31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 3rd Nov 2019

Theme: JESUS THE SAVIOR SEEKS OUT AND SAVES THE LOST SINNER

  • Wisdom 11:22-12:2;
  • Psalm 144:1-2. 8-11. 13-14. R/ cf. v. 1;
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:11- 2:2
  • Luke 19:1-10

Today is the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus the Savior seeks out and saves the lost sinner! In other religions man seeks God; but in Christianity, God seeks man! Because the Christian God is a God of love!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus invited himself to stay with Zacchaeus at Zacchaeus’ house! More importantly, the gospel tells us that Zacchaeus was converted by Jesus, so much so that he promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and if he had cheated anyone he will pay him back fourfold! After his conversion, Zacchaeus practiced Justice and Charity! There can be no Peace without Justice and there can be no Justice without Charity! Most importantly, the gospel today tells us that Jesus the Savior seeks out and saves the lost sinner! Thus we read in the gospel:

“For the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.” (Lk 19:10; SM)

The gospel today reminds us of the parable of the lost sheep where the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine sheep to look for the one lost sheep! (Lk 15:4) This also reminds us of what Nicky Gumbel said in the Alpha Course, that is, even if you are the only one in the world Jesus will still die for you! Thus the Gospel Acclamation today:

“God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16; SM)  

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that the Lord loves us and saves us! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Yet you are merciful to all, because you can do all things and overlook man’s sins so that they can repent. …. Little by little, therefore, you correct those who offend, you admonish and remind them of how they have sinned, so that they may abstain from evil and trust in you, Lord.” (Ws 11:23. 12:2; SM)    

The first reading also tells us that the Lord does not only love and save sinners, but the Lord also loves, preserves and provides for his creation! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Yes, you love all that exists, you hold nothing of what you have made in abhorrence, for had you hated anything, you would not have formed it. And how, had you not willed it, could a thing persist, how be conserved if not called forth by you? You spare all things because all things are yours, Lord, lover of life, you whose imperishable spirit is in all.” (Ws 11:24-12:1; SM)

The New Jerusalem Bible notes that, “Never before had the universality of God’s compassion for sinners, and the decisive role of love in the creation and preservation of beings been expressed with such force or in dialectical form.”

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm gives praise to God for his love and compassion towards his creation and invites the whole community and the whole of creation to praise God for his love and compassion towards his creation!

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first stanza from which the response is taken gives praise to God (vv. 1-2). The second stanza tells us that we praise God because he is loving and compassionate towards his creation (vv. 8-9). The third stanza invites the whole community and the whole of creation to praise God (vv. 10-11). And the fourth stanza echoes the second stanza in which we praise God for his love and compassion, especially towards the weak and afflicted (vv. 13-14). (HCSB)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something important to tell us. The second reading tells us that St. Paul prayed for the Thessalonians so that they will live their Christian life of faith in a God of love, and of loving one’s neighbor, even in times of persecution! (2 Th 1:3-4; IBC) Thus we read in the second reading:

“We pray continually that our God will make you worthy of his call, and by his power fulfill all your desires for goodness and complete all that you have been doing through faith; because in this way the name of our Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified in you and you in him, by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Th 1:11-12; SM)

Today we also pray that we may live our Christian life of faith in a God of love, and of loving our neighbor, even in times of persecution!

The second paragraph of the second reading tells us not to be deceived by predictions of the Parousia, that is, the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must not be preoccupied with the Parousia, but we must be preoccupied with living our Christian life of faith in a God of love, and of loving our neighbor, even in times of persecution!

Today we thank God for his love in Creation (Father), for his love in Salvation (Son), and for his love in Sanctification (Holy Spirit)! And we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit so that we can continue to love God in faith and love our neighbor in good works, even in times of persecution! God bless you! Amen!

4th Sunday of Easter (C) – 12th May 2019 (Good Shepherd Sunday/Vocation Sunday)

Theme: THE GOOD SHEPHERD KNOWS, LOVES AND SACRIFICES HIMSELF FOR HIS SHEEP

  • Acts 13:14. 43-52;
  • Psalm 99 (100): 1-3. 5. R/ v. 3;
  • Apocalypse (Revelation) 7:9. 14-17
  • Jn 10:27-30 

Today is the 4th Sunday of Easter, Liturgical year C. Today is also Good Shepherd Sunday/Vocation Sunday! The gospel today tells us about Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd. To begin with, the gospel today taken from John chapter 10 on the Good Shepherd is a commentary on John chapter 9 on the “Bad Shepherd”, that is, the Pharisees who excommunicated the cured blind man from the synagogue! (CSB)

The Gospel Acclamation today tells us that the Good Shepherd knows his sheep and his sheep know him, that is, the Good Shepherd knows and loves his sheep and his sheep know and love him! (Jn 10:14; NJB) To know is to love and to love is to know! We cannot love someone we do not know!

