17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 29th July 2018

Theme: THE LORD FEEDS US WITH MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL FOOD

  • 2 Kings 4:42-44;
  • Psalm 144 (145): 10-11. 15-18. R/ v. 16;
  • Ephesians 4:1-6
  • John 6:1-15

Today is the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that the Lord feeds us with material and spiritual food!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus did three most important things that can solve the three biggest problems in our world today!

(1) Jesus thanked God for the bread! Today the world does not believe in God and does not pray. Jesus did not only believe in God, but he believed that God was his Father; and Jesus did not only pray, but he prayed the most important prayer of all, that is, the prayer of thanksgiving! The word “Eucharist” means thanksgiving!

Indeed, an American Creation theologian said that if the only prayer we know is “thank you”, that is more than enough! We thank God for creation, salvation and sanctification! Indeed, if we begin by thanking God for creation; for the sun, moon and stars; for the sky, the land and the sea; for the food, the drink and the air, etc.; we will not be able to finish thanking Him even until the end of time!

(2) Jesus fed five thousand men with five loaves and two fish! Today, one of the biggest problems in the world is poverty, hunger, sickness and injustices. Today the gospel exhorts the rich nations of the first world to share with the poor nations of the third world! There is enough for everyone’s need, but there is not enough for everyone’s greed! (M. Gandhi) 

(3) After the people had eaten enough, Jesus instructed his disciples to pick up the pieces left over so that nothing gets “wasted”! (NJB; CSB) “Waste not, want not”! Today our wasteful and greedy lifestyles have destroyed the environment: Global warming, melting of ice, rising seas, floods, drought, fire, and extreme climate change, etc. We need to live a simple lifestyle; we need to distinguish between our needs and our wants! We need to distinguish between our need and our greed! Again, there is enough for everyone’s need, but there is not enough for everyone’s greed!

I am happy to note that in our parish we have begun recycling our newspapers, reusing our plastic bottles and Christmas decorations and we have begun our garage sale! This is not only to raise funds for building our Catechetical Centre, but more importantly, this is also to protect the environment! Indeed, we need to reduce, reuse and recycle! The 3 Rs! 

But most importantly, the gospel today tells us that after having eaten enough and having leftovers, the people wanted to make Jesus king, but Jesus escaped back to the hills by himself! Jesus was not only a king who feeds the people with material food, but Jesus was also a Savior who feeds the people with spiritual food, the spiritual food of his body and blood in the Eucharist! Indeed the actions of Jesus in the feeding of the five thousand men symbolize the actions of Jesus in the Eucharist: take, thank, break and give! And indeed, chapter 6 of today’s gospel ends with a discourse on the Eucharist! (Jn 6: 51-58)

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” (Jn 6:54; CSB)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the prophet Elisha fed one hundred men with twenty loaves! Jesus fed five thousand men with five loaves! Elisha prefigured Jesus Christ! Again, as in the feeding of the five thousand, there were leftovers! Indeed, God provides and He provides abundantly; not only was there enough to eat, but there were leftovers!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God provides not only for human beings, but God provides for all His creatures! Thus we read in the second stanza:

“The eyes of all creatures look to you and you give them their food in due time. You open wide your hand, grant the desires of all who live.” (Ps 144 (145): 15-16; SM)

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“You open wide your hand, O Lord, and grant our desires.” (Ps 144 (145): 16; SM)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again, the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells us to live in unity. This is because of the “seven unities” (CSB), that is, we are united in one Body (church), one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all! That is why we have to live in unity! Become what we are!

Today in this Mass, we thank God the Father for his Son Jesus Christ and we ask God to give us His Holy Spirit, so that like his Son Jesus Christ we may thank Him for all things, we may share our resources with others and we may protect the environment. And so that like his Son Jesus Christ we may give our lives to others and live in unity. A happy and holy Sunday to all of you! Amen!

