2ND SUNDAY OF ADVENT (C) – 6th December 2015

Theme: ADVENT (COMING): THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AT CHRISTMAS AND AT THE END OF TIME

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

 

  1. Today is the 2nd Sunday of Advent; Liturgical Year C. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time! “Advent is thus a period for devout and joyful expectation”! (Liturgical Year, 39, Roman Missal)

The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by making his paths straight, by leveling the mountains, by filling up the valleys, and by making the rough roads smooth, that is, by radically changing our lifestyles for the better! (NJBC)

The gospel also tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by “repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. Repentance is turning away from sin, from the world; and turning to God, to the God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!

One of the best ways of “repentance for the forgiveness of sins” is to go to “confession”, that is, to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Penance! There will be Advent/Christmas confessions in our parish on the 13th and 14th of December (Thursday and Friday)!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that when Jesus Christ comes he will bring us salvation! In his First Coming he began his work of salvation; in his Second Coming he will complete, fulfill, perfect and realize fully his work of salvation! (See the note on Mt 3:2; CSB)

 

  1. The second reading also tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The second reading tells us to increase our love for one another and to increase our knowledge and discernment so that we will know what is best!

In fact that is the prayer of St. Paul for the Philippians:

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

In this “Year of Faith” let us read, study, share and pray the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” so that we may increase in faith, knowledge and discernment, and so that we will know what is best!

 

  1. The first reading tells us about the return from exile from Babylon. It is the second exodus, the new exodus, more important than the first exodus! More importantly, it tells us about the exodus from sin and death to love and life in Jesus Christ the New Moses!

Most importantly it tells us about the final exodus from earth to heaven in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! Again, in his First Coming, Jesus Christ began his work of salvation; in his Second Coming he will complete and perfect his work of salvation!

Thus we read in the first reading:

“Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights and turn your eyes to the east!” (Ba 5:5; SM)

The East, the direction from which the sun rises is a symbol of salvation! (Fuller; NJBC) That is why our churches face the east! And that is why Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December, originally the feast of the pagan sun god!

 

  1. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us about the return from exile from Babylon.

Thus the first and the second stanzas:

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

And thus the response which is taken from the second stanza:

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

“The Lord had done great things for us; Oh, how happy we were!” (CSB)

 

  1. Again, Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time!

We prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by “repentance for the forgiveness of sins”, that is, by going to confession; by “making his paths straight”, that is, by changing our lifestyles radically for the better! (Gospel)

We prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by increasing our love for one another and by increasing our knowledge and discernment so that we will know what is best! (Second reading) We can increase our faith, knowledge and discernment by reading, studying, sharing and praying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, especially in this Year of Faith (11th October 2012 to 24th November 2013)!

We prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by prayer, by reading the Bible and the Sunday Mass readings, by becoming Santa Claus (Dutch, Saint Nicholas) for the poor, especially for the poor children, by going Christmas caroling and by proclaiming the good news of Christmas, by attending prayer meetings, bible-sharing, BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) meetings, etc. A happy and joyful Advent to all of you!              Amen!

First Sunday of Advent (C) – 29th November 2015

Reading 1 JER 33:14-16

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
“The LORD our justice.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14

  1. (1b) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
    Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
    teach me your paths,
    Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my savior,
    and for you I wait all the day.
    R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
    Good and upright is the LORD;
    thus he shows sinners the way.
    He guides the humble to justice,
    and teaches the humble his way.
    R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
    All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
    toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
    The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
    and his covenant, for their instruction.
    R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

Reading 2 1 THES 3:12—4:2

Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us
how you should conduct yourselves to please God
and as you are conducting yourselves
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
Alleluia PS 85:8

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Show us, Lord, your love;
    and grant us your salvation.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”

22nd November 2015 – CHRIST THE KING (B)

Theme: CHRIST THE KING: A KINGDOM OF TRUTH AND LIFE, HOLINESS AND GRACE, JUSTICE, LOVE, AND PEACE

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

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King and today is the Last Sunday in Ordinary Time. We celebrate the feast of Christ the King on the Last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, because we believe that at the end of the world, Jesus Christ will come a second time to be King of the universe! He will win over all and he will rule over all! This is the meaning of the end of the world. The end of the world is not the end of the physical world, but the end of the world is the end of the evil world!