The gospel today tells us that the Good Shepherd gives eternal life to his sheep, and his sheep will not be lost, and no one can steal his sheep from him! That is, the Good Shepherd through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit gives eternal life to his sheep! That is why his sheep will not be lost and no one can steal his sheep from him!

The gospel also tells us that the Good Shepherd and the Father are one! That is, the Good Shepherd lives in love and unity with the Father; the Good shepherd is in communion, communication and community with the Father! In fact the Good Shepherd shares in the very divine nature of the Father!

The second reading also tells us about the Good Shepherd. The second reading tells us that the Lamb of God who was slain and sacrificed and who washed away our sins with his blood is the Good Shepherd! That is why he can give us eternal life! In fact, only he can give us eternal life! Thus we read in the second reading:

“They will never hunger or thirst again; neither the sun nor scorching wind will ever plague them, because the Lamb who is at the throne will be their shepherd and will lead them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Rv 7:16-17; SM)

The gospel and the second reading today tell us that the Good Shepherd knows and loves his sheep, sacrifices himself for his sheep, and is one with the Father! Let us today give thanks to God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd, and let us ask God to give us Good Shepherds who will know and love us, who will sacrifice themselves for us and who will be one with the Father in faith and prayer!

The Good Shepherd is not only for the Jews. The Good Shepherd is also for the pagans and non-Jews! Indeed, the Good Shepherd is for all the nations and for the whole world!

The first reading today tells us that the word of God, the good news, is not only for the Jews, but the word of God, the good news, is also for the non-Jews, the pagans! In fact the first reading tells us that the Jews rejected the word of God, the good news; as a result the word of God was preached to the pagans and the pagans accepted it with joy! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, ‘we had to proclaim the word of God to you first, but since you have rejected it, since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans. For this is what the Lord commanded us to do when he said:

I have made you a light for the nations, so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.’” (Ac 13: 46-47; SM)

The responsorial psalm also tells us about the Good Shepherd. The responsorial psalm is a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God our Shepherd. (HCSB) Thus the response:

“We are his people, the sheep of his flock.” (Ps 99 (100): 3; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza gives praise and thanks to God (vv. 1-2). The second stanza gives praise and thanks to God because he is our creator and shepherd (v. 3)! The third stanza gives praise and thanks to God for his goodness and faithful love (v. 5)!

Today, Good Shepherd Sunday, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, and we ask God to give us Good Shepherds who will know and love us, who will sacrifice themselves for us, and who will be one in faith and prayer with God the Father!

Today is also Vocation Sunday, today we thank God for the many priestly and religious vocations, and today we ask God to give us many more priestly and religious vocations. Today in our diocese of Sandakan, we have 7 priests and 1 bishop! Today we also have 12 seminarians in our seminary, 5 in Kota Kinabalu and 7 in Kuching. Today we thank God for our seminarians and we continue to pray for them. Today the first and second collections will be given to our Bishop for the upkeep of our seminary and our seminarians.

A happy Easter to all of you, and a happy Good Shepherd and Vocation Sunday to all of you! Amen!

Today, let us also reflect on “Evangelization” and “Pastoral Care”. The two themes are related. In evangelization we proclaim the good news, so that others may believe and be baptized! In pastoral care we continue to love and care for the baptized!

In fact these two themes were present in the longer form of the gospel of last Sunday (Jn 21:1-19; SM; Faley; Brown)! In the shorter form of the gospel of last Sunday, Peter was presented to us as the fisherman, the fisher of men, to catch men for God, that is, evangelization; but the longer form of the gospel presented Peter to us as the shepherd who feeds Jesus’ sheep, that is, pastoral care!

Today the first reading also tells us about evangelization, and the second reading and the gospel tell us about pastoral care!

Three weeks ago on Easter Vigil Night many of our brothers and sisters received the three sacraments of Christian Initiation, namely, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist! We need to continue to love and care for them! We need to invite them to be with us in the Alpha Course, the Prayer Meetings, the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), the Bible-Sharing Groups, the Legion of Mary, etc.!

Most importantly, parents and godparents must make sure that our newly baptised and confirmed attend Mass every Sunday! The shepherds must make sure that the sheep eat and drink every Sunday! Again, a happy Good Shepherd Sunday to all of you!  Amen!

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 26th August 2018

Theme: WE BELIEVE JESUS IS THE REVELATION OF GOD AND WE BELIEVE IN THE REAL PRESENCE OF JESUS IN THE EUCHARIST

  • Joshua 24:1-2. 15-18;
  • Psalm 33 (34):2-3. 16-23. R/ v. 9;
  • Ephesians 5:21-32
  • John 6:60-69

Today is the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The gospel today is a continuation of the gospel of the past four Sundays. The gospel is on John chapter six on the bread of life.

