JESUS CHANGED THE WATER OF THE PURIFICATION RITES OF THE JEWS INTO THE WINE OF THE MESSIANIC WEDDING BANQUET!
THE CHURCH IS A UNITY IN DIVERSITY; NOT A UNITY IN UNIFORMITY!
JESUS CHANGED THE WATER OF THE PURIFICATION RITES OF THE JEWS INTO THE WINE OF THE MESSIANIC WEDDING BANQUET!
THE CHURCH IS A UNITY IN DIVERSITY; NOT A UNITY IN UNIFORMITY!
Theme: JESUS CHANGED THE WATER OF THE PURIFICATION RITES OF THE JEWS INTO THE WINE OF THE MESSIANIC WEDDING BANQUET!
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!
The Baptism of the Lord: The Revelation of the Lord as Son and Suffering Servant of God.
The Revelation of God in Creation (Psalm)
Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS SON AND SUFFERING SERVANT OF GOD
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!
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)
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)
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)
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: EPIPHANY: THE MANIFESTATION OF THE LORD TO ALL THE NATIONS
A Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you! We are still in the season of Christmas! Christmas season will end only next Sunday with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord! Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, that is, the manifestation of the Lord to all the nations!
The gospel today tells us that some wise men came from the East to worship Jesus. The wise men represent the nations of the world. That is why in our Christmas crib they are of different colors. The wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the child Jesus.
The Fathers of the Church, such as Irenaeus (ca. 130-200), see in these gifts the symbols of Jesus’ kingship (gold), divinity (frankincense) and passion (myrrh). That is, the gold symbolizes Jesus as king, the frankincense which is used for worship symbolizes Jesus as God, and the myrrh which is used for embalmment and burial symbolizes Jesus as Suffering-Messiah!
Indeed the Star of Bethlehem which led the wise men to Jesus symbolizes Jesus as King, God and Messiah! Thus we read in the prophecy of the famous pagan prophet Balaam: “A star is emerging from Jacob”! (Nb 24:17; NJBf)
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that all the nations of the world will come and worship the Lord and they will bring with them the riches of the world, including gold and frankincense! And even the exiled Jews will return to Jerusalem!
This is because the glory of the Lord will rise above Jerusalem and all the nations will come to the light of his glory! Thus we read in the first reading:
“Arise, shine out Jerusalem, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord is rising on you, though night still covers the earth and darkness the peoples. Above you the Lord now rises and above you his glory appears. The nations come to your light and kings to your dawning brightness.” (Is 60:1-3; SM)
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:
“All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.” (Ps 71 (72): 11; SM)
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first, second and fourth stanzas tell us that the Messianic King will bring justice and peace, especially to the poor!
There can be no peace without justice! And peace is not just an absence of war, but Peace is Shalom, Salvation!
The third stanza tells us that all the nations of the world will worship him! Thus the third stanza from which the response is taken:
“The kings of Tarshish and the sea coasts shall pay him tribute. The kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring him gifts. Before him all kings shall fall prostrate, all nations shall serve him.” (Ps 71 (72): 10-11; SM)
The second reading also follows the theme of Epiphany, that is, manifestation or revelation. The second reading tells us that the mystery that had been hidden in the past has now been revealed! And the revelation is that pagans are co-heirs, co-members and co-sharers with the Jews (IBC), that is,
“Pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Christ Jesus, through the gospel.” (Ep 3:6; SM)
Let us renew our faith, share our faith and proclaim our faith to the whole world! Let us use the Bible, the Sunday Mass Readings and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) to renew our faith, share our faith and proclaim our faith in our families, in our communities, in our churches, in our schools, in our workplaces, and in the internet! A happy and joyful Epiphany to all of you!
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 Blessed Virgin Mary!
From a human family to a Holy Family: 8 Pastoral Exhortation!
Theme: A HAPPY AND HOLY FAMILY
A Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you! Christmas is such a big feast that we celebrate it in eight days! The octave day (eighth day) of Christmas will be on New Year’s Day, when we will celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God! But the Christmas season ends only with the Baptism of the Lord on the 13th of January 2019!
Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord are all the manifestations of the Lord! Christmas, manifestation to sinners (Shepherds); Epiphany, manifestation to all the nations (wise men); and Baptism of the Lord, manifestation of the Lord as Son and Servant of God!
