4th Sunday of Lent – 27th March 2022

4th Sunday of Lent – 27th March 2022

*We use Readings from Year A because the church will be having Baptism on Easter Vigil.

Theme: LENT IS A TIME WHEN WE PREPARE TO CELEBRATE THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION: BAPTISM, CONFIRMATION AND EUCHARIST

  • 1 Samuel 16:1. 6-7. 10-13;
  • Psalm 22. R/ v. 1;
  • Ephesians 5:8-14
  • John 9:1-41 (Shorter Form, verses 1. 6-9. 13-17. 34-38)

1. Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent. Today is also “Rejoice” Sunday or joyful Sunday! We are joyful because we are more than half way through to Easter! That is why today we use rose vestments instead of purple vestments!

    Again, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Particularly, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the sacrament of baptism on Easter Vigil night! Besides receiving the sacrament of baptism, some of us are also receiving the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist! These three sacraments are the sacraments of initiation into full communion with the Catholic Church!    

    The readings today tell us about these three sacraments of initiation, namely, baptism, confirmation and Eucharist.

    The gospel today tells us about the sacrament of baptism. The gospel today tells us that Jesus “anointed” (Lefrois; Brown) the blind man with saliva mixed with earth and told the blind man to wash himself in the Pool of Siloam. Siloam means ‘sent’. Jesus was sent by the Father. After washing himself, the blind man could see, that is, see with the eyes of faith! He could see God in creation, in salvation, and in sanctification!

    Washing, anointing and faith are three important themes of baptism. When we are baptized, we are washed with the waters of baptism, the waters of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit cleanses us of our sins and gives us new life! A new life that is even better than the life before sin! Paul tells us that the grace of Jesus Christ more than compensated for the sin of Adam! When sin increased, grace increased all the more!   

    After that we are anointed with the oil of Chrism as Christ was anointed priest, prophet and king. We share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. As a priest, I share in the “ministerial priesthood” of Christ in the “parish church”. You share in the “common priesthood” of Christ. This is especially evident in the “BECs” (Basic Ecclesial Communities), that is, in the “community church” and in the “domestic church” where the head of the house presides in prayer and worship. You are also prophets. You proclaim the word of God and you share and pray and act on the word of God in the BECs! You are also kings. You build the kingdom of God and you build the Church by building BECs of love and unity, and of justice and peace!      

    After washing himself, the blind man could see with the eyes of faith! The gospel tells us that not only the blind man had faith, but that his faith also grew. At first he saw Jesus as a man, then he recognized Jesus to be a prophet, and finally he believed in the Son of Man, Jesus and worshipped him as Lord! The Pharisees on the other hand did not believe in Jesus, then they did not even believe that the blind man was blind, and finally they believed that Jesus was a sinner! Even today there are those who believe that Jesus was a sinner! Indeed, they have lost their faith! 

    After baptism, we have to renew our baptism every year, so that like the blind man, our faith will grow stronger and stronger every year! Otherwise like the Pharisees our faith will grow weaker and weaker every year!

    There is another important theme of baptism found in the longer form of the gospel today, that is, light! It is related to the theme of faith, particularly to the faith of the blind man. Light in the New Testament basically, symbolizes three things, namely, faith, life and good. (NJB; Jn 8:12) The three themes are related, that is, if we have faith in God, we will receive new life, and this new life is a life of good and good works!

    The gospel today tells us about the light of faith. Thus we read in the long form of the gospel: “As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world.” (Jn 9:5; SM)

    The Gospel Acclamation today tells us about the light of life. Thus we read in the Gospel Acclamation: “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; anyone who follows me will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12; SM)

    Finally the second reading tells us about the light of good and good works. Thus we read in the second reading: “You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth.” (Ep 5:8-9; SM)        

    After baptism and after being anointed with the oil of Chrism, we will be given candles lighted from the big Easter candle symbolizing the light of Jesus Christ, the light of faith, life and goodness!

