THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST (Year B) – CORPUS CHRISTI – 10th Sunday of the Year

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

1. 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.

2. 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)        

3. 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.                    

4. 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)

5. 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!  Amen

THE MOST HOLY TRINITY or TRINITY SUNDAY (Year B) – 30th May 2021

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

1. 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 out 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!       

2. 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!        

3. 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) 

4. 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)

5. 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!

6. 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!

Today we also celebrate our parish feast day! Our parish church is named after the Holy Trinity. Thus Holy Trinity Church! As Holy Trinity Church we are to model ourselves after the Holy Trinity. 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! 

PENTECOST SUNDAY (B) – 23th May 2021

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS US TO PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS AND TO BUILD CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES OF LOVE AND UNITY

  • Acts 2:1-11;
  • Psalm 103:1. 24. 29-31. 34. R/ cf v.30;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:3-7. 12-13
  • John 20:19-23

1. A happy and blessed Pentecost Sunday to all of you! Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, Liturgical Year A.

The first reading tells us that on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles. The first reading tells us that there was a loud noise which sounded like a strong wind that filled the room and there were tongues of fire resting on the apostles and the apostles spoke in foreign languages! The wind symbolizes the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:8). In Greek, as in Hebrew, one word serves for both ‘wind’ and ‘spirit’ (NJB). The loud noise and fire symbolize the presence of God as at the covenant on Sinai (Ex 19:16. 18).

The first reading also tells us that the Jews from all the nations of the world assembled at the loud noise and each of them heard the apostles preaching the marvels of God each in their own language! The first reading foreshadows the universal mission of the Church to preach the good news to the whole world! When we receive the Holy Spirit we preach the good news to the whole world!    

2. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:

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

The responsorial psalm is a hymn of “Praise of God the Creator” (CSB). But in today’s liturgy, it is a hymn of praise to God the Savior! The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The second stanza from which the response is taken is the most important! Thus the second stanza:

“You take back your spirit, they die, returning to the dust from which they came. You send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103:29-30; SM)

The responsorial psalm tells us that the Holy Spirit gives us life, without the Holy Spirit we die, but with the Holy Spirit, even though we die we will live!

3. The second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of unity! The second reading tells us about unity in diversity, not unity in uniformity! The second reading tells us that though there are many different gifts, they are from the same Spirit; though there are many different services, they serve the same Lord; and the same God is working in all of us! And all the different gifts are given for the common good!

The second reading also tells us that just as the human body has many parts, the many parts make up one body, so it is with the body of Christ. We are different parts of the one body of Christ! We were all baptized with the one Spirit, “Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens”, and we were all given the one Spirit to drink in baptism! Again, the second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of unity, not of division!

4. The Gospel Acclamation tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love! Thus the Gospel Acclamation:

“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.”

The fire of the Holy Spirit is the fire of God’s love that burns away our sins! Only the fire of God’s love can burn away our sins! That is why at a Penitential Service we were asked to write our sins down on a piece of paper and burn it with the fire of the Easter Candle and throw it into a bin symbolizing hell! And we were told that hell is a place where God burns away our sins with the fire of his love so that we can go to heaven! Hell is the love of God experienced by a sinner for his conversion!

5. The gospel today also tells us about Pentecost, but the gospel today tells us that the Holy Spirit was given on the day of the Lord’s resurrection and not fifty days after his resurrection! The gospel today is from St. John. The gospel today tells us that on the day of his resurrection the Lord appeared to his disciples and said to them, ‘Peace be with you,’ and showed them his hands and his side and the disciples were filled with joy! Again, he said to them, ‘Peace be with you. As the father sent me so I am sending you’. After saying this he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit, those whose sins you forgive they are forgiven, those whose sins you retain they are retained’.

    That is, proclaim the good news, those who believe and are baptized will have their sins forgiven, but those who do not believe and are not baptized will not have their sins forgiven. (NJBC; Fuller) The Holy Spirit forgives our sins in the sacrament of Baptism! The Holy Spirit also forgives our sins in the sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation. And above all, the Holy Spirit forgives our sins in the sacrament of sacraments, the Eucharist, the “Perpetual Pentecost”! The Holy Spirit forgives our sins in the Church, particularly, in the sacraments of Baptism, Penance and Eucharist! That is why it is most important that we come to Mass every Sunday!  

