22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 1st Sept 2019

Theme: PRIDE IS THE GREATEST SIN; HUMILITY IS THE GREATEST VIRTUE

  • Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 3:17-20. 28-29;
  • Psalm 67 (68):4-7. 10-11. R/ cf. v. 11;
  • Hebrews 12:18-19. 22-24
  • Luke 14:1. 7-14

 Today is the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us about humility.

The gospel today tells us that when we are invited to a wedding feast we must not take the place of honor, lest someone who is more honorable than us turns up and we will have to be moved down to the lowest place. But when we are invited to a wedding feast we must take the lowest place so that when no one more honorable than us turns up we will be moved up to the place of honor!

This gospel parable tells us a very important spiritual truth, that is, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.”! (Lk 14:11; SM) That is, God humbles the proud and raises up the humble! A parallel passage is found in the same gospel of Luke in chapter 18: 9-14. It is the parable on the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.

The parable tells us that a Pharisee and a tax collector went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee prayed to himself, thanking God that he was not greedy, dishonest and adulterous, like the rest of men, particularly, he was not like the tax collector. He fasted twice a week and he gave tithes (10%) of all of his income to the Temple. The tax collector on the other hand prayed to God for mercy. The tax collector was justified but the Pharisee was not justified! Again, “For everyone who raises himself up will be humbled, but anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.” (Lk 18:14; NJB)

Indeed, pride is the greatest sin and humility is the greatest virtue! Satan (the Devil) fell from heaven because of pride (1 Tm 3:6)! (CGDB) And Satan tempted Adam and Eve with the Original Sin of pride; and Adam and Eve fell also because of pride! The Pharisees in today’s gospel fell also because of pride! But most importantly, the world was saved because of humility, because of the humility of Jesus Christ!

The letter to the Philippians tells us that Jesus the second Adam and the new Adam was opposite of the first Adam and the old Adam who was proud, who though a man wanted to be God! Jesus was God but he humbled himself and became man and he became lower than man by accepting death on the cross, but the Father raised him from the dead and saved the whole world through him! (Ph 2:6-9; NJB)

In the “Gospel Acclamation” today Jesus tells us: “Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” (Mt 11:29; SM) That is, carry the cross of Jesus and learn from Jesus, for he is gentle and humble in heart, that is, he depends on God the Father, he trust and believe in God his Father. He puts his faith in God his Father! A proud man on the other hand trust, believe and depend on himself. He puts his faith in himself!

Saint Augustine (354-430) was asked as to which are the three most important virtues! St. Augustine answered: “humility, humility and humility”! If we were to ask St. Augustine which are the three biggest sins, I believe he will answer: “pride, pride and pride”! Again, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.”! (Lk 14:11; SM)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that God favors the humble and he listens to the prayers of the humble (NJB), but there is no cure for the sickness of the proud! (Lefrois) Thus we read in the first reading:

“The greater you are, the more you should behave humbly, and then you will find favor with the Lord; for great though the power of the Lord is, he accepts the homage of the humble. There is no cure for the proud man’s malady, since an evil growth has taken root in him.” (Si 3:18-20. 28; SM)

The last verse (v. 28) of the above quotation – “There is no cure for the proud man’s malady” – reminds me of what Cardinal Rozales of the Philippines said in our annual priests’ retreat in “Bundu Tuhan”, Sabah some years back. He said that in order for us to be humble we need to be humbled / humiliated! We cannot humble ourselves but others can humble/humiliate us and help us to be humble! Therefore if someone humbles/humiliates you, give thanks to God! Praise the Lord!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God gives new life and home to the poor and the humble! The responsorial psalm is a hymn of praise to God who gives new life and home to the poor and the humble. (Fuller)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us to give praise to God. The third stanza tells us that God gives new life and home to the poor and the humble. (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the third stanza:

“In your goodness, O God, you prepared a home for the poor. (for the humble; NJB)

Indeed, God gives a home to the poor and the humble not only on earth, but also in heaven! (Fuller) Thus the second part of the second reading tells us about heaven! The second reading tells us that we will be in heaven with God the Father, with Jesus Christ, with the angels, with the saints, and with one another, indeed with the whole world! (NJBC; Craghan) Thus we read in the second reading:

“But what you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church in which everyone is a ‘first-born son’ and a citizen of heaven. You have come to God himself, the supreme Judge, and been placed with spirits of the saints who have been made perfect; and to Jesus, the mediator who brings a new covenant.”! (Heb 12:22-24; SM)

Indeed, just as we fell from heaven with the pride of Satan, we will go to heaven with the humility of Jesus!

