14th June 2015 – 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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)seed

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!

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!

7th June 2015 – THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST / CORPUS CHRISTI

Theme: THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST PURIFIES US FROM OUR SINS SO THAT WE SERVE GOD 

  • Exodus 24:3-8;
  • Psalm 115 (116): 12-13. 15-18. R/ v. 13;
  • Hebrews 9:11-15
  • Mark 14:12-16. 22-26

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of “The Body and Blood of Christ” or “Corpus Christi”, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that the blood of Jesus Christ purifies us from our sins so that we serve God. The blood of Jesus Christ saves us from sins so that we inherit the kingdom of God.

The first reading tells us that God made a Covenant with the people of Israel through his mediator Moses at Mount Sinai. The people of Israel agreed to keep the commandments and laws of God. And Moses splashed half of the blood of the sacrificial animals on the altar and half on the people and the Covenant was sealed.

 

But the people of Israel did not keep their Covenant with God. They did not keep the commandments and laws of God. God had to make a New Covenant with them through a new mediator, a New Moses, Jesus Christ. And the New Covenant will be sealed not with the blood of animals, but with the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ!

Thus the gospel today tells us of the institution of the Eucharist. The gospel tells us that at the Last Supper, Jesus took some bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘take it, this is my body’. Then he took the cup, said the blessing and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I will not drink wine anymore until I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God’.

The gospel today tells us two important things, that is, the blood of Jesus Christ is poured out not only for the Jews, but for all peoples! The word “many” in Hebrew means “all” (Is 53:12; NJBC; CSB); although the new translation in the new Roman Missal reverts back from “all” to “many” in a literal translation of the Bible. In the New Covenant, the blood of Jesus Christ is poured out for all peoples, and not only for the Jews!

The second thing that the gospel tells us is that the Eucharist is an anticipation of the eternal banquet in heaven! That is, through the Eucharist, we will one day eat and drink of the eternal banquet in heaven! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.” (Mk 14: 24-25; SM)

 

Indeed, the second reading tells us that the blood of Jesus Christ purifies us from our sins so that we serve God. The blood of Jesus Christ saves us from sins so that we inherit the kingdom of God.

The second reading also tells us that the blood of sacrificial animals can only purify us ritually, outwardly and legally, as in the Old Covenant, but the blood of sacrificial animals cannot purify us inwardly and spiritually. The blood of animals cannot purify us from sins so that we serve God. The blood of animals cannot save us from sins so that we inherit the kingdom of God.

 

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for salvation! (CSB/HCSB/NJBC) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name.” (Ps 115 (116): 13; SM)

And thus verses 13 and 17 of the responsorial psalm:

“The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name. …. A thanksgiving sacrifice I make: I will call on the Lord’s name.” (SM)

 

Today as we celebrate the Solemnity of “The Body and Blood of Christ”, or “Corpus Christi”, let us thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, especially for his Body and Blood, which we receive in the Eucharist, and let us ask God to continue to wash away our sins with the blood of his Son Jesus Christ so that we serve God. And so that we will be saved from sin and inherit the kingdom of God. A happy and blessed “Corpus Christi” to all of you!     

31st May 2015 – THE MOST HOLY TRINITY or TRINITY SUNDAY

Theme: THE MYSTERY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY IS THE MYSTERY OF GOD’S LOVE

  •  Deuteronomy 4:32-34. 39-40;
  • Psalm 32 (33): 4-6. 9. 18-20. 22. R/ v. 12;
  • Romans 8:14-17
  • Matthew 28:16-20

Today we celebrate the solemnity of THE MOST HOLY TRINITY, Liturgical Year B. The mystery of the Holy Trinity is the mystery of God’s love. God the Father created us out of love, God the Son saved us out of love, and God the Holy Spirit continues to sanctify us our of love!

God the Father created us out of love, but when we sinned, He loved us even more; He sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us, but when we crucified Him, He loved us even more; He rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit dwells amongst us and within us, nearer to us than we are to ourselves and loving us more than we love ourselves! (Saint Augustine) The Holy Spirit will continue to love us until we love God, love our neighbor and love ourselves!

That would be the end of the world, not the end of the physical world, but the end of the evil world. That would be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Parousia, when all will be saved!

All monotheistic religions believe in one God, but we believe in one God in three persons, because we believe that God is love!

