Blog & Pastor Letters

Keep Your Family Happy

12-29-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

I lost my great-grandfather in 1976 when I was seven years of age. He died at the age of 98. He looked very old to me. He was a man well respected in our community. After the passing of my great-grandfather, my great-grandmother lived on for another ten years. She passed away in 1986. By this time, I was in High School and in love with photography. I could afford a camera, so I took several pictures of my great-grandmother. It was only after her death that family members began to value her pictures. She was a sweet petite woman and I have memories of her old age even as I was young. I remember vaguely my great-grandparents, but they were an end of a chapter in our family. I watched my grandparents carefully and they did their best to keep up with the family traditions.


Jesus and the Story of My Salvation

12-25-2019AllRev. Victor C. Yakubu

'Oh little town of Bethlehem,' so the song begins. We have sung this song for ages in different versions and forms. We are so familiar with the lyrics that we can afford to look away from the songbook while we sing. It is the story of Jesus born in Bethlehem, a little town of Judea in a lonely manger without comfort or luxury under the watchful eyes of Mary and Joseph.

Today in our homes, the Christmas crib is the most recognizable image with the Christmas tree along with the assorted decorative ornaments we can afford. The song becomes relevant when we sing, 'For Christ is born of Mary.' We gather each year to commemorate this event with all our hearts and with all our love. It is not only Mary that is joyful seeing her child, Joseph too stands in awe at the sight of the baby promised by God. The dream is real!


Take Mary Home

12-22-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

The picture is getting clearer. Joseph is betrothed to Mary. He is a just man. He does not want to break Jewish rules by taking Mary home without going by the customs and traditions of the Jewish people. He knows Mary is a fine woman, born and raised in the Jewish culture. She will not play any games with Joseph. Therefore, they both stay apart waiting for that day when their marriage will be recognized, and then consummated.

The drama becomes tense. An archangel visits Joseph and tells him not to be afraid. The archangel tells him to take Mary home because she will conceive and give birth to a child. This child will be born through the power of the Holy Spirit. Can anybody see the misery of Joseph? Is he to obey the Jewish culture or take Mary home as commanded by the archangel in his dream? The pains of Joseph are greater than those of because he could be killed for violating the culture in which they both live. Mary will have her pains too; pains far greater than what Joseph experiences.


Blooming in Christ

12-15-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

The world has witnessed new beginnings too innumerable to count. A few examples can help here. After the flood, the biblical Noah and his family started life afresh. In more recent history, after the First and Second World Wars people set about the task of rebuilding their families and nations. Again, after the 911 events, America set about rebuilding itself to face the challenges ahead. There are many examples to show how resilient human beings can be after undergoing tumultuous times.

Babies learn to walk. One-minute they fall but rise the next and continue their efforts. Parents smile with joy at their first steps. Babies learn to persevere. People who are ready to learn lessons from the past can reset their future today. And when you visualize how your future may be, then you can start building it here and now. The Christian man or woman is a person filled with faith that seeks to bloom in the present no matter how ugly conditions are.


Repentance and the Gift of Second Chance

12-08-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

As a parent, your behavior towards your children should always be the best. You can be harsh with friends, but in your home, you should be gentle with your children by loving them tenderly. In fact, you treat those you love with kindness and complete tolerance. Children by their nature learn quickly from those around them, and especially parents who are the closest to them. Every child usually reflects his parent's character or perhaps the character of both.

When teaching your children, you let them know what is good or evil. They make mistakes . But your instinct as a parent is to forgive, to tolerate, and to focus on your job of teaching good behavior. The ability to offer your children a second chance does not degrade your role as a parent, but it enhances the bonds within the family so the strong can help the weak. That is what family is all about: loving, supporting, and caring for each other. For this reason, parents should lead their children with good examples in words and in deeds.


Walking in the Light of the Lord

12-01-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

Advent is the season we prepare for the coming of the Lord. It is strange that we highly prepare for the coming of the Lord every year, as if that is the only event in Christianity. Indeed, it is not only the outstanding event but also the definitive in Christianity when Christians remember the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem of Judea. Every year the Church commemorates his first appearance of Jesus with a religious ceremony known to all as Christmas. The taking of flesh of Jesus as a man that lived among us is known as the Incarnation.


Jesus and the Quest for Leadership in a Fragmented World

11-24-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

The virtue of human life is to be content with what you have. What makes life meaningful is the ability to acknowledge the blessings we receive from family and friends. If you grumble every day because of what you don't have, you may not appreciate what you have. On the other hand, if everyone got what they ever wanted, they may grow up to be arrogant. It however does not diminish the desire to seek what you want by keeping a positive attitude that those things can materialize tomorrow. Hope therefore, is a virtue that urges you to keep a positive posture that your dreams will come true someday.

From all indications, a review of the world's woes can directly be attributable to individuals who feel dissatisfied by certain standards in the world. Instead of accepting opposing views, they indulge in violent means towards a resolution as compared to a dialogue. The number of dissenting voices or groups is growing day by day and the effect of their collective dissatisfaction has rendered many innocent souls destabilized. This makes leadership uniquely important in guiding nations, peoples, individuals, or groups towards convening at the dialogue table to resolve those glaring differences. Most often the leadership gaps we identify can either increase the tensions between dissenting groups or lessen our focus for solutions.


