3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 26th Jan 2020

Theme: JESUS, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD (John 8:12)

  • Isaiah 8:23-9:3;
  • Psalm 26:1. 4. 13-14. R/ v. 1;
  • Corinthians 1:10-13. 17
  • Matthew 4:12-23 (Shorter Form, verses 12-17.)

Today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that Jesus is the light of the world! Thus we read in the gospel today:
“The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light; on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Mt 4:16; SM)
Light in the New Testament symbolizes 3 things (Jn 8:12b; NJB):
(1) Light symbolizes faith as opposed to unbelief which is darkness.
(2) Light symbolizes life, happiness and contentment as opposed to death, misery and unhappiness which is darkness.
(3) Light symbolizes good as opposed to evil which is darkness.
More importantly, the 3 themes are related, that is, faith in God gives us life and the
life from God is good, because God is good. In fact, only God is good!
Most importantly, in the end, light will overcome darkness, faith will overcome unbelief, life will overcome death, and good will overcome evil; because God has overcome the Devil in Jesus Christ and God continues to overcome the Devil in the Holy Spirit until the end of time when God will overcome the Devil completely, finally and totally! Then will come the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Salvation of the world!
The gospel today also tells us to repent, because the kingdom of heaven/God is close at hand! To repent does not only mean turning away from sin and turning to God, but to repent also means turning away from the world and turning to the God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation, that is, turning to the God of Jesus Christ, because only the God of Jesus Christ can save us from sin and death!
The gospel today tells us that the first disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John did not only turn away from sin and to God, but they also turned away from the world and to the God of Jesus Christ! And they did it immediately and totally! They left everything at once and followed Jesus!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that Jesus is the light of the world! The first reading is fulfilled in the gospel. That is why the first reading is quoted in the gospel. Thus we read again:
“The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.” (Is 9:1; SM)
The first reading also tells us that Jesus, the light of the world brings us great joy and happiness! Thus we read:
“You have made their gladness greater, you have made their joy increase; they rejoice in your presence as men rejoice at harvest time, as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.” (Is 9:2; SM)
Finally, the first reading tells us that Jesus the light of the world saves us! Thus we read:
“For the yoke that was weighing on him, the bar across his shoulders, the rod of his oppressor, these you break as on the day of Midian.” (Is 9:3; SM)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus we responded three times:
“The Lord is my light and my help.” (Ps 26:1; SM)
That is, the Lord is my light and my salvation! (CSB; NJB)
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza (v. 1) from which the response is taken tells us that the Lord is our light and our salvation! The second stanza (v. 4) tells us that the salvation of the Lord is in the temple! The third stanza (vv. 13-14) tells us that the salvation of the Lord is in heaven! (NJB; IBC)

In the second reading, Saint Paul tells the Corinthians to be united! The Corinthians were divided into factions; with one faction for Paul, one faction for Apollos, one faction for Peter (Cephas), and one faction for Christ. Paul tells the Corinthians that they were all baptized in the name of Christ, not in the name of Paul or Peter or Apollos; and as such they are all to be united in Christ!
Today we build small Christian communities of love and unity, so that our Church may be a community of communities of love and unity and so that our Church may be a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world; and so that our Church may be a light of salvation for the whole world; and so that the world seeing love and unity in our Church will believe in Jesus Christ and will be saved! A blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 19th Jan 2020

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

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 Emeritus Benedict XVI has given the final approval to the “Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way” on the 11th of May 2008, the Solemnity of Pentecost!

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!

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”!

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)    

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! Amen!

THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD (A) – 12th Jan 2020

Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS SON OF GOD AND SERVANT OF GOD

  • Isaiah 42:1-4. 6-7;
  • Psalm 28 (29): 1-4. 9-10. R/ v. 11;
  • Acts 10:34-38
  • Matthew 3:13-17

Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Today is the last day of the Christmas season. Like Christmas and Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord is about the revelation of the Lord; the revelation of the Lord as Son of God and Servant of God.

The gospel today tells us that after Jesus was baptized and when he came out of the water, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him and a voice from heaven said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:17; Is 42:1; CSB)

These words of God the Father correspond to the first verse of the first reading on the Suffering Servant of God: This is my chosen servant in whom my soul delights! The gospel tells us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Servant of God.

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Jesus Christ is the Suffering Servant of God who gives suffering service. He is to serve, to suffer, and to sacrifice, in order to sanctify and save the world!

Indeed, the first reading is the first of four Suffering Servant Songs of Isaiah! (Is 49:1-7; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12) The first reading tells us that the Suffering Servant will be endowed with the Holy Spirit. He will bring justice to the nations, he will be merciful, and he will save the whole world! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “I have endowed him with my spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations. (Is. 42:2) …. He does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame. (v 3) …. 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.” (vv 6-7; SM) 

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

    “The Lord will bless his people with peace.” (Ps 28 (29): 11; SM)

That is, the Lord will bless his people with peace, shalom, salvation!

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza gives glory and power to God. The second stanza tells us that the glory and power of God can be seen in the thunderstorm. And the third stanza gives glory to God as the eternal King of heaven and earth. (CSB) And it is this Lord of glory and power that blesses his people with peace, shalom, salvation!

The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that after his baptism (Fuller), Jesus received the Holy Spirit and became the servant of God to save the world! Thus we read in the second reading:

“God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil.” (Ac 10:38; SM)       

The second reading also tells us that salvation is not only for the Jews, but salvation is also for the Gentiles (the impure, IBC; the unclean, CCB)! 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)    

The Baptism of the Lord is also our baptism. When we were baptized we also received the Holy Spirit and we also became the sons and servants of God. And when we receive the Eucharist we grow as sons and servants of God.

Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his Risen Body and drink his Risen Blood, and our Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us grow as sons and suffering servants of God, to give suffering service, that is, to serve, to suffer, and to sacrifice, in order to sanctify and save the whole world! Amen!