Last Sunday Pope Benedict XVI told us not to believe in predictions of the end of the world. Today there are those who believe that the world will end on the 21st of December 2012, that is, next month! Films and documentaries have been promoting the belief that the ancient Mayan calendar predicts that the world will end on the 21st of December this year! 90,000 people are expected to gather at Guatemala City in Central America on the 21st of December for the end of the world! (Daily Express, 20th November 2012, p. 15)

Again, the end of the world is not the end of the physical world, but the end of the evil world. The end of the world is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as King of the universe! He will win over all and he will rule over all as King of the universe!

 

The gospel today tells us that Jesus Christ is king, but he is not king of this world, that is, he is not a political, nationalistic and military king! He is king of truth and life, holiness and grace, justice, love, and peace! (Preface of Christ the King)

He is king to bear witness to the truth that the kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven is not a political, nationalistic and military kingdom; but a kingdom of truth and life, holiness and grace, justice, love, and peace!

Pilate and the Jews did not believe this truth. They rejected Jesus. They rejected peace (shalom) and that is why they are still fighting wars up to this very day! Thank God, they have agreed on a truce with “Hamas” yesterday after eight days of fighting in Gaza! Let us pray that the peace will last!

 

The second reading tells us about the First Coming of Jesus and the Second Coming of Jesus! In his first coming, Jesus established the kingdom of God by his death and resurrection and by washing away our sins with his blood!

In his second coming, when his kingdom will be completed, perfected, fulfilled and fully realized, Jesus will come on a cloud in power and glory and all will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the races of the world will mourn over him!

Finally, the second reading tells us that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega (Rv 1:17; 2:8; NJB), that is, the beginning and the end, the A and the Z. That is, in the beginning everything was created through him, with him and in him, and in the end everything will be saved through him, with him and in him! Indeed Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all things!!

  1. The first reading also tells us that at the end of the world, Jesus will come on a cloud. He will be made king by God his Father and all the nations will become his servants! And his kingdom will be eternal. His kingdom will not pass away! His kingdom will not be destroyed! Thus we read in the first reading:

“And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man. He came to the one of great age and was led into his presence. On him was conferred sovereignty, glory and kingship, and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants. His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty which shall never pass away, nor will his empire be destroyed.” (Dn 7:13-14; SM)

 

The responsorial psalm is a hymn of praise to God, the king of the world, whose decrees are eternal!

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us that God is the king of the world (vv. 1-2). The third stanza tells us that God’s decrees are eternal (v. 5). (NJBC)

Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.” (Ps 92 (93): 1; SM)

 

Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us to prepare for the end of the world, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, by prayer, by doing God’s will, by doing good works, and by detaching ourselves from the world! A happy and holy Sunday to all of you!

15th November 2015 – 33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)

Theme: THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST

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

 

Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical year B. Next Sunday will be the last Sunday of the Liturgical year. As we come to the end of the Liturgical Year the readings today tell us about the end of the world, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will come a second time when he will win over all!

The gospel today tells us of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel tells us that he will come in the clouds with power and glory and his angels will gather all his chosen ones and bring them to heaven! Thus we read in the gospel:

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

The gospel also tells us that we do not know when Jesus Christ will come a second time, not even the angels, not even Jesus Christ himself! Only God the Father knows when Jesus Christ will come a second time! Thus the gospel ends by telling us:

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

That is why the Gospel Acclamation today tells us to be always prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ:

“Stay awake and stand ready, because you do not know the hour when the Son of Man is coming.” (Mt 24:42. 44; SM)

 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the end of the world. The first reading tells us that at the end of the world the dead will rise to life! The virtuous will rise to everlasting life, but the wicked to everlasting damnation. The wise who instructed many in righteousness will shine like the vault of heaven and like the stars of heaven! (HCSB) Thus we read in the first reading:

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

It is significant that the resurrection of the dead is mentioned for the first time in the Old Testament! (NJBC; CCB)

 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us to trust God, because he is the only one who can save us from death and give us life and happiness! (CSB)

The response and the first verse of the responsorial psalm tell us to trust in God. Thus we pray with the psalmist:

“Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you. O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup; it is you yourself who are my prize.” (Ps 15 (16): 1 and 5; SM)

Verses 10 and 11 tell us that God is the only one who can save us from death and give us life and happiness. Thus we pray with the psalmist:

“For you will not leave my soul among the dead, nor let your beloved know decay. You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, at your right hand happiness for ever.” (SM)

 

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

(i) The Levitical priests offer sacrifices everyday, but their sacrifices cannot take away sins.

(ii) Jesus Christ offered himself once and for all and has taken away all our sins and made us holy.

