Get up and eat 19 Sunday 2018 B

Friends, our civilization is threatened by false ideologies and backsliding from the church. Faith in God and all that has to do with Christianity is subjected to serious attacks both inside and out. Attending gay parades has become normal for many people. Since the first gay parade in the United States in 1970, the number of participants have increased each year. In Sweden, most people are afraid of being stamped antigay. Thousands of people participate in the parades around Sweden. In many cities around the world, the Rainbow Festival, Pride, is claimed to honour diversity and give attention to the situation of HBTQ people. Do these parades honour God? Does the gay parade stand under God's blessing, do homosexuality and lesbianism stand under God's blessing? These are important issues that each of us must answer.

In this context, the correct answer can only come from God's Word and will for humanity. The kingdom of Christ is different from the kingdoms of the earth and their glory, as Satan shows us. He never ceases to show them to us. The attempt to make faith a political factor has always failed. The kingdom of Christ cannot be reduced to a political empire. It is a temptation that has arisen in various forms through history. The kingdom of Jesus cannot be identical to any political system such as democracy, socialism, communism. There is always a choice to be made.

The choice between Jesus and Barabbas - a prominent freedom fighter, a messianic figure is no coincidence. Here are two forms of messianism against each other. Also, bear in mind that the name Bar-Abbas means the father's son. Here we can also think of the last messianic war of the Jews 132, led by Bar-Kokba, son of the star, the same name as Bar-Abbas. Origens tells us that Bar-Abbas's full name was Jesus Barabbas - Jesus father's son. The choice stood between a Messiah who came in war, who promises to the people their own kingdom and one who proclaims the kingdom of God. No wonder the people chose Barabbas. Our time like Jesus' time once again chooses Barabbas, the gay parade- pride festivals and all that comes with it. We are offered strange sensations that endanger the religious experience of our lives. Let's call on the God of Elijah and Jesus, the bread of life to raise us and give us the strength not to be misled.

From the beginning, some creatures of some God chose to rebel against him. The devil rebelled against God and other angels joined him (Gen. 6: 1-5). This has a great influence over our world. Therefore, it should not surprise us when people join in the service of evil and make themselves willing collaborators in godlessness. The Scripture tells us that "the whole world is under the power of evil" (1Joh 5:19). The devil and demons are furious and mislead the whole world. People will continue to choose Barabbas instead of Jesus Christ. It feels like we are experiencing the end of Christianity. It is a different mindset that exalts itself than embrace Christian humility and the sense of the holy It is denies the truth that only in the Christian faith there is hope.

When I preached the previous Sunday on the manna in the desert on the multiplication of bread and fish by Jesus, I emphasized the importance of food for humans and how lack of it can lead to doubt and unfaithfulness. In Deuteronomy, we read about how thirst and hunger in the desert were close to causing Israel to deny God. It led to rebellion against Moses, which became a rebellion against God. They tested the Lord in what they said, "Is the Lord among us or not?” (Exodus 17: 7).

­­­­­­­­­­­­­The story of prophet Elijah confirms this (1 King 19: 4-8). After Elijah had defeated Baal's prophets and showed that the God of Israel is the only true God, his life was in danger. Jezebel, the wife of Ahab's wife, threatened to kill him as he Elijah killed the prophets of Baal. The fear for his life led him to fly the land. He took off to Mount Horeb in Sinai where God had made a covenant with his people. It was a 300-mile journey. On the way, he ran short of food and water and was extremely tired and therefore wished he were dead: "That's enough. Now take my life, Lord, for I am not better than my fathers. " He laid down and slept, but God's angel came and gave him food twice and he regained strength to reach Horeb where God showed him that he is not an angry God but a merciful God (1 Kings 19: 9-12). God commanded Elijah to anoint Jehu to replace King Ahab. In this way, he teaches Elijah how to relate to his people.

