3rd Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 12th December 2021

  • Zephaniah 3:14-18;
  • Responsorial Psalm (Isaiah 12:2-6. R/ v. 6);
  • Philippians 4:4-7
  • Luke 3:10-18

Theme: WHEN THE LORD COMES, HE WILL BURN AWAY OUR SINS WITH THE FIRE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND WE WILL BE VERY HAPPY

1. Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent; Liturgical Year C. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. The word Advent means coming. Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas, and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time. Because Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago, and continues to come every Christmas, we believe that he will come again at the end of time.

    Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in Memory, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in Mystery, and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time in Majesty. When Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory, he did something very important; before he died, rose from the dead, and gave us the Holy Spirit; he gave us the Eucharist/Mass in memorial of him, that is, to make real, present and effective what he did two thousand years ago, so that he can continue to come to us every Christmas in Mystery, and so that he can come to us at the end of time in Majesty!

    The word Christ-mas comes from the two words “Christ’s” and “Mass”. (Raas) The Mass is the Sacrament of Sacraments. The word Sacrament in Greek and in Latin means Mystery. Jesus Christ comes to us every Christ-mas in Mystery and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time in Majesty! Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time.

    The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by practicing charity and justice. But before we practice charity we have to practice justice. Justice is giving back to the poor what belongs to them, that is, paying them a just wage, etc. Charity or “sharity” is sharing what we have with the poor, the have-nots. Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “When all the people asked John, ‘What must we do?’ he answered, ‘If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.’ There were tax collectors too who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than your rate.’ Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!’ (Lk 3:10-14)      

    More importantly, the gospel today tells us that when the Lord comes he will burn away our sins with the fire of his Holy Spirit, that is, the fire of his love! God the Father is love, God the Son is love, and God the Holy Spirit is also love! Theologians tell us that God the Father loves the Son, and God the Son loves the Father, and the love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God’s love will burn away our sins! Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “John declared before them all, ‘I baptize you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Lk 3:16/Pentecost, Acts 2)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us to rejoice because the Lord is with us to save us! More than that the first reading also tells us that God is not only with us to save us, but God also rejoices with us! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has repealed your sentence; he has driven your enemies away. The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you have no more evil to fear. When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem: Zion, have no fear, do not let your hands fall limp. The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love; he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.” (Zp 3:14-18a)

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us to rejoice because God is with us to save us! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” (Is 12:6)

    And thus the first stanza of the responsorial psalm:

    “Truly, God is my salvation, I trust, I shall not fear. For the Lord is my strength, my song, he became my savior. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” (Is 12:2-3)      

4. Finally, the second reading tells us to rejoice in the Lord because the Lord is near! Thus we read in the second reading: “I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness.” (Ph 4:4) And thus the “Entrance Antiphon” of today’s Mass which is taken from the first verse of today’s second reading with a different translation (Ph 4:4): “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.”!

    The first word of the “Entrance Antiphon” of today’s Mass is the name given to this Third Sunday of Advent, that is, “Rejoice Sunday” or “Joyful Sunday”! Today we celebrate Joyful Sunday because we are more than half way through to Christmas! That is why we use rose colored vestment to symbolize joy, light the rose candle, start caroling, start making the Christmas Crib, start putting up the Christmas Tree, etc.! 

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 prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. The Holy Spirit will help us practice charity and justice to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ comes he will burn away our sins with the fire of his Holy Spirit, that is, the fire of his love, and we will be very happy! A happy Advent to all of you!   Amen!

2nd Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 5th Dec 2021

Theme: LET US PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AT CHRISTMAS AND AT THE END OF TIME

  • Baruch 5:1-9;
  • Psalm 125 (126) R/ v. 3;
  • Philippians 1:3-6. 8-11
  • Luke 3:1-6

1. Today is the Second Sunday of Advent, Liturgical Year C. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. The word Advent means coming. Jesus Christ came two thousand yeas ago, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas, and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time.

    Because Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago, and continues to come every Christmas, we believe that he will come again at the end of time. Jesus Came two thousand years ago in Memory, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in Mystery, and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time in Majesty!

    The word Christ-mas comes from the two words “Christ’s” and “Mass”. (Raas) The Mass is the Sacrament of Sacraments. The word Sacrament in Latin and in Greek means mystery. Jesus Christ comes to us every Christ-mas in mystery!        

    Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. The readings today tell us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel today tells us about “repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. (Lk 3:3)

    Repentance is not only turning away from sin, but repentance is also turning away from the world; and turning to God, and turning to the God of love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation; the God of Jesus Christ; the God who gives us love, life and happiness! If we only turn away from sin without turning away from the world and turning to Jesus Christ; we will turn back to sin!          

    The gospel also tells us to fill up the valleys, to flatten the mountains, to make the paths straight, and to make the rough roads smooth, that is, to make a radical change in our lifestyle. (NJBC) To live a simple lifestyle, dependent on God for love, life and happiness!

    Most importantly, the gospel today tells us about universal salvation, that is, the salvation of all men and of every man! Thus we read in the gospel: “And all mankind shall see the salvation of God”! (Lk 3:6/SM)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the salvation of the Jews. The first reading tells us about the return of the Jews from exile from Babylon in the sixth century BC. Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights and turn your eyes to the east: see your sons reassembled from west and east at the command of the Holy One, jubilant that God has remembered them. Though they left you on foot, with enemies for an escort, now God brings them back to you like royal princes carried back in glory. For God has decreed the flattening of each high mountain, of the everlasting hills, the filling of the valleys to make the ground level so that Israel can walk in safety under the glory of God. And the forest and every fragrant tree will provide shade for Israel at the command of God; for God will guide Israel in joy by the light of his glory with his mercy and integrity for escort.” (Ba 5:5-9/SM)

    More importantly, the first reading is a prophecy of universal salvation, that is, the salvation of all men and of every man! This prophecy will be fulfilled in Jesus Christ!

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us about the salvation of the Jews. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Jews had returned from exile from Babylon, and they were very happy, and it was all the work of God! Thus the first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm:

    “When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage, it seemed like a dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, on our lips there were songs. The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels the Lord worked for them!’ What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.” (Ps 125 (126): 1-3/SM)

    And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.” (Ps 125 (126): 3/SM)        

    The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us that the Jews had returned from exile and they were very happy and it was all the work of God. (Ps 125 (126): 1-3) The third and fourth stanzas are a prayer for prosperity and fertility of the land! (Ps 125 (126):4-6/CSB/HCSB)

4. Finally, the second reading tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by growing in love for each other and consequently in knowledge and discernment so that we will know what is important and so that we will be just and blameless at the coming of Jesus Christ! (NJB) Thus we read in the second reading:

    “My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognize what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.” (Ph 1:9-11/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 the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time.

    The Holy Spirit will help us to repent, that is, to turn away from sin and from the world, and to turn to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will help us to change our lifestyle radically. And the Holy Spirit will help us grow in love for each other and consequently in knowledge and discernment so that we will know what is important and so that we will be pure and blameless when our Lord Jesus Christ comes! Amen

1st Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 28th November 2021

Theme: ADVENT IS A TIME WHEN WE PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AT CHRISTMAS AND AT THE END OF TIME

  • Jeremiah 33:14-16;
  • Psalm 24 (25):4-5. 8-9. 10. 14. R/ v. 1:
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
  • Luke 21:25-28. 34-36.

1. Today is the First Sunday of Advent and today we begin the new Liturgical Year C. Advent means coming. There are three comings of Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory. Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in mystery. And Jesus Christ will come at the end of time in majesty!

Because Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory, and Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in mystery, we believe that Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time in majesty as King of the universe! He will win over all and he will rule over all!

Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time! “Advent is thus a period for devout and joyful expectation.” (General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 39, Roman Missal)

2. The gospel today tells us of the end of the world and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The gospel tells us that there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars; and the powers of heaven will be shaken, that is, the sun, moon and stars will be shaken! 

We believe that the end of the world is not only the end of the physical world, but the end of the evil world, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

More importantly, the gospel today tells us about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The gospel tells us that Jesus Christ will come in a cloud with power and great glory and we are to stand erect and lift up our heads, because our liberation, redemption and salvation is near at hand! The salvation which Jesus Christ began in his First Coming will be completed, perfected, fulfilled and fully realized in his Second Coming! 

The gospel also tells us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by detaching ourselves from the material world. The gospel tells us not to be engrossed in our material pursuits and worldly pleasures; but to stay awake, to keep vigil and to pray.

3. The second reading also tells us about the end of the world and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. St. Paul and the Thessalonians believed that the end of the world and the Second Coming of Jesus was imminent, that is, in their lifetime!

