Saturday, 31 October 2015

IS HEAVEN REALLY REAL?” HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD NOVEMBER 1st Is there really heaven; the perfect place of eternal happiness? What is life like in heaven from dawn to dusk? How large is the place and how many (many) mansions are really there as our Lord mentioned in the Gospel of John (14:2-3)? Do people there do sports and play games? What do people there eat? People say that those in heaven keep singing and praising God will they not get tired and bored? These and similar imaginative questions have being asked by many and of course some imaginative answers have also being given because nobody on earth can claim to have comprehensive knowledge about heaven. It will be fitting today to ask ourselves what we think about heaven, the place every well-meaning Christian should be aspiring to go after the short time we have on this earth. As a child, I had the idea of heaven as a place you don’t have to run errands for anyone or be flogged by any teacher; a place you can eat anything you want just by mentioning it. Excuse my little imaginative mind, I was looking for remedy from errands and punishments. For us today, we can rethink heaven by asking some pertinent questions like: “If I die now will I be qualified to be in heaven?” May be, we first have to establish that there are reasons to believe that heaven is real. Our conviction about a place of eternal bliss after our sojourn here on earth is based on numerous biblical confirmations. During the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord Jesus Christ among other things said: “blessed are the poor in Spirit for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them” (Matt. 5:3); he also said: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). Furthermore in the gospel of John (14:2) our Lord said: “In my father’s house there are many mansions if it were not so I would have to you. I am going to prepare a place for you!” In his letter to the Corinthians (1Cor 2:9) St. Paul said: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither has it entered into any mind what God has prepared for those who love him!” He also said that we have a better place after the destruction of this our earthly dwelling place. (2nd Cor: 5:1). St. Paul did not stop at these, we went further in his letter to the Philippians (3:20-21) to state: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself”.      We have another confirmation from the vision of St. John in the book of Revelation (7:9ff). Here, we have the whole scenario or if you like, the eternal picturesque of heaven. In his account, John looked up and saw a huge number of people impossible to count standing before the throne of the lamb with palms in their hands. To confirm what he saw, John asked “who are these?” and he was told they are people who have been through great persecution and they have washed their robes in the blood of the lamb. It is worth noting that the robes washed in the blood became dazzlingly white not red. This is an indication that the people in question soaked themselves not just in physical blood, but in purifying blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sainthood is a facility that is open for all of us. This facility continues to be open for you and for me insofar as we are alive. For us to achieve sainthood, which is the end product of our pilgrimage on earth, we need to know: 1)       Where we came from: (We came from God our Creator). 2)       Who we are: (We are Children of God). 3)       Where we are going to: (We are citizens of heaven).      “How can we get to our destination?” This is a question that each and every Christian should be asking himself or herself daily. On this, God did not leave us clueless. From the beatitudes, we are presented with values that will aid us to attain eternity. The beatitudes we heard today from the Gospel of Matthew (5:1-12) are not merely “dos” and “don’ts”. They rather are expressive of core values that will make our journey back to God possible: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This means that blessed are people who depend on God always to get their way for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. This means that blessed are people who are sad for the loss of good values for they shall be comforted by God Himself. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. This means that blessed are those who are truly humble in heart for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. This means that blessed are those who are truly and deeply desirous of God and things of God for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. This means that blessed are the people who show mercy to others by bearing with them and forgiving them, for they shall have the same treatment from God.     Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. This means blessed are the people who do not harbour evil in their hearts for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. This means that blessed are people who keep or create peace, for they shall be called sons (and daughters) of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This means that blessed are people who are hurt in any way because of their good deeds and morals, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.     We have all it takes to make heaven and thus be numbered among the saints. We have the word of God which is read and explained to us on daily basis, we have the sacraments especially the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and reconciliation very much available to us. Just as heaven is real so is hell also real. We make heaven starting from the things we do here on earth and the same is applicable to hell. “What will it then profit us if after the challenges of live and the attendant undulations we still suffer the loss of our souls in hell?” (Mark 8:36) There is no better time for us to prepare for heaven than now. Today we are celebrating the joy of our brothers and sisters who ran the race and won the prize of glory. Today, we are also celebrating the glory of heaven; the place we need to be. We are challenged to follow the path that will lead us to heaven. Happy All Saints Day and may God’s mercy lead you on! And may you be numbered among the saints in heaven after the little time we have to stay here on earth! Fr. Bonnie.