Here we have a story that can encourage and give us comfort. Elijah was a prophet, God's representative and a man filled with God's zeal and power. Still, he was like us all. He was tired of fighting a losing battle. He wanted to give up and flee. He wanted God to take his life. Despite all his endeavours, the people were still filled with sin and idolatry. Perhaps there are many of us as the verge of as it seems darkness is winning over light. Our powerlessness and frustration are sometimes so strong that we cannot take more. God lifted Elijah up. God will also lift you up from the valley of darkness. As we get tired of the journey of our life and the journey of faith, let’s ask God to give us the strength of Elijah so that we can reach his mountain and be renewed.

We learn from Paul's letter to the Ephesians that love is the hallmark of the Christian life and its the essence. (Eph 4: 30-5: 2). Through this, everyone will know that we are the disciples of Jesus (John 13:15). It is this basic Christian characteristic that Paul challenges the Ephesians to practice. It is also the same word he addressed to us today. He gives us concrete ways we should relate to our fellow human beings: "Get rid of bitterness, do not have grudges against others, or lose your temper, or raise your voice, or call others names, or allow any sort of spitefulness. What should we do then? How should we love? Paul writes: Be good to each other, show compassion and forgive one another, just as God has forgiven you in Christ ... live in love. "

We live in a time when most people are selfish and cruel to other fellow human beings. Often, we accuse others of making us angry. No, we choose how we respond to other’s provocations. We always have a choice. It's just when others insult or are not nice to us that we can know who we are-bad or good persons, whether we are saints or sinners, proud or humble. We need more than ever to hear Paul's words.

There is wickedness everywhere today, but God allows it temporarily (2 Pet 3: 7-9). God has not created evil people. He has created all of us in his image, with the inclination to imitate his love. But God also gave us free will. Since the first fall of Adam and Eve, we have inherited the tendency to sin (Deuteronomy 32: 4, 5). The Bible clearly states that there will be a judgment day. You can trust this because God's word always stands firm and accomplishes what it says. God will intervene in his day. The Bible shows that the word and promises of God for the future are not empty words. The more we get to know God, the more convinced we become that he cares about us (1 Pet 5: 7).

From the very beginning, there have been people and organizations who have opposed Jesus and his teachings. They consciously spread, and some unconscious lies and falsehoods so that people do not know God, believe in His Son, Jesus, and live in the Holy Ghost. Antichrist holds millions of people in spiritual darkness. Antichrist-inspired organizations exist everywhere today, confusing the words of Christ and replacing it with false ideologies.

We live in a world where God is not apparent, a world in which water is more necessary than God, where God does not intervene. In order for us to hold on to God's faith, we must be able to resist the delusions of false philosophies and realize that we are not only living in bread, by gay parades, but primarily by obedience to the word of God. Only when this obedience is translated into life is it growing. Our most important asset is our faith in Jesus, the Son of God, born of Mary, whom we have received as our Lord and God and our future faith in a better spiritual place for all the children of God.

Evangelist John highlights the necessity of believing in Jesus Christ to enter the kingdom of heaven (John 6: 41-51). Jesus wants to give us his body as spiritual food for our wandering here on earth. It is Jesus' last supper, which becomes the eucharist of the Church where Jesus constant gives us his flesh to eat. Jesus himself has become the wheat grain that dies to bear rich fruit (John 12:24). He himself has become bread for us, and this bread lasts until the end of time. In this context, we can remember Jesus' first words in the wilderness, which he takes from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 8: 3) to reject the devil: "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that goes forth from the mouth of God (Matthew 4: 4). In order to accept the teachings of the Eucharist, we must first of all believe in the divinity of Jesus. Christ claims to be the Son of God and thus God himself. The reason for unfaithfulness today is the same as it was during Jesus' day in 29th Century.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us thank God for the gift of faith. God has loved and called us to fellowship with himself in heaven. What more can we ask for? At every Eucharistic celebration, we are flown to the kingdom of Heaven. God calls us to get up and eat as he awoke his prophet Elijah and strengthened him. Chikezie Onuoha MSP.

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