33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 17th Nov 2019

Theme: IN THE END, GOOD WILL WIN OVER EVIL, LIFE WILL WIN OVER DEATH; BECAUSE GOD WILL WIN OVER THE DEVIL

  • Malachi 3:19-20;
  • Psalm 97:5-9. R/ cf. v.9;
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
  • Luke 21:5-19 

Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. Next Sunday will be the Last Sunday of the Liturgical Year C. And as we come to the end of our Liturgical Year, the readings today tell us about the end times! The readings today tell us that at the end of time, good will win over evil, life will win over death; because God will win over the Devil!

The gospel today tells us that before the end times, Christians will be persecuted. They will be imprisoned. They will be brought to the courts, but they are not to prepare their defense, because the Lord himself will give them an eloquence and a wisdom which none of their opponents can withstand! They will even be betrayed by their own parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will be put to death; but their endurance will win them their lives!

That is why I said that, in the end, life will win over death, good will win over evil; because God will win over the Devil!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that in the end, good will win over evil, life will win over death; because God will win over the Devil! The first reading tells us that in the end, evil will be burnt like straw. Their roots and their trunks will all be burnt! As for the good, the sun of righteousness will shine on them with its healing rays and they will be saved! Thus we read in the first reading:

“The day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, leaving them neither root nor stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.” (Ml 3:19-20; SM)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord comes to rule the world and all its peoples with justice and fairness! Thus the response:

“The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.” (Ps 97:9; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza calls all the nations to praise and welcome the Lord who comes to rule the world and all its peoples with justice and fairness. (Ps 97:5-6) The second stanza calls the whole of creation to praise and welcome the Lord who comes to rule the world and all its peoples with justice and fairness. (Ps 97:7-8) And the third stanza from which the response is taken, tells us that the Lord comes to rule the world and all its peoples with justice and fairness. (Ps 97:9)

The second reading tells us how not to prepare for the end of time! Some people prepare for the end of time by doing nothing! This was what the Thessalonians were doing! They were doing nothing and waiting for the end of the world! St. Paul commanded them to work for their food! If they did not work for their food, they should not eat! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “We gave you a rule when we were with you: not to let anyone have any food if he refused to do any work. Now we hear that there are some of you who are living in idleness, doing no work themselves but interfering with everyone else’s. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we order and call on people of this kind to go on quietly working and earning the food that they eat.” (2 Th 3:10-12; Sunday Missal (SM))

We prepare for the end of time by praying, by doing the will of God, by being detached from the world, and by proclaiming the good news, so that all may believe and so that all may be saved!

Today we thank God for the gift of faith, and we ask God to increase our faith, so that even under persecution we will hold on to our faith, pray, and do the will of God; believing that in the end, good will overcome evil, life will overcome death and God will overcome the Devil! God bless you! Amen!

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 10th Nov 2019

Theme: WE SHALL RISE FROM THE DEAD AND LIVE FOREVER

  • 2 Maccabees 7:1-2. 9-14;
  • Psalm 16:1. 5-6. 8. 15. R/ v. 15;
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5
  • Luke 20:27-38 (Shorter Form, Lk 20:27. 34-38)

Today is the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. And as we come to the end of our Liturgical Year, the readings today tell us about the end times! The readings today tell us that at the end of time, life will win over death, Resurrection and new life will win over sin and death! Indeed, the new life of the resurrection is even better than the life before sin!

    “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!” (Easter Proclamation; SM)

To begin with, God created us in his own image, to love, to think, to be free, to do good and to live forever! And when we sinned, God sent his Son to save us! Through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ, God gave us the Holy Spirit to help us love as he loves, think as he thinks, to be free as he is free, to do good as he does good, and to live forever as he lives forever! The other creatures were not created in the image of God. They cannot love, think, be free, do good and live forever! So, don’t take your sonship for granted!

The gospel today tells us that the Sadducees do not believe in the resurrection! They only believe in Moses and the first five books of the Bible!

But more importantly, Jesus tells us in the gospel today that there is the resurrection! In answer to the question of the Sadducees, Jesus tells us that in heaven there is no marriage, because in heaven nobody dies. Therefore in heaven there is no need to marry to replenish the population! Therefore there is the resurrection!

Again, in answer to the question of the Sadducees, Jesus tells us that even Moses believed in the resurrection, since he called God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Since God is a God of the living and not of the dead, then Abraham, Isaac and Jacob must still be alive! Therefore there is the resurrection!

