All Souls (C) – Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed – 2nd Nov 2019

Theme: WE PRAY FOR ALL OUR FAITHFUL DEPARTED

  • Isaiah 25:6-9;
  • Psalm 26:1. 4. 7-9. 13-14. Alt. R/ v. 13;
  • Romans 5:5-11
  • Luke 7:11-17

Today we celebrate All Souls Day, that is, the commemoration of all the faithful departed. Today we pray for all the faithful departed, especially for our family members, friends and community. We pray that God may bring them to heaven!

We pray for them, because we believe that God is love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation! We believe that Jesus Christ has died and risen from the dead and given us the Holy Spirit to raise us from our spiritual death and to take us to heaven!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus raised a dead man to life! But strictly speaking it was not the resurrection, because the raised man had to die again. It was only resuscitation. It only prefigures the resurrection.

More importantly, and most importantly, the second reading tells us that through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has raised us from our spiritual death and he will bring us to heaven! Thus we read:

“Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God’s anger? When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son?” (Rm 5:9-10; SM)  

Indeed the first reading prefigures heaven! It is an image of heaven! The first reading tells us that there will be a big banquet! There will be no more mourning! Death will be destroyed forever! There will be no more tears! There will be salvation!

Thus in the responsorial psalm we pray with faith and hope that our faithful departed will go to heaven! Thus the alternative response:

“I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.” (Ps 26:13; SM)

That is, I am sure I shall see God in heaven!

Again, today, All Souls Day, we pray for all our faithful departed. We pray that the Lord may take them to heaven. And thus we pray:

    “Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.”    

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 1st July 2018

Theme: JESUS RAISES US FROM DEATH AND GIVES US NEW LIFE  

  • Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24;
  • Psalm 29 (30): 2. 4-6. 11-13. R. v. 2;
  • 2 Corinthians 8:7. 9. 13-15.
  • Mark 5:21-24. 35-43. (Shorter Form)

Today is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The gospel today tells us that Jesus raised a synagogue official’s (Jairus’) daughter from the dead. Thus we read in the gospel today:

“And taking the child by the hand Jesus said to her, ‘Talitha, kum!’ which means, ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up.’ The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At this they were overcome with astonishment, and he ordered them strictly not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.” (Mk 5: 41-43/SM)

Jesus told the people not to tell anyone about the miracle (the “Messianic Secret” of St. Mark), because Jesus himself had not risen from the dead yet and had not given the Holy Spirit yet to raise us from the dead and to give us new life!

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that Jesus can also raise us from the dead if we have faith in him. Jesus can raise us from the dead and give us new life. A new life that is even better than the life before sin and death. Thus we sing in the “Easter Proclamation” on Easter Vigil night: “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that God created everything to live and not to die. But it was the Devil who brought death into the world by tempting man to sin. When man sinned man brought death not only upon himself, but also upon other men and upon the environment. Thus we have wars. Thus we have abortions; so much so that the most dangerous place in the world is the mother’s womb, because more lives are destroyed there than all the wars in the world!

Thus we have environmental destruction, that is, the destruction of God’s creation. Thus we have not only homicide and genocide, but also “biocide” (destruction of life itself) and “geocide” (destruction of earth itself)! Environmental destruction is caused by one of the seven Capital Sins, that is, the sin of greed / avarice. Traditionally, the other Capital Sins are pride, envy, sloth, lust, intemperance and anger. The seven Capital sins are the sources and causes of other sins. Thus we have the seven steps down the Baptismal Pool symbolizing the seven Capital Sins.

Thus we read in the first reading: “Yet God did make man imperishable, he made him in the image of his own nature; it was the devil’s envy that brought death into the world, as those who are his partners will discover.” (Ws 2:23-24/SM)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving to God for salvation from death. The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza is a thanksgiving to God for salvation from death. In the second stanza the psalmist invites the community to join in to thank God. In the third stanza the psalmist continues to thank God. (CSB)

Thus we read in the first stanza: “I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead, restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.” (Ps 29 (30):2. 4. /SM)

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the first stanza: “I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.” (Ps 29 (30): 2)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the day, but the second reading has something important to tell us. The second reading tells us that we have to share our resources with the poor not only in the name of charity (love) but also for the sake of unity. Thus in our “BECs” (Basic Ecclesial Communities) we always help the poor with our “Lenten Appeal” collections. We also give 25% of our first collection to our Diocese and 10% of the second collection to our Diocese. And incidentally today both our collections will be sent to Rome and given to our Pope as “Peter’s Pence”!