Homily for Nov. 1 2015

Friday, 30 October 2015

Sat. Oct. 31 2015 VANGUARD *MTN gets November deadline to pay N1.4trn fine *Photos: Buhari departs New Delhi, arrives in Nigeria *ELECTION TRIBUNALS: PDP accuses Buhari of interference *Pwajok's death, great loss to Nigeria- Buhari *CBN refuses to devalue Naira, plans PAVE *Court jails oil thieves for 84yrs *We'll complete Corps members hostel soon ' Ugwuanyi *Intrigues that aborted APC's conquest in Delta Of Fulani Rapists and Enugu Women Protest *Rivers: Nothing unusual about tribunal's ruling ' Anyadubalu *Labour and Ugwuanyi's passion in Enugu *Rivers: Tribunal judgment'll check election violence. *Tribunal judgment: PDP wails, APC celebrates, peace reigns amidst tension in Rivers . PUNCH *APC Reps want Dogara to retrieve 'juicy' committees from PDP *Nigerians demand public asset declaration from Buhari's ministers *Rivers politicians turn to God after tribunal verdict *StarTimes appoints Kanu as brand ambassador *Nigeria broke, can't pay ministers ' Buhari 'says powerful Nigerians frustrating anti-graft war *SA to return seized $9m to Nigeria Nov 30 *Despite walkout, we're loyal to Saraki 'PDP senators *A' Court dismisses Saraki's appeal against CCT trial *Court stops Sanusi from demolishing Kano palace *FG arraigns Orubebe for N70m bribery Nov 9 . TRIBUNE *Screening: Saraki seeks truce with PDP senators 'Reaches out to opposition over Amaechi *Ita-Giwa tackles ex-DIG Omeben over Dele Giwa's death *FG takes Orubebe to Code of Conduct Tribunal *Tight security as Ooni-elect spends Day 2 in seclusion *BVN: Low turnout greets deadline despite banks' warning *Stop making noise and start rebranding, APC tells PDP *We won't devalue naira again, says Central Bank of Nigeria governor *Cross River government suspends permanent secretary over ban on morning devotion in schools *Names of senior Customs officers retired on Friday *Court bars Emir of Kano from demolishing buildings, graves of ex-emirs inside palace *Muslims turn out in large number to worship in bombed mosque in Adamawa *7 illegal oil bunkerers jailed 12 years each over vandalism, oil theft *PDP senators declare confidence in Saraki as Senate Presidency *My dad gave me confidence to join City 'Iheanacho . SUN *Amaechi: PDP commends senators Mimiko raises hope on Ondo produce export *Court of Appeal: rules Saraki trial to continue *Abandoned federal roads haunt Obasanjo, Jonathan *Rebrand or go down, APC tells PDP *Assets declaration trial: Saraki goes to Supreme Court *Court stops Emir of Kano from demolishing palace *Lamentations of retired military men: We regret serving Nigeria *Buhari mourns Pwajok *Court stops Emir of Kano from demolishing palace *Customs retires 34 officers . 31/10 in History of Nigeria Year:History 1907: The Yaba Lunatic Asylum opened in Lagos, Nigeria, taking in 8 female and 6 male patients. 1959: Western Nigeria Television, the first television station in Africa, began transmission in Ibadan, Nigeria 1995: Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others sentenced to death by hanging by a special tribunal setup by the General Sani Abacha regime .


