20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 19th August 2018

Theme: WE EAT THE BODY OF THE RISEN LORD

  • Proverbs 9:1-6;
  • Psalm 33 (34): 2-3. 10-15. R/ v. 9;
  • Ephesians 5:15-20
  • John 6:51-58 

Today is the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about the bread of life. In fact, for the past four Sundays, inclusive of today, the gospel is from John chapter 6 and it tells us about the bread of life.

Jesus is the bread of life, that is, Jesus is the revelation of God the Father. Jesus is the revelation of God the Father in his person and life, in his words and actions, and especially in his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! And this is what we celebrate in the Eucharist!

With the gospel today the Eucharistic theme emerges! The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the living bread come down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread shall live forever and the bread that Jesus gives is his flesh for the life of the world! This is the first time that the word “flesh” is used for the “bread of life”! And not only “flesh”, but also “blood”! Thus the Eucharistic theme!

The gospel today tells us that whoever does not eat the flesh of Jesus and drink his blood will not have life, but whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood has eternal life and Jesus will raise him up on the last day! For the flesh of Jesus is real food and the blood of Jesus is real drink. He who eats the flesh of Jesus and drinks his blood lives in Jesus and Jesus lives in him. And as Jesus draws life from the Father, he who eats Jesus draws life from Jesus. Jesus is the bread come down from heaven. The Jews ate bread in the desert and they are dead. Whoever eats Jesus will live for ever!

We Catholics believe in the real and effective presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We Catholics believe that the Eucharist makes real, present and effective what Jesus did two thousands years ago, that is, his death, resurrection and outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world!

That is why we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! That is why we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from the Eucharist! That is why we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from the Church. And that is why we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from God the Father and God the Son! The Holy Spirit is the love of God the Father given to us in God the Son. The love of God the Father revealed in God the Son is given to us in God the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love! “The Holy Spirit is Holy Love”! (Fr. John Reilly, SJ)

At “the Communion Rite” at Mass, the priest breaks the body of Christ and puts a piece into the blood of Christ. This symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ! (GIRM 83.2) When body and blood are separated death occurs, but when body and blood are together life occurs! In Holy Communion we eat the body of the Risen Lord! The Risen Body that can enter locked doors and be at any place at an instance! A Risen Body not limited by time and space! (Jn 20) The Risen Body that can enter the bread and change it into His Body! The Risen Body that can destroy sin and death and give us new and eternal life! It is this Risen Body that we receive in Holy Communion! And we receive it in faith! Thus the priest says “the Body of Christ” and we respond “Amen”! “Amen” is a faith response! 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Wisdom invites the foolish to eat and drink at the banquet of life. Wisdom symbolizes Jesus Christ, the foolish symbolizes sinners and the banquet of life symbolizes the banquet of life of the Eucharist! In other words, Jesus invites us sinners to the banquet of life of the Eucharist to eat his body and to drink his blood so that we may have eternal life!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. (Ps 33 (34): 9; SM) The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for deliverance. (CSB) In the context of today’s readings and liturgy, it is a thanksgiving for deliverance from death by eating the body of Christ and drinking the blood of Christ in the Eucharist! Thus again, the response: “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. This psalm was used in the early Church during the time of Holy Communion. (Fuller; Previous Sunday)

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 three important things: (i) Do not be foolish, but be wise. (ii) Do not be ignorant, but know the will of God. (iii) Do not get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit by singing psalms and hymns and by giving thanks to God the Father every time and everywhere through Jesus Christ. (Vat. II SM)

The third exhortation reminds us of “AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)” and the “Twelve Steps”, where alcoholics gather together anonymously to share and pray on the “twelve steps” to be freed from their addiction by the Holy Spirit! This spiritual programme is effective not only for alcoholics, but also for gamblers, over-eaters, drug addicts, sex addicts, emotions addicts, etc. Thus besides AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), we also have GA (Gamblers Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous), SA (Sex Addict Anonymous), EA (Emotions Anonymous), OA (Over-Eaters Anonymous), etc. (HERALD, The Catholic Weekly, July 16, 2000)

Today in this Mass, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, the food of eternal life; and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we will speak no evil and do no evil, and so that we will do good and seek after peace/shalom! (Responsorial Psalm; Fourth Stanza) And so that we will be freed from all forms of addictions! (Second Reading) A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!  Amen!