 

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 22nd July 2018

Theme: JESUS CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPHERD 

  • Jeremiah 23:1-6;
  • Psalm 22. R/ v. 1;
  • Ephesians 2:13-18
  • Mark 6:30-34

Today is the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus and the “apostles” went to a lonely place in order to rest and to eat, but the people followed them. More importantly, the gospel tells us that although Jesus was tired and hungry, he had pity on the people; for they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he went on to teach them at some length! (Faley; Gilhooley) Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep! (Jn 10:11-18)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the good shepherd! (CCB) But the first reading begins by telling us about the bad shepherds of Israel, that is, the bad kings of Israel. The bad shepherd-kings of Israel were unfaithful to God and were unjust to the people of God. As shepherds they did not pasture the sheep. They did not provide for the sheep, but they provided for themselves. They did not take care of the sheep. The sheep were scattered. As a result, God will punish the bad shepherd-kings of Israel.

But more importantly, the first reading tells us that God will bring back the remnants of Israel from the foreign countries where they were dispersed. And God will give them shepherds that will care for them and pasture them. The sheep will increase in numbers and none of them will be lost.

But most importantly, the first reading tells us that God will give them a good shepherd/king who will be a descendent of David! He will be called “Yahweh-is-our-Saving-Justice”. (Jr 23:6; NJB) Or “The Lord Our Salvation”. (Jr 23:6; GNB)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us about the good shepherd. (NJB) The responsorial psalm tells us that the good shepherd is the Lord himself! And if the Lord himself is the good shepherd; we will not need or even want anything! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” (Ps 22 (23):1; SM)

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas:

The first stanza tells us that the good shepherd will provide us with food and drink:

“Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.” (vv. 2-3a; SM)

The second stanza tells us that the good shepherd will guide (staff) and protect (rod) us. (HCSB):

“He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name. If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear. You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort.” (vv. 3b-4; SM)

The third stanza on the host of the “messianic banquet” (NJB) tells us that the good shepherd will provide us with spiritual food and drink in the Eucharist (Fuller):

“You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing.” (v. 5; SM)  

And the fourth stanza tells us that the Lord’s goodness and love (CSB; GNB) will follow us all the days of our lives and that we will praise God in his temple forever (Faley; Craghan):

“Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.” (v. 6; SM)!

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again, the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells us that both Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles) are united in Jesus Christ! The Law of Moses divided the Jews from the non-Jews with the Jews having the privileges and the non-Jews disadvantaged, but Jesus Christ through his death abolished the Law of Moses and replaced it with the Love of God the Father, thus uniting the Jews with the non-Jews and uniting both Jews and non-Jews with God the Father!

Even today the Law of Moses cannot unite the Jews with the non-Jews; only the Love of God in Jesus Christ can unite the Jews with the non-Jews! Even today the Law of Moses cannot unite the peoples of the world; only the Love of God in Jesus Christ can unite the peoples of the world and unite the peoples of the world with God!

Today we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd, and we ask God to give us good shepherds in the persons of priests, religious, catechists, lay leaders, prayer leaders, community leaders, etc. We ask God to give us good shepherds that teach the word of God, that pastures the sheep, that provides material and spiritual food and drink for the sheep, that guides and protects the sheep, that unites the sheep, etc.! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 15th July 2018

Theme: THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH

  • Amos 7:12-15;
  • Psalm 84 (85): 9-14. R/ v. 8;
  • Ephesians 1:3-10 (Shorter Form)
  • Mark 6:7-13

Today is the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about the mission of the Church. The gospel today tells us that Jesus sent out the Twelve to preach repentance in word and in deed!

He sent them out two by two, a symbol of community, because the Church is a community! (CCB; CS) That is why our religious priests, brothers and sisters live in communities of four! And that is why we build BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities)! The Church is a community of communities of love and unity!

He instructed them not to take anything for the journey, no food, no “backpack”, no money, and not even a spare tunic/shirt! (CCB) They were to depend on God for everything! They were to believe in providence! Again, that is why our religious priests, brothers and sisters take the vow of poverty/simplicity!

And they were to preach repentance, that is, to turn away from sin and the world, and to turn to God, to the God of Jesus Christ, the God of love! Only the God of love can save us! They were to cast out devils and cure the sick!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the mission of the Church. The mission of the Church is to be the prophet of God. She has to speak the word of God to society and to governments, especially on issues of justice and peace!

