustine finally returned to Church, St. Monica’s joy became complete. The joy of a Christian parent is to see their sons and daughters embrace faith.

Augustine left the religion of her mother to follow a different path in search of truth. As a young man, he already had a more profound desire to labor for the true meaning of life. Augustine was an intelligent young man who excelled in the field of philosophy. The prayers of St. Monica and guidance of St. Ambrose helped Augustine to realize that the truth of life that he was thirsty for could not be satisfied by human reason only but also needed the light of faith. 

Once he became a Christian, Augustine was determined to grow deeper in his faith and find new ways to witness and share the wisdom, love, and joy of the Gospel. He dedicated his life to prayer and study to understand the richness in the mystery of salvation so that he, too, could share with others the beauty of God’s work in creation. St. Augustine taught, preached, and wrote the things of heaven beautifully; the truths that eyes have not seen, and ears have not heard, the things that God reveals to those who love Him with a humble mind and thirsty hearts. St. John Paul II unite his voice with Pope Pius XI to exalt the holy teaching of St. Augustine, saying, “of those who have flourished from the beginnings of the human race down to our own days, none-or, at most, very few-could rank with Augustine, for the very great acuteness of his genius, the richness, and sublimity of his teachings, and finally for his holiness of life and defense of Catholic truth” (John Paul II, Augustinum Hipponsensem, 1986).

After Augustine wrestled with human wisdom, he later found meaning, truth, and peace in the teaching of Jesus Christ. He was inspired by St Paul, who found the purpose of life in the power of the cross of Christ. St. Paul said: “Christ…sent me to preach the Gospel, not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning” (1Cor 1:17-25).

Like St. Monica, you must remain “vigilant at all times and pray” “for you know neither the day nor the hour” when the Lord will answer your prayer. The transformation of St Augustine’s life is an answer to St. Monica’s persistent tears and faithful prayer to God. You, too, call upon the name of God in times of need.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 29

A Call to Change

God chose Saint John before he was born, while still in his mother’s womb, he danced for joy when he heard the greeting of the Mother of Jesus. He was called by God for a greater mission, to prepare the way for the Lord, lead the Israelites to the wilderness of repentance, and help them crossover to new life through the waters of purification. He was one of the “blessed of “the people the Lord has chosen to be his own” (Ps 33:12). He was a humble man, a prophet of God and a witness of truth, who proclaimed the arrival of the Savior of the World. He did not count equality with the Lord but saw himself as a servant of Christ Jesus.

St. John was loved by many people who came to him to be baptized, but the leaders of the people saw him as a threat to the status quo, a man not afraid to speak about injustices perpetrated by those in authority. The leaders wanted to eliminate him from the face of the earth. St. John was not afraid to shine the light of truth; he never stopped calling everyone to a new way of living: change of mind and heart, forsaking sin, and receiving baptism.

The friends of God are the people who share in His suffering on the cross of everyday life: people prisoned and hated for choosing the way of Christ- charity and justice for all. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:10). 

What is the new form of persecution that Christ Jesus is subjected to in the present age? Christians reject Jesus when they are afraid to live and witness their faith, ashamed to practice the truth of the Gospel, embracing sin as a norm of life.

St. John called his people to repentance, and Jesus calls us to a change of heart, to embrace the light of love. How do you respond to His call?

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 30

The Cross of New Life

Christianity is a new way of life that brings about an entirely new way of thinking as well as a transformation of the heart, all of which flows from the model of Jesus Christ. The baptized are born to new thinking and longing to taste the joy and peace of the Kingdom of God on earth. The Word of God, “the fire burning” in the hearts of believers (Jer 20:7-9), is the truth of new life that cannot be hidden but must blaze brightly for all to see. St. Paul describes how Christians are supposed to live and witness their faith. He says: “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom 12:1-2). 

Christians are earth-bound people who are guided by the light of heaven. As children of God, they now labor for the fulfillment of God’s plan for salvation. Our world is the garden that needs the seed of the Gospel that believers, like farmers, must plant by the labor of their charity and justice, a sign of the Kingdom of hope, a harvest of eternal peace and joy. Those who are marked by the cross of new life have their souls thirsting for God, a union of divine love. (Ps 63:2).

Jesus describes those who fail to embody His new way, those who are lured by the worldly attractions and who are blind to the power and the light of the cross as, “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do” ( Mt 16: 12-27). The way to the Kingdom of God goes through the path of the cross. What is the name of your cross? What are you struggling with in life? Bring it to Jesus Christ in prayer, and He will share your burden and fill you with peace.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 17 – 23

August 17

A Longing for Eternal Life

Human beings are created for eternal life, union with God the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. Life loses meaning, becomes unbearable, and despairing when the family of creation disconnect from the family of the Trinity: God of love and life.  God reminds His children of the worst sin that they have done beginning from creation and continues to perpetuate to the present time. He says, “You have forgotten God who gave you birth” ( Deut 32:18). Humanity tends to seek the created things instead of embracing the creator, who is the source and the soul of all things. People are prone to turn their allegiance and heart to things that have been made by God’s hand and limit their capacities to be more. The people of God become blind to the gifts of divine grace and love.

The question that a young man asked Jesus should apply to each of us: “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” (Mt 19:16-22). The purpose of life is to enter the Kingdom of heaven and put on the image of Christ, who is the living likeness of God the Father. Following the commandments of love and charity are paths to enter the dwelling place of God, but they are not the end in themselves. Keeping the commandments should open one’s eye to realize what more is needed to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. One must ask: “What do I still lack?” (Mt 19:16-22).

We are created for perfection in the image and likeness of God. We shall never be at peace until we conform to the pattern of God’s design of life to mirror His face on earth as it is in heaven. How can we live here on earth in a way that leads us to the realization of the perfection of life? Jesus shows us how to become perfect, the way to eternal life, the way to the Kingdom of heaven: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me” (Mt 19:16-22).

As you long for eternal life, remember what God says: “I will deal with you according to what you have done” (Ez 16:59). It is not only what you know about God that will lead you to heaven, but even better, what you do in acts of charity and mercy to the poor in spirit that would give you the necessary key to Kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:3).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 18 

“You are man, not a God”

Once God, the Creator, is forgotten or rejected by people, it results in replacing Him with other things: technology, wealth, fame, and power. There are people in the world who believe that science and technology, human intelligence, and wealth is the answer to every question about life, and, for this reason, decide that they do not need God to form part of their wellbeing. God reminds us of our identity, saying, “you are man, not God” (Ez 28:1-10). We are delusional and ignorant to think that we are gods, that we are complete, and that we are in control of our lives and the world and are not in need of the source of life.

Despite human achievements and innovations on earth, the ultimate end of the things made by human hands lead to “death.” On the other hand, what is created by God leads to “eternal life.” (Mt 19:23-30). Those who long to have a fulfilled and meaningful life realize that the world, with its many attractions and material wealth, cannot answer the deeper thirst of the human quest for purpose, a need to have an intimate union with the Creator in the bond of love. Those who return to the holy mountain of prayer with all their hearts become aware that, with God, “all things are possible” (Mt 19:23-30), He is not limited, and, in Him, there is a higher possibility of realizing one’s dream, hope, and peace that the world cannot give.

God sends His Son, rich in all things, to become poor on our behalf so that by imitating His way of life- humility, obedience, and following the will of the Father, we may become rich in heavenly grace, glory, and peace (2Cor 8:9). Christians live in the world but are children of heaven and should continue to work for genuine wealth that does not rot but extends to the Kingdom of God. Those who have surrendered their lives for the service of God are hopeful people, a people of faith, a people who find in Christ Jesus all they need in life eternal.

Blessed are the humble and meek of heart for theirs is the awareness that they are men and women and not God. To God alone, we offer prayer of unity, a sacrifice of love, and praise of thanksgiving and joy.

Saint Mother Teresa reminds us that “In God we live and move and have our being. It is God who gives life to all, who gives power and being to all that exists. But for His sustaining presence, all things would cease to be and fall back into nothingness. Consider that you are in God, surrounded and encompassed by God, swimming in God” (The Joy in Loving).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 19

“Go into my Vineyard”

Ministers of the Word of God have a mission to proclaim the Gospel Truth and lead, teach, and shepherd the flock to the table of sacrifice and thanksgiving (Ez 34:1-11). People of God are hungry and thirsty for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who is the way, truth, and life to the Father (Jn 14:6). No one comes to faith without someone leading them to God. Ministers of the Word of God, servants of souls, have a demanding and challenging task since the world tends to lure people to choose created things instead of the Creator, the source of all things. God warns people, saying, “You have forgotten who gave you birth” ( Deut 32:18).

God has appointed shepherds whom He sent to seek the lost sheep and bring them back home to His care. The shepherds are to lead by word of truth, the witness of faith, and acts of charity that speak eloquently the power of mercy and self-gift of love that God has bestowed on all His children by water and Holy Spirit. All the baptized are children of God and partners of Christ Jesus in the labor of evangelization. Every member of the Christian family has received the Holy Spirit, the power to become the living face of Christ on earth. Each person is called to be a witness of God’s love, mercy, and compassion. No one should be “idle,” for there is room for everyone in the “vineyard of the Lord” (Mt 20:1-16). At the end of life, we shall be judged not only by what we knew but also by what we did for Christ in the world and what we did not do, especially to Christ, the poor in our midst.

God has promised a reward to all who dedicate their lives to serve His mission on earth. God is kind and generous, offering us an entry to the Kingdom of heaven for those who follow the way of the cross: seeking the lost sheep, feeding the poor, and working for the realization of the Kingdom of heaven. How are you involved in the work of God? And the Lord says, “You too go into my vineyard” (Mt 20:1-16).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 20

Saint Bernard: An Experience of Divine Love

The people who come to God with humility and meekness of the heart learn the ways of wisdom, grow in understanding of the things of God, and are inspired by the Spirit of love (Sir 15:1-6). God is love, and He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to teach us the way of love that springs from the generous and gracious heart of the Father. Jesus lived, witnessed, and died on the cross to reveal to the world that the most significant thing above all is to seek union with the Father of love. Jesus prayed to each of us, “I made known to them your name, and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them” (Jn 17:20-26). The love of God perdures even beyond death.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the 12th century, Doctor of the Church, taught and pointed people to the love of God, which was more than a feeling but also experiential. God in Christ comes to meet us as love incarnate and through the Holy Spirit He reveals the power of love, the gift of grace that continues to transform people’s minds and hearts to long for an encounter with the person of the Risen Lord present in the poor and the little ones. St. Bernard, speaking of his intimate relationship with Jesus, says, “Jesus is honey on the lips, melody in the ear, joy in the heart. Yet not alone is that name light and food. It is also a remedy.” He then asked, “Is anyone among you sad?” He responded: ‘Let the name of Jesus enter his heart; let it leap thence to his mouth; and lo! The light shining from that name shall scatter every cloud and restore peace.” He demonstrated his creed, saying, “There is nothing so powerful as the name of Jesus to check anger, reduce the swelling of pride, heal the smarting wound of envy…” ( In Cantina, Serm. XV, 6).

Jesus calls us to have union with Him so that our work of faith may bear rich fruits, our witness of charity may reveal the face of Christ and our love for the things of God may flame our hearts for the grace of eternal life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 21

Love: The Breath of Life

God says: “I will put my spirit in you that you may live…thus you shall know that I am the Lord” (Ez 37:1-14). Human beings are like dead bones when they do not have God as the source of their sustenance. The meaning of life is to be aware that nothing can exist without God’s generous gift of love, the outpouring of the Spirit of truth. God has sent ministers to remind people of the need for an intimate connection with the plan of the Father in Jesus Christ, the gift of salvation. The Spirit calls those who receive the Gospel in faith to lead a new way of life that shines in the world the light of justice and peace.

God calls His children to learn from Him to live on earth and “observe what is right and do what is just.” God gives a new law of life: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind… You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Jn 22:34-40). Saint Pope Pius X, whom we celebrate today, was a teacher and a witness of love for Jesus Christ and the poor. Following in the footsteps of St. Paul, his desire and goal for God’s people were to “restore all things in Christ” (Eph 1:10). He called upon priests to grow in their understanding and love of Christ so that they may share with others the living power of Jesus Christ that brings transformation.

St. Pius X is known as the “Eucharist priest.” His love for the Eucharist was great. He helped the Church to lower the age of the reception of the Eucharist so that children may not wait long before they begin to taste the joy and peace that Christ brings into those who eat His Body and drink His Blood in faith. The Eucharist is our spiritual food that strengthens our faith, heals our hearts, and opens our souls to heavenly grace. 

The Eucharist increases the love of God within us so that we may become an instrument of a new life for others in Christ Jesus.  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 22

We have the Queen: Mary

Today we celebrate the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Heaven. The Angel Gabriel reveals Her identity: “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you” (Lk 1:26-38).  She was chosen by God, the King of heaven so that in her humility, faith, and obedience to the will and plan of salvation, She may become the Mother and Queen of the Son of Man, the King of “new age,” eternal life. She was filled with graces and blessings appropriate for a Lady, the Queen of the Kingdom of God.

From the Angel Gabriel, the Church learns to honor Mary as Queen and the Mother of the Ruler and Master of All. The Angel says: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:26-38). Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of heaven on earth, and Mary, a partner in the plan of salvation, became the temple of God vested with a crown of faith. St. John Damascene wrote, “When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature” (Pope Pius XII, Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, 1954). According to St. Theresa, the Little Flower, Mary is Mother and Queen.

A divided world needs unity and peace, a sickling world, longs for healing and compassion, and the Queen of Heaven is well suited to be an instrument of blessings. Pope Pius XII, proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, said: “all, according to their state, should strive to bring alive the wondrous virtues of our heavenly Queen and most loving Mother through constant effort of mind and manner…. Thus will it come about that all Christians, in honoring and imitating their sublime Queen and Mother, will realize they are truly brothers,…will promote love among classes, respecting the rights of the weak, cherish peace”(Pope Pius XII, Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, 1954).

We have a Queen in heaven so that the Children of God on earth, may become princes of peace and justice, seeking to do what is right in the eyes of the King of heaven and earth, creating a Kingdom full of grace, blessings, and love. “Do not be afraid to take Mary” home for She is the Queen in heaven and Mother on earth (Mt 1:20).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 23

The Key to Eternal Life

Jesus posed to His disciples an important question that applies to every Christian when he asked them “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Mt 16:13-20). Who is Jesus for you and me? Without knowing the identity of Jesus Christ, it is not easy to follow Him, teach others about Him, and remain in His company. 

Knowing what the world says about Jesus is fundamentally essential. That knowledge enables one to be in touch with the struggles of the people, to share their pain, and to become part of the answer to Jesus’ question. According to the disciples, the Israelites regard Jesus as just another prophet of old. The people mainly saw His human aspect, recognizing Him simply as a carpenter’s son from Nazareth. They did not expect Him to be the savior they were waiting to rescue them from oppression and suffering. Their lack of faith blinded them from seeing and recognizing the living truth before their eyes, that before them stood the Son of God.

Jesus challenged the disciples to be different from the people of the world, to embrace the gift of faith and grace, receive the eye of God, and see the Star of Salvation. Jesus asks his disciples “But who do you say I am?” (Mt 16:13-20).  The world can teach us ideas about Jesus but cannot infuse within our lives the experiences and encounters with the living Lord that become the bases for a relationship of love and mercy. St. Peter identified Jesus as “You are Christ, Son of the living God.” The identity of Jesus is revealed only by the intervention of the Spirit of God. Jesus says to St. Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father” (Mt 16:13-20).  God is fully involved in the lives of Christians and He wants to make known His Son, who is the love of the Father in the world, the light of truth and way of salvation.

Those who believe and love the Son of God made known by the ministers of the Word of God have been given the key to the door of heaven that unlocks faith, love, and hope, the light of grace and glory. The key to the Holy Church, the Kingdom of heaven on earth, enables the faithful to work with Jesus as partners in the vineyard of salvation. Together with the Psalmist, those who have encountered Jesus as the living key to eternal life can now rejoice in a song of redemption: “Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands” (Ps 138:8) that we have become, in imitation of your Son Jesus Christ, the earthly hands of charity and justice.  

Fr. Joseph Oganda


August 10-16

August 10

A Sacrifice of Love

A Christian is a giver of self, life, and hope, “for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:6-10). God reveals His identity in Christ Jesus as the perfect gift of love. Jesus says that whoever has seen Him has seen the Father. The love of God for humanity is manifested in the act of sacrifice: the holy sacrifice of death and resurrection. At the heart of Christianity is the Eucharist, a table offering of life that sheds the blood of Christ and brings hope of eternal life to all who partake of the food of heaven in faith.

Serving the Lord means imitating His way of life in all things, even death on the cross as Saint Lawrence, Deacon, and Marty, whose feast we celebrate today, did. Jesus says, “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servants be” (Jn 12:24-26). Deacon Lawrence loved Jesus to death and was a faithful servant and friend of Pope Sixtus II 354 A. D, who also had given his life as a symbol of a witness of faith and commitment to the Gospel truth.

St. Lawrence and many saints in the Church teach us that those who choose to follow Jesus Christ by way of imitation, that the cross, martyrdom, and sacrifice are at the center of our faith- these holy acts of love are the soul, the blood that sustains the Church and makes her radiate in beauty.  Pope Paul VI said, “Thus Lawrence, an ordained minister of charity, brings to completion the task given to him. This he does not only by following his Bishop ( Sixtus II) in the shedding of his own blood in martyrdom but also in his act of distributing the communities’ resources (as expressed in material goods) to the poor. His gesture shows how, in the Church, all things have a value once oriented towards charity, or when placed at the service of charity or when they can be transformed into charity” (St. Lawrence Proto-Deacon of the Roma Church).

All the faithful are called to become martyrs of charity, at the table of the Eucharist- to witness their faith by shining the light of hope: Feeding of the hungry, attending to the sick, and comforting the lonely in a share of one cross, one bread, and one cup, the light of the sacrifice of love (Jn 8:12).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 11

A “Passionate Lover of the Poor” 

The Word of God is a gift of grace: a voice of truth having power for change, heal humanity from the power of sin. Jesus Christ is the living Word that reals the face of the Father. The death of Jesus on the cross was to reveal the love of the Father, and the shining light of the resurrection was to create new people, children of God. The Word of God leads people to faith, inspire hope, and open hearts to acts of charity and kindness.

The world competes with human hearing, feeding it with empty noise so that when God speaks, people may not listen and understand the goodness and sweetness of the Word of Redemption. God appeals to Christians and those who are still far from His care: “As for you, son of man, obey me when I speak: be not rebellious” (Ez 2:8-3:4). The Blessed Virgin Mary, who conceived the Word in her heart of faith that grew to become Jesus Christ, wisely teach the disciples how to “eat” (Ez 2:8-3:4) the word and bear fruits: “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5).

The ultimate purpose of the Word God is to teach and prepare believers for the Kingdom of heaven, to become like little ones who are humble of heart and are open to trust and believe in the Word of Salvation (Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14). 

Saint Clare, whom we honor today like many other saintly women, found a treasure in the Word of God by contemplating the depth of the mystery hidden in the Book of light, they have been filled with the Spirit of truth and witness beautifully in love and holiness the humble face and gentle and merciful heart of the Son of Mary and Savior.

Pope John Paul II speaks of the contributions of faith, knowledge, and wisdom that St. Clare and other holy women have poured into the heart of holy Church. He says, “If Catherine of Siena is the saintly woman full of passion for the Bread of Christ, the great St. Teresa is the woman who goes from “mansion” to “mansion”  to the threshold of the great King in the Interior Castle, and Therese of the Child Jesus is the one who, in Gospel simplicity, travels the little way, Clare is the passionate lover of the poor, crucified Christ, with whom she wants to identify absolutely” (Letter of His Holiness John Paul II for the Eighth Centenary of the Birth of Saint Clare of Assisi).

Would you wait for the Lord in prayer to speak tenderly to your soul the words that can transform your soul to become a “passionate lover of the poor”?

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 12

Join Hands and Be Saved

God does not want His children to perish now or on the final day of the hour of judgment. He gives each of us many opportunities to repent, change ways of our lives, and return to Him, who is the loving and caring Father. He sent His only Son on earth to announce the Gospel of mercy, grace, and love- an offering of Salvation, taking upon Himself the wood of the cross: passion, death, and resurrection. Those who believe in Son of Man and God: the baptized in the waters of rebirth, and anointed with the oil of the Spirit of truth, are marked with the sign of faith, and sealed with the power of hope for eternal life in the Kingdom of heaven. God promised protection to those who are dear to His heart. He says, “But do not touch any marked with the “thau” (Ez 9: 1-7; 10-18-22).

The mission of the Church on earth is to become the hospital of healing: a holy place where sins are forgiven by the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where new children of God are brought to birth by the Sacrament of Baptism, where the hungry and thirsty are fed with the Eucharist of love, and where the people of God are filled with the Holy Spirit so that they may become evangelists of truth and witnesses of charity of the Kingdom of heaven. God’s work is the desire and longing of our souls: “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:19).

God, who calls us by name, is the God of Holy Family who invites us to become members of His Holy Church. Faith in God is not a private enterprise or an isolated undertaking: it is an invitation to share in the outpouring love and mercy that springs from the heart of the Family of Trinity: The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. When humanity loses the sense of being together with others, the joy of life wanes, and the sun of hope turns into the gloomy darkness despair. God calls each of us to return to Him and embrace one another so that the image and likeness of goodness and beauty of divine grace and love may continue to shine forth in the world.

Jesus gives us a new commandment, a medicine to heal our wounds of division, isolation, and need for reconciliation. He says, “Amen, I say you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:15-20). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 13

Rebellion of Faith

The pandemic of rebellion against God who created us loved us and cared for us is running deep in our genes that nothing on earth can uproot it from our hearts and souls. Humanity inherited the prideful nature from our first parents: Adam and Eve, who gave in to the temptation of the Evil One, who is against God’s love and truth. Our greatest sin against the gift of love and faith is captured by the psalmist: “Do not forget the works of the Lord” (Ps 78:7). Human beings and entire creation are the visible signs of God’s art of beauty, a reflection of His image and grace on earth. The moment God is not valued, taken for granted or when He is not allowed to become the light that guides life, then the darkness and blindness to the truth take over one’s whole being, and life begins to lose taste and the night of despair takes over from the light of grace- peace and joy.

Prophet Ezekiel, inspired by the Spirit of God reminds us of our rebellious nature, saying: “The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, you live in the midst of a rebellious house; they have eyes to see but do not see, and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious house” (Ez 12:1-12). We do not have to live like this. God wants the best for each of us; He wants to restore us to union with Him to direct our lives according to His original plan of perfect beauty just as He is in the Son and the Holy Spirit.

He has sent His beloved Son, the Savior of the Word, to be the healing we need to restore our hearts and souls to God’s family. He is God, who is merciful and forgiving to all who return to Him in faith. God does not want the faithful to get lost since He is generous and compassionate, restoring the lost to His love and inviting them to do the same to others.

What is it that prevents you from hearing the kindness, love, and compassion of God that He pours abundantly in your heart? God, the loving Father, continually calls us back home, would you respond to him today and say: “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10) or “Lord, save me” ( Mt 14:22-33).

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

August 14 

A witness of Faith: The Gift of Love

Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, a priest, and martyr was a witness of Jesus Christ in life and death. When a parishioner at Auschwitz camp in Germany was on his way to dying, he pleaded for mercy, to be spared for the sake of his young family- a man with wife and children that he wanted to live for and not die and forsake. Fr. Kolbe, a man of compassion, pity, and courage of faith, volunteered to sacrifice his own life and give this family man another grace filled opportunity to live for his family and for the witness of true love. By choosing to die for a friend in prison, he becomes a man who united himself entirely to the life and words of Jesus Christ, who says: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:12-16).

The faithful are prisoners in the world of darkness of sin, but Jesus Christ, the living sign and means of God’s love and mercy, has come to set us free by the gift of the blood and resurrection so that we too may be called children of the Father. Christians have been chosen by water, fire, and Spirit, just like St. Kolbe, to embrace the victory of the cross and share in the suffering of the people of God. Jesus says, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain”(Jn 15:12-16).

Many people cry to God to rescue them from dying of hunger. The poor pray that the Spirit may touch the hearts of others, to inspire kindness, compassion and help. We who share in the life and sacrifice of Christ, the Eucharist of love, have become friends of God and instruments of salvation. How many would be willing to allow God to use them to reach out to others in need? The poor ones among us are the present-day Christ who hunger and thirst for our love and kindness.  

Is the love of Christ in you and the love of neighbor out of you? Jesus asks, “If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Jesus gives us a new command: “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth” (1 Jn 3:14-18).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 15

The Way to Heaven

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the ark of the covenant, the temple of the living Word of God, is a sign of peace on earth and a symbol of blessing and grace in heaven. Mary conceived the living Word of God in her heart and gave birth to the Son of God, who also received Her in the heavenly dwelling.

She continues to be a blessing to the faithful by carrying us by her prayer and faith to the Son, who reminds us that “blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Lk 11:27-28). The Holy Mother of the Church did more than just heard and conceived the Word of God, but also practiced the faith and witnessed the joys and hopes of the cross and resurrection. She is the teacher and exemplar of living the faith according to the imitation of Christ. She advises the disciples: “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5). The people who receive Mary in their homes and lives are friends of Christ and witnesses of truth in Spirit.

The Assumption of our Mother in heaven is a great gift of the victory of faith and life eternal for the pilgrim Church on earth. It is the hope for the faithful that at the end of time, all the redeemed will be united with the family of God in heaven, a place where Jesus has ascended to prepare a home for final rest and peace.  

Saint John Paul II Says, “Mary shines today as Queen of us all, pilgrim on our way to immortal life… In her, assumed into heaven, we are shown the eternal destiny that awaits us beyond the mystery of death: a destiny of total happiness in divine glory” (Homily of John Paull II, 15 August 1997). For those who long for final union with God the Father in heaven should not be afraid to have Mary as their Mother and guide in the way of faith, hope and love, for Jesus had said to each of us: “Here is your Mother” (Jn 19:27).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 16

Becoming the Face of God

Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sake of all people to bring the gift of salvation, a transformation of self-image, and to fulfill a longing to become the living face of God on earth as it is in heaven. God created all things, marking and signing them with His signature of goodness by clothing them with the light of His likeness. “May he let his face upon us” (Ps 67:2-3, 4,5,6, 8). The purpose of creation is to shine forth the face of God. Human beings who are created to be close to God and dear to His heart are the visible reflections of the hidden face of the Trinity – the splendor of love. 

What should Christians do to become the living face of God on earth? The faithful are to follow a holy pattern of God, that is to “observe what is right, do what is just… loving the name of the Lord, and becoming his servants,” keeping “sabbath” pure, being obedient to the “covenant,” and coming to the “holy mountain” of God to offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for the salvation of justice, (Is 56:1, 6-7)- the kingdom of grace and  “mercy upon all” ( Rom 11:32).

The Church is a symbol of the face of God on earth when she continues to live according to her nature, calling, and mission to be the “house of prayer for all peoples” (Is 56:1, 6-7), proclaiming the “Gospel of the kingdom,” curing “every disease among the people” (Mt 4:23), forgiving sins and restoring the lost to God’s love, care, and protection.

Christians are the face of God on earth when they listen and respond in kindness, justice, and charity to those who cry for help: “have pity on me” (Mt 15:21-2). Those who strive not to “send away” the hungry and the poor but seek to find how to share in their crosses and sufferings, Jesus responds to them, saying, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish” (Mt 15:21-2). Do what is right, shine forth the light of faith as you become the face of justice and mercy in the kingdom of heaven, attending to the needs of the poor with a generosity without borders, a holy charity, a catholic heart, and a unity of life eternal. Becoming the living face of Jesus Christ is the ultimate goal of life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


August 3 – 9

August 3

Hope in the Night

A widow, poor and elderly, received food donations and expressed her thanks by shedding tears and praying a rosary to those who extended a helping hand to her, those whose hearts were moved with pity like Jesus to share in her pain and hunger. Her most significant concern was not the coronavirus but the pang of an empty stomach, a recipe for sleepiness nights, and a virus that ultimately bring about slow and lonely death.  Her faith was her only hope trusting that one day; help will come. The poor lady had prayer as her weapon, having a rosary in her hand and eyes fixed on the Virgin Mary. The woman of faith did not allow anything to take her love for God and Mary away; even hunger and poverty was not going to do that. At last little help came to her and she shed tears of hope and trust and made a promise before God’s people that at last, she found her vocation in life: To pray a rosary until she dies for those who were moved with pity and compassion to share their food with her. 

In the Gospel of today, Saint Peter experienced a storm of life, just like the rest of us always do. When he had his eyes looking to Jesus, he remained steadfast, able to withstand the forces of nature, but when his removed from the Lord; he began to sink (Mt 14:22-36). We all have storms, challenges in life, but when we face them, how do we deal with them? The temptation is always to look at the magnitude of difficulties that we encounter, forgetting to realize that we are not alone, that Jesus is with us to help us if we call upon His name. The psalmist reminds us that “the hand of God feeds us; he answers all our needs” (Ps 145:16).

Continue to hope in the night! The poor woman did not stop looking to Jesus with her rosary continuously in her hand, St. Peter turned to Jesus and was helped in times of need. What about you, in times of need, where will you go to seek help?

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

August 4 

Saint Vianney: “Hospital of Souls”

Today we celebrate John Mary Vianney, the patron Saint of parish priests. He teaches priests and the faithful how to love the things of God and live solely for the mission of love.  He used to say that “priesthood is the love of Jesus,” the heart that seeks the lost souls to bring them back home to the dwelling of God. When his bishop sent him to a parish in Ars, France, he warned him of the dying faith of the people he was appointed to serve. His bishop said, “There is little love of God in that parish; You will be the one to put it there.” The same need of love in parishes and around the world is necessary since many have kept distance from the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a healing medicine of mercy and forgiveness of sin- the power of darkness that continues to destroy families, divide people, and breed despair in life. 

St. Vianney lived his life serving Christ faithfully by spending quality time with the Blessed Eucharist, gazing the wonders of love, longing for ultimate union with the Father in heavenly glory. His mission was first and foremost to be with the Lord, who prepared his heart to receive the wounded hearts that were looking for healing. St. Vianney was a living and effective “hospital of souls,” who radiated spiritual light to hearts that were disturbed and announced the Word of truth to the minds that longed to see God’s goodness in the world and their lives. 

We must renew our love for the Sacrament of Reconciliation because this is the fastest way to return home and realize union with the Father. God warns through the prophet Jeremiah that: “no healing for you…your pain is without relief. Because of guilt, your numerous sins” (Jer 1:2, 12-15, 18-22). One of the worst present-day sins is to eat the Body of Christ and drink His Blood with unclean hearts, poisoning, and killing one’s soul slowly by slowly (Mt 1: 1-2, 10-14).

For those who come to God with repentant hearts, He says, “You shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Jer 1:2, 12-15, 18-22). Let us ask St. John Vianney to intercede for all the servants of God and the faithful that they may not be “blind guides of the blind” (Mt 1: 1-2, 10-14), that we may become, according to Pope Benedict XVI, “heralds of hope, reconciliation, and peace” which the world and our communities thirst and hunger for- an encounter with merciful love, Jesus Christ.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 5 

Unwavering Faith and Love

Christians are people sent to go out and announce the Good News of God’s love, mercy, and to lead the lost back to the Father. How many of us are involved in doing the mission that was given to each of us after baptism and confirmation: to become partners of Christ and the Holy Spirit, to lead others to faith? It is dangerous to turn Christianity into a closed club for a selected group of people who are not open to the poor and the simple ones.

It is easy to close our eyes and ears, not see the pain and hear the cry of those who long to encounter the risen Christ. In the Gospel of the Last Sunday, we saw how the disciples were telling Jesus to send away the hungry to go and look for food for themselves. The temptation is always to think that the problem and challenges of others have nothing to do with us and, by sending them away, we neglect our Christian calling to be the light of charity and hope in the world. The place to encounter Christ is at the center of sharing in the suffering of others, a bond of one cross and one bread. 

In today’s reading, we hear again the disciples asking Jesus to send away the woman who cries to Him to heal her sick daughter: “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us” (Mt. 15: 21-28). Jesus, who “has visited his people” (Lk 7:16), is the answer to questions that humanity deals with in life. God does not send any of us away when we cry to him in faith for help. So, why do we close our eyes to those who seek our help-kindness, compassion, mercy? God reminds us how He is committed in our lives, saying, “with age-old love I have loved you: so I have kept my mercy towards you” (Jer 31:1-7), He calls us to do likewise to others.

People may refuse to help you in time need, but like the woman of great faith we encounter today in the readings, do not give up crying out to Jesus in prayer: “Lord, help me” ( Mt 15:21-28). Instead of sending the hungry away, Jesus says, “You, give them something to eat” (Mk 6:37).To those who do not give up shining the light of faith even amidst darkness, Jesus says, ‘Let it be done for you as you wish” (Mt 15:21-28).  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 6

The Transfiguration of Love: The Light of New Life

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. St. Peter captured the heart of the meaning of this feast in these words: “Lord, it is good that we are here” (Mt 17:1-9).  Saints Peter, John, and James got an opportunity to enter into the Holy space of God and experience His glory. It was a new and incredible encounter that they did not want to come to an end. The disciples’ eyes of faith were opened by heavenly light of grace, saw the glory of the Lord- the face of God in the Person of Jesus, the victory of life after death.

Transfiguration happens even today in the lives of the faithful who are ready to follow the way of the Lord, who continue to lead us to the Father, to a space of silent contemplation, adoration, and surrender to the will of God. In the Eucharist, the faithful can still experience the presence of Christ, who continues to touch our hearts with words of hope: “rise, and do not be afraid” (Mt 17:1-9). When Christians lift the eyes to heaven in faith, “heaven open” (Acts 7:56), and the face of Christ appears in the Words: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased, listen to Him” (Mt 17:1-9).

To listen to the Word of God, to believe in Christ, and to put into practice the message of the Gospel, is the living transfiguration of new life happening within the faithful, a sign of becoming God’s children. We are transfiguration of Christ’s image and likeness when guided by the light of charity, moved by the acts of mercy, inspired by the gift of the Spirit, and glory in the grace of dwelling in the presence of divine love.  

Listening to the Word of God, contemplating in silence, praying, and waiting patiently for the grace and light of Christ to shine within the heart of believers is the gift of the transfiguration of everyday life. The transformation happens to those who respond to the invitation of Christ, calling us to walk with Him everyday, leading us to the mountain of revelation, a place of heavenly peace and joy, a vision of the Father of great love.

Pope Francis tells us how we, too, like Saints Peter, James, and John, can experience the glory of everyday transfiguration. He says, “Do not forget: this week, listen to Jesus! And think about the matter of the Gospel.” He pleads, “Will you? Will you do this?” Today, be the transfiguration of love- the light of new life in Jesus Christ.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 7

The Coming of the Kingdom

The Scripture tells how the people of God are waiting for the coming of the “Son of Man in his Kingdom” and that the faithful shall see Him as He is (Mt 16:24-26). Christ, whom we wait, is already present in history, in the life of the people, in heaven and on earth. God appeared at the beginning of creation as Goodness, after the coming of sin into the world, He emerged as the Sacrificial Lamb of Salvation and freedom, in death on the cross, He resurrected as the light of peace, and He will come again as the glory of love eternal.

Why is it difficult for the faithful to recognize the face of Jesus Christ in everyday life and to encounter Him in others and hear Him speak to their hearts, minds, and souls when they pray? The Risen Lord is dwelling within us and in the world, and Christians can find Him when they seek Him in right places, holy grounds: “see, upon the mountains there advances the bearer of good news, announcing peace!” (Na 2:1, 3, 3: 1-3, 6-7). Each of us must find a mountain in our lives, a place set aside to go and meet God, a holy ground, a place of silence made pure by the light of the Spirit of God that adorn the space of worship with the flower of love and the fragrance of grace. 

The Son of Man, who comes to meet us in prayer, walks with us in real life, especially by carrying the cross of redemption. Jesus Christ appears in our suffering as the one who suffers with us uplifting our fading faith with the words of hope: “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness; for theirs is the Kingdom of God” (Mt 5:10).

We are not alone in the journey of faith, no matter the hardship we experience in life. We are marked and sealed by the cross of new life, eternity. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 8

St. Dominic: An Eloquent Preacher

Saint Dominic became the light of communicating, preaching, and proclaiming “God’s wisdom, mysterious, and hidden” (1 Cor 2:1-10).  He was an excellent preacher, lover of Christ, a holy man enthused by the zeal to bring the Good News of the Gospel to all people. The Saint with angelic mouth spoke words filled with power since he was anointed with the Spirit of truth- the revealer of “what eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:1-10). He was a man close to the heart and mind of Christ, who knew and cherished the Word of God with his whole being, helping others to incarnate and evangelize the Gospel message of salvation. He taught, preached, and “proclaimed God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations” (Ps 96:3) forming religious communities of men and women which now spread in every part of the world: leading, training, and guiding others to become excellent and effective bearers of the Word of God.

