1st Sunday of Advent (Year A) – 1st Dec 2019

Theme: ADVENT: THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST!

  • Isaiah 2:1-5;
  • Psalm 121:1-2. 4-5. 6-9. R. v. 1;
  • Romans 13:11-14
  • Matthew 24:37-44 

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The word Advent means arrival or coming; the coming of Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time! When Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago, he died, rose from the dead, and gave the Holy Spirit! Jesus Christ continues to come to us in the Holy Spirit every Christmas until the end of time when everything will be perfected in the Holy Spirit; then Jesus Christ will come a second time in glory!

Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ! The readings today tell us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ; but more importantly, the readings today tell us that when Jesus Christ comes, he will bring justice and peace to the whole world! He will bring love, mercy, forgiveness, salvation and joy to the whole world!

The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel today tells us that during the time of Noah, people were eating and drinking and marrying, until the floods came and swept them all away! The gospel tells us not to eat and drink and marry until we forget the coming of Jesus Christ!

The gospel also tells us that two men will be working in the fields, but one will be taken away; and two women will be at the millstone grinding, but one will be taken away, that is, the one who is ready and prepared for the coming of Jesus Christ will be taken away to heaven!

Again, the gospel tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by not eating and drinking and marrying until we forget the coming of Jesus Christ! Incidentally, it is the practice of our Diocese not to encourage marriages and marriage dinners (“eating” and “drinking”) during Advent!

The second reading also tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ! The second reading tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by living decent lives, that is, no drunken orgies, no indecency, no immorality, no quarrelling and fighting, and no jealousy.

Thus we read in the second reading: “Let us live decently as people do in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy.”! (Rm 13:13)

But more importantly, the first reading tells us that when Jesus Christ comes, he will bring justice and peace to all the nations of the world! Thus we read in the first reading: “He will wield authority over the nations and adjudicate between many peoples; these will hammer their swords into ploughshares, their spears into sickles. Nation will not lift sword against nation, there will be no more training for war.”! (Is 2:4)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us that when Jesus Christ comes he will bring justice and peace! Thus we read in the responsorial psalm: “There were set the thrones of judgment of the house of David. For the peace of Jerusalem pray: ‘Peace be to your homes! May peace reign in your walls, in your palaces, peace!’” (Ps 121:5-7)

Both in the first reading and in the responsorial psalm, justice comes before peace; because there can be no peace without justice! But I always remember what our late Pope John Paul II said in reference to the Middle East conflict: ‘There can be no peace without justice, but there can be no justice without forgiveness.’!

Thus when Jesus Christ comes he will bring us not only justice and peace, but also and especially, love, mercy, forgiveness, salvation and joy! Thus we read in the Gospel Acclamation of today’s Mass: “Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.” (Ps 84:8/SM) An alternative translation reads thus: “Show us, Lord, your love; grant us your salvation.” (Ps 85:8/CSB)     

Again, Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ! During this time of Advent, let us be “Santa Claus” to the poor, the sick, the aged, the undocumented, etc., that is, let us practice charity towards them; but even before we practice charity, we must practice justice towards the poor and the undocumented, that is, we must pay them a just and living wage, and we must provide them with health care and decent living conditions, etc.!

During this time of Advent, let us also pray, read the Bible, attend Sunday Masses, attend BEC meetings, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), and let us also go caroling to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ’s coming!

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, to help us prepare for His coming! And when He comes, he will bring us justice and peace! He will bring us love, mercy, forgiveness, salvation and joy! Amen!

CHRIST THE KING (C) – 24th Nov 2019

Theme: AT THE END OF THE WORLD, JESUS CHRIST WILL BE THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE

  • 2 Samuel 5:1-3;
  • Psalm 121 (122): 1-5. R/ cf. v. 1;
  • Colossians 1:12-20
  • Luke 23:35-43

Today is the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King! 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 be the King of the universe! His Kingdom will be a Kingdom of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation, peace and justice, unity and joy, etc. The kingdom of the Devil will be destroyed! The kingdom of sin and death, injustice and hatred, division, revenge and war, will be destroyed!