A lecturer in an institute of higher learning in Sabah said that he cannot believe in three persons in one God, and that God can become man and that God can die! He does not believe in a God of love, he believes in a God of law. But we believe that a God of law cannot save us, only a God of love can save us! It is a question of salvation or damnation, life or death!       

 

The first reading tells us that God is love! In fact, the heading for this first reading in the Catholic Study Bible (CSB) is “Proofs of God’s love”! What proves that God loves the people of Israel is that God freed them from slavery in Egypt in the Exodus! God also revealed himself to them on Mount Sinai (Horeb) and gave them the Ten Commandments! God gave the Israelites laws and commandments, so that they and their children may become prosperous and live long lives in the land God gives them! Indeed God loves not only in words, but also in action!

 

The responsorial psalm tells us that God created the whole universe, including the Sun, Moon and stars, with a mere word! More importantly, the responsorial psalm tells us that our greatness consists in God choosing us as a special people and our faithful response to him! (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

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

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us that God created the whole universe with a mere word! The third and fourth stanzas tell us that our greatness consists of God choosing us as a special people and our faithful response to him! Thus again the response of the responsorial psalm:

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

 

The gospel today tells us about the resurrection of Jesus Christ! The gospel tells us that after his resurrection the Lord sent his disciples to make disciples of all the nations, to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and to teach them to obey all the commandments that he has given them. And that the Lord was with them until the end of time!

The Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit are not mentioned in today’s gospel! For Matthew’s gospel today, the Ascension coincides with the Resurrection and like Paul (2 Co 3:17) the Holy Spirit is the presence of the Lord with his disciples! (NJBC)

 

The second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit makes us into children of God, calling God our Father! And we become heirs of God and coheirs with Jesus Christ, sharing in his sufferings so as to share in his glory! That is, loving as Jesus loved, that is, loving until suffering and death and sharing in his resurrection and glory!

 

Today as we celebrate the solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, especially for his death and resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we can love God, love neighbor and love ourselves and so that we can love as Jesus loved, that is, to love until suffering and death so as to share in his resurrection and glory! A happy and blessed Trinity Sunday to all of you!                                                                                                                        Amen!

 

The Holy Trinity is a community of persons living in love and unity! We are also to live in communities of love and unity! We are to build communities of love and unity, so that our parish church may be a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world! A happy and blessed feast day to all of you!  Amen!

24th May 2015 – Pentecost Sunday

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD’S LOVE WILL HELP US LOVE GOD, LOVE NEIGHBOR AND LOVE OURSELVES 

  • Acts 2:1-11;
  • Psalm 103 (104): 1. 24. 29-31. 34. R/ cf. v. 30;
  • Galatians 5:16-25
  • John 15:26-27; 16:12-15.

Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, Liturgical Year B. The word “Pentecost” comes from a Greek word meaning “fifty” or “the fiftieth day”. The Easter Season of fifty days which began on Easter Sunday will end today with Pentecost Sunday. After the Masses of Pentecost Sunday, the Easter candle will be removed from the sanctuary and it will only be used for baptism and burial Masses. Pentecost Sunday commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles on “Pentecost day”.  

 

The “Gospel Acclamation” today asks the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and kindle in us the fire of God’s love: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love”. The fire of God’s love will burn away our sins and help us love God, love neighbor and love ourselves!

 

The gospel today tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and that he will reveal to us the complete truth. Jesus revealed to us the truth of God’s love, but it is only in his death and resurrection that the complete truth of God’s love is revealed to us in the Holy Spirit!

 

Indeed the second reading today tells us that the fruit of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. (SM) But of the nine fruit mentioned, the first three are more important, that is, love, joy and peace. But of the three, love is the most important, that is why it is mentioned first!

Indeed God is love and the perfect love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love.

 

The first reading tells us that on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles in “tongues of fire” and the Apostles began to speak “foreign languages”! In the context of today’s liturgy and readings, the tongues of fire are the fire of God’s love and the “foreign languages” emphasizes the universal mission of the Church to preach the good news of God’s love in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to all the nations, so that all the nations will be united in the love, joy and peace of God!

 

The responsorial psalm is a response to the beauty of God’s creation with awe! (CSB) But in the liturgy today the responsorial psalm tells us about salvation in the Holy Spirit! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103 (104): 30; SM)

 

Today as we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, we thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit and we ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit and kindle in us the fire of his love. The fire of God’s love will burn away our sins and help us love God, love our neighbor and love ourselves! A happy and blessed Pentecost Sunday to all of you!

