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!

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 25th October 2020

Theme: CHURCH AND COMMUNITY LEADERS MUST PRACTICE WHAT      THEY PREACH AND THEY MUST PREACH THE GOOD NEWS

Malachi 1:14-2:2. 8-10; Psalm 130; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9. 13 Matthew 23:1-12

1. Today is the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that Church and community leaders must practice what they preach and they must preach the Good News!

The gospel today tells us that the scribes and Pharisees, that is, the Jewish religious leaders, do not practice what they preach. They interpret the Law rigorously for the people to keep, so much so that the Law becomes a burden for the people, but they will not keep the Law themselves.

All they do is for show, like wearing broader phylacteries (boxes containing scripture verses) on their foreheads and arms, and longer tassels on their clothes; choosing the places of honor at banquets and synagogues; and being greeted as “Rabbi”! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“…. They do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honor at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.” (Mt 23:3-7; SM) 

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. Again, the first reading tells us that the priests, that is, the Jewish religious leaders, were not teaching the Law of God. (CCB) Instead their teachings were misleading the people. As a result their blessings for the people will become curses for the people. The priests will become curses for the people of God! Thus we read in the first reading:

“And now, priests, this warning is for you. If you do not listen, if you do not find it in your heart to glorify my name, says the Lord of hosts, I will send the curse on you and curse your very blessing. You have strayed from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your teaching. You have destroyed the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts.” (Ma 2: 2. 8; SM)

3. Incidentally, the responsorial psalm tells us that a good Church and community leader is one who humbly trusts in God. The responsorial psalm is a song of “Humble Trust in God”. (CSB; NJB) The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza (v. 1) tells us that the psalmist does not trust in himself. The second stanza (v. 2) tells us that like a child, the psalmist trust in God. The third stanza (v. 3) tells us that the psalmist invites the whole community to trust in God. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is adapted from the second stanza:

    “Keep my soul in peace before you, O Lord.”

The single most important virtue of a Church and community leader is to trust in God!     

4. Incidentally, the second reading today tells us that St. Paul was a good Church and community leader! The second reading tells us that:

(i) St. Paul preached the Good News.

(ii) St. Paul loved the Thessalonians and gave his life for them.

(iii) St. Paul was self-supporting and self-financing. He did not ask for their financial support! (HCSB; NJBC)

Thus we read in the second reading:

“Like a mother feeding and looking after her own children, we felt so devoted and protective towards you, and had come to love you so much, that we were eager to hand over to you not only the Good News but our whole lives as well. Let me remind you, brothers, how hard we used to work, slaving night and day so as not to be a burden on any one of you while we were proclaiming God’s Good News to you.” (1 Th 2: 7-9; SM)  

5. Today in the 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 the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us Church and community leaders to practice what we preach. The Holy Spirit will help us preach the Good News. And the Holy Spirit will help us trust in God! Again, a happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you!

                                                                                                                                    Amen!

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 18th Oct 2020

Theme: WE ARE TO PAY OUR TAXES TO OUR GOVERNMENT AND GIVE OUR WHOLE SELVES TO OUR GOD

Isaiah 45:1. 4-6; Psalm 95 (96): 1. 3-5. 7-10. R/ v. 7; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5

Matthew 22:15-21

1. Today is the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that we are to pay our taxes to our government and we are to give our whole selves to our God!

The gospel today tells us that the Pharisees and the Herodians came together to trap Jesus by asking him if it was permissible to pay taxes to Caesar. If Jesus answered “Yes”, he will offend the Pharisees and the Jews, and if Jesus said “No”, the Herodians will report him to the Roman authority.

But Jesus went beyond the question and answered: “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.”! (SM) That is, the Roman coin with the image of Caesar on it belongs to Caesar, but most importantly, we who are created in the image of God have the image of God in us and we belong to God and we have to give ourselves back to God! (IBC; Lefrois)   

It is also important to note that on the Roman coin was also inscribed, “Tiberius Caesar, son of the divine Augustus, Augustus”. (HCSB) Caesar claimed to be divine, but Caesar was not divine. In fact Caesar can be demonic!