Most importantly, the “Gospel Acclamation” today tell us that Jesus himself rose from the dead! And it is through his Holy Spirit that we also rise from the dead never to die anymore! Thus the “Gospel Acclamation”:

“Jesus Christ is the First-born from the dead; to him be glory and power for ever and ever.” (Rv. 1:5. 6; Sunday Missal (SM))

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the resurrection! The first reading tells us that seven brothers and their mother were forced to eat pig’s flesh by the pagan Syrian king (Antiochus IV, 2nd century BC). They were tortured and put to death, but they refused to eat pig’s flesh, because it was against the Law! But more importantly, the first reading tells us that before they died they proclaimed the resurrection:

“The King of the world will raise us up, since it is for his laws that we die, to live again for ever. …. Ours is the better choice, to meet death at men’s hands, yet relying on God’s promise that we shall be raised up by him.” (2M 7:9. 14; SM)

The first reading tells us that even under persecution the seven brothers kept their faith, did the will of God and proclaimed the resurrection!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us about the resurrection! Thus the response:

“I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.” (Ps 16:15; SM)

The responsorial psalm also tells us to keep our faith, to pray, and to do the will of God, even under persecution, and we will rise from the dead! Thus the response again:

“I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.”

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something important to tell us. The second reading tells us that St. Paul prayed for the Thessalonians and that St. Paul asked the Thessalonians to pray for him! St. Paul also expressed his confidence in the Thessalonians!

In short, the second reading tells us to pray for one another and to have confidence in one another!

Today we thank God for the resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ, and we ask God to give us his Holy Spirit, so that even under persecution, we may keep our faith, pray and do his will and one day rise from the dead and live forever with him in heaven! God bless you! Amen!

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 3rd Nov 2019

Theme: JESUS THE SAVIOR SEEKS OUT AND SAVES THE LOST SINNER

  • Wisdom 11:22-12:2;
  • Psalm 144:1-2. 8-11. 13-14. R/ cf. v. 1;
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:11- 2:2
  • Luke 19:1-10

Today is the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus the Savior seeks out and saves the lost sinner! In other religions man seeks God; but in Christianity, God seeks man! Because the Christian God is a God of love!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus invited himself to stay with Zacchaeus at Zacchaeus’ house! More importantly, the gospel tells us that Zacchaeus was converted by Jesus, so much so that he promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and if he had cheated anyone he will pay him back fourfold! After his conversion, Zacchaeus practiced Justice and Charity! There can be no Peace without Justice and there can be no Justice without Charity! Most importantly, the gospel today tells us that Jesus the Savior seeks out and saves the lost sinner! Thus we read in the gospel:

“For the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.” (Lk 19:10; SM)

The gospel today reminds us of the parable of the lost sheep where the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine sheep to look for the one lost sheep! (Lk 15:4) This also reminds us of what Nicky Gumbel said in the Alpha Course, that is, even if you are the only one in the world Jesus will still die for you! Thus the Gospel Acclamation today:

“God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16; SM)  

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that the Lord loves us and saves us! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Yet you are merciful to all, because you can do all things and overlook man’s sins so that they can repent. …. Little by little, therefore, you correct those who offend, you admonish and remind them of how they have sinned, so that they may abstain from evil and trust in you, Lord.” (Ws 11:23. 12:2; SM)    

The first reading also tells us that the Lord does not only love and save sinners, but the Lord also loves, preserves and provides for his creation! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Yes, you love all that exists, you hold nothing of what you have made in abhorrence, for had you hated anything, you would not have formed it. And how, had you not willed it, could a thing persist, how be conserved if not called forth by you? You spare all things because all things are yours, Lord, lover of life, you whose imperishable spirit is in all.” (Ws 11:24-12:1; SM)

The New Jerusalem Bible notes that, “Never before had the universality of God’s compassion for sinners, and the decisive role of love in the creation and preservation of beings been expressed with such force or in dialectical form.”

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm gives praise to God for his love and compassion towards his creation and invites the whole community and the whole of creation to praise God for his love and compassion towards his creation!

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first stanza from which the response is taken gives praise to God (vv. 1-2). The second stanza tells us that we praise God because he is loving and compassionate towards his creation (vv. 8-9). The third stanza invites the whole community and the whole of creation to praise God (vv. 10-11). And the fourth stanza echoes the second stanza in which we praise God for his love and compassion, especially towards the weak and afflicted (vv. 13-14). (HCSB)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something important to tell us. The second reading tells us that St. Paul prayed for the Thessalonians so that they will live their Christian life of faith in a God of love, and of loving one’s neighbor, even in times of persecution! (2 Th 1:3-4; IBC) Thus we read in the second reading:

“We pray continually that our God will make you worthy of his call, and by his power fulfill all your desires for goodness and complete all that you have been doing through faith; because in this way the name of our Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified in you and you in him, by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Th 1:11-12; SM)

Today we also pray that we may live our Christian life of faith in a God of love, and of loving our neighbor, even in times of persecution!

