5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 10th Feb 2019

Theme: THE GRACE OF GOD FORGIVES US OUR SINS AND CALLS US TO BE APOSTLES

  • Isaiah 6:1-8;
  • Psalm 137 (138): 1-5. 7-8. R/ v. 1;
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (Longer Form)
  • Luke 5:1-11

Today is the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us that the grace of God forgives us our sins and calls us to be apostles!

The gospel today tells us that after the miraculous catch of fish, Peter was overwhelmed and told Jesus to leave him, because he was a sinful man; but Jesus did not leave him, instead Jesus told him not to be afraid and called him to be a fisher of men, that is, to be his apostle!

The gospel tells us that Peter, James and John, and Andrew (NJB) responded immediately and totally to the call of Jesus to be his apostles!

“They left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:11; SM)

In front of God’s grace that forgives us our sins and calls us to be apostles, the only proper response is immediate and total!

And more importantly, our mission as apostles will not fail, but will succeed; because it is not from us, but it is from the grace of God! Thus the miraculous catch of fish!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us of the call of the prophet Isaiah. Again, Isaiah was a sinner. He was a man of unclean lips and he lived among a people of unclean lips.

But again, the Lord touched his lips with a live coal from the altar and forgave his sins and called him to be his prophet! And again, Isaiah responded immediately and totally!

    “Here I am, send me.” (Is 6:8; SM)

Again, in front of God’s grace that forgives us our sins and calls us to be his prophets, our response must be immediate and total!

And again, our mission as prophets will not fail, but will succeed; because it is not from us, but it is from the grace of God!    

The second reading tells us that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a historical fact and that our faith and salvation depend on it! But the long form of the second reading also tells us of the call of Saint Paul.

Again, Saint Paul was a sinner. In fact he was a persecutor of Christians, but again, because of God’s grace he became an apostle and he became the most hardworking of all the apostles! Thus we read in the second reading:

“I am the least of the apostles; in fact, since I persecuted the Church of God, I hardly deserve the name apostle; but by God’s grace that is what I am, and the grace that he gave me has not been fruitless. On the contrary, I, or rather the grace of God that is with me, have worked harder than any of the others.” (1 Co 15: 9-10; SM) 

Again, the mission of Saint Paul will not fail, even if he will have to die, but will succeed; because it is not from him, but it is from the grace of God!

Again, in front of the grace of God that forgives our sins and calls us to be apostles and prophets, we give thanks to God! The responsorial psalm today is a psalm of thanksgiving! Thus the response:

“Before the angels I will bless you, O Lord.” (Ps 137 (138): 1; SM)

That is, ‘before the angels, I will praise and thank you, O Lord’.

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas (vv. 1-3) are a “thanksgiving for deliverance”. The third stanza (vv. 4-5) is a “prayer that all nations acknowledge Yahweh”. And the fourth stanza (vv. 7-8) is a “statement of confidence”. (NJBC)

Today in this Mass, we give thanks to God for two of the greatest apostles, Peter and Paul. Peter was the first Pope and Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles (non-Jews), that is, an apostle to the whole world!

Today we also thank God for all his graces that forgive us our sins and call us to be his apostles. And we ask God to help us to respond to his call immediately and totally. And we are confident that our mission will not fail, but will succeed; because it is not from us, but it is from the grace of God! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!       Amen!

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 3rd February 2019

Theme: JESUS THE PROPHET OF GOD SPEAKS GOD’S WORD OF SALVATION

  • Jeremiah 1:4-5. 17-19;
  • Psalm 70 (71):1-6. 15. 17. R/ v. 15;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
  • Luke 4:21-30

Today is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the prophet of God who speaks God’s word of salvation! Thus we read in the gospel today, “the gracious words that came from his lips”. “Gracious words”, that is, words of salvation. “Came from his lips” (Dt 8:3), that is, word of God. (NJBC)

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that like the prophets Elijah and Elisha, who ministered not only to the Jews but also to the pagans, not only to man (Naaman) but also to woman (widow); Jesus came to save not only the Jews but also the pagans, not only man but also woman!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that the Jews rejected Jesus and they wanted to throw him down the cliff, but Jesus slipped through them. This points to the future rejection of Jesus by the Jews and to the “Easter victory” of Jesus! (NJBC)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the call of the prophet Jeremiah. The prophet Jeremiah prefigures Jesus the prophet! Like Jesus, Jeremiah was called to be a prophet to all the nations, not only to the Jews! Like Jesus, Jeremiah was also rejected by the Jews. The second part of today’s first reading (vv. 17-19) tells us that the kings, princes, priests and people of Judah will fight against Jeremiah. And like Jesus, the Lord was with Jeremiah to deliver him!