As our elections are coming very soon, it is important that we pray and elect a government that does the divine will and not the demonic will! We have to pray and elect a government that is just, charitable, respects religious freedom, respects human rights, respects human life, protects the environment, unites the people, helps the poor, etc.

We must not elect a government that is corrupted, plays racial and religious politics, undemocratic, destroys the environment, legalizes abortion, divides the people, etc.

In short, we must pray and elect a government that does the divine will and not a government that does the demonic will!

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Lord anointed the pagan Persian king Cyrus to be “messiah” to liberate the Israelites from their exile in Babylon, so that they may return to their homeland and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple! (CSB) This is the first and only time that the Lord has anointed a non-Israelite king as “messiah”. He foreshadows Jesus the Messiah who will save us from sin and death! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, …. :

It is for the sake of my servant Jacob, of Israel my chosen one, that I have called you by your name, conferring a title though you do not know me. I am the Lord, unrivalled; there is no other God besides me. Though you do not know me, I arm you that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that, apart from me, all is nothing.” (Is 45: 1. 4-6)

Again, even pagan kings must do the divine will and not the demonic will!

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God is not only the God of the Christians, but he is the “God of the Universe”! (CSB) That is why all nations and all peoples must praise and worship him!

   The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 1 & 3) invites all the peoples to praise God. The second stanza (vv. 4-5) tells us that there is only one God and there are no other gods. The third and fourth stanzas (vv. 7-10) tell us to worship God because he rules the world with justice! (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the third stanza:

“Give the Lord glory and power.” (Ps 95 (96): 7; SM) 

4. 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 about “grace and peace”; “faith, love and hope”; and the power and effect of the Good News! The second reading is divided into three paragraphs in our Sunday Missal. 

The first paragraph (v. 1) is the greeting of Paul, “grace and peace”, that is, may the grace of God give you peace. That is why we greet one another with “peace”, shalom, salvation!   

The second paragraph (vv. 2-3) tells us about “faith, love and hope” with an emphasis on “hope”. (CSB) We often remember faith and love, but we sometimes forget about hope, but the three must go together! For without hope our faith may not persevere until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and without hope our love may not persevere until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

The third paragraph (vv. 4-5) tells us that the Good News is not just words, but it is the power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit that can effect faith, love and hope! (HCSB)

5. Today in the 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 the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us pay our taxes to our government, and the Holy Spirit will help us give our whole selves back to God! The Holy Spirit will also give us the theological virtues of faith, love and hope, so that we will have faith in God and love, until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! Again, a happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you!

                                                                                                                                    Amen!

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) 11th Oct 2020

Isaiah 25:6-10; Psalm 22. R/ v. 6; Philippians 4:12-14. 19-20 Matthew 22:1-14 (Shorter Form, verses 1-10)

Theme: THE MESSIANIC BANQUET

1. Today is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us about the Messianic Banquet!

The gospel today consists of two parables; the parable of the “Wedding Feast” (vv. 1-10) and the parable of the “Wedding Garment” (vv. 11-13). St. Matthew joined the two parables together into one parable in today’s gospel.

The first gospel parable on the “Wedding Feast” tells us that the Jews were the first to be invited to the Messianic Banquet of the Kingdom of Heaven, but they refused the invitation. Instead they persecuted and killed the prophets and apostles sent to invite them. As a result they were punished and in the year A.D. 70, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.

The invitation to the Messianic Banquet was then extended to the sinners and Gentiles, the non-Jews, the pagans, and they accepted the invitation and the banquet hall was full of guests!

The second gospel parable on the “Wedding Garment” tells us that the sinners, Gentiles and non-Jews who accepted the invitation have to put on their “wedding garments”, that is, they have to change their lives and do good deeds in order to eat and drink of the Messianic Banquet in heaven!

The Messianic Banquet for us today is the Eucharist! All of us are invited to the Eucharist every Sunday, but some of us are too busy to come. Some of us have to work on Sunday because it is double pay! Others are too lazy to come, because of parties and late nights on Saturday.

