2nd Sunday of Lent (Year B) – 25th February 2018

Theme: THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST IS GLORIOUS: IT IS RESURRECTION AND LIFE

  • Genesis 12:1-4;
  • Psalm 32 (33):4-5. 18-20. 22. R/ v. 22;
  • 2 Timothy 1:8-10
  • Matthew 17:1-9

Today is the 2nd Sunday of Lent, Liturgical Year B, but we are using the readings of Year A, because there will be Baptism on Easter Vigil Night! Lent is a time when we prepare for Easter. Lent is a time when we prepare for the Baptism of our catechumens on Easter Vigil Night and the renewal of our own Baptism on Easter Vigil Night!

The gospel today tells us that the cross of Jesus Christ is glorious! The cross of Jesus Christ is resurrection and life! That is why today’s gospel is found immediately after Jesus predicted his passion, death and resurrection, and after he instructed his disciples to take up their crosses to follow him in order to find life!

The gospel today tells us about the transfiguration of the Lord. His face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as light! The transfiguration was not the resurrection. It was only the preview, the foreshadow and the prefigure of the resurrection. The transfiguration was to strengthen the faith of the disciples for the coming suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

The gospel also tells us that a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favor. Listen to him”. That is, Jesus is the Son of God and the Suffering Servant of God (“he enjoys my favor”, Is 42:1), listen to him, especially when he tells you about his suffering, death and resurrection!

Finally, the gospel also tells us that Jesus ordered his disciples not to tell anyone about the transfiguration for fear that the people may mistake him to be a political, nationalistic, and military messiah, or a wonder-worker and miracle-worker messiah! Jesus is much more than all that! Jesus is the suffering messiah, the crucified Christ, the suffering and crucified Savior!

Again, the gospel today tells us that the cross of Jesus Christ is glorious! The cross of Jesus Christ is resurrection and life!

In the first reading the Lord tells Abraham to leave his country, his family and his father’s house and to go to a land that the Lord will show him. And the Lord will make him into a great nation, that is, the Lord will give him many descendents and make his descendents into a great nation! And the Lord will bless him and through him, the Lord will bless all the nations! And Abraham went as the Lord told him.

During this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms; to help us leave our sins, our world, and ourselves and to go to a land that the Lord will show us. And the Lord will bless us and through us, the Lord will bless all the nations! And like Abraham, we will go as the Lord tells us!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us to put all our hope in God and in his love! Not half our hope, but all our hope; not in man, but in God; and not in his law, but in his love! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.” (Ps 32 (33): 22; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 4-5) tells us that the Lord created us out of love. The second stanza (vv. 18-19) tells us that the Lord saved us out of love. And the third stanza (vv. 20. 22) from which the response is taken tells us that we are to put all our hope in God and in his love! The word “love” appears in all the three stanzas, and in the response! 

In the second reading, Saint Paul tells Timothy to suffer for the preaching of the Good News, because Jesus Christ has destroyed death and has proclaimed life and immortality through the Good News! Thus we read in the second reading:

“With me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, …. He (Christ Jesus) abolished death, and he has proclaimed life and immortality through the Good News.” (2 Tm 1:8. 10; SM)

During this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms; to help us carry our crosses to follow Jesus, that is, to help us to die to our sins, our world, ourselves and to live for God and for neighbor! The Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms, to help us prepare for Easter. And to help us to prepare for the Baptism of our catechumens on Eater Vigil Night and the renewal of our own Baptism on Easter Vigil Night! A blessed Lent to all of you! Amen!

Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A) – 21st May 2017

Theme: JESUS GIVES US THE HOLY SPIRIT SO THAT HE WILL BE WITH US FOREVER

  • Acts 8:5-8. 14-17;
  • Psalm 65:1-7. 16. 20. R/ v. 1;
  • 1 Peter 3:15-18
  • John 14:15-21

A Happy and Blessed Easter to all of you! Today is the 6th Sunday of Easter, Liturgical Year A, and next Sunday will be Ascension Sunday and the Sunday following that will be Pentecost Sunday, that is, the coming of the Holy Spirit! Jesus ascends into heaven not to abandon us, but to send us the Holy Spirit so that he will be with us forever!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus will ask the Father to give us the Holy Spirit to be with us forever. The gospel tells us that Jesus will not leave us orphans, but just as Jesus is in the Father, we are in Jesus and Jesus is in us through the Holy Spirit. Finally the gospel tells us that not only Jesus, but Jesus with the Father will dwell in us through the Holy Spirit. These we can read from the Gospel Acclamation (Jn 14:23; CSB) and from the last verse of today’s gospel (Jn 14:21; NJB)!