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 be humble, to depend on God, to trust in God and to put our faith in Go d our Father! The Holy Spirit will help us to pray so that like Jesus Christ, all our actions will come from the Father and go back to the Father!Amen!

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 25th August 2019

Theme: JESUS CHRIST THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WORLD! 

  • Isaiah 66:18-21;
  • Psalm 116 (117). R/ Mk 16:15;
  • Hebrews 12:5-7. 11-13
  • Luke 13:22-30 

Today is the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us about salvation! The gospel today tells us that in order to be saved we must enter by the narrow door, that is, we must make great efforts. The gospel also tells us that the narrow door does not remain open indefinitely, that is, we have to enter it immediately, here and now! (CSB)

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that the Jews rejected the salvation of Jesus! But most importantly, the gospel tells us that the pagans accepted the salvation of Jesus! That is why they will come from the East and West, and from the North and South to enter into the kingdom of God!

The gospel ends by telling us that:

“Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.” (Lk 13:30; SM)  

That is, the pagans who were called last will be the first to enter the kingdom of God, and the Jews who were called first will be the last to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, St. Paul tells us in Chapter 11 of the letter to the Romans that in the end even the Jews who crucified Jesus will believe and accept Jesus and will also be saved!

Indeed, whether first or last, Jew or pagan, all have to be saved in Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world! Thus the Gospel Acclamation of today:

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, says the Lord: no one can come to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6; SM) 

That is, Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father, because he is the only truth that reveals the Father’s love and it is only the Father’s love that can give us eternal life!

That is why the first reading tells us that all the nations of the world will be converted! And more than that, the first reading also tells us that the converted nations will in their turn become missionaries and evangelizers of salvation! And even more than that, the first reading tells us that the converted pagans will even become priests!

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

“Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.” (Mk 16:15; SM)

 The responsorial psalm is the shortest of all the 150 psalms of the Psalter. It has only two verses. The first verse, that is, the first stanza, tells us to praise and worship God! The second verse, that is, the second stanza, tells us why we praise and worship God, that is, we praise and worship God because he is love and faithfulness! The two attributes of God revealed to Moses (Ex 34:6) and revealed perfectly by Jesus Christ (Jn 1:14; NJB)!

God loves us even when we do not love him and God is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to him! We see, hear, touch, smell and taste these two attributes of God perfectly in the cross of Jesus Christ!

The response of the responsorial psalm tells us to “go out to the whole world” and “proclaim the Good News” of God’s love and faithfulness in the cross of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the whole world!

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading has something important to tell us because it answers the question we always ask, that is, if God is love then why all the sufferings in the world!

An Australian theologian answered this question well! He said that suffering is the love of God experienced by the sinner for his conversion, so that he will turn away from sin and death and turn to God and receive love, life and happiness! Or in the words of today’s second reading:

“Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? Of course, any punishment is most painful at the time, and far from pleasant; but later, in those on whom it has been used, it bears fruit in peace and goodness.” (Heb 12:7. 11; SM)    

Today we give thanks to God for the free gift of salvation and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we will proclaim the Good News of his salvation to the whole world and so that the whole world may believe and be saved, including the Jews who crucified Jesus! Then will come the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world and the final fulfillment of the kingdom of God here on earth!

A blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 18th Aug 2019

Theme: JESUS CAME TO BRING PEACE, SHALOM, SALVATION!

  • Jeremiah 38:4-6. 8-10;
  • Psalm 39:2-4. 18. R/ v. 14;
  • Hebrews 12:1-4
  • Luke 12:49-53

Today is the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus came not to bring peace, but to bring division! That is, Jesus came to bring peace, but his peace was rejected and that is why there was division! (HCSB)

The gospel today tells us that a family of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; the father against the son and the son against the father, the mother against the daughter and the daughter against the mother, and the mother-in-law against the daughter-in-law and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law.

