CHRISTMAS MASS AT MIDNIGHT / MASS DURING THE DAY (A, B, C)

CHRISTMAS MASS AT MIDNIGHT / MASS DURING THE DAY (A, B, C)

Theme: GOD HAS BECOME MAN, GOD HAS BECOME FOOD FOR MAN, GOD  HAS BECOME FOOD FOR SINFUL MAN

  • Titus 2:11-14 / Hebrews 1:1-6
  • Luke 2:1-14 / John 1:1-5. 9-14 (Shorter Form)

A Merry, Happy and Blessed Christmas to all of you! After Easter, Christmas is the most ancient feast day of the Church! We may say that after Easter, Christmas is the most important feast day of the Church! That is why the gospel tonight has something important to tell us! The gospel tonight tells us that God has become man, God has become food for man, and God has become food for sinful man! So that sinful man may live and not die!

The gospel tonight tells us that the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and announced to them the news of great joy that a Savior has been born to them and he is Christ the Lord! And the angel gave them this sign, that is, a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, that is, God has become man (Wrapped in swaddling clothes), God has become food for man (The manger is the place where the animals feed) and God has become food for sinful man! (The shepherds are dirty and poor and they are thieves. They are a despised trade like the prostitutes and tax-collectors) Note the importance of the sign. It is mentioned twice in tonight’s gospel and mentioned a third time in tomorrow’s gospel at the Christmas Mass at Dawn!

The gospel also tells us that suddenly an army of heavenly angels appeared with the angel and they praised God singing:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favor”. (Lk 2:14; Sunday Missal (SM))  

That is, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace, shalom, salvation to men who enjoy his favor, his blessing, his grace!

It is also important to note that Saint Luke began his gospel tonight with Caesar Augustus, not only to tell us that he ordered the census, so that Joseph had to go back to Bethlehem with Mary to register there and that Jesus is a descendent of David; but also to tell us that Caesar Augustus is not God. He is not Savior and Bringer of Peace, though he had political, economic and military power and the Romans worshiped him as God, Savior and Bringer of Peace! Saint Luke wants to tell us that Jesus Christ is God, Savior and Bringer of Peace, Shalom, Salvation! And he does this by his favor, blessing and grace!

2. The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that God’s grace has been revealed and has made salvation possible and has taught us that we must give up everything that does not lead us to God. We are to give up all our worldly ambitions. And we are to be self-restrained and live good and holy lives. In short, we are to do good until the second coming of Jesus Christ when we will be blessed!

More importantly, the second reading tells us that through his sacrifice, that is, through his death and resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit he has given us the strength to do good until his second coming!

Theme: GOD REVEALS HIMSELF IN CREATION, GOD REVEALS HIMSELF IN OTHER RELIGIONS AND GOD REVEALS HIMSELF FULLY, COMPLETELY AND PERFECTLY IN JESUS CHRIST

3. Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord is all about revelation! That is why Christmas season begins today at Christmas and ends with the Baptism of the Lord. The gospel and the second reading for the Mass during the Day, that is, the Mass for Christmas Day tell us that God reveals himself in creation! That is why we have to protect the environment! God created us in his image to be the co-creators and stewards of his creation! God alone is the Master and Lord of creation!

Human beings are the apex, highpoint and peak of creation! That is why besides protecting the environment we have also to dialogue with philosophy, science and culture! That is why our priests spend two years studying philosophy and three years studying theology and that is why our Church continues to dialogue with science and culture!

The gospel and second reading for the “Mass During the Day” also tell us that God reveals himself in other religions, particularly in Judaism! That is why we have to dialogue with other religions, particularly with Islam!

But most importantly, the gospel and the second reading for Christmas Day Mass tell us that God reveals himself fully, completely and perfectly in his Son Jesus Christ! That is why we have to proclaim the good news so that all may believe and so that all may be saved! Thus the gospel concludes:

“The Word was made flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth”. (Jn 1: 14; SM)

“Full of grace and truth”, that is, full of love and faithfulness! God loves us even when we do not love him and God is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to him! God saved us by his faithful love in his Son Jesus Christ!

 Again, a Merry, Happy and Blessed Christmas to all of you! Amen!