17th May 2015 – THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD

Theme: THE LORD ASCENDS INTO HEAVEN IN ORDER TO SEND US THE HOLY SPIRIT SO THAT WE TOO MAY ASCEND INTO HEAVEN WITH HIM IN GLORY 

  • Acts 1:1-11;
  • Psalm 46 (47): 2-3. 6-9. R/ v. 6;
  • Ephesians 4:1-7. 11-13
  • Mark 16:15-20

Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord into heaven in glory, Liturgical Year B. Next Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost Sunday, that is, the descend of the Holy Spirit! The Easter Season of fifty days which began on Easter Sunday will end next Sunday with Pentecost Sunday.

The readings today tell us that the Lord ascends into heaven, not to abandon us, but to send us the Holy Spirit, so that we may do his work on earth, and so that one day we too may ascend into heaven with him in glory!     

The gospel today tells us that after his resurrection and before his ascension, the Lord sent his apostles out into the world to preach the Good News, so that those who believe and are baptized will be saved, but those who do not believe and are not baptized will not be saved!

And these are the signs associated with believers, that is, in the name of Jesus, they will drive out devils, they will speak in tongues, they will pick up snakes in their hands, and even if they drink poison they will not die, and they will heal the sick.  

But more importantly, the gospel tells us that the Lord has ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father in glory! But most importantly, the gospel tells us that the apostles went out preaching and the Lord was working with them confirming their words with signs! The Lord was with them in the Holy Spirit!

The first reading tells us that after his resurrection the Lord spent forty days with his disciples instructing them on the kingdom of God, preparing them to preach the kingdom of God! Moses also spent forty days on the mountain and Jesus also spent forty days in the desert to prepare for their ministries!

More importantly, the first reading tells us that after forty days, the Lord will ascend into heaven in order to send down the Holy Spirit on the apostles, so that they will become his witnesses, not only in Jerusalem, but also in Judaea, and Samaria and indeed to the ends of the earth! That is, not only in Jerusalem where Jesus died, rose from the dead and gave the Holy Spirit, but also in Judaea, that is, to all the Jews, and also in Samaria, that is, to the “half-Jews”, and indeed to the ends of the earth, that is, to the non-Jews, the gentiles, the pagans!

But most importantly, the first reading tells us that the Lord has been taken up into heaven in a cloud. And when the disciples were staring at him into the sky, two men in white (angels) appeared to them and said to them, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you staring into the sky, the Jesus that has been taken up into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him go’, that is, he will return in a cloud in glory at the Parousia, that is, at his Second Coming at the end of the world, when all will be saved!    The Responsorial Psalm is a hymn calling on all the nations of the earth to acknowledge the universal rule of the God of Israel who is enthroned as king of Israel and as king of all the nations! (CSB)

The Responsorial Psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 2-3) calls on all the nations to acknowledge the universal rule of the God of Israel. The second and third stanzas (vv. 6-9) tells us that the God of Israel is enthroned as king of Israel and as king of all the nations!

In the liturgy today the Responsorial Psalm tells us about the Ascension of the Lord into heaven in glory! (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.” (Ps 46 (47): 6; SM)

As we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord today and as we will celebrate Pentecost next Sunday, the second reading tells us about the Holy Spirit! The second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of unity! Because there is only one body (church), one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God! The “seven unities”! (CSB)

And although there are many gifts, that is, the gifts of being apostles, prophets, evangelizers, pastors and teachers; all these gifts unite into one service of the one body of Christ!

Today in the Eucharist, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, especially for his death and resurrection and ascension into heaven; and we ask God to send us the Holy Spirit so that we may do the work of Jesus Christ on earth, especially in proclaiming the Good News as apostles, prophets, evangelizers, pastors, and teachers, and so that at the end of time, we may all ascend into heaven with him in glory! A happy Ascension Day to all of you!

10th May 2015, 6th Sunday of Easter

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS US TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS JESUS LOVED US

  • Acts 10:25-26. 34-35. 44-48;
  • Psalm 97 (98): 1-4. R/ cf. v. 2;
  • 1 John 4:7-10
    John 15:9-17

Today is the 6th Sunday of Easter, Liturgical Year B. We are still in the Easter Season of 50 days! The Easter Season began on Easter Sunday and it will end on Pentecost Sunday. Today is the 6th Sunday of Easter, next Sunday we will celebrate “THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD” into heaven! The Sunday following that we will celebrate “PENTECOST SUNDAY”!