According to Pope Francis, St. Dominic said, “First contemplate, and then teach” the Gospel through “preaching, witness and charity.” The Pontiff says, “Without a deeply personal union with God, preaching may be perfect, rational, and even admirable, but it will never touch the hearts, which is what must change.” Preachers have a challenge not just to share with others about Jesus whom they know, but Christ as a person they have encountered in the Spirit and imitated in faith and served in love and humility. They have a calling to become agents of change and transformation. 

Saints Dominic and Francis were contemporaries and friends with a shared mission to bring the love of Christ to all people. Dominic engaged the power of appealing to the listeners’ mind by preaching, while Francis, spoke to the hearts by acts of charity and mercy to the poor. The Church needs preachers who can speak intelligently and wisely to the minds of people and, at the same time, quench the thirst of hearts by the spiritual gifts of service of love and kindness so that souls may rejoice in the outpouring grace of resurrection-obedience to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 9

Tested Faith: The Storm of Life

I saw an article online about a priest who told his congregation not to be afraid of the Coronavirus is now in the hospital with COVD-19. That priest’s message not to be afraid does not mean that the priest or the faithful are somehow immune from the pandemic. Everybody, including priests, bishops, Christians, and nonbelievers, equally experience challenges and sicknesses in life without exception to status and beliefs. It is erroneous to assume that once a person is a Christian or servant of God that they become free from facing the crosses of life. The faithful are aware that the cross is at the center of life in God. Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Jesus carried the cross, entering into the world of suffering so that His followers who also must walk along the path of purification, the way of mercy, must arrive at the tomb of resurrection. 

Today in the readings we encounter a faithful servant of God, Prophet Elijah, who lived his life calling and inviting the people of his time to follow God’s teachings and ways. He was not immune to the rejection and attack from the leaders and those who did not want to hear God’s message. He hid in a cave because the leaders wanted to kill him (1Kgs 19:9, 11-13). All who serve God must deal with the darkness of sin.

The disciples of Jesus were not free from facing the storms in the sea and in life. What makes a difference in believers’ lives is that they meet the obstacles of life with their eyes fixed on Jesus, waiting and trusting in God’s intervention. God comes to us silently in a whisper. Christ breaks through the power of the forces of nature and evil, saying “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (Mt 14:22-33).

Life is a walk on water, and there are times that each of us reach a point of sinking. When you begin to sink, what would you do? When life’s challenges drive you into the cave of darkness and fear, where would you turn for help? It is in the whisper and silence of faith that God comes to save us. Salvation comes in turning one’s heart in trust and hope in Christ, crying: “Lord, save me” (Mt 14:22-33).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


July 27 – August 2

July 27

Return to the Father

Forgetting a mother who gave birth to you is a terrible thing to do. Many people tend to forget their mothers and fathers, especially in their old age, and in doing so, are losing blessings that God gives to those who love, care, and respect their parents. God continues to reach out to us through the goodness and love of our parents. God our Father is like our mothers, He is the source of life, sustenance, and protection, but many have forsaken Him. The psalmist reminds each of us of the sin we have done and continue to commit every day, saying, “You have forgotten God who gave you life” (Ps Deut 32:18). Detaching oneself from the fountain of life is like a branch of a tree cut from the main vine. A disconnected branch of a tree may continue to exist but would not have the capacity to stay alive and produce fruits. We cannot live happily and peacefully if we do not connect to Christ’s heart, the tree of new life.

To reject God does not mean those who are far away from the Church, who claim that they are not Christians. The word of God speak to you and me, who are Christians. We are the ones prophet Jerimiah describes as: “This wicked people who refuse to obey my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and follow strange gods to serve and adore them” ( Jer 13: 1-11). To have baptism and become a member of a Christian community is not enough to make one a true disciple of Jesus Christ. It is also necessary to respond to the call to conversion of life, to follow the way of the light of the Gospel truth, imitate and conform one’s way of life to His, seeking to do the will of the Father. 

God created us for the Kingdom of heaven (Mt 13:31-35), for final union with Him, the Father, who never stops to call us to return home through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. God calls you today to change your life and welcome Him fully into your life so that He may guide, teach, and heal you. Would you allow Him to be the light of your life, love you, and speak to your heart tenderly the words of salvation and freedom? “Today, if you hear his voice harden not your hearts” (Heb 3:15). Return to the Father.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 28

Sow the Good Seed

Are you a good seed that can produce rich fruits or a bad seed that bears only weeds? When God created all of us, He made us good seeds since we came from the heart of His Love, the fountain of divine goodness. So, where did the weed in our lives originate?  The Evil Spirit is at war with Christians blinding their eyes of faith and charity from reaching out to the poor of Christ. God continues to invite us to return home so that in union with Him, His gift of merciful love may continue to shine through our acts of charity and faith (Mt 13:36-43).

Today, I saw a miracle which a little act of goodness of planting a small seed of mercy, kindness, and generosity could do in a person’s life. Some of our faithful donated some funds, and we fed some destitute elderly widows. One of them, blind and in a wheelchair, after receiving her donation of food, she started to shed tears as people were leaving. One of the organizers asked what the problem was, and she said: “For the last seventy years of my life, no one has ever given me anything, help me or thought of me. I have been forgotten and abandoned and regarded as nothing. Now I can’t believe that suddenly, there are people who have come to my aid, thought of me! She also added, “I will pray for them a rosary every day until I die.” The grateful lady, Sabina, brought tears to my eyes! The gift of food was not much, but see how she is so gracious, making a promise of a lifetime to express gratitude to God and His people by blessing them with tears and prayers.

Just a simple act of charity, kindness, compassion, can heal a wound of more than seventy years. She brought tears of joy and hope into my heart, and I loved her. Sabina, is among many who have been waiting “for peace, to no avail, for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.” (Jer 14:17-22). The good news is that she found peace and healing in the act of holy people willing to sow good seeds of sharing God-given gifts with the poor of the poor. Please continue to bring joy, peace, and healing to widows, orphans, the hungry, the blind by sharing with them what God has given you, and your reward will be overflowing in heaven. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda  

July 29

Active and Practical Faith

Today, we are celebrating the memorial of Saint Martha, the sister of Mary. Martha, compared to her sister Mary was a woman of active and practical faith. She loved Jesus and expressed her hospitality by working to make sure that she accommodated her visitors. Martha was burdened with serving, but her spirit remained focused on Jesus Christ.

Jesus can transform the nature of our work and service as long as we do everything for the glory of the Father’s name. Jesus comes to meet each of us right where we are. He says, “I am the light of the world…whoever follows me will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12). Martha followed the Lord by acting on her faith and bringing the light of kindness, generosity, and sharing to shine brightly in her house. Mary expressed her love and welcoming of Jesus not only in their house but also in the heart that long for intimate union with the Lord. While Martha was busy preparing food to feed the hungry visitors, Mary, on the other hand, was being fed by the Word of life and the love of light and peace, Jesus Christ.

Martha and her sister Mary teach us that following and serving Jesus requires faith that can believe in the power of love, charity, and hospitality. Jesus is the perfect exemplar of service and hospitality. He welcomes people through the gift of mercy and love even before others begin to receive Him in their hearts and homes. For this reason, His advice is that people should learn to seek and find God first, and all other things shall be given to them (Mt 6:33). Jesus speaks to Martha and all of us, saying, “You are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her” (Lk 10:38-42).

Like Martha, you can serve God with all your energy, and like Mary, love Him with all your heart and soul by choosing the better part of life-doing the will of Father in all things.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 30

Shaped by God

We are clay in the hand of a potter. God continues to mold us to conform to His original plan and pattern of goodness, making us into His image. God is still active in our lives, creating us into His likeness and holiness. A potter gives clay in the hand shape, meaning, and value; in the same way, God gives shape and purpose when we remain in His hands, letting Him transform us into divine design of unity. (Jer 18: 1-6).  

God continues to speak to our hearts and purify it so that the Word of God may find an open ear of faith and love (Act 16:14). He speaks to us through the words and deeds of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit to live on earth with eyes fixed to the Kingdom of heaven. We are dwelling on earth right now, but we should not forget that our final destination is, eternal union with the Trinity. Our final destination should influence everything that we do on earth and in life. We cannot live as blind people who do not know where they will be after death. 

Jesus came to the world to show us the way to the Father. He calls us to repentance, conversion of life, and allowed us to inherit eternal life by his death on the cross. God does not want any of us to remain outside paradise. The people who are open to the Gospel message are promised a place in heaven instead of unbelievers.

Only the humble, meek, and gentle heart can be molded and made ready for heavenly joy and peace. What is it in your life that prevent you from giving yourself completely to God so that He may become the living light of your life? What do you do today to prepare for the final day when God call you back home? “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 31

A Soldier of Christ: Seeking God in all Things

Today we celebrate the life St. Ignatius of Loyola, a soldier of the world before becoming a soldier for Jesus Christ. He met the Lord at a very dark moment of his life while recovering from an injury sustained from war. God can break through the walls of darkness, suffering, pain, and death to speak to His people’s hearts. Ignatius, a true warrior of faith, discovered a better commander of life in Jesus Christ who changes life by the weapon of love and mercy.

In his search to grow in faith, Ignatius discovered that life requires discernment of spirits so that one may be guided by the Holy Spirit to make wise decisions, determinations, and judgments that springs from the tree of the Gospel and the life of Christ. 

The founder of the Jesuit Society also taught a path of spiritual journey known as Spiritual Exercises: examining one’s life to see how it mirrors the way and life of Christ. A daily practice of awakening the power of reflective memory to relive life experiences by bringing them into an encounter with the shining light the Word of God- an act of seeing everything with God’s eye, a vision of the heart of what is essential and authentic. Being fully aware of one’s rhythm and pattern of life and behavior allows one to note what needs cleaning, healing, and transformation.

In suffering, Ignatius, “tasted and saw the goodness of the Lord,” a share of the cross that heals. (Ps 32:9). He united his suffering to Christ’s passion, and by surrendering his heart to the Lord, he received a call to become a defender and protector of the treasures of faith, love, and hope. He did everything for God’s greater glory and called his fellow brothers and the people of God to resolve to imitate Christ and the Virgin Mary by being obedient to the plan of God the Father. 

St. Ignatius, the Spiritual Master of finding God in all things, the teacher of the practice of daily examen of life and Spiritual Exercises, influenced the spirituality of one of his disciples and sons, the present pope, Francis. Speaking to students from Jesuits school, Pope Francis said: “What gave me the strength to become a Jesuit is the sense of being a missionary. To go out, to take part in the missions, to proclaim Jesus Christ. This is precisely our spirituality, to go out and spread the Gospel.” You, too, have been called to become the living missionary soldier of faith, to seek God’s face in all things, spread the light of love, and be the sign of hope to the poor in spirit.

 Fr. Joseph Oganda  

August 1

Be the Light you seek 

The world is full of darkness and needs light. Christ is the light of the world that comes to overcome the darkness of sin. St Alphonsus Liguori, whom we celebrate today, was a true and faithful embodiment and witness of the light of the Lord. The faithful are reminded of their true identity in a relationship with God: “You are the light of the world” (Mt 5:13-19). The light’s nature is to shine brightly amidst darkness so that those with eyes made pure may see clearly and amend their ways of life and follow Christ in all things.

Saint Liguori and all the disciples of Jesus Christ received the same command: “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16). How many live their lives guided by the principle of divine light? It is easy to hear how some people lament that the world is terrible and full of evil, but fail to suggest how they intend to become the channel of light, bring change and goodness in the world.

Saint Liguori lived his life not surrendering to the power of the darkness of the world but by overcoming it with the light of the Gospel truth, imitation of Jesus Christ, and teaching and defending the law of love and charity.

The holy Doctor of the Church and founder of the religious Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, St. Ligouri, was a teacher of moral life, a student of Jesus the redeemer, a son of Mary, the Queen and Mother of light, and a friend of the poor. He used his God-given talent and intelligence, to teach simple ways of prayer, a loving conversation with the heart of God in the Spirit of humility and faith.

He believed in the power of prayer that leads people to repentance and conversation of life to imitate the life of Christ and Mary. His love for adoring the Body of Christ was the morning glory of his waking up to meet a new day with a heart of love. Alphonsus writes, “Amongst all devotions, after that of receiving the sacraments, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament takes the first place, is the most pleasing to God, and the most useful to ourselves… Oh, what a beautiful delight to be before an altar with faith…to represent our wants to him, as a friend does to a friend in whom he places all his trust” (Visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin Mary for Each Day of the Month. Introduction).

As St. Alphonsus, each of us with the Spirit of God as our help, are the living lights of faith, hope, and charity on earth, signs of the Kingdom of heavenly bliss. Be the light you seek in the world.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

August 2

A Longing for True Satisfaction

God asks, “Why do you spend money and effort seeking what cannot satisfy life?”  (Is 55:1-3) Throughout the world, people are looking for fulfillment in created things but later realize that the happiness they think they have received from earthly things is only provisional and not everlasting.  Many who had based their lives on material things such as wealth, power, and fame become aware that what they are thirsting for in their hearts cannot be fully satisfied by what the world could give.

We learn from the Psalmist who can satisfy life. “The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs” (Ps 145:16). God created all things according to His plan, and He knows what can bring fulfillment to human life. People are busy pursuing created things, and in the process, they have become blind and unaware that God provides all their needs and sustains life.  The true answer stands clearly before them. God’s hand is directing creation. Today you and I are alive. We can breathe. We can see the sun shining.  The obvious signs of God’s work of caring and love in everyday life are crystal clear, even though people are unaware of or take His love for granted.

St. Paul asks, “What will separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom 8:35, 37, 39). We are created for God’s love, and the things of this world, no matter how attractive they are, cannot fill the space within us that longs for ultimate union with the Father. Jesus reminds us of what is fundamental in life. “One does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4). Only Jesus can satisfy the hunger of the mind, the thirst of the heart, and the longing of the soul with his body and blood, the food for eternal life. Jesus says to those who accept Him in faith, “They all ate and were satisfied” (Mt 14: 13-21). You as well can find fulfillment and satisfaction in Jesus Christ, the source of peace and joy.  

Fr. Joseph Oganda


July 20 – 26

July 20

“Arise,” Fr. Ken!

“Arise,” Ken. (Micah 6:1) He spent his lovely days on earth doing only one thing- telling us what God has planned for the people He loves and what He expects of His Children. Msgr. Ken made God’s words his own, and standing tall spiritually as on a mountain, his voice resounded and touched the hearts of the young and the old, the dying and the living, the poor and the rich, the broken hearts and the joyful. He was the complete package of healing, hope, and love. 

Here is the summary of Fr. Ken’s entire life, the truth he lived to the end of his life: “You have been told, O man (and woman), what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mi 6:1-4, 6-8). Fr. Ken found meaning and purpose in these words. He was happily determined to share with everyone he encountered with a smile. He knew and believed that “there is something greater than Solomon here” (Mt. 12-42). That “something greater” is love and mercy. 

A parishioner sent me a book by St. John Paul II, a gift of ordination anniversary, with a title “Rise, let us be on our way.” Christians are hopeful people for they live the life of resurrection. As Fr. Ken rises to the Kingdom of heaven, may we who remain on earth make every day a special moment to put our houses and our lives in order (Is 38:1) for the day when we too shall be called to join our friend, who was guided by the principle, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Mt 12:8).

On this day, when Fr. Ken is finally laid to rest, let all of us – the faithful and the hopeful – long for the day of rising again to new life as we join his spirit as it rises to the heavenly glory. Let the song ONE MOMENT IN TIME by Dana Winner become our joyful way to say “Goodbye! Rest in peace till you arise.” Amen 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 21

God of Mercy and Love

God shows His mercy and love in Jesus Christ in the sacrifice of the cross. Those who believe in Him are changed to become children of the Father, a people filled with the Holy Spirit and sent out into the world to become the living sign of reconciliation and freedom.

God’s mercy, a gift of grace that washes away all our sins, transforms our human nature, making us sharers of God’s family in one love (Mt 12:46-50). The faithful have become part of God’s plan- the creation of holy people who seek and follow the will of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is not far from His children, and now He dwells within their hearts, crying out: “If today you hear His voice harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:8). 

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph is a model for every family on earth that wants to walk in God’s shining light. We live in a world where the true essence of family and the fabric of life and the bond of authentic love is less valued. Many families are disintegrating because they have built their homes on an unstable foundation, without connecting themselves to the vine of Jesus Christ. 

God sent Jesus to teach us how to become a family of love and mercy and charity. He speaks to our hearts the words of life, shines to our minds the words of the light of truth, and fills our souls with the Spirit of peace and joy that prepares our whole being for the Kingdom of heaven’s glorious joy. We become God’s faithful family when we seek to know and do God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. The Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph can teach us how to follow God’s will, how to become witnesses of humility, kindness, and forgiveness. Jesus describes members of His family as: “whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mt 12:50).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 22

Bishop Michael McGovern: “Whom my Heart Love”

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, the Evangelist of the Apostles and disciples of the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Today is special in the Church of Belleville that a new bishop is ordained, the servant of God, Michael McGovern. The Risen Lord asked Magdalene a question that applies equally to the new Bishop, McGovern, “Whom are you looking for?” (Jn 20:1-2, 11-18). At the foundation at his calling and office to serve the people of God is the question: “Whom does your heart love?” Whom do you seek? (Sgs 3:1-4).

It is divine pattern that the new bishop is ordained on the same day that Mary Magdalene was spiritually and faithfully anointed by the Risen Lord to become the evangelist of the Good News of Resurrection. She evangelized to the fearful disciples the joy of new life in the Jesus Christ by shedding tears of love, mercy, and grace that heaven poured abundantly in her heart to be allowed to encounter, see and experience the victory of life over death. Her message was simple, direct and powerful. She announced: “I have seen the Lord” (Jn 20:1-2, 11-18).

I believe that Bishop McGovern chose this day that Magdalene made a perfect profession of faith, ushering in a new beginning of the risen light of love that seeks to find the lost sheep, protect the Christian family of Belleville, and bring the message of a call to holiness: “I have seen the Lord, I have experience his love, I am here to share with you His love so that together we may be called children of God, those who do the will of the Father (Mt 12:46-50).

Priests and deacons met Bishop elect McGovern on July 20 at St. Mary the Immaculate Conception, in Mt Vernon, for evening prayer and an encounter. In his reflection, he said that he has come to the diocese to share with us the love of Jesus, to listen attentively to our heart desires and concerns. Like Mary Magdalene, the virgin Mary, our Mother, McGovern brings to the people of Belleville Diocese the same message that these holy women cherished dearly in their hearts: “I have seen the Risen Lord,” I love Him, and now, “My soul is thirsting for you” (Ps 63:2).

Fr. Joseph Oganda  

July 23

To Forsake God is Evil

The greatest evil of humanity is to forsake God, forget His love, mercy, goodness, and seek satisfaction in created things instead of trusting in the Creator. (Jer 2:1-3, 7-8, 12:1). The mission of the Church on earth is to invite the lost sheep to return to the fold of God’s care, protection, and guidance.

The baptized are called to be the living witness of God’s love, and are sent into the world in the Spirit of truth and charity to announce the presence of the Father who seeks to speak to our hearts tenderly: “If today you hear His voice harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:8). People’s minds search in created things the meaning of life instead of opening their hearts to the gentle touch of the light of the Spirit of truth. God has never stopped to whisper silently in the depth of hearts: “I have called you by name: you are mine. When you pass through the water, I will be with you. Because you are precious in my eyes and glorious, and because I love you” (Is 43: 1- 12). The world cannot give us what only God can: love and mercy that unveil our true identity-children of God the Father.

Can your eye see what God has done for you? Can your heart love God, who revealed His love by the sacrifice of His only Son for salvation? I heard a priest telling another priest: “I can’t see, and I can’t hear.” I do not know if he was describing his physical limitation due to age complications or speaking of the state of his spiritual struggles and darkness. He might have been talking about himself, but he was able to capture the state of many people’s hearts: people who have eyes but cannot see, ears and cannot hear the wonders of God’s love, mercy, and care (Mk 8:18).

How can we begin to see the way God sees things? What must we do to see with the eyes of faith? Jesus tells us what must be done: you must be “little ones,” humble of heart, and willing to do the will of the Father- embracing the call to repentance ( Mt 11:25, 12:46-50, Mk 1:15).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 24

 Evangelization of Love

Fr. John Iffert described Fr., Ken Schaefer, in his homily as an evangelist at the funeral Mass in Herrin. At the funeral Mass in his home parish in Millstadt, Bishop Braxton also spoke of Fr. Ken as an evangelist. A parishioner of OLMC likewise shared about him in the Southern Newspaper of July 16, saying: “He was not a preacher; he was an evangelist.” Both the ordained and the laity are called by Jesus to work with Him in the Kingdom of God to plant the good seed of faith in people’s hearts. It seems that Fr. Ken was gifted in planting the seed of faith, communicating the redeeming Word of God to people effectively.

It is known in the Belleville Diocese that almost every year, the OLMC parish was bringing the highest number of new people to the Catholic faith through the leadership of their gifted pastor. What was he doing right that inspired many people to join the Catholic faith? What was his method or style that spoke powerfully to the hearts of those who thirst for Christ? 

A parishioner of OLMC in the Southern Newspaper explained what an evangelist should be, as Fr. Ken: “He knew the people, he just spoke from the heart and drew people in…made people feel accepted, develop a relationship with people.” The call for evangelizing Church is a theme that is dear to the heart of Pope Francis. He says: Believers, the living evangelists, “can never forget that they are always on the road, searching together with the others…He knows no enemies, only traveling companions.”

An evangelist is a lover of God and people who speak and live God’s word and share the Gospel truth. The Church is a school of evangelization, actively planting the seed of faith, hope, and charity on earth. How can we live a life of evangelization? Jesus says: “Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance” (Lk 8:15), just as Fr. Ken did by embracing God’s love both is suffering and joy.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 25

“Reform your Ways and your Deeds.”

Christianity is a call to change, embracing a new way of living by reforming ways and deeds of one’s life to follow the path of Jesus Christ by taking the path of humility to the “word that has been planted in you and is able to save your soul” (Jer 7: 1-11, Jas 1:21). What should we do to reform our lives, to image the likeness of Christ in all things? The Lord said, “If each of you deals justly with his neighbor if you no longer oppress the resident alien, the orphan, and the widows” (Jer 7: 1-11).

St. James, who we are celebrating his Feast today, imitated Jesus Christ to the cross- an exemplar of faith to the Church and believers. The saints in heaven teach us by their examples of the life of faith in Jesus Christ to carry in our bodies the suffering of Jesus Christ, our savior. (2 Cor 4:7-15). Following in the footstep of Jesus means drinking the same “chalice” that He took to quench our hearts with the living blood of salvation (Mt 20: 20-28). 

We are surrounded by the voice, works, and signs of God inviting us to see, know, and embrace the wonders of His love so that we too may go out and witness to others what God has done for us. Many people do not like change and would oppose and fight those trying to shine forth the light of Jesus Christ as the new way of life. To be faithful followers of Jesus, we cannot afford to be comfortable with unchallenged life and status quo. Our Lady tells us, “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5).

Christians are people who desire to do God’s will in all things and seek to see God’s face in the poor and the little ones. Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to help us in our weakness to respond faithfully to the call of holiness, to witness the Kingdom of love by accepting the message of repentance to sin (Mk 1:15).

 Joseph Oganda

July 26

The Wisdom of the Kingdom of Love

God said to Solomon, “Ask something of me, and I will give it to you.” Solomon asked for “an understanding of heart” to serve the people well (1Kgs 3:5, 7-12). What about you?  What do you want God to do for you?

God was pleased with Solomon that he did not ask for earthly things such as “long life, riches,” power (1Kgs 3:5, 7-12). God blessed Solomon abundantly with great wisdom, wealth, and graces that he did not even ask for since his heart was to serve God and His people. Solomon placed God first in His life.

For almost three Sundays in July, we have had the same Gospel acclamation: “Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; for you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom” (Mt 11:25). The Church wants us to remember what our life is about. The kingdom of heaven,” God’s family.  Everything that we do on earth should be in the service of realizing the fulfilment of the Kingdom of God in the bond of love and mercy (Ps 85:8).

When we come to God in prayer or ask Him to do something for us in life, the light of the Kingdom of wisdom and understanding should guide our desires, longings, and hopes to come to the glory of God’s dwelling place. Nothing is more valuable and essential in life than to gain entry into God’s house and have a seat at the table of the sacrifice of love. Jesus reminds us about the Kingdom, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Mt 13:44-46). What are you willing to let go in your life so as receive the treasure of love, the crown of mercy, and the joy of the holy family who does the will of the Father, work, and hope for salvation? (Mt 12:46-50).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


July 13- 19

July 13

Offer Perfect Prayer

What is the prayer pleasing to God? The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Mt 6:9-13). We, too, must remain students of prayer, seeking ways to open our hearts to God of love and mercy. Those who come into God’s holy ground of revelation are invited to remove the evils they have done: become pure of heart, mind, and soul to partake worthily of the word of the redemption-the vision of glory (Rom 8:18).

The Church has been commanded by Jesus, who alone can forgive sins and restore all people to God’s care, love, and protection to remain faithful to the ministry of repentance for the forgiveness of sin and the Kingdom of heaven here present (Mt 3:2). God seeks the humble and gentle of heart to return to Him- the Father of kindness and compassion. It is not those who call Him Lord, Lord, who will enter the dwelling of God but who put into practice the word of God (Mt. 7:21(. Prayers and offerings that do not come from the heart of faith and love are not pleasing to God. He says: “I find no pleasure…in many prayers and offering you sacrifice to me” (Is 1:10-17).

God promises to close his eyes and not listen (Is 1:10-17) to those who offer him praise and worship with unclean heart, prideful mind, and souls that seek self-glory. Here are the prayer and sacrifice that God accepts: “Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes, cease doing evil; learn to do what is good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, and defend the widow” (Is 1:10-17).

Prayer that pleases God is living the faith and loving peace, and working for justice and unity by standing together with the poor and suffering. To those who suffer for doing what is right and pleasing to heaven, Jesus promises the gift and blessing of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 5: 3-12).

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

July 14

The Smiling Priest: Msgr. Ken Schaefer

The Diocese of Belleville and the people of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Herrin, and Holy Spirit, Carterville, lost a faithful and loving servant of God, Msgr. Ken Schaefer. He was a priest for more than forty years and twenty-five years as the pastor of OLMC, Herrin. He was a man loved by both Catholics and non-Catholics. One of my parishioners wrote to me, saying, “He was a man who greatly impacted this region of Southern Illinois.” I met a young man who went to grade school at OLMC, who said: “He was a Father, role model who loved, and cared for us.”

Fr. Ken died when the diocese of Belleville was blessed to ordain three priests who responded to God’s call: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:8). Fr. Ken heard the same voice of God and accepted to serve the people of God. For the last two years, he lived his calling by taking upon himself the cross of cancer. He did not allow pain or suffering to diminish his desire to serve and love God’s people. Even in pain and suffering, he never stops smiling, his trademark of the power of love and faith.

I got an opportunity to visit him the day he died. Before I left, he opened his eyes looking to heaven, opening his mouth, he whispered these words: “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” then, he gave a smile. The words he proclaimed, saying “thank you,” were not directed to me, but to God, who called him to serve at his table of sacrifice to the point of carrying the cross of cancer. He said thank you because he was delighted that God found him worthy to share in his suffering. He said thank you because he knew that the fight of flesh was over, and time was near for him to go back in spirit to the Father. 

When he smiled, I knew that he saw his heavenly glory just like St. Stephen, who looked to heaven in the time of death, and saw God: the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit in heavenly glory. Fr. Ken, at the moment of death, was allowed to see the victory of his service on earth, and he shared with us what he saw with a smile of joy and peace.

All of us who love him have also received the same call from God. How many are willing to respond to the call of service of love?  Fr. Ken’s smile is an invitation for each of us to respond positively and in faith to these words: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Rest in peace, Msgr. Ken, we love you! Keep smiling till we meet again in the glory of joy. Amen.

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

 July 15

Loved by God

Sin blinds the human eye from seeing the face of God in all things. God made all things so that His goodness, beauty may shine brightly. The Psalmist tells us about God’s plan and intention towards creatures: “The Lord will not abandon his people” (Ps 95:14). Men and women may give in to the allure and attraction of sin and forget about God’s love, but the Lord, on the other hand, is faithful to the ends of time, and is always seeking ways to call us back home, to repent and experience the joy and peace of the kingdom of God.

God showed His people the undying love by sending Jesus Christ to seek the lost and lead them to reconciliation. The humble and gentle of heart, the simple and little ones can encounter God, especially in the lives of the poor, orphans, and widows. God chose to come into the world as a baby, the Son of a humble family of Mary and Joseph- He continues to reveal His face though simple ways of life (Mt 11:25).  

Today we celebrate a great Saint and doctor of the Church, St. Bonaventure, who lived around 13 century. He was a man gifted with knowledge and wisdom who saw the world through the eyes of Christ. St. John Paul II in Novo Millennio Ineunte describes Bonaventure as a man-centered “in Christ himself, who is to be known, loved, and imitated.” (n. 29). 

As a young boy, St. Bonaventure already began to ask an important question about his life: “What should I do with my life?” He decided to give his life entirely to Christ. In His search for the meaning of his life, he decided that “he must withdraw from evil and worldly company” and imitate Jesus in all ways, especially by taking the path of the simplicity of life, humility of mind, meekness of heart, and purity of soul.

What about you, what do you want to do with your life? St. Bonaventure teaches us the path that leads to the fulfillment of life: Seeking to see God’s face in all things, imitation of Jesus Christ, and purity of heart.

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

 July 16

Our Lady of Mt Carmel

Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, a gift and protector of those at the point of suffering and death. It is a miracle of faith that Msgr. Ken managed to unite his life to Our Lady so that when the Mother is celebrated on earth, the pastor of OLMC, Herrin entry into God’s dwelling place, is also exulted in heaven. To us who believe in the God of mercy, it is a good sign that our friend Fr. Ken is welcomed by our dear Lady in the banquet of the holy sacrifice of saints. 

It is a source of joy that the words that Our Lady spoke to St. Simon knelt on July 16, 1251, includes Fr. Ken. The Mother said: “this shall be to thee, and all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire… It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace.”

Fr. Ken was clothed in the cross of Jesus Christ, a privilege of resurrection, and a sign of life’s victory over death. After he carried the cross of cancer to the end, Our Lady of Mt. Camel came down on the clouds of suffering and shone forth Christ’s redeeming light. Our Lady whispered the words of Jesus into Fr. Ken’s heart on the night of July 11 says: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11: 28-30).  

Like Fr. Ken, God’s faithful servants, have a reward waiting for them, flowing down from heaven. In words of the Psalmist, they are invited to join the heavenly family: “From heaven the Lord” and our Lady of Mt. Carmel, “looks down on earth” (Ps 102:20) on His holy servants and welcome them to the place of final rest.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 17

Fr. Ken Schaefer: Filled with the Eucharist

Fr. Ken’s goodness and kindness touched many people’s lives beyond his parish of Our Lady of Mr. Camel in Herrin. A parishioner of another church who knew Fr. Ken surprised me with what he said. He heard that Fr. Ken died and said to me “I am jealous of Fr. Ken that he is dead while I am still living.” I did not understand what he meant of being jealous of someone who had died. He explained, “He was a very nice and good man. The death of a wonderful person is inspirational to those who saw how he lived a life of faith.  He is a blessing to those who knew him.  He taught us by his life that death in Christ is not bad at all, but a thing of beauty.”  

The strength of Fr. Ken’s faith was witnessed even to the point of death. When his sister, Norma, told me that he had not eaten or taken water for close to two weeks, I was surprised and wondered where does his determination come? After so many days without eating anything, I was amazed that he could still whisper some words, offer a smile, and join in prayer. The reading of today tells us where he found his strength as we read “He went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering” (Mt 12:1-8). The food for priests and sheep that hear the voice of the good shepherd and follow Him to the cross of new life. (Jn 10:27). We, too, could receive strength from the living Eucharist in times of pain, suffering, fear, and death.  

Fr. Ken spent his life on earth sustaining us with God’s word and the Eucharist. Even to the point of death, he too was being nourished by the power of prayer, the love of Christ, and the hope of the Christian people. As we commend Fr. Ken to the heavenly dwelling, a place for all of us who believe in the glorious gift of resurrection, we join our voices with the Prophet Isaiah singing “In the noontime of life I must depart! Yours is the life of my spirit. You have given me health and life” for the Kingdom of heaven (Is 38:16-17). 

Goodbye, our friend, Msgr. Ken till we meet again in the glory of heaven. Amen.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 18

Msgr. Ken Shaefer: Lover of the Poor

The love of Fr. Ken blazed like a fire. His kindness, generosity, and charity were not limited to Belleville’s Diocese, OLMC, and Herrin’s people but extended to India and Uganda in Africa. When he visited St. Mother Teresa in India, the holy Lady of Calcutta, the flower of the poor, she told Fr. Ken: “Do not forget the poor” (Ps 10:12). He took the wise advice of Mother Teresa to heart, and he actively and joyfully lived his life, reaching out to the poor. As one lady said to me, his death “Is tears and loss for Uganda’s poor children.”  

For more than 15 years, he traveled to Uganda’s remote lands to take glad tidings of the people of OLMC to the needy children who are now adopted by a number of the faithful of OLMC. Many children who could not have an opportunity to go to school because of hunger and thirst can now attend schools built by the family of OLMC under the leadership of their good and caring pastor, Ken. He was not afraid to go to places of hardship. He saw in the suffering of the poor Ugandans the same thing that Mother Teresa discovered, the face of poor Jesus. 

He was a man guided by the principle of, “Do not forget the poor.” I hope that the seed of faith and charity that he planted in the hearts of the people of OLMC will continue to flourish in honor of his love for the little ones and the simple of heart. His humility of faith and simplicity of life are models worth imitating and certainly a key to the Kingdom of heaven.

Now, I imagine Fr. Ken meeting with St. Mother Teresa, whom he met in India.  She is telling him “Well done, Servant of God! You served the poor and all people with great joy. Now, welcome into the glory of God and receive the reward of eternal life.” Amen.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 19, 2020

Msgr. Ken Shaefer: Celebration of “One Mass”

“I will leave here, go back, and celebrate one Mass, said Msgr. Ken Shaefer. The last time Fr. Ken left Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Herrin alive and was rushed to hospital in St. Louis gravely ill, he proclaimed these words to his family as his sister Norma shared with me the day he died. The words he spoke were replayed in my mind and my heart and I kept asking myself ”What did he mean with these words ’I will leave here, go back, and celebrate one Mass?’”

For more than 40 years as a priest, Fr. Ken celebrated the Mass of Jesus Christ, the same celebration his parents August J. and Hilda (Frierdich) Shaefer brought him into as a child, and later became the breath of his entire life. Mass is the meeting point of heaven and earth, the work of the Spirit in the life of believers (Rom 8:26-27). Fr. Ken helped us to grow in faith and hope, charity and kindness, unity and friendship by offering one Mass of forgiveness of sin, a sacrifice of love, and a taste of the sweetness of the kingdom of God (Mt. 11:25). 

The last time I visited him in his rectory before the coronavirus pandemic, Fr. Ken already knew that his last days on earth were quickly approaching. He was a strong man and a fighter who would not allow the cross of cancer to take him down without a courageous battle of faith. He had even artistically coined a word to describe his determination to carry the cross with pride by saying, “I am a stubborn German.” He was a wise fighter, a man of great faith, who was open to embracing holy death as a path of hope for the final union and joy, a reward of eternal bliss.  At the rectory, he told me “Joseph, I realize that I may not beat this cancer. I feel in my body that I am weakening day by day. I am considering retiring if my situation does not improve.” He was happily receptive to God’s gift of life. 

So, when he said “I will leave here, go back and offer one Mass,” I immediately knew what he meant. It was the retirement he was praying for, not of here on earth but in the Kingdom of God, where Jesus promised to prepare a place for all the believers. He knew that to participate fully in one heavenly Mass, he had to leave this world in Spirit and go back home to the Father. 

He had longed to meet Our Mother, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, whom he loved dearly. Fr. Ken, together with the Virgin Mother and all the Saints in heaven, will continue to join us in the offering of one Holy Mass on earth, a reflection of perfect glory. One parishioner of OLMC called Fr. Ken, “our lovely and joyful angel in heaven.” Angel Ken, may your beautiful smile bring to our hearts a good harvest of peace, charity, and joy on earth. Amen.