4th Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 19th December 2021

4th Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 19th December 2021

Theme: CHRISTMAS IS A BLESSING OF SALVATION

  • Micah 5:1-4;
  • Psalm 79 (80): 2-3. 15-16. 18-19. R/ v. 4;
  • Hebrews 10:5-10
  • Luke 1:39-45

1. Today is the 4th and last Sunday of Advent. In a few days’ time we will celebrate Christmas! The readings today tell us that Christmas is a blessing of salvation! The gospel today tells us that Christmas, that is, the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior, is a blessing, a grace, a free gift, and a favor!

    In the short address of Elizabeth to Mary, in today’s gospel, the word “blessed” is mentioned three times! ‘Blessed are you among women’, ‘Blessed is the fruit of your womb’, and ‘Blessed are you who believed that the promise made to you would be fulfilled’!

    Indeed the late Bishop Fulton Sheen said that it is easier to believe that a dog gives birth to a human being, than to believe that a human being gives birth to the Son of God! Again, it is all a blessing, a grace, a favor and a free gift! We do not deserve it, nor can we merit it! Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “(Elizabeth) gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’” (Lk 1:42-45/SM)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem, the least of the clans of Judah, and he will be a descendant of David. David was the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse, but he was chosen to succeed Saul as king of Israel. God chose the least and the youngest! Again, it is all God’s blessing, it is all God’s grace, it is all God’s favor, and it is all God’s free gift! The first reading tells us that the Messiah will bring peace to Israel (and to the whole word)!

    Peace (shalom) means completeness, soundness, wholeness, perfection, well-being, lacking nothing, etc. In the New Testament, peace is synonymous with salvation! (McKenzie) Thus we read in the first reading:

    “The Lord says this: You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah, out of you will be born for me the one who is to rule over Israel; his origin goes back to the distant past, to the days of old. …. He himself will be peace.” (Mi 5:1. 4/SM)   

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer for the salvation of Israel (and of the whole world)! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.” (Ps 79 (80): 4/SM) That is, ‘God of the heavenly hosts of angels, bring us back; let your face smile on us, that is, show us your favor, and we shall be saved.’ (NJBC/HCSB)

    The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza is a prayer for salvation. (Ps 79 (80): 2-3/HCSB) The second and the third stanzas are a prayer for salvation through the Davidic King. (Ps 79 (80): 15-16. 18-19/CSB) Thus we read in the third stanza: “May your hand be on the man you have chosen, the man you have given your strength.” (Ps 79 (80): 18/SM)

4. Finally, the second reading tells us that Jesus Christ saved the whole world by sacrificing himself on the cross! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.” (Heb 10:10)

5. A word on the Advent wreath in relation to the second reading. The Advent wreath does not only signify the four Sundays of Advent, but originally it signified the cross of Jesus Christ. The lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath signifies the increase of light which is completed on the cross. The wreath is made from the branches of the evergreen pine tree which signifies life. The shape of the wreath which is a circle signifies eternal life. A circle has no beginning and no end! (Raas)

6. 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 believe, as Mary did, that the promise made to us will be fulfilled. The Holy Spirit will help us pray for the salvation of the whole world. A happy Advent to all of you!

Amen!

3rd Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 12th December 2021

3rd Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 12th December 2021

  • Zephaniah 3:14-18;
  • Responsorial Psalm (Isaiah 12:2-6. R/ v. 6);
  • Philippians 4:4-7
  • Luke 3:10-18

Theme: WHEN THE LORD COMES, HE WILL BURN AWAY OUR SINS WITH THE FIRE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND WE WILL BE VERY HAPPY

1. Today is the 3rd 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. The word Advent means coming. Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas, and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time. Because Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago, and continues to come every Christmas, we believe that he will come again at the end of time.

    Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in Memory, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in Mystery, and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time in Majesty. When Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory, he did something very important; before he died, rose from the dead, and gave us the Holy Spirit; he gave us the Eucharist/Mass in memorial of him, that is, to make real, present and effective what he did two thousand years ago, so that he can continue to come to us every Christmas in Mystery, and so that he can come to us at the end of time in Majesty!

    The word Christ-mas comes from the two words “Christ’s” and “Mass”. (Raas) The Mass is the Sacrament of Sacraments. The word Sacrament in Greek and in Latin means Mystery. Jesus Christ comes to us every Christ-mas in Mystery and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time in Majesty! Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time.