The responsorial psalm is a prayer of an old man, but in the context of today’s readings, it is a prayer of a persecuted prophet. The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. Stanzas one, two and three is a prayer for deliverance (vv. 1-6). Stanza four is a vow to praise and thank God for deliverance (vv. 15. 17). (NJBC) Thus the response which is taken from the fourth stanza:

“My lips will tell of your help”. (Ps 70 (71): 15; SM)

We are all called to be prophets because of our baptism! The readings today tell us about being prophets:

(i) We must speak God’s word of salvation. (Gospel)

(ii) We must speak to all the nations. (Gospel and First Reading)

(iii) We must expect rejection. (Gospel and First Reading)

(iv) God is with us to deliver us. (Gospel and First reading)

(v) We must pray for deliverance. (Responsorial Psalm)

(vi) We must prophesy with love. (Second Reading)

The second reading today tells us to be ambitious for the higher gifts, that is, the gifts of faith, hope and love. In fact the second reading tells us to be ambitious for the highest gift, that is, the gift of love! In heaven we do not need faith and hope anymore! In heaven we find only love and love gives life and happiness! Thus in heaven we find only three things, that is, love, life and happiness! Thus the second reading concludes:

“In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Co 13:13; SM)

The second reading today tells us that

“Love is always patient and kind: it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.” (1 Co 13:4-7; SM)

The quotation above can serve as a checklist to see if you have love or to see if others have love. We have only to substitute the word love with our name or with the name of others. But first substitute the word love with the name Jesus because Jesus is love!

Today in this Mass we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ the prophet par excellence and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we may become the prophets of God to speak God’s word of salvation to all the nations!

Today in this Mass we also thank God for the many spiritual gifts and charisms and we ask God to help us to be ambitious for the highest gift, that is, the gift of love, so that we can love God, neighbor and our own very selves! A Happy and Blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 27th Jan 2019

Theme: JESUS CHRIST WILL FULFILL THE LAW OF GOD IN US

  • Nehemiah 8:2-6. 8-10;
  • Psalm 18 (19): 8-10. 15. R/ Jn 6:63;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-30
  • (Shorter Form, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14. 27)
  • Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us about the Law of God. The Law of God is good, because it gives life and happiness! But the Law of God is very hard to keep and all of us break the Law of God. That is why we cannot find life and happiness. But the good news is that the Law of God comes to us today fulfilled in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ will fulfill the Law of God in us, so that we can find life and happiness!

The first reading tells us that Ezra the priest read the Law of God to the Israelites and they were all weeping, because the Law of God was very hard to keep and they have all broken the law of God. (NJBC; HCSB) But Ezra told them not to weep, but to be joyful, because the day was sacred to the Lord! Thus we read in the first reading:

“And Ezra read from the Law of God, translating and giving the sense, so that the people understood what was read.

Then Nehemiah – His Excellency – and Ezra, priest and scribe (and the Levites who were instructing the people) said to all the people, ‘This day is sacred to the Lord your God. Do not be mournful, do not weep.’ For the people were all in tears as they listened to the words of the Law.

He then said, ‘Go, eat the fat, drink the sweet wine, and send a portion to the man who has nothing prepared ready. For this day is sacred to our Lord. Do not be sad: the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.’” (Ne 8:8-10; SM)

The responsorial psalm tells us that the Law of God is good because it is spirit and life. It gives life and happiness! (HCSB) Thus the response:

“Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life.” (Jn 6:63; SM)

And thus the first and second stanzas:

“The law of the Lord is perfect, it revives the soul. The rule of the Lord is to be trusted, it gives wisdom to the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, they gladden the heart. The command of the Lord is clear, it gives light to the eyes.” (Ps 18 (19): 8-9; SM)

The gospel today tells us that the Law of God comes to us today fulfilled in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ will fulfill the Law of God in us through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will help us keep the Law of God, so that we can find life and happiness! Thus in the Gospel today Jesus Christ reads from the prophet Isaiah:

“The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor.” (Is 61:1-2; Lk 4:18-19; SM) “The Lord’s Year of favor”, that is, “the time of God’s salvation”! (CSB; Is 61:1f)

More importantly, the gospel today concludes with theses words of Jesus Christ:

“This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.” (Lk 4:21; SM)

That is why we come to Mass every Sunday. Every Sunday at Mass, we make present, real and effective the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will help us keep the Law of God, so that we will find life and happiness!