The division is between those who accept Jesus and those who reject Jesus!

But more importantly, the gospel tells us that the rejection of Jesus brought about his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which brought about unity and peace! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and how great is my distress till it is over!’” (Lk 12:49-50; SM)

The fire is the fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of God’s love that will burn away our sins and divisions and unite us in peace in God’s love! (NJB; Lefrois) The baptism is the baptism of the cross of his death and resurrection from which the fire of the Holy Spirit is lit! (NJB)

The first reading tells us that Jeremiah was thrown into a well to die by the officials of the king, because he prophesied that they should surrender to the Babylonians or Jerusalem will be destroyed by the Babylonians! But more importantly, the first reading tells us that Jeremiah was saved from the well by an Ethiopian official of the king’s house!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a psalm of thanksgiving for salvation (vv. 2-11) and a prayer for help (vv. 12-18). Usually the psalms have it in a reverse order, that is, a prayer for help and a thanksgiving for salvation. (NJBC) We will read the responsorial psalm in this order. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is a prayer for help:

“Lord, come to my aid!” (Ps 39:14; SM)

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The fourth stanza (v. 18) like the response is a prayer for help. The first, second and third stanzas (vv. 2-4) are a thanksgiving for salvation! Note verse 4b of the third stanza:

“Many shall see and fear and shall trust in the Lord.”

That is, many shall see and be awed by the salvation of the psalmist and put their trust in the Lord and be saved themselves!

The first reading and the responsorial psalm prefigure Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the whole world!

The second reading is a continuation of the second reading of the previous Sunday. The second reading of the previous Sunday tells us about the example of faith of Abraham. The second reading today tells us about the example of faith of Jesus himself.

The second reading today tells us that Jesus held on to his faith in God his Father and endured the shameful death of the cross and is now glorified in heaven! In the same way in our fight against sin we must hold on to our faith until death, resurrection and glorification!

But Jesus is not only an example of faith. Through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit he perfects our faith so that we will fight sin until death and resurrection and glory! Thus we read in the second reading:

“Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which was still in the future, he endured the cross, disregarding the shamefulness of it, and from now on has taken his place at the right of God’s throne. Think of the way he stood such opposition from sinners and then you will not give up for want of courage. In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.” (Heb 12: 2-4; SM)

Today we thank God for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings us peace, shalom, salvation! Today we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit, so that as Christians and as followers of Jesus Christ, we may also bring peace, shalom, salvation to the whole world! God bless you! Amen!

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 11th August 2019

Theme: THE END OF THE WORLD: THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST

  • Wisdom 18:6-9;
  • Psalm 32 (33):1. 12. 18-20. 22. R/ v. 12;
  • Hebrews 11:1-2. 8-12. (Shorter Form)
  • Luke 12:35-40 (Shorter Form) 

Today is the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us about the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when all will be saved!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus will come a second time, but we do not know when. That is why we must always be ready for his Second Coming! Thus the “Gospel Acclamation” today:

“Stay awake and stand ready, because you do no know the hour when the Son of Man is coming.” (Mt 24:42. 44; SM) 

And thus the gospel today ends:

“You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Lk 12:40; SM)

To prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time, we must pray, we must do the will of God, and we must be detached from the world!

The first reading tells us that when Jesus Christ comes a second time he will destroy sin and death completely and finally and he will save the whole world!

The first reading tells us about the destruction of the first-born of the Egyptians and the salvation of the Israelites in the Exodus from Egypt! Thus the caption of the first reading:

“By the same act with which you took vengeance on our foes you made us glorious by calling us to you.” (Ws 18:8; SM)

But more importantly, the first reading prefigures the second and new Exodus of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit destroys sin and saves us from death! Today the Holy Spirit continues to destroy sin and saves us from death in the Sacrament of Baptism!

But most importantly, the first reading prefigures the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time when sin and death will be completely destroyed and we will all be saved!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the Sunday. The responsorial psalm tells us that as baptized Christians we are the chosen people of God and as we prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ we are to hope and pray for his love and he will rescue us from death!