The End of the World

11-17-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

Throughout the history of the world, humans have obsessed themselves with how the world will end. It is natural to ask whether the world we live in will end at some point in time. But let us pause a moment to ask equally whether humans truly understand the origins of human life? Indeed, scientists have developed many theories on the origins of human life. Credit must be given to them for the research theories such as the theory of evolution or the big band theory. All these theories and many unpopular ones only reflect our desire to understand where we came from and what will happen to us. In a way, this gives credit to the human desire to ask about how the end will be.

Answers to the question of the end of the world are based on human observation on factors such as wars, weather, migration, economic imbalances, or other natural forces. As long as the world exists, humans will keep speculating on how the world will end.

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Marriage, Remarriage, and the Resurrection

11-10-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

In March 2016, Pope Francis released a document entitled Amoris Laetitia about the family. In it, the pontiff discusses marriage and his position on divorced Catholics who remarry civilly. For a long time, the Church has always taught that those who separate after a Catholic sacramental marriage and remarry in the civil way, cannot receive Holy Communion. In Chapter eight, the pope indicated that this could change through "discernment regarding the possible access to the sacraments of some of those who are divorced and in a new union." He chose his words carefully for the understanding in the Catholic world and beyond. A whole series of dialogue continues whether remarried couples in the civil way can receive Holy Communion.

Prior to this exhortation by Pope Francis, there were two Synods of Bishops on the Family in October 2014 and in 2015 in Rome. The pope seems to indicate that his position in Amoris Laetitia is based on the fruits of these two synods. Many dioceses all over the Catholic world have been studying the exhortation carefully in order not to water down the centuries-old teaching of the Church. Remarried couples like any other Catholics, need salvation through the reception of the sacraments of the Church. But this does not mean that the teachings of the Church should be reduced to accommodate couples who do not remarry in the Church but choose to do so in the civil way. By not recognizing the importance of the sacrament of marriage, they alienate themselves from Holy Communion.


Salvation For All People

11-03-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

The story of Zacchaeus is a popular biblical discourse that bible students never easily forget because "he was short in stature." The story of Zacchaeus is always interesting to read. I often ask myself why Zacchaeus had to give half his possessions to the poor or promise to repay four times all those he had extorted. I often ask myself why a man of great wealth could dispose of it for no just reason. Was he excited by meeting Jesus? Finding answers to these questions to know the state of mind of Zacchaeus may be difficult. But reflecting on the story reveals that he desired a better life. The gospel tells us that he was from Jericho, and he was the chief tax collector of that town. By knowing his profession, we can say that he was familiar with cash flows. I can imagine how much money he extorted from the citizens on behalf of the Romans.

From reading biblical commentaries, I know that tax collectors increased percentages on amounts they collected in order to cover their administrative costs. As the chief tax collector, I imagine that Zacchaeus had a staff that was large and aggressive in collecting taxes. This job gave him fame and made him infamous for two reasons. While the Roman authorities pressured Zacchaeus to collect taxes for the numerous projects of the empire, he, in turn, pressured the citizens to pay or be locked up. Some unlucky citizens were even sold to cover their taxes. The Romans considered tax evasion a criminal offense. So, imagine Zacchaeus in the middle of these two sides: always receiving and always giving.


Politics, Religion and Justification

10-27-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

Many years ago, Catholics were taught that politics is a dirty venture and that politicians speak from both sides of their mouths. They say one thing today and tomorrow their interest shifts to another. Henry Kissinger, the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Secretary of State once said, "America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests." While the interpretation of this saying can vary depending on political ideology, this makes the subject of politics a heated one. Politicians do not have permanent friends or enemies but self-interests that serve their goals. The three presidential debates leading to the US elections on November 8, have given us inklings to what politicians can do or can say just to clinch the exalted position of president.


Prayer, Persistence, and Seeking Jusce

10-20-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

The dishonest judge in today's gospel is a story told by Jesus to illustrate to us how persistence, of any kind, can pay off at the end. Although the dishonest judge neither feared God nor man, he was moved by pity to render justice to the widow. The words Jesus used in describing the two actors are perfect for understanding the situation. "While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me, I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me." The widow feared that justice could be perverted against her. The hope she had was persisting until the judge was on her side.


Jesus and the Ten Lepers

10-13-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease (HD), is an infectious disease that afflicts mostly the skin and eyes. It causes great discomfort to the victim. The good news is that modern medicine can cure leprosy now with the right doses of antibiotics. The bad news is that at the time of Jesus, lepers were not so lucky with any cure. They were removed from the community and kept at the outskirt of any town to prevent infecting whole communities. The isolation of lepers from the community is still practiced as a precautionary measure against the rise of an epidemic. We may liken leprosy to the epidemic of Ebola which has devastated communities in Africa. Medical science is still battling to provide a cure to this virus.


The Challenge of Living the Faith Today

10-06-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (2010), 32% of the world's population professes the Christian faith. The largest numbers of Christians are found in Mexico with over 107 million that is 95% of the population; Brazil has 175 million that is 90.2% of the population; and the United States has 246 million Christians that is 79.5% of the population. In another perspective, Europe has 25.9% Christians, Sub-Saharan Africa has 23.6% Christians, the Americas have 36.6% Christians, the East Pacific has 13.1% Christians, and the Middle East and North Africa has 0.06% Christians.

From the numbers and statistics above, we can see that Christianity has a large following across the world. We can notice that the birthplace of Christianity has base number. Persecution and immigration account for the low stats. However, the number of world Christians is 2.2 billion constituting 32% out of the over 7 billion population of the world.