The first reading tells us that the prophet Amos prophesied against the Northern Kingdom of Israel for injustices and for oppressing of the poor and the weak. Amos was then told by the priest Amaziah to go back to Judah to make his living there as a professional prophet. But Amos replied that he was not a professional prophet, but he was called by God! He was not a prophet by profession, but a prophet by vocation! (Craghan)

Today the Church is to be the prophet of God, to speak the word of God to society and governments, especially on issues of social justice and peace! The Church must not be involved in party politics, but the Church must be involved in politics of justice and peace!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer for mercy and salvation, and for justice and peace! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

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

And thus verses 9, 11, 12 and 14 of the responsorial psalm:

“I will hear what the Lord God has to say, a voice that speaks of peace, peace for his people. …. Mercy and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have embraced. Faithfulness shall spring from the earth and justice look down from heaven. …. Justice shall march before him and peace shall follow his steps.” (SM)

The word “justice” appears three times and the word “peace” appears four times in this short responsorial psalm! The themes of “justice” and “peace” are related! There can be no peace without justice!

There can be no peace without justice, but there can be no justice without forgiveness! (Pope John Paul II)

Peace! Shalom! Salvation!

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again, the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells us about God’s plan of salvation fulfilled in Jesus Christ! (CSB)

The second reading tells us that this plan of salvation in Jesus Christ is a blessing, a favor, a grace and a free gift in Jesus Christ! (NJBC)

Finally, the second reading tells us that God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ includes all of creation and the whole universes! (Fuller)

How inspiring! How inspiring!

Today in this Mass, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, and we thank God for the Twelve Apostles, and we thank God for his Church; and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit, so that as a Church and as individual Christians, we may preach repentance, cast out devils and cure the sick! And so that as a Church and as individual Christians we may speak God’s word to society and governments on issues of justice and peace! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 8th July 2018

Theme: WE ARE TO BE THE PROPHETS OF GOD TO SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD

  • Ezekiel 2:2-5;
  • Psalm 122 (123): R. v. 2;
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
  • Mark 6:1-6

Today is the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that we are to be the prophets of God to speak the word of God!

In the year 2001 there was a synod of the world’s bishops in Rome on the duties of the bishop. The synod concluded that the duties of the bishop was to be prophet, priest and king, that is, to preach and teach the word of God (prophet), to celebrate the sacraments, especially the Eucharist (priest), and to build the Christian community, the Church, and the Kingdom of God (king). But of the three, the first is to preach and teach the word of God! The first is to be a prophet of God!

The duties of the priest is also to be prophet, priest, and king, that is, to preach and teach the word of God; to celebrate the sacraments, especially the Eucharist; and to build the Christian community, the Church, and the Kingdom of God. But again, the first duty of the priest is to preach and teach the word of God. The first duty of the priest is to be a prophet of God!

The priest is not only a priest; he is also a prophet and a king. The “pastoral work” of the priest is not only “sacramentalization”, but also “evangelization”! Indeed, the word of God gives faith, and only with faith can we celebrate the sacraments, and when we celebrate the sacraments with faith, the risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will help us build the community of love and unity, and the community will become a sign of salvation for the world.

Indeed, the Church is not a gasoline station or a service station where we come for baptism, marriage, and the other sacraments, etc., but the Church is a Christ centered community, that is, centered on the Word and Eucharist that the Lord has given us. And when we celebrate the Word and Eucharist, the risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will help us build a community of love and unity, and the community will become a sign of salvation for the world. The identity of the priest cannot be separated from the nature of the Church! 

