1st Sunday of Advent (Year B) – 29th Nov 2020

Theme: PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AT CHRISTMAS AND AT THE END OF THE WORLD

  • Isaiah 63:16-17; 64:1. 3-8;
  • Psalm 79 (80): 2-3. 15-16. 18-19. R/ v. 4;
  • 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
  • Mark 13:33-37

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. It is also the first Sunday of the new liturgical Year B! The word

Advent means coming or arrival, that is, the coming of Jesus Christ! To begin with, we must remember that there are three comings of Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ came in memory two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ will come in majesty at the end of the world, and Jesus Christ will come in mystery this Christmas! Remember the three Ms: Memory, Mystery and Majesty!

The three comings are interrelated. Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory and Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in mystery. That is why we are sure that Jesus Christ will come in majesty at the end of time! The word Christ-mas comes from two words, Christ and Mass. Jesus Christ will come this Christmas in mystery in the Christ Mass!

The readings today tell us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of the world!

The gospel today tells us to stay awake, that is, to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. Thus we read in the gospel today: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’”

We prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by praying, reading the Bible, attending BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) meetings, attending Sunday Mass every Sunday, caroling, proclaiming the good news, going to confession, repentance, etc. We also prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by being Santa Claus, that is, Saint Nicholas (Dutch), by giving Christmas presents to the poor, the aged, the sick, the prisoners, the foreigner, the orphan, the needy, the poor children, etc.!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading is a prayer for God to come and a confession of sins. The first part of the first reading is a prayer for the coming of God: “Return, for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your inheritance. Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down – at your Presence the mountains would melt.” (Is 63:17; 64:1)  

The second part of the first reading is a confession of sins: “You were angry when we were sinners; we had long been rebels against you. We were all like men unclean, all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing. We have all withered like leaves and our sins blew us away like the wind.” (Is 64:5-6)

The historical context of the first reading was the return of the Jews from exile from Babylon in the sixth century BC. Today we also pray for the coming of Jesus Christ and we also confess our sins!                    

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer for God to come and save his people. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.” (Ps 79 (80): 4) The response of the responsorial psalm is repeated three times. It is also repeated three times as a refrain of the original psalm. It can be paraphrased thus, ‘God of the heavenly host of angels, bring us back from sin and death; let your favor, grace and blessing be on us and we shall be saved.’!   

In the responsorial psalm we pray for the coming of Jesus Christ to save us. Thus we read in the first part of the third stanza: “May your hand be on the man you have chosen, the man you have given your strength.” (Ps 79 (80):18)

Finally as we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time, the second reading tells us to thank God for all the graces that we have received at the first coming of Jesus Christ and to pray God that he may protect us from sin and death until the second coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time!

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 prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of the world! Amen!

           

CHRIST THE KING (Year A) – 22nd Nov 2020

Theme: JESUS CHRIST WILL COME A SECOND TIME AS KING OF THE UNIVERSE

  • Ezekiel 34:11-12. 15-17;
  • Psalm 22 (23): 1-3. 5-6. R/ v. 1;
  • 1 Corinthians 15:20-26. 28
  • Matthew 25:31-46

1. Today is the 34th Sunday or the last Sunday in Ordinary Time in Liturgical Year A. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. We celebrate the feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, because we believe that at the end of the world, Jesus Christ will come a second time as King of the universe! 

    The gospel today tells us of the second coming of Jesus Christ as king of the universe! He will judge all the peoples. Those who accepted the gospel will enter heaven, but those who rejected the gospel will not enter heaven! The hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and in prison in today’s gospel refer to “one of the least of these brothers of mine” (Mt 25:40), that is, the disciples, the Christian Missionaries who proclaim the gospel.   (CSB/Fuller) Acceptance of the disciples means acceptance of the gospel, rejection of the disciples means rejection of the gospel! Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “Then the virtuous will say to the King in reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?’ And the King will answer, ‘I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.’” (Mt 25: 37-40)

    We have therefore to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth so that all may believe and be saved!

