Fr. Jacob Dankasa – My Blog

Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

We celebrate Pentecost to commemorate the action of the Holy Spirit as He stirs the people of faith and burn their fears in order to live out their faith with pride. As people of faith, when we allow the Holy Spirit to stir us, we fly without wings to do nothing but become His instruments, to use us to stir others to holiness. To live out our Pentecost is a call to take action and live out our faith.

There are various ways to live out our faith in the spirit of the Pentecost; but here, I will recommend one way of demonstrating our faith, particularly, using the social media – a refreshing trend that is changing the face of our society today. As part of our Pentecost action, I recommend people of faith to consider developing a practice of taking photos of themselves at a beautiful location around their church facilities as they attend weekend masses (or worship) and post these photos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any social media they belong to. Let the world know that you are at church. This is not hypocrisy, this is not mere show up, this is evangelism. The world should know how much you cherish your faith and how proud you are of the God you serve. No shame, no regrets! If there is anything to show off, let your God be first.

If we’re all convince of who we worship, then we must demonstrate that we belong to Him. And no place can be as appropriate to showcase this today than in the social media. One thing is certain, I may not be able to see the inside of your heart, but what I see from the outside can either help me move towards God or away from Him. You may not know how much influence you have on others and what the Spirit can do through you on social media; don’t undermine the work of the Holy Spirit because He lives even on social media. You never can tell how many people will begin to go to church because you do. Pictures speak a thousand words – never underestimate the power of an image. Many people don’t have the courage to publicly demonstrate their faith. But that is what the Holy Spirit has come to help us overcome: to burn our fears, our shyness, and like He did to the pre-Pentecost apostles, fill us with courage to “renew the face of the earth.”

So, when next you go to that place of worship, let the world know that there is a God that you dearly worship- show him off! #HolySpiritInvadeSocialMedia

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In my church community (St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Richardson, Texas), we have a small gathering place called the ‘forum’. People meet, relax and study in the forum, with coffee, donuts, cookies and free Wifi. But my most impressive moment is what takes place at the forum among some of the older members of our church everyday of the week after our morning masses.

Every morning, many senior citizens of our church community gather together in the forum after the morning mass and share their time together. This is an informal gathering where they have some coffee together and share stories. The joy that radiates from these older members of our community knows no bound. They talk and chat with strength that is unimaginable of people their age, and express their inner happiness in laughter that is so infectious. Sometimes they celebrate their birthdays. Some among them may be struggling with illnesses or the weight of old age, but none of these deters them from this magnificent communal expression of joy which is seen from the energy they exude. Certainly, they have found their strength in their faith community and their joy is unstoppable. Their expressions of happiness and sense of life-fulfillment give me hope that old age is not a burden but a gift. I admire them, I love them and I envy them. May God bless their hearts.

I have talked to a few of them and asked them about the gratification they derive from coming together every morning. The answers I received were amazing. They expressed how they go to bed at night always hoping to be gathered in the morning; they feel stronger when they listen to the stories of others and share theirs; and they find comfort in one another. For some of them, it takes away loneliness and isolation, and makes them feel that life is worth living.

What else can someone of that age ask for than to live life in happiness feeling the sense of a family. This is what the church community is and this is what it should provide. The very elderly in our communities should find a second home in their faith communities, they should feel loved and welcomed. I invite more older members of our community to come share this joy and live life at its best. Make your 80’s feel like 20’s again!

I dedicate my blog post this Holy Week to all senior citizens in our various faith communities. May the Passion of Christ strengthen and brighten your days.

Go and find a home in your faith communities!

The sacrament of reconciliation or penance is a very important sacrament of the Church. The Catholic Church in its teachings encourages the faithful to utilize this sacrament as a free gift of God’s forgiving grace. Going to confessions to receive absolution and forgiveness heals the soul of the penitent. In a state of mortal sin, confession is required before reception of Holy communion, except a grave reason prevents one from approaching the sacrament. In a state of venial sin, however, a good act of contrition can be said before reception of holy communion.
However, as important as the sacrament of confession is, it must not be used as a pretext to remain in the very acts that cause one to sin. One should not feel too comfortable in perpetually committing sin simply because the sacrament of penance exists. Efforts are needed! The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1451) states that “among the penitent’s acts, contrition occupies first place. Contrition is sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.” If you find yourself going to confessions every day or every week, or at any opportunity of seeing a priest, then you may also need to examine yourself if you are making enough effort to stay away from those sins that take you to confessions all the time.
Our efforts to stay away from sin is very important. As we seek the gratuitous mercy of God and are encouraged to approach the sacrament of penance this season of Lent and in this year of mercy, let us also make a renewed effort to abstain from occasions of sin.

Jesus disappointed the scribes and the Pharisees by not presenting them with the type of answer they had hoped for. Instead, he challenged them to learn the virtue of mercy and compassion. Jesus clearly did not endorse the sin of the woman caught in adultery because he told her to go and sin no more. Jesus helps us to understand how the mercy of God works. God does not condemn us as long as we are alive. He gives us the opportunity to turn from bad to good, and His mercy is endless and gratuitous.

Those who tried to stone the woman caught in adultery represent the hearts of humans that are saturated with judgement and condemnation of other people without taking into account their own individual sins. When we learn of the sins of someone that have become public knowledge, before we say it serves him/her right and throw stones on the person, we should ask ourselves if we have no secrets that resemble what the person is accused of. Let us learn to pray for each other and wish our brothers and sisters good. No one deserves mercy, we all deserve justice. But mercy comes as a free gift from God. We should allow people the opportunity to find this gift through prayer and compassion rather than judgement and condemnation.