2. The first reading tells us about the sacrament of confirmation. To confirm is to strengthen, to make strong. In the sacrament of baptism we are born again in the Holy Spirit. In the sacrament of confirmation we are made strong in the Holy Spirit! David was a youth, but he was made strong in the Spirit so he could defeat the giant Goliath! We read this in the next chapter (1 S 17). Thus we read in the first reading:

    “The Lord said, ‘Come, anoint him, for this is the one.’ At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord seized on David and stayed with him from that day on.” (1 S 16:12-13; SM) In the next chapter, David defeats the giant Goliath! (1 S 17)           

3. The responsorial psalm today tells us about the Eucharist! Just as we are born again in baptism and we are made strong in confirmation, we continue to grow stronger and stronger in the Eucharist by eating the body of Christ and drinking the blood of Christ every Sunday! That is why it is important to come to Mass every Sunday after baptism! If we do not eat and drink, we die! Our faith will die! That is why not coming to Mass on Sunday is a mortal sin! The word mortal is from a Latin word meaning death!

   Again, it is the Lord who provides – providence! The Lord provides us with both material food and drink, and spiritual food and drink! Thus we read in the first and third stanzas of the responsorial psalm depicting the Lord as Shepherd and Host respectively:

    “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.” (Stanza 1; SM)   

    “You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing.” (Stanza 3; SM)

4. Again, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Particularly, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the sacrament of baptism on Easter Vigil night. Besides receiving the sacrament of baptism, some of us are also receiving the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist.

    Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the sacraments of initiation, namely, baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. That is why the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor during this time of Lent. A happy Lent to all of you!

                                                                                                                             Amen!

3rd Sunday of Lent – 20th March 2022

3rd Sunday of Lent – 20th March 2022

*We use Readings from Year A because the church will be having Baptism on Easter Vigil.

Theme: IT IS IN FAITH THAT WE ARE BAPTIZED AND IT IS IN BAPTISM THAT WE RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD’S LOVE, LIFE AND HAPPINESS  

  • Exodus 17:3-7;
  • Psalm 94 (95): 1-2. 6-9. R/ v. 8;
  • Romans 5:1-2. 5-8
  • John 4:5-42 (Shorter Form, 4:5-16. 19-26. 39-42)

1. Today is the 3rd Sunday of Lent. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Particularly, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the sacrament of Baptism on Easter Vigil night! It is in faith that we are baptized and it is in baptism that we receive the Holy Spirit of God’s love, life and happiness!

    The readings today tell us about these two most important themes of baptism, namely, faith and the Holy Spirit!

    The readings today tell us about faith. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel lost faith in God because there was no water in the desert. They quarreled (Meribah) with God and they put God to the test (Massah) saying, “Is the Lord with us, or not?”

    The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us not to be like the people of Israel who quarreled with God and tested God. The responsorial psalm tells us to trust in God, to believe in God, and to have faith in God. Thus the third stanza of the psalm from which the response is taken:

    “O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert when your fathers put me to the test; when they tried me, though they saw my work.’” (Ps 94 (95): 8-9; SM)    

    The first stanza of the responsorial psalm tells us to praise and worship God because he is our savior. The second stanza tells us to praise and worship God because he is our creator and shepherd/savior. (NJBC) 

    The second reading tells us that it is through Jesus Christ by faith that we are made righteous and at peace with God, and it is by faith and through Jesus Christ that we have entered the state of grace! In short, it is by faith in Jesus Christ that we are saved!

    Finally, the gospel today tells us that the Samaritan woman had faith in Jesus Christ! Like Abraham the father of faith, the Samaritan woman had nothing, but faith. She was a Samaritan (half-Jew), a woman, and a sinner who had five husbands and living with a sixth man (NJBC; IBC), but she had the most important thing, that is, faith in Jesus Christ!

    Not only did the Samaritan woman have faith, but her faith grew as she encountered Jesus. She first saw Jesus as a Jew, then she recognized Jesus to be a prophet, then she believed that Jesus was the Messiah (HCSB), and finally she became a missionary and an apostle and brought other Samaritans to believe in Jesus!      

2. The readings today also tell us about the Holy Spirit. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel were dying of thirst in the desert, but more importantly, the first reading tells us that God gave them water from the rock to quench their thirst and saved them from death! The water symbolizes the Holy Spirit, because only the Holy Spirit can quench our thirst and save us from death!