    The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by practicing charity and justice. But before we practice charity we have to practice justice. Justice is giving back to the poor what belongs to them, that is, paying them a just wage, etc. Charity or “sharity” is sharing what we have with the poor, the have-nots. Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “When all the people asked John, ‘What must we do?’ he answered, ‘If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.’ There were tax collectors too who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than your rate.’ Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!’ (Lk 3:10-14)      

    More importantly, the gospel today tells us that when the Lord comes he will burn away our sins with the fire of his Holy Spirit, that is, the fire of his love! God the Father is love, God the Son is love, and God the Holy Spirit is also love! Theologians tell us that God the Father loves the Son, and God the Son loves the Father, and the love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God’s love will burn away our sins! Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “John declared before them all, ‘I baptize you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Lk 3:16/Pentecost, Acts 2)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us to rejoice because the Lord is with us to save us! More than that the first reading also tells us that God is not only with us to save us, but God also rejoices with us! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has repealed your sentence; he has driven your enemies away. The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you have no more evil to fear. When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem: Zion, have no fear, do not let your hands fall limp. The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love; he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.” (Zp 3:14-18a)

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us to rejoice because God is with us to save us! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” (Is 12:6)

    And thus the first stanza of the responsorial psalm:

    “Truly, God is my salvation, I trust, I shall not fear. For the Lord is my strength, my song, he became my savior. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” (Is 12:2-3)      

4. Finally, the second reading tells us to rejoice in the Lord because the Lord is near! Thus we read in the second reading: “I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness.” (Ph 4:4) And thus the “Entrance Antiphon” of today’s Mass which is taken from the first verse of today’s second reading with a different translation (Ph 4:4): “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.”!

    The first word of the “Entrance Antiphon” of today’s Mass is the name given to this Third Sunday of Advent, that is, “Rejoice Sunday” or “Joyful Sunday”! Today we celebrate Joyful Sunday because we are more than half way through to Christmas! That is why we use rose colored vestment to symbolize joy, light the rose candle, start caroling, start making the Christmas Crib, start putting up the Christmas Tree, etc.! 

5. 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 prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. The Holy Spirit will help us practice charity and justice to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ comes he will burn away our sins with the fire of his Holy Spirit, that is, the fire of his love, and we will be very happy! A happy Advent to all of you!   Amen!

2nd Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 5th Dec 2021

2nd Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 5th Dec 2021

Theme: LET US PREPARE FOR 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 Second 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. The word Advent means coming. Jesus Christ came two thousand yeas ago, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas, and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time.

    Because Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago, and continues to come every Christmas, we believe that he will come again at the end of time. Jesus Came two thousand years ago in Memory, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in Mystery, and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time in Majesty!

    The word Christ-mas comes from the two words “Christ’s” and “Mass”. (Raas) The Mass is the Sacrament of Sacraments. The word Sacrament in Latin and in Greek means mystery. Jesus Christ comes to us every Christ-mas in mystery!        

    Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. The readings today tell us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel today tells us about “repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. (Lk 3:3)

    Repentance is not only turning away from sin, but repentance is also turning away from the world; and turning to God, and turning to the God of love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation; the God of Jesus Christ; the God who gives us love, life and happiness! If we only turn away from sin without turning away from the world and turning to Jesus Christ; we will turn back to sin!          

    The gospel also tells us to fill up the valleys, to flatten the mountains, to make the paths straight, and to make the rough roads smooth, that is, to make a radical change in our lifestyle. (NJBC) To live a simple lifestyle, dependent on God for love, life and happiness!

    Most importantly, the gospel today tells us about universal salvation, that is, the salvation of all men and of every man! Thus we read in the gospel: “And all mankind shall see the salvation of God”! (Lk 3:6/SM)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the salvation of the Jews. The first reading tells us about the return of the Jews from exile from Babylon in the sixth century BC. Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights and turn your eyes to the east: see your sons reassembled from west and east at the command of the Holy One, jubilant that God has remembered them. Though they left you on foot, with enemies for an escort, now God brings them back to you like royal princes carried back in glory. For God has decreed the flattening of each high mountain, of the everlasting hills, the filling of the valleys to make the ground level so that Israel can walk in safety under the glory of God. And the forest and every fragrant tree will provide shade for Israel at the command of God; for God will guide Israel in joy by the light of his glory with his mercy and integrity for escort.” (Ba 5:5-9/SM)

    More importantly, the first reading is a prophecy of universal salvation, that is, the salvation of all men and of every man! This prophecy will be fulfilled in Jesus Christ!

