3rd Sunday of Advent (Year B) – 17th December 2017

Theme: ADVENT: JOYFUL EXPECTATION AND JOYFUL PREPARATION! 

  • Isaiah 61:1-2. 10-11; 
  • Lk 1:46-50. 53-54. R/ Is 61:10; 1 
  • Thessalonians 5:16-24
  • John 1:6-8. 19-28

1. Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent, Liturgical Year B. There are four Sundays of Advent before Christmas. The word Advent means coming. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the End of Time.

Jesus Christ came 2,000 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 2,000 years ago in “memory” and continues to come every Christmas in “mystery”, we are sure He will come again at the End of Time in “majesty”!

Again, 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. The gospel tells us that John the Baptist prepared the people for the coming of Jesus Christ. But more importantly, the gospel tells us that John the Baptist was not worthy even to undo the strap of Jesus’ sandals! John the Baptist baptized with water but Jesus Christ will baptize with the Holy Spirit!  

The gospel acclamation tells us that Jesus Christ will come in the power of the Holy Spirit and bring good news to the poor! The poor are not only the materially poor, nor only the spiritually poor, but the poor are those who are totally dependent on God for their salvation! Thus we read in the gospel acclamation: 

“The spirit of the Lord has been given to me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor.” (Is 61:1; Lk 4:18; SM)
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading was quoted in the gospel acclamation. The first reading also tells us that when Jesus Christ comes, he will come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the broken hearted, to set prisoners free and to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord! A year of favor, a year of grace, a year of blessing! In other words, salvation is a free gift! This is indeed good news to the poor!

That is why the first reading tells us to rejoice, to be joyful and to be happy! Thus we read in the first reading: 

“I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God.” (Is 61:10; SM)
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of joy of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is quoted from the first reading: 

“My soul rejoices in my God.” (Is 61:10; SM)

The responsorial psalm itself is the song of praise of Mary after the angel announced to her that she was to be the mother of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit and after she visited her cousin Elizabeth. Mary was filled with joy, because the Almighty God has done great things for her! Thus we read in the first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm: 

“My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. He looks on his servant in her nothingness; henceforth all ages will call me blessed. The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy his name!” (Lk 1:46-49; SM) 
4. The second reading continues this theme of joy! Thus the second reading begins with these words: “Be happy at all times.” (1 Th 5:16; SM) or “Rejoice always.” (CSB) or “Always be joyful.” (NJB) 

Today we also celebrate “rejoice Sunday” or “joyful Sunday” or “happy Sunday” because we are more than half way through to Christmas! That is why the priest uses pink/rose vestment and that is why we light the pink/rose candle. Pink/rose color symbolizes joy!

“Advent” is not “Lent”. “Lent” is a season of “penance”, but “Advent” is a season of “joyful expectation”, but “joyful expectation” means “joyful preparation”! When we expect Jesus Christ to come, we prepare for his coming!
5. Let us then during this time of Advent prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ, by praying, by repentance, by confessing our sins, by reading the Bible, by reading the Sunday Mass readings, by attending prayer meetings on Fridays, by attending BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) meetings, by Christmas caroling, by being Santa Claus, that is, by giving gifts to the poor, to the sick, to the needy, to the aged, to the lonely, to the marginalized, to the stranger, to the foreigner, to the alien, to the poor children, etc.! A happy Advent to all of you!
Amen!

2nd Sunday of Advent (Year B) – 10th December 2017

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

  • Isaiah 40:1-5. 9-11;
  • Psalm 84 (85):9-14. R/ v. 8;
  • 2 Peter 3:8-14
  • Mark 1:1-8

Today is the Second Sunday of Advent, Liturgical Year B. There are four Sundays in Advent. The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival”. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and 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 at the End of Time in “majesty”!

The three comings of Jesus Christ are related. Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in “memory”. He died rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit. He continues to come to us every Christmas in “mystery” in the Holy Spirit. And he will come again at the End of Time in “majesty” when everything will be completed, perfected and fulfilled in him by the Holy Spirit!

The readings today tell us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the End of Time. The gospel today tells us that John the Baptist prepared the people for the coming of Jesus Christ by telling them to repent and confess their sins. The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by repentance and by confessing our sins. That is why during this time of Advent, we have penitential services and individual confessions!

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that when Jesus Christ comes, he will baptize us not only with water, but with the holy water of the Holy Spirit which cleanses us from sin and death and gives us new life!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. But more importantly, the first reading tells us that when Jesus Christ comes, he will come as the Good Shepherd who feeds his sheep, carries his sheep, embraces his sheep and gives rest to his sheep!

This image of the Good Shepherd is developed by Jesus in the parable of the Lost Sheep (Mt 18:12-14) and the parable of the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11-18). Thus we read in the first reading:

“He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.” (Is 40:11; SM)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer for God’s love, mercy, salvation, justice, peace, prosperity, fruitfulness, etc.!