    More importantly, the gospel today tells us that the Lord will give us living water so that we will not be thirsty anymore, because this living water will turn into a spring inside us welling up to eternal life!

    The Samaritan woman had five husbands and living with a sixth man who was not her husband, but she was still thirsting for the living water of eternal life. She was still thirsting for love, life and happiness. Only the living water of the Holy Spirit (NJB; NJBC; IBC; CCB) which Jesus gives can quench her thirst and give her the love, life and happiness that she was looking for!

    We may not have five husbands or wives, but we may have five million dollars, five houses, five cars, five jobs, five pieces of property, etc. But these cannot give us love, life and happiness. Only the living water of the Holy Spirit can give us the love, life and happiness that we are looking for!

    Indeed, the second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love. The second tells us that what proves that God loves us is that Jesus Christ died for us while we were still sinners. It is hard to die even for a good man, but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners!     

    Again, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Particularly, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the sacrament of baptism on Easter Vigil night! Again, it is in faith that we are baptized and it is in baptism that we receive the Holy Spirit of God’s love, life and happiness.  

    Lent is therefore a time for us to renew and strengthen our faith. That is why during this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor. A happy Lent to all of you!

Amen!

2nd Sunday of Lent – 13th March 2022

2nd Sunday of Lent – 13th March 2022

*We use Readings from Year A because the church will be having Baptism on Easter Vigil.

Theme: LENT IS A TIME WHEN WE RENEW AND STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH  

  • Genesis 12:1-4;
  • Psalm 32:4-5. 18-20. 22. R/ v. 22;
  • 2 Timothy 1:8-10
  • Matthew 17:1-9

1. Today is the Second Sunday of Lent. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Particularly, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the sacrament of Baptism on Easter Vigil night!

    For those who will be baptized, Lent is a time of final preparation for baptism. But for those who are already baptized, Lent is a time to prepare to renew our baptism on Easter Vigil night!

    Lent is therefore a time for us to renew and strengthen our faith! That is why during this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor!

2. The gospel today tells us of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The Lord was transfigured. His face shone like the sun and his clothes were white as light. And a voice from the bright cloud said: This is my beloved Son. My favor rests on him. Listen to him. Listen to him, especially when he tells you about his passion, death and resurrection. (CSB) After the Transfiguration, Jesus told the disciples not to tell anyone about it until he has risen from the dead.

    The transfiguration was a preview and a prefigure of the Resurrection! The Transfiguration was to strengthen the faith of the disciples for the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. (Fuller; Lefrois; Raas)

    That is why in all the three gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the Transfiguration is placed immediately after the first prediction of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection, and immediately after Jesus’ instruction to his disciples to take up their crosses and follow him: He who saves his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake will save it!

    Again, the Transfiguration was a preview of the Resurrection, to prepare the faith of the disciples for the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   

3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us of the faith of Abraham. (NJB; CCB)

    In the first reading, God tells Abraham to leave his country, his family and his father’s house and go to a land that God will show him; and God will make him into a great nation; and God will bless him and through him God will bless all the nations of the world.

    Abraham did as God told him to do. Indeed, Abraham is a father in faith, not only for the Christians, but also for the Jews and the Muslims! Abraham was 75 years old and his wife was barren!     

4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. 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; SM)

    The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us of God’s creative word. God created the whole universe through his word! The second stanza tells us that God is our savior. In fact, God is our only savior. (NJBC) The third stanza tells us that the community of faith places their hope in God. (HCSB) Thus again, 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; SM)  

5. The second reading tells us to preach the good news. More than that, the second reading tells us to suffer for the good news. The good news is that salvation is attained not by our good works, but by the grace of Jesus Christ! (CSB) And it is this grace of Jesus Christ that we receive in the sacrament of baptism on Easter Vigil night!

6. Again, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Particularly, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the sacrament of baptism on Easter Vigil night. Lent is therefore a time to renew and strengthen our faith. That is why in this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor. A happy Lent to all of you!

 Amen!

1st Sunday of Lent (Year A) – 6th March 2022

1st Sunday of Lent (Year A) – 6th March 2022

*We use Reading from Year A because the church will be having Baptism on Easter Vigil.