The first reading tells us that David was anointed king of the northern tribes of Israel. In this second anointing, David became king, not only of Judah, but also of Israel, that is, he became king of the united kingdom of Judah (South) and Israel (North). After that David conquered Jerusalem and made it the capital of his united kingdom! (2 S 5:6-12; CCB)

David was anointed king because he was chosen by God, and because he was the one who fought and won all the battles even when Saul was king!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us about Jerusalem, the capital of the united kingdom of Israel and Judah! The responsorial psalm is a hymn of a pilgrim on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem!

The responsorial psalm has five verses. The first verse tells us that the pilgrim is anticipating his pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The second verse tells us that the pilgrim is already in Jerusalem. The third verse tells us that Jerusalem is a secure city. The fourth verse tells us that the Israelites praise and worship God in Jerusalem. And the fifth verse tells us that the throne of God’s judgment is in Jerusalem. The justice of God is executed by King David and his descendents who sit on the thrones of judgment! (HCSB) Thus the note of joy in the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the first verse:

“I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’” (Ps 121 (122): 1; SM) 

The gospel today tells us that Jesus Christ is the King of the Jews, but unlike David, he has no political power, military might, or nationalistic ambitions! He has no throne. He hangs on a cross!

The Jewish religious leaders mocked him to be the Messiah. The soldiers taunted him to be the king of the Jews. The inscription on his cross condemned him to be the king of the Jews. And even the criminal abused him to be the Messiah. But most importantly, the “good” criminal acknowledged him to be the Messiah-King of the Jews! In “the gospel within the Gospel” (NJBC) the “good” criminal asked Jesus to remember him in his kingdom, and Jesus replied that, that very day he will be with him in paradise, in heaven, in his kingdom! Thus we read in the gospel today:

‘“Jesus,’ he said ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’” (Lk 23:42-43; SM)

Jesus is indeed the King of the Jews! But his kingdom is a kingdom of love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation! A heavenly and spiritual kingdom; not a political, military and nationalistic kingdom!

The second reading tells us that Jesus Christ is not only the king of the Jews, but he is also the king of the Gentiles, the Pagans! More than that, he is not only the king of all humanity, but he is also the King of all creation! Just as creation suffered the consequences of human sins, so creation also shares in the salvation of humanity! (NJB)

This second reading is especially relevant today in the face the ecological crisis! It is the sin and greed of humanity that destroys the environment, but when humanity is saved from sin and greed, the environment will not be destroyed! The environment will be protected! Thus we read in the second reading:

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” (Col 1:19-20; HCSB)

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 build the kingdom of God, until the end of the world, when Jesus Christ will come a second time to be the King of the universe! Amen!

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 17th Nov 2019

Theme: IN THE END, GOOD WILL WIN OVER EVIL, LIFE WILL WIN OVER DEATH; BECAUSE GOD WILL WIN OVER THE DEVIL

  • Malachi 3:19-20;
  • Psalm 97:5-9. R/ cf. v.9;
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
  • Luke 21:5-19 

Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. Next Sunday will be the Last Sunday of the Liturgical Year C. And as we come to the end of our Liturgical Year, the readings today tell us about the end times! The readings today tell us that at the end of time, good will win over evil, life will win over death; because God will win over the Devil!

The gospel today tells us that before the end times, Christians will be persecuted. They will be imprisoned. They will be brought to the courts, but they are not to prepare their defense, because the Lord himself will give them an eloquence and a wisdom which none of their opponents can withstand! They will even be betrayed by their own parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will be put to death; but their endurance will win them their lives!

That is why I said that, in the end, life will win over death, good will win over evil; because God will win over the Devil!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that in the end, good will win over evil, life will win over death; because God will win over the Devil! The first reading tells us that in the end, evil will be burnt like straw. Their roots and their trunks will all be burnt! As for the good, the sun of righteousness will shine on them with its healing rays and they will be saved! Thus we read in the first reading:

“The day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, leaving them neither root nor stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.” (Ml 3:19-20; SM)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord comes to rule the world and all its peoples with justice and fairness! Thus the response:

“The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.” (Ps 97:9; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza calls all the nations to praise and welcome the Lord who comes to rule the world and all its peoples with justice and fairness. (Ps 97:5-6) The second stanza calls the whole of creation to praise and welcome the Lord who comes to rule the world and all its peoples with justice and fairness. (Ps 97:7-8) And the third stanza from which the response is taken, tells us that the Lord comes to rule the world and all its peoples with justice and fairness. (Ps 97:9)