In the second reading St. Paul prayed that the Thessalonians increase in love and love one another and love the whole human race as much as St. Paul loved them. St. Paul also prayed that they be holy and blameless for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

Finally, St. Paul exhorted them to live the Christian life and to grow in the Christian life!

4. The first reading is a prophecy on the First Coming of Jesus Christ, but for us it is a prophecy on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The first reading tells us that Judah will be saved and Israel (Jerusalem; NJBC) will live in safety and Jerusalem will be called ‘The Lord-our-righteousness’, that is, ‘The Lord-our-salvation’! (Fuller; GNB) Thus we read in the first reading:

“In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” (Jr 33:16; HCSB)

5. The responsorial psalm is a “Prayer for Guidance” (HCSB; CSB) to God our Savior.

    Thus the response:

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” (Ps 24 (25): 1; SM)

And thus the first stanza:

“Lord, make me know your ways. Lord, teach me your paths. Make me walk in your truth, and teach me: for you are God my savior.” (Ps 24 (25): 4-5; SM)

6. Again, Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time! We prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by detaching ourselves from the material world and from worldly pleasures, and by staying awake, keeping vigil and praying (Gospel); by loving one another and loving the whole human race, and by being holy and blameless, and by living and growing in the Christian life (Second reading); and by doing good works (Opening Prayer).

We also prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by repentance and by going to confession; by reading the Bible and the Sunday Mass readings; by reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church; by being Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas) to the poor and needy, especially to the poor and needy children; by going Christmas caroling and proclaiming the good news of Christmas; and by attending Bible-Sharing, Prayer-Meetings, BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) meetings, etc. A happy and blessed Advent to all of you! Amen!   

Christ the King (Year B) – 21st November 2021

Theme: JESUS CHRIST, UNIVERSAL KING OF LOVE, LIFE, JOY, JUSTICE AND PEACE

  • Daniel 7:13-14;
  • Psalm 92 (93): 1-2. 5. R. v. 1;
  • Apocalypse 1:5-8
  • John 18:33-37

1. Today is the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year B, and today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. We celebrate the feast of Christ the King at the end of the liturgical Year because we believe that at the end of time Jesus Christ will come again as king of the universe. He will establish his kingdom here on earth completely, fully and finally! The readings today tell us that Jesus Christ will come a second time as king of the universe, but the readings also tell us that the kingdom of Jesus Christ is very different from the other kingdoms of the world!

    The gospel today tells us that his kingdom is not of this world. His kingdom is not of power and might, wealth and money, fame and name, but his kingdom is a kingdom of love, life, joy, justice and peace! Or as the “Preface” of today’s Mass says: “an eternal and universal kingdom: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace”!

    The gospel also tells us that Jesus came to bear witness to the truth. The truth is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ revealed to us that God is not law, justice, punishment and damnation, but God is love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation! Jesus Christ bore witness to the truth by his life, passion, death, resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! (LeFrois, Fuller, Craghan)

2. The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, and the First-born from the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. He bore witness to the truth until his death and resurrection, and he is now the King of kings! The second reading also tells us that he loves us, and has washed away our sins with his blood, and made us kings and priests to serve God our Father! To him, then, be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

    More than that, the second reading tells us that he will come a second time on the clouds, and all will see him, including those who killed him, and all the nations of the world shall mourn over him, that is, mourn over his death. (CCB) The second reading tells us that this is the truth! Amen!             

3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading from the prophet Daniel tells us that Jesus Christ will come a second time on the clouds, and God the Father will confer on him kingship and glory. And all the nations of the world will serve him. His kingdom will have no end, nor can it be destroyed!

4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God will come as king at the end of time! (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.”! (Ps 92 (93): 1)

    The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us that God is the king of the world. (Ps 92 (93): 1-2) The third stanza tells us that his decrees are eternal. (Ps 92 (93): 5/NJBC)    

5. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We eat his body and drink his blood, and the risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Spirit will help us believe and trust that at the end of time Jesus Christ will come a second time to be the king of the universe. He will establish his kingdom completely, fully and finally!

    The Holy Spirit will help us to build the kingdom of God here on earth! A kingdom of love, life, joy, justice and peace! Or as the “Preface” of today’s Mass says: “an eternal and universal kingdom: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace”!