The second paragraph of the second reading tells us not to be deceived by predictions of the Parousia, that is, the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must not be preoccupied with the Parousia, but we must be preoccupied with living our Christian life of faith in a God of love, and of loving our neighbor, even in times of persecution!

Today we thank God for his love in Creation (Father), for his love in Salvation (Son), and for his love in Sanctification (Holy Spirit)! And we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit so that we can continue to love God in faith and love our neighbor in good works, even in times of persecution! God bless you! Amen!

All Souls (C) – Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed – 2nd Nov 2019

Theme: WE PRAY FOR ALL OUR FAITHFUL DEPARTED

  • Isaiah 25:6-9;
  • Psalm 26:1. 4. 7-9. 13-14. Alt. R/ v. 13;
  • Romans 5:5-11
  • Luke 7:11-17

Today we celebrate All Souls Day, that is, the commemoration of all the faithful departed. Today we pray for all the faithful departed, especially for our family members, friends and community. We pray that God may bring them to heaven!

We pray for them, because we believe that God is love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation! We believe that Jesus Christ has died and risen from the dead and given us the Holy Spirit to raise us from our spiritual death and to take us to heaven!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus raised a dead man to life! But strictly speaking it was not the resurrection, because the raised man had to die again. It was only resuscitation. It only prefigures the resurrection.

More importantly, and most importantly, the second reading tells us that through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has raised us from our spiritual death and he will bring us to heaven! Thus we read:

“Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God’s anger? When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son?” (Rm 5:9-10; SM)  

Indeed the first reading prefigures heaven! It is an image of heaven! The first reading tells us that there will be a big banquet! There will be no more mourning! Death will be destroyed forever! There will be no more tears! There will be salvation!

Thus in the responsorial psalm we pray with faith and hope that our faithful departed will go to heaven! Thus the alternative response:

“I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.” (Ps 26:13; SM)

That is, I am sure I shall see God in heaven!

Again, today, All Souls Day, we pray for all our faithful departed. We pray that the Lord may take them to heaven. And thus we pray:

    “Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.”    

All Saints – 1st Nov 2019

Theme: ALL SAINTS: THE KNOWN AND UNKNOWN SAINTS; THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN AND THE SAINTS ON EARTH

  • Apocalypse (Revelation) 7:2-4. 9-14;
  • Psalm 23:1-6. R/ cf. v. 6;
  • 1 John 3:1-3
  • Matthew 5:1-12

Today we celebrate ALL SAINTS day! Today we commemorate all the known Saints and unknown saints; and all the saints in heaven and all the saints on earth!

The first reading tells us about the saints in heaven! The first reading tells us that they are all dressed in white with palms in their hands and praising God for their victory and salvation!

Their robes were washed white by the blood of the Lamb! The palms they hold symbolize victory and salvation! And they give praise to God and to the Lamb, because their victory and salvation come from God and from the Lamb! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands. They shouted aloud, ‘Victory to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! ….They have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.’” (Rv 7: 9-10. 14; SM)

The gospel today tells us about the saints on earth, that is, you and me who are baptized! St. Paul calls the baptized, “saints”, especially in the letters to the Corinthians! The gospel today tells us about the eight beatitudes! But the most important beatitude is the first beatitude! Thus we read:

“How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:3; SM)

The poor in spirit are the materially poor and the spiritually poor; but most importantly, the poor in spirit are those who are totally dependent on God for their material and spiritual food!

The poor in spirit are therefore those who receive the blessings of God, the grace of God, the Holy Spirit of God! And that is why they can fulfill the other seven beatitudes that follow! That is, being gentle, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for the cause of right, etc.!

The second reading also tells us about the saints on earth, that is, the baptized, that is, you and me! The second reading tells us that we are already the children of God, but what we will become has not yet been revealed. All we know is that when it is revealed we will be like him, that is, God or Jesus Christ, because we will see him as he really is!

We are already the children of God, that is, we are already baptized and as children of God we are totally dependent on God for our salvation! We will be like him because we will see him as he really is, that is, we will be like God, Jesus Christ and the saints, because we will be in heaven! Thus we read:

“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 3:2; SM)

Today we thank God for all the saints! More importantly, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ who washed away our sins with his blood and changed us sinners into saints!

We ask God to continue to bless us, grace us, give us the Holy Spirit; and continue to wash away our sins with the blood of Lamb, especially in the Eucharist every Sunday, so that one day we too will become saints in heaven, even canonized Saints in heaven!