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Lord is not only king and judge, but he is also shepherd and savior! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “The Lord says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.” (Ezk 34:11-12. 15-16)     

    The first reading is an outline of the good shepherd found in John 10:11-18! Thus we read in John 10:14-15:

    “I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.” (NJB)

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is on the good shepherd. (NJB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” (Ps 22 (23): 1) And thus the responsorial psalm:

    “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit. He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name.” (Ps 22 (23): 1-3/stanzas 1 and 2)            

    The second part of the responsorial psalm is on the host of a banquet. It is related to the good shepherd. Just as the good shepherd leads and provides food and drink for the sheep, the host of a banquet provides food and drink for the guests! (NJBC) Thus we read in stanzas three and four of the responsorial psalm:

    “You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.” (Ps 22 (23): 5-6)

4. Finally, and most importantly, the second reading tells us that Jesus Christ will come a second time and he will destroy death forever, and the dead will rise to a new life , and he will hand over the kingdom to God the Father so that God may be all in all! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death. And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in his turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Co 15: 22-26. 28)       

5. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink is blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth until the second coming of Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ comes a second time he will take us all to heaven!

                                                                                                                                    Amen!

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 15th Nov 2020

Theme: PREPARE FOR THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST

  • Proverbs 31:10-13. 19-20. 30-31;
  • Psalm 127 (128):1-5. R/ v. 1;
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
  • Matthew 25:14-15. 19-21 (Shorter Form)

1. Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today is the “second last” Sunday of the Liturgical Year A. Next Sunday will be the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year A. As we come to the end of our liturgical year, the readings today tell us about the end times, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The readings today tell us to prepare for the Second Coming for Jesus Christ!    

    Jesus Christ came a first time and he will come a second time! When Jesus Christ came the first time; he died, rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit and sent us forth to proclaim the Good News, to do good works and to build the Kingdom of God! When our faith and good works reach to the ends of the earth, Jesus Christ will come a second time to bring us to heaven! Thus we read in the Gospel today:

    “Now a long time after, the master of those servants came back and went through his accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made.’

    His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.’” (Mt 25:19-21)

2. The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that we do not know when Jesus Christ will come a second time. He will come unexpectedly (“thief”) and suddenly (“labor pains”). We have always to be prepared by doing good works! (Lefrois) Thus we read in the second reading:

    “But it is not as if you live in the dark, my brothers, for that Day to overtake you like a thief. No, you are all sons of light and sons of the day: we do not belong to the night or to darkness, so we should not go on sleeping, as everyone else does, but stay wide awake and sober.” (1 Th 5:4-6)   

3. The first reading gives us an example of doing good works! The first reading tells us about a good wife! A good wife does good to her husband, provides for the household, helps the poor and the needy, and fears and reveres the Lord! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Pr 31:12. 19-20. 30/HCSB)

4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us of a good husband. A good husband is one who fears and reveres the Lord and walks in his ways. Thus the first verse of the responsorial psalm:

    “O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways!” (Ps 127 (128):1).

    And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “O blessed are those who fear the Lord.” (Ps 127 (128):1)

    The responsorial psalm tells us that a good husband will be blessed with enough to eat, happiness and prosperity. He will be blessed with a fertile wife and with many children. He will be blessed all the days of his life! Thus we read in the responsorial psalm:

    “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. Indeed thus shall be blessed the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion in a happy Jerusalem all the days of your life.” (Ps 127 (128):2-5)          

5. 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 proclaim the Good News, do good works and build the Kingdom of God until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ comes a second time He will take us all to heaven!

                                                                                                                                    Amen!

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 8th Nov 2020

Theme: WE PREPARE FOR THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST BY DOING GOOD WORKS

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 25:1-13

Today is the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time or 32nd Sunday of the Liturgical Year A. And as we come to the last 3 weeks of the Liturgical Year, the readings tell us about the end time, the end of the world, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

The readings today tell us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works! The gospel tells us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works!