But many of us do come for Mass every Sunday! And of those of us who come to Sunday Mass there are the good and the bad, but most of us are good and bad. For even in the best of us there is something bad, and even in the worst of us there is something good! But good or bad, good and bad, all of us must put on the “Wedding Garment”, that is, all of us must change our lives and do good deeds in order to eat and drink of the Messianic Banquet in heaven!

The Eucharist gives us the graces to help us to change our lives and do good deeds, so that one day we will eat and drink of the Messianic Banquet in heaven! The Eucharist, the Messianic Banquet on earth, is an anticipation of the Messianic banquet in heaven, that is, the Eucharist is a foretaste of the Messianic Banquet in heaven! The love, life, joy and peace (shalom/salvation) of the Eucharist will be fulfilled, perfected and completed in heaven. That is why we have to come to the Sunday Eucharist / Mass every Sunday, so that one day we will eat and drink of the Messianic Banquet in heaven!                    

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us of the life, joy and peace of the Messianic Banquet in heaven! The first reading tells us that in the Messianic Banquet in heaven, there will be no death and no sadness, but there will only be life, joy and peace (shalom/salvation)! Thus we read in the first reading:

“On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines. On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy Death for ever. The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek; he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth, for the Lord has said so.

That day, it will be said: See, this is our God in whom we hoped for salvation; the Lord is the one in whom we hoped. We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us; for the hand of the Lord rests on this mountain.” (Is 25:6-10; SM)

The mountain in the first reading is Mount Zion, a symbol of the Heavenly Jerusalem! (CSB)

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

“In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.” (Ps 22 (23): 6; SM)

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us about the Good Shepherd. The third and fourth stanzas tell us about the Host of the banquet. Today we will look at the third and fourth stanzas of the psalm, that is, the Host of the banquet.

The third and fourth stanzas of the psalm tell us that at the Messianic Banquet in heaven there will be no hatred, but there will only be love! Thus we read in stanzas three and four of the responsorial psalm from which the response is taken:

“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; SM)     

4. The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday. The second reading tells us that St. Paul thanked the Philippians for their financial aid, but more importantly, the second reading tells us that St. Paul depended on Jesus Christ (NJB) for his strength, so that he can be poor or rich, or hungry or full! In the second reading St. Paul was in jail for proclaiming the good news!  

5. Today in the 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 the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us to change our lives and to do good deeds, so that one day we will eat and drink of the Messianic Banquet in heaven!

    The Holy Spirit will also help us to proclaim the good news as St. Paul did, so that all may believe and be saved, and so that one day all may eat and drink of the Messianic banquet in heaven! A happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you! Amen!

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) – 4th Oct 2020

Theme: IT IS THROUGH THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT THE WHOLE WORLD WILL BE SAVED

1. Today is the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that the Jews rejected Jesus and put him to death, but it is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that the whole world will be saved, Jews as well as pagans!

The gospel parable today on “the vineyard and the wicked tenants” tells us that God sent many prophets to the Jewish people, but they would not listen, instead they killed the prophets. Finally God sent his Son Jesus Christ, but they would not listen to him either, instead they killed him on the cross!

But it is through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that the good news is proclaimed not only to the Jews, but also to the pagans! (NJB) It is all in the merciful plan of God! Thus the quotation of Jesus:

“It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone. This was the Lord’s doing and it is wonderful to see?” (Mt 21:42; SM)

Indeed, St. Paul also tells us about the merciful plan of God! St. Paul tells us that the good news was first proclaimed to the Jews, but they rejected it. Their rejection means that the good news will be proclaimed to the pagans, and when the pagans accept the good news and are blessed, the Jews will be jealous and they too will be converted and believe the good news and be saved! (Rm 11)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Jews rejected God by practicing social injustices, that is, by oppressing the weak and exploiting the poor!

    The “song of the vineyard” in the first reading tells us that God loved and cared for Israel his chosen people. God sent them prophets, but again, they will not listen to the prophets and obey the commandments of God. Instead they practiced social injustices by exploiting the poor and oppressing the weak. Thus God punished them and they were invaded by their enemies. Thus we read in the first reading:

“Yes, the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the House of Israel, and the men of Judah that chosen plant. He expected justice, but found bloodshed, integrity, but only a cry of distress.” (Is 5:7; SM)

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the last verse of the first reading:

“The vineyard of the Lord is the House of Israel.” (Is 5:7; SM)

The responsorial psalm is a “prayer for the restoration of Israel”. (NJB) The responsorial psalm has four stanzas.