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Theme: WE WILL BE ASSUMED INTO HEAVEN – BODY AND SOUL – WITH THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY  

  • Apocalypse (Revelation) 11:19; 12:1-6. 10;
  • Psalm 44 (45):10-12. 16. R/ v. 10;
  • 1 Corinthians 15:20-26
  • Luke 1:39-56

Today we celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven. Mary was assumed into heaven body and soul because she was not touched by Original Sin and consequently her body was not touched by the corruption of death. Mary was preserved from Original Sin by the grace of her Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ saves us in two ways, that is, by forgiving us our sins and by preserving us from sin by his grace. Mary was preserved from sin by the grace of Jesus Christ. (MCE)

Thus the gospel today tells us that she is the most blessed among women, blessed is the fruit of her womb, blessed is she who believed that the promise made to her will be fulfilled, and all generations will call her blessed! Mary was blessed and graced! In fact that is the first part of the prayer “Hail Mary”:

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus”!

Thus we read in the gospel today:

“Elizabeth gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. …. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

And Mary said: ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my savior; because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid. Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me.’” (Lk 1:42. 45-49a; SM)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. According to our Catholic Church the first reading tells us about Mary, her Son Jesus Christ, and the Dragon, that is, the Devil. (NJB; NJBC; IBC) The first reading tells us that Mary gave birth to the child Jesus and the dragon wanted to eat the child, but the child was taken up into heaven, that is, he “ascended” into heaven, while Mary escaped into the desert to a place of safety prepared by God!

Most importantly, the first reading tells us that God and Jesus Christ have won over the Devil! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Then I heard a voice shout from heaven, ‘Victory and power and empire for ever have been won by our God, and all authority for his Christ.’” (Rv 12:10; SM)

Again, Mary was preserved from the Devil and from Original Sin and from the consequent corruption of death by the grace of Jesus Christ! Thus Mary was assumed into heaven body and soul!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that Mary is Queen as God is King, and Mary is bride as God is bridegroom! The responsorial psalm praises Mary as bride of God and Queen of heaven! (NJBC) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“On your right stands the queen, in garments of gold.”! (Ps 44 (45):10; SM)

Finally, the second reading tells us that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. More importantly, the second reading tells us that we will also rise with Jesus Christ from the dead and ascend into heaven with him! Thus we read in the second reading:

“Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ.” (1 Co 15:20-22; SM)

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 forgive us our sins. The Holy Spirit will also preserve us from sin, so that we will not sin, and so that one day we will also be assumed into heaven – body and soul – with the Blessed Virgin Mary! Amen!

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) -12th August 2019

Theme: JESUS THE BREAD OF LIFE

  • 1 Kings 19:4-8;
  • Psalm 33 (34):2-9. R/ v. 9;
  • Ephesians 4:30-5:2
  • John 6:41-51

Today is the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that Jesus is the bread of life! For the past three Sundays, inclusive of today, and for the next two Sundays, the gospel is on the bread of life. The gospel is taken from John chapter 6!

The bread of life is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ! Jesus is the bread of life, that is, Jesus is the revelation of God! (CSB) But with the gospel today, the Eucharistic theme emerges! Thus the last verse of today’s gospel:

“I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.” (Jn 6:51; SM)

This is the first time that the “bread” is spoken of as “flesh”! Thus the Eucharistic theme! Next Sunday the Eucharistic theme will be developed in all its fullness! (Jn 6: 51-58; CSB)

The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the bread of life and that the Jews ate bread in the desert and they are dead. But Jesus is the bread that comes down from heaven so that a man may eat it and not die! More importantly, the gospel today tells us that Jesus is the bread come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever. And the bread that Jesus gives is his flesh for the life of the world! Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die. I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world”. (Jn 6: 48-51)    

We may think that material bread is for this life and spiritual bread is for the next life. Material bread is not good enough for this life, or for the next life. Material bread is not good enough for the next life or for this life. Only spiritual bread is good enough for this life and for the next life. Only spiritual bread is good enough for the next life and for this life. This is because we are created in the image of God! And God is Spirit! We are spiritual beings! We are to love as God loves and we are to forgive as God forgives!

Thus the second reading tells us not to make the Holy Spirit sad by committing sins. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit in Baptism for our final redemption on the last day! We have to love as Jesus Christ loved us, even to the point of sacrificing himself for us; and we have to forgive as God has forgiven us in Jesus Christ.