The gospel today tells us that Jesus himself was a prophet, but he was rejected by his own people. But Jesus continued preaching and teaching the word of God until his death and resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! We have to preach the word of God even in the face of opposition because it is the word of God and the word of God will prevail! Thus we read in the gospel:

  “And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mk 6: 3c-6) 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading is on the call of Ezekiel to be a prophet to speak the word of God to a rebellious people. Again, Ezekiel had to speak the word of God even in the face of opposition because it is the word of God, and again, the word of God will prevail! Thus we read in the first reading:

   “The Lord said, ‘Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to the rebels who have turned against me. Till now they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me. The sons are defiant and obstinate; I am sending you to them, to say, “The Lord says this.” Whether they listen or not, this set of rebels shall know there is a prophet among them.’” (Ezk 2: 3-5)          

In order to be the prophets of God we have to rely on God, we have to depend on God, and we have to put our confidence in God. The responsorial psalm is a psalm of reliance on God. The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas are expressions of confidence in God. The third stanza asks God to save us from our persecutors. (CSB/HCSB)

Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the second stanza: “Our eyes are on the Lord till he show us his mercy.” (Ps 122 (123): 2) And thus the third stanza of the responsorial psalm: “Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy. We are filled with contempt. Indeed all too full is our soul with the scorn of the rich, with the proud man’s disdain.” (Ps 122 (123): 3-4) 

Incidentally, the second reading tells us that in the face of opposition and persecution St. Paul relied on God. The second reading tells us that St. Paul had a thorn in his flesh. This could mean a sickness (physical or mental), a temptation, or an opponent and persecutor. Probably it meant his opponents and persecutors. Thus the second reading tells us that in the face of opposition and persecution St. Paul relied on God. Thus we read in the second reading:

“So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.” (2 Co 12: 9b-10)        

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 the prophets of God to speak the word of God! Amen!

 

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 1st July 2018

Theme: JESUS RAISES US FROM DEATH AND GIVES US NEW LIFE  

  • Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24;
  • Psalm 29 (30): 2. 4-6. 11-13. R. v. 2;
  • 2 Corinthians 8:7. 9. 13-15.
  • Mark 5:21-24. 35-43. (Shorter Form)

Today is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The gospel today tells us that Jesus raised a synagogue official’s (Jairus’) daughter from the dead. Thus we read in the gospel today:

“And taking the child by the hand Jesus said to her, ‘Talitha, kum!’ which means, ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up.’ The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At this they were overcome with astonishment, and he ordered them strictly not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.” (Mk 5: 41-43/SM)

Jesus told the people not to tell anyone about the miracle (the “Messianic Secret” of St. Mark), because Jesus himself had not risen from the dead yet and had not given the Holy Spirit yet to raise us from the dead and to give us new life!

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that Jesus can also raise us from the dead if we have faith in him. Jesus can raise us from the dead and give us new life. A new life that is even better than the life before sin and death. Thus we sing in the “Easter Proclamation” on Easter Vigil night: “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that God created everything to live and not to die. But it was the Devil who brought death into the world by tempting man to sin. When man sinned man brought death not only upon himself, but also upon other men and upon the environment. Thus we have wars. Thus we have abortions; so much so that the most dangerous place in the world is the mother’s womb, because more lives are destroyed there than all the wars in the world!

Thus we have environmental destruction, that is, the destruction of God’s creation. Thus we have not only homicide and genocide, but also “biocide” (destruction of life itself) and “geocide” (destruction of earth itself)! Environmental destruction is caused by one of the seven Capital Sins, that is, the sin of greed / avarice. Traditionally, the other Capital Sins are pride, envy, sloth, lust, intemperance and anger. The seven Capital sins are the sources and causes of other sins. Thus we have the seven steps down the Baptismal Pool symbolizing the seven Capital Sins.

Thus we read in the first reading: “Yet God did make man imperishable, he made him in the image of his own nature; it was the devil’s envy that brought death into the world, as those who are his partners will discover.” (Ws 2:23-24/SM)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving to God for salvation from death. The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza is a thanksgiving to God for salvation from death. In the second stanza the psalmist invites the community to join in to thank God. In the third stanza the psalmist continues to thank God. (CSB)

Thus we read in the first stanza: “I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead, restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.” (Ps 29 (30):2. 4. /SM)

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the first stanza: “I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.” (Ps 29 (30): 2)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the day, but the second reading has something important to tell us. The second reading tells us that we have to share our resources with the poor not only in the name of charity (love) but also for the sake of unity. Thus in our “BECs” (Basic Ecclesial Communities) we always help the poor with our “Lenten Appeal” collections. We also give 25% of our first collection to our Diocese and 10% of the second collection to our Diocese. And incidentally today both our collections will be sent to Rome and given to our Pope as “Peter’s Pence”!