Theme: JESUS CHRIST THE NEW AND SECOND ADAM

  • Genesis 2:7-9. 3:1-7;
  • Psalm 50:3-6. 12-14. 17. R/ cf. v.3;
  • Romans 5:12. 14d-19
  • Matthew 4:1-11

1. Today is the First Sunday of Lent, Liturgical Year A. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter, that is, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and our dying and rising with him in the sacrament of baptism! Lent is therefore a time when our catechumens prepare for baptism and we who are baptized prepare to renew our Baptism on Easter Vigil Night, so that we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! Lent is therefore a time of repentance!

The first reading tells us that Adam and Eve sinned against God by eating the forbidden fruit. By eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve committed the Original Sin of Pride. Adam and Eve wanted to be gods and to decide for themselves what is good and what is evil. As a result sin and death entered the world. As a result they lost their innocence and were ashamed that they were naked.      

2. More importantly, the gospel today tells us that Jesus Christ the new and second Adam turned back to God! The gospel today tells us that the devil did not only tempt Adam and Eve, but the devil also tempted Jesus Christ! The devil tempted Jesus Christ with three temptations.

    In the first temptation the devil tells Jesus to turn stones into bread; in the second temptation the devil tells Jesus to jump from the highest point of the Temple to test God; and in the third temptation, the devil tells Jesus to worship him and he will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world!    

More importantly, are the three responses of Jesus. To the first temptation Jesus responded:

“Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4; SM)

To the second temptation Jesus responded:

“You must not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Mt 4:7; SM) 

To the third temptation Jesus responded:

“You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.” (Mt 4:10; SM)

3. Most importantly, the second reading tells us that sin and death entered the world through one man, Adam; and more importantly, the second reading tells us that grace and life entered the world through one man, Jesus Christ!

Most importantly, the second reading tells us that the grace and life of Jesus Christ far outweighed the sin and death of Adam, so much so that the new life of Easter and Baptism is even better than the life before sin and death! Thus we sing in the Easter Proclamation:

“O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!” (SM)

And thus the caption of the second reading:

“However great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater.” (Rm 5:20; SM)

4. The responsorial psalm is a “Prayer of Repentance”. (CSB) Thus we responded four times:

    “Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.” (Ps 50:3; SM)

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas ask God to forgive our sins. Thus we read:

“Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness. In your compassion blot out my offence. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.

    My offences truly I know them; my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned; what is evil in your sight I have done.” (vv. 3-6; SM)

The third and fourth stanzas ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we will not sin anymore. Thus we read:

“A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

Give me again the joy of your help; with a spirit of fervor sustain me.” (vv. 12-14; SM)

5. During this time of Lent the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor, not as a punishment for our sins; but to help us to repent and to prepare for the celebration of Easter, so that we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! A Blessed Lent to all of you!    Amen!

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 27th February 2022

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 27th February 2022

Theme: A MAN’S WORDS FLOW OUT OF WHAT FILLS HIS HEART

  • Ecclesiasticus 27: 4-7
  • Psalm 91 (92): 2-3,13-16
  • 1 Corinthians 15:54-58
  • Luke 6:39 – 45 

Today is the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us that a man’s words flow out of what fills his heart!

The First Reading today tells us that “the defects of a man appear in his talk. ….the test of a man is in his conversation. …. A man’s words betray what he feels. …. Do not praise a man before he has spoken, since this is the test of men.”

More importantly, the Gospel today tells us that “There is no sound tree that produces rotten fruit, nor again a rotten tree that produces sound fruit. …. A good man draws what is good from the store of goodness in his heart; a bad man draws what is bad from the store of badness. For a man’s words flow out of what fills his heart.”

Most importantly, the Gospel Acclamations today tell us to open our hearts to accept the words of God’s Son and to offer the world the word of life!

Thus we read in the Gospel Acclamations: “Open our hearts, O Lord, to accept the words of your Son.” (Acts 16:14) “You will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life.” (Phil 2:15-16)

We Catholics tend to value the Eucharist more than the Word of God, but both are important! The Sunday Mass consists of two essential parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist! The Word gives us faith and when we celebrate the Eucharist with faith, the Holy Spirit will come and build the Community, the Church and the Kingdom of God! The Liturgy of the Word consists of the Readings, the Homily and the Prayer of the Faithful. The Prayer of the faithful is a response to the Word of God, asking God to help us act on His Word and to proclaim His Word to all creation!