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again the second reading has something important to tell us! The second reading tells us that we are all different parts of the one body of Christ. We were all baptized in the one Spirit and we all drink the one Spirit in the Eucharist!

Though we may belong to different groups and communities or received different spiritual gifts, we are all parts of the body of Christ. Therefore we must not compete with one another or be jealous of one another, but we must work together for the glory of God and for the good of the community! Thus we read in the second reading:

“Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptized, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

Nor is the body to be identified with any one of its many parts.

Now you together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it. In the Church, God has given the first place to apostles, the second to prophets, the third to teachers; after them, miracles, and after them the gift of healing; helpers, good leaders, those with many languages. Are all of them apostles, or all of them prophets, or all of them teachers? Do they all have the gift of miracles, or all have the gift of healing? Do all speak strange languages, and all interpret them?” (1 Co 12:12-14. 27-30; SM)

Today in this Mass we thank God for all the different groups and communities in our parish. We also thank God for all the different spiritual gifts or charisms in our parish, and we ask God to help us work together for his glory and for the good of the community! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 20th Jan 2019

Theme: JESUS CHANGED THE WATER OF THE PURIFICATION RITES OF THE JEWS INTO THE WINE OF THE MESSIANIC WEDDING BANQUET!

  • Isaiah 62:1-5;
  • Psalm 95 (96): 1-3. 7-10. R/ v. 3;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
  • John 2:1-11

Today is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus changed water into wine. That is, Jesus changed the water of the purification rites of the Jews into the wine of the Messianic Wedding Banquet! (Is 62:4-5; First Reading; NJBC) Jesus did two things. First he asked the servants to “replace” the water of the “empty” water jars, and then he changed the water into wine!

The gospel tells us that this was the first of seven signs of Jesus and the disciples saw his glory and believed in him. It was done at the request of his mother Mary before his hour had come! Next, Mary appeared at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25-27) when his hour had come! Mary is the symbol of the Church! (CSB)

It is through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that he will change the water into the waters of Baptism, the waters of the Holy Spirit; and he will change the wine into his blood, the blood of the Eucharist! The Fathers of the Church see these two sacraments as signifying the Church! (Jn 19:34; NJBr) The Church is the bride of Christ born from the side of Christ!

The first reading tells us about the glory of Jerusalem. The first reading tells us that the Lord will be the bridegroom and Jerusalem will be the bride! The first reading was a prophecy made to the Jews returned from exile! The prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus Christ who is the bridegroom of the bride the Church! Thus we read in the first reading:

“No more shall men call you “Forsaken,” or your land “Desolate,” But you shall be called “My Delight,” and your land “Espoused.” For the Lord delights in you, and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.” (Is 62: 4-5; CSB)  

The responsorial psalm invites all the peoples to praise and worship the Lord who rules the world with justice! The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas (vv. 1-3) invite all the peoples to praise the Lord. The third and fourth stanzas (vv. 7-10) invite all the peoples to worship the Lord who rules with justice! (CSB) Thus the response:

“Proclaim the wonders of the Lord among all the peoples.” (Ps 95 (96): 3; SM)

The second reading tells us about unity in diversity in our Church! The second reading tells us that there are many different gifts in our Church; the gifts of preaching, teaching, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, speaking in tongues, etc.; but they are all from the same Spirit, and they are all to serve the same Lord, and they all have the same God working in them, and they are all for the common good! Unity in diversity not unity in uniformity! We are a Christian Community, not a Communist Commune! 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)

Today in this Mass we thank God for the many different spiritual gifts and we ask God to help us live in love and unity, that is, to work together for the glory of God and for the good of the Church!

We also thank God for the gifts of the Sacraments and we ask God to give us more priests to celebrate the Sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, so that all may see the glory of the Lord and believe in him!

Let us pray for more vocations to the priesthood so that we will have enough priests to celebrate the sacraments, to preach the good news and to build the kingdom of God, so that all may see the glory of the Lord and believe in him! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!   Amen!