In the second reading, St. Paul tells the Corinthians (Gentiles) to make a collection for the Church in Jerusalem (Jews) not only in the name of charity (love) but also for the sake of unity. (HCSB) St. Paul tells the Corinthians that they have been blessed with many charisms and that they should practice charity. St. Paul also tells the Corinthians that Jesus Christ became poor to make them rich and that they should follow the example of Jesus Christ. Finally, St. Paul tells them to balance their surplus with those in need so that there may be “equality”! St. Paul gives them the example of the “manna in the desert” where God gives to all “equally”!

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 raise us from death and give us new life. The Holy Spirit will help us raise others from death and give them new life!

 

Amen!

THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (Year B) – 24th June 2018

Theme: JOHN THE BAPTIST PREPARED THE PEOPLE FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD

  • Isaiah 49:1-6;
  • Psalm 138 (139): 1-3. 13-15. R/ v. 14;
  • Acts 13:22-26
  • Luke 1:57-66. 80

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist. We celebrate the Birth of John the Baptist, because he prepared the people for the coming of the Lord!

The gospel today tells us about the birth, circumcision and naming of John the Baptist. John was born of old age parents and his mother was barren. John’s birth was from God. John was circumcised to initiate him into the people of Israel. The name John means “God is gracious”! God was gracious to John’s old age barren parents in the birth of John and more importantly, God was gracious because John heralded the coming of the Lord! (Lefrois) The gospel ends with the people asking:

“What will this child turn out to be?”

The answer is in the Canticle of Zechariah (CSB):

“As for you, little child, you shall be called a prophet of God, the Most High. You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before him.” (cf. Lk 1:76; Gospel Acclamation; SM)

Indeed the second reading tells us that he will prepare the way of the Lord by proclaiming a baptism of repentance and by declaring that he was not the one the people imagined him to be and that the one was coming after him whose sandals he was not worthy to undo! Thus we read in the second reading:

“God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Savior, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, ‘I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.’” (Ac 13:23-25; SM)

The first reading is taken from the second of four suffering servant songs of Isaiah. The first reading was chosen to tell us about the birth of John the Baptist (Fuller), but more importantly, the first reading tells us about our Savior Jesus Christ whom John heralded!

The first reading tells us that our Savior Jesus Christ will come as a Suffering Servant of God. Though innocent, he will suffer and die for the salvation of sinners! Vicarious suffering! Vicarious sacrifice!

Thus he will be “the light of the nations” (Is 49:6; SM). Light in the New Testament symbolizes three things: (i) Light symbolizes faith in God as opposed to unbelief which is darkness and blindness. (ii) Light symbolizes life, happiness and contentment as opposed to death, misery and unhappiness which is darkness. (iii) Light symbolizes good as opposed to evil which is darkness. (Lk 2:32; Acts 13:47; Jn 8:12b; NJB)

More importantly, the three are connected, that is, faith in God brings new life from God and that new life is good! Most importantly, in the end, light will overcome darkness, faith will overcome unbelief, life will overcome death and good will over come evil! And that would be the salvation of the world! Thus we read in the first reading:

“I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49:6; SM)

The responsorial psalm was also chosen to tell us about the birth of John the Baptist (Fuller), thus the response: “I thank you for the wonder of my being”. (Ps 138 (139): 14; SM)

But originally, the responsorial psalm tells us that God is all knowing! (NJBC)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us that God is all knowing. God knows even our “thoughts” and our “ways”! (vv. 1-3) The second and third stanzas tell us that God knows us because God created us! (vv. 13-15)

To know is to love! We cannot love someone we do not know! God knows us, loves us, and saves us, so that we can be happy with him forever! We know God, love God, and serve God, so that we can be happy with him forever! To know is to love, to love is to serve, and to serve is to be happy forever! The same is true of knowing, loving, serving and being happy with our neighbor forever!