In the Neo-Catechumenal Communities in Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Lahad Datu, etc., Sabah, Malaysia, they not only celebrate the Eucharist once in two weeks on Saturdays and have their convivence (retreat) once a month, but they also celebrate the Word of God every week on Tuesdays or Wednesdays! In the celebration of the Word, they listen to four readings, two from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament! They also respond to God’s Word in prayer, asking God to help them keep the Word of God and to proclaim it to the nations! After that, especially during the Easter season, they are sent out two by two to announce the Good News in their own parishes, in other parishes in their own diocese, in other dioceses and in the world!

May the Lord bless you with a fruitful mission!

Amen!

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 20th February 2022

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 20th February 2022

Theme: BE MERCIFUL AS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS MERCIFUL

  • 1 Samuel 26:2. 7-9. 12-13. 22-23
  • Psalm 102:1-4. 8. 10. 12-13. R. v. 8
  • 1 Corinthians 15:45-49
  • Luke 6:27-38

1.   Today is the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C. The readings today tell us to be merciful just as our heavenly Father is merciful.

    The gospel tells us to be merciful just as our heavenly Father is merciful. The gospel tells us not to judge, so that we will not be judged; not to condemn, so that we will not be condemned; to forgive, and we will be forgiven; and to give, and much will be given to us!

    The gospel also tells us to love our enemies; to do good to those who hate us; to bless those who curse us; to pray for those who persecute us; to the one who strikes us on the cheek, turn the other cheek to him; to the one who takes our coat, give him also our shirt (undergarment); give to the one who asks; and to the one who robs us, do not ask him to return what is robbed!

    Again, the gospel asks us to love our enemies, to do good, and to lend without expecting to be paid back. We will then be rewarded, and we will be children of our heavenly Father who is kind even to the ungrateful and the wicked. Again, be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful!        

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that David was merciful to King Saul. King Saul tried to kill David twice, and twice David could have killed King Saul, but did not. David spared the life of King Saul twice; once in the cave where David cut off the corner of his cloak instead of killing him (1 S 24); and once David took away his spear and jar of water when he was asleep instead of killing him (1 S 26). David was merciful to King Saul.   

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Again, the responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord is compassion and love. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “The Lord is compassion and love.”! (Ps 102:8) And thus the third and fourth stanzas of the responsorial psalm: “The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy. He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults. As far as the east is from the west so far does he remove our sins. As a father has compassion on his sons, the Lord has pity on those who fear him.”! (Ps 102: 8. 10. 12-13)

4. Again, the second reading tells us of the resurrection of the dead. The second readings of the 5th and 6th Sundays also told us about the resurrection of the dead. The second reading today tells us about the resurrected body, that is, what kind of body is the resurrection body. Paul tells us in the second reading that the resurrected body will not be the natural physical body of Adam, but it will be the spiritual body of the Second Adam, that is, the Resurrected Christ! (CSB/NJB)

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, and raise us from the dead! He will give us the Holy Spirit to help us to be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful (Lk 6:36)! He will give us the Holy Spirit to help us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, to bless those who curse us, to do good to those who hate us; and to give to those who ask (Lk 6: 27-30); ………….. to love our enemies and to do good to them; and to lend without hope of return (Lk 6:35); ……….. to forgive; and to give (Lk 6:37-38)!

Amen!

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 13th February 2022

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 13th February 2022

Theme: TRUST IN GOD: “IN GOD WE TRUST”! 

  • Jeremiah 17:5-8;
  • Psalm 1:1-4. 6. R/ Ps 39:5;
  • 1 Corinthians 15:12. 16-20
  • Luke 6:17. 20-26

1. Today is the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C. The readings today tell us to trust in God!

    The gospel today tells us that the poor are blessed, and to the poor belong the kingdom of God! But who are the poor? The poor are: (i) those without money; (ii) those who have money, but are detached from their money, and put their trust in God, for life, love and happiness; (iii) those who are spiritually poor, that is, the sinners; (iv) those who are sinners, but who put their trust in God for their salvation! Thus the parallel gospel of St. Mathew: “How blessed are the poor in spirit: the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”! (Mt 5:3) Note that Matthew added the words “in spirit” to the word “poor”!