Again, the Gospel of John which we read on every Octave Day of Easter tells us that the Risen Lord gave the Holy Spirit to his disciples on the very day of his resurrection and sent them out to proclaim the good news so that those who believe and are baptized will have their sins forgiven!
The second reading today tells us to love one another because God is love. And the love of God is that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away! It is in the sacrifice of Jesus, that is, his death and resurrection, that the Holy Spirit is given to us! The Holy Spirit forgives our sins and the Holy Spirit helps us to love!
The gospel today tells us that Jesus Christ commands us to love one another as he has loved us!  That is, to lay down our lives for our friends! The gospel ends by repeating the command of Jesus to love one another: “What I command you is to love one another”.

The gospel also tells us that Jesus gave us the commandment to love one another as he has loved us, so that his joy may be in us and our joy be complete, that is, the joy of heaven on earth!
The first reading tells us that the Holy Spirit was poured out, not only on the Jews, nor only on the Christians, but also on the pagans! It is the Holy Spirit that helps Jews, Christians and pagans to love one another as Jesus loved us!

That is why we have to proclaim the good news, so that all may believe and receive the Holy Spirit and so that all may love one another as Jesus loved us, that is, to lay down our lives for our friends!
The response of the Responsorial Psalm tells us that, “The Lord has shown his salvation to the nations”. Indeed the Lord has shown his salvation to the nations! The Responsorial Psalm has four verses. Verses one to three calls Israel to praise God for her salvation! Verse four calls all the nations of the earth which have seen the salvation of Israel to praise and worship the God of Israel! Thus verse four of the Responsorial Psalm: “Shout to the Lord all the earth, ring out your joy.”!
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 love one another as Jesus loved us, and the Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the good news, so that all may believe and receive the Holy Spirit and love one another as Jesus loved us, that is, to lay down their lives for their friends! And so that all the nations may praise and worship God! A happy Easter Season to all of you! Amen!

3rd May 2015 – 5th Sunday of Easter

Theme: IN THE HOLY SPIRIT WE LIVE IN GOD AND GOD LIVES IN US AND WE BEAR FRUIT IN PLENTY.    

  • Acts 9:26-31;
  • Psalm 21 (22):26-28. 30-32. R/ v. 26;
  • 1 John 3:18-24;
  • John 15:1-8.

Today is the 5th Sunday of Easter, Liturgical Year B. We are still in the Easter Season of 50 days! The Easter Season began on Easter Sunday and it will end on Pentecost Sunday, a period of 50 days!

 

The Gospel of John which we read on the Octave Day of Easter tells us that the Risen Lord gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples on the very day of his resurrection and sent them out to proclaim the good news so that those who believe and are baptized will have their sins forgiven!
Today the second reading tells us that it is in the Holy Spirit that we live in God and God lives in us and that we believe and love his Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another!
The gospel today tells us that if we remain in Jesus and Jesus remains in us we will bear fruit in plenty! But cut off from Jesus we will bear no fruit. Not only will we bear no fruit, but we will die! The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. If we remain in Jesus we will bear fruit, but cut off from Jesus we will die!
The first reading tells us that the Risen Lord is alive and active in the early Church in the Apostle Paul in the Holy Spirit! The first reading tells us that Paul a persecutor of Christians became a persecuted Christian! The first reading tells us that Paul preached the good news even in the face of persecution and death!
The  Responsorial Psalm tells us to praise God, because the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ  and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world are all the work of God! Thus the response of the Responsorial Psalm:
“You, Lord, are my praise in the great assembly.”
The Responsorial Psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells the community to praise God! The second stanza tells the nations of the world to praise God! The third stanza tells the future generations to praise God!

 

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 live in God and God in us and the Holy Spirit will help us believe and love Jesus Christ and love one another!

The Holy Spirit will help us remain in Jesus and Jesus remain in us, so that we will bear fruit in plenty, especially the fruits of love, peace and joy! The Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the Good News even in the face of persecution and death! And the Holy Spirit will help us praise and worship God and serve him! A happy Easter Season to all of you! Amen!