The responsorial psalm tells us that when Jesus Christ comes he will bring us love, mercy, salvation, justice, peace, prosperity, fruitfulness, etc.! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Show us, Lord, your love; grant us your salvation.” (Ps 84 (85): 8; CSB)

“Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.” (Ps 84 (85): 8; SM)

The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading also tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The second reading tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by “living holy and saintly lives”, and by living “lives without spot or stain”, but more importantly, the second reading tells us that when Jesus Christ comes there will be “the new heavens and new earth”! Thus we read in the second reading:

“You should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, …. What we are waiting for is what he promised; the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.” (2 Pt 3:11-14; SM)

Let us then prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the End of Time by repentance, by confessing our sins, by living holy and saintly lives, and by living lives without spot or stain, so that when Jesus Christ comes he will find us at peace! A happy Advent to all of you! Amen!

1st Sunday of Advent (Year B) – 3rd December 2017

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

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

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. It is also the first Sunday of the new liturgical Year B! The word Advent means coming or arrival, that is, the coming of Jesus Christ! To begin with, we must remember that there are three comings of Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ came in memory two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ will come in majesty at the end of the world, and Jesus Christ will come in mystery this Christmas! Remember the three Ms: Memory, Mystery and Majesty!
The three comings are interrelated. Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory and Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in mystery. That is why we are sure that Jesus Christ will come in majesty at the end of time! The word Christ-mas comes from two words, Christ and Mass. Jesus Christ will come this Christmas in mystery in the Christ Mass!
The readings today tell us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of the world!
The gospel today tells us to stay awake, that is, to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. Thus we read in the gospel today: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’”
We prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by praying, reading the Bible, attending BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) meetings, attending Sunday Mass every Sunday, caroling, proclaiming the good news, going to confession, repentance, etc. We also prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by being Santa Claus, that is, Saint Nicholas (Dutch), by giving Christmas presents to the poor, the aged, the sick, the prisoners, the foreigner, the orphan, the needy, the poor children, etc.!
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading is a prayer for God to come and a confession of sins. The first part of the first reading is a prayer for the coming of God: “Return, for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your inheritance. Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down – at your Presence the mountains would melt.” (Is 63:17; 64:1)
The second part of the first reading is a confession of sins: “You were angry when we were sinners; we had long been rebels against you. We were all like men unclean, all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing. We have all withered like leaves and our sins blew us away like the wind.” (Is 64:5-6)
The historical context of the first reading was the return of the Jews from exile from Babylon in the sixth century BC. Today we also pray for the coming of Jesus Christ and we also confess our sins!
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer for God to come and save his people. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.” (Ps 79 (80): 4) The response of the responsorial psalm is repeated three times. It is also repeated three times as a refrain of the original psalm. It can be paraphrased thus, ‘God of the heavenly host of angels, bring us back from sin and death; let your favor, grace and blessing be on us and we shall be saved.’!
In the responsorial psalm we pray for the coming of Jesus Christ to save us. Thus we read in the first part of the third stanza: “May your hand be on the man you have chosen, the man you have given your strength.” (Ps 79 (80):18)
Finally as we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time, the second reading tells us to thank God for all the graces that we have received at the first coming of Jesus Christ and to pray God that he may protect us from sin and death until the second coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time!
Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of the world! Amen!

34th or Last Sunday of The Year (Year A) – Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King – 26th November 2017

Theme: THE END OF THE WORLD: THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AS KING OF THE UNIVERSE 

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

Today is the 34th or last Sunday of the Liturgical Year 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 the world, Jesus Christ will be the King of the universe! He will have established his kingdom fully, perfectly and completely! The end of the world is not the end of the physical world, but the end of the evil and sinful world; the end of death and the Devil! As Christians we do not fear the end of the world, but we look forward to the end of the world, because the end of the world is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as King of the universe!

The gospel today tells us that at the end of the world, Jesus Christ will come a second time as king to judge the nations! He will reward those who have done good deeds of mercy and punish those who have not done good deeds of mercy!

It is important to note that the gospel today does not talk about sin, but about good works! In order to go to heaven it is not enough not to commit sin, but we must also do good works, especially good works of mercy! But if we want to talk about sin in today’s gospel, then we talk about the sin of omission and not the sin of commission!

The gospel today tells us that the wicked were sent to hell not because they committed sins of stealing, killing, adultery, etc., but because they did not do good works of mercy! Again, the good were sent to heaven not because they did not commit sins, but because they did good works!

Like the gospels of the last two Sundays on the “Virgins” and the “Talents” respectively, the gospel today tells us to prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works, especially good works of mercy, so that when Jesus Christ comes a second time he will welcome us to heaven!

