Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thursday, April 16, 2009
Domine, probasti me, et coqnovisti me: tu coqnovisti sessionem meam, et resurrectionem meam.  Gloria patri, etfilio, et spiritul sancto.  Sicut erat in principio, et numc et semper, et in sacula saculorum.  Amen.

Rexurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum, alleluia: posuisti super me manum tuam, al-le-lu-ia: mirabil is facta est scientia tua, alle-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia.

My dear God’s people, my fellow Christians, I wish everyone of you a very happy Easter.  I wish to also thank you for your prayers for the nation and every citizen and for everyone else living in the Gambia.

I wish to congratulate you and say “please keep it up” for successfully completing the Holy Season of Lent. Someone said that the catch-phrase for L.E.N.T should be: Leave Every Negative Thing.  We must never stop praying, doing good works and fasting.  We must live our lives loving God and our neighbours. These would include the Muslims, those of other faiths and indeed the non-believers. May God, the Almighty, answer all your prayers and reward you with abundant graces and blessings.

It is gratifying to observe that you have become more religious, more serious and more meticulous about observing all the rules and regulations, the rituals and ceremonies.  We are reminded however, that the most fundamental and most important directives, embedded in the greatest and most valued rules of life being.  “The love of God and of our neighbours.

If you bring your gift to the Altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift at the altar. First make peace with your brother, then come back and offer your gift at the altar. Let the man who has bread now share with those who hunger.  Let him clothe the poor man in need in love and tender mercy. It is love that i wish and not empty sacrifice, says the lord.  I desire the knowledge of God and not a worthless offering. Our priest in charge at the Blessed Sacrament Church, Reverend father Peter Lopez told us once a story about a robber who stopped a priest in the middle of the night on his way home from a church service during Lent.  He could not identify him as a priest because he was not putting on a soutan.

He however, had his collar on and a chain with a cross round his neck.  The robber could not see these because they were concealed. The rebber said to the priest: “Your money or your life.”  The priest bent down slightly to take out the money he had in his pocket.  The robber then noticed the collar and the cross. He said “So you are a priest?”  And the priest answered: “Yes”.  Then he said: “I’m sorry, you can go.” The priest, being grateful to him for sparing his life, asked that he take the money as a gift but he would not.  He said: “No father, we are in lent and I’m fasting.”

You can see clearly the contradiction; he is fasting but continues to rob people of their money and other valuables.  I leave you to draw up your conclusions. As Christians, we are expected to witness to the teachings of Christ in whatever we do.  During Lent and even after, the words “Thy Will be done” must always be in our hearts and minds.  We must put into practice throughout our lives the dictates of the two greatest commandments.  These are loving God and serving him only and loving our neighbours as ourselves.  We are told that we cannot love God and not love our neighbours.
Another story that Reverend Peter Lopez told us was about a husband who was very regular at mass.  He attended daily mass and all Sunday masses. When he gets home even from mass, he upsets the whole family.

He would harass his wife and the children.  One day, out of frustration they remarked, “My dear, you are always in church and at mass, you listen to the readings and the preachings but you never put into practice what you hear”.  The husband laughed and said: “Can you imagine how I would have been behaving if I did not go to church at all.”  Again you can see the double standards.

My dear brothers and sisters, we are told that when we die, God won’t measure our heads to see how clever we were.  God will measure our hearts to see how loving we were.

The lives of all good Christians must be characterised by:
- Forgiving not only seven times but seventy times seven times.
- Receiving a slap on one cheek and turning the other to take another slap.  This may not be taken literally.  It simply illustrates the amount of patience and tolerance expected of all Christians.

- Not using the gun or the sword because those who use them will die by them.
- Not paying evil for evil.
- Not being loud, arrogant, boastful or rude.

- Being meek and gentle! I pray that all Gambians be blessed. May the Lord, lead us to renounce the sins that emanate from self-indulgence, sexual vice, impurity and sensuality, the worship of false gods and sorcery, antagonisms and rivalry, jealously, bad temper and quarrels, disagreements, factions and malice, drunkenness, orgies and all such things.  In place of these, fill us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trusfulness, gentleness and self-control. Amen.
Author: by Paa J.R. Joof