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us about the salvation of the Jews. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Jews had returned from exile from Babylon, and they were very happy, and it was all the work of God! Thus the first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm:

    “When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage, it seemed like a dream. Then was our mouth 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)        

    The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us that the Jews had returned from exile and they were very happy and it was all the work of God. (Ps 125 (126): 1-3) The third and fourth stanzas are a prayer for prosperity and fertility of the land! (Ps 125 (126):4-6/CSB/HCSB)

4. Finally, the second reading tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by growing in love for each other and consequently in knowledge and discernment so that we will know what is important and so that we will be just and blameless at the coming of Jesus Christ! (NJB) Thus we read in the second reading:

    “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)   

5. 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 coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time.

    The Holy Spirit will help us to repent, that is, to turn away from sin and from the world, and to turn to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will help us to change our lifestyle radically. And the Holy Spirit will help us grow in love for each other and consequently in knowledge and discernment so that we will know what is important and so that we will be pure and blameless when our Lord Jesus Christ comes! Amen

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Year B) – 27th December 2020

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Year B) – 27th December 2020

  • Genesis 15:1-6. 21:1-3;
  • Psalm 104/105:1-6. 8-9. R/ vv. 7. 8;
  • Hebrews 11:8. 11-12. 17-19
  • Luke 2:22. 39-40 (Shorter Form)

Theme: THE HOLY FAMILY IS HOLY, BECAUSE GOD IS THE FATHER, JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD, BORN THROUGH THE POWER OF THE  HOLY SPIRIT, FROM THE WOMB OF THE VIRGIN MARY

1. Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Holy Family is holy, because God is the Father, Jesus is the Son of God, born through the power of the Holy Spirit, from the womb of the Virgin Mary. Our families are also holy, because God is our Father, we are the children of God, born through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the sacrament of Baptism, from the womb of Mother Church. The Church is our Mother, God is our Father, and we are the children of God. And Jesus is our brother. Our families are therefore holy.

    The readings today tell us about faith. The first reading tells us that Abraham and Sarah were too old to have a child, but more importantly, the first reading tells us that God promised them a child, but most importantly, Abraham and Sarah put their faith in God and believed in the promise of God. And Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah in their old age.

2. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God is faithful to his promise. We put our faith in God because God is faithful to his promise. The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first three stanzas are a call to thank God for all that God has done for us. The fourth stanza is a praise for God who is faithful to his promise. (HCSB) Thus the fourth stanza:

    “He remembers his covenant for ever, his promise for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac.” (Ps 104 (105): 8-9)    

    And thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “He, the Lord, is our God. He remembers his covenant for ever.” (Ps 104 (105): 7-8)

3. Again, the second reading tells us about faith. The second reading tells us that it was by faith that Abraham obeyed God and set out on a journey to a country that God promised him and his descendents. He did not even know where he was going. The second reading also tells us that it was by faith that Sarah gave birth to Isaac in her old age. Finally, the second reading tells us that it was by faith that Abraham when tested, offered Isaac as a sacrifice to God!

4. More importantly, the New Testament tells us that it was by the faith of Mary and Joseph that Jesus the Son of God was born through the power of the Holy Spirit from the womb of the Virgin Mary. It was also by faith that we were born again as children of God through the power of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Baptism from the womb of the Church. The Church becomes our Mother, and God becomes our Father, and Jesus becomes our brother. It was also by faith that our children were born again as children of God through the power of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of baptism from the womb of the Church. The Church becomes their Mother, and God becomes their Father, and Jesus becomes their brother. Our families like the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph are therefore holy families!    

5. The gospel today tells us that the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph was faithful to the Law of the Lord. The gospel also tells us that Jesus grew up physically, mentally and spiritually. Thus we read in the gospel today: “When they had done everything the law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favor was with him.” (Lk 2:39-40) The gospel today tells us to keep the Law of the Lord and we and our children will grow up physically, mentally and spiritually!