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us to put our trust in God and not in man! The first reading tells us that those who put their trust in God are like a tree planted next to a stream. Its leaves are always green and it bears much fruit. It will not die even in the dry season, and even if there is a drought; instead its leaves remain green and it bears much fruit!

    But those who trust in man and not in God are like a bush planted in the desert where there is no water or soil, but only sun and sand! It will die!

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Again, the responsorial psalm tells us that those who trust in the Lord are like a tree planted next to a running stream! It will never die; instead its leaves will always be green and it will bear much fruit! Those who trust in the Lord will prosper in all that they do!

    But not so are the wicked! The wicked are like winnowed chaff (husks)! They will be blown away by the wind! They will die! They are doomed!

    Thus the response (Ps 39:5) and the third and fourth stanzas of the responsorial psalm (Ps 1:3-4. 6):

    “Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord”! (Ps 39:5) “He is like a tree that is planted beside the flowing waters, that yields its fruit in due season and whose leaves shall never fade; and all that he does shall prosper. Not so are the wicked, not so! For they like winnowed chaff shall be driven away by the wind. For the Lord guards the way of the just but the way of the wicked leads to doom.”! (Ps 1:3-4. 6)

4. Most importantly, the second reading tells us that Jesus Christ trusted in God the Father until death, and God the Father raised him from the dead, and through him will raise us all from the dead!

    In the second reading Paul tells the Corinthians that God the Father raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and through Jesus Christ, God the Father will raise us all from the dead! The Corinthians did not believe in the resurrection of the dead!

    Thus Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “If Christ raised from the dead is what has been preached, how can some of you be saying that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Co 15:12) “But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.”! (1 Co 15:20) 

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 his Holy Spirit, so that like him, we will trust in God our Father until death, and God our Father, through his Son Jesus Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, will raise us all from the dead!

Amen!

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 6th February 2022

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 6th February 2022

Theme: GOD CALLS US TO BE HIS APOSTLES. IT IS ALL THE GRACE OF GOD

  • Isaiah 6:1-8;
  • Psalm 137 (138): 1-5. 7-8. R/ v. 1;
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (3-8. 11)
  • Luke 5:1-11

1. Today is the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C. The readings today tell us that God calls us to be his apostles! It is all the grace of God!

    The gospel today tells us of the call of Peter and the first disciples. After the miraculous catch of fish, Peter fell at the knees of Jesus and told Jesus to leave him, because he was a sinner, but instead of leaving him, Jesus called him to be his apostle! It is all the grace of God! The grace of God does not only save us from sin, but it calls us to be apostles to save others from sin! In front of this grace of God, Peter and the other disciples responded immediately and totally. (Faley) They left everything and followed him!

      The gospel today also tells us that the mission of the apostles will be very fruitful and successful because it is the work of God and not the work of man! The gospel tells us that the disciples worked all night but caught nothing, but at the command of Jesus they put out their nets and they caught so many fish that their nets began to tear. And when they filled their two boats with the fish, the two boats were almost sinking! Again, the grace of God does not only save us from sin, but it calls us to be apostles to save others from sin, and it makes our mission fruitful and successful!   

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the call of Isaiah. Again, in front of the holiness of God, Isaiah recognized his sinfulness, but more importantly, the first reading tells us that God purified Isaiah from his sins with a burning coal from the altar and called Isaiah to be his prophet! Again, in front of this grace of God, Isaiah responded immediately and totally: “Here I am, send me.”! (Is 6:8/SM)

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

    “Before the angels I will bless you, O Lord.” (Ps 137 (138): 1/SM)

    To bless God is to praise and thank God!

    The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas thank God for deliverance. The third stanza calls the nations to thank and praise God. And the fourth stanza expresses confidence and trust in God! (HCSB/Craghan)

4. The shorter form of the second reading (1 Co 15:3-8. 11) does not follow the theme of the Sunday. In the shorter form of the second reading Saint Paul tells the Corinthians to believe in the Resurrection! Some Corinthians do not believe in the Resurrection!