As we celebrate the Solemnity of The Birth of John the Baptist today, let us thank God for John the Baptist, and let us thank God especially for Jesus Christ whom he heralded, and let us ask God to help us to be John the Baptist, to prepare the way for the Second Coming of the Lord, to prepare the people for the Second Coming of the Lord by announcing the Gospel of the Lord! A happy and blessed feast day to all of you!

 

Amen!

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 17th June 2018

Theme: THE KINGDOM OF GOD WILL COME IN ALL ITS FULLNESS AT THE END OF TIME

  • Ezekiel 17:22-24;
  • Psalm 91 (92): 2-3. 13-16. R/ cf. v. 2;
  • 2 Corinthians 5:6-10
  • Mark 4:26-34 

Today we celebrate the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that the Kingdom of God will come in all its fullness at the end of time! (NJBC)

The gospel today tells us of two parables; the “parable of the seed growing by itself” and the “parable of the mustard seed”. (NJB)

The first “parable of the seed growing by itself” tells us that the kingdom of God is like a man who sowed the seed and the seed grew by itself. Whether the man was awake or asleep, the seed grew by itself! And when harvest time came the man reaped the crop!

The first parable tells us that the kingdom of God will come in all its fullness at the end of time, because it is God who makes his kingdom grow! We are therefore not to be discouraged or impatient, even in the face of difficulties, sufferings, problems, failures or persecutions! (NJBC)

We are to do what Jesus Christ did, that is, to sow the seed of the kingdom, that is, to preach the word of God, to proclaim the good news (Gospel Acclamation), and God will make the seed grow into his kingdom! As Paul the preacher says in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7:

“I did the planting, Apollos did the watering, but God gave growth. In this, neither the planter not the waterer counts for anything; only God, who gives growth.” (NJB)

The second “parable of the mustard seed” tells us that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed which is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grew, it grew into the biggest shrub of all and all the birds settled in it!

Again, the second parable tells us that the kingdom of God will come in all its fullness at the end of time, but more than that, the second parable tells us that the kingdom of God will include all the nations of the world! (CSB)

To begin with, the kingdom of God is not the kingdom of man. The kingdom of man is a political, nationalistic and military kingdom; but the kingdom of God is a kingdom of love, joy and peace! The kingdom of God includes all the kingdoms of man!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Lord will plant a cedar tree, that is, a large evergreen tree, and all the birds will settle in it!

The first reading tells us that the Lord will restore the kingdom of David through David’s descendant!

But again, it will not be King David’s political, nationalistic and military kingdom; but it will be the kingdom of love, joy and peace of Jesus Christ! A kingdom that will include all the kingdoms of the world!

The responsorial psalm is a psalm of thanksgiving! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“It is good to give you thanks, O Lord.” (Ps 91 (92): 2; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza gives thanks to God for his love and faithfulness/truth (Faley)! (v. 3; SM) Love and faithfulness are the two attributes of God! (Ex 34:6c; NJB)

The second and third stanzas tell us that God protects, rewards and blesses the just! (CSB; NJBC; IBC) The second stanza tells us that the just will be prosperous and live long lives (HCSB)! (v. 13; SM) The third stanza tells us that the just will be fertile even when they are old! (v. 15; SM)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something important to tell us. The second reading tells us that we live by faith, not by sight!

Like Paul we would like to be in heaven with the Lord and to see him face to face, but we are on earth. We are to live by faith not by sight.

We are to please the Lord by doing good and by avoiding evil. For if we do good we will see the Lord in heaven, but if we do evil we will not see the Lord in heaven!

Today in the Eucharist, we give thanks to God for his kingdom and we ask God to continue to make his kingdom grow. We also ask God to help us sow the seed of his kingdom, that is, to preach his word, to proclaim the good news. We also ask God to help us please him by doing good and by avoiding evil, so that one day; we will be with him in heaven! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!     Amen!