God is love. God created us out of love, but when we sinned he loved us even more, he became man in Jesus Christ to save us, but when we killed him on the cross, he loved us even more, he rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit does not dwell in heaven, or on earth, but the Holy Spirit dwells in us and within us.

He is nearer to us than we are to ourselves, he loves us more than we love ourselves and he knows us more than we know ourselves. He will continue to love us until we love God, love our neighbor and love ourselves! Then will come the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when all will be saved!

 

The first reading tells us that those who received the Holy Spirit will proclaim the good news! The first reading of last Sunday tells us that the Twelve apostles chose seven men filled with the Holy Spirit to help them to distribute food so that the apostles can have more time for prayer and for proclaiming the good news!

And among the seven were Stephen and Philip! But not surprisingly, after that we never hear of Stephen or Philip distributing food, but instead we hear of them proclaiming the good news. In fact Stephen proclaimed the good news until he was stoned to death and became the first martyr!

The first reading today tells us that Philip proclaimed the good news in Samaria and the people of Samaria accepted the word of God, because they have heard or have seen for themselves the miracles Philip worked! Those possessed by evil spirits were exorcised and those who were sick were cured and the people were filled with joy!

The first reading also tells us that when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to pray for them so that they will receive the Holy Spirit! Does it mean that we do not receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism? No! Does it mean that if we are baptized only in the name of Jesus and not in the name of the Trinity we do not receive the Holy Spirit? No! Then what does it mean? It means that we have to be in “communion with the apostles”/Church! (NJBC) Peter and John represent the Twelve apostles. They represent the Church! They represent “the role of the Church in the bestowal of the Spirit”. (CSB)

 

That is why Christians who are not Catholics have to be confirmed before they are accepted into the Catholic Church and that is why Christians who are baptized only in the name of Jesus have to be baptized again in the name of the Trinity and have to be confirmed before they are accepted into the Catholic Church.

 

The second reading tells us that the good news that we proclaim is that by his death and resurrection “Christ the righteous one saved the unrighteous”! (CSB) Thus we read in the second reading:

“Christ himself, innocent though he was, had died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life”. (1 Pt 3:18; SM)

And it is all the work of God! And that is why in the responsorial psalm we give praise and thanks to God for our salvation!

 

The responsorial psalm is a hymn/prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God for our salvation! Thus the response:

“Cry out with joy to God all the earth.” or “Alleluia!”

And thus the third stanza of the responsorial psalm:

“He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the river dry-shod.” (Ps 65:6a; SM)

The third stanza summarizes the whole history of salvation of Israel by referring to the Exodus from Egypt through the Red Sea and the crossing of the river Jordan into the Promised Land! For us it summarizes our salvation by referring to our baptism and our entry into heaven!

 

God has done everything for us! What do we do? How shall we respond? The psalm tells us to respond by giving praise and thanks to Him, the first reading tells us to respond by proclaiming the good news, the gospel tells us to respond by loving Jesus and by keeping his commandments, especially the greatest commandment of loving God and neighbor, and the second reading tells us to respond by suffering for doing what is right and not by suffering for doing what is wrong. In this way we will proclaim the good news not only with our words, but also with our deeds and our lives! Again, a happy and blessed Easter to all of you! Amen!

Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A) – 14th May 2017

Theme: THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

  • Acts 6:1-7
  • John 14:1-12

Today is the 5th Sunday of Easter! Notice I did not say 5th Sunday after Easter! This is because we are still celebrating Easter! We celebrate Easter for 50 days, that is, from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday! We are now 4 weeks away from Easter Sunday and 3 weeks away from Pentecost Sunday! That is why the readings today tell us about the Holy Spirit!

The gospel today is from the Last Supper Discourse of Jesus Christ in which Jesus Christ prepares his disciples for the coming of the Holy Spirit! Next Sunday’s gospel is also from John 14 and is even more explicit on the coming of the Holy Spirit!

To understand today’s gospel we must first look at John 13, the chapter which precedes John 14! In John 13, Jesus washes the feet of the disciples, predicts the betrayal of Judas, predicts his own departure, and predicts Peter’s denial of him!