6. Let us conclude with a few pastoral suggestions for our families:

    (i) A family must pray together. A family that prays together stays together.

    (ii) A family must be part of a bigger family, that is, a family must be part of a BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) of ten to fifteen families.

    (iii) A family must eat dinner together everyday. There should be no watching of television during dinner time.

    (iv) Members of a family must communicate with one another, that is, listen and talk to one another.

    (v) A family should also play together and go for holidays together.

    (vi) Husband and wife must always be together. Parents and children must always be together. There must not be any “absent father syndrome” or “absent mother syndrome” or “absent parents syndrome”.

    (vii) Parents must pass their faith and love to their children.

7. Again, a merry, happy and blessed Christmas and New Year to all of you!       

                                                                                                                                    Amen!

CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS

Theme: GOD BECAME MAN, GOD BECAME FOOD FOR MAN, GOD BECAME FOOD FOR SINFUL MAN

  • Luke 2:1-14;
  • John 1:1-5. 9-14 (Shorter Form);
  • Hebrews 1:1-6

1.  A merry, happy and blessed Christmas to all of you! We are merry, happy and blessed, because as the gospel tells us, God has become man, God has become food for man, and God has become food for sinful man!

    The gospel tells us that when Mary gave birth to Jesus, she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the inn. The gospel also tells us that there were shepherds nearby. These details symbolize something very important, that is, God has become man (swaddling clothes of humanity/Ws 7:4/NJB), and God has become food for man (manger where the animal feed)! (NJBC) There was no room in the inn, that is, Jesus Christ is not a visitor or a traveler. He is here to stay, to stay with us and to stay within us for good, that is, forever! (Craghan) The shepherds were the lowly. They were mangy, that is, they were having skin diseases. They were stinking and bathless. They belonged to the despised trade like the tax collectors and prostitutes. The shepherds symbolize sinners. (NJBC/Fuller)

    The gospel tells us that the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and they were terrified, but the angel said to them, ‘do not be afraid. I bring you news of great joy, a joy for the whole world. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign. You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger’.

    And the gospel tells us that suddenly, there was a host of heavenly angels praising God and singing: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favor’, that is, glory and praise to God, and peace (shalom) and salvation to men who enjoy his favor, grace and blessing!

    The first part of the gospel of tonight tells us that Caesar Augustus is not the savior, god and bringer of peace, but Jesus Christ is the Savior, God and the bringer of peace and salvation! (CSB/NJBC) The first part of the gospel also tells us that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the descendent of David. The promise made to David is fulfilled in Jesus Christ!             

    We take Christmas for granted, that God has become man, God has become food for man, and God has become food for sinful man. But a certain lecturer in one of the institutes of higher learning in Sabah said that he cannot understand and accept Christianity, because he does not believe that God can become man, God can die, God can become food for man, and God can become food for sinful man.

    Indeed, it is about belief, it is about faith! Do you believe in a God of law, justice and punishment, or do you believe in a God of love, mercy and forgiveness? Do you believe that God is a judge or do you believe that God is a Savior? We Christians believe that God is love, mercy and forgiveness! We Christians believe that God is Savior! We see it, hear it, and touch it in Jesus Christ! It is not only true, but it is also real! Indeed, a merry, happy and blessed Christmas to all of you!   

2. “Christmas”, “Epiphany”, and the “Baptism of the Lord” are about the revelation or manifestation of the Lord! The gospel for Christmas for the “Mass During the Day” tells us that the Lord reveals himself in creation, in Judaism and by extension in other religions, but the Lord reveals himself fully, perfectly and completely in Jesus Christ. The second reading for Christmas for the “Mass During the Day” also tells us that the Lord reveals himself in creation, in Judaism and by extension in other religions, but the Lord reveals himself fully, perfectly and completely in Jesus Christ!

    The Lord reveals himself in creation. We have therefore to protect the environment, because it is God’s creation and revelation! St. Paul in Romans 1:20 tells us that by looking at creation we can see the Creator! Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, a priest and a scientist tells his fellow scientists that evolution gives rise to consciousness in human beings and consciousness effects union, that is, love and unity. Jesus Christ came to bring love and unity! Everything comes from Jesus Christ and goes back to Jesus Christ! There is a meaning, purpose and direction in creation!  