6. Today, more than fifty years after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Holy Spirit continues to renew the Church through the Charismatic Renewal, the Life in the Spirit Seminars, and the Prayer Meetings; the Holy Spirit continues to renew the Church through the Neo-Catechumenal Way, the Neo-Catechumenal Communities; and the Holy Spirit continues to renew the Church through the BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities)! All these three movements involve the proclamation of the good news and the building of Christian communities of love and unity, so that our Church may be a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world!

    That is why it is important that we attend Mass every Sunday and we attend the Life in the Spirit seminars and we attend the Neo-Catechumenate Catechesis and the BECs so that we may receive the Holy Spirit and proclaim the good news and build Christian communities of love and unity and so that our Church may be a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world! Again, a happy and blessed Pentecost Sunday to all of you! Amen!

7th Sunday of Easter (Year A) – 16th May 2021

Theme: LET US PRAY FOR THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT UPON US

  • Acts 1:12-14                                              
  • Psalm 26:1. 4. 7-8. R. v. 13
  • 1 Peter 4:13-16
  • John 14:18
  • John 17:1-11

1. Today we celebrate the 7th Sunday of Easter! The 7th Sunday of Easter is sandwiched between “the Ascension of the Lord” which we celebrated last Thursday and “Pentecost Sunday” which we will celebrate next Sunday! That is why the readings today tell us about the Ascension of the Lord and more importantly, about the Descend of the Holy Spirit upon us!

2. The gospel today is from St. John on the Last Supper discourse of Jesus Christ, the night before he died. It is the priestly prayer of Jesus Christ to his Father, but what concerns us today is the last part of the gospel on the Ascension of Jesus Christ: “I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you” (Jn 17:11).

    But more importantly, the “Gospel Acclamation” today tells us that Jesus Christ ascends to heaven not to abandon us nor to rest from his work, but to sit at the right hand of his Father, meaning, in power, to rule the universe, and to send down his Holy Spirit into us, so that he can come back to us and into us and continue his work in us and through us: “I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord; I will come back to you, and your hearts will be full of joy” (Jn 14:18).

3. That is why the first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, tells us that after the Promise of the Holy Spirit and the Ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven, the apostles and Mary the Mother of Jesus were praying for the Holy Spirit – the first and original novena for the Holy Spirit: “All these joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” (Acts: 1:11). We have to pray for the Holy Spirit! We cannot receive the Holy Spirit without prayer and praying for the Holy Spirit!

4. The “responsorial psalm” is a meditation on the “first reading”. It is a psalm of “Trust in the Lord”, but what concerns us today is the “response” of the “responsorial psalm”: “I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living” (Psalm 26:13).

    It can be translated or paraphrased thus: ‘I believe I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of life’! The “land of life” is the Jerusalem Temple where the faithful have access to the life-giving presence of God (CSB/NAB)!

    Obviously, the Church has chosen this verse for the “response” of the “responsorial psalm” today to tell us that the Holy Spirit in us is the Life-giving presence of God! St. Paul tells us that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit does not dwell in heaven, nor in temples, nor in churches, but in us!

    “The Lord’s goodness that we shall see” is consequently the goodness of the Holy Spirit, that is, love, joy, peace, forgiveness, freedom, mercy, salvation, wholeness, holiness, health, healing, etc.!

5. Finally, the Church has chosen the second reading from “1 Peter” to tell us that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us we will suffer for being Christians! We will not suffer for doing evil, for murder, for theft, for crime, etc., but we will suffer for doing good, and for bearing the name of Jesus Christ! Be not ashamed, but be happy, we will be blessed; we will give thanks to God, for when we suffer with Jesus Christ, we will also share in his glory, now and forever, in the Resurrection, and in the Ascension into heaven, body and soul, with Jesus Christ, in His Second Coming, at the end of time!

6. Today in this Mass, let us pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit upon us! A Happy Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost to all of you! In the early Church of the first century, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost were all celebrated as one Mystery in the Sunday Eucharist! It was only in the second century that Easter was celebrated as an annual event, and it was only in the fourth century that Ascension and Pentecost were separated from Easter with a period of forty and fifty days respectively (MCE)! Again, a Happy Easter, Ascension and Pentecost to all of you!

                                                                                                                                    Amen!   

THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD (B) – 13th May 2021

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

1. 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!

2. 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!    

3. 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)

4. 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!

5. 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!

Amen!