Monday, 26 October 2015

Tue. Oct. 27 2015 PUNCH * Jail Rivers electoral offenders – NHRC * Wike: PDP summons emergency national caucus meeting * We’ll shut down Nigerian embassy in India-pro-Biafra activists * Oritsejafor deceived Jonathan with false election prophecy – Okotie * 50 child traffickers jailed in Edo, Delta – NAPTIP * Inadequate funds affecting economic empowerment — Ibrahim VANGUARD * 300 houses submerged, as River Benue overflows its banks * Buhari’s anti-corruption war, a step in right direction — Kumuyi * 60% of illegal arms in S/East produced locally — Presidential C’ttee * Rivers re-run polls split senators over Amaechi * FULANI HERDSMEN: Afenifere fires back at Kwankwaso * FIFA Presidency: No Nigerian in sight as deadline ends TRIBUNE * Rivers tribunal judgment too hasty —Mimiko •Wike, APC trade words over judgment * Oil firms get 72-hr ultimatum to shut down operations * Why investors shun Nigeria’s oil sector —EU * Screening: Presidency backs Senate’s procedure on Amaechi * Man lands in court for impregnating 12-year-old daughter in Benue * Tribunal sacks Speaker, 20 PDP Assembly members in Rivers THISDAY * Senate Leadership Commended for Promoting Peace, Unity in Ministerial Confirmation * 75% Nigerians Lack Access to Regular Power Supply, Says NAEE * Terrorism: 31 Suspects Face Prosecution for Possession of Weapons * Boko Haram Depleted, on the Run, but Dangerous - AIG * Mimiko: Rivers Tribunal's Judgment Hasty, Embarrassing * NERC to Apply Principles of Prudence, Affordability in Tariff Review . 27/10 in History of Nigeria Year: History 1910: Professor Cornelius Olaleye Taiwo, renowned educationist and author, was born at Oru-Ijebu in Ogun State, Nigeria 1947: Prince Abubakar Audu, two time governor of Kogi state (1992-93; 1999-2003), was born. 2009: Pa Soludo, father of former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo was kidnapped. Prof Soludo was then aspiring to PDP's flagbearer for the states gubernatorial elections.

Today's headline

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Fri. Oct. 23 2015 PUNCH * PDP senators kick as Senate screens Amaechi …vow to oppose ex-gov’s confirmation •I’ve never taken bribe in my life – Amaechi * Nyanya bombings: Suspect pleads guilty to possessing IEDs * Electricity tariffs to rise by 40% next month * Corruption not Nigeria’s primary problem, Nwabueze tells Buhari * Unpaid tuition forces Rivers students home from UK * Tribunal reserves judgment in Peterside’s petition against Wike VANGUARD * IMF urges Nigeria to devalue naira * 800,000 commit suicide from depression annually—DON * Akwa Ibom Governorship judgment: More confusion * Bayelsa Independent Electoral Commission releases final timetable for LG poll * I served as minister without pay —Falae * EFCC tenders evidence against Lamido, 2 sons THISDAY * Unbundled PIB to be Resubmitted to Parliament in First Quarter 2016 * Armed Robbers Attack Motorists Unhindered in Lagos Traffic * Nigeria’s Comparative Advantages Must Shown to the World * World Bank Revises Oil Price Forecast to $52 * Saraki, AGF, FCC Sued over Women’s State of Origin * 300 Students of Federal Govt College Ekiti Infected with Cholera THE SUN * FG enlists services of South African mercenaries to combat Boko Haram * Rivers: Wike, Peterside’s fate hangs as tribunal reserves judgment * Abuja bombings Drama as accused pleads guilty, recants * Ministerial screening: Amaechi knows fate Tuesday * Dogara makes fresh push for state assemblies, LGs autonomy * FG maps out strategy for successful implementation of SDGs. TRIBUNE *Woman, who survived Lagos collapsed building, dies *Nigeria hires 250 mercenaries against Boko Haram *Rehabilitate failed portions of Lagos-Badagry Express Road, Reps tell FERMA *Lamido: EFCC presents 4 witnesses *Rivers gov poll: Tribunal reserves date to decide Wike's fate *Godly leaders must have servants' attitude -Buhari *Saraki's trial not APC's business -Gbajabiamila *Don't be slaves to govs, Dogara tells states assembly *Corruption: Foundation seeks inclusion of philosophy in school curriculum 'Hails Buhari's anti-corruption stance *Old woman rescued from collapsed Lagos building is dead *UPDATED: APC gets 48, PDP, 45 chairmanship seats as House of Reps Speaker named 96 committees *Senate fails to screen University of Ibadan vice chancellor, clears Amaechi, 4 other minister nominees . 23/10 in History of Nigeria Year: History 1962: Richard Dick Tiger" Ihetu won the world middle weight boxing crown beating Gene Fullmer by unanimous decision at the Candlestick Park, San Francisco, USA 1963: Rashidi Yekini was born in Kaduna. He was footballer who played as a striker. He scored nearly 38 goals as a Nigerian international, and represented the nation in five major tournaments, including two World Cups, where he scored the country's first-ever goal in the competition. He was also named the African Footballer of the Year once (1993). 2005: Former first lady Stella Obasanjo died a few weeks before her 60th birthday from complications of cosmetic surgery at a private health clinic in Puerto BanĂºs, Marbella, Spain.