July 13- 19

July 13

Offer Perfect Prayer

What is the prayer pleasing to God? The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Mt 6:9-13). We, too, must remain students of prayer, seeking ways to open our hearts to God of love and mercy. Those who come into God’s holy ground of revelation are invited to remove the evils they have done: become pure of heart, mind, and soul to partake worthily of the word of the redemption-the vision of glory (Rom 8:18).

The Church has been commanded by Jesus, who alone can forgive sins and restore all people to God’s care, love, and protection to remain faithful to the ministry of repentance for the forgiveness of sin and the Kingdom of heaven here present (Mt 3:2). God seeks the humble and gentle of heart to return to Him- the Father of kindness and compassion. It is not those who call Him Lord, Lord, who will enter the dwelling of God but who put into practice the word of God (Mt. 7:21(. Prayers and offerings that do not come from the heart of faith and love are not pleasing to God. He says: “I find no pleasure…in many prayers and offering you sacrifice to me” (Is 1:10-17).

God promises to close his eyes and not listen (Is 1:10-17) to those who offer him praise and worship with unclean heart, prideful mind, and souls that seek self-glory. Here are the prayer and sacrifice that God accepts: “Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes, cease doing evil; learn to do what is good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, and defend the widow” (Is 1:10-17).

Prayer that pleases God is living the faith and loving peace, and working for justice and unity by standing together with the poor and suffering. To those who suffer for doing what is right and pleasing to heaven, Jesus promises the gift and blessing of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 5: 3-12).

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

July 14

The Smiling Priest: Msgr. Ken Schaefer

The Diocese of Belleville and the people of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Herrin, and Holy Spirit, Carterville, lost a faithful and loving servant of God, Msgr. Ken Schaefer. He was a priest for more than forty years and twenty-five years as the pastor of OLMC, Herrin. He was a man loved by both Catholics and non-Catholics. One of my parishioners wrote to me, saying, “He was a man who greatly impacted this region of Southern Illinois.” I met a young man who went to grade school at OLMC, who said: “He was a Father, role model who loved, and cared for us.”

Fr. Ken died when the diocese of Belleville was blessed to ordain three priests who responded to God’s call: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:8). Fr. Ken heard the same voice of God and accepted to serve the people of God. For the last two years, he lived his calling by taking upon himself the cross of cancer. He did not allow pain or suffering to diminish his desire to serve and love God’s people. Even in pain and suffering, he never stops smiling, his trademark of the power of love and faith.

I got an opportunity to visit him the day he died. Before I left, he opened his eyes looking to heaven, opening his mouth, he whispered these words: “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” then, he gave a smile. The words he proclaimed, saying “thank you,” were not directed to me, but to God, who called him to serve at his table of sacrifice to the point of carrying the cross of cancer. He said thank you because he was delighted that God found him worthy to share in his suffering. He said thank you because he knew that the fight of flesh was over, and time was near for him to go back in spirit to the Father. 

When he smiled, I knew that he saw his heavenly glory just like St. Stephen, who looked to heaven in the time of death, and saw God: the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit in heavenly glory. Fr. Ken, at the moment of death, was allowed to see the victory of his service on earth, and he shared with us what he saw with a smile of joy and peace.

All of us who love him have also received the same call from God. How many are willing to respond to the call of service of love?  Fr. Ken’s smile is an invitation for each of us to respond positively and in faith to these words: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Rest in peace, Msgr. Ken, we love you! Keep smiling till we meet again in the glory of joy. Amen.

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

 July 15

Loved by God

Sin blinds the human eye from seeing the face of God in all things. God made all things so that His goodness, beauty may shine brightly. The Psalmist tells us about God’s plan and intention towards creatures: “The Lord will not abandon his people” (Ps 95:14). Men and women may give in to the allure and attraction of sin and forget about God’s love, but the Lord, on the other hand, is faithful to the ends of time, and is always seeking ways to call us back home, to repent and experience the joy and peace of the kingdom of God.

God showed His people the undying love by sending Jesus Christ to seek the lost and lead them to reconciliation. The humble and gentle of heart, the simple and little ones can encounter God, especially in the lives of the poor, orphans, and widows. God chose to come into the world as a baby, the Son of a humble family of Mary and Joseph- He continues to reveal His face though simple ways of life (Mt 11:25).  

Today we celebrate a great Saint and doctor of the Church, St. Bonaventure, who lived around 13 century. He was a man gifted with knowledge and wisdom who saw the world through the eyes of Christ. St. John Paul II in Novo Millennio Ineunte describes Bonaventure as a man-centered “in Christ himself, who is to be known, loved, and imitated.” (n. 29). 

As a young boy, St. Bonaventure already began to ask an important question about his life: “What should I do with my life?” He decided to give his life entirely to Christ. In His search for the meaning of his life, he decided that “he must withdraw from evil and worldly company” and imitate Jesus in all ways, especially by taking the path of the simplicity of life, humility of mind, meekness of heart, and purity of soul.

What about you, what do you want to do with your life? St. Bonaventure teaches us the path that leads to the fulfillment of life: Seeking to see God’s face in all things, imitation of Jesus Christ, and purity of heart.

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

 July 16

Our Lady of Mt Carmel

Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, a gift and protector of those at the point of suffering and death. It is a miracle of faith that Msgr. Ken managed to unite his life to Our Lady so that when the Mother is celebrated on earth, the pastor of OLMC, Herrin entry into God’s dwelling place, is also exulted in heaven. To us who believe in the God of mercy, it is a good sign that our friend Fr. Ken is welcomed by our dear Lady in the banquet of the holy sacrifice of saints. 

It is a source of joy that the words that Our Lady spoke to St. Simon knelt on July 16, 1251, includes Fr. Ken. The Mother said: “this shall be to thee, and all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire… It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace.”

Fr. Ken was clothed in the cross of Jesus Christ, a privilege of resurrection, and a sign of life’s victory over death. After he carried the cross of cancer to the end, Our Lady of Mt. Camel came down on the clouds of suffering and shone forth Christ’s redeeming light. Our Lady whispered the words of Jesus into Fr. Ken’s heart on the night of July 11 says: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11: 28-30).  

Like Fr. Ken, God’s faithful servants, have a reward waiting for them, flowing down from heaven. In words of the Psalmist, they are invited to join the heavenly family: “From heaven the Lord” and our Lady of Mt. Carmel, “looks down on earth” (Ps 102:20) on His holy servants and welcome them to the place of final rest.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 17

Fr. Ken Schaefer: Filled with the Eucharist

Fr. Ken’s goodness and kindness touched many people’s lives beyond his parish of Our Lady of Mr. Camel in Herrin. A parishioner of another church who knew Fr. Ken surprised me with what he said. He heard that Fr. Ken died and said to me “I am jealous of Fr. Ken that he is dead while I am still living.” I did not understand what he meant of being jealous of someone who had died. He explained, “He was a very nice and good man. The death of a wonderful person is inspirational to those who saw how he lived a life of faith.  He is a blessing to those who knew him.  He taught us by his life that death in Christ is not bad at all, but a thing of beauty.”  

The strength of Fr. Ken’s faith was witnessed even to the point of death. When his sister, Norma, told me that he had not eaten or taken water for close to two weeks, I was surprised and wondered where does his determination come? After so many days without eating anything, I was amazed that he could still whisper some words, offer a smile, and join in prayer. The reading of today tells us where he found his strength as we read “He went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering” (Mt 12:1-8). The food for priests and sheep that hear the voice of the good shepherd and follow Him to the cross of new life. (Jn 10:27). We, too, could receive strength from the living Eucharist in times of pain, suffering, fear, and death.  

Fr. Ken spent his life on earth sustaining us with God’s word and the Eucharist. Even to the point of death, he too was being nourished by the power of prayer, the love of Christ, and the hope of the Christian people. As we commend Fr. Ken to the heavenly dwelling, a place for all of us who believe in the glorious gift of resurrection, we join our voices with the Prophet Isaiah singing “In the noontime of life I must depart! Yours is the life of my spirit. You have given me health and life” for the Kingdom of heaven (Is 38:16-17). 

Goodbye, our friend, Msgr. Ken till we meet again in the glory of heaven. Amen.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 18

Msgr. Ken Shaefer: Lover of the Poor

The love of Fr. Ken blazed like a fire. His kindness, generosity, and charity were not limited to Belleville’s Diocese, OLMC, and Herrin’s people but extended to India and Uganda in Africa. When he visited St. Mother Teresa in India, the holy Lady of Calcutta, the flower of the poor, she told Fr. Ken: “Do not forget the poor” (Ps 10:12). He took the wise advice of Mother Teresa to heart, and he actively and joyfully lived his life, reaching out to the poor. As one lady said to me, his death “Is tears and loss for Uganda’s poor children.”  

For more than 15 years, he traveled to Uganda’s remote lands to take glad tidings of the people of OLMC to the needy children who are now adopted by a number of the faithful of OLMC. Many children who could not have an opportunity to go to school because of hunger and thirst can now attend schools built by the family of OLMC under the leadership of their good and caring pastor, Ken. He was not afraid to go to places of hardship. He saw in the suffering of the poor Ugandans the same thing that Mother Teresa discovered, the face of poor Jesus. 

He was a man guided by the principle of, “Do not forget the poor.” I hope that the seed of faith and charity that he planted in the hearts of the people of OLMC will continue to flourish in honor of his love for the little ones and the simple of heart. His humility of faith and simplicity of life are models worth imitating and certainly a key to the Kingdom of heaven.

Now, I imagine Fr. Ken meeting with St. Mother Teresa, whom he met in India.  She is telling him “Well done, Servant of God! You served the poor and all people with great joy. Now, welcome into the glory of God and receive the reward of eternal life.” Amen.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 19, 2020

Msgr. Ken Shaefer: Celebration of “One Mass”

“I will leave here, go back, and celebrate one Mass, said Msgr. Ken Shaefer. The last time Fr. Ken left Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Herrin alive and was rushed to hospital in St. Louis gravely ill, he proclaimed these words to his family as his sister Norma shared with me the day he died. The words he spoke were replayed in my mind and my heart and I kept asking myself ”What did he mean with these words ’I will leave here, go back, and celebrate one Mass?’”

For more than 40 years as a priest, Fr. Ken celebrated the Mass of Jesus Christ, the same celebration his parents August J. and Hilda (Frierdich) Shaefer brought him into as a child, and later became the breath of his entire life. Mass is the meeting point of heaven and earth, the work of the Spirit in the life of believers (Rom 8:26-27). Fr. Ken helped us to grow in faith and hope, charity and kindness, unity and friendship by offering one Mass of forgiveness of sin, a sacrifice of love, and a taste of the sweetness of the kingdom of God (Mt. 11:25). 

The last time I visited him in his rectory before the coronavirus pandemic, Fr. Ken already knew that his last days on earth were quickly approaching. He was a strong man and a fighter who would not allow the cross of cancer to take him down without a courageous battle of faith. He had even artistically coined a word to describe his determination to carry the cross with pride by saying, “I am a stubborn German.” He was a wise fighter, a man of great faith, who was open to embracing holy death as a path of hope for the final union and joy, a reward of eternal bliss.  At the rectory, he told me “Joseph, I realize that I may not beat this cancer. I feel in my body that I am weakening day by day. I am considering retiring if my situation does not improve.” He was happily receptive to God’s gift of life. 

So, when he said “I will leave here, go back and offer one Mass,” I immediately knew what he meant. It was the retirement he was praying for, not of here on earth but in the Kingdom of God, where Jesus promised to prepare a place for all the believers. He knew that to participate fully in one heavenly Mass, he had to leave this world in Spirit and go back home to the Father. 

He had longed to meet Our Mother, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, whom he loved dearly. Fr. Ken, together with the Virgin Mother and all the Saints in heaven, will continue to join us in the offering of one Holy Mass on earth, a reflection of perfect glory. One parishioner of OLMC called Fr. Ken, “our lovely and joyful angel in heaven.” Angel Ken, may your beautiful smile bring to our hearts a good harvest of peace, charity, and joy on earth. Amen.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


July 6-12

July 6

Healed by Love

Life without Jesus brings sickness and ultimately leads to spiritual death. Sin comes to still from our hearts the joy and gladness of grace, the gift of God’s love and life given to everyone right from creation. Once sin invaded the sacred space of one’s life, it brings darkness that blinds eyes from accessing the light of truth. We need help from God to overcome the power of sin that comes to create a culture of fear, pain, suffering, sickness, and death in opposition to the divine gift of love, the breath of life, and goodness. God, who is the source of life and love and mercy comes to rescue us from the prison of sin by sending His beloved Son Jesus Christ to lead us to good health marked by the gift of the cross of new life. (2 Tim 1:10).

God does not give up on us, and He takes the first step to lure our hearts, to speak tenderly and gently words of love and hope. He says: “I will espouse you to me forever; I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy” (Hos 2: 16-17, 21-22). He heals us by the medicine of mercy and forgiveness of sin.

The gift of healing and breath of new life that Jesus offers is a gift to all who have faith in Him, the Son of Mary and Joseph, the One who came to serve. You, too, can learn from a woman of humility and trust: “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured” (Mt 9: 18-26). If Jesus can heal by a touch of a cloak, what about those who eat His Body in faith? He can do even greater things for them; He can make them sons and daughters of the Father.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 7

Called to Serve

The Lord, “Jesus went around to all towns and villages teaching…proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom” (Mt 9:32-38). His heart was moved since He saw how people were hungry and thirsty for God, needed healing, the forgiveness of sin, and freedom from the power of the Evil Spirit. The mission that Jesus began and accomplished by the gift of His sacrifice on the cross, He handed over to the Church to continue to do on earth. The work of the Church is to seek the lost and bring them back to God, to teach them about the truth of the Spirit, and restore them to good health through the gift of the Sacraments of Eternal life. 

All the baptized have received a call to live and witness the Good News of salvation. The Church needs the ordained ministers who could serve at the table of sacrifice and redemption so that the faithful, too, may offer a sacrifice of charity and mercy in the world. When the light of Christ is unseen to shine in the world, it is a sign that the disciples have become lukewarm timid in their faith, and have turned the gifts of God’s love to a privatized religion that does not strive to reach out to others and share the fruits of faith and hope for eternal life.

How are you involved in the mission of salvation? How do you live your faith actively in the world?  How have you been sharing the reason for your joy of the Gospel? God who has the authority over all things, sends the Holy Spirit, to work with the faithful’s hand-in-hand to bring about the Kingdom of heaven on earth- to shine the light of kindness, unity, and peace. We are called to serve and shine forth.

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

July 8

God with Us

God comes down through the Son of Mary and Joseph to make His dwelling in the world and our hearts. Right at the start of His ministry, Jesus revealed the foundation and the goal of His mission on earth: “The Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15). The Church and the disciples have one purpose on earth: to announce, proclaim, and bring about God’s presence in people’s lives here and now.

The beauty of the Creator is a signature of His goodness hidden in all things.  According to the Psalmist, life for Christians become a place to “seek always the face of the Lord” (Ps  105:4). The whole world becomes a universal Church, a space of celebration, a liturgy of praise and thanksgiving where the voice of nature and people unite at the table of sacrifice to encounter divine beauty, the artist of grace and perfection.

Those who are called to seek the face of God in all things on earth must be guided by the light of the truth of the word of God: “Sow for yourself justice, reap the fruit of piety; break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the Lord, till he comes and rains down justice upon you” (Hos 10:1-3, 7-8, 12). With its riches and attraction, the world competes for our attention so that our hearts may not thirst for heavenly glory. Faith in Jesus Christ invites us to open up new avenues where the seed of the Gospel of truth may be planted.

How do you live and express the light of the Kingdom of God? What do you do to become an active agent of justice and servant of unity and charity? 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 9

Instruments of Peace

When Jesus resurrected, he came in the house where the disciples were for fear of the leaders and, even though the doors were locked, He came in and announced: “peace be with you”  (Jn 20:21). The Good News of peace is the gift of heaven to earth, the fruit that sprung from the tree of the cross. A very costly and precious peace that came through death, the victory of love that overcomes the power of sin.

Jesus sent His disciples to go to every home to announce the gift of peace, the light of the Kingdom of heaven (Mt 10:7-15). The world needs peace and unity, a charity that can come from God who loves us so much, declaring His faithfulness, saying: “Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer” (Hos 11:1-4, 8-9). The people loved by God have not expressed their love in return, but God is not giving up, He continues to seek and lure the hearts of the people. He says: “I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you” (Hos 11:1-4, 8-9). In Jesus, the incarnate, God comes to make His dwelling with us to be the fountain of peace. 

A parishioner asked me recently why he should continue to pray for peace while he knows very well that there would still be war and division everywhere. Are we supposed to keep or stop working for peace and justice just because the world is not making improvements towards unity? If God does not give up on us when we fail to live according to His plan, why should we give up working for peace? The peace that Jesus promises is not of human origin, it is divine, and it is mercy, love, forgiveness and, is a sign of the presence of the Kingdom of heaven in our midst. Our mission on earth is to be an instruments and servants of peace.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 10

Bear Fruits of Love

God comes to meet us in love. He loves us freely so that united with Him as a branch to a vine, we may bear fruits of faith, and hope that can last forever. (1Jn 4:8, Jn 15:5, Hos 14:2-10). We cannot find meaning and purpose in life without being connected to God’s love and protection He, Who humbles Himself in the Son of Mary, the gift of the cross of mercy and redemption. God says to us: “because of me you bear fruit” (Hos 14:2-10). God is the source of life, and without Him, life is empty and burden. 

Christianity is not a private enterprise that we keep to ourselves. The disciples must always seek to increase their faith and number, to imitate the life of Jesus Christ. Faith calls the disciples to go out and share the Gospel of the Kingdom with others. People come to faith when others invite them or share the joy of their encounter with Jesus Christ, who is love, mercy, and compassion. God in Jesus is open to all people no matter what they have done in their lives; He still seeks, calls, and invites everyone to return home- to a place adorned with peace, justice, and unity the fulfilment of life.

The Spirit of God comes to help the faithful to be not afraid to share their faith with others. Jesus reminds us that we will meet those who oppose the Gospel message in the world, but He encourages us to continue to live the faith even if others are indifferent to it. We are partners of God in the mission of freedom and justice. Jesus says, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you to all truth and remind you of all I told you” ( Jn 16:13, 14: 26). God the Father is the language of love, the Son, is the Word of mercy, and the Spirit is the voice of truth that quench the thirst of believers’ hearts.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 11

A living saint

Today we are celebrating the life of St Benedict (440-547), a holy man who dedicated his entire life to prayer longing to be like Jesus Christ in all things. He lived his life in response to the call of the Lord, who said: “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher” (Mt 10:24-33). The history of the world shows us that it has been resistant to the word of God. Jesus paid the price by crucifixion when He came on earth to lead people to a new culture of God where the little ones are called wise, the poor are promised entry into the Kingdom of heaven, and the clean of heart are assured of seeing the face of God (Mt 5:3-10).

Christians of the time of St. Benedict, and today, are experiencing similar trials of faith that Jesus gave His life for, dying for the victory of truth, love, and justice. Jesus warned His disciples to be ready for days when they will be called to defend the reasons for their faith in God of mercy and forgiveness. He says: “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his Master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher” (1Pt 4:14) even if it means following the Master to the cross of new life. 

Pope Benedict XVI tells us that St Benedict’s life was “steeped in an atmosphere of prayer, the foundation of his existence. The pontiff explains that “without prayer, there is no experience of God.” Prayer allows us to listen to God’s call, respond in actions of faith, and live and witness in everyday life the deeds of Jesus Christ, sacrifice of charity that can forgive the sins of those who oppose the truth of the Gospel of love and unity. We, too, are called to be the living saints of our times, knowing that the Spirit of truth helps us in the mission of the Kingdom of heaven on earth, a call to become evangelizers of life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 12

The Power of the Word

God comes to earth to meet us by way of the word planted in the heart of Mary, the word conceived in faith that becomes the source of life, a gift of love for those who believe in the message of repentance and the Kingdom of heaven. God’s word flows from the heart like water coming to fill the empty, dry vessels of human souls so that their thirst for the meaning of life may be fulfilled. Like a seed, the word is planted in those hearts made ready to act on the Gospel truth with authority to heal, purify, reconcile, give sight and wisdom, and restore and unite all things to the love of God.

God’s word is a breath of new life, the Spirit that opens the eyes of faith so that we can see with the vision of hope the many good things that God is doing in the world.  God’s word calls people to become what they consume, to become the living light of truth shining in the world, the light of love that can transform life to mirror heaven on earth.

Pope Francis invites the faithful to grow and love the word of new life, “one word that speaks to us not about things, but about life.” What must one do to love God’s word, to truly make it a daily breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack of life? Pope Francis teaches us how to embrace God’s word and make it a compass of life: “Each day, let us read a verse or two of the Bible. Let us begin with the Gospel,” he said. “Let us keep it open on our table, carry it in our pocket, read it on our cell phones, and allow it to inspire us daily.” When we practice this daily, the pontiff says, “We will discover that God is close to us, that he dispels our darkness and, with great love, leads our lives into deep waters” of faith, hope, and peace.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


June 29-July 5

June 29

Saints Peter and Paul Authentic Witnesses of the Joy of Faith

Today we celebrate the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles who were faithful leaders of the Church. They taught people of God the entire plan of salvation, living their faith in everyday life challenges and witnessing the Gospel truth by following the footstep of Jesus Christ to the cross. St. Peter created awareness for his people of God who came in Jesus Christ, dwelled with the people, died for sins, and was resurrected to new life, a gift for all God’s children. On the other hand, St. Paul, taught the people about the crucified and Risen Lord, who continues to work with us to bring the Good News of love and forgiveness to every part of the world.

The Church has been persecuted by those whose hearts and minds remain closed to the Gospel truth, people who are afraid to encounter the light of Christ that has the power to unmask their lies and darkness of life. The power of the Word of God is that it can change minds, purify consciousness, open hearts, and lift souls to worship God. Those who have been touched by the merciful, healing, and loving hands of Jesus Christ, like Saints Peter and Paul, were not discouraged by those who tried to silence the faith in God. St. Paul said: “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith” (2Tim 4:6-8…). The saints are people who have seen the heavenly reward and are determined to live and die to attain the ultimate goal of faith. They already long for the union and joy of the Kingdom of God.

The saints live as if their life is a living song of the goodness of God. The Lord sends His angels and Spirit to collaborate with those He calls to service and sends to witness the Gospel of redemption (Ps  34:5, Ps 89:2). The baptized share the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are the present age saints on earth who like Saints Peter and Paul must continue to run the race of faith without fear of those who try to oppose the gift of salvation, love, and mercy. 

Who is Jesus for you? St. Peter and all saints became aware of the true identity of Jesus, that he was not just a nice person or a good teacher or a healer and miracle worker, but that He was “Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16-19). You, Christians, are the face of Christ, the saints who witness the joy of faith in everyday life.  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 30

Prepare to Meet the Lord

The ultimate goal of life is in these words: “prepare to meet your God” (Am 3:12). God is the source and summit of life. We are on earth to magnify His goodness and beauty as we journey every day towards our final destination, returning home to the Father, who is love. Each day we spend on earth is a gift of grace, an opportunity to prepare ourselves to meet God the Father. Jesus came on earth to show us the way back home. He says: “I am the way… to the Father” (Jn 14:6). How do you prepare yourself to encounter God the Father through the Son?

Meeting God the Father is not something that will happen only in the future, but even now we can encounter God in the world, in others and in ourselves. The Scripture tells us that we serve the living God. Go is fully active and effective in the world, and we can see Him with the eyes of faith and in acts of love and charity (Heb 4:12). What do you do to meet God in your life every day? The time to make a life-changing decision either to accept God as a loving Father or to reject His gift of mercy and forgiveness to sin is today.

When Moses came in God’s presence, he listened to a voice commanding him to remove his sandals because where he stood was holy ground (Ex 3:5). What do you think God wants you to make clean in life that may prevent you from fully experiencing Him? Today is an opportunity to purify your heart and mind so that to begin to see the face of God, especially in the life of the poor and the little ones, the humble of souls.

You are never alone in the “storm” of life, Jesus is present with you as the one who leads the way to safety, to union with the Father. Without Jesus as the guide in life, fear of “perishing” may weaken hope, magnify powerfully “violent waves” of life challenges that can lead one to lose faith in God. Those who prepare themselves each day to encounter Jesus in real life, know that, through prayer and trust in Jesus Christ, no matter the storm of life, Jesus is the gift of calm and peace that the world cannot give (Mt 8:23-27). “Prepare the way for the Lord” (Mk1:3) for an hour you do not know the Lord would call you, so be prepared (Mt 25:13).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 1

Empty Faith 

Many people are Christians as a result of their parents or loved ones bringing them to the faith. On Sunday, while I was driving, I listened to a minister preaching on a radio program. The topic of his message was about the difference between a Christian and a disciple of Jesus Christ. He had a point that many who call themselves Christians were not faithful followers of the Lord, not true disciples who imitate the Son of God. Many of the so-called Christians, according to him, were members of a particular religion not because they knew what it truly meant but just were in it to please their parents. He believed that many of these people did not live and practice the Gospel teaching in their everyday life.

The radio preacher was teaching that Jesus came to seek disciples, people willing to follow Him, ready to transform their lives in all things, and imitate His life. A disciple is more than just a follower but another Christ, living on earth, seeking to do all things for the glory of God, one whose aim is to shine the light of truth. A disciple is the one who goes beyond knowing about Jesus, one who has encountered the Lord in the Word, Eucharist, and service of charity to the poor and the suffering.

A disciple looks at life through the lens of Jesus Christ. To live a life whereby faith is the light that guides one’s decision in all things. Jesus has said that God is Spirit, seeking those who would worship Him in Spirit and truth (Jn 4:24). God is not pleased with the worship of those who “claim” to be Christians in name, but their actions and ways of life say differently. God is not happy with the prayers and sacrifices offered by those who do not practice their faith. (Am 5:14-15, 21-24). God looks for disciples who have allowed the light of the Word of God to shine in every fabric of their beings. A people who work for justice, feed the poor, extend hands to strangers, and elect leaders who value the sanctity of life and marriage and care for the environment.

To go to Church on Sunday, making contributions to the Church, singing lovely melodies, and saying many prayers to God are not enough to make one a disciple of Jesus Christ. Are you a Christian or a disciple? A true Christian and a disciple is the one who “seek good and not evil…let justice surges like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream” (Am 5:14-15, 21-24).  Most of all, Jesus says: It is “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21). Faith must not be empty; it is living and effective, it changes life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

July 2

Forgiveness of Sin and Healing

John the Baptist and Jesus both started their ministry by calling people to repent their sins. The Church is on earth to continue for the same purpose inviting people to change their way of life, repentance, and reconciliation with God.  (2Cor 5: 19).

Sin destroys a relationship between God and His children. God plans to restore the division created by sin when human beings rejected God and his love by deciding to follow their own path to life. Sin can also wound the heart and weaken the body. Those who come to Jesus in faith, believing in His teaching and accepting him as the Savior, are set free from their sins and restored to good health. Faith in Jesus has the power to heal life.

Faith is a gift that God gives freely to all who are humble of hearts, the little ones in faith; people willing to give their lives to God. Jesus was able to set free those who accepted Him not as a poor man from Nazareth but as the Son of God, the awaited Messiah.

The Church and many people of the world struggle with faith because they could not believe that anything good could come from humble, simple, down to earth way of life as Jesus lived and now call all the baptized to practice. God still calls us to a life of faith through the way of the forgiveness of sin. Jesus said that he came to call sinner and not the righteous. For us to grow in our faith, we must come to true humility and acknowledge that we are sinners and need Jesus Christ.

The Church must reclaim her true identity, calling people to reconciliation with God. We cannot call ourselves a Church by only preaching what people want to hear. Christians and the Church must live and witness the message of reconciliation so that those who believe may receiving healing may become children of God. (Mt 9:1-8).

Fr. Joseph Oganda     

July 3

Partners of Jesus Christ

Christians are like a house still under construction, being fashioned into the likeness and image of God. The Creator, right from the beginning of all things, already had a plan for all things, and the goal of human beings is to seek, find, and conform to divine intention, to restore all things to unity. Jesus is the bond of all things, and in Him, we continue to be formed “into a dwelling of God and Spirit” (Eph 2:19-22). Human beings come to know their true identity and purpose in life when they remain connected to God, who is the source of all things, and the Son, who is the way to heaven, and the Spirit who is the light of eternal life. 

The disciples of Jesus are people with a mission on earth given to them by Jesus to “go out to the world and tell the Good News” (Mk 16:15). Some people still do not know the love of God and the gift of salvation that Jesus offered to the world on the cross. Nonbelievers look to Christians to lead them home, to God the Father. Living and witnessing the joy of faith is what the world is in need of today.

People washed in the waters of purification, received the Spirit of new life, and ate the food of eternal joy, are now “members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19-22), partners of Christ in the work of salvation. As members of God’s family, our concern in life and on earth is to engage in the same mission that Jesus did: service and redemption of souls. How are you involved in the work of the salvation of souls? Simple acts of charity and forgiveness can shine the face of God on earth. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

 July 4

A Day of Healing

God, through Jesus, comes to seek and find those who are lost by the power of sin. He says: “I will bring about the restoration of my people” (Am 9:11-15). A day of restoration, healing, and forgiveness is today when God can still speak to our hearts tenderly and intimately the words of “peace” and mercy (Ps 85:9). Those who are not proud, the humble of heart, the little ones and the obedient to the will of God can begin to taste the healing power of God.

Christians and disciples are people who have received the healing of God, the purity of heart, and are now the obedient “sheep” that “hears” the “voice” of the Lord and “Follow” Him faithfully in the world as it is in heaven. Jesus knows His sheep to be the ones who put into practice what they have learned and experienced from the love of the Son, the gift of the food of eternal life. 

The sheep of God are not yet securely safe in the barn of God’s Kingdom since here on earth, the enemy, the Evil One, is still trying to steal away the sheep from the house of God. Jesus helps us in our journey of faith to return safely home by calling us to stay awake and pray so that we may be prepared when the enemy of life and truth comes to destroy the work good work of God in the world.

The “bridegroom,” (Mt 9:14-17) the Lord has come to lead us into heavenly marriage and union with God, the lover who calls us everyday to remain faithful to the covenant of love, bear fruits faith, hope and charity and become the source of Eternal life on earth. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

July 5

A Thirst for God

The human heart, to its very depth, longs to see the face of God, who created us to have union with Him. He is the vine that we, the branches, connect to and, without Him or detached from Him, cannot have life or bear the fruits of joy and peace. Without God in our lives or, by not being aware of His constant care and protection, life on earth become empty, purposeless, weary. We are created for happiness, light, and beauty, which the divine family of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit pour abundantly into the sincere hearts of the believers who seek Him.

The longing and thirst of the human heart to see and encounter God are planted in each one of us right from creation, and those who are attentive to the inner voice would hear it crying out to reconnect with the Father. Jesus has come to help us reconnect with God, but many people fail to accept Jesus because they do not agree with how He chose to appear in the world. He, the King of heaven and earth, did not come in human power, but in Spiritual obedience to the will of the Father, coming as the one who is “meek and humble of heart,” (Mt 11:25-30), the crucified, simple and little one, a friend of the poor, healer of the sick, redeemer of sinners.

God, who we thirst to encounter, is here with us and wants to enter into our lives. Someone asked me, “Why is it so hard to experience or see God’s power and goodness in the world?” Jesus teaches the way when he says “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,” and you would see me in the humblest of human hearts (Mt 11:25-30). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda 


June 22-28

June 22

Obedience to Man and Rejection of God

Coronavirus has introduced a new way of living. The scientists, medics, and leaders have prescribed guidelines for people to follow to avoid or limit virus infection. Many people try to follow the stipulated directives such as the washing of hands, keeping distance, limiting contact with others, wearing masks, etc. It is impressive to notice how many people subscribe and abide by these guidelines to the letter, and they follow them faithfully. When they see those who do not practice the new rules religiously, they become disturbed. Recently someone told me that he was not going to be a prisoner of these regulations.  He said: “I do not live my life in fear. I know that I am going to die, when I do not know, how, I do not know, but I know that God has the entire plan of my life, I want to live today, right now to the full.”

The gentleman was not rude in any way but was letting me know how he had decided to live his life, basing it on a stable foundation that does not change depending on different circumstances of life. He said, “If I do not have stability in life, how can I live a meaningful life?” He explained: “I must find a pillar in my life that cannot be changed by the passing experiences of life. I want to live with my eyes fixed to the ultimate goal of life and to let the light of the entire picture of my life shine through the small pieces of my life today.”

It was insightful, talking with this gentleman. I was amazed at how people follow the guidelines given by the leaders so that they may stay safe. I asked myself; we always have instructions of life that God has given us to follow to image His face on earth, but how many abide by the laws of love. Just imagine if the teachings God provides us with every day we were to practice each day, how would the world be today?

As we try to keep the Coronavirus regulations, the human new gospel of life, let us not forget the guideline that God gives us every day, but many people reject and violate them. Let us remember that God’s instructions can save not only the human body but also the soul (Mt 10:26-33). The Lord says, “Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes, in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers” (2Kgs 17:5-8…). It is incredible how we can faithfully follow the laws of man but ignore and reject the law of love, the law of God. “Seek God first, and all these things shall be added unto to you” (Mt. 6:33). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda  

June 23

The Road to Eternal Life

Christians and non-Christians share one thing in common, challenges that all people face in life. How do Christians deal with difficulties in life in comparison with non-believers?  The darkness and struggles of life are the residues of the sin of our first parent, Adam, and Eve that we also share in our weakness. The Good news is that human beings have been given way out to freedom from sin by the power of the cross of Jesus Christ, who makes all things clean by the gift of His blood.

Those who are not Christians do not have hope beyond suffering and death, but Christians have Jesus Christ, who is the way to eternal life. The Lord says, “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life” ( Jn 8:12). Imitation of the life of Christ is the light of faith in the world. A simple rule of life that Jesus learned from His parents: St. Joseph and Mary are the law of the love that he practiced faithfully: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” ( Mt 7:6, 12-14). The goal of Jesus’ life was to serve others even by dying on the cross. He gave himself entirely to humanity, who did not deserve His gift of love. Although we did not love him first as He deserves, He still sacrifices everything for our salvation.

The way to heaven is open to everyone who chooses to go through a “narrow gate,” which may mean carrying the cross and following Jesus Christ. In the world, we would face challenges, but we are not alone, Jesus has traveled this road, and He is ready to help us if turn to Him in trust. The world proposes an easy way of living life, a route that does not have to experience the cross. Jesus warns that many people are traveling along this road. What path are you taking in life: a narrow gate or the broad way leading to destruction? ( Mt 7:6, 12-14). Choose wisely; your eternal life depends on the choices you make today. Your eternal blessing depend on how to treat others on earth.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

 June 24 

St. John the Baptist: A Model of Faith and Truth

Today we are celebrating the solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, a relative of Jesus Christ and a humble savant who lived his life not to be great but to be at the service of the Lord. He was born to serve by preparing the way for Jesus, who was the savior of humanity. He called his people to repentance, to make straight the path for the coming of Jesus Christ. He remained faithful to his mission till he offered a sacrifice of truth by his gift of the head on a plate. He did not count equality with the Lord, and even when people tried to change his mission, to make him act as if he was the savior, he refused the allure of honor and power so that to remain at the service of God’s plan for salvation.

Because he was faithful to God’s mission, the Lord said to him, “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth” ( Is 49:1-6). God wants to reach His children worldwide by working together with humble servants like St. John. Would you allow God to use you to bring the good news of salvation to your community? Just like St. John, each one of us before we were born right from our mother’s wombs, God formed us with a purpose to enter into His divine plan of salvation. Do you know why God created you? Do you know the mission that God has for you on earth? Are you doing the work of God or your project?

St. John and his relative Jesus taught us that there is greater glory in serving the plan and will of God for that is where eternal peace and joy are hidden. We can have this fulfilling meaning of life if we allow God to use us so that in the end, His face may emerge, and those who accept the message of forgiveness of sin may find a welcoming and merciful Father in Jesus Christ.

St. John was successful in his mission because “the hand of God was with him” (Lk 1:88). God guides the hands of the Christians who are called to become the instrument of leading hearts and souls to the kingdom of heaven. Do not be afraid to serve God with all your heart, you are created for a purpose, find your mission on earth and like St. John, do it with a sincere heart for the greater glory of God, and for the service of the victory of the cross of life and peace.

Fr. Joseph Oganda    

 June 25

Faith in Action.

For many people, Christianity means that they had received baptism, have a Christian name, go to Church once in a while when they feel like it, make some contribution to the Church, but on the other hand, continue to live their lives as they choose without embracing the teaching of the Church. A form of faith that does not ask them to go the extra mile to practice the faith in real life. It is easy to know the depth of people’s faithfulness, especially when encountering life-threatening challenges, when the cross of obedience to God’s plan of life becomes cumbersome, and when they receive a call to make sacrifices.