The first and second stanzas tell us that God has rejected Israel and left her to be ravaged by her enemies (vv. 9. 12-14; NJBC). The third and fourth stanzas tell us that Israel repented and asked God to save her (vv. 15-16. 19-20).

4. 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 about peace!

The second reading tells us not to worry, but to pray if we are in need of anything. And when we pray, besides petitioning God, we must also give thanks to God. In this way we will find peace in our thoughts and in our hearts!

The second reading also tells us to think good thoughts and do good deeds. In this way we will also find peace! Peace for ourselves and peace for the whole world! A peace that the world cannot give and a peace that the world cannot take away! 

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 to the whole world so that all may believe and be saved!

The Holy Spirit will help us to think good thoughts, say good words and do good deeds, so that there will be peace in the world! A happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you!

                                                                                                                                Amen!

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) – 27th Spetember 2020

Theme: WE MUST REPENT: WE MUST NOT BE SELF-RIGHTEOUS

Today is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us to repent and not to be self-righteous.

The gospel today tells us that the Jewish religious leaders were self-righteous. They did not repent and believe in John the Baptist. They will not enter the kingdom of God! (CSB) The Jewish tax-collectors and prostitutes were not self-righteous. They repented and believed in John the Baptist. They will enter the kingdom of God!

In the gospel parable today, the first son who said “no” to the father, but later did the father’s will represents the Jewish tax-collectors and prostitutes. The second son who said “yes” to the father, but later did not do the father’s will represents the Jewish religious leaders.

Today the gospel exhorts all, particularly, religious leaders to repent and not to be self-righteous! 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that if we sin, we die; but if we repent, we shall live. Sin is not only doing something bad, or breaking the law, or being immoral, but sin is death!    

The first reading also tells us of individual responsibility, that is, we will not be punished for the sins of our parents, but we will be punished for our own sins.

Finally, the first reading tells us that if we sin, all the good that we have done in the past will be forgotten; but if we repent of our sins, all the sins that we have committed in the past will be forgiven and forgotten!

Again, the first reading exhorts us to repent and live!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a confident prayer for forgiveness and guidance. (CSB)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza is a prayer for guidance (vv. 4-5; HCSB). The second stanza is a prayer for forgiveness (vv. 6-7). The third stanza is a prayer of confidence (vv. 8-9). The emphasis today is on the second stanza, that is, a prayer for forgiveness. Thus we read in the second stanza:

“Remember your mercy, Lord, and the love you have shown from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth. In your love remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord.” (Ps 24 (25): 6-7; SM) 

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the second stanza:

 “Remember your mercy, Lord.” (Ps 24 (25): 6; SM)    

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 about unity and humility. The two go together. There can be no unity without humility. Pride divides the community, humility unites the community.

St. Paul tells the Philippians in the second reading to be humble, that is, not to compete with one another, not to be conceited (vain); but to be self-effacing, to consider other people better than themselves, and not to think of their own interest first, but to think of others’ interest instead!

Above all, St. Paul tells the Philippians in the second reading to be humble like Jesus Christ, who though was God, did not count equality with God, but became man and became lower than man by dying on the cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name above all other names, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bend and every tongue shall confess Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father!    

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 repent and not to be self-righteous. The Holy Spirit will help us to be humble so that we will be united with one another. Again, a happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you! Amen!

Today we also celebrate “Migrant Sunday” and our Pope Emeritus in 2011 has a special message for us! The theme of the Message was “One Human Family”. Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for the 97th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2011):

    Extracts:

“The World Day of Migrants and Refugees offers the whole Church an opportunity to reflect on a theme linked to the growing phenomenon of migration, to pray that hearts may open to Christian welcome and to the effort to increase in the world justice and charity, pillars on which to build an authentic and lasting peace.”