Todays headlines

Monday, 19 October 2015

Tue. Oct. 20 2015 PUNCH * Return Africa’s stolen funds, Lamorde tells US, UK * ‘Goods clearance at Lagos ports requires 110 signatures’ * Confusion over Saraki’s trial on Wednesday * Buhari fighting corruption like Obasanjo – Adebanjo * N33.8bn debt: Nigeria gives Ghana February ultimatum * Nigerian politicians perceived as rogues – Mimiko VANGUARD * Appeal Court adjourns Saraki's suit indefinitely * Ekweremadu explains why some amendments failed during constitutional reviews * Boko Haram: Weather, logistics challenges threatening December deadline, Service Chiefs tell Buhari * Is this secession threat, a crack on the wall? * CRUDE: Nigeria reaches out to Asian refiners * Nigeria, others lost $4bn to shady oil deals – GLOBAL WITNESS THISDAY * DSS Effects Mass Transfer of Officers from Akwa Ibom * DSS Grants Radio Biafra Director Bail * Six Ministerial Nominees in Closed-door Meeting with Dogara * FG to Introduce Smart Climate Policies to Address Rural Poverty * PDP Complaints Can’t Stop Arrests, Says APC * FIFA Presidency: Blatter Backs African Successor THE SUN * CCT: Appeal Court postpones ruling in Saraki’s case * FG’ll not micromanage anti-graft agencies –APC * EFCC quizzes ex-Kebbi gov, Dakingari * Flood sacks 1,000 in Rivers, submerges 50 buildings * Senator identifies 13 factors responsible for Boko Haram * There’re lapses in Electoral Act –INEC boss 20/10 in History of Nigeria Year: History 1992: Mr Johnson surrenders Monrovia Liberia and is exiled to Nigeria 2005: Nigeria reached an agreement over its $30.4 billion debt to 15 Paris Club members. Under the deal, $18 billion was cancelled. The remaining $12.4 billion was to be paid to the creditors upfront.

Today's Headlines

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Mon. Oct. 19 2015 TRIBUNE *We need time to explain how Abacha's loot was disbursed - World Bank *Ministerial screening: Fireworks continue over Amaechi, Sokoto nominee *We'll continue to make Tribune titles excel - Awolowo family *Police uncover 10-metre hole dug to rob Akure bank *Updated: You're still a dictator, PDP tells Buhari Nwobodo,Akala,NASFAT hail HID Awolowo *Osinbajo, Ambode, Adenuga, others, to attend inauguration of Catholic Varsity in Lagos *You don't have to be an ex-footballer to become FIFA president - Adamu *Oliseh may drop Emenike from Eagles squad . THE NATION *APC, PDP senators set for battle over Amaechi *Africa adopts common stance on refugees *UN hails Nigeria over fight against Boko Haram *India protests as NNPC holds N5.2b oil block cash for 9 years *Ekiti APC accuses Fayose of mismanagement *Ex-minister Olaiya Oni is dead *Your actions insulting, Deji tells Igbo *Police parade suspected hacker, five others *Five injured in Ondo auto crash *Boko Haram kills 12 in Adamawa village attack . SUN *Tin Can Island Customs generates N189.8bn in 9 months *Ministerial screening: Trouble not over for Amaechi *Osinbajo to grace The Sun National Communications Summit *Akpabio's trial politically motivated 'PDP *We want Awolowo State *Boko Haram storms Adamawa village, kills 12 *Police halt recruitment of 10,000 officers approved by Buhari *Group protests tribunal's ruling in Abia *3 medical doctors kidnapped *Gale of defections unsettle Delta PDP *Ministerial nominees: APC chieftain commends PDP *Govern or resign, ex-PDP scribe tells Okorocha *No plot against Gov Abubakar ' Damina, Bauchi Speaker *PDP alleges plot to rig Bayelsa poll as CP, DSS chief are moved . THISDAY *Regular Sex, Exercise Minimise Prostrate Cancer *Ekweremadu Vows to Initiate Bill to Address Collapsed Road Infrastructure *Akpabio's Arrest Politically Motivated, Says PDP *Fayose: Why I Didn't Abandon Jonathan after 2015 Elections *The Authority NewspaperDebuts at News Stands *Former Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Alhaji Abubakar Chika *Delta Apologises to NYSC Members over Unpaid Stipends . VANGUARD *Tanker driver dies, 6 injured in Ogun auto crash *Detectives foil bank robbery in Ondo *Gridlock persists on Apapa-Oshodi expressway ' LASG *Consumer credit and mortgage financing can help fight corruption *Why gridlock persists on Apapa-Oshodi expressway ' LASG 19/10 in History of Nigeria YearHistory 1934: General Yakubu Gowon, president of Nigeria (1966-75), was born. 1986: Dele Giwa, journalist, editor and founder of Newswatch magazine, was killed by a mail bomb in his home.