Jesus is aware that not all people who follow Him are true disciples. He says: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” ( Mt 7:21-29). Faith in Jesus is a new way of life that calls us to change our manner of life on earth and learn from Him, He who came down from heaven to teach us the way of love and truth that leads to God the Father. He left us a model to follow that of the cross, which he took upon himself so that we may be set free from the power of sin and ignorance to truth.

Jesus did the will of God in all things; He is a model of living faith. Growth in Christianity should come about when the faithful know what Jesus teaches but, at the same time, live life in the light of the Gospel, guided by the Spirit of truth. When directives of faith do not form the pattern of everyday life, faith becomes dead and cannot bring transformation in one’s life.

Those who want to grow in their relationship with God can only succeed when they begin to put into practice what they have learned in their faith and hear from the word of God, which is the light of the world. Jesus describes a true Christian and a faithful disciple in these words: “Whoever loves me will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him” (Jn 14:23). Ask yourself, Are you a Christian both in name and deeds? Do you do all things for the greater glory of God? Do you follow your own will and that of the world and not of God? The answers to these questions hold the key to the Kingdom of heaven.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 26 

Be Made Clean

We all come to Jesus, asking Him to heal us from sin, cleanse our bodies, purify our hearts, and set us free from fear. But how many of us receive healing from Christ? Does it mean that Jesus favors others and deny healing to some? I had encountered many people who sometimes are not happy with God saying that when they were in need, He did not respond to their prayer or request. Some have also walked away from practicing faith, reasoning that they do not find it useful since it does not fulfill their everyday needs.

Is it true that Jesus does not respond to the prayer of those who cry to him in faith and trust? Jesus cleansed a leper who asked for healing. Immediately, Jesus “stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “Be made clean” (Mt 8:1-4). Jesus continues to heal those who ask him in faith and willing to obey and practice his teaching. Many people who come to Jesus asking for healing or with other needs, fail to see his power in their lives because they want Jesus to respond to their request without Him asking them to be actively involved in the healing process.

Jesus wants us to be actively involved in any issue that pertains to our lives. A lesson from the leper, we see that Jesus asked him to go and show himself to the priest. What does going to present ourselves to the priest in the present age mean? Is it a call to the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Jesus continues to heal people through the forgiveness of sin by going to express one’s sin to God through a priest who represents Christ in the ongoing mission of salvation. Many people deal with bodily and spiritual illness as a result of neglecting or refusing to ask for forgives of sin from God through a priest.

Another place where Jesus continues to heal the sick is at the table sacrifice of the Eucharist. Those who take part in the Mass and receive the Body of Christ with clean heart come to good health just in the same way Jesus did when he said to the leper: “offer the gift that Moses prescribed,” (Mt 8:1-4) the gift of love, charity, and thanksgiving to God the Father.  

The worst leprosy of our time is pride and to say that we are not sinners. Sin makes us forget God. The Psalmist warns, “Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you” (Ps 137:6). Jesus, who takes “away our infirmities and bore our diseases” (Mt 8:17), says to the humble of heart: “I will do it. Be made clean.” (Mt 8:1-4).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 27

Jesus the Healer

In life, we must deal with the mystery of illness. Jesus confronted the mystery of disease. He went through cities and villages, meeting many sick people who begged Him for healing. Part of His ministry on earth was curing those who were ill and suffering. As long as Jesus engaged in healing the sick, many loved him and followed him everywhere. It is noticeable how power left Jesus and restored many to good health. He healed those who were near and far. Many people became well because of their faith in God, and Jesus said to them, “Your faith has healed you; go in peace and be free of your affliction” (Mk 5:34). Faith is medicine to good health for the body and the Spirit- it is the power that connects us to God’s healing grace, the source, and the summit of life.

The Church is at the service of healing people, setting people free from the darkness of sin, which is the mother of illness, suffering, pain, and death. The holy Sacraments in the Church are the channels through which Jesus continues to heal the sick and prepare them for the joy of eternal life. Jesus heals the sick by taking away the infirmities and bearing our diseases. (Mt. 8:17). He shares our pain by making it His own to the cross. When Jesus shares our suffering, He transforms its sting by the cross’s blood and makes it a path of redemption and peace. Where there is suffering, injustice, Jesus is already present there as the one who accompanies those who are in need of help, care, and compassion.

The people who are made well by the Lord or kept free from illness should realize that they are well to serve those who are down and are ill. We are all called to be like St Peter’s Mother-in-law, who, after being healed, got up immediately and started to serve others (Mt 8:5-17). You and I are well today to be at the service others, especially those who might be sick, unjustly treated, the poor, etc. God will demand from you what you did with your good health. You will be asked: Did you get up and serve the sick? Did you extend the hand of charity to the poor Jesus who was dying of hunger? 

Do not think you are well today because you are the lucky one or because God loves you more than those who are suffering. The reason why you and I are not sick and in bed is because Jesus wants to use us to be His instrument to bring healing, kindness, compassion, and hope to those who are suffering. Would you allow God to use your hands to bring the light of hope to those who long for His help?

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

June 28

Gift of Eternal Reward

The pandemic has negatively affected every aspect of life. Many people have lost their jobs, some do not have food, and others have been hospitalized or even died. Churches are also affected. Many Churches are concerned if they will remain open at all since they cannot raise enough funds to provide for the necessary expenses that any organization incurs in everyday operation. I have talked with other ministers, and it appears that almost every one of them is worried about the future of their organization.

Sacred Heart and Immaculate Conception, our two parishes, are not exempt from the concern of financial challenge that we must deal with during the pandemic and even in the coming years. In meetings with the Finance Committee to develop a budget for the next fiscal year that begins in July, we became worried about how the year ahead will be tough since we anticipate a deficit of nearly $50,000. As a pastor, I am worried and concerned about how we will continue to pay our bills.

I do not know how we are going to overcome these financial challenges. Still, I believe that God will provide. This is my faith, and it is the same faith I share with many generous people in our community who love their Church and continue to share their limited resources to keep their house of worship open and fun the faith. The presence of the Church in society is unique and powerful since it is the sign and symbol of God dwelling with us, an open gate to heaven, and a table of new life, a gift of Eucharistic Sacrifice. Without the Church in our communities, hope wanes and life loses direction and meaning, and the future becomes more frightening.

There is hope that things will improve. Recently, a gentleman of about ninety years came to the rectory with an envelope in his hand.  Physically weak, he could not even stand straight, and I wondered what he was doing outside with this pandemic. As he handed me the envelope with a check, he said: “Father, I know that with this coronavirus affecting Church worship, the contributions to the Church have gone down. My wife and I have put something extra than what we always give so that to help cover the many expenses that the Church must deal with.” As I took the envelope, I was worried that he should not be out considering his age and health situation.  

As I thanked him, he gave me a sense of hope that God will indeed provide. Many thanks to this gentleman who took a high risk to venture outside to make sure that his Church remains open. I believe he represents many generous and faithful people of God who have been equally concerned and who, like him, continue to support God’s mission in our community. For all of you who are generous of heart during these trying times, Jesus has a message for you today. “I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward” (Mt 10: 37-42).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


June 15-21

June 15

Learn the Art of Satisfaction

Greed, jealousy, and desire to possess everything is a virus of the spirit that destroys the hearts of many people, leaving them empty and dead within. The world we live in encourages us to strive to possess almost everything that the world could offer without caring about other’s welfare. What matters is oneself and what one can get from the world, even if it means violating others’ rights in trying to achieve their unrealistic goals. Trying to conquer the world and all that is in it creates a situation whereby people are competing and fighting for every resource evaluable, and those who suffer in the process are the poor and the weak.

In today’s reading, we encounter a greedy leader and his wife, who are not satisfied with their wealth but still kill to take what belongs to a poor citizen. They killed the poor so that to seize his property. We see this kind of injustice in the world where people work in unhealthy conditions that lead them to an early death at the expense of making others wealthy. Some work hard, but the payment does not match what they are paid in return, so the rich may create so much profit. (1 Kgs 21: 1-16).

The scripture reminds us that we came on earth naked and we shall go back the same way and all these things we work so hard for and possess without being mindful of those who are less fortunate we are going to live them here on earth to the ones who never worked for them, and they will squander it all (Job 1:21). God has given Christians and people of the world enough resources for everyone to serve His mission on earth. Imagine if each person is willing to share in a minimal way what they have with others, especially with the poor ones, believe me, the world would be a better place for all, and many tears would be wiped away. 

Jesus reminds us that all Christians should be guided by one rule of life, the law of love and charity: “Give to the one who asks of you and do not turn your back on the one who wants to borrow” (Mt 5:38-42). The Lord whom we long to see His face comes to meet us every day as the poor one. Would you open your heart of compassion, generosity, and kindness so that the Lord may come in and dwell within you?

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 16

Mercy beyond Measure

The unique thing about God is that He is so rich in mercy beyond measure. God can forgive sin so long as a person is sorry and come to Him with a contrite heart. In yesterday’s reading, we saw how King Ahab of Israel killed Naboth, a poor citizen, and took his land. In today’s reading, God already forgives him. How can God forgive a grave sin like taking the life of another person? 

If God can forgive mortal sin like the one committed by King Ahab, a crime against the sacredness of life and greed, can He not forgive us if we come to him with a sincere heart asking for forgiveness. God seeks each one of us to return to Him, and just as He forgave the sins of King Ahab, He can forgive all our sins. Our cry should be like the Psalmist: “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned” ( Ps 51:3). Acknowledgment that one is a sinner is the beginning of spiritual healing. Unforgiven sin can weaken one’s spirit and body. We all need God’s healing and purification of life so that He may restore us to full health.

I ask, why did God forgive Ahab? Did Ahab perform an action that led God to be merciful to him? What can we learn from Ahab to help us change our lives? I believe that the reason Ahab received forgiveness is in these words: When Ahab heard that God was going to punish him for the sins he had done, he did something so humbling: “he tore his garments and put on sackcloth over his bare flesh. He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued.” When God saw how he was sorry and willing to repent and change his ways, the Lord said: “Have you seen that Ahab has humbled himself before me?” (1kgs 21:17-29) God did not destroy Ahab’s life after he demonstrated not only in words but also in action that he was repentant of all his sins against God and humanity. You and I can turn to God with humble hearts by abandoning any evil ways that keep us from receiving God’s blessing of merciful love.

Our goal in life should be about what God has planned for each of us right from the beginning of creation: to be “perfect just as our heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:43-48), forgiving others their sins just as God forgives our sins.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 17

God who is hidden and visible

Someone asked me, “Why is God hidden?” The person then thought aloud: “would it be so wonderful if God was visible and everyone was able to see him!” After a short pause, the person said: “I think that if God did not hide, people would have come to believe in Him and change their lives to follow Him in all things.” It is a mystery why God chooses to operate in a hidden way. Jesus says: “your Father who is hidden…who sees what is hidden will repay you” (Mt 6: 18).

What does the hiddenness of God teach us about Him and our relationship with Him? If God is hidden, is He inviting us to seek Him in quiet places? Is God asking us to learn from St. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus – the Holy Family, how they learned to encounter God in prayer and silent meditation, reflection, and contemplation? Is not the hiddenness of God, inviting us to discover the inner way of looking at things and see God with the eye of love?

What does it mean that God Hides His face? Does it mean that He is not present in our everyday life? How can we encounter him here and now, in everyday experiences? God has revealed himself to us in the Son Jesus Christ. Jesus told St. Philip that whoever has seen him has seen the Father (Jn 14:9). In truth, God whom we seek is present in the hearts of believers, in those who partake at the banquet of the Word and table sacrifice. God has chosen to remain hidden so that He may become visible every day in acts of charity, mercy, compassion, and kindness. 

Where there is witnessing of love, is a place where God’s face shine brightly. Let us not forget that God is love. He is present where there is forgiveness and mercy since He is the God of mercy. God will remain hidden to people of the world when you and I fail to live by the code of these His words: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him” ( Jn 14:23). In and through us, He is visible to the world. 

We can see God even now but just as a taste in preparation for the final joy that awaits us in heaven. Be the light of God, the hands of love that touch Jesus in the poor.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 18

The Joy and Sadness of Pentecost.

We celebrated Pentecost Sunday just a few weeks ago, and it was good to receive the help of the breath of God to nourish and strengthen our faith in this trial moment of the pandemic.  Yesterday in our Church, it felt as if we were living the Pentecost again when our young ones and adults received the Sacrament of Confirmation. The bishop could not confer the Sacrament of Confirmation due to the coronavirus restrictions, so he gave priests one-time permission to confer the sacrament. Many families have been waiting for the confirmation and were worried if it was ever going to happen before their children joined high school. 

The Sacrament of Confirmation is a joy and peace, a fullness of the breath of God coming to dwell within the confirmed pouring graces of the transformation of life, making a person a beloved child of God, a partner in the mission of evangelizing the Gospel love, charity, and mercy. St. Paul describes those who have received the Holy Spirit as: “You have received a spirit of adoption as sons through which we cry: Abba! Father! (Rom 8:15). The same Father of Jesus is now our Father too; we find a new identity, purpose, and mission on earth, to live a holy life, following the way of humility and service of Christ our elder brother and friend.

As I did the confirmation, inside of my heart was thrilled of the great gift of God coming to dwell within us. But my joy was just short-lived because I am sadly aware of the reality that I have seen repeating itself year after year. Most of the men and women who are confirmed year after year are doing it as if it is a graduation from the Church. For some, it is the last time they are going to step in the Church for so many years to come. Imagine that what is supposed to be a source of joy has become a means of sadness, a sign of goodbye from regular participation in the Eucharistic celebration with the family of God.

I pray and hope that the gift and fire of the Spirit of God will continue to guide the young ones to grow in faith, inspire parents and families to seek the path of hope, and enable the sponsors to become faithful witnesses of love and charity. 

“Come, Holy Spirit; fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.” 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 19

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

A name is special and unique in a person’s life. We identify ourselves with names. Some names that people identify with contain meaning or purpose. For example, the name Jesus has a meaning that He is the Savior of humanity. Do we have any idea the significance that our names represent? 

In the Church, we notice that it is common to give names of saints to those who receive the Sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation. The significance of having a saint’s name is the belief that the bearer of the name would be protected, prayed for, and inspired by the saint’s holy life so that they too may pattern their way of life to image God who calls all to the holiness of life.

Places of worship, churches are also named after saints. It has the same belief that the Christian community that comes to pray may follow the example of that saint. The faithful believe that the saints in heaven will become the protective shield of the house of prayer. Today we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, a name that our parish gets its identity and light of spiritual life.

What does the Sacred Heart of Jesus means to us who come to worship in this Church? We know that the heart of Jesus is a holy fountain of love, mercy, and life. It is from the purity and generosity of His heart that humanity is joined to the tree of new life, death to sin, and resurrection to the Kingdom of God. The pierced heart of Jesus flowing with the rivers of blood and water becomes a source of eternal life and purity of souls for those who believe in Him, the Son of God and Mary. The Holy Catholic Church is a vine that sprout from the seed of sacredness of His Heart.

Those who find new life from the spring of the heart of Jesus, are the ones Moses describe as: “You are a people Scared to the Lord, your God; he has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own” (Dt 7:6-11). How do we respond to God, who comes to meet us in the heart of Jesus? Do we serve God only with our minds alone? Jesus reminds us that love for God should be from the mind, heart, and soul.

We have a call to become the living heart of Jesus, an open heart that can listen to the poor and the suffering’s cry, a people ready to give themselves selflessly for the greater glory of love and salvation. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 20

Two Hearts One Love

Yesterday we celebrated the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, a heart open to new life, a heart flowing with the blood of mercy and love for humanity. Today we are celebrating the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a heart connected to the Son and the Church. The hearts of Jesus and Mary are intertwined to the extent that those who look with the eyes of faith into the depth at which they meet, would find that the two hearts breathe and beat together at the same speed of love. 

Mary had a pure heart that was open to the Word of God. She received the Word of God not only in her mind but also in her heart and soul. She found a home in reflecting, meditating, contemplating the hidden truth of life eternal and salvation by drinking deep of the fountain of divine graces of love and joy. Mary conceived the Word so that her soul may become open to the work of the Spirit, a blessing for the people of the world. (Lk 2:19).

Mary is a school of faith, hope, and charity for the holy Church. She is the Mother and Wisdom of holiness that bears children for God and friends for Jesus Christ. She teaches the faithful to learn from her how to keep the Word of God in the heart pondering on it so that those who believe may come to know the will of God and do it for the glory of Eternal life. 

She never stops advising her children in faith to put into practice what the Son has revealed of the Father in the gift of the cross and resurrection. Her presence in the entire life of Jesus Christ is a comforting awareness that her place of dwelling is with the people of God, leading them to the Son and the Father.  She embraces those who welcome her with hearts of humility and obedience as the Glorious Mother of Love.

Do not be afraid to take Mary into your homes and hearts (Mt 1:20). She takes nothing away from us but instead, bring to us all that we may ever dream about, Baby Jesus, gentle of heart, the gift of peace for eternal life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 21

The Lord is with Me

There are some in the world who for their own reasons cannot tolerate the word of truth, the message of Jesus Christ. Their desperate attempts to silence that truth have over the years inflicted much anguish, pain, and suffering on those who know, accept, and share the good news of salvation. Some who are attracted to Christianity’s messages of faith, hope, and love are unable to take the next steps to becoming Christians because they are frozen by the horrors Jesus endured on the cross. Jesus challenges us all when he says “If anyone wants to come after me, he must deny himself and take up the cross and follow me.” (Mk 8:34). It is to me a mystery why the joys of following Jesus Christ must include embracing the gift of the cross.  

There are Christians who are willing to suffer and die for their faith in God. They are determined to follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who was crucified so that you and I can have life eternal. Jesus has warned that believers are going to be mistreated in the same way that the world’s people rejected him. Jesus encourages us not to be afraid when this happens because He is with us to help and to share our pain. He says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna” (Mt. 10:26-33).

The Holy Spirit comes to help us in our journey of faith, to be our light in times of darkness, to be the bond of unity in times of division, and to be the gift of the breath of peace and joy of the Kingdom of heaven on earth. Since God has come to be with us in the Spirit, Jesus says, “Fear no one” (Mt. 10:26-33) for the “Lord is with” us, “like a mighty champion” (Jer 20:10-13).

We live on earth, but our ultimate goal is to come into the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us. We should thirst and yearn for this final destination. The ultimate union with God should motivate us to face any challenges on earth so that we may all receive the reward of eternal life. Those who remain faithful to the end, Jesus says, “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father” (Mt. 10:26-33).

How do you live your faith on earth? Are you afraid to witness your love for Christ? God is looking for those who would be witnesses of the power of the cross on earth. When He calls, would you say like Mary, “Yes, Lord use me; I am here do your will” (Lk 1:26-38).

 Fr. Joseph Oganda


June 8-14

June 8

The Language of Nature: Beauty and Life

Human beings have lost something so essential and fundamental to life, our connection to nature. We are poor of the richness of the wonders of nature that adorn the face of the earth: treasures of beauty, goodness, and peace- the gift of grace. We are divorced from our first marriage with creation; we have lost the touch of first love, we have become blind to the art of creation and not able to see and appreciate the imagination and creativity of God. The book of nature is full of the handiwork of the Creator, holy ground where eyes of the heart are taught how to sing every day the melody that can renew life: “This is the day the Lord has made let us be glad and rejoice in it” (Ps 118:24). We are part of creation, and we can find our true identity when we are connected with our brothers and sisters: trees, flowers, birds, rivers, lakes, and animals. St. Francis of Assisi was so close to creation that he spoke the language of beauty and found fulfillment by resting in the presence of every being since he was a friend and ally of life. 

Pope Francis, moved by the example of St. Francis, love for the poor, little ones, and simplicity, is an advocate for the care of creation. God continues to speak to us through creation about the unity of all things, channels of grace, and voices of praises and thanksgiving. Goodness, which is God’s signature of beauty, is hidden in the creation, and those who find it are blessed. 

The first beatitudes are not the ones Jesus speaks about today in the Gospel of Matthew; the first blessing is proclaimed by God at the beginning of creation when he said: He looked what He had made and “saw how good it was” (Gen 1: 1-31). We must begin to see all things with God’s eye and find in the creation, our authentic identity in the design of the divine pattern of goodness that makes life whole. 

Today we see how creation plays a role in the plan of salvation. Birds of the sky feed Elijah. God says: “You shall drink of the stream, and I have commanded ravens to feed you there” ( 1 Kgs 17:1-6). Nature is the medicine of the human heart and soul, a teacher of the language of simplicity, faith, and hope. Please come to the sanctuary of nature, and you would find your lost peace. Learn to see small and little things, observe the images of things, listen to the singing of birds, feel the warmth of the sun, and savor the sweet smell of flowers, touch the soil, and you would know that God is living and effective in our midst. Join the liturgy of creation and sing for joy and dance for peace for the greater glory of grace unity. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 9

A Woman of Great Wealth

When Elijah was hungry and did not have a place to seek help, God sent him to a poor widow who did not have much to share. Ironically, God did not send him to other wealthy people who might have had plenty to spare. Most of the wealthy people give from their surplus and not from their poverty. The widow we meet in today’s reading gave all she had from her poverty, a sign that she was a woman of great faith and trust in God blessings (1Kg 17: 7-16).

Recently a priest shared an experience where he had organized food distribution to the widows and the poor from his parish during this coronavirus. The priest’s heart was touched when some of the poor widows brought their impoverished neighbors to receive help. One of them said to the priest: “Father, I know that this lady is not a member of our Church, and I know that the food was for me, but please I beg you, instead of giving me the little food, give her because she is starving and does not have any food left in her house.” The priest shared how the experience changed his perspective. He became more aware that some of the poor people were so concerned about their neighbors than themselves. They chose not to concentrate on what could divide them, such as religion; instead, they found common ground on shared poverty and hunger.

To all Christians, Jesus says: “Let your light shine on others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16). Christians are called to witness their faith and trust in God’s providence, just like the widow did. God should be the wealth of every Christian. People sometimes forget to realize that God provides for their essential needs every day. Take, for example, the air we breathe, the life we possess, the sun we enjoy, the family we cherish, and the job we have, where do we think all these gifts come? God takes care of us the same way He took care of Elijah and the widow and her only son.

How are we using the gifts God has given us for the service of the kingdom of heaven on earth? Are we willing to share the little we have with those who are less fortunate? Or, are we the ones who say, I do not have enough to share? God blesses us when we become a blessing for others. Refusing to share is closing the door for God not to bless you.

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

June 10

Discernment of Life

In the world, people preoccupy themselves with so many things. For many people, life has become a series of activities of so many things. Other people think that to involve oneself in almost everything that life can bring is what living should be. When one is busy running after life, trying to fill every space within oneself with so many activities, is a sign that they are trying to avoid to engage with an inner voice where everyone is invited to visit, rest, and revaluate everything. Pope Francis and the Jesuit Society came together late last year to come up with a ten-year plan to guide the mission of their society in service of the Church and the world. One of the four key aspects of faith they chose to cultivate was the discernment of life. 

The discernment of life is essential in everyone’s life. What does the discernment of life or spirits mean? It is like reading a book about one’s life. In life, every day we are writing a page in the book of our own lives, we are creating a story of who we are. Have you noticed that when you write in a hurry, it is easy to make grammatical errors? What do you do when you incur errors while writing a story of your life, one goes back to rereading and correcting mistakes. Discernment is a time to revisit our lives, how it has been, how we plan to live it today, and how we hope to transform it for a better future full of hope. 

Discernment of Life is like the question that Jesus asked his disciples: “what are you looking for?” (Jn1:38) Or, “what do you want me to do for you?” (Mk 10:15) We are called to bring the light of the Word of God into our lives, for it is the source of light that can remove the masks of lies that continue to press our necks to the ground till we feel as if we cannot breathe. Jesus calls us to a new path of breathing life anew. Jesus seeks to bring us back to our senses, to choose to follow God alone. (1Kg 18:20-39).

Through discernment of life, one begins to learn not to follow the ways of the world blindly but to become aware of the law of God, the law of love. Switch on the light of love and God will show you the path of life and guide you to the fountain of truth, the source and meaning of peace and joy, Jesus Christ. (Ps 22:4-5).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 11

Remain Faithful to the End

Christians are followers of Jesus Christ, but they do not have their own nation separate from the rest of humanity. Christians live with others who do not express faith in God, a people who are guided only by the law and wisdom of this world. Their vision of life is limited to what the eye can see and what the world can give. Those who are marked by the Holy Spirit are invited fix their eyes to the Kingdom of God. Yesterday we had a beautiful Psalms that said: “Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope” (Ps 16:1). It is God who can protect us from any harm and also can prepare us for the eventual victory of the kingdom of heaven, which should be the aim for every person that Jesus died for on the cross.

Today, we celebrate the life of St. Barnabas, a faithful witness of Christ who gave his life for the gospel. The saints like Barnabas are role models who can help us in our faith journey to remain committed to the end of life. His advice to us is, “remain faithful to the Lord in the firmness of heart” (Acts 11: 21-26). We are called to be the shining light in the world that can lead others to God by our acts of charity and faithfulness to the Gospel message.

Jesus has left us an example to practice on earth as we continue to live a life of faith, a model of love. He says: “I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34). The goal of life is to pattern our lives to conform to the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, who was obedient to God, humble to serve others, and did only the will of the Father. The world needs peace, reconciliation, and unity. Trusting in God’s help, and through the intercession of St. Barnabas, we can become instruments of the healing power of Christ in the world. We are the Barnabas of our time, let us shine like the star of the city of God.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 12

Come out of the Cave: See Light

St Paul tells us how Christians are supposed to live their lives on earth. He said: “Shine like lights in the world, as you hold on the word of life” (Phil 2:15-16). The Word of God is the light of life, and those who practice the message of the Gospel every day are the ones who are overcoming the darkness of sin: anger, hate, and greed that rule people of our time. God is the One who can bring change in our lives and the world, but He wants to accomplish His mission through and with us as collaborators and instruments of peace that every home on earth needs.

We all live in the world full of the darkness of the night of sin and sufferings, so how can we remain the shining light in the world? The Psalmist teaches us that our entire plan of life should be about longing to see God’s face. (Ps 27:8). Since we are created by God to have union with Him, we desire to encounter the One who loves us to the cross, to know his heart of mercy, to love and adore his face, and to come to know our authentic self in Him.

Elijah looked for God’s protection and direction in a cave. He lost focus for a while and searched for God in wrong places, in a cave for fear of death. How many of us try to see the face of God where he is not present. How many people live a life of fear, crying to find God in the world of darkness? God comes to us and stands at the door of the caves of our minds calling our names to come out to him so that He may lead us to the mountain of an encounter, to a quiet and holy ground where He longs to speak tenderly to our hearts with a kiss of peace.

Like Mary, our Mother, let us come to her to hear the whisper of God’s silent voice in our hearts. Turn to Mary, the Glorious Mother of Love, and she will guide you to a place of beauty, she will teach you the language of peace. She will direct your inner eye to look to the star of the night and see hope so that awake in the morning, the rising sun of joy may warm your heart, and your soul may praise God of whisper and silence.

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

June 13

Inherit the Kingdom of God 

Following Jesus Christ is demanding, but at the same time, it is beautiful and life fulfilling. When God called Elisha to serve His mission, he had a tough choice to make, to live everything, and turn his life entirely to God. He made a painful request to Elijah: “Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, and I will follow you” (1Kgs 19:19-21). If you leave your family, what else are you going to have? If you leave your land, what else can you possess? What God is doing in the life of those He calls to work in His vineyard is that He invites them to a new family of the Trinity: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. He gives them a new land, the Kingdom of heaven, training them to cultivate people’s minds with the word of God and uproot weeds of sin by the power of mercy and forgiveness.

Through Baptism, everyone has a mission to serve in the Kingdom of heaven on earth, but many are afraid to leave the allure and attraction in this passing world. The Church is going through challenging experiences since few are willing to dedicate their lives fully like Elisha to service of God. The Church and the world need those who would be ready to minister to the people of God faithfully. God wants to reach out to His children, but He desires to work with us. As people of God, our prayer should be the one Jesus taught us: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send workers into His harvest” (Mt 9:37).

Choosing to live for God is not a loss of the world but instead is an excellent gain of both heaven and earth. To serve God and His children is to have God, who is the source of all things. God reminds us to seek Him first, and all other things shall be given to us (Mt 6:33). Those who serve the Lord will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven (Ps 16:5).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 14

The Joy of the Body of Christ

Last Sunday, some people left the caves of their homes where they were hiding for fear of the pandemic (1Kig 19:9, 11-16). People are still very cautious and careful as they reenter fully into a community of worship. Many were happy to resume the Eucharistic celebration even though there were some restrictions that they had to deal with. Some people find wearing a mask annoying and uncomfortable. Some people have already told me that if they have to wear masks in Church, I will not see them for some time until the restriction is removed. One said “Sorry, I will miss the joy of the Body of Christ.”

One person told me “Father, the Catholic Church is marked by symbols and signs. Each symbol reveals to us the hidden invisible graces, gifts and blessings of God.” He continued “For example, the bread is a symbol of the living Body of Christ, wine symbolizes the Blood.  Water stands for purity and new life, and light is a sacrament of Resurrection.” He then asked me, “Tell me, since we are including a mask in the liturgical celebration as a symbol, what is the invisible grace and blessing it can bring to the people of faith and believers in the redemptive power of the cross? He then said “I thought Jesus said: ‘Do not be afraid, It is I … I am the Bread of life, and whoever eats my Body will have life eternal.”

Another family was delighted to return to Mass after being away for so long. The mother was particularly excited to receive the Body of Christ for the first time in months. She said she had felt lost and empty without the Body of Jesus Christ. Since I did not see the whole family, I inquired if the young ones were okay. The mother and the father informed me that they had some engagements to attend. The mother told me that she reminded her children that now people can go back to Church and worship together at the table of sacrifice. She informed me that the young ones were planning to follow Mass online.

The mother said “I told them that online worship is not the new normal of the Catholic faith and that we are a people made whole by the Body where Christ comes to enter into our lives completely to transform our nature into His likeness.” She then expressed her concern and worry. She said “You see, Father, there is a problem when people try to change the pattern of worship. It gives people the wrong signal that the normal way of the celebration can take place without the Body of Jesus Christ.” She lamented “My children now think that this is the new normal of worship rather than coming to Church, and even the Eucharist is not essential in Christian life.” She concluded, “It is going to take a while to make people realize that without the Body of Christ, we are not a Church of Jesus Christ, but only a social gathering of people coming to hear a man speak or preach.”

She is quite right about the importance of personal attendance at Mass to your spiritual needs, life, and growth. Is Mass exactly the same as when you left this spring? No. Are there some inconveniences that must be managed for the time being? Yes, of course, including wearing a mask. Nonetheless, the doors of Sacred Heart and Immaculate Conception are open again, the Blood and Body of Christ are there for you, and we once again worship together, not as a social gathering but as one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Come home!

Fr. Joseph Oganda  


June 1 to 7

June 1

The Mother of the Church

The best gifts in life are the ones given at an hour of death. When I visit the dying, I always find family members waiting, praying, and offering the gift of their presence to the loved one who is preparing for the next life. At times people say to me, “Father, we do not know what else we can do to help to ease the pain of our loved one who is struggling with the reality of death.” People respond to death differently. The best gift one can offer a dying person is to be present. The terminally ill need people around them because what many are afraid of is not death itself but dying alone. One gentleman who was dealing with the news of his terminal illness said to me: “Father, I know that death is unavoidable, but I do not want to die alone.”

Jesus also experienced enormous pain and suffering in life, not crucifixion on the cross but to be abandoned by the people he loved so much. True love makes someone enter fully into the suffering and death of the other. Mary and John, the Evangelist, stood by Jesus at the foot of the cross to comfort him and share his passion (John 19: 25- 34). 

Today we are celebrating Mary as the Mother of the Church, as the one who is present when a new life begins and when life ends. Mary is given to us by Jesus as a perfect gift of a Mother who will never forsake anyone who belongs to Jesus in times of hardship. She comes to help us find the way to Jesus, a way of life, a gift of life and love.

There is no Church without Mary. Mary allows us to encounter Jesus, who is a baby, according to a little girl who wrote me a note and placed is a collection basket scribbling: “I need Baby Jesus.” Mary of Jesus and believers leads us to a deep well of the fullness of joy and peace, the gift of the Holy Spirit. “Do not be afraid to take Mary home” to be your Mother; she comes to take nothing away from you but to carry you with the hands of love to the manger of Baby Jesus.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 2

The Law of God and the law of Man

Recently one of the parishioners came to me and was concerned about me. He said: “Father, it is good to follow the law of the land.” He was willing to teach me the law that he thought I should follow, especially during this coronavirus.” He said: “I know the law of the land, I follow it every day, and I like to keep the law. If you do not know the law, I can help you.” He gave me a newspaper to read with some parts of the article underlined with a marker for me to pay attention to particular parts of the law of the land.” Who is a Christian, and what law or laws guide him or her? 

A Christian is someone who follows the way of Jesus Christ, the path of truth, a seeker of salvation and the Kingdom of God. Jesus says Christians are people who are on earth but are children of heaven. Like any kingdom or nation, written laws guide the citizens. The law of the land teaches people how to live within the boundary of that particular nation. It is a law created by men and women to give them power and control over others. Those who break the law face a judge, sent to prison, and receive no forgiveness or mercy.

The law of God is a gift of love, a Person, Jesus Christ, the light of the Cross. Jesus says: “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Mt 6:33). To live the law of the land, one must, first, know and practice the law of God, the law of love. The law that Jesus speaks about by saying: “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and God what belongs to God” (Mk 12: 13-17).

Christians are not created in the image of the law of the land, but in God’s likeness, and the law of the life they follow should mirror the holiness of God. Those who love God are true lovers of the law of the land because the Holy Spirit comes to teach them everything and remind them all that Jesus did and taught (John 14:26). The law of love is written in the book of one’s heart. 

Yesterday, Pentecost Sunday, we received a teacher of the law of love, the Holy Spirit. The law of God brings peace and joy. St. Paul warns Christians: “beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and fall from your own stability.” The law of love must enable us to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:12-15, 17-18). God Calls us to holiness, to conform to Son’s image, and witness the Gospel of charity, joy and peace.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 3

Life after Death

The disciples of Jesus had the same question many ask today: how does one look like after death? Some ask: are the married going to be husband and wife again in heaven? Will people have the same appearance they now possess? The other day a parishioner asked me a question when I said that someone who had died appeared to me in a dream, so he wanted to know if he came in the same body she had before dying.

When people asked Jesus this question, he says: “Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven” (Mk 12:18-27). Have you seen an angel face to face? Jesus’ response is still unclear because he is not saying exactly how they look like but that “they are like angels.” The question is, if they are not angels, then what are they?  

Jesus says in the Scripture that God is Spirit and that he seeks those who would worship him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). When we die, the body which is dust returns to dust is buried, but the human spirit is set free from the body to return to unite with the Spirit of God. When God created human beings in his image and likeness, we share in His Spirit.

A few days ago, as I was writing a letter to Bishop Braxton about Rita Harsy, a dove that I had not seen before flew and came and sat at the window of my office. As I write, I could feel within me that I was not alone; I felt that Rita’s spirit was right there. After I wrote five typed pages, before printing a whisper within me made me look at the total number of words of the letter and was surprised to see that the words were: 2258. May 22 is the day Rita died, and she died at age 58. I believed that she visited and guided my hand, but she came in the form of a dove. 

The spirit can take any form, sometime it may be just a sweet smell of a flower or anything. Jesus describes the state as: “it is like” because they have the power to make themselves known in many forms. It is all about having faith in the presence of the spirits, just as we have faith in God and angels. Without faith, the things of faith do not make much sense most of the time, and that is why Jesus calls us to be like little children who can trust, believe, and wonder. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 4

Faith Marked by the Colors of Blood

Yesterday we celebrated the saints of Uganda who were killed for their faith in Jesus Christ. Charles Lwanga and his companions were young and had just been Christians for less than six years when they witnessed their love for Christ by taking the path of martyrdom. They were poor and uneducated, but something beautiful happened that they came to know Jesus Christ, who was rich in love and life.

Our faith is marked by a history written in the colors of the blood of many believers. Many people would prefer to have a form a religion that does not include going through the Cross, the gift of the Gospel of Salvation. In today’s reading, St. Paul describes what he had to go through to witness his faith in Jesus Christ, saying, “Such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal.”  According to St. Paul, the Word of God cannot be “chained” (2 Tim2: 8-15); the Scripture tells us that only truth of the Cross will set us free and lead us to eternal life. 