    The Holy Spirit will help us build the kingdom of God here on earth, by building Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) of love and unity, as a sign and sacrament of salvation for the world! Amen! 

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 14th November 2021

Theme: IN THE END SIN AND DEATH WILL BE DESTROYED, AND LIFE AND JOY WILL BE RESTORED

  • Daniel 12:1-3;
  • Psalm 15 (16):5. 8-11. R. v. 1;
  • Hebrews 10:11-14. 18
  • Luke 21:36
  • Mark 13:24-32

1. Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. Next Sunday will be the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year B. As we come to the end of the Liturgical Year, the readings today tell us about the end times, the end of the world, the second coming of Jesus Christ! The readings today tell us that at the end of time sin and death will be destroyed and life and joy will be restored!

    The gospel today tells us about the second coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel tells us that at the end of time Jesus Christ will come a second time in glory. He will gather his chosen ones. The gospel tells us that we do not know when is his second coming, but we do know that he will come. And when he comes, sin and death will be destroyed and life and joy will be restored! Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven.” (Mk 13:26-27)   

    “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Mk 13:31)

    “But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.” (Mk 13:32)

    Today sin and death seem to overwhelm us. We have wars around the world, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have the destruction of the environment, climate change, global warming, etc., and we have abortion.

    In the year 2003 there were 41.6 million abortions worldwide (Catholic World News, October 15, 2009; Time, October 26, 2009). The mother’s womb is the most dangerous place in the world, more dangerous than Iraq and Afghanistan! The worldwide annual death toll from abortion is more than that of all the wars put together!

    But the gospel (good news) today tells us that in the end sin and death will be destroyed and life and joy will be restored!

2. The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that in the end, sin will be destroyed. The second reading tells us that the daily sacrifices of the Levitical priest cannot take away sins, but the sacrifice of Jesus can take away sins once and for all!

    The second reading also tells us that today Jesus continues to forgive our sins until the end of time when all sins will be forgiven. When we celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday, Jesus continues to forgive our sins, until the end of time when all sins will be forgiven! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “Christ, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his place for ever, at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for him.” (Heb 10:12-13)      

3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that in the end death will be destroyed. The first reading tells us that the dead will rise from the dead and they will shine like the stars in the heavens! This is the first time that resurrection and everlasting life are clearly mentioned in the Bible! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Of those who lie asleep in the dust of the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace. The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars for all eternity.” (Dn 12:2-3)         

4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us to trust in God because God will raise us from the dead and give us life, joy and happiness! (HCSB/NJBC) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.” (Ps 15 (16): 1)

    The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us to trust in God. The second stanza tells us that God will raise us from the dead. The third stanza tells us that God will give us life, joy and happiness! Thus the second and third stanzas:

    “And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; even my body shall rest in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead, nor let your beloved know decay. You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, at your right hand happiness for ever.” (Ps 15 (16): 9-11)     

5. Finally, the “Gospel Acclamation” of today’s Mass tells us to stay awake, to keep vigil, and to pray always to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! Thus the “Gospel Acclamation”: “Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.” (Lk 21:36)

6. 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 believe and hope that at the end sin and death will be destroyed and life and joy and happiness will be restored. The Holy Spirit will help us to stay awake and to keep vigil and to pray always to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.                                                                                                                      Amen!

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 7th November 2021

Theme: DEPEND ON GOD FOR OUR MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL SUSTENANCE

  • 1 Kings 17:10-16;
  • Psalm 145 (146): 7-10. R/ v. 2;
  • Hebrews 9:24-28
  • Mark 12:38-44

1. Today is the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us to depend on God for our material and spiritual sustenance. The Gospel Acclamation today tells us that the poor in spirit are blessed and the kingdom of God belongs to them!

The poor in spirit are the materially poor, the spiritually poor, and most importantly, they are those who depend in God for their material and spiritual sustenance! Thus the Gospel Acclamation:

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

Our religious sisters, brothers and priests take the vow of poverty, not because poverty is good, not even because they want to help the poor, but because they want to depend on God for their material and spiritual sustenance! They believe that God will provide! They believe in providence! They have great faith! Let us renew our faith so that we too may have great faith!

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” (Mt 6:33; CSB)

That is, seek first the kingdom of love, justice and peace and his salvation, and all these other things will be given to you as well! 