The disciples are disturbed by these predictions! That is why in today’s gospel, John 14, Jesus tells his disciples: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still and trust in me. Yes, I am departing, but not to disappear, but to go to heaven to prepare a place for you, so that where I am you may be there too’!

Then Jesus continues, ‘you know the way to where I am going’. And Thomas responds, ‘Lord, how do we know the way, when we do not know where you are going’. And Jesus replies, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me’! In other words, Jesus is the only way that leads to the Father, the only truth that leads to the Father, and the only life that leads to the Father! No one can go to the Father except through him!

In the same way, Jesus Christ is also the only way through whom the Father comes to us, the only truth through whom the Father reveals his love, mercy, and forgiveness to us, and the only life through whom the Father gives his life to us! And just as no one can go to the Father except through Jesus Christ, the Father comes to us through no one, except through Jesus Christ!

Then Jesus continues ‘if you know me you will know the Father! In fact you know the Father and you see the Father’. Then Philip says, ‘Lord, let us see the Father then we will be satisfied’. And Jesus replies, ‘Philip, have I been with you all this time and you still do not know me, to have seen me is to have seen the Father. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me and that all that I say and do, I do not do it on my own, but it is the Father who does it in me’?

And most importantly, Jesus says to his disciples, ‘if you believe in me, you will do the works that I do and you will even do greater works than me, because I am going to the Father to send you the Holy Spirit’! (NJB)

The Holy Spirit will be in the disciples of Jesus Christ in all times and places to continue to do the works of Jesus Christ! The Holy Spirit in the disciples of Jesus will not be limited by time and place! The Holy Spirit in the disciples of Jesus Christ will be in all places at all times!

That is why in the first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke emphasizes the point that Stephen is full of the Holy Spirit!

The first reading tells us that Stephen and Philip were elected among the 7 “deacons” to distribute food so that the 12 Apostles may devote their time on preaching the word, but nowhere else in the Acts of the Apostles do we hear of the 7 “deacons” distributing food, instead chapter 7 which follows chapter 6 of today’s first reading tells us that Stephen preached the Good News until they stoned him to death! And in chapter 8 of the Acts of the Apostles we hear of Philip preaching and baptizing!

Just as the 12 Apostles represent the 12 tribes of Israel, the 7 “deacons” represent the 7 “nations” of Canaan! In other words, Luke in the Acts of the Apostles tells us that the word of God is spreading from the Hebrew speaking Jews to the Greek speaking Jews!

And in fact Luke ends the first reading today by telling us that the word of the Lord continued to spread, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly, and a large group of priests were also converted to the faith!

We have proclaimed the Good News in the power of the Holy Spirit; we will now celebrate the Eucharist in the power of the Holy Spirit! In the Eucharist we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his Risen Body, and our Risen Lord will give us his Holy Spirit and will send us forth after Mass (Mission) into the world to proclaim the Good News and to Baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!

Amen!

2ND SUNDAY OF EASTER (A)(Divine Mercy Sunday/Octave Day of Easter)

Theme: GO AND ANNOUNCE THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD’S RESURRECTION SO THAT THOSE WHO BELIEVE AND ARE BAPTISED WILL HAVE THEIR SINS FORGIVEN

  • Acts 2:42-47; 
  • Psalm 117:2-4. 13-15. 22-24. R/ v. 1; 
  • 1 Peter 1:3-9
  • John 20:19-31

1. A happy and blessed Easter to all of you! Today we celebrate the Octave Day of Easter, that is, the eighth day of Easter! Easter is such a big feast that we do not celebrate it in one day, but we celebrate it in eight days! That is why all the Masses of the past week were celebrated as solemnities! And that is why we could eat meat last Friday! 

The gospel today tells us that on the day of his resurrection the Lord appeared to his disciples and said, ‘Peace be with you’, that is, Peace, Shalom, Salvation! And he showed them his hands and his side! And the disciples were filled with joy, that is, the joy of the resurrection, the joy of salvation, the joy of life! 

Again, he said to them, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you’. After saying this he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit, those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; those whose sins you retain, they are retained’. That is, ‘Go and announce the gospel of the Lord’s resurrection, so that those who believe and are baptized will have their sins forgiven; but those who do not believe and are not baptized will not have their sins forgiven’! This is the Pentecost of John’s gospel!