    St. Paul tells the Corinthians to believe in the Resurrection because it is the teaching and tradition of the Church! St. Paul tells the Corinthians to believe in the Resurrection because it has been witnessed by Peter (Cephas), the Twelve Apostles, the more than five hundred brothers at the same time, James, the other apostles besides the Twelve, and St. Paul himself!      

    Incidentally, the longer form of the second reading (1 Co 15:1-11) follows the theme of the Sunday. The longer form of the second reading tells us that St. Paul was the least of the apostles. In fact he did not deserve to be an apostle because he persecuted the Christians. But because of the grace of God he became an apostle and because of the grace of God he was the most hard working of the apostles! Thus we read in the longer form of the second reading:

    “I am the least of the apostles; in fact, since I persecuted the Church of God, I hardly deserve the name apostle; but by God’s grace that is what I am, and the grace that he gave me has not been fruitless. On the contrary, I, or rather the grace of God that is with me, have worked harder than any of the others.” (1 Co 15: 9-10/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 become the apostles of the Lord to proclaim the good news of the resurrection of the Lord and the salvation of all humankind!

                                                                                                                                    Amen!

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 30th January 2022

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 30th January 2022

  • Jeremiah 1:4-5. 17-19;
  • Psalm 70 (71):1-6. 15. 17. R/ v. 15;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
  • Luke 4:21-30

Theme: JESUS THE PROPHET OF GOD SPEAKS GOD’S WORD OF SALVATION

1. Today is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the prophet of God who speaks God’s word of salvation! Thus we read in the gospel today, “the gracious words that came from his lips”. “Gracious words”, that is, words of salvation. “Came from his lips” (Dt 8:3), that is, word of God. (NJBC)

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that like the prophets Elijah and Elisha, who ministered not only to the Jews but also to the pagans, not only to man (Naaman) but also to woman (widow); Jesus came to save not only the Jews but also the pagans, not only man but also woman! 

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that the Jews rejected Jesus and they wanted to throw him down the cliff, but Jesus slipped through them. This points to the future rejection of Jesus by the Jews and to the “Easter victory” of Jesus! (NJBC)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the call of the prophet Jeremiah. The prophet Jeremiah prefigures Jesus the prophet! Like Jesus, Jeremiah was called to be a prophet to all the nations, not only to the Jews! Like Jesus, Jeremiah was also rejected by the Jews. The second part of today’s first reading (vv. 17-19) tells us that the kings, princes, priests and people of Judah will fight against Jeremiah. And like Jesus, the Lord was with Jeremiah to deliver him!

3. The responsorial psalm is a prayer of an old man, but in the context of today’s readings, it is a prayer of a persecuted prophet. The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. Stanzas one, two and three is a prayer for deliverance (vv. 1-6). Stanza four is a vow to praise and thank God for deliverance (vv. 15. 17). (NJBC) Thus the response which is taken from the fourth stanza:

“My lips will tell of your help”. (Ps 70 (71): 15; SM)

4. We are all called to be prophets because of our baptism! The readings today tell us about being prophets:

(i) We must speak God’s word of salvation. (Gospel)

(ii) We must speak to all the nations. (Gospel and First Reading)

(iii) We must expect rejection. (Gospel and First Reading)

(iv) God is with us to deliver us. (Gospel and First reading)

(v) We must pray for deliverance. (Responsorial Psalm)

(vi) We must prophesy with love. (Second Reading)    

5. The second reading today tells us to be ambitious for the higher gifts, that is, the gifts of faith, hope and love. In fact the second reading tells us to be ambitious for the highest gift, that is, the gift of love! In heaven we do not need faith and hope anymore! In heaven we find only love and love gives life and happiness! Thus in heaven we find only three things, that is, love, life and happiness! Thus the second reading concludes:

“In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Co 3:13; SM)

The second reading today tells us that

“Love is always patient and kind: it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.” (1 Co 13:4-7; SM)

The quotation above can serve as a checklist to see if you have love or to see if others have love. We have only to substitute the word love with our name or with the name of others. But first substitute the word love with the name Jesus because Jesus is love!