2. The gospel today tells us that a widow gave all she had and all she had to live on to the Temple treasury! Indeed she was very very generous! She was more generous than the rich who gave much more. Although she gave only two small coins, she gave all that she had and all that she had to live on! She gave her whole life to the Temple treasury!

But more importantly, she was a widow of great faith. She depended on God for her spiritual and material sustenance! (CSB) She prefigured Jesus Christ who depended on God for his material and spiritual sustenance until his death, resurrection and the salvation of the whole world!   

3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us of another widow – in a man’s world, widows have no power or money! The first reading tells us that a widow shared her last meal with the prophet Elijah. After that she and her son will die of hunger because there will be nothing left to eat. Indeed the widow was very very generous. She shared all that she had to live on with the prophet Elijah.

But more importantly, she was a widow of great faith. (CCB) She depended on God for her spiritual and material sustenance! And because of her great faith the Lord rewarded her with food and life. She and her son were not to die of hunger. She and her son will have food to eat and will live! Thus the first reading tells us,

“The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as the Lord had foretold through Elijah.” (1 K 17: 16; SM)

4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us to trust in God and to depend on God, because he is a God who gives justice to the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, sets prisoners free, gives sight to the blind, protects the stranger, helps the widow and the orphan, etc.! (CSB; HCSB) Thus we read in the responsorial psalm:

“It is the Lord who is just to those who are oppressed. It is he who gives bread to the hungry, the Lord, who sets prisoners free. It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind, who raises up those who are bowed down. It is the Lord who loves the just, the Lord, who protects the stranger. The Lord upholds the widow and orphan.” (Ps 145 (146): 7-9; SM)

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“My soul, give praise to the Lord.” (Ps 145 (146): 2; SM)    

5. The second reading is a continuation of the second readings of the past few Sundays. Again, the second reading compares the Levitical priesthood of the Jews in the Old Testament with the priesthood of Jesus Christ in the New Testament:

(i) The Levitical priesthood has its sanctuary on earth made by human beings, but the priesthood of Jesus Christ has its sanctuary in heaven where God is!

(ii) The Levitical priest offers sacrifices of blood of animals every year on the Day of Atonement, but Jesus Christ offered himself as a sacrifice once and for all!

(iii) The Levitical priest will not come a second time at the Parousia, but Jesus Christ will come a second time at the Parousia to reward with salvation all who are waiting for him!

6. Again, today in this Mass, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church makes present, real and effective, the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our salvation and again today in this Mass, we receive the Holy Spirit to help us to depend on God for our material and spiritual sustenance! A happy and holy Sunday to all of you! Amen!     

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 31st October 2021

  • Deuteronomy 6:2-6;
  • Psalm 17 (18): 2-4. 47. 51. R/ v. 2;
  • Hebrews 7:23-28
  • Mark 12:28-34

Theme: WE LOVE GOD, NEIGHBOR AND ONESELF BECAUSE GOD FIRST LOVED US

1. Today is the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about the greatest commandment of the Law, that is, we are to love the Lord our God with all our soul, all our heart, all our mind and with all our strength, that is, we are to love the Lord our God with our whole person and being! And we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves! Three things come to mind:

(i) We love because God first loved us! (1 Jn 4:19) We love God because God first loved us. We love our neighbor because God first loved us. And we love ourselves because God first loved us. Our love for God, neighbor and oneself is only a response to God’s first love for us!

(ii) We cannot love God if we do not also love our neighbor!

“Anyone who says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother, is a liar, since whoever does not love the brother whom he can see cannot love God whom he has not seen. Indeed this is the commandment we have received from him, that whoever loves God, must also love his brother.” (1 Jn 4: 20-21; NJB) 

But more importantly, we cannot love our brother if we do not first love God, because love comes from God!

“Love consists in this: it is not we who loved God, but God loved us and sent his Son to expiate our sins. My dear friends, if God loved us so much, we too should love each other.” (1 Jn 4:10-11; NJB)    

R. H. Fuller (Preaching the Lectionary, 1984) tells us that Jesus joined the first and second commandments in a radical sense:

“Love of God is illusory if it does not issue in love of neighbor, and love of neighbor is refined self-love if it does not proceed from the love of God.”

     (iii) In the year 2007, 138 Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals, etc. from all over the world, including 2 from Malaysia wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI to dialogue on these two greatest commandments to love God and neighbor! Our Pope accepted the invitation to dialogue, emphasizing that one cannot love God if one does not also love one’s neighbor!

