Theme: JESUS CHRIST THE REAL BRIDEGROOM
- Isaiah 62:1-5;
- Psalm 95 (96): 1-3. 7-10. R/ v. 3;
- 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
- John 2:1-11
1. Today is the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C. The readings today tell us that Jesus Christ is the real bridegroom! (IBC) The gospel today tells us that Jesus, his mother Mary, and Jesus’ disciples were at a wedding feast! The wedding feast ran out of wine and Jesus changed water into wine! And the wine that Jesus made was even better than the first and best wine, so much so that the steward complained to the bridegroom that normally people serve the best wine first and the cheaper wine later, but the bridegroom had kept the best wine to the end!
Marriages begin with “honey moon”, full of love, life and happiness, but as the years pass, the love, life and happiness diminish and finally we run out of wine! But Jesus can change water into wine and the wine that Jesus gives is even better than the first and best wine! In other words, as we get older the love increases, the life increases, and the happiness increases! The late Bishop Fulton Sheen said that it takes three to get married, that is, a man, a woman and Jesus Christ. That is why we get married not in court, but in the Church. The court can only give us a certificate of marriage/divorce, but it cannot give us the Holy Spirit of love, life and happiness! Only Jesus Christ can give us the Holy Spirit of love, life and happiness!
When a man and a woman gets married they do the most important and the most holy thing, that is, they do what God the Father does, that is, they love, they create life (procreation), and they are happy as God the Father is happy in heaven! But today, especially in Europe, people do not want to be married! They only want sex, they do not want children, and they are not happy. And even if they are married, they divorce and they remarry, etc., and the vicious circle goes on and on, and they become more and more unhappy.
But those who “invite” Jesus Christ to their “wedding” do not divorce, they remain married, and their love, life and happiness grow stronger and stronger as they get older and older! I stayed with an Italian family, where the husband and wife had decided to marry for only six months, and they did not want any children, and they were not happy; but after entering the “Neo-Catechumenal Way” they had three children and was expecting a fourth child, and they were happy, loving and full of life, that is, they had many children! Pope Benedict XVI has given the final approval to the “Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way” on the 11th of May 2008, the Solemnity of Pentecost!
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that God will be the bridegroom and Israel/Jerusalem will be the bride! Thus we read in the first reading:
“No more will you be known as “Forsaken” or your country be known as ‘Desolation’; instead, you will be called ‘My Delight is in her’ and your country ‘The Wedded’; for Yahweh will take delight in you and your country will have its wedding. Like a young man marrying a virgin, your rebuilder will wed you, and as the bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so will your God rejoice in you.” (Is 62:4-5/NJB)
Today this prophesy of Isaiah is fulfilled in Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is His Bride! Jesus Christ is the real Bridegroom, because he is “love” and “faithfulness”, the attributes of God in the Old Testament (Ex 34:6/NJB), perfected by Jesus Christ in the New Testament!
A real bridegroom and a real husband loves his wife even if his wife does not love him, and a real husband is faithful to his wife even if his wife is not faithful to him! And in the end the unloving and unfaithful wife will go to heaven, because of the “faithful love” of the husband!
3. The responsorial psalm has “a strong missionary note”! (NJBC/Fuller) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“Proclaim the wonders of the Lord among all the peoples.” (Ps 95 (96): 3/SM)
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us to proclaim the glory of the Lord to all the nations. (Ps 95 (96): 1-3) The third and fourth stanzas tell all the nations to worship God! (Ps 95 (96): 7-10)
In the context of Christian Marriage: “Proclaim the good news of Christian Marriage to all the nations”!
4. The second reading tells us about “unity in diversity”, not unity in uniformity! The second reading tells us that all the different gifts ((1) wisdom and (2) knowledge; (3) faith, (4) healing, and (5) miracle-working; (6) prophecy, (7) discernment of spirits, (8) tongues, and (9) interpretation of tongues / Fuller) are from the same Spirit, all the different services are to serve the same Lord, and it is the same God who works in all the different people in all their different works! And above all, all the gifts are given for the good of the whole community! Thus we read in the second reading:
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Co 12:4-7/HCSB)
5. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us make our marriages loving, fruitful (procreation) and happy! The Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the good news of Christian Marriage! And the Holy Spirit will help us live in unity in diversity!
Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS SON AND SUFFERING-SERVANT OF GOD
- Isaiah 40:1-5. 9-11;
- Psalm 103 (104): 1-2. 3-4. 24-25. 27-30. R/ v. 1;
- Titus 2:11-14. 3:4-7
- Luke 3:15-16. 21-22
1. Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Liturgical Year C. Like Christmas and Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord is about the revelation of the Lord. At Christmas, the Lord revealed himself to shepherds, that is, to the poor, the humble, the lowly, and to sinners! At Epiphany, the Lord revealed himself to the wise men from the east, that is, to all the nations, not only to the Jews, but to the whole world! At the Baptism of the Lord, the Lord revealed himself as Son and Suffering-Servant of God!
The gospel today tells us that when Jesus was baptized and was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him and a voice from heaven said,
“You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you”. (Lk 3:22; SM; CSB)
That is, Jesus is the Son and Suffering-Servant of God! (NJBC; Is 42:1) As Son, Jesus is to love God, as Servant, Jesus is to serve God, and as Suffering-Servant, Jesus is to suffer and sacrifice in order to sanctify and save the world!
The gospel also tells us that Jesus will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire! That is, he will baptize us with the fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of Pentecost! (Acts 2) The fire of God’s love! The fire of God’s love will burn away our sins and make us into sons and servants of God! As sons of God we will love God and neighbor, as servants of God, we will serve God and neighbor, and as suffering-servants of God we will suffer and sacrifice for the sanctification and salvation of the world!
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the revelation of the Lord. The first reading tells us that the glory of the Lord will be revealed to all the nations!
The first reading was originally about the return from exile from Babylon to Jerusalem, the new and second exodus; but the New Testament sees it as a prophecy on John the Baptist and Jesus Christ! (CSB; Mt 3:3) Thus we read in the first reading:
“A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway for our God across the desert. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley; then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Is 40: 3-5; SM)
More importantly, the first reading tells us that when the Lord is revealed he will be revealed as the Good Shepherd! (NJB; Jr 23:1-6; Ezk 34; Mt 18: 12-14; Jn 10:11-18) Thus the first reading concludes:
“He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.” (Is 40:11; SM)
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord does not only reveal himself in the glory of salvation, but the Lord also reveals himself in “the glories of creation”! (NJB)
The responsorial psalm has five stanzas. The first and second stanzas (vv. 1-4) tell us about the creation of the heavens. The third stanza (vv. 24-25) tells us about the creation of the many and various creatures of the land and sea!
And most importantly, the fourth and fifth stanzas (vv. 27-30) tell us that all creatures depend on God! (HCSB) God does not only create the universe, but God also sustains the universe! Ongoing creation! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“Bless the Lord, my soul! Lord God, how great you are.” (Ps 103 (104): 1; SM)
4. The second reading also tells us of the revelation of the Lord. The second reading tells us that God has revealed his grace for our salvation and this he did through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ who purified us from sins so that we will do good. This happens to us in the Sacrament of Baptism where we receive the Holy Spirit who renews us and justifies us with the grace of God! Thus we read in the second reading:
“God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race. …. He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good.” (Tt 2:11. 14; SM) ….
“He saved us by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our savior. He did this so that we should be justified by his grace, to become heirs looking forward to inheriting eternal life.” (Tt 3:5-7; SM)
5. Today in this Mass, we thank God for the revelation of his Son Jesus Christ and we thank God for the gift of Baptism. And we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we will grow as sons and servants of the Lord; and so that as sons we will love the Lord and love one another, and so that as servants we will serve the Lord and serve one another. And so that as suffering servants we will suffer and sacrifice in order to sanctify and save the world! A happy feast day to all of you!
Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS SON AND SUFFERING SERVANT OF GOD
- Isaiah 42:1-4. 6-7;
- Psalm 28:1-4. 9-10. R/ v. 11;
- Acts 10:34-38
- Matthew 3:13-17
1. Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Liturgical Year A. Like Christmas and Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord is about the revelation of the Lord. Christmas is about the revelation of the Lord as God, Savior and Bringer of Peace to sinful men! Epiphany is about the revelation of the Lord as King, God and Suffering Savior to all the pagan nations of the world! The Baptism of the Lord is about the revelation of the Lord as Son and Suffering Servant of God!
The gospel today tells us that after Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon him and a voice from heaven said:
“This is my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on him.” (Mt3:17; SM)
These words of God the Father echoes Isaiah 42:1 of the first reading:
“Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights.”