The responsible psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 1 & 12) tells us that as baptized Christians we are the chosen people of God! Thus the response which is taken from the first stanza:

“Happy are the people the Lord has chosen as his own.” (Ps 32 (33): 12; SM) 

The second stanza (vv. 18-19; SM) tells us to hope in God’s love and he will save us from death! The third stanza (vv. 20 & 22) tells us to pray and hope in God’s love and he will save us from death! (IBC)

Incidentally, the second reading also follows the theme of the Sunday. The second reading tells us that we have to hold on to our faith until the end of our lives and until the end of the world, even and especially in the face of persecutions and the Lord will save us! The second reading was addressed to the Jewish Christians who were persecuted and who were losing their faith! (NJB; CCB)

The second reading gives us the example of Abraham! Abraham held on to his faith even in the face of many obstacles! Abraham had to go to a land he did not know. He was promised a son in his old age and his wife was barren. And finally he was asked to sacrifice Isaac, the son of the promise! (Longer Form, vv. 17-19; SM) But, because of his faith, Abraham was blessed with many descendants, as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the grains of sand on the seashore!

We are therefore to hold on to our faith to the end of our lives and to the end of the world, even in the face of persecutions and we will be blessed with salvation!

Today we thank God for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of our sins and for saving us from death. And we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit to help us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when all will be saved! Again, we prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by prayer, by doing the will of God and by detaching ourselves from the world! God bless you!  Amen!

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 4th August 2019

Theme: MONEY CANNOT BUY LIFE, LOVE AND HAPPINESS

  • Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth 1:2; 2:21-23;
  • Psalm 89 (90):3-6. 12-14. 17. R/ v. 1;
  • Colossians 3:1-5. 9-11
  • Luke 12:13-21

Today is the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us that money cannot buy life, love and happiness. Life, love and happiness are the three most important things! They are found in heaven! And God gives them to us through the death and resurrection of his Son and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Seek first the kingdom of God and all the other things will be given to you as well! That is, seek first salvation and all of creation will be given to you as well!

The gospel today tells us that a man in the crowd asked Jesus to tell his brother to give him his share of their inheritance, but Jesus did not respond to his request. Instead Jesus told them something more important, that is, life does not come from wealth, even if we have more than we need! Then Jesus told them the “parable of the rich fool”:

There was once a rich man who had a bountiful harvest. The harvest was so plentiful that he had to build new storehouses to store his harvest! Then the rich man thought to himself that his harvest will last him a life time, he will now take things easy and eat and drink and have a good time; but that very night God took away his soul, that is, he died!

We may not be physically dead, but we may be spiritually dead, that is, our souls may be dead because of sin and there is no life, love and happiness in our souls. Like the “rich fool” we cannot enjoy our rich harvest, that is, though we may be rich we have no life, love and happiness!

That is why the “Gospel Acclamation” today tell us:

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

The poor in spirit are not only the materially or spiritually poor, but the poor in spirit are those who are dependent on God and God will bless them with his life, love and happiness from heaven!    

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel, but the first reading is not good news, but bad news! The first reading tells us that without God our lives are futile, empty and meaningless! “Vanity of vanity”! We work hard day and night year after year only to die and leave our possessions to others who never worked for it. And to make things worse our possessions may all be wasted in one generation by those who never worked for it! (Qo 2:18-19) “Vanity of vanity”! Without God it is all futility, emptiness and meaninglessness!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the Sunday. The responsorial psalm tells us that life and death, and love and happiness come from God. That is why we have to pray for wisdom to live a life of love and happiness!

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas (vv. 3-6) tell us that life and death come from God! The third and fourth stanzas (vv. 12-14. 17) tell us to pray for wisdom to live a life of love and happiness! The fourth stanza (v. 17) also tells us to pray for God’s blessings so that the work of our hands may be successful! Thus the response:

“O Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to the next.” (Ps 89 (90):1; SM) 

Incidentally, the second reading also follows the theme of the Sunday. The second reading has two paragraphs. The first paragraph (vv. 1-4) tells us to look for the things of heaven so that we can find life (NJB), love and happiness!