The letter was entitled “A Common Word Between Us and You”! (13th October 2007) The common word is love, that is, love of God and love of neighbor! When two of the greatest religions of the world, that is, Christianity and Islam, come together to dialogue on the two greatest commandments of God, there is hope for love and peace in the world! The dialogue is still going on!   

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the greatest commandment of the Law, that is,

“The Lord our God is the one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength.” (Dt 6:4-5; Sunday Missal (SM))

The first reading also tells us that if we keep the commandments of God, especially the commandment to love God, we will be blessed with long life; long life for ourselves, for our children and for our grand children. We will also be blessed with prosperity and fertility so that we will increase and multiply and have many children and grand children! We will also be blessed with a land flowing with milk and honey, that is, a land of grace and a land of abundance!

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

“I love you, Lord, my strength, my rock, my fortress, my saviour.” (Ps 17 (18): 2-3; SM)  

Indeed, the Lord saved us (NJBC) by loving us in his Son Jesus Christ! Thus verses 4. 47 and 51 of the responsorial psalm:

“The Lord is worthy of all praise: when I call I am saved from my foes. Long life to the Lord, my rock! Praised be the God who saves me. He has given great victories to his king and shown his love for his anointed.” (Ps 17 (18): 4. 47. 51; SM)

And thus the response:

“I love you, Lord, my strength.” (Ps 17 (18): 2; SM)

4. The second reading tells us about the differences between the Levitical Priesthood and the Priesthood of Jesus Christ:

(i) The Levitical Priesthood is temporary and transitory, but the Priesthood of Jesus Christ is eternal and permanent.

(ii) The Levitical priest is himself a sinner, but Jesus Christ is sinless.

(iii) The Levitical priest offers sacrifices every year and according to the letter to the Hebrews, everyday, but Jesus Christ offered himself once and for all!

(iv) The Levitical priest cannot save, but Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world!

5. Today in the Eucharist, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we make present, real and effective the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our salvation and today in the Eucharist we receive the Holy Spirit to help us love God with all our soul, our heart, our mind and our strength, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!                        Amen!

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 24th October 2021

Theme: JESUS HEALS US OF OUR SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS SO THAT WE CAN SEE WITH THE EYES OF FAITH AND FOLLOW HIM TO JERUSALEM TO SUFFER, TO DIE AND TO RISE FROM THE DEAD

  • Jeremiah 31:7-9;
  • Psalm 125 (126): R/ v. 3;
  • Hebrews 5:1-6
  • Mark 10:46-52

1. Today is the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that Jesus heals us of our spiritual blindness so that we can see with the eyes of faith and follow him to Jerusalem to suffer, to die and to rise from the dead!

    The gospel today is a continuation of the gospel of last Sunday (Mk 10:35-45). The gospel last Sunday tells us that even after the third prophesy of his passion, death and resurrection, the disciples still did not understand. In fact, James and John requested to be seated at the right and left hand of Jesus in his glory. Jesus then told them that they have to drink the cup of suffering that Jesus was to drink and that they have to be baptized by the baptism of death that Jesus was to be baptized.

    The gospel last Sunday also tells us that the other ten disciples were indignant with James and John; presumably, they also wanted to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus in his glory. Jesus then taught them that to be great one must be servant, and to be first one must be slave of all. For Jesus himself came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many!

    The gospel today tells us that the disciples were spiritually blind though they were not physically blind. More importantly, the gospel today tells us that Bartimaeus the blind man was physically blind, but not spiritually blind. Bartimaeus had faith in Jesus and Jesus heals him of his physical blindness and he follows Jesus to Jerusalem to suffer, die and rise from the dead with Jesus! (NJBC) The gospel today continues in chapter eleven where Jesus enters Jerusalem to suffer, die and rise from the dead!        

    We started the Neo-Catechumenate Community in our parish to help us grow in faith so that we may follow Jesus in his passion, death and resurrection. The Catechumenate (RCIA) gives us faith so that we may be baptized, but the Neo-Catechumenate – neo means new – helps us to continue to grow in faith.

    We also started the BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities) to help us grow in faith so that we may follow Jesus in his passion, death and resurrection. In the BECs we share and pray on the word of God (Sunday Mass readings) so that we grow in faith. Faith comes from the word of God (Rm 10:17)!      