The Baptism of the Lord is about the revelation of the Lord as Son and Suffering Servant of God! As Son and Suffering Servant of God, he is to love and serve, to suffer and sacrifice, and to sanctify and save the world!
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first verse of the first reading echoes the last verse of the gospel! The first reading tells us about the Suffering Servant of God. It is the first of four Suffering Servant songs of Isaiah! It tells us that the Suffering Servant will bring justice, mercy and salvation to the nations! (CSB; NJB) Thus we read in the first reading:
“I have endowed him with my spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations. …. He does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame. …. I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from prison, and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.” (Is 42:1. 3. 6b-7; SM)
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:
“The Lord will bless his people with peace.” (Ps 28:11; SM)
Peace, Shalom, Salvation! The responsorial psalm tells us to give glory to God and to pray for peace! It echoes the song of the angels in Luke 2:14 which we read at Christmas Midnight Mass:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favor.” (Lk 2:14; SM)
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us to give glory to God. (vv. 1-2; SM) The second stanza tells us that the glory of God can be seen in creation, in nature and particularly in the storm! (vv. 3-4. 9a; SM) And the third stanza tells us to give glory to God as eternal king! (vv. 9b-10; SM) And verse 11 which concludes the psalm and from which the response is taken tells us to pray for peace! Peace, Shalom, salvation! (CSB; NJBC)
4. The second reading tells us that salvation is not only for the Jews, but it is also for the pagans! Salvation is not only for the good and holy people; it is also for the bad and unholy people! Thus we read in the second reading:
“It is true, God sent his word to the people of Israel, and it was to them that the good news of peace was brought by Jesus Christ – but Jesus Christ is Lord of all men.” (Ac 10:36; SM)
5. In two weeks time we will have “infant baptism” in our parish! The Baptism of Jesus tells us about our own baptism! When we are baptized the Holy Spirit will come upon us and we will become the sons and servants of God. We are to love and serve God and to love and serve our neighbor.
Our infants are too young to have faith and to love and serve God and neighbor. They are baptized in the faith of their parents and godparents. It is the duty of the parents and godparents to teach them the faith and to teach them to love and serve God and neighbor, so that they will grow up to be good Christians to know, love, and serve God and to be happy with God forever; and to know, love and serve their neighbor and to be happy with their neighbor forever!
This is the meaning of life! This is why we are in this world! This is why we are on earth! This is why God created us and saved us! This is the secret of happiness! And this begins at baptism! A blessed feast day of the Baptism of the Lord to all of you! Amen!
Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS KING, GOD AND SUFFERING SAVIOR TO ALL THE PAGAN NATIONS OF THE WORLD
- Isaiah 60:1-6;
- Psalm 71:1-2. 7-8. 10-13. R/ v. 11;
- Ephesians 3:2-3. 5-6
- Matthew 2:1-12
1. A Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you! Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, that is, the revelation of the Lord as King, God and Suffering Savior to all the pagan nations of the world!
The gospel today tells us that the Jews rejected Jesus in the person of King Herod! But more importantly, the gospel today tells us that the pagans accepted Jesus in the persons of the wise men! But most importantly, the gospel today tells us of the revelation of the Lord as King, God and Suffering Savior to all the pagan nations of the world!
The gospel today tells us that some wise men came from the east to do homage to the infant king of the Jews! The wise men represent all the different nations of the world! That is why in our Christmas crib they are of different colors! But more importantly, the gospel tells us that they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh! The Fathers of the Church tell us that gold is a gift for a King, frankincense is a gift for a God, and myrrh which is used for embalmment and burial symbolizes a Suffering Savior! (NJB)
Thus the revelation of the Lord as King, God and Suffering Savior to all the pagan nations of the world!
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Jerusalem is the light of all the nations! The light of God’s glory! The glory of God shines on Jerusalem!
All the nations of the world will come to the light of Jerusalem! The light of God’s glory! The glory of God shines on Jerusalem! They will bring back the exiled Jews. They will bring all the riches of the world to Jerusalem and Jerusalem will rejoice! The nations will come to Jerusalem to praise and worship the Lord!
Note that of the many gifts; only two gifts are named, that is, gold and incense (frankincense). Gold for a King and Frankincense for a God! They have come to praise and worship the Lord as King and as God!