(iii) We do not need the sacrifices of the Levitical priests anymore. We already have the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We only need the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Thus we read in the second reading today:

“All priests stand at their duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking sins away. Christ, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins. .… By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying. When all sins have been forgiven, there can be no more sin offerings.” (Heb 10: 11-12a. 14. 18; SM)

 

Today in the Mass, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church makes present, real and effective, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our salvation; and today in the Mass, we receive the Holy Spirit, to help us prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! A happy and holy Sunday to all of you! Amen!

 

32ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)

Theme: DEPEND ON GOD FOR OUR MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL SUSTENANCE

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

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

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

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

Our religious sisters, brothers and priests take the vow of poverty, not because poverty is good, not even because they want to help the poor, but because they want to depend on God for their material and spiritual sustenance! They believe that God will provide! They believe in providence! They have great faith! In this Year of Faith (October 2012 to November 2013) let us renew our faith so that we too may have great faith!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time – 1st November 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Love consists in this: it is not we who loved God, but God loved us and sent his Son to expiate our sins. My dear friends, if God loved us so much, we too should love each other.” (1 Jn 4:10-11; NJB)   H. Fuller (Preaching the Lectionary, 1984) tells us that Jesus joined the first and second commandments in a radical sense:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And thus the response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

30TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – 25th October 2015

Theme: WE ARE SAVED BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST

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

Today is the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ! The gospel today tells us that a blind man approached Jesus to be healed of his blindness. He cried out to Jesus twice, “Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me”. “Son of David” is a Messianic title! The blind man acknowledged Jesus to be the Messiah!

But more importantly, the gospel tells us that Jesus cured the blind man of his blindness saying, “Go; your faith has saved you”. And the blind man could see immediately and he followed Jesus on the way.

The blind man could see with the eyes of faith and he followed Jesus on the way to “Jerusalem” to suffer, die and rise from the dead. (NJBC; IBC; Fuller; Faley) The twelve disciples of Jesus could not see with the eyes of faith and they could not follow Jesus on the way to “Jerusalem” to suffer, die, and rise from the dead. The twelve disciples of Jesus wanted to sit at Jesus right hand and left in his glory, but they did not want to follow Jesus to “Jerusalem” to his Passion; even after Jesus taught them a third time that he was to suffer, die, and rise from the dead on the third day! (Mk 10:32-45; Previous Sunday)

Again, we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about salvation in Jesus Christ. The first reading tells us about the return from exile from Babylon. This is the second Exodus, the new Exodus, more important than the first Exodus! Thus we read in the first reading:

“‘The Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel!’ See, I will bring them back from the land of the North and gather them from the far ends of the earth; all of them: the blind and the lame, women with child, women in labor: a great company returning here.” (Jr 31:7-8; SM)

Again, this second and new Exodus will only be completely and finally fulfilled in the salvation by Jesus Christ!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us about the return from exile from Babylon. The responsorial psalm tells us that the people of Israel rejoiced that they were back in Zion! (CSB) Thus we read in the first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm:

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

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

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

Again, this second and new Exodus will only be fulfilled in the salvation by Jesus Christ!

The second reading tells us that the high priest has been appointed by God to offer sacrifices for sins, for his own sins and for the sins of the people. The high priest did not choose himself but he was chosen by God. In the same way Jesus Christ did not chose himself but he was chosen by God to be high priest. Jesus Christ was the Son of God. He was chosen by God his Father to be high priest. The priesthood of Jesus Christ is the priesthood of Melchizedek, like Melchizedek, Jesus Christ had no earthly father and mother; He had no beginning and end. He was the Son of God. (Heb 7:3) He was without sin and he offered himself as the sacrifice for sin. He did it once and for all. He is the only one who can save us from sin! Again, we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ!

The theme of faith in today’s gospel is very relevant for us today, because just over two weeks ago, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI launched the Year of Faith! The Year of Faith was launched on the 11th of October 2012 and it will end on the 24th of November 2013. The Year of Faith coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th Anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)! During this Year of Faith we are asked to update and renew our faith with the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

We have not launched the Year of Faith in our Diocese and parishes yet, but we must do something immediately. We must buy the Catechism of the Catholic Church for our homes, our schools, colleges, universities, BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities), our offices, Sunday schools, our communities, etc.! And we must share and pray the Catechism of the Catholic Church with our families, our teachers, our students, our workmates, our friends, our communities, our catechumens, etc. In short, we are to renew our faith and share our faith with others! Wishing you a happy and joyful Sunday and a happy and fruitful Year of Faith!