St. Paul points out what makes many faithful willing to die for their belief in Jesus Christ, saying, “Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel” (2Tim 1:10). Those who choose to give their lives for believing in God do it not because they are courageous, but because they have unbreakable trust and faith in Jesus who gave his life on the Cross to conquer the power of death with the light of Resurrection.

Dying for one’s belief is not just about physical death, but it means something more profound, a sign of readiness to sacrifice personal interest for others. It is love that is ready to serve the needs of others first. Christians have received a call to become like Jesus Christ, with a longing to holiness that requires everyday death and willing to be at the service others in imitation of Jesus Christ Christ. (Mk 12: 28-34).

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

June 5

One love one people one God

The readings for this week contain a callous message for those who want to follow the way of the Christ faithfully, the darkness of persecution in the world, and a demand to carry ones cross every day. Jesus even reminded us that if he received the same treatment, why we think that the disciples are going to receive different experiences. The living book of faith is written again and again with the ever-flowing blood of believers who are not ashamed to witness their trust for the love of God.

As we listen to the Word of God reminding us to be ready to stand for our faith each day, we are to ask God to fill us with the same Spirit that gave strength to many multitudes of believers who were willing to die for their relationship with Christ. We may not go through physical persecution, but we must join in the fight for the sacredness of life and not close our eyes when life, God’s gift is under attack.

St. Timothy continues even today with the message of suffering for the faith, saying: “all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:10-17). The love of God and the love of neighbor is the light of life that can give us a reason to serve and sacrifice for the good of others who are also sons and daughters of a compassionate Father. It is the same love that God has for us, the love he witnessed by allowing his only Son to die for our salvation (Jn 14:20). Those who seek to destroy the people of faith will not succeed because the fight is not against us but God, who dwells in the poor, neglected, and persecuted.

In our prayer let us continue to ask God to change the hearts of men and women filled with the evil spirit of hate and death that blind their eyes from seeing the love that God has in store for all his children, a love that heals and makes all things new in the likeness of kindness and mercy.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 6

Small Gift Great Joy

During the great calamity, people’s eyes may become blind to the overwhelming pain, suffering, and death that rules the day and fails to see the good things that still happen, notwithstanding the unwelcome hardship. The virus did not stop many people from reaching out to those in need here and beyond.

Some parishioners moved by the suffering that others experienced in the U.S and beyond shared their limited resources that brought tears of joy and hope in people’s eyes. They are the people who Jesus looks at and speak of when he says: “Amen I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.” Jesus explains his statement: “For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole live hood” (Mk 12:38-44).

Through our sister parish, a small contribution was sent to them to feed the poor and hungry orphans and the elderly within the churches where they serve. It is unbelievable what little gift can do when it comes from a heart rich in love and trust in God, who can multiply the joys and happiness of life. The priests in many parishes where the sisters operate in Africa sent me pictures and videos of hundreds of people coming to receive a packet of maize, beans, rice, oil, etc. 

With masks covering their faces, many were dancing in joy and offering prayers to God for remembering them through our little acts of charity. It was rewarding to see an older adult praying and offering blessings that God may continue to increase our work of kindness. One parishioner who saw this said: “I could not believe that with something so little that so much can come out of it.”

When you give from the heart when you share for God’s glory, nothing is little in His eye; He will take what you offer and bless you abundantly with what your heart long for, heavenly peace, and eternal life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

June 7

In the dollar we trust, in God we hate, and in law we destroy life

The coronavirus has led to the closing of Churches or limiting access to worship, angering many of the faithful. We have been dealing with an age-old virus of injustices against the sacredness of life even before the cloud of the pandemic loomed. The streets of America are marked by people who choose to express their anger and disappointment with a system that has lost value in protecting life.

Any society that loses its foundation in God, who is the source of life’s law, is blind to the light of truth.  In Tuesday’s reading of this week, we encountered those who asked Jesus about keeping the law of the land and the law of God. The Lord challenged them to “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and God what belongs to God.” We have the law of man and the law of God. But the first law of life is the law of love (Mk 12:28-34). 

Someone spoke to me of the paradox that businesses can re-open but that Churches should remain closed, that it seems “in the dollar we trust, but in God, we hate.” Notice in the news how the Church is painted as a spreader of the virus. People spread the virus, and any place where people get together- in homes, business places, schools, hospitals, and even Churches – the infection may spread. Very rarely do you hear any other sites, especially of businesses where the dollar reigns, that are mentioned as a fertile ground for the virus. 

The virus gave voice to those who hate God or the message of truth and love to attack faith in the name of protecting people from death. Who can protect us from death but God alone? The people of a society that has so little respect for the life of the unborn, the elderly, and the vulnerable, would not hesitate to close their eyes when a person is killed on the street in broad daylight.  

Someone pointed out to me recently that “If the killing can be made in the street, in broad daylight, just imagine what goes on in the dark, out of the sight of the public eyes?” Pope John Paul II lived his life challenging the world to move out of the culture of death and return to the culture of life. Even though we dwell in a society that seems to be guided by the principle of “In the dollar, we trust, in God we hate, and in law, we destroy life” there is hope that the light of the Gospel can still change the evil heart of humanity.  

Jesus tells us: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have life.”  (Jn 3:16-18). The Holy Spirit is given to believers to learn a new principle of life – In God we trust, in the law of love we cherish life, and in our labors we serve for the glory of the Kingdom of eternal life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


May 25-31 — Pentecost Sunday:

May 25

Jesus is Abandoned

I hope we will return to Church soon and continue to worship in a manner that we know best, as a gathering of the community of believers at the table of the sacrifice of love and life. Jesus came to form a community where people get together, pray, and offer praise and thanksgiving to God. The new style of worship in the name of new technology or in the strange term “new normal” is not of Jesus, is not of the Holy Spirit that seeks to unite people. The “new normal” that others are becoming so accustomed to is of evil nature that intends to divide the Church and destroy the faith community.  

The Eucharist is the heart of the Church, the fullness of life that contains breath for human beings for the salvation of the soul. The word of God is communicated to us with one purpose in mind that it may lead us ultimately to worship of heart and soul where we encounter Jesus in Person, in sharing of the Bread, He who brings joy to the soul, peace to the heart, and truth to the mind. It was not the word of God alone that made the hearts of the disciples on the road to Emmaus aflame but also the gift of the table, a healing medicine for eternal life, a vaccine for fear of death.

Today’s reading Jesus speaks of what is happening right now in the word. He says, “Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave me alone” ( Jn 16: 29-33). We have left Jesus alone on the holy grounds of the churches in a name that we must protect life. Should we not be about saving souls that animate life of a whole person? 

Even though those who had received the Holy Spirit and water of life are away from the Lord, He says: “But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” The Mother, Mary, who never abandons the Son, is taking care of the deserted Body in the churches all over the world. In the world, all believers will continue to face challenges but we must learn to turn your gaze to Jesus again and again and seek him who is the light of life. He says to you and me:  “In the world, you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn16: 29-33) with the Eucharist and Mary, my Mother. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 26

Saving Life or Eternal Life

During the pandemic, the common word we hear is, “our first goal is to protect life.” The world allover is at a standstill trying to protect life. The Church, which is in the world but is not of the world, has bought into using the same term, saying: “Our priority is to protect life.” When the world and the Church use the word life, do they all mean the same thing? 

Take, for example, the issue of abortion; the Church says that life should be protected right from conception to death while the civic society, on the other hand, regards life in a womb, especially at early stages of growth, not life and for this reason, they allow abortion. When coronavirus attacked, all of a sudden, the Church and the world are speaking the same language about protecting life. Something is not right.

The Church, which is not just an institution on earth but is the body of Jesus Christ is more than only protection of life but instead, the salvation of life eternal in imitation of Jesus Christ. When people act out of fear, they become blinded and soon forget the way of truth. Jesus reminds us, “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” ( Jn 17:1-11). The Church is about eternal life and the salvation of souls in following the way of the cross, Jesus Christ. Jesus promises to send us the Holy Spirit to help us look beyond earthly life and seek eternal union with God the Father both now and forever.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 27

Speaking the Language of Death

A friend sent me a YouTube video where a priest from one of the dioceses in the U.S of America gave a homily challenging Church leaders for the action they took by closing churches for Eucharistic celebration. In the video, he says that the leaders are not trying to protect life but express their own fear of death. How many of us are comfortable talking about our own death? It seems we can say so much about life but less or nothing about death. Why are people so afraid of death?

Christianity stands on the cornerstones of suffering, death, and resurrection. We hear it again and again that there is no resurrection without death, no spring without winter. It seems that we would be happy to learn about death as an idea but not as a reality that we must actively embrace. What we are experiencing in the Church is a question of the purity of our faith, cross, and salvation.

It is worth noticing that for the scriptural readings for today and even yesterday how the Apostle Paul talks freely about his imminent death. The people were pained when he said that “they would never see his face again” (Acts 20:28-28). St. Paul was aware of death as a single pattern of witnessing the Gospel of Jesus. He said: “I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God” (Acts 20:27). What is this entire plan of God? Does the Church of today, a Church that experiences pandemic, still speaks the whole design of God?

At an hour of the death, Jesus prayed: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from Me. Yet not my will, but yours be done “(Lk 22:48). Jesus lives the entire plan of God the Father: Passion, Death, and Resurrection. We must continue to learn how to make peace with death by growing in our faith that comes from the Gospel of eternal life and truth.

As we prepare to resume the Mass celebration, we must not stop to ask important questions about death and life? I wonder if making peace with death can be resolved by the path we have taken in time of this pandemic. The answer to this concern of death and life is within our hearts, and coronavirus is just a scapegoat. A friend told me yesterday that we must know how to deal with our demons of death if we want to live a life full of meaning and purpose. The light of faith must be unmasked if we hope to see heavens open the widow of eternal life, the beauty of the Cross, Jesus Christ.

Fr. Joseph Oganda  

May 28

Unity of the Church

The readings of this week revealed how St. Paul was mistreated because of his faith in Jesus Christ. St Paul was stoned to the point of death in some cities. He was also arrested and put in prison. Today we see him brought before leaders of the people, and they accuse him of teaching about Jesus and calling people to follow the way of the Lord, inviting them to imitate His life, death, and resurrection. One thing that stands out about St. Paul is that he did not stop witnessing people about Jesus Christ no matter what he went through. He remained faithful to Christ to the end. 

This week a parishioner shared a point that he read or heard and found to be meaningful in the life of faith. He asked me: “Father, if you are accused of being a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, will they find enough evidence to convict you?” St. Paul and Jesus were convicted because their words and way of life were clear proof for them to be crucified. What about you and me, what are the evidence to show that we are Christians in the world that longs to encounter Jesus Christ, crucified, and risen?

Jesus reminds us that we are going to face challenges and grief in the world, but he calls us to remain in Him because He has conquered the world of death by the light of the resurrection. Our cry in time of doubt and darkness of faith should always be: “Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope (Ps 16:1). In God alone, we find “the path of life,” the fullness of joys” (Ps 16:1-11).

The prayer of Jesus for the faithful before he ascends into heaven, to send us a helper, the Holy Spirit, is for the unity of the Church. Is the Church united under the umbrella of the Cross, Jesus Christ? Jesus’ prayer should be our prayer too: “Father, I pray that they may be one as you and I are one…you in me and I in them ( Jn 17:20-26).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 29

Come Holy Spirit Come

The coming Sunday is Pentecost when the promise of God is fulfilled, the coming of a helper, the Holy Spirit. There is a parishioner who told me one time how he was struggling with the identity of the third Person of God, the Holy Spirit. He is not the only one; many people do not understand the Person of the Holy Spirit in the Church’s life. The parishioner said: “God the Father I understand as the one who creates the world and sent Jesus to save us. Jesus Christ is the one who saved us by dying on the cross.” Then he asked, “But who is the Holy Spirit? What does he do?”  

We know that God is one but in three Persons: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit-Trinity. As Jesus said many times, he is not going to leave us orphans but to send us a helper who is always going to be with us until the end of time. Jesus promises that God, the Father and the Son are going to come back and dwell in us. The Holy Spirit is the dwelling of God in us. She is the bond of love that unites us to God so that we can become children of God. 

The Holy Spirit comes to mold, form, and purify us to be like God, to resemble Our Father. Jesus says: the Spirit comes to “teach you everything and remind you of all I told you” ( Jn 14:26). There are a lot of things that we still do not know about life and about God and the Spirit comes to teach us. But the Spirit also does not want us to forget the things that Jesus did and taught while he was on earth. The Church is the school the Holy Spirit that show us the way to Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit comes to teach us the language of God, the grammar of love that we are trained to speak fluently in the world by being witnesses of Christ and workers of charity. The Spirit is a new breath of the life of God that we need every day. She comes to make all things new and to connect heaven and earth. With the gift of the Holy Spirit, now we can taste the joy of eternal life even when we are still in the world. And it is the Holy Spirit that changes the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. She is the bond of unity. 

The Holy Spirit is everything we can dream and hope for in this life and beyond, so let us pray and cry, “Come, Holy Spirit, come!”

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

May 30

“You are the Reason”

I found a secular song on YouTube that touched the depth of my heart, a song by Calum Scott. As I said, this is not a Christian song, but the words are so rich and pure, you may think that they were not composed but breathed from the innermost layer of one’s being. What I found to be beautiful about it is that the words are well-chosen, and the melody is lovely and uplifting spirit to see greater possibilities that anything is possible when love finds a heart to dwell.

The song may not speak to your heart the way it did to mine, but if you get time listen to it for the joy and peace of the heart. With this coronavirus, we need some medicine for the soul, and the song has a way to do it, especially the ones that can carry us to the ocean of hope. Some of the beautiful words of the song by Scott are: “I will climb every mountain, swim every ocean just to be with you.” He also sings: “I just want you to see.” Or the words of the title of the song: “You are the reason.”

The lyrics of the song point me to the love of Christ. He is the reason why I am breathing. He is the reason why I can say thank you. I do not need to give up on Him in times of suffering, even if it means climbing every obstacle like a mountain or crossing an ocean just to be with Him.

It is strange that in today’s reading I found almost similar words of Scott’s song employed by St. Paul when he said: “This is the reason, then I have requested to see you,” why I cross the ocean from Jerusalem to Rome because of love (Act 28:16-20, 30-31). Jesus also says: “If you love me then follow me,” cross every mountain to be with me, you are the reason why I died on the cross, swim every ocean to be with me as I have passed heavens to be with you. We are the reason for his death on the cross and the sending of the Holy Spirit so that our hearts may not just love him but sing to him a song of faith and love: “You are the reason” that makes my heart beat for love and spring for joy.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 31

Pentecost of New Life

It would have been so wonderful if the followers of Jesus Christ all over the world were together as a community in prayer waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The image of the Church on the day of Pentecost more than two thousand years ago is different from the face of the Church we have this year.  The Scripture tells us that “when the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together” (Acts 2:1-11), a sign of the mission of the Holy Spirit, creating a community of believers in Jesus Christ.

The Spirit came and “it filled the entire house in which they were” (Acts 2:1-11). She comes to fulfill what St. Paul calls the “entire plan of God” (Act 20:27) – Jesus Christ, the light of truth and the gift of love that makes us sons and daughters of heaven.

The Spirit of God does more than just build a community on the foundation of Jesus Christ. She has the gentle yet unquenchable power of a burning fire within the heart that fills the longing of people’s lives, those who seek a life rich in hope. The Spirit of light is also an artist of a perfect language of heaven that all people in the world can speak, the language of divine love.

When the Spirit came, the disciples of Jesus were afraid of those who crucified the Lord. What about the Church of today? Are we also afraid? What is the reason for our fear? Are we together as a community in prayer looking to heaven for the outpouring of the gifts of the Spirit? It seems that we are the children of the first disciples in that we all behave in the same manner. John tells us “On the evening of that day of the week when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews” (Jn 20:19-23). Our faith in Jesus Christ does not limit His complete trust in the Fathers’ love, and that is why today he comes back to us in the Holy Spirit to announce the healing Gospel of life: “Peace be with you.” 

Despite not being physically together as a community at the Eucharistic table of peace, even now let us unite our voices and cry to heaven singing the song of the Pentecost of life, a song of love. “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth” (Ps 104:30).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


Seventh Sunday of Easter

May 18

Faith under Attack

A gentleman met me at a shopping place and told me how he missed coming to Church, and he wanted to know when we were going to resume celebrating Mass. I told him that anytime soon though still waiting to get new directives from the governor. The gentleman was not happy at all to hear that our decision to resume celebration depends on the governor’s decision. He said: “If people can go shopping, if we can go around to these many places doing business, I am sure that we can go to Church and pray.” He did not have kind words for the leader’s decisions to prevent Church celebrations.

The gentleman was concerned that religion is always under attack and that civic leaders would grab any opportunity they have to prevent worship. He believed that the leaders would like to see that the name of God is silenced. Jesus had warned the faithful to be prepared for future attacks on religion. He says: “They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me” ( Jn 15: 26- 16:4). Jesus promises that He is going to send us the Holy Spirit to help us face difficult challenges we may experience on earth as we strive to remain faithful to the Gospel of the cross and witness of faith in society. 

I think that the concern for this man is that faith is precious and should be protected. Faith is a gift of love that Jesus gave us by suffering and dying on a cross. Jesus did not choose an easy road; He chose the path of the cross so as we may have life. Just imagine if He could have chosen a comfortable way without suffering and pain, would we be free from the darkness of sin? Christians will continue to experience attacks due to their faith in God, but how would you choose to respond?

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 19

Search for Meaning

Life is about searching for true meaning. We never stop trying to find out the reason why we are here on earth. The search is a wrestle that goes on for the rest of our time on earth. It is an activity done by both the young and the old. Some people may not describe it as seeking a purpose in life, but in the real sense, that is what makes us wake-up every day and face the world.

I have a friend who is in the process of getting close to retirement. She said to me: “What is my life going to be like without work, without the identity that I have created all these years about myself.” She was grieving. She said: “I feel that I will be forgotten; people will not turn to me for help as they used to do; I will lose meaning.” What is the most important thing for you in life? How would you like your life to be if what you have valued for so long is no longer present?

In the world, we live false identities, trying to pattern our lives to fit within the standard set by the world as to what should constitute the image of life. When we do not follow the word’s ways and begin to seek authentic meaning, then the world punishes us, demanding that we must not learn something different from what it offers. The disciples went through the same treatment when they chose to seek real meaning in faith and Jesus; they were put into prison, beaten, stripped, and chained. (Acts 16:22-34).

The early disciples who stood for the faith as the way to the true meaning in life were not bothered by the terrible treatment they had to experience because, within them, they discovered freedom and true meaning in Jesus. Jesus became the source of their joy and peace, the shining light that enables them to see their lives and the world from a different perspective. The followers of Christ discovered the true meaning of love in Jesus in whom they learned to live a life full of purpose (Acts 16:22-34).

When the thing that gives meaning to your life is lost, where would you find true meaning? 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 20

God is with us

Today we have a beautiful responsorial psalm that sings: “Heaven and earth are full of your glory” (Ps 148). The psalm teaches that God is the light of the world whose presence is in heaven within our hearts and souls. Do we believe that God is in our midst? How come we find it difficult to believe that He is working with us in the world?

Many people find it difficult to hear God’s voice and see the wonders of His love around us. We need to sharpen our ears free of noises of the things of the world and come to the silence of God. Our eyes, too, have been stimulated by television images that it has become blind to see the signs of God revealed to us in everyday experiences. God fills the earth, and we who are his disciples should be filled with his light and love so that we, too, may pour the fruits of the blessings that we have received from him.

The church can renew the face of the earth with her many gifts of faith and Spirit. God calls us to come to Him with an open heart that He may make us glow with his life, and our lives on earth may begin to radiate his face on earth. Today we are celebrating a fantastic saint, Saint Bernardine of Siena, who was entirely in love with God, a saint worth imitating. 

As a young person, when a pandemic attacked his hometown of Siena, he was just about 20 years old, he gave his life to the service of the sick. There were days when about 20 people died in one day. He brought together several young people to run the hospital in time of need. There are many living saints among us who serve God not only in words but in action.  Let us ask God to send the Holy Spirit to make us witnesses of faith and service in this time of need each person in a small and simple way. May we continue to live the beauty of faith even if many people around us are ashamed of Jesus Christ.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 21

Joy in suffering

When a person becomes a Christian, many hope that all the problems in their lives and in the world will disappear. We all know it is not the case. In fact Christians just like many in the world go through a lot of challenges. Many have said that faith and Jesus Christ would be beautiful if there was no cross connected to it. It is a mystery why God chose to bring salvation and freedom from sin through suffering and death. Is there anything good that can come from suffering?

Jesus reminds us again and again that in the world we are going o experience tough moments of faith. He says: “You will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy” (Jn 20:16-20). The different kind of suffering that believers experience has light and taste of faith in it. The way of the cross is a gift from God, a bridge that connects heaven and earth. Jesus enter into suffering for us and transform its power. For this reason He tells us that yes, you will suffer but it will bring you joy and peace. 

How can suffering and death turn to peace and joy? That is the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus plans to send to the faithful and the world on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit comes to purify our hearts and heal our souls for eternal life. Through the gift of the Spirit, God comes to dwell within our hearts, for suffering is a perfect language of love and Jesus is the teacher.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 22

Rita our Saint

May 22 is a special day for me. It was the day when I received a dream while sleeping as a young teenager, of about 17 years became a reality after waiting for more than 20 years, a dream to become a priest. The road to the priesthood was never smooth, it was rough and full of many thorns along the way, but the good Lord was with me. When I look back to the years that have passed since I was ordained, I am grateful to God that it is a life worth waiting for, an experience that brings joy and peace at the service at the altar of the Word of God, the table of sacrifice and the life of the holy people of God.

Today is also extraordinary because it is when the Church is celebrating the life of Saint Rita of Cascia. On this day, a holy and beautiful saint was born in our Church when she died so that she may go ahead of us to God and become like the Blessed Virgin Mary, our intercessor, Rita Renee Harsy. After Rita died, I had a dream where she went with me before God, and she interceded for us all. And in that dream I had God said: “Whatever Rita asked should be done.” Today as we are celebrating the 5th year of her crossing to heavenly light, I hear the same words I had more than five years ago in the reading of today: “Whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you” (Jn 16: 20-23).

God is pleased with Rita, and she speaks to us today telling us: In the world, you will grieve, but “your grief will become joy” (Jn 16:20-23) this is the path to sainthood, suffering that becomes a joy. Most of all, this is her special message to the people of Sacred Heart and the universal Church: “Whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you,” and, so, we believe.

Fr. Joseph Oganda  

May 23

Fire of Joy

Two days ago, I had an awful experience that was new to me. I was preparing a reflection for Facebook posting when the encounter happened. As I was reading, my heartfelt as if it was trying to get out of me, it was just this great joy that I could not contain, it was like a burning fire, and I was looking for someone to share with the truth about God that had been revealed to at that point. As I was having this experience, I had movement as if someone was coming to the rectory, I thought it was Kelly, so I went to her office to share my joy, but did not find her. I was looking for someone to share the message of God; it was too much for me to keep inside.

I did not know that joy can be so overpowering, I think that too much joy on earth can kill if not shared. I believe that the reason why the disciples who met Jesus on the road and in the breaking of the bread could not contain their joy when they encountered Jesus, and they said: “Were not our hearts burning within us when he opened the Scripture on the way to us?” (Luke 24:32).

Now I know what Jesus says in these words: “Whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now, you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete” (Jn 16 23-28). Have you ever feel that your life is not complete? That you need something to make your life whole? It is the joy of Jesus Christ that can truly make us whole and complete, and this joy is a fire that burns within the heart, and ones joy floods the innermost layer of oneself, it comes to consume you if you fail to share it with others. The Christians are in the world to share the beauty of Joy, the gift of heaven on earth.

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

May 24

Meaning of Life

I have been thinking a lot about the meaning of life. It is a question that humanity has asked continuously. Our parents and grandparents followed the same path, striving to know the meaning of life. We, their children, inherited the same need to know and understand why we are here on earth. Life is an experience we all share, but how many of us know the true meaning of their lives? Many people think about the meaning of life only when they realize that they are mortal, and death is near for someone we love or for us personally. We do not have to wait until we hear about coronavirus to think about life. We do not have to wait until we are faced with a terminal illness and then think about life. Every day should be a moment to consider what it means to be alive. 

Life happens in every detail of our experiences, especially in small acts like saying thank you, I love you, I am sorry, please forgive me, and giving thanks to God for the gifts of another day, family and friends, and sustenance. The marks and the sources of the breath of life are contained in simple acts of faith. But life is more than just these acts that I have mentioned. Life is purpose-oriented; it has a beginning and an end. Jesus came to teach us about the meaning of life.

Through His death on the cross, He communicated that life is about a gift of love, of God the Father who sent His Son to set us free from sin and to show us how to live on earth with our eyes fixed focused on heaven to the final place of life. Today we see that Jesus ascends to heaven indicating that life should be about longing to enter into the dwelling of God where He is going ahead to prepare a place for us

We cannot make it to heaven by our strength alone, and this is why Jesus sends us another helper, the Holy Spirit, to lead us safely back home. Jesus, who ascends to heaven today, is going to come to be with us every day in the Spirit but also when we are actively involved in acts of charity and love, like just saying thank you to others who sometimes are taken for granted.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 11

The Beauty of Love

Jesus speaks so beautifully about love. The glorious thing is that love is not just words that He speaks, but instead, He is perfect love. Today He reminds us that God the Father and Son dwell in us as the love that we breathe, share, and become. Sunday reading of yesterday, Jesus said that he was going to prepare a dwelling place for us in the Father’s house, and we thought that He was talking about our final dwelling in heaven. Still, strangely, He is saying today that in love, the Father and Son dwell within us. He is trying to tell us that kingdom, paradise is not something in the future but is now, and it is love (Jn 14-1-12).

Another name for Christians can be “students of love.” I did not realize this description till I saw it in the Gospel of today when Jesus says: “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send…will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (Jn 14:21-26). Many people struggle a lot with the identity and work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Christians. God the Father they know as the source of everything, who sends Jesus to save us. God the Son, they know as the one who dies on the cross for our sins. But who is the Holy Spirit? What does he do in the Church and the human heart? Jesus tells us one of the many works of the Holy Spirit that She is a teacher of love. She teaches us how to love not the way human beings love, but the way Jesus loves: sacrificing His life for you and me.

According to Jesus, love is not what we do but what He does in and for us. We do not know how to love unless He actively loves us in the breath of the Spirit. Imagine that even breathing is an act of love. Everything about life is a school of love. You are anointed with love, touch others in the same way so that the Sun of love may bring the warmth of the glory of God on earth. Love is beautiful, and it makes us free. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

May 12

A Living and Walking Gospel of Love

When I was just newly ordained a priest a number of years ago, I visited a very wonderful and good priest from the Philippines who was working in the diocese.  He had been a priest for about 25 years. Being a young priest, he felt that it was wise for him to share with me some advice on how to become a good priest, and also know what to preach, and live in my life as a priest. He said: “Father, make sure that everything you do and say is about the love of God.” He then added: “If you do this, believe me, you will be a happy priest. You know when you are new in something coming from seminary, one thinks that he knows it all. I did not pay much attention to that advice, not that I did not love, but only that I was not always aware of what I was doing and saying sprang from the fountain of love.

I remember about the advice given to me by this wise priest many years ago, today, inspired by this morning’s scriptural reading. The same message is also present in yesterday’s readings. It is a message of love where Jesus says how he loves the Father, how the Father loves Him, and how both of them love us by coming to make their dwelling within our hearts. This advice became powerful and alive today when Jesus says: “The world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me” (Jn 14: 27-31). Jesus is reminding all of us that a Christian is on earth to do one thing: to shine the light of love. 

A gentleman after Mass came to show me how he is spreading the Good News of love in the world. He is a man of great imagination and creativity. He decided to print short scriptural messages about the love of God on his cloth to become the living and walking good news for the people in the world. He left me with a question in my heart: How can I continue to be a living and walking Good News of Love in the world? I invite you as well to reflect on how you could find your way to become the Love of God on earth, to bring the light of peace in the world filled with the message of fear and despair by becoming a sign of hope and love.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 13

The House of God

Some people have told me that they are missing coming to Church and gather together with the church family in prayer. People were enjoying staying at home, but since it is taking longer than they had expected, now they long to be back in Church with friends but also to be in the presence of the Lord.

St. Augustine is well known to have said: “our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.” Real rest in God can take place in any place, but the perfect venue is in the Church, where the Lord is sacrificed every day for all the world and us. The Church is just unique in that it is the place where we find our identity as children of God. When we come to the house of God, we find great peace that the world cannot give.

We can learn a lot from Jesus when He tells his parents: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Jesus reminds us that the Church is more than just a place we visit and forget, no, it is our house. Last Sunday, Jesus said in the Gospel that He was going to heaven to prepare a place for us. The Church is the taste of heavenly home on earth, the gateway to heaven.

Together we can all join the Psalmist and cry to God for our need to come back to Church and say: “Let us go rejoicing in the house of the Lord” (Ps. 122:1). Through the Church, we continue to remain connected to the vine, Jesus Christ, and bear fruits of charity (Jn 15:1-8).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 14

“Pollution of Faith”

When the first disciples faced questions of faith, when their disagreement was about to break apart the bond of unity that they had established by being witness to the Gospel, they were concerned; and they turned to leaders of the Church for advice. The journey of faith is full of challenges, but when we are confronted with serious questions of life, where do we go for solutions? It is easy for many Christians to accept earthly advice even in matters of faith, instead of turning to the Church for the direction that can bring meaning to life.

The warning or the advice of the first Church leaders is still valid even today for us who are struggling with many questions of life and faith. The early leaders of the Church said to the people of their time: “avoid pollution” of religion. How is faith polluted? People pollute faith when they choose and pick part what teaching of the Church they agree to practice.  Faith is also polluted when people hear the Word of God but do not put it into practice in real life. By turning to the world for answers to life and not God also contaminates the content of faith. 

When we pollute faith, it affects us, and it destroys creation as a whole. How can we become pure again? Jesus shows us the way to a new life of purity of heart. He says: “My sheep hear my voice…I know them, and they follow me” (Jn 10: 27). If you seek Jesus in all things that you do, the gift of Blood would be the source of your purity for new life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 15

A True Friend

Friendship is a beautiful gift from God.  If you find a faithful friend, you found a treasure of great value. Do you have those who regard you as a friend? Have others say that you are their friend? What does it take to become a good and trustful friend?

Jesus trusts us to the point that He calls us friends. Just imagine that God accepts you as a friends, someone He can trust and share with the hidden mysteries of life. The reason why Jesus calls us friends, according to him, is: “because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.” The Lord did not hide any truth of life from us. He wants us to be like Him in all things that we too may become not only friends with Him but also with the Father and with all people.

What is the essential thing that makes friends? Jesus says: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Free act of love is the breath of friendship, a gift of oneself to others completely in service and charity.

Some people asked me if I knew anything about the newly appointed Bishop of Belleville, Bishop Michael McGovern, but I told them that I did not know him. A few weeks ago, he sent a letter to all the priests of the diocese introducing himself. In the letter, he included the moto, the spirit to guide his work as he takes over the leadership of the diocese. The moto is: “I Have Called You Friends.” Now I know him, he is a friend of Jesus, a true lover of the faithful, and this is the gift he hopes to bring. Let us join him in the school of friendship and continue to spread the light of love in the world.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 16

Seek what is Above

Christians are people who live on earth, but their hearts are seeking union with God. Every day is a journey moving towards the final destination of life, a longing for union with God. We may not be aware of this attraction of seeking to be one with the Father. Human beings, by nature, are created to desire God and to return to our source of life.

While we are still dwelling on earth, we are going to experience many challenges of life. Some of the difficulties are going to come from many diseases that life experience in the world. Another problem is going to emerge from those whose hearts are still closed to the light of truth, Jesus Christ, those who oppose faith and attack believers around the globe. Christians who try to live a faithful life in the world face challenges because they shine the light of Christ that makes others uncomfortable, forcing them to see the darkness their own lives. 

Jesus reminds us that since the world rejected Him, we, the disciples, are going to face the same treatment, especially if we strive to be faithful to His way of life. It is easy to conclude that Jesus has abandoned us when we face challenges in life. When we face difficulties in life, it merely means that the Evil Spirit is trying to take us away from the way of God. Jesus, who has called us out of the world, is helping us on the journey of faith. The world is attractive, and many are turning their lives away from Jesus so that to embrace the ways of the world, but Jesus is inviting us to remain faithful to Him as He says: “Seek what is above,” seek God, seek love, and yarn for eternal life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 17

Little Joy, Great Love

Last Sunday, I shared a reflection about the life of Bill, one of our parishioners who died recently. As I said last Sunday, many will agree that he was a good man who had a quiet but significant impact on the lives of many people. Someone just shared with me a story about an event that brought him so much joy, hope, and love as he was preparing to return to God.

This wonderful man did not have children of his own, but he made sure that all the little ones, and especially those of our parish, were his children in faith and kindness. His birthday was within the week of his death. Being alone most of the time with only one or two family members close by, he was not going to have an extraordinary celebration for his birthday since during that moment his impending death could have been his primary concern. He did not expect much; he was waiting patiently for God to say “Now, my beloved son, some home.”

In his hour of silent waiting, with death just around the corner, when sadness may overshadow the light of life, there was a ray of joy that filled his room in the form of a visit from one of our PSR little ones. He did not go to Bill directly but remembered his birthday by sending him a card. I am told this child from our parish brought warmth into Bill’s fading heart. The little one became a witness to him that God is faithful, and words are valid and valued: “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (Acts 8:5-8, 14-17). God came to Bill in the image of a caring, comforting, thoughtful child, confirming what Jesus says today: “I will love him and reveal myself to him” (John 14:15-21).

In as simple an act of love as sending a birthday card, this child of our parish showed Bill that he was loved and remembered. As there is great joy in the city of heaven to receive Bill, there was great joy in his heart when at the point of death, he knew that he was loved, supported, and that he was part of a community that loved him. We might not have been present with him at his point of death as parishioners, but our joy is that the act of little one was a representation of our intention. He made us proud. (Ps 66:1).

I was told that, on the day of his birthday, Bill took the card in his hand, holding it tightly close to his heart as if he had found a treasure of great value, and softly he sang a birthday song to himself. We all join you, Bill, in a song of joy and say: happy birthday, Bill into heaven, and we love you. 

An African proverb says “It takes a village to raise a child.” By the example set by this child, it seems, sometimes, that a child can raise a village. Please, let us pray for the little ones that they continue to teach us the true meaning of love, care, and joy. They are pure signs of little joys of great love. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda


Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 4

A Thirst for Love

A word that is used so much in the world all over is love. The industry of love is the most lucrative. Many people have mastered the language of love so well that they can twist and manipulate it for their interest, to make money, and even destroy other people’s lives. But when we use the word love, what do we mean? Do we stop to ask ourselves what love is, and the price one has to pay to give it out? 

The school of love is our parents and especially our mothers. They teach us that love is born of the outpouring of oneself to the other and others without expecting anything in return. Our parents reveal the quality of love when they forgo the attractions of this worldly things for our sake to give us a life full of meaning.

In society, we always see signs of true love around us when people are willing to sacrifice their lives for others. Many people are witnessing the beauty of love during this pandemic. All the people involved in the act of saving the lives of others are true heroes of love.

When there is a good reason worth suffering and dying for, there we encounter authentic love. As our parents teach us about the goodness of love, the Person whose life is perfect and pure love is Jesus Christ. You were worth suffering and dying for, and the Lord demonstrated his love for us in this way: “This is why the Father loves me because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.”(John 10:18). And true love is “a thirst” of the “soul for the living God” (Ps 42:3).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 5 

The Meaning of Goodness

Have you ever use the word good to describe something or someone? Have you been referred to as a good man or a good woman? In the book of Genesis, we come across the term good when God looks at everything he created and saw that it was good (Gen 1-2). The word good is a term we use almost every day without reflecting on its deeper meaning. I thought that I knew what it meant until I saw how it is applied to speak about St. Barnabas in the reading of today.

The Scripture says that St. Barnabas is a good man. How is he a good man?  He is described as, “He was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts 11:19-16). I have never thought that to be good is to be filled with the Spirit and to have faith. It is a new insight that has added light to my heart, and I hope it does for you too.

Creation is also good because it reveals to humanity the beauty of the works of God. Anything that can open eyes and hearts to see the signs of God is a source of Goodness. Jesus in the Gospel of today also describes who is good as, “A sheep who hears his voice and follows him” (Jn 10:22-30). A good person is the one who can hear the cry of the poor and those who suffer and act by extending a helping heart.

Today I was blessed to meet two good women and two good men who heard the cry of those who are in need and helped. One of them said to me: “I am just grateful to God that he has been so good to me. The only way I can thank Him is by sharing in the tears of the people who are suffering.” And another lady said: “It gives me joy and energy to share what God has given me as a blessing with those who are in most need.” They taught me what it means to be good, and I am very grateful. I know you are good too.