Jesus Christ is the bread of life, that is, Jesus Christ is the revelation of God in his teachings, in his person and life, in his words and actions, and especially in his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! And this we celebrate in the Eucharist!

The gospel of the first three Sundays on John chapter six was on Jesus as the revelation of God. The gospel of last Sunday was on the Eucharist! And the gospel today which ends John chapter six is on faith and belief!

The gospel today tells us that many of the disciples of Jesus did not believe in Jesus. They did not believe that he was the revelation of God and they did not believe in the Eucharist. (NJBC; IBC; CCB) They stopped following Jesus!

But more importantly, the gospel today tells us that Peter who represented the Twelve believed in Jesus! They believed Jesus was the only one who could give eternal life! No one else could give eternal life!

In fact the words of Peter echoed the words of Jesus himself: “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe.” (Jn 6:68-69; SM) Earlier on in the gospel today Jesus said: “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (Jn 6:63; SM)

It is important to note that those who did not believe in Jesus in today’s gospel were not the Jews; but they were the Christians, the followers of Jesus, the disciples of Jesus, members of the Christian community, members of John’s community! (NJBC)

Today too many have left the Catholic Church because they do not believe in Jesus. They do not believe that Jesus is the revelation of God and they do not believe in the Eucharist!

But more importantly, you and I believe in Jesus as the revelation of God and you and I believe in the Eucharist! We believe in the “real presence” of Jesus in the Eucharist! We believe only Jesus can give us eternal life. No one else can give us eternal life! Thus the gospel acclamation: “Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life: you have the message of eternal life.” (cf. Jn 6:63. 68; SM) Thus again, the gospel today: “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe.” (Jn 6:68-69; SM)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Joshua and his household chose to serve the Lord their God. And more importantly, the first reading tells us that Israel also chose to serve the Lord their God. And most importantly, because it was the Lord their God who brought them out of Egypt, who protected them on their journey to the Promised Land and who helped them conquer the Promised Land!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps 33 (34):9; SM) That is, experience (CCB) and see that the Lord is good! Israel’s faith is based on Israel’s experience of God!

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for the deliverance of the just from trouble! (CSB; HCSB) The responsorial psalm has five stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 2-3; SM) is a thanksgiving. The second, third, fourth and fifth stanzas (vv. 17-23; SM) are the deliverance of the just from trouble. Thus again, the response: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” That is, experience and see that the Lord is good!

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells us that husbands must love their wives and sacrifice themselves for their wives just as Jesus Christ loved his Church and sacrificed himself for his Church!

The second reading tells us that wives must love their husbands and serve their husbands just as the Church loved Jesus Christ and served Jesus Christ!

The second reading tells us of the meaning of Genesis 2:24: “a man must leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one body.” (Ep 5:31; SM) That is, husbands and wives become one body in love, service and sacrifice, just as Jesus Christ is one body with the Church in love, service and sacrifice!

In the male dominated world of the Ephesians, where women were subordinated to men, the letter to the Ephesians preached equality (justice) and mutuality (love) between husbands and wives!

Today in this Mass, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, the bread of life and the revelation of God. We thank God for the Eucharist. We thank God for the gift of faith. And we ask God to increase our faith, so that we will continue to grow in faith and grow in the eternal life! We also pray God that husbands and wives be one in love, service and sacrifice, as Jesus Christ is one with his Church in love, service and sacrifice! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 5th August 2018

Theme: “WORK FOR FOOD THAT ENDURES TO ETERNAL LIFE.” 

  • Exodus 16:2-4. 12-15;
  • Psalm 77 (78): 3-4. 23-25. 54. R/ v. 24;
  • Ephesians 4:17. 20-24
  • John 6:24-35

Today is the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us not to “work for food that cannot last”, but to “work for food that endures to eternal life”!

The gospel today tells us that after being fed at “the miracle of the loaves” (Jn 6: 1-15; NJB), the people followed Jesus, but Jesus told them not to work for food that do not last, but to work for food that endures to eternal life.

More importantly, the gospel tells us that to work for food that endures to eternal life means to believe in Jesus! And when we believe in Jesus, God our Father will give us “bread from heaven”. And the bread from heaven will give life to the world!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that Jesus is the “bread from heaven” who gives life to the world! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger; he who believes in me will never thirst”. (Jn 6:35; SM)

Indeed Jesus is the “bread of life” both in word and in sacrament! Thus the “Gospel Acclamation” today:

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4; SM)     

And thus verse 54 of chapter 6 of today’s gospel:

“Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day”. (NJB)

That is why our Sunday Mass consists of two parts, namely, “the Liturgy of the Word” and “the Liturgy of the Eucharist”. The “Liturgy of the Word” gives us faith. (Rm 10:17) And when we celebrate “the Liturgy of the Eucharist” with faith and eat the body of Christ and drink his blood, the Holy Spirit will transform us into the Body of Christ!