    The Lord reveals himself in Judaism and by extension in other religions. We are therefore to dialogue with other religions. The Vatican dialogues with Judaism and Islam. The Vatican dialogues with Islam on two principles proposed by our Muslim brothers, that is, love of God and love of neighbor!

    The Lord reveals himself fully and completely in Jesus Christ! We are therefore to proclaim the good news! Next year we will have the “Neo-Catechumenal Communities” in our parish to produce priests, religious, catechists, “psalmists” and lay ministers to evangelize, that is, to proclaim the good news, not only to Sabah, but to the whole world!

    Again, a merry, happy, and blessed Christmas to all of you!

                                                                                                                                   

4th Sunday of Advent (Year B) – 20th December 2020

4th Sunday of Advent (Year B) – 20th December 2020

Theme: THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE WORK OF GOD AND NOT THE WORK OF MAN

 

  • 2 Samuel 7:1-5. 8-12. 14. 16;
  • Psalm 88 (89): 2-5. 27. 29. R/ v. 2;
  • Romans 16:25-27
  • Luke 1:26-38

Today is the 4th Sunday of Advent. Advent means coming, the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, Jesus Christ continues to come to us every Christ-mas at “Christ’s Mass” (Raas), and Jesus Christ will come at the end of time as king of the universe! Because Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, and because Jesus Christ continues to come every Christ-mas at “Christ’s Mass”, we are sure He will come again at the end of time as king of the universe!

The readings today tell us that the coming of Jesus Christ fulfills the promise made to David that his descendents and his dynasty will last forever. Though David and his descendents, especially the kings that succeeded him, were not faithful to God, God was always faithful to his promise! The birth of Jesus Christ fulfills the promise made to David and his descendents! We believe this good news, we live it and we proclaim it to the whole world!

The first reading tells us of the promise God made to David. The responsorial psalm tells us that God is faithful to his promise though David and his descendents were not faithful to God. The gospel tells us that the coming of Jesus Christ fulfills the promise made to David. The gospel also tells us to believe this good news. The second reading tells us to live this good news and proclaim it to the whole world!

The readings today also tell us that the coming of Jesus Christ is the work of God and not the work of man! We believe this good news, live it and proclaim it to the whole world!

The first reading tells us that David wanted to build a house for God, but God told David off! God said to David: who are you to build me a house. I God instead will build you a house. I was the one who made you a leader of Israel. I was the one who helped you win battles against the enemies. I will make you famous. I will make you great. I will build you a house. I will make your descendents and your dynasty last for ever.

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God was always faithful to his promise, though David and his descendents were not faithful to God. The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza, from which the response is taken, tells us of the faithfulness of God. The second stanza tells us of the promise God made to David. The third stanza tells us of the Messiah who will fulfill the promise made to David.

Again, the gospel tells us that the coming of Jesus Christ is the work of God and not the work of man. The gospel tells us that Mary was to be the mother of God! But how can this come about since she was a virgin? The Holy Spirit will do it! Mary believed this promise and Jesus was conceived in her womb! The gospel also tells us to believe this good news!

Again, the second reading tells us to live this good news and proclaim it to the whole world so that the whole world may believe and be saved!

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 believe the good news, live it and proclaim it to the whole world.

Amen. 

3rd Sunday of Advent (Year B) – 13th December 2020

3rd Sunday of Advent (Year B) – 13th December 2020

Theme: REJOICE! THE LORD IS NEAR!

  • Isaiah 61:1-2. 10-11;
  • Lk 1:46-50. 53-54. R.
  • Is 61:10;
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
  • John 1:6-8. 19-28

1. Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent. Advent means coming, that is, the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in mystery, and Jesus Christ will come at the end of time in majesty as King of the universe!

    Because Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory, and continues to come every Christmas in mystery, we are sure Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time in majesty as King of the universe! Advent is a time when we remember the coming of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, and when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time!  

    Today is also “rejoice” or joyful Sunday! Today we celebrate joyful Sunday because we are more than half way through to Christmas! Christmas is very near! The Lord is very near! The pink/rose candle on the Advent wreath and the pink/rose vestment of the priest symbolize joy!   