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the prophet Elijah after defeating the false prophets of Baal was pursued by the wicked queen Jezebel who wanted to kill him.

Elijah escaped into the desert and wanted to die. In fact, he asked God to take away his life. He was suicidal. But God gave him bread (GNB) and water. God gave him bread and water twice and Elijah was strengthened and walked for forty days and forty nights to mount Horeb/Sinai to meet God!

The bread that God gave to Elijah symbolizes the bread of life that Jesus gives to us on our pilgrimage to heaven to meet God our Father!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

  “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. (Ps 33 (34): 9; SM)

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for deliverance (CSB) and in the context of today’s liturgy and readings; it is a thanksgiving for deliverance from death by the gift of the bread of life! Thus again, the response: “Taste and see that the Lord is good”.

“This psalm was used in the early Church during the time of communion.” (Fuller)

Today in this Mass we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ the food of eternal life and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we can love as Jesus Christ loved us and so that we can forgive as God has forgiven us in Jesus Christ and so that there will be unity and peace (shalom) in the world! A happy and holy Sunday to all of you! Amen!

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 5th August 2018

Theme: “WORK FOR FOOD THAT ENDURES TO ETERNAL LIFE.” 

  • Exodus 16:2-4. 12-15;
  • Psalm 77 (78): 3-4. 23-25. 54. R/ v. 24;
  • Ephesians 4:17. 20-24
  • John 6:24-35

Today is the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us not to “work for food that cannot last”, but to “work for food that endures to eternal life”!

The gospel today tells us that after being fed at “the miracle of the loaves” (Jn 6: 1-15; NJB), the people followed Jesus, but Jesus told them not to work for food that do not last, but to work for food that endures to eternal life.

More importantly, the gospel tells us that to work for food that endures to eternal life means to believe in Jesus! And when we believe in Jesus, God our Father will give us “bread from heaven”. And the bread from heaven will give life to the world!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that Jesus is the “bread from heaven” who gives life to the world! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger; he who believes in me will never thirst”. (Jn 6:35; SM)

Indeed Jesus is the “bread of life” both in word and in sacrament! Thus the “Gospel Acclamation” today:

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4; SM)     

And thus verse 54 of chapter 6 of today’s gospel:

“Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day”. (NJB)

That is why our Sunday Mass consists of two parts, namely, “the Liturgy of the Word” and “the Liturgy of the Eucharist”. The “Liturgy of the Word” gives us faith. (Rm 10:17) And when we celebrate “the Liturgy of the Eucharist” with faith and eat the body of Christ and drink his blood, the Holy Spirit will transform us into the Body of Christ!

That is why it is important that we come early for Sunday Mass to read the readings before Mass to prepare ourselves for the Mass. And that is why it is important that we listen attentively to the readings and homily during Mass and not talk or use our hand phones during Mass! And that is why it is important that after Mass we share and pray spiritually and personally on the Sunday Mass readings in our Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs)!  

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel had nothing to eat in the desert, so they grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and against God. They wanted to return to Egypt to eat meat and bread.

And more importantly, the first reading tells us that God gave them “bread from heaven”! The first reading prefigures the “bread from heaven” that Jesus gives in today’s gospel!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“The Lord gave them bread from heaven”. (Ps 77 (78): 24; SM)

And thus verses 23 to 25 of the responsorial psalm:

“He commanded the clouds above and opened the gates of heaven. He rained down manna for their food, and gave them bread from heaven. Mere men ate the bread of angels. He sent them abundance of food”. (SM)

Again, the responsorial psalm prefigures the “bread from heaven” given by Jesus in today’s gospel!

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again, the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells about “Renewal in Christ” (CSB), that is, to put off “the old self” and to put on “the new self”! This we did in baptism and we continue to do every Sunday in the Eucharist!

But we are happy to note that in our parish there are so many renewal movements that help us to renew ourselves in Jesus Christ! We have the Charismatic Renewal, the Prayer Meetings, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the Bible-Sharing Groups, the Alpha Course, the Divine Mercy, etc.! All these renewal movements help us renew ourselves in Jesus Christ!

Today in this Mass, we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ, the food of eternal life! And we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we may be renewed in his Son Jesus Christ! A happy and holy Sunday to all of you! Amen!