But more than that, the gospel does not only tell us about the sacrament of baptism, but the gospel also tells us about the sacrament of penance or reconciliation! After baptism we still commit sins, but the Lord is merciful, he continues to forgive our sins in the sacrament of penance! That is why today we also celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday! 

The second part of the gospel tells us that when the Lord appeared to the disciples, Thomas was not with them and when they told him that they have seen the Lord he refused to believe. He refused to believe until he has seen the lord and until he has put his finger into the holes that the nails have made in his hands and until he has put his hand into his side. 

Eight days later the Lord appeared to the disciples again and this time Thomas was with them. Again, the Lord said, ‘Peace be with you’. Peace, Shalom, Salvation! And the Lord invited Thomas to put his finger into the holes of his hands and to put his hand into his side and to doubt no longer but believe! 

Thomas immediately professed his faith in the Lord, ‘My Lord and my God’! And Jesus said to him, ‘You believe because you have seen me; blessed are those who have not seen me yet believe’! That is, blessed are those who have not seen me yet believe on the witness and testimony of the apostles, particularly Thomas! (Jn 17:20-23; Ac 1:8;NJB)
2. The first reading tells us about the four chief characteristics of the first Christian community! (CSB; Fuller) (i) They were faithful to the teachings of the apostles. The apostles taught them the Old Testament scriptures in the light of the Incarnation! (NJB) (ii) They shared their spiritual gifts as well as their material possessions! (iii) They celebrated the Eucharist! (iv) They prayed!

The first reading tells us about the first BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community)! That is why our BECs must also have the above characteristics, that is, the scriptures, sharing of spiritual and material gifts, Eucharist, and prayer! Thus we read in the first reading: 

“The whole community remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.” (Ac 2:42; Sunday Missal) 
3. The second reading tells us about the sacrament of baptism! (CSB; Fuller) The second reading tells us that God in his mercy has given us a new birth/life in the sacrament of baptism through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ! And this new life will only be complete, full and perfect at the second coming of Jesus Christ!

In the meantime we live in faith and love even and especially in the face of sufferings and persecutions so that our faith and love will grow until the second coming of Jesus Christ when our salvation and life will be complete, full and perfect!
4. The responsorial psalm is the same as that of Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday! The responsorial psalm is a hymn of thanksgiving for salvation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Thus the response: 

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.” or “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!” (Ps 117:1; Sunday Missal (SM))

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us to praise and thank God for his infinite love! The second stanza tells us that the Lord is our Savior! And the third stanza tells us about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Thus we read in the third stanza: 

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone.” (Ps 117:22; SM)

The New Testament sees this verse as referring to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! (Mt 21:42; Ac 4:11; CSB)

And it is all God’s work! Thus again we read in the third stanza: 

“This is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes.” (Ps 117:23; SM)

That is why we give praise and thanks to God in the response: 

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.” or “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!” 
5. Today we also celebrate “Divine Mercy Sunday”! That is why we have the picture of “Divine Mercy”! In the picture we see a red ray and a white ray of light emitting from the heart of Jesus! The red ray symbolizes the blood sacrificed on the cross and the white ray symbolizes the Holy Spirit that comes from Christ’s death and resurrection! (Jn 19:34; NJB) The red and white rays also symbolize the two most important sacraments of the Church, that is, Baptism (white) and Eucharist (red)! That is why it is most important that after baptism we have to come to Mass every Sunday to continue to receive the “divine mercy”! Today we also thank God for his divine mercy in the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II! Again, a happy and blessed Easter to all of you! Amen!

Easter Sunday (Mass of the Day)

Theme: THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST AND OUR DEATH AND RESURRECTION WITH HIM IN THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM!

  • Acts 10:34. 37-43;
  • Psalm 117:1-2. 16-17. 22-23. R/ v. 24;
  • Colossians 3:1-4
  • John 20:1-9