2. The first reading tells us to rejoice because the Lord has brought us salvation. He has brought us “saving justice” (NJB) and praise. The first reading tells us to rejoice because the Lord has come to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the broken hearts, to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison, and to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord, that is, a year of salvation from the Lord! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “I exult for joy in Yahweh, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in garments of salvation, he has wrapped me in a cloak of saving justice, …. So Lord Yahweh makes saving justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations.” (Is 61:10-11/NJB)

    Again we read in the first reading: “The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison; to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord.” (Is 61:1-2/SM)     

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. In fact the response of the responsorial psalm is taken from the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “My soul rejoices in my God.” (Is 61:10)   

    The responsorial psalm itself is taken from the canticle of Mary (Magnificat), but originally it was a song of praise of the “poor” of Yahweh, the “anawim” of Yahweh! The poor of Yahweh are the humble who are totally dependent on Yahweh for salvation! Thus we read in the responsorial psalm:

    “My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. He looks on his servant in her nothingness; henceforth all ages will call me blessed. The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy his name! His mercy is from age to age, on those who fear him. He fills the starving with good things, sends the rich away empty. He protects Israel, his servant, remembering his mercy.” (Lk 1:46-50. 53-54)    

4. Again, the second reading begins with the theme of joy! The second reading tells us to be happy always, to pray always, and to give thanks to God for all things, because that is what God wants us to do in Jesus Christ! The second reading also tells us that God will make us perfect and holy and blameless in body, soul and spirit for the second coming of Jesus Christ. For God has called us. He will not fail us. Thus we read in the second reading:

    “Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God, because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus. …. May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has called you and he will not fail you.” (1 Th 5:16-18. 23-24)

5. Finally, the gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is much greater even than John the Baptist. John the Baptist is not worthy even to undo His sandal-strap. John the Baptist baptized with water but Jesus Christ will baptize with the Holy Spirit! (Jn 1:33) Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “So John said, ‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied: a voice that cries in the wilderness: Make a straight way for the Lord.’ …. John replied, ‘I baptize with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.’” (John 1:23. 26-27)

6. Again, to remember the coming of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, and to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time, we have to pray, to read the Bible, to read the Sunday Mass readings, to attend Sunday Mass, to attend BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) meetings, to attend prayer meetings, to repent, to go to confession, to go caroling, to proclaim the good news, to love, to serve, to forgive, to make others happy, etc. We have also to be Santa Claus (St. Nicholas) to the poor, the needy, the aged, the foreigner, the orphan, those in prison, etc.

7. 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 remember the coming of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago, and the Holy Spirit will help us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time! Amen.                                                                                                       

2nd Sunday of Advent (year B) – 6.12.2020

2nd Sunday of Advent (year B) – 6.12.2020

Theme: PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST

  • Isaiah 40:1-5. 9-11;
  • Psalm 84 (85): 9-14. R/ v. 8;
  • 2 Peter 3:8-14
  • Mark 1:1-8

1. Today is the Second Sunday of Advent. The word Advent means coming or arrival, that is, the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in mystery, and Jesus Christ will come at the end of time in majesty as king of the universe!

    When Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory, he instituted the Eucharist/Mass and asked us to celebrate it in his memory, that is, to make him present and real in the Eucharist/Mass, so that he can come to us in mystery in the Eucharist/Mass, and so that he can come to us in mystery in the Christ Mass, that is, Christ-mas. The word Christmas comes from the two words: Christ and Mass. (Raas, p 116)

    Because Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory, and continues to come every Christmas in mystery, we are sure he will come again at the end of the world in majesty as king of the universe!  

2. The readings today tell us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time! The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by repentance and by confessing our sins. Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah: Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way. A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight, and so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptized by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins.” (Mk 1:2-5)  

    More importantly, the gospel today tells us that when Jesus Christ comes he will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will forgive our sins. The Holy Spirit will give us new life. He will give us love, joy and peace! Thus we read in the gospel: “In the course of his preaching John the Baptist said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful that I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’” (Mk 1:7-8)

3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. Thus we read in the first reading: “A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway for our God across the desert. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley; then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’” (Is 40:3-5)    

    More importantly, the first reading tells us that Jesus Christ will come as a good shepherd to save us. He will feed us. He will hold us in his arms. He will hold us to his breast. He will lead us to rest. Thus we read in the first reading: “He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.” (Is 40:11)

    This theme of the good shepherd is further developed by Jesus himself in John 10:11-18. (NJB) Thus we read in John 10:14-15: “I am the good shepherd; I know (love/NJB) my own and my own know (love) me, just as the Father knows (loves) me and I know (love) the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.”!  