That is why, besides Jesus, Mary and Joseph, our crib has shepherds (Christmas), wise men (Epiphany), and a white cloud symbolizing God the Father and a white dove symbolizing God the Holy Spirit (The Baptism of the Lord)!
Again, a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you! Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Liturgical Year C!
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is holy, because God is the Father and Jesus is the Son of God born through the power of the Holy Spirit! Our families are also holy because in Baptism God became our Father and we became the children of God born through the power of the Holy Spirit! The Church became our Mother and Jesus became our brother and we became brothers and sisters to one another!
The gospel today tells us that when Jesus was twelve years old and was lost in the temple in Jerusalem for three days, and when Mary and Joseph found him and asked him why he had done this; Jesus replied that he had to do his Father’s work! (CSB) In other words, Jesus is the Son of God!
The gospel tells us that Jesus is also man. The gospel tells us that Jesus stayed with Mary and Joseph in Nazareth for thirty years! We do not hear about Jesus for thirty years! We only hear about Jesus for three years, his last three years! In the thirty years of silence in Nazareth Jesus was growing up physically, mentally and spiritually in the Holy Family! (Fuller)
Our children too have to grow up physically, mentally and spiritually in a holy family! The family is the cell of society and the domestic Church! If our families are broken our society and our Church will also be broken!
The first reading also tells us about the family. The first reading tells us about our duty towards our parents, especially when they are old and sick! The first reading tells us that if we honor our parents as the fourth commandment tells us to, God will bless us! We will be happy with our own children, our sins will be forgiven, God will listen to our prayers, we will live long and healthy lives, etc.!
The responsorial psalm also tells us about the family. (CSB; NJB; HCSB) The responsorial psalm tells us that if we revere the Lord and walk in his ways, we will be satisfied, we will be rich and happy; and our spouses will be fertile and we will have plenty of children! Thus the response and the first and second stanzas:
“O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways! By the labor of your hands you shall eat. You will be happy and prosper. Your wife like a fruitful vine in the heart of your house; your children like shoots of the olive, around your table.” (Ps 127 (128): 1-3; SM)
The second reading also tells us about the family. The second reading has three paragraphs. The first and second paragraphs tell us about Christian life in general, that is, we have to love, forgive, be thankful to God, etc. The third paragraph tells us about the Christian family. Thus we read in the third paragraph:
“Wives, give way to your husbands, as you should in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and treat them with gentleness. Children, be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord. Parents, never drive your children to resentment or you will make them feel frustrated.” (Col 3:18-21; SM)
In short, wives love your husbands, husbands love your wives; children love your parents, parents love your children!
Suggestions for a happy and holy family:
(i) A family must eat together at least once a day, preferably at dinner time. There must be no television, internet, hand phone, etc. at dinner time.
(ii) A family must communicate, that is, family members must talk to each other and listen to each other. Communion and community begin with communication!
(iii) A family must pray together everyday. A family that prays together stays together!
(iv) Parents must teach their faith to their children, especially in this Year of Faith. Besides the Bible and the Sunday Mass readings, parents must use the YOUCAT, that is, Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church!
(v) A family must belong to a BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) of a few families. They must meet at least once a month for support, sharing, praying, meals, etc. A BEC is an extended Christian family!
(vi) A family must play together, exercise together, have recreation together, go for outings together, go for holidays together, etc.!
(vii) Grand parents should not be sent to homes for the aged and grand children should not be sent to nurseries. Grand parents can help take care of grand children!
(viii) A family must go to Mass every Sunday and if possible be involved in Bible-Sharing, Prayer Meetings, BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities), Neo-Catechumenal Communities, Alpha Course, etc. on weekdays.
(ix) A family must be open to life, that is, no artificial birth control, abortion, etc.
(x) A family must keep Sunday holy. (Third Commandment!) Sunday is for the Lord and for one’s family, not for work and not for money. (Pope Benedict XVI)
(xi) The father of the family must come home to avoid the “absent father syndrome”. And he must not only be physically present; he must also be emotionally present.
(xii) Extended families, that is, cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunties, etc. should come together at least once a month for meals, drinks, fellowship, etc.
A Happy and Holy Family to all of you!