The second paragraph (vv. 5. 9-11) tells us not to look for the things of earth, because the things of earth may tempt us to sin and sin brings death and in death there is no love and happiness!

Today we thank God for creation and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit of his life, love and happiness! Again, seek first the kingdom of God and all the other things will be given to you as well! (Lk 12:31; Mt 6:33) That is, seek first salvation and all of creation will be given to you as well! God bless you! Amen!

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 28th July 2019

Theme: WE PRAY TO GOD OUR FATHER BECAUSE HE IS LOVE, MERCY, FORGIVENESS AND SALVATION

  • Genesis 18:20-32;
  • Psalm 137 (138):1-3. 6-8. R/ v. 3;
  • Colossians 2:12-14
  • Luke 11:1-13

Today is the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us to pray to God our Father, because he is love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation! The gospel today tells us about the Lord’s Prayer! It is taken from the gospel of St. Luke.

The Lord’s Prayer in St. Luke is different from that of St. Matthew which is called the “Our Father” and which we pray during Mass! The Lord’s Prayer of St. Luke has no “Our” before “Father”. It is more original and closer to Jesus’ teaching. It has only 5 petitions, while St. Matthew has 7 petitions. St. Matthew favors the number 7!

To begin with, the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father is the prayer of a “child” to the Father! A child is totally dependent on the Father and he trusts the Father totally. The Father on the other hand protects and provides for the child. The child without the Father is totally helpless and hopeless! That is why the priests pray the Our Father during Mass with outstretched, upwards and open palms!

Thus in the first petition of the Our Father we ask God our Father to make his name holy. In the second petition we ask God our Father to make his kingdom come. And after praying first that the Father’s will be done, we pray for our own needs. Thus in the third petition of the Our Father we pray for daily bread, especially the bread of the Eucharist! In the fourth petition, we pray for forgiveness of our sins as we forgive others who sin against us. And in the fifth petition we pray that we may not lose our faith (apostasy; NJBC), especially in times of persecution!

The second part of the gospel tells us that we have to pray persistently and perseveringly. We have to pray the Our Father persistently and perseveringly. The Our Father is the model of all prayers taught to us by Jesus himself! It is a prayer of faith. Without faith we cannot pray. Again, it is the prayer of a “child” totally dependent on the Father and totally trusting in the Father! All our prayers have to be modeled after the Our Father and we have to pray all our prayers persistently and perseveringly!

The third part of the gospel tells us that our prayers will be effective, that is, God will answer our prayers! Indeed God answers our prayers by giving us the Holy Spirit! And it is in the power of the Holy Spirit that God’s name will be made holy in us, with us and through us! And it is in the power of the Holy Spirit that God’s kingdom will come in us, with us and through us!

And it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that God will give us our daily bread, especially the bread of the Eucharist! And it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that God will forgive our sins so that we will also forgive the sins of others. And it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we will not lose our faith and apostatize even in times of severe persecutions.

The first reading tells us that Abraham prayed persistently and perseveringly to God who is just and merciful! (NJB; IBC) The first reading tells us that God wanted to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sins, but Abraham prayed and bargained with God not to destroy the just men with the wicked men, because it was unjust to destroy the just men with the wicked men, and because God was just! Abraham prayed and bargained with God persistently and perseveringly from fifty, forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty to just ten just men and God agreed not to destroy the ten just men with the wicked men! In being just to the just men, God was also being merciful to the wicked men!

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for salvation! Thus the response:

“On the day I called, you answered me, O Lord.” (Ps 137:3; SM)

That is, ‘On the day I called, you saved me, O Lord.’ The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas (vv. 1-3) tell us that God saves us because God loves us. God is faithful love! The third and fourth stanzas (vv. 6-8) tell us to pray to God because he loves us and saves us! (CSB; NJBC)

The second reading tells us that through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has forgiven us our sins. He has nailed our sins to the cross! And we receive this forgiveness in the sacrament of Baptism! Thus we read in the caption of the second reading:

    “He has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us all our sins.” (Col 2:13; SM)

Today we thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit which makes us call God, “Our Father”, and we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit so that we may make his name holy and so that we may make his kingdom come on earth! God bless you! Amen!

