BY: Fr Francis Onwunali

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Patrick, bishop. The apostle of Ireland was born in Great Britain about 385, taken captive, and sold as slave to Ireland as a young boy. He worked as a herdsman, escaped, and decided to become a priest. He was later made Bishop of Ireland and was indefatigable in preaching the faith throughout the country and in organizing the Church there. He died in about 461 and was buried at Downpatrick. He is also the Secondary Patron of Nigeria.

Love and relationship are the key functional themes in today’s readings. Love is the essence of who God is as Trinity, in whom we experience a perfect relationship of communion between the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God, in His own initiative, chose to share this loving relationship with creation and, most importantly, in His image and likeness with humanity, the crown of creation.

In the first reading (Hosea 14: 2-10), the Prophet Hosea speaks to the people of his time and to us about turning away from sin and returning to this loving relationship with God. If we are able to do so, God will give us new life, abundant life. We shall be strong and bear good and rich fruits. God still maintains His promise: “I will heal their disloyalty, I will love them with all my heart, for my anger has turned from them.”
In the gospel (Mark 12: 28-34), Jesus responds to the Pharisees who pride themselves in the knowledge of the law. Jesus presented the great commandment: the love of God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; the second, the love of neighbour as ourselves.

Dear friends, the only thing that God requires of us is to love as He loves. All of God’s actions flow from love, and if we love as He loves, then all our actions will surely flow from love. Through the Psalmist, God reproaches us: “I am the Lord your God; listen to my warning…. Let there be no foreign god among you, no worship of an alien god” (Ps. 81: 8-9). Is there anything taking the centre of your life apart from God? Are you able to have love as the bedrock of all your actions?
I pray as we journey in life today, nothing, not even death, can come between us and the love of God. May no material possession, desires, emotions, or feelings remove our focus on our loving relationship with God and our neighbour. Have a Love-full day!

@Fr Francis Onwunali


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