‘Come you whom my Father has blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was naked and you clothed me, a stranger and you welcomed me, sick and in prison and you visited me’!

But more than that, the first reading from the prophet Ezekiel tells us that Jesus Christ is not only a King, but he is a Shepherd-King! And like a shepherd, he looks after his sheep, he rescues his sheep, he saves his sheep, he feeds his sheep, he looks for the lost sheep, he brings back the stray sheep, he bandages the wounded sheep, he makes the weak sheep strong, and he watches over the healthy sheep!

The first reading today (Ez 34:11-16) is an outline of the allegory (symbolic story) of the Good Shepherd in John 10:11-18, (NJB), where Jesus says, ‘I am the good shepherd. I lay down my life for my sheep! I know my sheep and my sheep know me! Just as the Father knows me and I know my Father. And I lay down my life for my sheep’! (Jn 10: 11. 14-15)

Jesus Christ is not only a King, but a Shepherd-King, and not only a Shepherd-King, but a Good Shepherd-King who lays down his life for his sheep!

Finally in the second reading from the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us that ‘Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man, in the same way, Resurrection from the dead came through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, all men will be brought to life in Jesus Christ in the proper order: First Jesus Christ, the first-fruits, then after the Coming of Jesus Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when Jesus Christ will hand over his kingdom to his Father after destroying all sovereignty, power and authority. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet, and the last and worst enemy is death. After subjecting everything to himself, he will in turn subject himself to his Father who has subjected all things to him, so that God his Father may be all in all’! This is the end of the world! This is the second coming of Jesus Christ! This is the Good News!

Today in this Mass we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and we eat his body and drink his blood and our Risen Lord will give us His Holy Spirit to do good deeds of mercy, so that when Jesus Christ comes a second time he will say to us, ‘Come you, whom my Father has blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, naked and you clothed me, a stranger and you welcomed me, sick and in prison and you visited me’! Go to heaven! Not “go to hell”, but go to heaven! This is the Good News!

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 19th November 2017

Theme: PREPARE FOR THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST: DO GOOD WORKS 

  • Proverbs 31:10-13. 19-20. 30-31
  • Psalm 127:1-5. R. v. 1
  • Thessalonians 5:1-6
  • Matthew 25:14-30

Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, or the 33rd Sunday of the Liturgical Year A. As we come to the end of the Liturgical Year, the readings today tell us about the end times, the end of the world, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The readings today tell us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works!

The gospel parable tells us of a man who went abroad. Before he went abroad he gave his servants talents to trade with. To one he gave 5 talents, to another 2 talents, and to a third 1 talent. The first servant made 5 more talents, the second servant made 2 more talents, but the third servant buried his 1 talent in the ground. When the master returned after a long while, he said the servant who made 5 more talents, ‘Well done good and faithful servant, you have been faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater, come and join in your master’s happiness’! He said the same to the second servant who made 2 more talents, but to the third servant who buried his 1 talent, the master said, ‘You wicked and lazy servant’! And the master continued, ‘As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth’!

The Church has chosen the gospel reading of today to tell us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works!

It is important to note that the sin of the third servant who buried his talent is not the sin of commission, but the sin of omission! The third servant was sent to hell, not because he stole, killed, or committed adultery, but because he did nothing! He did not love, serve, and do good works! To go to heaven, it is not enough not to commit sin; we have also to love, serve, and do good works!

The first reading from the book of Proverbs is about the perfect wife! The first reading tells us that the perfect wife is an asset to her husband. Besides other housework, she also makes wool, linen cloth, spins her own thread, and makes cloth (GNB). Besides her housework, she also helps the poor and the needy! But most importantly, she is a wise woman, that is, a woman who ‘fears the Lord’! (NJB/NAB) In fact, ‘the fear of the Lord’ is the theme of the book of Proverbs, which begins with ‘the fear of the Lord’ (1:7) and ends with ‘the fear of the Lord’ (31:30)! The perfect wife is wisdom personified, the fear of the Lord personified!

The fear of the Lord is not a slavish fear, but a reverential fear, a religious fear, a devotional fear, a respectful fear, and a loving fear of loving children for their loving parents!

Again, we have to see this second reading in the context of today’s liturgical theme, that is, we have to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by ‘fearing the Lord’ and doing good deeds! In fact, we cannot do good deeds, without first fearing the Lord!

The responsorial psalm takes up the theme of the first reading, that is, ‘fear the Lord and walk in his ways’; fear the Lord and obey his will; fear the Lord and keep his commandments; fear the Lord and do not sin; fear the Lord and do good deeds! (127:1)

Again, we have to see the responsorial psalm in the context of today’s liturgical theme, that is, prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by fearing the Lord and doing good deeds!