In the second reading, St. Paul tells the Corinthians (Gentiles) to make a collection for the Church in Jerusalem (Jews) not only in the name of charity (love) but also for the sake of unity. (HCSB) St. Paul tells the Corinthians that they have been blessed with many charisms and that they should practice charity. St. Paul also tells the Corinthians that Jesus Christ became poor to make them rich and that they should follow the example of Jesus Christ. Finally, St. Paul tells them to balance their surplus with those in need so that there may be “equality”! St. Paul gives them the example of the “manna in the desert” where God gives to all “equally”!

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 raise us from death and give us new life. The Holy Spirit will help us raise others from death and give them new life!

 

Amen!

Holy Thursday Evening Mass of The Lord’s Supper – 29th March 2018

Theme: THE INSTITUTION OF THE EUCHARIST, THE INSTITUTION OF THE PRIESTHOOD AND THE COMMANDMENT TO LOVE

  • Exodus 12:1-8. 11-14;
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
  • Gospel Acclamation: John 13:34
  • Gospel: John 13:1-15

Tonight we celebrate Holy Thursday, Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Holy Thursday is the beginning of Good Friday. In fact it is the beginning of the Easter Triduum of “three days”, namely Good Friday (death), Holy Saturday (burial) and Easter Sunday (resurrection). The Easter Triduum is one celebration. There will not be any dismissal tonight or tomorrow. The dismissal will only take place after the Easter Vigil celebration. We have to come for all the celebrations of the Easter Triduum.

Tonight we celebrate three principal mysteries, namely, the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the priesthood, and the commandment to love.

Jesus Christ instituted the Eucharist to make present, real and effective, here and now, his death, resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for our salvation!

The second reading from 1 Corinthians tells us about the institution of the Eucharist. It is the oldest written account of the institution of the Eucharist (AD 56), older even than the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke!

The second reading tells us that Jesus did four actions in the institution of the Eucharist, that is, take the bread, thank the Father, break the bread and give the bread to his disciples. Tonight in the Eucharist we will do the same four actions of Jesus. We will take (Presentation of the gifts/Offertory), thank (Eucharistic Prayer, that is, Preface to Doxology), break (breaking of the bread) and give (Holy Communion). And when we receive Holy Communion, we receive his Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of our sins and for our salvation!

The second reading also tells us that whenever we eat the bread and drink the cup we are proclaiming his death until he comes! That is, whenever we eat the bread and drink the cup we are proclaiming his saving death until he comes again, when all will be saved! Again, the Eucharist makes present, real and effective, here and now, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world!

Tonight we also commemorate the institution of the priesthood. In the short account of the institution of the Eucharist, Jesus mentioned twice, once over the bread and once over the cup, to do it in memorial of him. In this double command to do it in memorial of him, Jesus instituted the priesthood to celebrate the Eucharist. We need a priest to celebrate the Eucharist, the Sacraments and the Liturgy.

I am happy and thankful to note that we have three candidates from our parish undergoing formation in the seminary to be priests! As we enter the Church we have the statue of St. John Vianney (patron saint of parish priests) on the left side of the church door to inspire our young men to be priests! Let us continue to pray for our priests and to pray for our seminarians and to pray for more young men to become priests.

Tonight we also commemorate the commandment to love. The gospel acclamation from John tells us to love one another as Jesus loved us! The gospel itself also from John tells us how Jesus loved us. The gospel tells us that when Jesus was at supper with his disciples, he took off his outer garment, wrapped a towel round his waist, poured water onto a basin and washed the feet of his disciples! Jesus Master and Lord became servant and slave to his disciples! And he told his disciples to imitate his example and to wash one another’s feet!

But more importantly, the gospel tonight is symbolic of Jesus washing away our sins with his blood on the cross, washing away our sins with the Holy Spirit of his death and resurrection, and washing away our sins with the waters of Baptism, the waters of the Holy Spirit! (CSB; HCSB) We are therefore to imitate Jesus not only in his love and service, but also in his suffering and sacrifice for the sanctification and salvation of the whole world!

After this homily we will do the “washing of feet” which is symbolic of Jesus love and service, and more importantly, symbolic of Jesus washing away our sins with his blood on the cross! After that we will celebrate the Eucharist in which Jesus will wash away our sins with his blood! Thus the consecration of the cup:

“Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.”

And thus this extract from the Preface of tonight’s Mass (Preface I of the Most Holy Eucharist):

“As we eat his flesh that was sacrificed for us, we are made strong, and, as we drink his Blood that was poured out for us, we are washed clean.”

After this Mass there will not be any dismissal. The dismissal will only be given after the Easter Vigil. After this Mass there will be a transfer of the Holy Eucharist to a place of reposition, symbolizing the Lord being taken away for crucifixion. At the place of reposition we will spend some time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, symbolizing spending our time with the Lord in his agony in the Garden.

In the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament we also thank the Lord for instituting the Eucharist in memorial of him, that is, to make him present, real and effective, here and now!