Todays Headline

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Thurs. Oct. 15 2015 THE GUARDIAN * ‘Nigeria must decide on state police, subsidy’ * Society harps on test for malaria before treatment * Nigeria needs more hospices, palliative centres, says HPCAN * ‘Nigeria lost $2.1b in tax waiver to oil, gas firms’ * Anambra female tutor emerges ‘Teacher of the Year’ * Multiple Explosions kill 7 in Borno – police VANGUARD * FG to ban rice importation next 2 years * Kachikwu, Fashola, steal show at Senate screening * Reps want federal character in recruitment of 10,000 policemen * No sacred cow in anti-corruption war—OSINBAJO * TSA: FG freezes INEC’s accounts over non-compliance * As president, insults were pleasant to me — Obasanjo TRIBUNE * Obama sends 300 troops, drones to Cameroon to battle Boko Haram * House of Reps to probe sale of power assets by BPE under Jonathan * Attacks by Boko Haram have reduced in Nigeria, says Buhari * Nigeria loses $15bn to non-passage of PIB - Kachikwu * Akpabio, Dankwambo win at Tribunal * Fuel crisis looms in Rivers over police brutality No one was manhandled - CP THE SUN * Onu, Dambazzau, Ogbeh, Fashola, 14 others confirmed as ministers * Boko Haram’ll stop when Biafra gains freedom – Uwazuruike *Local rice producers kick against opening land borders * Huge challenge for APC as Lai Mohammed exits * Buhari’s anti-corruption war yielding results –Nwosu, PDP Chieftain * Your anti-corruption war is selective, Jonathan’s former aides tell Buhari . PUNCH *FG to release $10m to begin Ogoni clean-up *How governors can access World Banks $500m FG *Corps members to receive certificate with photo *Alamieyeseigha: Amassomma traders close markets *20-year-old faces murder charge after street fight *Police arrest alleged masterminds of Abuja explosions *Britain will ensure return of looted funds -Minister *Robbers in military uniforms loot Lagos banks Kill mother, baby *Kogi: Boko Haram, army in gunfight *PDP closes defence of Wikes election, no witnesses . THISDAY *18 Ministerial Nominees Cleared, Amaechi's Screening Deferred *Tribunal Upholds Akpabio's Victory *Court to Hear Synagogue's Suit against Ambode *LASG: Traffic Law Violators to Face Prosecution *Anti-graft War: Larmode Seeks Collaboration with African Countries *Buhari Directs Agency to Integrate All National Identity Data *Flood Claims Two in Delta, Threatens Okpai Power Plant *House to Probe Contracts for Railway Rehabilitation, Others *Audu's Trial on 36-Count Charge of N10bn Fraud Stalled *Armed Forces Will Annihilate Boko Haram By December, Buhari Insists *Islamic New Year: Sokoto Declares Thursday Public Holiday . 15/10 in History of Nigeria Year: History 1930: Fela Anikulapo Kuti, multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick, was born in Abeokuta, Ogun State. He was named Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti. 1954: Brig-Gen Nuhu Bamalli was born. 1987: Civil Liberties Organisation, a human rights organisation, was formed. 2004: Chinua Achebe wrote a letter rejecting the CFR award noting that he had watched events in Nigeria with "alarm and dismay." 2010: Kayode Fayemi sworn in as the governor of Ekiti state on Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) platform. 2014: The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) sacked Stephen Keshi as Nigeria?s Super Eagles coach

Todays Headlines