Fr. Joseph Oganda  

May 6

The Language of God: the Light of Life

God has a language that His children must learn to speak in the world to people who desire to master the grammar of love. The language of God is a Person-is Jesus Christ, who is the light and life that takes away the mask of darkness. Life is sweet if it is guided by the Sun, the Son of God. And life is bitter if the beauty of the eye of love remains covered in the lies of the world that has refused to hear the voice of God-a call to friendship.

I felt sad yesterday when a parishioner called me last evening to tell me how someone is using my name to spread the darkness of lies. Please be aware of evil persons who go around asking for money in my name. They already managed to get money from unsuspecting good people. Kindly spread the news to others to be vigilant and not succumb to the power darkness for our hope is in the light of Jesus Christ. 

God speaks a perfect language in our hearts, and all the believers can master the holy craft since it is simple, refreshing, and renewing. The sound of the language of God is mercy with the power to bring freedom in our lives. You and I are the signs of the language of God in the world. Please, do not be afraid today to be the voice of change because the world waits to hear you speak life, to follow the way of the light-the art of peace.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 7

“I do not Need Light”

Today when Mass ended, I was preparing to turn off the lights of the Church when one of the parishioners, dedicated to daily Eucharistic celebration, said to me: “Father, I do not need the light.” After the conclusion of Mass, he always stays to do personal prayer and devotion. I always leave a few lights on for him because sometimes the Church is semi-dark. Today, when he said, “I do need the light,” I thought that he was not going to stay in the Church for his regular prayers. When I left the Church, he was on his knees, praying. 

I started to ask myself, how is he going to see in a Church filled in darkness? I was wondering what he meant by the words: “I do not need light.” I thought that all people need light. As I continued to reflect on his words, it became clear to me what God wanted me to see and understand with his words. After receiving the Word of God and the Eucharist, the man had been transformed to become the living light of Jesus Christ.

The man was now the light of Jesus Christ. He may be in a Church covered in darkness, but through his presence and prayer in the temple of God, he became the radiant of faith, hope, and peace in the Church. This man is an authentic presentation to the words of Jesus in the Gospel of today: “I know those whom I have chosen” (John 13:16-20). This man taught me the meaning of these words of Jesus: “I am the light of the word; whoever follows me will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12).

I pray and hope that you, too, like this man would grow in your faith and love of God and come to say: “I am the living light of love at the service of charity.”

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 8

Longing for Heaven

Many people who have attended funerals are familiar with today’s Gospel reading, where Jesus says: “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places….If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” (John 14:1-6). The words sound so beautiful and carry a message of hope. It gives us reason to become Christians when we know that there a future full of meaning at the end of our lives here on earth.

It seems that God’s plan for everyone is to have a dwelling in heaven, to be welcome in His presence. A person may miss the opportunity to enter into God’s presence in heaven not because there is no room for them in heaven, or that Jesus closes a gate for them, no, we make that decision every day here and now. Everything we do in our life, no matter how small or big it is, no matter whether we do it in darkness or light, will determine if one enters into a prepared house in heaven.

Jesus gave us the key and showed the way how to get to heaven. His Blood on the cross is the key for everyone, and our acts of charity, mercy, and love for God and neighbor is the path that will open the gates of heavens for us. It will be so lovely if each one of us makes it to paradise. It is possible because Jesus is with us to help us on our way here on earth. 

Please, do not invest only in your retirement here on earth without investing equally in your heavenly home. May our works of mercy, love, and charity starts here on earth as we continue to dream heaven so that when we arise from sleep, our eyes will open wide to the glory of joy and peace prepared for the friends of God. Never forget who you are; you were created for heaven.

Joseph Oganda

May 9

How to pray

There are many Christians who become disappointed with Jesus because when they ask something of him, it seems He does not always respond according to what they want to be fulfilled. I have met people who have told me that the reason why they are not practicing their faith is that they felt that God was not present since He was not responding to their prayers.

Is it true that God does not respond to our prayers when we ask Him to come to our help? Listen to what Jesus says: “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:7-14). Jesus is not a liar. He assures us that God always responds to our prayers, and sometimes even before we ask. A loving father always knows what a child needs and acts in love.

It is not that God does not respond to prayers but more so on what we ask, and how we express it would determine the outcome. A good prayer is open to the will of God. Saints and holy people in the history of the Church and the school of faith teach us that, seeking to do the will of God in all things is rich in blessings. Human beings are created in God’s image to shine forth His light of mercy and love on earth.

The perfect response to our prayers is the gift of the Eucharist, where Christ becomes the food of life, the light of Salvation, and the bond of love. If God can let His only Son die for you and me on the cross, can He not respond to our prayers when we ask in faith and trust?

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 10

We Lost a Good Man

This week I learned a new language of faith, the meaning of the word “good”. The term as used to describe St. Barnabas revealed that he was a deeply faithful man filled with the Holy Spirit. This week we lost one of our parishioners a man that I am proud to say that was indeed a good man as exemplified by St. Barnabas. Our parishioner was a man of faith, humility, kindness, and generosity. He loved our parish as his own child, and he did all he could to make sure that he shared his God-given blessings and resources for the growth of faith in our community and beyond. He was respected beyond the walls of our Church community. He represented us well in society, and we are so lucky that he was part of our family. I am going to miss him so much.

Just a few days before he gave his last breath, I got one of the rare opportunities to pray with him, to attend to his confession, and to anoint him. It was a very precious moment of my life to be allowed to enter into the hour of death. I give thanks to God for the great gift of life. The end was approaching so fast; he was aware of this unstoppable reality of life. He was a man of very few words. As tired and weak as he was, he got some inner strength from the fount of his faith and, looking at me in the eye; he said softly “Father, I know that my time is running short, I know that death is approaching, but I believe that all will be well.” After taking a deep breath, he said “I hope everything will be well with you and all the parishioners.” At the point of death, he was still concerned about his Sacred Heart family. 

I knew that these were words of goodbye. It was sad to see that the point of death, but the good news is that he was very peaceful, and so was I. He was more than just being a good person but was also a man of great wisdom. Jesus welcomes him in these words “I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am, you also may be” ((John 14:1-12). When your time to return to God just as Bill did what would be your last words and prayer? For Bill, this was his faith. “I know that my time is coming to an end, but I believe that all will be well.” Goodbye, Bill, and may it be well with you for you are a good man, and truly a friend of God.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 27 

Signs and wonders of beauty

Do you ever stop to ask yourself the reason why you are a Christian? Does being a Christian add anything to your life? Does being a Christ bring excitement to the point that you want to go out and share the good news with others? It is against the law of life, wonder, and beauty to practice and embrace a particular way of being without making an effort to dig into the depth of things and bring out the beauty that they contain. Beauty and goodness are what spice life and open hearts to the font of truth and lift thirsty souls to the splendor of love eternal.

In today’s reading, Jesus is inviting all of us to go beyond the superficiality of life and begin to long for the authenticity of things and life. We have been made for truth, and without it, life is meaningless and chaotic. A life worth living, a life well spent on earth, is that which continually wrestles with the meaning of things, and seeks union with God, the source of all things. Jesus asks us to give reasons why we are looking for him. He says: “You are looking for me not because you saw signs.” He believes that many are following him to seek bodily nourishment (Jn 6:22-29).

 It is easy to be lured by the things of this world and seek them to the extent that we are not able to go beyond them and come to the source of life and truth, God. The allure to find Jesus for a single reason as to provide for human needs instead of the gifts of eternal life is a common virus that affects the people of God. Jesus invites us to learn to look beyond signs and let ourselves be touched by the gentle hand of God. He says: “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life” (Jn 6:22-29). Seek first goodness, and the treasures of beauty shall fill your heart, and ones transformed by the magic of love, your soul shall find fulfillment in the glorious radiance of joy. (Mt 6:33).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


April 28

Jesus, my Song

This morning, as I prepare for Mass, I played a song that sang: “give me Jesus, when I am alone, give me Jesus, when I am down, give me Jesus, when I am hungry, give me Jesus.”  The singer repeated the words: “Give me Jesus” several times till it penetrated my mind, opened my heart, and brought peace to my soul. The beauty of the song soothed my heart and filled my soul with heavenly joy. The words “Give me Jesus” lifted my soul, and I felt that this was not just a song, but in truth, Jesus was present in me, and for a moment, the world seemed to have stopped, I was wallowed into the light of Jesus. I believe that I was allowed to partake at the heavenly grace-the source of beauty and life.

People are in their homes alone: family members and friends are not able to visit due to the coronavirus intrusion. When you are afraid you need a friend to give you strength, when you are hungry you need food for life, and when death silences your spirit, you need a hand of love and compassion to make you whole again. Where can you go for help? Who can help you?

Jesus is the song of your life, food, and life that brings joy to the soul. He says: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst” (Jn 6:30-35). You can turn your vision to look to Jesus when you are alone and down on your knees, and he would lift your soul to “see heavens opens,” and become the song of Salvation- the glorious beauty of love (Acts 7:51-8:1). You are never alone. Let Jesus be your song of life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 29

Vision of God

I was reflecting on today’s gospel this morning, where Jesus says:  “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” He also says: “everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day (Jn 6:35-40). I looked at these readings in prayer, and something of the beauty of God and a pattern of life emerged.

What caught my attention is a hidden design contained in words: Coming or going to God as a first step. The second step was in words: “believing in me,” and the third step contained in words “seeing the Son.” I noticed that there are movements and actions taking place. What can we learn from this pattern of God?

I asked myself: How can I come to God? I became aware that through the way of the Word of God: reading, reflecting, meditating, contemplating, and praying are all means to come to God. I must have a hunger for the truth, a search for meaning. I must find out first my most enormous desire so that when I come to the Word, I may be filled with the Body and Blood of Christ.

I also asked: What must I do to believe in Jesus Christ? I realized that faith is a gift given to anyone who God has called and has accepted to be with him, and is willing to surrender to his will and plans. The act of believing in Jesus happens in the school of silent contemplation, the opening of the book of the heart so that the Spirit of love may shine forth.

In the end, I asked: Who can see Jesus Christ and have life in Him? I became aware that seeing Jesus happens when I live the faith in everyday life, and when I witness the beauty of charity to the poor. Now that you are at home, try to follow the path of coming, believing, and seeing Jesus through the way of contemplation and service, and your heart would be filled with the Spirit of joy and peace amidst the darkness of faith that surrounds the world.

Fr. Joseph Oganda    

April 30

Service of love

There is a need for priests and deacons in the Church to help us understand the Word of God. Let us continue to pray, asking God to bring more servants to join in the service of His mission. As this shortage of priests, deacons, and religious continues, may the faithful join in the witnessing of the Gospel of God. As Christians, we all share in the mission of Jesus Christ because He has transformed us to become His friends.

The world needs God. Are we going to allow God to use us to minister and serve Him in the Church, in society, and our homes? “How can I come to know God, unless someone instructs me?” (Acts 8:26-40).

The good news is that we are never alone in serving others. God comes to work with and through us so that together with Him and in the power of the Holy Spirit we could draw more people to His love. Many of us are Christians because someone was so caring as to bring us to faith. I am grateful to my parents, grandparents, and priests who planted the seed of faith in me. 

Now it is my turn to return the favor, to pay forward this great gift, by planting the seed of faith in other people’s lives. It is God who brings the growth, but He wants to use our hands and heart to reach others. Would you allow him to use you for his mission in the Church and the world to be a sign of beauty and truth of the Gospel? When we are united in one service of charity and mercy, this becomes our healing song: “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy” (Ps 66:1).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 1

The Light of Change

Many people oppose Jesus Christ and Christians not because they are bad people but simply because they do not know Him and are not open to his teaching. By rejecting the Gospel message of Eternal life, most of them believe that they are doing what is right. Take, for example, St. Paul, before he became a Christianity, he acted out of ignorance; he was a defender of the culture of his nation by trying to destroy the culture of God. When Jesus appeared to him on his way to arrest and prison the believers, he did not know the Lord whom he was persecuting. He asked: “Who are you, sir?” The good thing about St. Paul is that he was open to learn and wanted to know the truth. Jesus responds positively to those who accept to know and encounter him. Jesus told Saul, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” (Act 9:1-20).

I hope we notice what Jesus says that he is the one persecuted when believers experience rejection because of expressing faith in Him. Jesus continues to labor with believers here on earth, even after his Resurrection and Ascension into heaven. Jesus reminds us that those who seek him are not to look for him far away or look for him in the sky; he is with us here and now sharing in our struggles. And he is with us in the poor and the suffering.

When we extend our hearts of charity and hand of kindness to those who are in need, we are doing it to Jesus. Jesus walks with us in life as we respond to the call to be witnesses of the Gospel of life and truth to the world. Jesus has left us a perfect law of charity and unity, “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News” (Mk 16:15).

Joseph Oganda 

May 2

The words of eternal life

For many people to become a Christian is fun, it brings a sense of belonging to a community, brings connection with others who become friends. A Christianity that does not expect so much than coming to Mass once a week and that is all. Faith is challenging; it leads to change that has a taste of bitter herb of the cross.

Christianity presents a new culture of God in the world, inviting those who choose to follow Jesus Christ to imitate His life. The biggest challenge that Christians have to deal with is that they still live on earth amongst a people who are guided by the principles of this world, a culture not fully open to the Gospel of Salvation.

When we face the cross of life, how are we going to respond? Are we going to abandon our faith and friendship with Jesus and go back to follow the ways of the world, or are we going to keep hope alive? The question that Jesus asks of us is, “Do you also want to leave?” What is your response? St. Peter responded to the problem by saying, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6: 66-69). While we are pilgrims on earth, we are going to deal with the mystery of sickness and death, but the good news is that we have the Risen Lord on our side for he is the Spirit and life and all who believe in Him, will have life eternal. Jesus is not giving up on us, please, do likewise do not give up on his care, love, and protection.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

May 3 

The Gate of Life: The Cross

Recently a friend was sharing with me how she is dealing with this pandemic. She said: “Father, the truth is that I am terrified of this virus.” She explained: “I have been reflecting a lot about myself, asking the reason for my fear. And I came to realize that it is not coronavirus that I am afraid of but death.” To stress her point, she repeated: “Father, I am afraid of death.” The lady spends her time wrestling with her fears. What about you and me? Do we know what we are afraid of in life?

Fear of death is real, and many people struggle with it. It is a mystery that God chooses the path of the cross as the gateway to eternal life. There is no beauty in suffering and death if it is not for a good cause, for the salvation of humanity. I am amazed and deeply moved by the many people who have come out from retirement and returned to work to serve those affected by the pandemic. I ask myself: “You mean they are not afraid to get infected and even come to death?” I recently had the good fortune to hear a TV interview with a retired healthcare worker who returned to work. She was asked: “Tell us what inspired you to come from retirement back to service?” She said: “Saving a life is my duty even if it means sharing the suffering of others.” These courageous and selfless great people are the present age living signs of Jesus Christ, who came to share the suffering of the world by the saving gift of the Cross (1 Pt 1:2:20-25).

When people find meaning and purpose in life, they are capable of suffering and dying for a worthwhile cause that makes life better for others. Because of the love that God has for each one of us, He sent His Son to lead us to the freedom of life Eternal. What about you? How do you deal with the gift of the cross? Our hope for eternal life must pass through the gate of the cross of victory. We are never alone on the path to newness of life, and for this reason, we can trust in the words of hope and healing: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want” (Ps 23:1).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


Easter

April 13, 2020 

Natal Faith- Resurrection

This morning I was meditating on the Gospel reading of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Something caught my attention, an image that had remained hidden from the grasp of my eyes, the image of women, who were the first to encounter the Risen Lord. The Gospel reading beginning with the Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday all carried the figure of a woman of being right there when a new beginning of the life of resurrection is taking place.

I wonder why the Scripture centers so much on women, who first met the Risen Lord, and then, sent to announce the great news to the disciples of the Lord. Yes, the women who met Jesus when it was still dark, were indeed fearful, but at the same time, were overjoyed by the experience of entering into a new life. They were the first to conceive the light of resurrection in faith and filled with the joy of victory over death, they became the carriers and birthers of the Good News of the Risen Lord to the believers who were waiting in prayer and hope for the heavens to open wide. 

The presence and the active involvement of women at the nasal of resurrection is divinely designed to remind us of our first mothers, Eve and Virgin Mary. Have you noticed that when God is beginning something new as purifying life, change, and transformation in the world, that a symbol and sign of a woman is always present as an active partner in the plan and mission?

Many of us became Christians as a result of our holy and saintly mothers who planted the first seed of faith in our hearts-the beginning of resurrection. Today’s renewal of faith in this present age is possible only when we find a Woman in our lives, the Virgin Mary, the Glorious Mother of love who comes to announce to us the Good News of Resurrection: “Do not be afraid!”, He has been raised.” (Mt. 28:5- 6, 8).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 14, 2020

“I have seen the Lord”

Women play a vital role in the plan of Salvation as core workers of Christ and agents of the kingdom of heaven. At the beginning of life, Eve emerges; at the onset of faith, the Virgin Mary appears, and at the dawn of Resurrection and birthing of the Church, a woman of great courage stood out, Mary Magdalene. Her witness to the Resurrection is a mark of tears of love and a profession of faith: “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18). These women are teachers of the Gospel truth, signs of hope, and witnesses of authentic love. You and I can learn from them how to encounter the Risen Lord and become workers of the kingdom of heaven on earth.

In a time of uncertainty and confusion when the dark cloud of doubt, fear, and death cover the face of the earth, Mary of Magdalene became a visible symbol of hope, a bearer of the good news of the Risen lord. Now than ever, our world, country, and homes are flooded by tears of many women and fathers weeping for the untimely death of their loved ones. The burden of the pandemic is taking a heavy toll on our family members, friends, and neighbors who are in dire need of intervention and healing. Would you and I be the present day Mary Magdalene, and the Virgin Mary, the Glorious Mother of Love who could announce to the sorrowful and downcast the Good News of victory: “I have seen the Lord?”

Learn from these holy women of faith and love how to become witnesses of Resurrection and hope. What is unique about them is that they never stopped searching for Jesus Christ, even when the condition around them was not favorable. Seek the Lord with a sincere heart, and He would hear your cry and come to your aid. The Lord calls you by name and send you out on a mission of freedom and Redemption: “Go to my brothers and tell” what you have seen and heard: “I have seen the Lord.” (John 20: 11-18).

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

April 15, 2020

”Stay with us Lord”

Have you noticed something strange that the Gospel Acclamation of weekday readings from April 13 to 18 is the same? The acclamation is: “This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it” (Ps 118:24). I ask, what is the reason to use one acclamation for a whole week? Every day you and I have to deal with the bad news of coronavirus. I wonder how the message of gladness and rejoicing can make any sense to a people battling with a merciless virus breathing the fire of death.

Only the Good News of Resurrection can cause the heart to be glad and rejoice. The celebration of Jesus Christ overcoming death for humankind is not a one-day episode; is an everyday experience of an encounter with the Risen Lord amid pandemic scare. The Church, in her wisdom, reminds the faithful that for one full week, for fifty days, and the rest of the year, is a day of celebration, rejoicing in the heavenly light of gladness. The Church looks at life through the lens of the light of the resurrection. Every day of one’s life is a day of meeting the Risen Lord, a day of joy, a day when Jesus wants to come into my life and your life.

Jesus cannot come into your life unless you are searching for Him. It begins with reflecting and meditating on the Gospel of Resurrection. It begins by asking: what does resurrection mean to me? How can the Gospel of resurrection change my life? When the Lord sees that you are seeking Him, He will join you on the way to open the hidden mysteries of the book of love. And if you accept to invite Him to dwell within you, if you say: “stay with me Lord,” be assured that your heart would break, open to encounter the Risen Lord in the Bread, and your soul would dance in gladness and rejoicing. Please, no matter the roughness of the edges of your life, take courage to invite the Lord: “Stay with me Lord.” He comes to bring you rich gladness and rejoicing not of “silver and gold,” but of the resurrection of everyday life. (Acts 3:1-1-10, Lk 24: 13-35).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 16

“Peace be with you”

Today I baptized a lady who works in the health sector; she was concerned about her state of life, relationship with God. Her prayer and hope are that when God calls her home, she will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Due to the coronavirus invasion, she could not wait until the Church resumes the usual celebration so that to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. Listening to her desire, I responded by baptizing her. The baptism brought her peace of mind, heart, and soul to know that she and her little girl who also received baptism are now among the holy people of God as beloved children. It was great joy on earth and in heaven that the Risen Lord found two of His lost sheep and claimed them for God.

I wonder how many people are using the time they have right now to reevaluate their relationship with God. Do you ask: If God chooses to call me home today, how ready am I? And if I am not ready, what should I do right now in preparation for the day of going back to the Father? These are essential questions that you and I should never stop asking. The lady whom I baptized today and her daughter believe that reconciling with God is the primary purpose of life and the source of fulfilling peace.

The gift of resurrection is peace (Lk24:35-48), the peace of heaven given to those who act on the command: “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Christ already appointed for you” ( Acts 3:11-26). Peace be with you.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 17

“Children, come and eat”

Christians have turned to technology as a means of worship during the pandemic attack. Watching Mass online or on TV offers a lot of variations of choices, and it appears that there are those who like the system. Other people find it convenient for they do not have to wake up so early in the morning to go to Church, but could switch and watch when it fits within their schedule. 

As technology is making it possible to watch Mass within the confine of homes in a time conducive to people’s plans, others are not comfortable with this arrangement. One person said to me, “what is called online Mass is like having a car without an engine, or eating food without salt.” The word I hear most is “watching Mass” instead of taking part or attend Mass. Watching Mass may be convenient, but for others, they still thirst for an encounter, sharing, and participation in the drama of salvation with the Eucharist as the climax of heavenly music flaming hearts to dance for joy.

A mother and her son came to me the other day and said: “Father, we have been watching Mass online, but we feel so empty within.” They then acclaim: “We miss the Body of Christ!” They wanted to know if they could receive the Eucharist. What people want is to meet Jesus in the breaking of the Bread. To the hungry of heart, He says: “Children, come and eat: Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them” (Jn 21:1-14) and, immediately, their eyes “were opened, and they recognized Him” (Lk 24:31), and they were made whole again.  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 18

A Witness Undying Love

Jesus appeared to His disciples many times after He resurrected but one thing stood out was their lack of faith.  St. Mark captured the experience in these words: “Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they hat not believed those who saw him after he had been raised (Mk 16: 9-15). Why is it heard to have faith in God, to trust in the power present in Jesus Christ; power to heal, purify, and transform into becoming beloved children of God?

The same challenge that the first disciples had to deal with, is the same sin of our time too, the virus of unbelief. God in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, has never stopped appearing into people’s lives, but many hearts remain closed to His gift of redeeming love. Despite the struggles we must go through while we are still here on earth, the cross that each must carry, it is my belief that even if all people in the universe do not believe in God’s mercy and love, He will never stop believing in you because when He looks at you, all He sees is His image and likeness.

Even if the world remains deaf to the Gospel of love, there is a ray of hope: of those who still continue to witness to the joy of Resurrection. And this is their testimony: “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4: 13-21).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 19

God of Mercy

People have asked me if God is punishing the world by unleashing the wrath of the Coronavirus pandemic. I have also heard some people say that human sins – the rejection of God’s design, the mistreatment of the less fortunate of the society, and the destruction of God’s creation – are part of the reason for what is happening. You, too, must have heard many explanations, perhaps some more plausible than others, that people give concerning this unforgiving and merciless pandemic. How do you see the hand of God at work during this pandemic? How does the suffering and death of this pandemic match the works of the loving and merciful God in whom we place our trust?

What is your image about God in response to this pandemic? St. Peter paints God as rich in “mercy” (1Pt 1:3-9), a symbol that gives meaning to this Second Sunday of Easter, also known as Sunday of Divine Mercy. For you and I to encounter the Risen Lord in Word, in the Eucharist, in the Cross, and the acts of charity, the light of mercy must penetrate human hearts to heal them of the poisons of sin of pride, greed, and blindness to God’s justice, truth and love. The Mercy of God is undeserved; it is a gift to all the children of God, whom Jesus set free by the victory of his life-giving Blood on the Cross.

Doubt, as St. Thomas did, questioning the love of God and His gift of mercy, is the greater pandemic of the present age. The people of the world place obstacles between them and God by asking for a sign before professing faith in Christ (Jn. 20:19-31). Today the Sun of mercy shines upon us all because the Cross of new life stands at the center of the world, pointing the way to the fountain of peace and the light of Resurrection (Jn 14:6).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


April 6

We are the light of Justice

God calls us to be with Him, to share fully in His love, and gaze at the beauty of His wondrous glory. Being with God is the way of peace and the font of redemption. When we are lost and afraid, Jesus says to us: “Did you not know that I had be in my Father’s house” (Luke 2: 49).

God who calls us to be with Him in His glorious abode, grasps our hands, to teach us the way of truth, and direct us to a place of safety, care and protection of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The Good Lord shields us from the Evil One from shooting arrows of diseases aimed at our hearts to cause pain and death (IS 42:1-7).

God, the Father who calls us to be the light of justice on earth, continues to train and mold us into the way of the cross, the victory of life over death, Jesus Christ, our Savior. Jesus is the exemplar of true justice, who continues to teach us how to serve those who are in need.

God has called us to glorify His name on earth by sharing with others the gifts and graces of salvation. In times of dark times, do not forget your real identity, remember that you are called by God, grasped by the hand, formed into His image, and sent into the world to be light of justice and peace.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 7

“One of you will betray me”

People all over the world are passing through abnormal times when even stable and normal people may begin to think and behave in strange ways. It is rare to hear of a situation where a catastrophe visits every corner of the world. No one is safe from this shock. The disease is erasing the wealth and achievements that humanity across the globe has gained through sweat and great sacrifices. What this illness has managed to achieve so far is to force humanity to make a decision, to choose those things that are essential ingredients of life. When humanity fails to embrace a life of reflection, meditation, and contemplation, they become blind to the truth, the purpose of all things.

The coronavirus does not know who is a Christian and who is not. It is unwelcome visitor breaking in the cherished places of our lives, dismantling protective measures that surround us. How are the Christians responding to this invasion that does not just attack life here on earth but also poison the sphere of the human soul? Christians have the power, Jesus Christ, who can show them how to deal with life-threatening catastrophes. Christians who find their strength in Jesus Christ, who himself took upon himself our suffering and death to the cross so that to anoint us with the new and holy oil of healing, strength, and redemption are now the burning light of the world.

The question is: “How many Christians would be able to turn to Jesus Christ in times of need? How many Christians would find strength in the promise of everlasting life as opposed to earthly life? How many will not betray their faith even now when many people are scared and are afraid? Am I the one Jesus speaks about when He says: “Amen, a men, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times” (JN 13:38).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 8

Holy and Bloody Week

It is ironic to call this week a “holy week.” In the world, we see suffering and death, so what is holy about this week? Every day we receive worrisome news of several people who have contracted the disease and on a sad note, thousands who have lost their lives. It is even petrifying and painful for many families when they are not allowed to visit their sick and lonely loved ones in hospitals. Many funerals only allow limited family members in attendance. On this sad note, why do we still call this week a holy week? Why can’t we call it a bloody week? 

I believe that the reason why this week is called holy is because of the Person of Jesus who has come to transform suffering into love and death into life eternal. This week is sacred because we do not suffer alone, but Christ suffers for us and with us. This week is holy because we do not die alone, but Jesus Christ died for us on the cross so that united in his victory, we may rise with him to a new life in heavenly glory. This week is holy because God is our help (IS 50: 4-9). Most of all, this week is holy because Christ on the cross transforms the darkness of death by the shining light of justice to make us sons and daughters of God. God is our help. He comes in glory and mercy to join in our cry even today in these words: “Lord, in your great love, answer me” (Ps 69:14).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 9

Priest: Blessing and Curse

Today priests and bishops gather to renew the call of service to the Holy Church. Today, they receive holy oils, the source healing and strength in the Church. The wealth of the Church is not in money and massive structures but is in the power of the blessed oils of salvation. 

Someone asked me, “Where are priests now when we are attacked by the coronavirus? He then said: “the people we see in places of suffering and death are the doctors, nurses, and first responders. And the ones missing are the priests!” Referring to the Bible, he said: “I thought that Jesus Christ revealed the love and mercy of God by being at the center of suffering and death on the cross.” He wondered aloud: “Should not the ministers of Christ and servants of the people behave like their master- to stand in solidarity with the suffering and those who are dying?”

The gentleman who spoke with me left me with something to reflect on. I question myself: When people suffer and are at the point of death and when they cry out and thirst for the oil of healing, reconciliation, and salvation, would I hear their voices and respond? How can I remain deaf and not moved by the word of God: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, and give them the oil of gladness,”- to comfort all who mourn” (IS 61: 1-3, 6, 8-9). I believe that the message of an angel to Mary of Mother in faith is for all the faithful: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

April 9

A Model of Life

Today, Holy Thursday, the Lord Jesus gives us a model of life. He is the model of new life. His life on earth is the book that contains the meaning, purpose, and goal for everyone who wants to know how to live life to the full. What can we learn from Jesus Christ about modeling life that follows the way of truth and justice?

We learn from Jesus that life is about Pass-over from here on earth to the kingdom of God. He came on earth to help us crossover from the world of sin and death to heavenly glory, a place of joy, peace, and eternal life. The way he lived his life on earth was a source and summit of our salvation. He became a school of reconciliation and a victory of life over death. He became light on earth so that the light of love and justice may shine brightly in the world turning night of death into a day of life (John 13:1-15). 

How do we Pass-over from earth to heaven, from darkness to light, and from death to life? Jesus left us one perfect model as the means of victory: the Holy Eucharist. Today He gives us His Body and Blood offered by His ministers, priests, called to serve at the holy table of the word of God and sacrifice of new life.

The Holy Eucharist, the Bread, and Wine – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is the heavenly medicine that heals souls from every illness and disease caused by the Evil One. It is so sad that for many past weeks and still more to come, that the heavenly model of life, the Holy Eucharist instituted by God, has been overshadowed by the model of fear and death, coronavirus.

We as a people of God are lost if we do not live these words to the full: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (1Cor 11:26).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 10

A Model of Passion and Death

A model of life that Jesus fully embodied is realized by putting on the model of passion and death, a sacrifice of love. God humbled Himself coming on earth in the Son of the Virgin Mary so that He may set humanity free from the prison of sin. Jesus did not need to suffer and die because He did nothing evil that deserves a brutal act inflicted on him on a cross. He accepted humiliation on our behalf by drinking the bitter cup of death so that the wine of joy may quench the human thirst for salvation.

The people of God on earth are going through a trial moment, a time of passion and death brought about by an evil disease. The days of pain and suffering that people are passing through can shake faith and trust in God. How can we turn these sad and fearful times into something beautiful, a source of purification and renewal of faith? We are not able to overcome the trials of the Evil Spirit by relying on our human strength. We need help from above. 

Jesus is the one who has been sent by God the Father to rescue humanity from the power of sin. He chose to humble himself for our salvation: “Son though he was, He learned obedience from what He suffered; and when He was made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (Heb 5:7-9). 

The Good News is that we never suffer alone. The Lord, Jesus Christ, has come to our aid so that those who welcome Him into their lives may receive divine strength that overcomes the power of death. Jesus, who thirsts for our love, is standing at the door knocking, hoping that we would welcome Him into our hearts. He is the one who can turn passion and death into life eternal. Would you welcome Him into the hidden places of your life marked by the sign of the cross? 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 11

A Model of Holy Silence

Today is a day of silent waiting, a day to wait patiently in faith and hope for the victory of life over death to happen on the day of resurrection. Waiting silently in prayer, joining voices with heavenly saints in adoration of the cross and contemplation of the beauty of love that makes us children of God.  We need to practice the exercise of silence so that to access the hidden truth of life that words are unable to contain. The way to the heart of God passes through the school of silence.

Jesus Christ now goes to the world of the dead to announce the Good News of redemption. Jesus enters into the world of silence to open graves so that sons and daughters of God prisoned in the darkness of death may rise with Him to new life.

Graves that conceive humanity to the womb of darkness and death are transformed by Jesus Christ so that all who believe in His Gospel of truth may come to share in His new life, a life of resurrection. The Holy Spirit is the power at work, making all things holy. 

There is beauty in holy silence; it enables us to reconnect with our inner self and hear the hidden voice of our hearts. Silence is a language that the rest of creation speak fluently though we human beings have lost this way of communication. When it is silent, you hear how birds sing sweetly and experience how the wind moves, enabling trees to dance with joy. God speaks to our hearts in holy silence. Find your quiet sphere, and you find a treasure of heavenly value, peace, and rest, the fruit of the resurrection.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 12

A Model of Resurrection

Today is a day of victory, of life conquering death. Today is unique as we receive a heavenly gift on earth. On this glorious day, heavens open wide for the people of God, and the light of Resurrection shines forth in the world, a ray that penetrates hearts with the power of the Holy Spirit. Human eyes receive a new vision that enables those anointed with the oil of salvation to look to heaven and see things as God sees them.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ that we receive today as God’s promise to his beloved children is the summit of all things, a beginning of a new life on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord, has made pure and transforms creation so that those who see with the eyes of faith and are guided by the power of the Holy Spirit could begin to discover the presence of God’s goodness on earth. Through the gift of Resurrection, the disciples hear a call to live a new life, a life united with the life of the Risen Lord.  

Resurrection brings to an abrupt end the darkness of suffering and death. Through Resurrection, light shines and life prevails, bringing hope to all who must pass through the gate of death on earth, knowing that the greatest victory has been won for them. Awareness and trust in the gift of Resurrection can empower anyone facing challenges to overcome any temptation for the promise of sharing the life of God in Jesus Christ.

One lady who misses the Eucharistic celebration told me that she felt lost. The good news is that she kept her hope alive. She said: “I look forward to a new day, with a new beginning when the light of Resurrection, the heavenly gift of Easter celebration will transform the face of the earth.”  O, how I long that every day was a day of resurrection bliss and glory! Pope Francis is right when he tells the children of God, that despite the many challenges we face, “resurrection of faith” is happening. This silent pandemic will wither at the sound of these words: “This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with his after he rose from the dead” (Acts 10: 34, 37-43).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


SIXTH WEEK OF LENT

March 30, 2020

Crown of Conversion 

A gentleman spoke to me today, saying that early in the morning, he was praying and meditating on the word of God of today’s readings amidst coronavirus. This is how he prayed: “Lord, come to our aid and help us so that we may go back to our normal way of life.” Resistance to change is very enticing to many people. People all over the world want to have a timeline when life could go back and be normal again. As we continue to wait and pray that normalcy may return soon, we should at the same time be asking ourselves fundamental questions about life, choices, and decisions we make every day. Now is the time to ask: What was normal in my life that I would like to regain? What was abnormal in my life that needs to be changed? The situation we are going through should act like a school of change, a time to look inwardly and find out what needs healing in us. A time of washing, so that, made new, may begin to breathe from the font of the Holy Spirit and find strength and purpose in Jesus Christ, the Savior of humanity. 

The gentleman went on and said: “I spent time meditating on the words of Jesus: “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man…but rather in his conversion, that he may live” (Ez 33:11). He explained: “a new realization came upon me, and I heard the sound of the word ‘conversion’ in a new way.” He concluded, “What I need is not just to go back to my old ways of living life and doing things. No, what I need is a conversion, a longing to seek to imitate the life of Jesus Christ.”

This gentleman has started to harvest the fruits of social distancing. As he practices distancing, he is finding closeness to God. He is discovering his true self: realizing his need to have an intimate union with God. These words now guide him: “Do not sin anymore” (John 8:11). You as well can bring newness into your days, a new beginning, a time to come close to God and neighbor, a time to cherish and contemplate on the redeeming power contained in these words: “Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side” (Ps 23:11).

Fr. Joseph Oganda   

March 31

Healed by the Cross

The warning sign of coronavirus has brought together a divided world by its unforgiving sting of pain, suffering, and death. The mask of pride, greed, and hate that covers the faces of people are melting under the burning heat of the virus. The world and created things that we worship and trust have open its mouth to swallow the remnant of humanity. The question is, who would come to our aid? Where would we go for help?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has given us a guideline detailing how to protect ourselves and others from infection or from affecting other people. When these stipulations are followed faithfully, when hands are washed or sanitized, when social distancing is embraced, then the virus is kept at bay. We should inquire if there is a guideline for the suffering and the dying. The government or CDC cannot give us a guide that stipulates how to suffer and die. The Church, a divine institution on earth, can unveil the entire guideline, the Word of God, the gift of “CDC” of faith and hope – a Christian Direction to Christ crucified. Christianity is vested with the Holy Spirit, wisdom, and truth that can give us a directive on how to experience suffering and how to conquer death. Christ is the center of life. He, the Son of Mary, and the Son of God is the controller and the way to the Father, life eternal. 