Tomorrow is Good Friday. It is a day of fasting and abstinence. That is, those over 14 years of age are to abstain from eating meat, and those over 16 and under 60 years of age are to fast, that is, eating only one full meal for the day. A blessed Triduum to all of you! Amen!

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 28th January 2018

Theme: JESUS THE TEACHER OF LOVE WITH POWER TO EXORCISE THE DEVIL OF SIN AND DEATH

  • Deuteronomy 18:15-20;
  • Psalm 94 (95): 1-2. 6-9. R/ v. 7f;
  • 1 Corinthians 7:32-35
  • Mark 1:21-28

Today is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about Jesus the teacher. The gospel today tells us that Jesus teaches something new and with authority behind it. He has the authority and power even to exorcise the devil of sin and death.

The Devil brought sin and death into the world through Adam. Jesus the new Adam has the power to exorcise the devil of sin and death. Jesus is also the new Moses who teaches the new law of love with the power to overcome sin and death! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’” (Mk 1:27; SM)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. In the first reading Moses tells the people of Israel that God will raise up for them a prophet like Moses himself and that they must listen to him. Christians see in this future prophet the “Messiah-Prophet”, the “second Moses” (NJB), the new Moses, Jesus Christ! (NJBC)

Again, Jesus Christ, the new Moses teaches the new law of love with the power to overcome sin and death. The old Moses teaches the old law. The old law is without power to overcome sin and death! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Moses said to the people: ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet like myself, from among yourselves, from your own brothers; to him you must listen.’” (Dt 18:15; SM)

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

“O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.” (Ps 94 (95): 7f; SM)

The responsorial psalm is a call to worship and obedience. (HCSB) The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas are a call to worship God the creator and savior/shepherd. The third stanza is a call to obedience, that is, to listen to God! (CSB; NJBC) Thus the third stanza from which the response is taken:

“O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert when your fathers put me to the test; when they tried me, though they saw my work.’” (Ps 94 (95): 7-9; SM)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday. The second reading is a continuation of the second reading of last Sunday. Again, in the second reading, St. Paul was mistaken to think that the end of the world was imminent, that is, in his own lifetime! (HCSB; NJBC; IBC)

In the second reading, St. Paul tells the men who are not married not to marry so that they can devote all their time to God. A married man has to divide his time between God and his wife. St. Paul also tells the women who are not married not to marry so that they can devote all their time to God. A married woman has to divide her time between her husband and God. Thus we read in the second reading:

“An unmarried man can devote himself to the Lord’s affairs, all he need worry about is pleasing the Lord; but a married man has to bother about the world’s affairs and devote himself to pleasing his wife: he is torn two ways. In the same way an unmarried woman, like a young girl, can devote herself to the Lord’s affairs; all she need worry about is being holy in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has to worry about the world’s affairs and devote herself to pleasing her husband.” (1 Co 7:32-34; SM)

Although the end of the world is not imminent, the second reading is still relevant to us, especially for priests and religious brothers and sisters! Priests and religious brothers and sisters do not marry so that they have more time for God!

Today in the Eucharist we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us listen to the new teaching of Jesus on love and the Holy Spirit will help us teach the new teaching of Jesus on love with the power to overcome sin and death! A happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you! Amen!

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Theme: IN BAPTISM JESUS BECAME THE SON OF GOD, THE SUFFERING SERVANT OF GOD, AND THE LAMB OF GOD

  • Isaiah 49:3. 5-6
  • Psalm 39:2. 4. 7-10. R. v. 8. 9
  • 1 Corinthians 1:1-3
  • John 1:29-34

Today is the Second Sunday of the Year. Last Sunday we celebrated the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and the last day of Christmastide. Today too the gospel tells us about the Baptism of the Lord and the beginning of the Lord’s mission and ministry.

The gospel tells us that when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon him and he became “the Chosen One of God”, the Son of God, the Servant of God, the Suffering Servant of God, the Sacrificial Lamb of God who takes way the sin of the world! In this way he was to baptize with the Holy Spirit!

After his baptism, and after receiving the Holy Spirit, Jesus not only became “the Chosen One of God”, the Son of God, but he also became the Servant of God, the Suffering Servant of God, and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! In this way, that is, in the way of his life of service, suffering, death, and resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he baptized with the Holy Spirit!

The first reading is from Isaiah. It is the second of 4 songs of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh (God). Though the word suffering is not mentioned in this reading, it is important to remember that Jesus was not only a servant of God, but he was also a suffering servant and lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

The first reading tells us that the suffering servant of God suffers and sacrifices not only for the salvation of Israel, but also for the salvation of the whole world! “It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel; I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth”! (Is 49:6)

Why all the nations? Because all the nations, irrespective of nationality, race, religion, culture, color, etc., need the salvation of God, that is, his love, mercy, and forgiveness!