A Happy and Blessed Easter to all of you! Today we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and our death and resurrection with him in the sacrament of Baptism!
The gospel today tells us that the Lord has risen from the dead! The gospel tells us that Mary of Magdala went to the tomb early Sunday morning and saw that the stone had been moved away. She ran quickly to Peter and John and told them that the Lord had been taken away and that she did not know where they had put him.
Peter and John ran quickly to the tomb. John reached the tomb first, but did not go in. He bent down and saw the burial cloths on the ground. Peter reached the tomb later and went straight in and saw the burial cloths on the ground and also the cloth that covered Jesus’ head rolled up in a place by itself. John then went into the tomb and saw and believed!
The burial cloths on the ground and the cloth that covered Jesus’ head tell us that the Lord was not stolen by his disciples, but the Lord had risen from the dead; if not, the burial cloths would not be on the ground, but would be taken away, and the cloth that covered Jesus’ head would not be rolled up in a place by itself! Indeed the Lord has risen from the dead!
The first reading tells us that Peter and the Apostles were witnesses to the resurrection of the Lord! They ate and drank with him after his resurrection and they spent forty days with him after his resurrection! (Ac 10:41o; NJB)
More importantly, the first reading tells us that Peter and the Apostles proclaimed the good news of the Lord’s death and resurrection and that whoever believes in him will have their sins forgiven in his name in the sacrament of Baptism! That is why in the Bible, immediately following this first reading, is the “Baptism of the first gentiles”! (Ac 10:44-48; NJB)
The second reading tells us about the sacrament of Baptism! (Col 2:12; NJB) The second reading tells us that in Baptism we have been brought back to life with Jesus Christ and that is why we have to look for the things of heaven! Our thoughts must be on heavenly things and not on the things of the earth, because we have died with Christ and our lives are now hidden with Christ in God. But at the second coming of Jesus Christ at the “parousia”; Jesus Christ will be revealed in all his glory and we will share in the fullness of his glory! (Col 3:4b; NJB)
The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for salvation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Thus we responded three times:

“Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!” Alleluia means Praise the Lord!

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us to praise and thank God for his infinite love! The second stanza tells us that the Lord saves us from death! The third stanza tells us about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Thus we read in the third stanza:

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone.” (Ps 117:22; Mt 21:42; Ac 4:11; CSB)
And it is all God’s work! Thus we read again in the third stanza:
“This is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes.” (Ps 117:23; SM)
That is why we give praise and thanks to God in the response:
“Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!”
That is, “Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord!”
We will now renew our Baptism! We will renew our Baptism with the light of Jesus Christ! The light of the Resurrection! The light that has destroyed the darkness of sin and death! The light that has destroyed the Devil! The light that has destroyed Satan!
The light of Christ is the light of faith as opposed to unbelief which is darkness, the light of Christ is the light of life as opposed to death which is darkness, and the light of Christ is the light of good as opposed to evil which is darkness! (Jn 8:12b; NJB)
More importantly, the three themes are related! For it is in faith that we receive the new and eternal life from God and the life from God is good, because only God is good!
Most importantly, Light will overcome darkness, faith will overcome unbelief, life will overcome death, and good will overcome evil, because Jesus Christ has overcome the Devil! Jesus has overcome Satan!
And the new life that Jesus gives is even better than the old life before sin! Thus we sing in the Easter Proclamation:
“O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”
We will light our candles from the Easter candle and we will profess our faith in God by answering “I do” to six questions! The first three questions reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises; because Satan tells us not to believe in God! The second three questions profess our faith in God the Father who created the world, God the Son who saved the world, and God the Holy Spirit who continues to sanctify the world!
After that we will be sprinkled with holy water, that is, the waters of baptism, the waters of the Holy Spirit! And we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new and eternal life of Easter! A Happy and Blessed Easter to all of you! Amen!

5th Sunday of Lent (Year A)

Theme: LENT IS A TIME WHEN WE PREPARE TO DIE AND RISE WITH JESUS CHRIST TO THE NEW LIFE OF EASTER IN THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM 

  • Ezekiel 37:12-14;
  • Psalm 129. R/ v. 7;
  • Romans 8:8-11
  • John 11:1-45 (Shorter Form, John 11:3-7. 17. 20-27. 33-45)

Today is the 5th Sunday of Lent; Liturgical Year A. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and our death and resurrection with him in the sacrament of baptism!

Lent is therefore a time when our catechumens prepare for their baptism and when we who are baptised prepare for the renewal of our baptism on Easter Vigil Night!

Lent is therefore a time of repentance! Lent is therefore a time when we prepare to die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter in the sacrament of baptism!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and that anyone who believes in him even though he dies he will live! And that whoever lives and believes in him will never die!

More importantly, the gospel tells us that Martha believed in Jesus! Martha believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into the world!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that because Martha believed in Jesus, Jesus raised his brother Lazarus from the dead! Thus we read in the gospel:

“Jesus said: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

‘Yes Lord,’ Martha said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’ ….