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:
“All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.” (Ps 71:11; SM)
The responsorial psalm tells us about the Promised King, the Davidic King, and the Messianic King!
The responsorial psalm tells us that unlike the other kings who are corrupted, the Messianic King will bring justice and peace! Peace, shalom, salvation! Thus we read:
“In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails.” (Ps 71:7; SM)
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first (vv. 1-2), second (vv. 7-8) and fourth (vv. 12-13) stanzas tell us that the Messianic King will bring justice and peace! Peace, shalom, salvation! The third stanza (vv. 10-11) tells us that all the kings of the world will bring him gifts and will come and worship him, because unlike other kings who are corrupted, he will bring justice and peace! Peace, shalom, salvation!
4. The second reading tells us that the mystery that has been kept secret for ages has now been revealed! The mystery is that pagans now share the same inheritance as the Jews, that pagans are parts of the same body, and that the same promise is made to pagans, in Christ Jesus, through the gospel.
That is why we have to preach the gospel to the pagans, so that all pagans may share the same inheritance, so that all pagans may be parts of the same body, and so that the same promise is made to pagans in Christ Jesus through the gospel!
That is why the first duty of the Bishop is to preach the good news, the first duty of the Priest is also to preach the good news and the first duty of the Christian is also to preach the good news! That is why we end the Sunday Mass with this mission:
“Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”!
A Blessed feast day of the “Epiphany of the Lord” to all of you! Amen!
Theme: THE HOLY FAMILY IS HOLY, BECAUSE GOD IS THE FATHER, JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD, BORN THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
- 1 John 3:1-2. 21-24
- Luke 2:41-52
1. A happy and blessed Christmas and New Year to all of you! We are in the Octave of Christmas which ends on New Year’s Day with the “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God”, inclusive. But the Christmas season ends only with the feast of “the Baptism of the Lord”, inclusive! Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, not Joseph, Mary and Jesus! The Holy Family is holy because God is the Father; Jesus is the Son of God, born through the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary! Jesus is the Son of God the Father, not the son of Joseph and Mary. Thus we read in the gospel today:
“They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’ ‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied. ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant.” (Lk 2:48-50)
2. More importantly, the readings today tell us that your families are also holy! Your families are holy because God is your Father; you are the children of God, born through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism in the womb of Mother Church! The Church is your Mother and Jesus is your Brother! Again, your family is holy because God is your Father; you are the children of God. The Church is your Mother and Jesus is your Brother! Which and what family can be holier than your family! Thus we read in the second reading:
“Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children; and that is what we are. …. My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed, all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.” (1 Jn 3:1-2)
3. Finally, the gospel tells us that in the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Jesus grew up physically, mentally and spiritually. In your holy family too, your children will grow up bodily, mentally and spiritually! (Fuller) Thus we read in gospel today:
“And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Lk 2:52)
4. Pastoral suggestions for the Christian family:
(i) Pray together everyday. A family that prays together stays together. A family that does not pray together does not stay together. You can share and pray on the word of God (Sunday Mass readings). You can pray the Liturgy of the Hours (Evening Prayer). You can also read the word of God at random and say spontaneous prayers, etc.
(ii) Pass your faith to your children. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) asks us to pass our faith to our children by praying with them, giving them good example, teaching them, and participating with them in the life of the Church, especially the Sunday Mass! (CCC, 461)
(iii) Join a BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community). A BEC is an extended Christian family. In the “kampong” (village) we have the “extended family” of grand parents, aunties, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, etc. But in the town and city we have only the “nuclear family” of father, mother and children. Today more than ever the “nuclear family” needs the support of the “extended family”!
(iv) Eat dinner together everyday. No watching television, internet, video, etc. during dinner. No “absent father syndrome” and “no absent mother syndrome”, because of working overtime or working overseas. And once a week or at least once a month, have dinner with the extended family or BEC.
(v) Communication, that is, speak to each other and listen to each other. Without communication there can be no community and communion. Do not only talk about sports, but share your experiences, feelings, emotions, etc.
(vi) Play together. Relax together. Have recreation together. Go for holidays, outings, picnics, etc. together.
(vii) Be open to life! Have many children!
(viii) Pray and encourage your children to become priests, religious sisters and brothers.
Again, a happy and blessed Christmas and New Year to all of you!