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the blind and the lame of the Northern Kingdom of Israel will return from exile from Assyria and they will be full of joy! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “The Lord says this: Shout with joy for Jacob! Hail the chief of nations! Proclaim! Praise! Shout! ‘The Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel!’ See, I will bring them back from the land of the North and gather them from the far ends of the earth; all of them: the blind and the lame, women with child, women in labor: a great company returning here. They had left in tears, I will comfort them as I lead them back; I will guide them to streams of water, by a smooth path where they will not stumble. For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born son.” (Jr 31:7-9)    

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us of the return from exile of the Southern Kingdom of Judah from Babylon. Again, the returnees are full of joy! Thus the first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm:

    “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then we thought we were dreaming. Our mouths were filled with laughter; our tongues sang for joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord had done great things for us; Oh, how happy we were!” (Ps 125 (126): 1-3/CSB)  

    And thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.” (Ps 125 (126):3/SM)

4. The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday. The second reading tells us that Jesus was called by God to be the high priest. The second reading tells us that the high priesthood of Jesus is not that of the hereditary priesthood of the Jews, the Levitical priesthood, the priesthood of Aaron; but the priesthood of Jesus is that of the priesthood of Melchizedek. Melchizedek has no beginning and no end, no father and no mother. He is like the Son of God! He is a priest for ever. (Heb 7:1-3)

    The second reading tells us of “Jesus the compassionate high priest”. (Heb 5:1-10/NJB) The word com-passionate means to feel and to suffer with. Jesus does not only love us, but he also feels and suffers with us. He sympathizes with us, that is, he feels and suffers with us. He empathizes with us, that is, he feels and suffers in us.

    Let us pray that our present and future priests be compassionate priests like Jesus Christ. Let us also pray that all of us who are baptized and who share in the common priesthood of Jesus Christ be compassionate “priests” like Jesus Christ.   

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 heal us of our spiritual blindness so that we may see with the eyes of faith and follow Jesus to Jerusalem to suffer, die and rise from the dead with him. The Holy Spirit will fill us with the joy of the returning exiles from Assyria and Babylon. The Holy Spirit will help all of us to be compassionate priests, both in the ministerial priesthood and in the common priesthood.

Amen!

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 17th October 2021

Theme: JESUS CAME TO SERVE, TO SUFFER, AND TO SACRIFICE, IN ORDER TO SANCTIFY AND SAVE THE WORLD

  • Isaiah 53:10-11;
  • Psalm 32 (33):4-5. 18-20. 22. R/ v. 22;
  • Hebrew 4:14-16
  • Mark 10:35-45 (Shorter Form, verses 42-45)

1. Today is the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that Jesus came to serve, to suffer, and to sacrifice, in order to sanctify and save the world!

    The gospel today tells us that even after the third prophesy of Jesus’ passion death and resurrection (Mk 10:32-34), the disciples still did not understand. In fact James and John, the inner disciples of Jesus, requested Jesus to give them seats at his right hand and left hand in his glory! Jesus told them that they had to drink the cup of suffering that Jesus was to drink, and they had to be baptized with the baptism of death that Jesus was to be baptized, but as for the seats at his right hand and left hand, it was not for Jesus to give, but it was for God the Father to give! (Mt 20:23)

    The gospel also tells us that the other ten disciples were indignant with James and John, presumably, because they too wanted to be at Jesus’ right and left hand in his glory. Jesus then taught them that anyone who wants to be great must be a servant (diakonos), and anyone who wants to be first must be a slave (doulos – an even humbler word than diakonos/NJBC) to all. For Jesus himself came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life for the ransom of many!

    The gospel today is the climax of Mark’s central section (8:22-10:45). Mark wants to tell us that Jesus Christ is not only a “divine man” or miracle worker, but He is the Son of man to be crucified for the salvation of the world! (Fuller)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading is from the fourth of four suffering servant songs of Isaiah! The first reading tells us that the suffering servant of God was to suffer and die for the sins of the world and that God will save him and through him God will save the whole world! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “The Lord has been pleased to crush his servant with suffering. If he offers his life in atonement, he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life and through him what the Lord wishes will be done. His soul’s anguish over he shall see the light and be content. By his sufferings shall my servant justify many, taking their faults on himself.” (Is 53:10-11)             

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us of the steadfast love of God, that is, the faithful love of God (IBC). Although we do not love him, he still loves us in Jesus Christ, and although we are not faithful to him, He is still faithful to us in Jesus Christ!