Jesus cried in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, here! Come out!’ The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with bands of stuff and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, let him go free.’” (Jn 11:25-27. 43-44; SM)   

 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Lord will open our graves and raise us from our graves and the Lord will put his spirit in us and we will live! Thus we read in the first reading:

“And you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. And I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live. ….” (Ezk 37: 13-14a; SM)

 

The second reading tells us that if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to our mortal bodies through his Spirit living in us! Thus we read in the second reading:

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.” (Rm 8:11; SM)

 

In front of this Good News we can only respond with the psalmist in today’s responsorial psalm. Thus the response:

“With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” (Ps 129:7; SM)

Indeed, the Lord is love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!

 

During this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor; not as a punishment for our sins, but to help us to repent! To help us die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter in the sacrament of Baptism! A blessed Lent to all of you! Amen!

 

Pentecost Sunday (C) – 15th May 2016

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD’S LOVE

  • Acts 2:1-11;
  • Psalm 103 (104): 1. 24. 29-31. 34. R/ cf v. 30;
  • Romans 8:8-17
  • John 14: 15-16. 23-26

 

Today is Pentecost Sunday, Liturgical Year C! Today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love! Theologians tell us that the Holy Spirit is the perfect love between God the Father and God the Son! The perfect love between God the Father and God the Son is God the Holy Spirit!

The gospel today tells that the Holy Spirit will teach us everything and remind us of all that Jesus taught us! That is, the Holy Spirit will help us understand the teachings of Jesus and put them into practice! Jesus taught us to love one another as he has loved us:

“This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12; NJB)

The Holy Spirit will help us understand the love of Jesus and help us love one another as Jesus loved us! Thus we pray in the Gospel Acclamation:

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

The fire of the love of the Holy Spirit will burn away our sins and help us love another as Jesus loved us!

 

The first reading tells us about the day of Pentecost! Pentecost was originally an agricultural feast. It was a harvest festival! The harvest that began at the Passover-Unleavened Bread was completed at Pentecost, that is, fifty days! Our harvest festival in Sabah, Malaysia, last for the whole month of May, that is, thirty days!

Later, Pentecost became the commemoration of the giving of the Law at Sinai, and still later, Pentecost became the commemoration of the giving of the Holy Spirit, the New Law of Love, in Jerusalem! That is why like the giving of the Law at Sinai, the giving of the Holy Spirit, the New Law of Love, was also accompanied by loud sounds/noises and fire, that is, a theophany, that is, a manifestation of God!

The first reading also tells us that the good news of the love of God must be proclaimed to all the nations, because only the love of God can save the whole world! That is why the first reading tells us that all the Jews from the different nations gathered in Jerusalem heard the good news of God’s love each in their own language. St. Luke used the word “languages” instead of “tongues” to tell us about the universal mission of the Church!

Pentecost will undo what the Tower of Babel did! (Gn 11:1-9; Vigil Mass of Pentecost Sunday; First Reading) The tower of Babel divided the people because of sin! Pentecost will unite the people in the love of God!

 

The responsorial psalm tells us that the Holy Spirit is not only in salvation, but the Holy Spirit is also in creation! Thus the response:

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

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza gives praise to God for creation. (vv. 1 & 24) The second stanza from which the response is taken, tells us that without the Holy Spirit the whole of creation will die, but with the Holy Spirit the whole of creation will live! (vv. 29 & 30) The third stanza tells us that God is happy with his creation and we his creatures are happy with God our creator! (vv. 31 & 34)

 

The second reading tells us that the flesh cannot give us life, only the Holy Spirit can give us life! That is why we must not live in the flesh, but we must live in the Holy Spirit! If we live in the flesh we will die, but if we live in the Holy Spirit we will live forever and never die!

The second reading also tells us that the Holy Spirit makes us into the sons and daughters of God, calling God Father! God becomes our Father, the Church becomes our Mother. We are born in the womb (baptismal font/pool) of Mother Church through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism and we become the children of God. And Jesus becomes our brother and we become brothers and sisters of one another! What more do the Christians want?

 

Today we give thanks to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, especially in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, and we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit, especially in the Sunday Eucharist, so that we will love one another as Jesus loved us, and so that we will proclaim the good news of Jesus’ love to the whole world, and so that the whole world may love as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ! A happy Easter and a happy Pentecost to all of you!

Amen!