The responsorial psalm today is a thanksgiving psalm. The responsorial psalm tells us that we do not thank God only by worship and animal sacrifice, but we also thank God by being obedient to him and doing his will! And the will of God is that we proclaim his saving justice (NJB), that we do not close our mouths, but that we open our mouths and proclaim his salvation! (CSB/NAB)

“Your justice I have proclaimed in the great assembly. My lips I have not sealed; you know it, O Lord”! (Ps 39:10)

Again, it is important to note that the word “justice” is not to be understood only as “fair play” or “legal equity”, but also as saving justice and salvation!

 

The second reading is from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. The second reading tells us that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ send us grace and peace! Again, it is all grace, favor, and blessing! We have heard it all in the gospel, the first reading, and the responsorial psalm! It is all grace! How can it be otherwise! It is not the Law! It is grace! We do not deserve it!

Peace! Again, as we have been told in the gospel of Luke at Christmas Midnight Mass, that it is not the peace of Caesar Augustus, who brought peace (absence of war) to the Roman Empire through political, economic, and military power, but the peace of Jesus Christ, who brought peace to the world by becoming the servant of God, the suffering servant of God, and the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

  Jesus Christ brought peace to the world through his service, suffering, death and resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins! The peace of Jesus Christ is not only an “absence of war”, but it is also the love, mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, and salvation of God!

 In Baptism, we also received the Holy Spirit, and like Jesus Christ, we also became the sons/daughters of God, the servants of God, the suffering servants of God, the lambs of God who take away the sin of the world!

In Eucharist, we celebrate his death and resurrection, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will continue to give us his Holy Spirit, so that we will grow as sons and daughters of God, as servants of God, as suffering servants of God, and as lambs of God who take away the sin of the world, so that we will grow in the Holy Spirit and “baptize with the Holy Spirit”!

Amen!

1st February 2015 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Theme: JESUS THE TEACHER OF LOVE WITH POWER TO EXORCISE THE DEVIL OF SIN AND DEATH

  • Deuteronomy 18:15-20;
    Psalm 94 (95): 1-2. 6-9. R/ v. 7f;
    1 Corinthians 7:32-35
    Mark 1:21-28

Today is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about Jesus the teacher. The gospel today tells us that Jesus teaches something new and with authority behind it. He has the authority and power even to exorcise the devil of sin and death.

The Devil brought sin and death into the world through Adam. Jesus the new Adam has the power to exorcise the devil of sin and death. Jesus is also the new Moses who teaches the new law of love with the power to overcome sin and death! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’” (Mk 1:27; SM)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. In the first reading Moses tells the people of Israel that God will raise up for them a prophet like Moses himself and that they must listen to him. Christians see in this future prophet the “Messiah-Prophet”, the “second Moses” (NJB), the new Moses, Jesus Christ! (NJBC)

Again, Jesus Christ, the new Moses teaches the new law of love with the power to overcome sin and death. The old Moses teaches the old law. The old law is without power to overcome sin and death! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Moses said to the people: ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet like myself, from among yourselves, from your own brothers; to him you must listen.’” (Dt 18:15; SM)

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

“O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.” (Ps 94 (95): 7f; SM)

The responsorial psalm is a call to worship and obedience. (HCSB) The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas are a call to worship God the creator and savior; the shepherd. The third stanza is a call to obedience, that is, to listen to God! (CSB; NJBC) Thus the third stanza from which the response is taken:

“O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert when your fathers put me to the test; when they tried me, though they saw my work.’” (Ps 94 (95): 7-9; SM)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday. The second reading is a continuation of the second reading of last Sunday. Again, in the second reading, St. Paul was mistaken to think that the end of the world was imminent, that is, in his own lifetime! (HCSB; NJBC; IBC)

In the second reading, St. Paul tells the men who are not married not to marry so that they can devote all their time to God. A married man has to divide his time between God and his wife. St. Paul also tells the women who are not married not to marry so that they can devote all their time to God. A married woman has to divide her time between her husband and God. Thus we read in the second reading:

“An unmarried man can devote himself to the Lord’s affairs, all he need worry about is pleasing the Lord; but a married man has to bother about the world’s affairs and devote himself to pleasing his wife: he is torn two ways. In the same way an unmarried woman, like a young girl, can devote herself to the Lord’s affairs; all she need worry about is being holy in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has to worry about the world’s affairs and devote herself to pleasing her husband.” (1 Co 7:32-34; SM)

Although the end of the world is not imminent, the second reading is still relevant to us, especially for priests and religious brothers and sisters! Priests and religious brothers and sisters do not marry so that they have more time for God! 

Today in the Eucharist we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us listen to the new teaching of Jesus on love and the Holy Spirit will help us teach the new teaching of Jesus on love with the power to overcome sin and death! A happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you!