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 21st July 2019

Theme: OUR GOOD WORKS AND SERVICES MUST COME FROM THE WORD OF GOD, FROM FAITH, AND FROM PRAYER  

  • Genesis 18:1-10;
  • Psalm 14 (15):2-5. R/ v. 1;
  • Colossians 1:24-28
  • Luke 10:38-42

Today is the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus was in the house of Martha and Mary, and Martha was busy serving. She was preparing a meal, but Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to Jesus speaking. At this Martha complained to Jesus to ask Mary to help her in her work, but Jesus chided her and told her that she was busy over many things, yet only one thing was needed and Mary had chosen the better part and it would not be taken from her!

The gospel today does not tell us that good works and services are not important, but the gospel tells us that the word of God is more important, because all our good works and services must flow from the word of God, from faith, and from prayer, in short, from God! Otherwise our services may become self-services and our good works may become empty and boring activities devoid of meaning!

Indeed the “Gospel Acclamation” today tells us to respond to the word of God with generosity and perseverance and we will bear fruit! (NJBC; CSB) Thus we read in the “Gospel Acclamation” which is taken from the explanation of the “Parable of the Sower”:

“Blessed are those who, with a noble and generous heart, take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.” (cf. Lk 8:15) 

And indeed in the “Parable of the Sower”, we are told that in spite of the devil, the persecutions and the temptations of the world, the word of God will ultimately bear fruit in abundance, that is, a hundredfold! (NJBC; CSB; IBC) Thus we read:

“And some seed fell into good soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.” (Luke 8:8; NJB)    

Again, our good works and services must come from the word of God, from faith and from prayer, that is, from God! The word of God gives faith and we respond to the word of God in prayer and God will act in and through us, in and through our good works and services!

The first reading tells us that Abraham welcomed three men, that is, the Lord and two angels! Abraham prepared a meal for them and waited on them! More importantly, the first reading tells us that the Lord promised Abraham a son in his old age!

In the context of today’s gospel where Martha welcomed Jesus into her house and Mary welcomed Jesus into her heart, the first reading tells us to welcome Jesus into our home and heart and we will receive eternal life! Jesus the word of God is spirit and life! He has the message of eternal life! (“Gospel Acclamation” of previous Sunday; cf. Jn 6:63. 68; SM) The son symbolizes eternal life! One’s life continues in the son!

The responsorial psalm is an entrance liturgy for entry into the temple. The responsorial psalm has five verses. The first verse is the question the worshipers ask the temple official, that is, what qualifications are required to enter the temple. The four verses that follow are the answer to the question, that is, the requirements.

Again, in the context of today’s gospel, the responsorial psalm tells us that when we welcome Jesus into our house and heart, like Martha and Mary, respectively, we “will live in the presence of the Lord” (Response), and we will also love our neighbor as ourselves (cf. Lev 19:18), as spelled out in the eleven moral conducts from verses two to five (IBC), that is:

(1) “Walk without fault.” (2) “Act with justice.” (3) “Speak the truth from one’s heart.” (4) “Do not slander.” (5) “Do no wrong to one’s brother.” (6) “Cast no slur on one’s neighbor.” (7) “Hold the godless in disdain.” (8) “Honor those who fear the Lord.” (9) “Keep one’s pledge.” (10) “Take no interest on a loan.” (11) “Accept no bribes against the innocent.”

Finally, in the second reading, Saint Paul tells us that he suffers for the proclamation of the word of God, that is, Jesus Christ, for the salvation of the pagans! It is a mystery hidden for ages, but is now revealed for the salvation of the pagans!

Today we thank God for the word of God, that is, Jesus Christ, and we ask God to help us proclaim his word, that is, Jesus Christ, to the whole world, so that all may believe and be saved!

Today we also thank God for all the good works, services and activities in our parish! We believe that all our good works, services and activities are from the word of God, from faith, from prayer and from God! This is because in our parish we have the Bible-Sharing Groups, the Charismatic Renewal, the Alpha Course, the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), and most importantly, the Sunday Mass! All these are centered on the word of God, on faith, on prayer and on God!

A blessed Sunday to all of you!  Amen!