   The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us that the Lord fills the earth with his love, not only in salvation, but also in creation! The second stanza tells us to hope in God’s love. And the third stanza is a prayer for God’s love. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.”! (Ps 32 (33): 22)    

4. Incidentally, the second reading tells us of Jesus, the merciful high priest! (NJBC/HCSB) The second reading tells us to have faith in God’s mercy and grace! The second reading tells us to have confidence to approach the throne of grace so that we may obtain mercy and find grace when we need help!

    The mercy of God forgives our sins and the grace of God helps us to overcome sins! We are saved in two ways, that is, by the forgiveness of our sins and by being preserved from sin by the grace of God. Mary was saved in the second way! Mary was without sin!

The Sacrament of Reconciliation/Penance (“Confession”) forgives our sins and gives us the grace to live a new life!

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 serve, suffer and sacrifice in order to sanctify and save the world! The Holy Spirit will help us hope in God’s love. And the Holy Spirit will help us to have faith in God’s mercy and grace.

Amen!      

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 10th October 2021

Theme: ATTACHMENT TO WEALTH IS AN OBSTACLE TO CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP

  • Wisdom 7:7-11;
  • Psalm 89 (90): 12-17. R/ v. 14;
  • Hebrews 4:12-13
  • Mark 10:17-30

1. Today is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The gospel today tells us that attachment to wealth is an obstacle to Christian discipleship. (Fuller; Faley)

The gospel today tells us that a rich man came to Jesus to look for eternal life. He was a good man because he kept all the commandments of God. He did not kill, he did not commit adultery, he did not steal, etc. But Jesus asked him to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor and follow Jesus. The man went away sad because he had great wealth. He did not follow Jesus and become Jesus’ disciple. He was attached to his wealth. The gospel today tells us to be detached from our wealth and to share our wealth with the poor and the needy and to follow Jesus and become His disciple.

The gospel also tells us that it is very hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. In fact it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God! Again, attachment to wealth is an obstacle to enter the kingdom of God. Again, detach from your wealth, share your wealth with the poor, and enter the kingdom of God! For salvation is “impossible” for men and money, salvation is “possible” only for God!

Finally, the gospel tells us that those who have detached themselves from their wealth and family and followed Jesus will be rewarded a hundred times over with houses, land, mothers, sisters, brothers, children, etc. now in this life and also eternal life in the world to come! That is, they will be rewarded with a Christian community of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and children, who will share with them their houses and lands and possessions! And they will also be rewarded with eternal life in heaven! 

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us to pray for wisdom and not to pray for wealth, power, health or beauty. When we have wisdom we will know the will of God and all the other things will be given to us as well! Thus we read in the first reading:

“In her company all good things came to me, at her hands riches not to be numbered.” (Ws 7:11; SM)

Solomon did not pray for wealth, power or long life, but Solomon prayed for wisdom and God gave Solomon wisdom as well as wealth, fame and long life! (1 K 3:5-15)

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us to pray for wisdom. (NJBC; CCB) Thus the first verse of the first stanza:

“Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart.” (Ps 89 (90): 12; SM)

The responsorial psalm also asks us to pray for love and joy. Thus the second stanza:

“In the morning, fill us with your love; we shall exult and rejoice all our days. Give us joy to balance our affliction for the years when we knew misfortune.” (Ps 89 (90): 14-15; SM) 

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

“Fill us with your love that we may rejoice.” (Ps 89 (90): 14; SM)

4. The second reading is a warning; a warning that the word of God is both judgment and salvation. (CSB) The word of God is judgment for those who do not persevere in the faith and salvation for those who persevere in the faith. It is not enough to have faith. We have to persevere in the faith, especially in times of trials, so that the word of God becomes salvation for us!     

5. Today in this Mass we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ, who suffered died and rose from the dead to give us the Holy Spirit; and we ask God our Father through his Son Jesus Christ to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we may be detached from our wealth, share our wealth with the poor and needy, and follow Jesus and become his disciples. And so that we will have the wisdom to know God’s will. We also ask God to help us persevere in the faith, especially in times of great trials. A happy and joyful Sunday to all of you!

Amen!