That is why it is important that we come early for Sunday Mass to read the readings before Mass to prepare ourselves for the Mass. And that is why it is important that we listen attentively to the readings and homily during Mass and not talk or use our hand phones during Mass! And that is why it is important that after Mass we share and pray spiritually and personally on the Sunday Mass readings in our Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs)!  

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel had nothing to eat in the desert, so they grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and against God. They wanted to return to Egypt to eat meat and bread.

And more importantly, the first reading tells us that God gave them “bread from heaven”! The first reading prefigures the “bread from heaven” that Jesus gives in today’s gospel!

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

“The Lord gave them bread from heaven”. (Ps 77 (78): 24; SM)

And thus verses 23 to 25 of the responsorial psalm:

“He commanded the clouds above and opened the gates of heaven. He rained down manna for their food, and gave them bread from heaven. Mere men ate the bread of angels. He sent them abundance of food”. (SM)

Again, the responsorial psalm prefigures the “bread from heaven” given by Jesus in today’s gospel!

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again, the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells about “Renewal in Christ” (CSB), that is, to put off “the old self” and to put on “the new self”! This we did in baptism and we continue to do every Sunday in the Eucharist!

But we are happy to note that in our parish there are so many renewal movements that help us to renew ourselves in Jesus Christ! We have the Charismatic Renewal, the Prayer Meetings, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the Bible-Sharing Groups, the Alpha Course, the Divine Mercy, etc.! All these renewal movements help us renew ourselves in Jesus Christ!

Today in this Mass, we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ, the food of eternal life! And we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we may be renewed in his Son Jesus Christ! A happy and holy Sunday to all of you! Amen!

2nd August 2015 – 18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Theme: “WORK FOR FOOD THAT ENDURES TO ETERNAL LIFE.”

  • Exodus 16:2-4. 12-15;
  • Psalm 77 (78): 3-4. 23-25. 54. R/ v. 24;
  • Ephesians 4:17. 20-24
  • John 6:24-35

Today is the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us not to “work for food that cannot last”, but to “work for food that endures to eternal life”!

The gospel today tells us that after being fed at “the miracle of the loaves” (Jn 6: 1-15; NJB), the people followed Jesus, but Jesus told them not to work for food that do not last, but to work for food that endures to eternal life.

More importantly, the gospel tells us that to work for food that endures to eternal life means to believe in Jesus! And when we believe in Jesus, God our Father will give us “bread from heaven”. And the bread from heaven will give life to the world!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that Jesus is the “bread from heaven” who gives life to the world! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger; he who believes in me will never thirst”. (Jn 6:35; SM)

Indeed Jesus is the “bread of life” both in word and in sacrament! Thus the “Gospel Acclamation” today:

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4; SM)

And thus verse 54 of chapter 6 of today’s gospel:

“Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day”. (NJB)

That is why our Sunday Mass consists of two parts, namely, “the Liturgy of the Word” and “the Liturgy of the Eucharist”. The “Liturgy of the Word” gives us faith. (Rm 10:17) And when we celebrate “the Liturgy of the Eucharist” with faith and eat the body of Christ and drink his blood, the Holy Spirit will transform us into the Body of Christ!

That is why it is important that we come early for Sunday Mass to read the readings before Mass to prepare ourselves for the Mass. And that is why it is important that we listen attentively to the readings and homily during Mass and not talk or use our hand phones during Mass! And that is why it is important that after Mass we share and pray spiritually and personally on the Sunday Mass readings in our Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs)!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel had nothing to eat in the desert, so they grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and against God. They wanted to return to Egypt to eat meat and bread.

And more importantly, the first reading tells us that God gave them “bread from heaven”! The first reading prefigures the “bread from heaven” that Jesus gives in today’s gospel!

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

“The Lord gave them bread from heaven”. (Ps 77 (78): 24; SM)

And thus verses 23 to 25 of the responsorial psalm:

“He commanded the clouds above and opened the gates of heaven. He rained down manna for their food, and gave them bread from heaven. Mere men ate the bread of angels. He sent them abundance of food”. (SM)

Again, the responsorial psalm prefigures the “bread from heaven” given by Jesus in today’s gospel!

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again, the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells about “Renewal in Christ” (CSB), that is, to put off “the old self” and to put on “the new self”! This we did in baptism and we continue to do every Sunday in the Eucharist!

But we are happy to note that in our parish there are so many renewal movements that help us to renew ourselves in Jesus Christ! We have the Charismatic Renewal, the Prayer Meetings, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the Bible-Sharing Groups, the Alpha Course, the Divine Mercy, etc.! All these renewal movements help us renew ourselves in Jesus Christ!

Today in this Mass, we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ, the food of eternal life! And we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we may be renewed in his Son Jesus Christ! A happy and holy Sunday to all of you!