The gospel parable tells us of 10 virgins; 5 were wise and 5 were foolish. The wise virgins brought oil with them for their lamps, but the foolish virgins did not bring oil with them! As the bridegroom was late in coming, the virgins fell asleep! When the bridegroom arrived at midnight, the virgins woke up, and the wise virgins accompanied the bridegroom into the wedding hall, but the foolish virgins went to buy oil, and were late, and they did not enter the wedding hall!

Matthew 7: 24. 26 also tell us about the wise man and the foolish man! The wise man listens to the word of God and acts on it, but the foolish man listens to the word of God, but does not act on it! Acting on the word of God and not acting on the word of God distinguishes the wise man from the foolish man respectively! In short, the wise man does good works, but the foolish man does not do good works!

In the gospel of today, the oil symbolizes good works! The wise virgins do good works, but the foolish virgins do not do good works!

Again, the gospel today tells us to do good works to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

The second reading from 1 Thessalonians also tells us about the “Parousia”! “Parousia” is a Greek word meaning “presence” and by extension, it means “appearance”. “Parousia” means the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The second reading tells us that at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the dead will rise from the dead, just as Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and they will be taken into heaven with him, and those who are still alive will also be taken up into heaven to be with Jesus Christ forever!

Today’s second reading is taken from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, but if we were to read what immediately follows it, that is, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, St. Paul also tells us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! (CSB/NAB)

Today in this Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us His Holy Spirit to do good works to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, so that when He comes, he will take us up into heaven with him forever! This is the good news!

I wish you a happy, holy and blessed week! Sunday is not the last day of the week, or the end of the week, on the contrary, Sunday is the first day of the week, the beginning of the week, the day of the Sun, the day of the Son, the day of the Resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the Sanctification and Salvation of the whole Universe! If you come to Mass on Sunday you will be blessed, graced, and favored, and you will be happy and holy every day of the week! Again, a happy, holy and blessed week to all of you! Amen!

All Saints – 1st Nov 2020

Theme: THE SAINTS ARE SAINTS BECAUSE OF THE GRACE OF GOD

  • Apocalypse/Revelation 7:2-4. 9-14;
  • Psalm 23 (24): 1-6. R/ v. 6;
  • 1 John 3:1-3
  • Matthew 5:1-12

Today we celebrate All Saints Day and the first thing we must do is to thank God for our saints, known and unknown saints, because it was solely through God’s grace that our biggest sinners have become our greatest saints (e.g. Peter, Paul and Augustine)! More importantly, today we pray that through the grace of God we may also become saints! Saints with a small “s” and Saints with a big “S”!

The gospel today tells us that the poor in spirit are blessed; the kingdom of heaven belongs to them! This is the first and the most important beatitude. It underlies all the other beatitudes! (Faley) The poor in spirit are not only the materially poor, nor even the spiritually poor (sinners), but they are those who trust and depend on God for their salvation! (CSB) Thus we read in the gospel today: “How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:3)

Again, the saints are saints today because they trusted and depended on God! It was the grace of God that made them saints!

The first reading tells us that in heaven, thanks, glory, praise, worship and honor are given to God and to the lamb, Jesus Christ, and not to the saints; because the saints were washed clean by the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ! Thus we read in the first reading:

“They cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.’ All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed: ‘Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’ (Rv 7:10-12/CSB)

“He said to me: ‘These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rv 7:14/CSB)

The second reading tells us that we are already the children of God because of Baptism, but what we will be has not yet been revealed. But what we know is that we will be like him, that is, Jesus Christ (HCSB), for we shall see him as he really is! (NJBC) In the meantime we are to purify ourselves and be as pure as Jesus Christ. We purify ourselves from sin and be as pure as Jesus Christ with the grace of Jesus Christ!

Thus we read in the second reading: “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. Surely everyone who entertains this hope must purify himself, must try to be as pure as Christ.” (1 Jn 3:2-3)

Again, today is All Saints Day. Today we thank God for all our saints, known and unknown, because it was God’s grace that made them sinners into saints! More importantly, today we pray that through the grace of God we may also become saints, saints with a small “s” and Saints with a big “S”! Amen!