A humbling look to the Cross, uplifting of mind, heart, and soul to Jesus Christ is the medicine with healing power for redemption. Faith is the spiritual immunity that guarantees authentic healing. Those who lift their hearts and see the inner and hidden beauty of the Cross have tasted life everlasting, and death has no power over them. They are the ones who have learned the real purpose of life on earth: to do the will of God, to magnify and glorify the name and love of God in all things (John 8:21-30).

April 1

Openness to New Life

The month of April is an epicenter of faith, a point at which the roads leading to salvation converge at the height of resurrection. The month of the Paschal Mystery: passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A month of new beginnings when nature springs to life, trees produce leaves with different colors beautifying the landscape of the land, and the light shines brighter with warmth.

The month of April 2020 is going to be unique; it is going to make the people of the world wait patiently in tears, longing and thirsting for the day of truth and freedom (John 8:31-42). The waiting would seem prolonged, but it is designed for the good of humanity, for purification. It is a month dedicated to people all over the world to make a fundamental decision of choice between life and death—a time to choose God or reject him (Deuteronomy 30:19).

How is your life going to be different in April and after that? Learn from Prophet Joshua, who said: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). God created us to share in His life, to choose His ways above all things. God chose us first in the Son anointing us with the Spirit of love so that we may embrace him in our neighbors, especially when we come together to share the weight of the cross of life. Like “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego” (DN 3:14-20, 91, 92, 95), we should take courage and witness our faith amid darkness and death. Through perseverance, strengthened by the words of Jesus Christ: “If God were your Father, you would love me” (John 8:31-42) let us stay on the course of salvation and freedom with eyes fixed to the light of resurrection (Luke 8:15, John 8:31-42). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 2

Sharpen your Hearing

God invites people around the globe to sharpen their hearing capacity. A hearing that can be attentive to the Word of God, embracing the Word of truth, and believing in the promise of life over death-Jesus Christ. Hearing that can speak to the mind, heart, and soul of the people, who long for a city free of death, a city that glitters in the shining light of life. The Psalmist teaches us that” “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (PS 95:8). The Psalmist speaks about a time in motion progressing before our eyes, a living and glorious moment when God speaks to every person second-after-second, at the rate of a heartbeat. But how many of us are fully attentive to his voice, promptings, and inspiration? 

It is wrong to think that in times of darkness, pain, and suffering, God is absent, defeated, and deaf to our struggles. The truth is that He continues to speak to us even in times of difficulties. The difference is how one chooses to listen. We can learn from the fathers in faith how they were able to remain in the presence of God in good and bad times. Abraham, our father in faith, our teacher, excelled in listening and obeying the voice of God by prostrating and humbling himself before the King of glory (GN 17:3). 

How do you and I come to the presence of God and, especially, in times of need? Do we turn to him with a contrite heart? God does not reject a humble and contrite heart. At the hour of death, like Jesus, go on your knees and look to heaven with gentle souls ready to taste the promise of life eternal prepared to all believers, who keep the covenant and follow the will of God. (Lk 22:41, JN 8:51-59).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 3, 2020

“A Might Champion” of Life

It takes a lot of energy to keep hope aflame in times of calamity when darkness covers the path of life. The world is experiencing an eclipse of the sun, of a lethal virus of death obscuring the light of hope. The ruthlessness and mercilessness of this virus suffocate the hearts of people around the globe, denying them the opportunity to partake in the breath of life. Faith in God, the might champion of truth and freedom is under attack. How many will withstand the ongoing invasion and emerge as true heroes of heavenly militants?

Men and women relying on their strength and ingenuity cannot battle the current virus and successfully defeat it. People need to turn to the one who is more powerful than any illness, and death, Jesus Christ, who is the Son of the living God. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Savior of the world now dwells in our hearts, where we can encounter Him by contemplating the depth of the cross, the sign of divine love for humanity. For the Word of God is “Spirit and life” (Jn 6:63, 68).

Do not be discouraged by the heavy cross of life that everyone must carry as pilgrim people on earth. Hold on to the thread of faith and with hearts fixed to Christ, the hero of redemption, let us make our needs known to God as we cry out: “In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice” ( Ps 18:7).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 4

A Covenant of Peace

Humanity needs peace above all things- a fulfillment that the world cannot give, a rest that can only flow from the font of heaven. A medicine that can heal the sickness of the world and patch the wounds of the heart is Jesus Christ. God sent His Son on earth to become the source and the summit of life. The Son of Mary does the will of God-salvation of humankind by taking upon Himself the suffering of the people of the world so that He may prepare believers for the Kingdom of heaven. An infection of sin- a rejection of God’s care and love is a source of great suffering that consumes joy and happiness of life. God in His mercy and compassion gather us together by the cross of purification, molding and forming us anew in the likeness of His image of love. God speaks to our hearts words of hope: “I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows” (Jer 31:13).

For us to rise from the chilliness of disease, from the grave of death, we need inoculation of the Holy Spirit; we need to believe in Jesus Christ and in his words, which are truth and life. We can come to new life when our life conforms to the light of these words of healing: “Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the Lord, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit” ( EZ 18:31).

Jesus Christ died for all people to make them holy, to enable them to share the life of God and become children of heaven (Jn 11: 45-56). For those who believe and are purified, he guides “as a shepherd guards his flock” (Jer 31: 10) to the rich pasture of life overflowing with the wine of grace and glory. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

April 5

“Speak to the Weary of Heart”

The month of April will be a time of trials and tribulations as we confront the unknowns of the days ahead. There are going to be sunny and gloomy days before us, but this should not rob us of the joy of trusting in God. Days are coming when the only appropriate prayer will be a cry for mercy and help: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (PS 22:2). One thing that is certain is that our help is in the Lord, both now and forever (IS 50:4-7).

How wonderful it would be when we empty ourselves of things that make us rebellious against God, foolishly turning our hearts away from him (IS 50:4-7). Humility and obedience before the Lord enable us to approach the table of sacrifice on bended knees (Phil 2:6-11), witnessing that Jesus is the King and Champion, the one who comes to set us free from the yoke of death. He was crucified for our sake; his suffering and death brings healing and freedom from the power of sin.

As we continue to face the cross of the coronavirus, each person may find strength in this cry: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Ps 22:2). The truth is that God has not abandoned us. Through the cross of Jesus Christ, he speaks clearly and directly to the hearts of the weary as the one who comes to help the lost and who wipes away every tear of sin.

Let us not betray the Son of God, who loved us to the point of death on a cross. He is more valuable to us than gold and silver. Let us keep watch and join in prayer, saying together: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me: yet not as I will, but as you will” (Mt 26:14-54). But how many will stay awake and watchful in prayer with the Lord in the hour of need?

Fr. Joseph Oganda



FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Monday-March 23

Hope is a Strategy of Faith and Eternal Bliss

A medical doctor, discussing ways to tackle the problem of the coronavirus on television, dismissed the concept that “hope is not a strategy.” From his statement, one may conclude that hope is not necessary in confronting the many challenges of life. What does the concept of hope mean to Christians?

One of the three cornerstones of Christian’s belief is hope. Faith, hope and love are divine virtues or graces from God that transform our human nature to conform to the will and image of God (1Corinthians 13:13). Human-made hope is an empty strategy, but divine hope is a heavenly strategy, a gift from God that directs the momentum of all things to conform to the ultimate design, the act of making all things new. Hope enables us to believe in our God who champions humility and change, to believe in Jesus Christ who has come to renew the face of the earth, to announce the victory of happiness over tears, joy over weeping, delight over hopelessness, and life over illness and death (Isaiah 65: 17-21, John 4: 43-54).

The message of hope is an eye-opener, to see with the eyes of God, to look with the vision of the heart, to drink from the font of the Holy Spirit making the prayer of the Psalmist our song: “Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart” (Psalms 90). From the school of the heart, we can come to our senses and understand that everlasting joy is disciplined obedience to the Word of God that our eternal vaccine is Jesus Christ through the way of the cross, and that prayer is the source and summit to questions that we as humans wrestle with here on earth. 

Fr. Joseph Oganda

Tuesday-March 24

“Do you want to be well?”

Jesus asked a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years: “Do you want to be well?” (John 5: 1-16). The whole world, attacked by the coronavirus, is faced with the same question. What is your response to the question that Jesus asks each one of us individually: “Do you want to be well?” Authentic healing begins when we become fully aware that we are ill and in dire need of divine intervention, thirsting for a cure and longing for the grace of spiritual care. Jesus reminded us two Sundays ago that “God is Spirit.” He explained that “true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth.” According to the Lord, God is seeking those who would worship him in spirit (John 4:24).

We are thankful for the work that doctors, nurses, scientists, and leaders of the people are doing in confronting this virus, which attacks and destabilizes the foundations of every aspect of human life on earth. I believe that a solution is on the way.  That solution may take time, but a look to the horizon of life that after a time of darkness a glorious sunrise, a gift of the Son of God, is just beginning. While we remain within our homes, how do we wait for the Good News of victory over the virus?

The doctors and scientists are combating the virus. Christians, a people, bathed in the waters of new life who have become sons and daughters of God, must join the fight against this virus. For the faithful, our response to the invasion of the virus must be a spiritual battle. We know that good things come from God. The coronavirus is not good since its aim is to destroy life. We already know the enemy of life is the Evil One. Let us turn to the Word of God and from it drink with our hearts of discernment and contemplation the overflow of love that bears the healing medicine of eternal life. Let us continue to bear the fruits of the Spirit and be made well by the oil of charity.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

March 25th 

Annunciation: Heaven Opens

In a world of constantly “Breaking News”, one of the most important news reports that the world has ever received is the good news of the Annunciation. This heavenly news was sent through the Blessed Virgin Mary on behalf of humanity, the joyful news that God, through Jesus, is assuming human flesh and humbling himself to be human as he transforms us into his likeness. The world was in need of a Savior, and Angel Gabriel was the bearer of the Good News. The news of the Annunciation opens the pathway to heaven, and Mary, the Glorious Mother of Love, led the way by the footprint of faith. Mary’s openness and obedience to the Word of God, to the point that she conceived first in her heart and then became flesh within her, can teach us how to be welcoming and hospitable to the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Queen of heaven adorned with the crown of humility and beauty teaches us how to be humble to the work of the Holy Spirit within us so that the power of Annunciation, the good news of salvation, may continue to shine through us.

Mary is our Mother, the Mother of the Church, and the Mother of the universe. She who believed and conceived the Word of God within her can assist us in times of need.  She can teach us how to trust and have faith in God of love and new life. Mary believed when the angel said: “Do not be afraid…for you have found favor with God.” When we are afraid, let us invite the Glorious Mother of Love, the font of Annunciation, to help us with her constant prayer. With Mary as our guide and exemplar, may our hearts be open to the fruits of Annunciation, the light from above shining on earth. Her son Jesus Christ, has come to transform us into sons and daughters of heaven, a holy people armed with the rosary as the weapon for pilgrims. The Lord gave us the gift of heaven, a symbol of unity, the prayer of Our Father, let us pray it together and we shall be made well.

Fr. Joseph Oganda 

March 26 

The Price of Forgetting God

Humanity has attained great achievements and developments spreading across technology, economics, medicine, and many more. It is tempting to look at our world accomplishments and arrogantly believe that we can find a solution to every question of life’s struggles. Many people look to the things humans have developed and worship them as if they are gods. 

The problem arises when those trusted things upon which we have placed all our hope fail us, or when they are not able to give us the clean, clear answers we hope for in this period when a strange illness has invaded our world. We need to learn to place our hope on a stable foundation that cannot be shaken by the challenges of life.

God, who saved the people of Israel from suffering in Egypt, is our stable foundation. Nothing is impossible for him, and we should turn to him with gentle hearts, worshipping him for his love and mercy for us. Turning our hearts to Jesus Christ, and by embracing his word of truth as the light of life, is our surest hope of redemption. We should remember that “without God, we can do nothing” (John 15:5). Despite the greatness of our world achievements, we must remember that it is God who manifests the power of his grace and glory through us. All that we are and all that we have attained on earth should be used to honor God and to magnify his glory and name on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus, we have the life that overcomes death by the light of resurrection (John 5: 31-47).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

March 26

The crown of Faith

In the past two weeks, we have lost about four of our parish family. They are our representatives in heaven who continue to reflect our faces of faith to heavenly glory. Two of them, as some of you may recall, battled with illness, pain, and suffering for an extended time. We believe that God of mercy and love has received their soul and spirit into his Kingdom of peace. These two women were true heroes of faith. They were able to wear the crown of the cross for years without contaminating the sanctity of their love and trust in Jesus Christ, who shared fully their struggles on earth.

How many of us can remain faithful to the Lord both in good times and bad? What can separate us from the love of God? (Romans 8:38-39). The ladies that I buried a few days ago are witnesses of faith that do not disappoint, a faith that overcomes all the allure, attraction, and challenges of this world. What can we learn from these great women of faith? I know that we are experiencing a very trying moment in our lives, a time to reassess the validity and authenticity of our faith. Now is the time to take to the heart these words: “They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed to them,” they worship the things made of hands, they are “stiff-necked” (Exodus 32:7-14).

Holy men and women of our time, and our fathers in faith who have preceded us to heavenly glory, people like Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, teach us that we are created to have union with God, to place all our trust in his love and care in all things. (Exodus 32:7-14). Jesus’ message to his disciples is a call to come to him and have a life full of meaning (John 5: 31-37). Those who bear their crosses of faith to the end without forsaking the love of God have drunk deeply from the font of these words: “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life” ( John 3;16). We, too, can find the crown of faith when we hold firmly to the truths of these words of heavenly beauty and joy to the heart.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

March 27 

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted”

The failure and mistake of many people around the world is their determination to forget God. Many are busy opposing God’s truth and fighting those who attempt to invoke his name on earth. The allure of worldly things has blinded the eyes of many people who cannot see the goodness of God around them.

Even though many people reject the plan of life that God presents us as contained in the holy book of truth, God himself is for us, and he continues to take care of us all. His love for us is made glorious in the redeeming power of the cross of Jesus. Jesus has opened for us a path to cross over from this world to the dwelling of God, where we shall partake joyfully at a holy banquet with the Saints. The ultimate goal of our life is to come to the heavenly splendor and share fully in the divine presence of God.

In times of pain, suffering and doubt, it is easy to think that God has forsaken us. The truth of the cross is that “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:19). Jesus comes to meet us in the cross, he shares our pain and suffering, and he transforms all things to mirror the goodness of God.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

March 28 

Persevere in the Lord

Someone sent me a message describing the situation they are in at the moment with the dire effect of the coronavirus. She said: “Right now I do not know what to do with my children. We do not have food and our main source of income is gone. I am afraid for the wellbeing of my children. My main concern is that if the virus does not take our lives, then hunger would kill us all.” The fear, panic and grave concern expressed by this mother is a similar experience of many worried families in this country and around the globe.

We must be innovative and creative and come up with productive ways to reach out in charity and compassion to our fellow brothers and sisters who are now hurting the most. I believe that those who would not be directly infected by this unforgiving virus are spared so that they may use their energy and good health to support and attend to the most affected and infected. In one way or another, we must share each other’s cross.

The beginning of any help starts by joining our voices together in prayer to God by acknowledging him as our “refuge” (Ps 7:2). It is God who comes to our aid when we are in need. Those who receive the word of God “with a generous heart” (Luke 8:15) are given divine strength to persevere in difficult times just as Job in his trial moment was kept safe by God of love. When the faith of Job was tested by what he suffered, he said to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things…my eyes have seen you (Job 41:1-5).  

Fr. Joseph Oganda

March 29 

Bending the Curve of Faith

It is easy to bend the curve of faith than to cause it to rise to great heights. To poison the sweetness and joy of faith as to prevent it from attracting new disciples is to announce from the valley of the desert the dreaded news of doom and the approaching wind of death. A time of reckoning has come when faith is tested through the baseless promises of the pseudo-gospel of false hope which values the preservation of the human flesh no matter the cost over the expense of spiritual antidote of everlasting wellbeing. Now more than ever, the conscious awakening words of Jesus Christ echo loudly within our hearts as he says: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” The Lord offers words of courage, trust and decision making in these soothing words: “So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:28-31).

From the ashes of death we rise to the glory of life, radiating the light of hope. Where is the water of healing that flows from the sanctuary of life eternal, a mark of baptism? Where is the power of the Holy Spirit, the anointing with divine life we received when we were marked by the cross of death to new life in Jesus Christ? Where is the sign of the assurance of “mercy and fullness of redemption” flowing from the food of heaven? (Psalms 130:7) The Lord Jesus Christ continues to thirst for our soul, for hearts that are made straight, and are capable to rise and grow for those who believe in these glorious words of eternal fulfilment: “I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die” (John 11:25-26). It is so hard to enter the Kingdom of God unless we strive every day to straighten the vision of faith, and to look to Jesus Christ: the way, truth, and life (John 14:6). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda


FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Thursday-March 19,2020

Springtime amidst Coronavirus

Today is March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, the protector of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, and the faithful father of the people of God. Today is the beginning of the springtime.

Joseph and Mary looked for Jesus; they searched for him among their relatives and acquaintance, but could not find him. At last, they went back to Jerusalem and found him in the temple. Jesus asked his parents: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Joseph and Mary thought that Jesus was lost. Ironically, it appears that Joseph and Mary were the ones lost for a while. They were looking for the Son of God in the wrong places: among their acquaintance and outside the temple. All along, Jesus was fully present in the house of God.

The coronavirus, storming into the world in a time of Lent, has rained down fear and panic. Many people are asking the whereabouts of Jesus Christ in these times of confusion, suffering, and even death. In union with Joseph and Mary, Jesus brings to all of us the Good News of springtime that overcomes the darkness of Lent. He says: “I must be in my Father’s house” (Luke 2:49). We, the baptized and anointed with the Holy Spirit, are the temple and the dwelling house of God, and Jesus is within us as the holy food that “gives us life and grant us both pardon and protection,” now and forever. Amen

Fr. Joseph Oganda

Friday-March 20,2020

Return Home

Someone asked me, “What do you think God is trying to tell us with the coming of the coronavirus?” God’s message to humanity has never changed whether there is coronavirus or not. The heart of his message is this: return to me, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Hosea 14:2, Matthew 7: 17). 

When we listen and humbly heed the voice of the Lord and return to him with our mind, heart, and soul, he promises to shower us with His blessings; the blessings promised to our father in faith Abraham, the token of healing and love. Become wise and understand that our redemption and healing come from God, from the Cross of Jesus Christ, who is our life eternal. Do not let the cry and tears brought about by the scary storm of the coronavirus deafen your hearts from listening attentively to God, who says to us: “I am the Lord God: hear my voice.” (Hosea 14:2…)

Scientists, doctors, and leaders teach us that the simple and basic ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are to wash our hands with soup and to keep a distance from others. For Christians, we should go beyond just the washing of hands, instead, we should also aim at purifying our hearts by heeding the call to repentance (Matthew 4:17). This is the pathway to the Kingdom of God, and you are not far from it if you choose to love God and neighbor with your whole heart (Mark 12: 28-34).

Fr. Joseph Oganda

Saturday-March 21, 2020

Purify your heart and return to God

Amidst the coronavirus, God’s voice has not been silenced in the world and within our hearts. God’s voice is loud and clear. He says: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps. 95:8). It is never too late to long to return to God. He is rich in love and cannot give up on us even if we become deaf to his inspirational word, or even when we become blind to the many gifts of life and kindness that he has bestowed upon us.

What God asks of us is this: “It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice” (Hos 6:6). Heeding the call to return to God with our hearts is the perfect sacrifice that we can offer to God of mercy. God created us to have complete union with him, and choosing to separate ourselves from his care and love is detrimental to our wellbeing. 

Being in isolation within the confinement of our homes is a golden opportunity to spend time individually and look deeply at our lives to see how we have moved far away from God, our Father, who loves us. This is a precious moment to make a resolve to reconcile with God and neighbor, a glorious moment to return under the umbrella of the protective watch of God, a time to grow in faith and become the light of hope in the world.

Fr. Joseph Oganda

Sunday- March 22, 2020

Choose Light

“Night is coming when no one can work.” The coronavirus is night that casts a shadow of uncertainty and despair upon the world. Many people are out of work due to the impact of this virus on the economy. Thousands of people around the world are infected, and a multitude of others have died. The path ahead remains unclear as the world waits for the Good News- the ray of hope. 

Do not let the weighty questions about the coronavirus blind the vision of your heart and prevent you from realizing your divine identity. Those who have been baptized are children of God. The Holy Spirit is upon them, the guide, and leader of their way along the path of life illumined by the shining light of the Cross.

For the people of God, even in time of darkness of doubt and wonder, Jesus Christ remains the perfect light of life (John 8:12), the one who heals our blindness to enable us to see with the eyes of love. Amazingly, the power of God continues to work through us, we who believe in his Son, we who have become witnesses of his grace on the earth, we who worship him and long to “dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come” (Psalms 23:6). With Christ on our side, we can confidently say: “on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2). 

Fr. Joseph Oganda


March 18, 2018

The Crisis of Opioid – There is Hope!

The local newspaper, The Southern, of Sunday, March 11, 2018, carried a heading: The Road to Recovery. The report is on the crisis of opioids. Franklin County Sheriff Don Jones calls it, “a public health crisis.” He says, the opioid addiction is “one that has to be addressed.” Mr. Jones laments: “We can’t solve this by ourselves.” As faith community, we must ask ourselves: What can we do to become a channel of true awakening, healing and transformation of life that each of us and our society is in dire need? Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, in his book: Light of the World, 2010 offers us insight on how to deal with this darkness and evil of opioids and any other substance abuse that ravage and destroy the lives of our loved ones.

In a conversation with Peter Seewald, a German journalist, Pope Benedict XVI responding to frightening challenges that people deal with in this present age says:

There are of course signs that frighten us, that worry us. But there are also other signs with which we can connect and which give us hope.

Many, many bishops, above all from Latin America, tell me that wherever the road of drug production and trafficking passes – and that includes large sectors of these countries-it is as if an evil monster had its hand on the country and had corrupted the people. I believe we do not always have an adequate idea of the power of this serpent of drug trafficking and consumption that spans the globe. It destroys youth, it destroys families, it leads to violence and endangers the future of entire nations.

This, too, is one of the terrible responsibilities of the West: that it uses drugs and that it thereby creates countries that have to supply it, which in the end exhausts and destroys them. A craving for happiness has developed that cannot content itself with things as they are. And that then flees into the devil’s paradise, if you will, and destroys people all around.

And then there is a further problem. The destruction that sex tourism wrecks on our young people, the bishops say, is something we cannot even begin to imagine. The destructive process at work in that are extraordinary and are born from the arrogance and the boredom and the false freedom of the Western world.

You see, man strives for eternal joy; he would like pleasure in the extreme, would like what is eternal. But when there is no God, it is not granted to him and it cannot be. Then he himself must now create something that is fictitious, a false eternity.

This is a sign of the times that should be an urgent challenge to us, especially as Christians. We have to show and also live this accordingly that the eternity man needs can come only from God. That God is the first thing necessary in order to be able to withstand the afflictions of this time. That we must mobilize, so to speak, all the powers of the soul and of the good so that a genuine coin can stand up against the false coin and in this way the cycle of evil can be broken and stopped.

A need for healing exists, that man can understand again somehow what redemption means. Man recognizes that if God is not there, existence becomes sick and man cannot survive like that. That he needs an answer that he himself cannot give. The great communication, for example, that we have today can lead, on the one hand, to complete depersonalization. Then one is just swimming in a sea of communication and no longer encounters persons at all. But, on the other hand, it can also be an opportunity. For instance, to become aware of one another, to encounter one another, to help each other, to go out of ourselves.

So it seems to me important not to see only the negative side. While we must be very keenly aware of it, we must also see all the opportunities for good that are there; the hope, the new possibilities for being human that exist. So as then, finally, to proclaim the need for change, which cannot happen without an interior conversion.


January 01, 2017

Amazed by the Blessings of God!

As we start a new year many people make resolutions that they hope to keep as the year progresses only to realize with the passing of time that they could not remain faithful to the promises they had previously made. Why is it so difficult to keep New Year resolutions? Why do we find ourselves going back to the same old practices that we so greatly desired to change, motivated by freshness of New Year? I believe that the reason behind this failure of ours is due to a misunderstanding of the value of the gift: the gift of another year. We tend to take each year for granted since we know that years come and years go…we simply do not ponder the passing of time. But we may want to ask ourselves the true meaning of the gift: the gift of another year. It all begins and ends with God. Having a new year is a brand new gift from God who is longing to work with us to make all things new (Rev 21:5), to purify all things so that they can find their true image, which is to shine like a mid-day sun and to reflect the goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the beautiful signature of God’s artistic work of love.

The New Year is a reminder of our true identity, our purpose in life and our call to live life to the fullest. The wisdom of the New Year teaches us that we are branches that spring forth from the vine of God. As branches we can remain fruitful only when we remain connected to the vine of life, Jesus Christ. The identity of God on this first day of the civil calendar year is made known as the God of blessings. God is about blessing us. He wants the best for us and he has come as a baby, Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, to dwell among us and within us so that he may continue to inject in us the life-giving blood of blessings: “The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!” (Nm 6:22-27).

We are transformed by the blessings of God. In our identity we become the face and the channel of God’s blessings on earth. The question we need to ask ourselves is: How am I a blessing for others? Or, am I curse for them by not being constantly aware and responsive to God’s living blessing through me? Be amazed this year by the generous blessing of God and give thanks because this is the true signature of your faith in the Son of Mary, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


December 25, 2016

An Infant from heaven is the joy of peace on earth

Today is a day of great joy; for the One we waited for in prayer, in almsgiving and in reconciliation is here with us resting peacefully “wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:1-14). Does he look like the one you have been waiting for? Does he look like one who has the power to take away all our fears in life? Does he look like the one whose star shines brighter in the night sky of life? Look again and you will be surprised to find that our Savior, Prince of Peace, Lord of Lords and King of Kings, has come without any sign of great power. Do you notice that he is just an infant? He is truly an infant who desires our help and our love in order to wake up the world with his cry and with his gentle baby smile that radiates the joy of his humility and love into people’s hearts. Is this the Baby you have been longing for? Remember he is interested in you. You are the reason he is born today of a woman, Mary, who first gave him a place to cry so that you too, may give him a place to love.

This is a perfect day to shine the light of peace that overcomes the darkness of sin and prepare our hearts for the joy of tomorrow and make us long for the healing hope which is in store for all believers. Today is a new beginning. The question we must each ask is: It is the beginning of what? What would you like to begin anew? God who is for us is always ready to begin all things new (Rev 21:5), ready to forget about our tearful past, ready to give us a reason to smile today, ready to give us a purpose for tomorrow with smiling faces trusting in his unwavering promises and blessings that he has and continues to shine upon us. God works with us to rewrite a story of our lives, a story of salvation, and a narrative of freedom. The pen that God uses to write a new story of life is the Word made a Baby who is the light of heaven sent to shine on earth. In order to learn to write in the manner of Jesus, one must be willing to hear and listen to the word of God, to reflect in the heart the deeper meaning of the Word of faith to be revealed to those who are humble of heart and are willing to sit at the feet of the Lord to learn how to work for peace on earth.

Emmanuel, the joy of our lives and the reason of our hope, deserves all our worship and praise in thanksgiving. For today we have been made sons and daughters of God and by his birth we have received the perfect rebirth through anointment by the flames of the Holy Spirit (Heb 1:1-6).

The Word is present at the beginning of creation. He is the beginning of all things. He is the living Spirit, the power that transforms all things allowing them to reveal the face of the invisible Father God on earth. As we journey here on earth, we are never alone. With God at our sides, and filled with the joy that inflames our hearts, we walk amid the passing things of earth from which we come to learn how to love the things of heaven and hold firm to what endures. Now the song of the angels in heaven can be the songs of believers on earth: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his life rests” (Lk 2:1-14).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


December 18, 2016

Advent is Love worth waiting for in faith and prayer

Faith, our life in Christ and being his true image on earth is made of hearing and seeing (Mt 11: 2- 11). How is your hearing and what about your sight? Right from creation, God has never stopped speaking his Word which has the power to form and give shape to all things and then call them good. In his divine wisdom, he sends the light of heaven to shine on earth so that those whose hearts are open to look to the light with the eyes of faith like Mary, the star of faith, may be healed from the blindness of sin, may see the gate of heaven open on earth through the waters of rebirth.

We inhabit a society that competes with our hearing and robs us of the joy of seeing the richness of beauty that adorns our world. Noise from our phones, TVs, radios, moving vehicles, and allure to attractive pictures that watching TV brings, leaves us blind and deaf, incapable of hearing what is important in life that comes to us from God in his holy, venerable words and in his artistic design of creation, the symbol of his constant presence with us.

Advent is this special time that we are called to pay attention to what we hear and to determine if what we see has the capacity to lift up our hearts high to God. It is a special and unique time to seek God while he may be found and call on him while he is near (Is 55:6). It is a time we seek to know his will and to surrender our own will to the possibility of God’s glorious love. It is a time to let our actions be purified so as to receive the flame of light and love that shames the pride of darkness which constantly obscures the face of God who is in our midst.

In Advent we strive to prepare for the baby Jesus, waiting for the emergence of the Lord of the universe and the prince of peace. We wait in faith while doing good works of mercy, forgiving those who have wronged us just as we have wronged the love of God and have been forgiven by the outpouring blood of new life (James 5:7-10). We must wait with Mary, the Mother of faith for the coming joy of Emmanuel- God is with us (Is 7:14). Dream like Mary and Joseph so as to offer a room in your hearts to Emmanuel. That he who is our holiness may turn your dream into hope and be the shining light of goodness and beauty in your life. This is the promise of the baby Jesus, who takes our human flesh so as to make us resemble the face of God on earth, a face of humility, charity and love. The One we wait for is the one who is waiting for us every day. That we may seek and find him while he is standing and knocking at the door of our hearts, longing to hear us cry from within: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. But just say the Word, and my servant (and my soul) will be healed” (Mt. 8:8).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


December 03, 2016

Advent: A Call to Prepare for the Rebirth of Love

At the beginning of Advent, at the start of New Liturgical Year 2016-2017, the central message we hear from Saint Matthew as a shining light to guide the path of Advent is contained in these words: “You must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come” (Matthew 24:44). In the season of Advent we look in hope for the birth and second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Advent represents a school of humility, mercy and forgiveness that ultimately moves our hearts of stone to thirst for the cup of love that fills our bodies with the beautiful light of faith and brings us unending warmth of joyful hope.

How exactly are we to prepare ourselves for the “bath of rebirth” of the Son of Mary? On how to get ready for the shining star of God made flesh, Saint Paul said this: “Put on the armor of light” (Rom 13: 11-14). We live in a time when darkness created by the pressures of this world is working against us and making our eyes blind from seeing the signs of the face of the “baby God” already present in the world. The Psalmist knows even a better way to prepare for Christ the King of the universe, saying: “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord (Ps 122:1). In the temple, God comes to meet us, to welcome us and “instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his path” (Is 2:1-5). The house of the Lord is the symbol of our common family. We are children of heaven dwelling on earth who continue to labor for the creation of the Kingdom of God on earth, a Kingdom of truth and justice, a Kingdom of joy, peace and happiness.

Those who prepare for the Lord, those who walk in the path of light, those who rejoice in the church and put into action his teaching, shall be filled with the “Spirit of wisdom and understanding” (Is 11:2) to know the plan of God’s will, a plan for freedom, a plan for salvation for all who believe in the Son of Man. Saint John the Baptist strongly states that the heart of preparation for the baby Jesus into our hearts is made possible when we “REPENT,” for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mt 13:1-12). The fruit of repentance is marked by our mission to do good works of love and charity, to share ourselves and our material gifts, to serve in the church by touching the needs of our neighbors, especially those who are poor, needy, lonely and sick. In this new liturgical year one constant question that Jesus will ask you all year long is: “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mk 10:51) Take courage, do not be afraid, and let him know what you want; for he is kind and merciful.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


July 5, 2015

Questions and Answers dealing explicitly with the Encyclica

1. What’s new in Laudato si’ (LS)? What’s in this document that we have not seen from the Church before?

The document is a call to conversion and action. While Laudato si’ fits perfectly within Catholic tradition, it is saying with new force that concern for the environment is no longer “optional” for a believer. Caring for the environment is now even more clearly and surely part of Church teaching.

2. Why does the Pope pay little attention to the population problem?

LS acknowledges that population density can be a complicating factor in some areas. But people are not the problem. Waste is a much bigger problem: our throwaway culture and our tendency to consume without reflecting on our real needs, both material and spiritual.

3. The Encyclical seems to make technology and finance enemies.
Isn’t that a bit simplistic, even retrograde?

Technology and the financial markets can be wonderful instruments, as long as they are serving human beings, enhancing human dignity, as opposed to making relatively few very rich and a lot of people slaves. This calls for honest debate. What constitutes real technological progress? Where does it help human dignity, but where does it degrade it? Or financial markets: are they helping to spread the wealth? Are they helping to bring people out of poverty?

4. LS argues against fossil fuels. And yet cheap energy has done a lot to lift the poor out of poverty. Does the Pope want to deny them that possibility?

No. The Pope wants the wealthy nations, and those that have polluted more, to cut back on fossil fuels. He argues that alternative energy is available for all. But that requires solidarity: wealthy nations sharing their profits, helping the poorer nations to develop alternative energy sources.

5. It appears that the Pope is backing global agricultural planning on a massive scale (n. 129, 164). That’s not really his job, is it?

Neither the Pope, nor the bishops around the world, are going to provide technical solutions. But they will speak on behalf of those with no voice. That’s all the Pope is doing: saying that we either change the way we are producing crops, or we’re headed for trouble. It will be for others – conscientious laypeople – to work out the solutions.

6. This document has a fair amount of economics in it. For example, claiming in n. 109 that finance overwhelms the real economy. Is that the kind of opinion a Pope should be expressing?

The Pope is not lecturing on economic theory. He has very clear ideas on human dignity, and what it means for someone to be excluded or without work. They’re missing that sense of self-worth that comes from work hard and putting food on the table for their family.

7. Why is the Pope so anti-market? (for example: 189, 190) Isn’t this just a Latin American prejudice?

Look at the unemployment rates among young people in Europe, and the number of people risking their lives to leave Africa. There’s nothing Latin American about this at all. The global economy right now is simply not serving the great majority of people. That’s all he’s saying. Yes, plenty of wealth has been created by the market economy; but there’s also too much absolute misery, and plenty of indifference to go with it.

8. The Pope claims that global warming is one of the principal challenges for humanity right now (no. 22). Leaving all debate aside, that seems to be a very earthly concern for a man with a spiritual mission.

Everything is connected, and nothing truly human is outside of the Church’s concern. A person of faith should show even more responsibility regarding creation, which is a gift from God. Climate change isn’t a theoretical matter, it is already doing a lot of damage, especially to those least able to adapt.

9. Who, besides Cardinal Turkson, helped the Pope write this? There are a lot of Bishops’ Conferences quoted, but where did the science come from?

A number of people helped the Pope on this, but his name is on it and, in the end, it is his encyclical. The science comes from the same place we all get it: the scientific community, which has been working on this for decades. It’s important to note that Pope Francis recognizes there are points subject to debate; he simply wants the debate to be honest.

10.  What ever happened to natural law? It has always been at the center of the Church’s moral teaching, but the Pope does not see to use it in LS. Is this a theological shift? Is he turning his back on Pope Benedict, who at the Bundestag used natural law in talking about the environment?

What we see in LS is not a theological shift but an attempt to find new language for a broader audience. In this case, even those who don’t have an ethos based on natural law can see that taking care of the environment for future generations is the right thing to do.

11.  No. 24 claims technology and finance pretend to be the only solution to our problems. But technology and finance have brought a lot of people out of poverty, and made the economy grow. Does LS want to take us backwards?

Technology and finance have helped some people a lot more than others. LS is not about moving backwards at all. It’s about moving forward in a way that respects human dignity, doing everything possible to reduce the numbers of those who keep on being excluded from decent jobs, decent housing and decent healthcare. It’s also about moving forward in a way that respects the planet.

12.  The Bolivian Bishops (n. 48) claim that environmental problems hit the poor the hardest. Others counter by saying that environmental controls will hurt the poor more. Why should one take the word of the Bolivian bishops?

The Bolivian Bishops are echoing the protests of so many poor people from around the globe who are hungry because they can’t grow enough food for their family. Just listen to those who are risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa, or the Rio Grande into the United States, because it’s their only hope.

13.  With all due respect, is the Pope living on another planet? Does he really believe what he writes in             N. 52, that wealthier should help contribute to solve the energy problems of poorer countries?