4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer for salvation! (HCSB/NJBC/IBC) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “Show us, Lord, your love; grant us your salvation.” (Ps 84 (85): 8/CSB)

    The responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord will give us love, mercy, salvation, peace, justice, and happiness! (CCB) Thus we read in the second stanza of the responsorial psalm: “Mercy and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have embraced. Faithfulness shall spring from the earth and justice look down from heaven.” (Ps 84 (85):11-12)

    The Lord will also give us prosperity and fruitfulness! Thus we read in stanza three of the responsorial psalm: “The Lord will make us prosper and our earth shall yield its fruit. Justice shall march before him and peace shall follow his steps.” (Ps 84 (85): 13-14)    

5. Finally, the second reading tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by living holy and saintly lives and by living spotless and stainless lives. More importantly, the second reading tells us that when the Lord comes there will be a new heaven and a new earth! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised; the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.” (2 Peter 3:11-14) 

6. Again, we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time by prayer, reading the word of God, attending Sunday Mass, attending BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) meetings, prayer meetings, repentance, going to confession, caroling, proclaiming the good news, etc.

    We also prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by becoming Santa Claus (Dutch), that is, Saint Nicholas (Bishop, 4th century, Turkey); by giving Christmas presents to the poor, to children, to the aged, to foreigners, to orphans, to those in prison, etc.

    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 prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of the world!                                                                             Amen!

THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH

THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH

Theme: THE HOLY FAMILY IS HOLY, BECAUSE GOD IS THE FATHER, JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD, BORN THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

  • Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 3:2-6. 12-14;
  • Psalm 127:1-5. R. v. 1;
  • Colossians 3:12-21
  • Matthew 2:13-15. 19-23

Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! The family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph is holy because God is the Father, Jesus is the Son of God, born through the power of the Holy Spirit!

Our families are also holy, because in Baptism we were born again through the power of the Holy Spirit, and God is our Father, and we are the children of God, and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, and the Church is our Mother!

The gospel today tells us about the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The gospel tells us that Joseph was obedient to the Lord. Three times the Lord instructed him and 3 times he obeyed the Lord! The angel of the Lord told him to leave for Egypt and he left for Egypt; the angel of the Lord told him to return to Israel and he returned to Israel; and the angel of the Lord told him not to go to Judaea, but to go to Galilee, and he went to Galilee and settled in Nazareth! The Holy Family is the family that is obedient to the Lord God!

The first reading tells us about the family. The first reading is a commentary on one of the Ten Commandments. It is a commentary on the fourth commandment, that is, honor your father and mother: “Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land that Yahweh your God is giving you.” (Ex 20:12)

The first reading tells that if we honor our fathers and mothers we will be blessed! We will be blessed with long life, prosperity, and happiness with our own children; and God will listen to our prayers and our sins will be forgiven! The first reading also tells us to honor our parents in their old age and God will forgive our sins!

The responsorial psalm also tells us about the family. The responsorial psalm tells us that those who fear (revere) the Lord and walk in his ways will be blessed with happy and prosperous families! They will have plenty of children!

Thus we read in the responsorial psalm: “O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways! By the labor of your hands you shall eat. You will be happy and prosper. Your wife like a fruitful vine in the heart of your house; your children like shoots of the olive, around your table.” (Ps 127:1-3)

The second reading tells us about “The Christian Family” (CSB): “Wives, give way to your husbands, as you should in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and treat them with gentleness. Children, be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord. Parents, never drive your children to resentment or you will make them feel frustrated.” (Col 3:20-21)

The second reading should be read not only in the light of “equality”, but also and especially in the light of “mutuality”, that is, to love one another as the Lord has loved us!

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 his Holy Spirit, so that we will fear the Lord and walk in his ways, and so that we will be blessed with a happy, prosperous and fruitful family with many many children! Amen!