Finally, St. Paul tells us in the second reading in his first letter to the Thessalonians that we do not know when is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We do not know the time or the day! The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be unexpected and sudden! We have always to be vigilant, watchful, awake, sober and prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

Today in this Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us His Holy Spirit to do good works to prepare for his Second Coming, so that when he comes he will say to us, ‘well done, good and faithful servants; you have been faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your Master’s happiness’!

We have often been told to ‘go to hell’, but the good news today tells us to ‘go to heaven’! Go to heaven! This is the good news!

Amen!

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 12th November 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen!

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

 

Amen!

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 5th November 2017

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

  • Malachi 1:14-2:2. 8-10
  • Psalm 130 (131)
  • Mt 23:1-12

Today is the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, or 31st Sunday of the Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that pride is the greatest sin and humility is the greatest virtue!

The first reading from the prophet Malachi tells us of the sins of the priests! The priests do not keep the law, and the priests give wrong instructions on the law to the people! The first reading also tells us of the sins of the people! The people marry foreigners and divorce their Jewish wives! (v.10)

Again, the gospel today tells us of the sins of the religious leaders! The gospel tells us of the sins of the Scribes and Pharisees! The gospel tells us that the Scribes (Lawyers) and Pharisees do not practice what they preach!

They are also hypocrites! They tie small boxes containing the Law on their foreheads and left forearms; they wear tassels at the fringe of their garments to remind themselves to keep the commandments; they take the seats of honor at banquets; they take the front seats at the synagogues; they are being greeted obsequiously (slavishly); and they are being called Rabbi, Master, Father, and Teacher! (CSB/NAB)

But their greatest sin is the sin of pride! That is why I began this homily by saying that pride is the greatest sin and humility is the greatest virtue! That is why the gospel ends with Jesus saying, “Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”! (Mt 23:12)

A parallel verse is found in “Lk 18:14”! In fact Luke 18:9-14 is on pride and humility! “Luke 18:9-14” tells us that a Pharisee and a tax collector went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee said this prayer to himself, ‘I thank you God I am not like the rest of men, greedy, unjust, adulterous, particularly, I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I give tithes (10%) on all that I earn.’! The tax collector on the other hand said this prayer, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner.”! Jesus says in the gospel that the tax collector was justified, but the Pharisee was not justified!

The tax collector was justified not because he was good and holy, but because he was humble! The Pharisee was not justified not because he was bad and sinful, but because he was proud! The Pharisee was good and holy – at least compared to the tax collector – but the tax collector was humble! The tax collector was justified, but the Pharisee was not justified!

It is important to remember that Satan himself fell because of pride! Satan wanted to be like God; to be equal to God! In “1 Timothy 3:6” we read, “The elder-in-charge should not be a new convert, in case pride should turn his head and he incur the same condemnation as the devil”!

Again, we read in “Isaiah 14:12-15”, “‘How did you come to fall from the heavens, Daystar, son of Dawn? How did you come to be thrown to the ground, conqueror of nations? You who used to think to yourself: I shall scale the heavens; higher than the stars of God I shall set my throne. I shall sit on the Mount of Assembly far away to the north. I shall climb high above the clouds, I shall rival the Most High.’ Now you have been flung down to Sheol, into the depths of the abyss!”! (NJB)

The Church Fathers identified the fall of the Morning Star (Vulg. ‘Lucifer’) with that of the prince of the demons (Satan)! (NJB/CSB)

Adam and Eve fell from grace also because of pride! Satan fell because of pride and that is why his temptation to Adam and Eve is also on pride! In Genesis 3: 4-5, we read, “Then the snake said to the woman, ‘No! You will not die! God knows in fact that the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good from evil.’”!

Satan fell because of pride; Adam and Eve fell also because of pride; and the Scribes and Pharisees fell also because of pride! But more importantly, the tax collector was justified, raised up and exalted because of humility!

Humility is not belittling oneself, but humility is accepting and confessing the honest truth of oneself! And the honest truth of oneself is that I am a sinner, I cannot save myself, and more importantly, I believe only God can save me! Humility is trusting in God for my salvation!

Thus the responsorial psalm of today (Psalm 130 (131); a psalm of humble childlike trust in God: “O Lord, my heart is not proud nor haughty my eyes. I have not gone after things too great nor marvels beyond me. Truly I have set my soul in silence and peace. A weaned child on its mother’s breast, even so is my soul. O Israel, hope in the Lord both now and for ever.”!

Today we celebrate this Eucharist in humility! We began this Eucharist by humbly acknowledging our sins, and more importantly, with faith and trust in God, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us His Holy Spirit to justify us and through us to justify the whole world! This is the Good News! A Happy, Holy and Blessed week to all of you! Sunday, the day of the Sun, the first day of the week, the day of the Resurrection, blesses all the days of the week!

Amen!