Pope Francis is the first to admit that solidarity is not a popular word. But without solidarity, while some places may get richer, we won’t be going anywhere as a global community. The poorer nations will develop when wealthier nations give them a hand, and energy is a part of that.

14. N. 55 is a kind of condemnation of air conditioning. We know a lot of Europeans don’t like it, but is it really that bad?

Just as many of us waste water, consuming a lot more of it than we really need, many countries waste energy with excessive air- conditioning. When the Pope talks about a more sober lifestyle, it’s an invitation to see what each one can learn to live without.

15. Does LS promote wealth re-distribution? N. 193 seems to suggest that.

LS promotes solidarity among people and nations. Pope Francis has no magic formula for how the wealth should be shared, but he certainly is calling on those who have more than they can eat to open their minds and their hearts, and to share with those who don’t have enough.

16. Buying and selling and trading have been going on forever. It also keeps people working. Is consumerism really as bad as LS depicts it (n. 124, for example)?

We all have to consume, to eat healthy foods, and to drink clean water. What we don’t need is to foment an insatiable desire for more; creating needs that aren’t really necessary at all. Think about someone who has lost all control with drink or with drugs; it becomes very violent, destructive behavior. There is a similar kind of addiction with consumption. A constant desire for more things, more possessions, becomes an obsession. Thinking about the poor, or about future generations, can actually set one free.


June 28, 2015

Sing and Dance the Song of the Mother Earth with Pope Francis: “Laudato Si”

“God did not make death nor does He rejoice in the destruction of the living” (Wisdom 1:13). Instead, He made the living “Mother and Sister Earth,” and rejoices in the song and dance of the goodness and beauty of the harmonious melody that creation as a whole produces in the words: “Laudato Si, mi signore” (Praise to you, my Lord).

Pope Francis in his Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si, awakens the sleeping mind and heart of all humanity to realize the truth and the wisdom hidden in creation that the Earth is our “common home,” our common ‘Mother and Sister’ from which our sustenance and hope is birthed.

Our Sister Earth is lamenting her lost beauty and purity stolen by human greed, selfishness and the abuse of her inner wealth necessary to support life for everyone. The common language which is necessary to communicate the sweet goodness of Mother Earth is Peace. The fragrance of peace must be found in the nectar of the human heart.

Pope Francis warns that “Ecological catastrophe” looms wide in the heavens and on the horizon if human progress is unrestrained from overflowing beyond the designated banks of harmony, common-good and unity of life.

Pope Saint John Paul II in his great love for the Mother Earth saw how unbridled development was deforming the beautiful face of our mother and sister earth and called on all of God’s children to a new life of “ecological conversion,” a call to become part and partner of our common creation. A call to have a good relationship with creation of which we are members can be made possible when humanity ascends the ladder of truth, becoming consciously aware that raping and robbing the Earth of its unique blood-life is suicidal to human progress and existence. Pope Benedict XVI described the beginning of the violation of the Earth: “The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves.” When humanity rejects the Creator and refuses to learn the holy grammar of goodness and the vocabulary of beauty hidden in each and every divinely and artily created universe, then the communication that emerges is full of corruption and is marked by the tone of destruction, plunder and brutality.

The need to protect our dear Earth is not the work of the Church alone but, according to Pope Francis, a responsibility at the heart of authentic science and philosophy and any other meaningful development. Our destruction of the Earth is, according to Patriarch Bartholomew, “a sin against God,” “a crime against the natural world,” a darkness of our time that is in dire need of the light of the Son of God made flesh, the Star of creation. The Gospel of the Mother Earth, of beauty and love, seeks a response from converted hearts that can see the face of God in all created things. It also seeks a response to the generosity of the Creator, God, in one voice of worship, by singing the sweet song of life in a melody capable of healing the wounds that humanity has inflicted on her: Laudato Si, a song dear to the heart of Saint Francis of Assisi and echoed by Pope Francis for all the faithful and all people of good-will, to wake up and plant the seed of charity in order to harvest the fruit of love and peace which is the DNA of our Mother Earth and of humanity.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


March 01, 2015

Lent is a blessing, a time to seek and find Jesus, and be transformed into His likeness, love and prayer

God is happy to reveal His Son to each one of us so that in seeing Him, in encountering Him we may be blessed by a
generous gift of God revealing to us our heart’s desire which is, to share in the life of His Son. On the Mount of transfiguration,
from the cloud, the voice of God is heard. This experience on the Mountain of light, is our own experience in life
where most of the time we find ourselves at the peak of the mountain of challenges in life and feel that we are alone,
and sometimes we even become afraid and say that God has abandoned us. But the amazing thing about God is that
He is always present with us when we are at the peak of our sufferings, and all that we see before us is the cloud of fear
and doubt. When we are tempted to believe that there is no hope on the horizon, there we hear His healing and inspiring
words: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.” Who exactly is this beloved Son with
whom God is well pleased? We know that it is Jesus, but in fact, God is addressing you and me. You and I are the beloved
sons and daughters with whom God is well pleased. This voice can be heard and listened to only by those who
are willing to journey with Jesus during this Lent to the mount of prayer and fasting. Lent is a journey where we seek to
renew our relationship with Jesus as He walks with us to the mount of transformation, of repentance and reconciliation
so as to meet God the Father who always comes down to meet us amidst the clouds of suffering, pain, sickness and
doubt.
Lent is a time to sharpen our listening capacity, to listen with the ears of the heart. When we stay long enough in Jesus’
presence, listening to His word, we become changed, we receive a gift of new vision and when we look around, instead
of seeing many enticing and confusing things in life, we become blessed to see only one person, Jesus. This is the goal
of Lent: “To see Jesus” who dwells within our hearts and is present in each one of us.
Abraham our father in faith was abundantly blessed by God since He accepted to respond to God’s calling to take the
journey of faith. He did not know for sure where God was leading him but still he trusted in God’s protective love and
walked in faith. Because he believed God, even though the way ahead of him was completely covered in the darkness
of the cloud, and did not know where he was going, he humbly and obediently placed his life in the hands of God. Because
of his act of faith, he was blessed richly by God and through him, God continues to bless you and me. Lent is a
time for each one of us to trace the footsteps of our father Abraham, the step of faith, so that we too, may be blessed by
the gift of a Son who has come to prepare us for the victory of life over death at the table of the Eucharist and more so
at the Easter celebration of joy.
Fr. Joseph


April 27, 2014

We Rejoice in Harvesting the Fruits of the Resurrection

In the Spirit of Faith, let us give thanks to God for the newly baptized and confirmed in our Church: Shelby Crews, Reed Koeneman, Daniel Rutherford, Caitlin Williams, Camdyn Carole-Marie Quillman and Jon Olinger. That they may be the living light of the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

In the Spirit of Hope, let us rejoice with the first communicants: Grayson Benson, Addison Galbraith, Sydney Galbraith, Hannah Kelly, Karson Konkel, Olivia Numi, Auna McClure, Ellie Searby, Anna Rose Sheehan, Aydan Zoller, Charley Mercier and Cibyl Mercier. That the joyful flame of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ burn constantly in their hearts forever.

In the Spirit of Charity, let us pray with those who are going to be confirmed by Bishop Edward K. Braxton next Saturday: McClain Baker (St. Madeline Sophie Barat), Delaney Bandy (St. Lucy), Katherine Blazo (St. Elizabeth), Jacob Brown (St. Matthew), Morgan Bullar (St. Francis of Assisi), Megan Dale (St. Angela of Merici), Charley Mercier (St. Hubert), Ryan Myers (St. Francis of Assisi), Elizabeth Schafer (St. Elizabeth of Hungary), Landon Schubert (St. George), Avery Shivley (St. Julia) and Katherine Smith (St. Rose of Lima). That the power of the Holy Spirit inspire them to respond to the call of service in the mission of the Church.

In the Spirit of Unity, let us join our voices with the whole Catholic Church leaping for joy for the heavenly gift on earth for Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, Saint John XXIII and Karol Wojtyla, Saint John Paul II who are raised to the
podium of the highest holiness this Saturday by Pope Francis. That we may learn from them how to embrace a life of humility, generosity and suffering in Christ so that, the victory of Jesus, of life over death, of light over darkness, and of peace over division, may find a face in our lives as the present living saints of this gray age.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


February 16, 2014

You Are Your Choices

Look at your life. Are you happy with your life as it is now? Is there something you would have liked to be different?

The person you are today is a series of unexamined choices you have made in the past and still continue to make today. The person you wish to be tomorrow is hidden in the choices of faith and trust you are afraid to make now in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

You may choose to blame others for your bad choices, so as to feel good for a short while. But the truth will always haunt you deep in the compartment of your heart. The voice of truth, vibrating in the silence of your heart, cries out a loud: “If you choose you can keep the commandments of love, forgiveness, trust, and faith, and you shall live in the light of peace.

“Whichever you choose, bad or good, shall be given to you.”

Those who are wise and blessed have made one choice; God, the law of love. In fact, the first choice was made by God to love you and the rest of humanity through the gift of His Son on the altar of the Cross. Choose “Yes” of Mary in the serenity of your heart, and you shall have the wealth of peace. Choose trust of Jesus in the spirit of your soul, and you shall enter the Kingdom of God and dance for joy at the table of life and happiness. You are your choices.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


January 26, 2014

The Light Of Unity

The light of the Cross which is already shining in the hidden corners of our hearts should not be deemed by our misconceived erroneous ideas about the generosity and compassion of God to all His beloved children. The blood of Jesus Christ is a new light, the rising sun in the world of darkness which beckons all who search for the true ultimate meaning of life to surrender to the configuring power of love. Humanity has been saved by a person, He who is the perfect light, has assumed all that divides and destroys the beauty of divine unity of which we have been crafted into even before we were born. God’s perfect artistic design for humanity is a life that knows no division, a life that seeks the warmth of harmony among peoples and yarns for “abundant joy and great rejoicing” (Isaiah 9:2).

God continues to call us in Christ to a life of holiness, to be like Him on earth, to become the living and the healing light of mercy and reconciliation. Division does not exist in God’s alphabets, it is a creation of people’s pride and rejection of the free gift of His friendship extended to all people. God’s unique plan for humanity is that we may “be united in the same mind and in the same purpose” (I Corinthians 1:10) of repentance in the ocean of grace, in the waters of transfiguration by emerging into the kingdom of hope, a land of faith where truth embraces humility and peace kisses the lips of love.

Each one of us must ponder, meditate, and reflect on this one fundamental question: “Is Christ divided?” (I Cor 1: 13). Christ who calls all of us to partake in His Word and nourishes us with His Body, sends us on a mission to proclaim the good news of Emmanuel, “God with us” to the rest of the world and to invite them to follow the
way of forgiveness, the path of authentic life illumined by the heavenly light on earth, the Holy Spirit shining in the hearts of believers. We must not stop working in the Spirit of charity, we must be a sign of healing, an instrument of compassion, kindness and divine transformation, so that Christ’s prayer and wish for you and me may become a present reality, “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17: 20-21). At the hour of doubt and despair, God shall call you by a new name, ”My Delight,” (Isaiah 62:4) and He shall embrace you by the warmth of joy. Let us join Mary, the mother of faith, the woman of unity and simplicity, the lady of silent prayer and gaze into the goodness of the Lord with a heart which bits in a musical rhythm: “The Lord is my light and my salvation,” (Psalms 27:1) in Him I trust, follow, and live.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


January 19, 2014

A Light of Nation

We are the handiwork of God through which His face shines and His voice vibrates as He makes us the light of nations. Light shines brightly closer to the main source but deems as one moves further away. When we gaze at the perfect light, Christ, the vision of our hearts are aided to recognize the face of the Lord present in our midst. The Word is light, the radiance of life and the summit of all human dreams and hope. We are called by God to be His messengers and partners, custodians and recipients of the good news of freedom, of redemption brought about by the divine act of love expressed in the free gift of the Cross.

The Light has the power to transform a people who had been prisoned in the world of darkness by introducing them to a new world animated by the glittery of truth. Choosing the path set by the Light, is the ultimate joy and fulfillment of every life. The beauty of the light is reflected in our words and its goods becomes alive in the power of our deeds. Light does not disappoint even in the face of darkness, in it one builds a stable identity of holiness, a response to the voice, “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

The Lord has spoken in the One who is the living light of the world and in His self-donation, a gift of humility and trust in the divine plan of the Father to the rest of humanity, every word, all aspiration, longings comes to fulfillment in the rays of the Resurrection. Those who are anointed with the oil of faith and reconciliation sing the heavenly song, “to do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”(Psalm 40:10).

God has become the head of human tribe and those who seek membership or are called to His single family, are initiated by the purity of water, branded by the Word of humility and marked by the sign fire of the Holy Spirit. In God’s generosity of friendship, in the Spirit of compassion and kindness, in the light of patience and forgiveness, those who have been captives in the mist of pride and selfishness, He has healed by the antidote of His mercy hence, offering them a new breadth, a new identity, a worthy dignity, grace, the “power to become His children” (John 1:12) in the mystery of holy adoption. Yes, “you are my servant, I called you from the womb to do my will.”

Fr. Joseph Oganda


January 12, 1014

Baptism Makes Us One

In the divine magic of holy water, God reveals Himself to the world through a Son, the humble one who unites Himself completely by taking upon His shoulders human sin in order to set them free, to purify their souls by the fire of His Spirit. Standing in the muddiness of water, the Son shares the dirt of our sins; and by looking to heaven in prayer, He becomes a bridge of reconciliation, of purity between God and humanity. Turning our hearts to the wave-length of Christ’s faithfulness, we are captured into God’s intimacy, music of love.

God speaks in the flow of water, forming a new people in the image and likeness of the Spirit, a chosen race dear to God’s heart. Baptism is a call, a free gift, to share in the richness of God’s love and forgiveness. The waters of baptism form and mold a new people dear to God’s heart; a people who are anointed with the oil of new identity as sons and daughters of God.

The voice of God vibrates in the sound of peace and in those who seek His goodness in truth with a heart of penance and is made the living voice of God on earth, the light and joy of heavenly inheritance. Listening to the voice of God with a longing heart is the sole purpose of human life on earth, since the Word is the beginning and the end of life. The voice of God, the Word made flesh, the sound of hope, the power of charity renews our inner being by healing us from the darkness of our inner pride by the shining light of humility and service.

Baptism opens the door of heaven to humanity in order to partake at the blessing of God’s peace which rains down on people, soaking them with the light of the Holy Spirit, so that they may become the life giving water which purifies people’s hearts contaminated by the filth of sin, hence, transforming them into an acceptable pure sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

Baptism is a school of faith, a seed of life watered by the words of regeneration-the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who is the source and the summit of human joy and happiness. The act of baptism is a vivid and powerful sign of God’s divine design for humanity, a plan for fulfillment, healing and harmony witnessed to by the genius work of the Spirit of unity. It is a language of the Cross, an accent of selfless love written in small letters of obedience and capitalized in letters of the will of God. Baptism welcomes us in a family of believers, a new culture of holiness, a tribe of God marked by the mystery of unity in words, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:13-17).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


January 5, 2014

The Star, the Epiphany of Love

The birth of Jesus on earth has ushered in a new world of a pilgrim people whose eyes seek the face of the star of freedom. Those who follow the way of the star by gazing to heaven in prayer will have the light of life. We can make the year 2014 the year of joy, the year of the shining star of justice, the light of peace, Jesus Christ. God has revealed His plan of salvation in the sign of a heavenly star by calling all people to rise up in splendor, to raise their eyes to the Lord, and to approach His divine table with a precious gift of self in faith.

The new King of the universe, the Shepherd of God’s flock, invites us to be the stewards of the Spirit, and to let His generous glory shine through us, so that the poor may be found and made rich in the grace of His charity. Those
who seek Jesus Christ, the Lord who comes to save us with a sincere heart, have seen “His star at its rising and have come to give Him homage,” (Mt 2:2) respect, worship, gift and thanksgiving. Jesus brings a gift, in fact, He is the gift that troubles people’s hearts. The news of a new ruler, a king, a servant, is like an earthquake which shakes the foundation of all the kingdoms on earth. He is a news that causes great fear for He comes with power of love which transforms the face of the earth, dismantling the human erected boundaries between nations, pulling down the walls of pride and separation, and re-drawing the map of the universe with the marker of mercy, and defending it from the king of darkness with the shield of self-gift, the light of the Cross, a seal of joyous resurrection.

The most important question asks, “Where was the Christ to be born?” Please, do not seek Him where He is not found; do not search for Him where He is not conceived, do not inquire of Him where His star has not shone, but to the humble of heart, to the believing little ones, the light of His love becomes the wellspring treasure of a redemptive life. The star of truth and faithfulness wants to emerge through you especially in places where you hear the cry of the poor, the sound of the despairing, and the voice of the lonely and sorrowful. Do not keep in secret the good news of the healing rays of this divine light. Let its therapeutic beauty appear in the flower of your words and actions, so that the hearts of those who seek for the ultimate meaning of life may leap for joy and sing the song of faith and unity in Christ.

Humanity must not tire to searching diligently for the shining star already present in our hearts in the form of word, and after encountering Him in a relationship of friendship and love, may we share the wealth of His Epiphany with others who still thirst and hunger for His tender touch of mercy and reconciliation. May the living star, Jesus, precede the steps of our search; may our dreams lead us to a place of holy rest, in a house where He can be found, and may our lips speak the word of joy as we go back to our communities by a new way, as a transformed people, children of God.

A journey of authentic faith in God, a yearning for truth is a treasure of God’s grace, a gift to humanity for, “God has no favorites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him” (Acts 10:34-35).

Fr. Joseph Oganda


December 29, 2013

Christmas, a gift of love

Christmas is a very special time to reflect and meditate with Mary and Joseph on the mystery of divine light; the wonder of God becoming man, so that men and women of humble faith may speak the language of peace, dream about a world of justice, work for the gift of reconciliation and sing songs of great joy. The flower of Christmas, the rose of love, is the color of faith in a baby who has come to save us, to set us free from the bondage of sin. Emmanuel, “God is with us,” has come to take away our fears, darkness and to redefine the purpose of human life on earth, so that all who seek Him in trust and in homage may conceive Him in their hearts and bring Him to birth through their act of service. The world is patiently waiting for the star of the universe to shine His light through our words and actions. You and I are called by God to become a perpetual and a living Christmas gift. God is one of us, so that united with Him, we may be a spring of love on earth.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


Dec. 01, 2013

Sign-up to serve God with your gifts and talents

A church is a family of love where each member has a place to exercise his or her God given gifts and talents for the common wellbeing of our Christian
community. Just like every part of a human body is very important and has a unique place in the body, so also is every member in the Church. The Church, just like a human body, is healthy and functions properly when each member shares his or her gift of self in love with the rest of the Christian family. When one part of our body is sick, or does not function well, then the whole body is affected negatively. Please, it is another time in the new year of the Church when we are called to renew our commitments and service to God by our acts of charity united as one with the rest of God’s family. Sign up in any area where you think God is calling you to shine the light of love in building up our Church. You are free to sign in more than one ministry. I hope that you will kindly respond to this generous call from God who wants to use your unique gifts to reveal His face of justice and truth on earth, so that your joy may be full; and your name be written in the book of life. What Sacred Heart parish is in need of now more than ever is your participation in the life of our Church, so that walking hand-in-hand, we may become a living sign of Christ in our community.

In the pew, you will find a paper with the list of different ministries which forms the face of our Christian life that is: Worship, Faith formation and Outreach. Please, pray over this divine calling to service and then sign up, a commitment for at least one year. When you have filled the form, place it in the offertory basket during the offertory collection. Thank you for your willingness to share your God-given talents and gifts with the rest of the Christian family.

Thanksgiving Celebration November 24th at 6:30 pm we will have a Thanksgiving Celebration bringing together other Churches in the Ministerial Alliance here in our parish. Please, come and show your gratitude to God for all His blessings in your life. Let us show our hospitality to our brothers and sisters from the other Churches who are coming to worship with us, and may the Lord of unity and blessings be praised at all times. There will be a collection to support the work of love and charity rendered to the poor in our community by the Ministerial Alliance. God is pleased with a generous heart. Thank you all for supporting our Church, and may God of blessings and thanksgiving reward your kindness with the gift of peace.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


Nov. 17, 2013

Christ is coming

In everything you do and say, strive to imitate the love of Christ and be a model of justice, keeping yourself busy by doing the work of God to serve the little ones. You are the living temple of God, a holy city, built on the foundation of selfless, redemptive love. Be wise, read the sign of time when Christ is coming to restore all things back to God’s hand. The end of time, the reign of the power of sin is living among us, and many people who are dressed in pride are following this path that leads to complete destruction; separation of oneself from the free love of God the Father. “If today you hear His voice harden not your hearts,” (Hebrew 3:15) for Christ has come to rescue us by the power of the Cross, so that those who live in the world of darkness may see the light of freedom. Let your light shine through the valley of darkness and let your faithfulness to God’s call to His service become a living witness to the power of mercy and grace, so that those who see your good work of charity may go down on their knees with their eyes lifted up to God the Father and give thanks. Persevere in prayer, calling on the name of God, the living One in time of temptation, so that the wisdom of love that dwells in your hearts may resurrect your joy and reveal the face of a new world of justice present in you for the time has come when, “your redemption is at hand.”

ADORATION FOR ALL
A number of people have asked me, “Father, who should come to the adoration?” Only those people who seek to see the face of God, present in their hearts and longs to find their true identity as children of the Father should come and sit at the feet of mercy, to gaze at the beauty of love shining in the Blessed Eucharist. This is a place for all God’s children; a place to give thanks to God for His gift of life for each one us; a place to tell God in tears and joy all that goes on in our lives; a place to offer prayer on behalf of our loved ones; a place to remember to renew one’s love with God; a place of mercy and forgiveness; a place of rest and peace. In this place, we are purified, we are humbled, we are transformed into the image of Christ who spent time, day and night, with His Father in prayer and said to Mary and Joseph, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:47) Adoration is the door to heaven, the ladder that leads to the inner sanctuary of God, a place of kindness and compassion. It is the world of divine imagination, the artistic work of the Holy Spirit molding us anew tenderly in the light of silence. God is waiting patiently day and night and, especially on Wednesday’s from 7 am to 9 pm, for your visit. Do not be afraid to come to Him for He has a present for you; a gift of love and healing given in these words, “Come to me all who are hungry and thirsty, and I will give you rest” or “Come down, for today, I must stay in your house.” (Luke 19: 15)

Fr. Joseph Oganda


Nov. 3, 2013

“… come down quickly for today I must stay at your house.”

What do you seek in life? What is the purpose of the life you are living now? These are fundamental questions about life that still remain unexplored to the fullest. One wise person, Zacchaeus, was out on an expedition. Moved by an inner thirst to understand better the meaning of his life, he became courageous, creative, and surmounted the mount of his limitation, weakness, by taking a very challenging path; the road that Jesus passes by, a road many people are afraid to set their feet on. Zacchaeus had in his granary all the creams, juices and sweetness that life could offer, but he painfully realized that one important wealth, a person, Jesus, the merciful One, was missing in his collections of “things” or possession in his life. Despite the fact that he was very rich in material possessions, he was still very lonely, experiencing emptiness within his heart. His soul was crying for God’s mercy, longing for reconciliation, for an authentic identity, for acceptance as a child of God, to drink from the healing cup of love. Because of his great need to find his true self, he took a life changing path, a humbling decision to “see Jesus.” He was a wise person, because he realized what many people on earth have failed to see clearly; the perfect meaning of life, the true wealth that brings peace and joy which is Jesus Christ who forgives sins at the altar of the Cross.

Zacchaeus received a gift of a lifetime; he was given more than he had hoped for, and it was like winning a heavenly lottery. All he wanted was so simple, just to see Jesus, and did not expect to hear those uplifting and exalting words: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” He became rich at once simply by responding to the call, the invitation to become little again; humble, and by receiving Jesus in his house, opening the door of his heart which had remained closed for a while for the light of freedom and the warmth of redemption to rush in. Zacchaeus was elated, surprised “and came down quickly and received Him with joy.” Jesus brought salvation, true love, comforting peace in his heart which inspired a joyful cry from his heart in the words of transformation, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor.”

Jesus, looking right in the eyes, in the darken hearts of His disciples and the crowd, exclaim, “Today salvation has come to this house.” This message is for you and me. What is preventing you and me from welcoming Jesus completely in our houses, in our hearts? Jesus saw where Zacchaeus was hiding, afraid and called him to come down, to receive forgiveness, and he grabbed the offer with happiness and joy, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” Who do you seek, and where do you look for him? “… come down quickly for today I must stay at your house.” (Luke 19:1-10)

Fr. Joseph Oganda


Oct. 27, 2013

Last Sunday at the Chicken and Dumpling meal, I saw a multitude of generous souls serving God in the wee hours of the morning and into the late night. How beautiful it is to see the people of God coming together for a common purpose, to build a community of faith where a child of six years could serve at a table, a youth of fourteen could set-up a table, adults could prepare food, seniors could arrange tables and chairs, and where hungry and thirsty hearts could sit at one table and eat as a family, sitting side by side in the company of “strangers” who at the end of a wonderful meal, are transformed into neighbors and friends. On this Sunday and many more days of preparation leading to this memorable day, we became a welcoming community when we allowed our hands to get “dirty” as we cooked food. We became a living gospel as we served at tables offered a smile and talked with our visiting guests who honored us by coming to share a meal with us and support our mission, God’s mission of love and charity to the community of Du Quoin. This was an amazing experience of the spirit of togetherness that shall remain written in the corners of our hearts as a sign of God’s work in our community.

To all parishioners and to our friends who made this day a great success, I say, thank you. We ask Almighty God who exalts the humble in His loving kindness to be merciful to all of us today, and in the coming days. Our sincere prayer and hope, is that, the flame of service that was set ablaze on this Sunday, should not be put off, but should be given a chance to burn constantly in our hearts, within our Church, our homes and in our society as a whole, so that, the face of Christ, the perfect servant, who becomes the true food at the table of mercy and reconciliation may satisfy our hunger and thirst for freedom and justice in the Kingdom of life. For the “Lord hears the cry of the poor” who call on him in prayer, in humility, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” May we seek peace and yearn for joy as we embrace the power of Faith that changes hearts and says, “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.”

Fr. Joseph Oganda


Oct. 20, 2013

The Question of Faith –
An answer of Love in the Light of Prayer and in the Spirit of Gratitude

For the last three Sundays in a row, one important message from the Scripture has been: Faith, Faith, and Faith. Three Sundays ago we joined our voices with the apostles and cried out to Jesus: “Lord, increase our faith.” (Luke 17: 5-10) It is a clear sign from this prayer that faith is not something static or something which is lifeless. Faith is a school of growth in the ways of love, a journey taken, not in isolation, but in union and in support with the rest of the Christian Family. True faith leads to a change of heart, a transformation of mind, a longing to be the living Christ on earth who is the shining light of peace and justice.

Last Sunday, the music of Faith, the power of gratitude, reconciliation and humility vibrated in the hidden corners of our hearts, propelling us to leap with joy saying, “Now we know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Jesus Christ, the Food and the Breath of Life. The beauty and the goodness of this holy music reached a crescendo on this Sunday of Thanksgiving when we all embraced and mimicked Christ’s words of salvation and freedom: “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” Go back to your families, society and places of work and there give thanks to God in everything.

Today, in this great heavenly marathon of faith on earth, we see that the victory lies in the termination, persistence, trust in the speed and momentum of the Coach and the Victor, Jesus Christ. “Run to win the race,” drink constantly the water of prayer to protect your body from dehydration, fear. Eat the bread of life to find strength in your heart in time of temptation, pain and suffering. Rest at the feet of Christ, breathing in the air of life, the Word of God. May love be a dear brother, prayer a kind sister, and faith a father and mother who builds the foundation of a family in Him who is faithful to the end; the Way, the Truth and the Life Who asks: “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18: 1- 8). Faith is love, and it never fails.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


Oct. 6, 2013

The Good News: The Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in our Church

Experience has taught us that the best way to know a person better and especially, the one who loves you till death, and the one you love as well, is to spend quality time with them, to share with them your joys and pains and listen to them open the pages of their hearts so that, in this act of heart speaking to heart, what was initially having two different faces, is consumed and consummated, hence, giving birth to Oneness in the likeness of love.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a beautiful ritual of Oneness; of love shared as a treasure of freedom in an atmosphere of active silence, radiating the light of peace. It is a golden hour (s) of unique living experience of intimacy, healing and transformation which results to our response to Christ’s tears and agony for our love and time as he says: “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew, 26:40-41) Our ultimate purpose on earth, the logic of life, is to be with Christ, to listen to His voice in the Word and in creation and to act on His ways truthfully and faithfully. Concerning the person Jesus Christ, God the Father has this to teach us, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” (Mark 9:7)

Staying at rest at the mountain of the Eucharist, at the font of life, is a very special moment of thanksgiving and worship; a sacrificial date with Christ at the table of mercy, allowing him to kiss the lips of your heart with a gentle love and to embrace your soul with the arms of peace, saying to you the same words He spoke to his disciples who were seeking Him in all things and everywhere: “… you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10: 41-42) As was with Mary, who was seduced, and captured by the power of divine love and friendship, you too can make Christ the joy of your longing heart singing, “Your home is within me.”

The exposed Eucharist is a shining star, a guide to God’s lovers, an open gate to heaven, emitting a living force that wins the hearts of the little ones, the humble, and creates a serene space, a beautiful house, a union of hearts, a medicine to chaotic life, a school of trust, a class of humility and patience, whereby, Christ is the servant of savants, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me will never hunger, and whoever believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6:35)

The blessed Eucharist is the heavenly rose on earth producing the fragrance of freedom and redemption. “Better one day (hour) in Your house (in adoration) than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalms 84:11). Learn to “be still and know that I am the Lord” (Psalms 46:11). Those who find Him in the drama of silence, will see His hidden face more clearly in the mystery of chaos, as one who brings order by the power of light even in the world of darkness and speak into our hearts the words of beauty, “He looked at everything He had made and found it very good.” (Genesis 1: 31) In the end, God rested and made rest holy, a time for hospitality, thanksgiving and love.

Jesus has never stopped calling and inviting us again and again “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51) And with a sincere heart we can speak with Him in trust and openness telling Him our deepest poverty so that He may make us rich in sight, in vision: “Lord, I want to see again, I want to see You.” Jesus who come to meet us as One with us, as One of us is the true rest to the restless hearts, hope to the despairing,  health to the sick, way to the lost, light to those who walk in darkness and  eternal food to the hungry.

Jesus made a promise to us, “I will be with you always until the end of time.” (Matthew, 28:20) In the act of active love at the feet of the Lord, in Eucharistic adoration, this promise become present and effective to all who spend quality time in prayer with their eyes fixed to Christ alone. “In that prayerful silence, the deep forces that exist in everyone, but which are normally dormant begin to wake up.” In this holy and pure act of worship and prayer, we meet Christ Jesus in an intimate relationship that words cannot describe, but heart can whisper in the rhythm of silence. This is the greatest vacation, a free ride to the city of love, a safe and comfortable flight to the dwelling of the Lord- inside our inner heart where heaven and earth meet in a heartbeat of faith. “Silence reminds us that God’s word capture us; our words do not capture God.”

Please come and claim what is freely yours, your son-ship, and daughter-ship with the Father. As Pope John Pau II puts it, “Our essential commitment in life is to persevere and advance constantly in Eucharistic life and piety and to grow spiritually in the climate of the Holy Eucharist.” Please do not close the door of your heart to Christ who sits at the altar of your family house, Sacred Heart Parish, waiting to be visited by you, to welcome you, to host you, so that he can serve and attend to all your needs in the atmosphere made quiet and peaceful by the light of the Holy Spirit. “O, come all who are weary, and I will give you rest.”

Fr. Joseph Oganda

THE SOCIETY OF OUR MOTHER OF PEACE: Mission Appeal

Good people of Sacred Heart Parish, your kindness and hospitality is not a secret but a shining light that has led many people to say, “This community is a living sign of Jesus Christ for it speaks the language of charity and acts with the mind of mission spirit.

The Society of Our Mother of Peace, our partners in charity, will bring us great blessings of peace through Fr. John Hansen, S.M.P. on October 5th and 6th at the Saturday 5:00 p.m. Mass and Sunday 9 a.m. Mass. Fr. John Hansen will be visiting our parish for MISSION APPEAL. This is a wonderful opportunity for each of us to express our thanksgiving to God for the many blessings He has constantly given us. The perfect praise to God to share our God given gifts with our brothers and sisters who are in need of our love and assistance.

Fr. Hansen will bring us a gift, the story of their love, service, and peace. In preparation to receive this God given gift, let us approach the altar of God on these days with a gift to share with God in the second collection that will go towards strengthening the work of God in mission fields served by S.M.P. community.

Let us gladly welcome Fr. Hansen in our beautiful community, encouraging and thanking him and his community for the wonderful service they are offering to our brothers and sisters to make the ‘Good News of Peace” reach every corner of the world.

May the God of Peace reward you all abundantly for your sincere kindness and hospitality.

Fr. Joseph Oganda


Sept. 22, 2013:

Faith in the Market Place: Thank you Mr. Robert “Bob” Bytnar.

It is very hard to mix business with faith; it is extremely difficult to serve God and money. Six weeks ago, when I moved to Sacred Heart Parish, Du Quoin, I was told by my predecessor Fr. Nick Junker that one of our parishioners Mr. Robert “Bob” Bytnar was going to be honored. Then I asked Fr. Nick: “He is being honored for what?” He said: “For taking his faith into the Marketplace” I remember making a remark like this: “Are you sure he is not serving money in the name of God?” Fr. Nick simply said: “You and I should give him a visit one of these days so that you can see for yourself”

When we visited Mr. Bytnar’s business with Fr. Nick, the first impression, what I saw and what I heard coming from his own lips left a permanent mark within my heart. The walls of his business were covered with Christian messages such as, “God loves you,”, or, “Jesus is Lord,” or “this ice cream brings you love and peace.” From his own lips, came words such as: “God is in this place,” this is not my business, it is God’s, “God is on my side,” “I thank God for allowing me to serve him in this business- He keeps this business alive. It is not about me, it is about Him who is running it from up there” (pointing to heaven). The manner in which he spoke with his customers, beaming with a gentle smile, thanking them for visiting his business place, inviting them to taste the newest ice cream in the shop and in the city. What I saw with my own eyes and I heard with my own ears left me without any doubt that I was no more of two minds, but of one, concerning Mr. Bytnar’s recognition. I realized at that hour, that I was wrong, to have asked: “Are you sure he is not serving money in the name of God?”

Mr. Bytnar does not just mix ice cream and people; he mixes Jesus with men and women who are thirsty. Mr. Bytnar does not serve money in the name of God, no, he serves men and women in the words of peace and in the action of love. Mr. Bytnar has transformed my heart and those who have visited his business, or “God’s business” as he calls it to believe that, yes, you can mix business with faith, yes, you can serve men and women the perfect ice cream that has come from heaven to earth- Jesus, but, if only, you keep your eyes looking to heaven and saying: “It is not about me but about God who is present in this place.” You too can visit his business and find out for yourself. On behalf of Sacred Heart Parish family, Belleville Diocesan family, we say to you Mr. Bytnar, and to your family. THANK YOU!

Sincerely,
Fr. Joseph


Sept. 15, 2013:

Dance The Music Of Love

A loving and a very concerned mother shared with me the pain of the wound that is eating the joy of life from her heart. Holding back her tears and saying, “I have five wonderful children; I brought them up in the ways of God. Now they are adults with families. Four of them are very committed in their relationship with God but one of my children is causing me sleepless nights. He does not go to Church. He has abandoned the ways of God and is now walking the path of the world-choosing darkness in exchange of light. With a heart full of burden, she asked me, “what must I do, Father, in order to bring back my son to faith-to love God and long for his goodness, beauty and truth?”

This is a concern for many of us present in this Church today and in this great community. We know of a loved one who has abandoned the Father’s care, love and protection or is choosing the ways of the world. Many a times, we find ourselves confused and ask, “what must I do in order to bring my loved one back to God’s embrace of love?”

Never give up praying for your loved ones, keep the door of hope open and alive. For God never takes away his Spirit from those he loves in Christ. The power and the transforming effect of your faith and love shall shake and destroy the walls of pride rooted deep in their hearts, and they shall “come back to their senses” and run, crying out in a loud voice: “I will rise and go to my Father.” And, together as one family, sons and daughters of a compassionate, faithful and loving Father shall join in the heavenly dance of reconciliation and thanksgiving, leaping for joy and singing the music of love around the table of wealth and peace: “My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”

Friends, don’t give in to the power of anger. With a pure heart, come into the house full of compassion and forgiveness, “then let us celebrate with a feast…then, the celebration began.”