6. Today in this Mass we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ the prophet par excellence and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we may become the prophets of God to speak God’s word of salvation to all the nations!

Today in this Mass we also thank God for the many spiritual gifts and charisms and we ask God to help us to be ambitious for the highest gift, that is, the gift of love, so that we can love God, neighbor and our own very selves! A Happy and Blessed Sunday to all of you!

                                                                                                                                Amen!  

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 23rd January 2022

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 23rd January 2022

Theme: JESUS CHRIST WILL FULFILL THE LAW OF GOD IN US

  • Nehemiah 8:2-6. 8-10;
  • Psalm 18 (19): 8-10. 15. R/ Jn 6:63;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 (Shorter Form, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14. 27)
  • Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

1. Today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us about the Law of God. The Law of God is good, because it gives life and happiness! But the Law of God is very hard to keep and all of us break the Law of God. That is why we cannot find life and happiness. But the good news is that the Law of God comes to us today fulfilled in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ will fulfill the Law of God in us, so that we can find life and happiness!

The first reading tells us that Ezra the priest read the Law of God to the Israelites and they were all weeping, because the Law of God was very hard to keep and they have all broken the law of God. (NJBC; HCSB) But Ezra told them not to weep, but to be joyful, because the day was sacred to the Lord! Thus we read in the first reading:

“And Ezra read from the Law of God, translating and giving the sense, so that the people understood what was read.

Then Nehemiah – His Excellency – and Ezra, priest and scribe (and the Levites who were instructing the people) said to all the people, ‘This day is sacred to the Lord your God. Do not be mournful, do not weep.’ For the people were all in tears as they listened to the words of the Law.

He then said, ‘Go, eat the fat, drink the sweet wine, and send a portion to the man who has nothing prepared ready. For this day is sacred to our Lord. Do not be sad: the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.’” (Ne 8:8-10; SM)   

2. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Law of God is good because it is spirit and life. It gives life and happiness! (HCSB) Thus the response:

“Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life.” (Jn 6:63; SM)

And thus the first and second stanzas:

“The law of the Lord is perfect, it revives the soul. The rule of the Lord is to be trusted, it gives wisdom to the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, they gladden the heart. The command of the Lord is clear, it gives light to the eyes.” (Ps 18 (19): 8-9; SM)

3. The gospel today tells us that the Law of God comes to us today fulfilled in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ will fulfill the Law of God in us through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will help us keep the Law of God, so that we can find life and happiness! Thus in the Gospel today Jesus Christ reads “The Good News of Deliverance” (HCSB) from the prophet Isaiah:

“The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor.” (Is 61:1-2; Lk 4:18-19; SM) “The Lord’s Year of favor”, that is, “the time of God’s salvation”! (CSB; Is 61:1f)

More importantly, the gospel today concludes with theses words of Jesus Christ:

“This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.” (Lk 4:21; SM)

4. That is why we come to Mass every Sunday. Every Sunday at Mass, we make present, real and effective the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will help us keep the Law of God, so that we will find life and happiness! 

5. The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again the second reading has something important to tell us! The second reading tells us that we are all different parts of the one body of Christ. We were all baptized in the one Spirit and we all drink the one Spirit in the Eucharist!

Though we may belong to different groups and communities or received different spiritual gifts, we are all parts of the body of Christ. Therefore we must not compete with one another or be jealous of one another, but we must work together for the glory of God and for the good of the community! Thus we read in the second reading:

“Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptized, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

Nor is the body to be identified with any one of its many parts.

Now you together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it. In the Church, God has given the first place to apostles, the second to prophets, the third to teachers; after them, miracles, and after them the gift of healing; helpers, good leaders, those with many languages. Are all of them apostles, or all of them prophets, or all of them teachers? Do they all have the gift of miracles, or all have the gift of healing? Do all speak strange languages, and all interpret them?” (1 Co 12:12-14. 27-30; SM)      

Today in this Mass we thank God for all the different groups and communities in our parish. We also thank God for all the different spiritual gifts or charisms in our parish, and we ask God to help us work together for glory of God and for the good of the community! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!                                           

Amen!