The second reading tells us how not to prepare for the end of time! Some people prepare for the end of time by doing nothing! This was what the Thessalonians were doing! They were doing nothing and waiting for the end of the world! St. Paul commanded them to work for their food! If they did not work for their food, they should not eat! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “We gave you a rule when we were with you: not to let anyone have any food if he refused to do any work. Now we hear that there are some of you who are living in idleness, doing no work themselves but interfering with everyone else’s. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we order and call on people of this kind to go on quietly working and earning the food that they eat.” (2 Th 3:10-12; Sunday Missal (SM))

We prepare for the end of time by praying, by doing the will of God, by being detached from the world, and by proclaiming the good news, so that all may believe and so that all may be saved!

Today we thank God for the gift of faith, and we ask God to increase our faith, so that even under persecution we will hold on to our faith, pray, and do the will of God; believing that in the end, good will overcome evil, life will overcome death and God will overcome the Devil! God bless you! Amen!

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 10th Nov 2019

Theme: WE SHALL RISE FROM THE DEAD AND LIVE FOREVER

  • 2 Maccabees 7:1-2. 9-14;
  • Psalm 16:1. 5-6. 8. 15. R/ v. 15;
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5
  • Luke 20:27-38 (Shorter Form, Lk 20:27. 34-38)

Today is the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. And as we come to the end of our Liturgical Year, the readings today tell us about the end times! The readings today tell us that at the end of time, life will win over death, Resurrection and new life will win over sin and death! Indeed, the new life of the resurrection is even better than the life before sin!

    “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!” (Easter Proclamation; SM)

To begin with, God created us in his own image, to love, to think, to be free, to do good and to live forever! And when we sinned, God sent his Son to save us! Through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ, God gave us the Holy Spirit to help us love as he loves, think as he thinks, to be free as he is free, to do good as he does good, and to live forever as he lives forever! The other creatures were not created in the image of God. They cannot love, think, be free, do good and live forever! So, don’t take your sonship for granted!

The gospel today tells us that the Sadducees do not believe in the resurrection! They only believe in Moses and the first five books of the Bible!

But more importantly, Jesus tells us in the gospel today that there is the resurrection! In answer to the question of the Sadducees, Jesus tells us that in heaven there is no marriage, because in heaven nobody dies. Therefore in heaven there is no need to marry to replenish the population! Therefore there is the resurrection!

Again, in answer to the question of the Sadducees, Jesus tells us that even Moses believed in the resurrection, since he called God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Since God is a God of the living and not of the dead, then Abraham, Isaac and Jacob must still be alive! Therefore there is the resurrection!

Most importantly, the “Gospel Acclamation” today tell us that Jesus himself rose from the dead! And it is through his Holy Spirit that we also rise from the dead never to die anymore! Thus the “Gospel Acclamation”:

“Jesus Christ is the First-born from the dead; to him be glory and power for ever and ever.” (Rv. 1:5. 6; Sunday Missal (SM))

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the resurrection! The first reading tells us that seven brothers and their mother were forced to eat pig’s flesh by the pagan Syrian king (Antiochus IV, 2nd century BC). They were tortured and put to death, but they refused to eat pig’s flesh, because it was against the Law! But more importantly, the first reading tells us that before they died they proclaimed the resurrection:

“The King of the world will raise us up, since it is for his laws that we die, to live again for ever. …. Ours is the better choice, to meet death at men’s hands, yet relying on God’s promise that we shall be raised up by him.” (2M 7:9. 14; SM)

The first reading tells us that even under persecution the seven brothers kept their faith, did the will of God and proclaimed the resurrection!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us about the resurrection! Thus the response:

“I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.” (Ps 16:15; SM)

The responsorial psalm also tells us to keep our faith, to pray, and to do the will of God, even under persecution, and we will rise from the dead! Thus the response again:

“I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.”

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 St. Paul prayed for the Thessalonians and that St. Paul asked the Thessalonians to pray for him! St. Paul also expressed his confidence in the Thessalonians!

In short, the second reading tells us to pray for one another and to have confidence in one another!

Today we thank God for the resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ, and we ask God to give us his Holy Spirit, so that even under persecution, we may keep our faith, pray and do his will and one day rise from the dead and live forever with him in heaven! God bless you! Amen!