25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 22nd September 2019

Theme: SERVE GOD, NOT MONEY: PRACTICE SOCIAL JUSTICE AND CHARITY TOWARDS THE POOR

  • Amos 8:4-7;
  • Psalm 112:1-2. 4-8. R/ cf. vv. 1. 7;
  • 1 Timothy 2:1-8
  • Luke 16:10-13 (Shorter Form)

Today is the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us to serve God and not to serve money, that is, to practice social justice and charity towards the poor!

The first reading tells us to practice social justice towards the poor. The first reading is from the prophet Amos. Amos was a prophet of social justice! Amos was a prophet in the 8th century BC when the Northern Kingdom of Israel was very rich! But the riches of Israel belonged to the rich and powerful people. More than that, the rich and powerful people oppressed and exploited the poor and the weak people. In short, the rich and powerful people practiced social injustice towards the poor and weak people. The prophet Amos preached against social injustices! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Hear this, you who trample on the needy to do away with the weak of the land. You who say, ‘When will the new moon or the Sabbath feast be over that we may open the store and sell our grain? Let us lower the measure and raise the price; let us cheat and tamper with the scales, and even sell the refuse with the whole grain. We will buy up the poor for money and the needy for a pair of sandals.’ Yahweh, the pride of Jacob, has sworn by himself, ‘I shall never forget their deeds.’” (Am 8: 4-7; CCB)   

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm praises God who raises up the poor! Thus the response:

“Praise the Lord, who raises the poor.” (cf. vv. 1. 7)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza gives praise to God (vv. 1-2). The second stanza exalts and elevates God (vv. 4-6). And the third stanza tells us that God raises up the poor (vv. 7-8). (NJBC) Thus the third stanza from which the response is taken:

“From the dust he lifts up the lowly, from the dungheap he raises the poor to set him in the company of princes, yes, with the princes of his people.” (vv. 7-8)       

The gospel today tells us to practice charity towards the poor and the weak! Our late Pope, Blessed John Paul II, tells us that social justice is not good enough; we must also practice charity towards the poor. Thus we read in the last verse of the long form of the gospel today:

“And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity.” (Lk 16: 9; SM)  

The gospel today also tells us that we cannot be the slave of both God and money, that is, we have to serve God and not serve money, that is, we have to serve God by practicing justice and charity towards the poor; and not serve money by practicing injustice towards the poor, and not helping the poor. Thus we read in the gospel today:

“You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.” (Lk 16:13; SM) 

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 to pray for everyone, because God wants to save everyone! We pray because God is the Savior and we pray for everyone because God wants to save everyone! Thus the caption of the second reading:

“There should be prayers offered for everyone to God, who wants everyone to be saved.”  

Today we thank God for all his blessings, particularly the material blessings, particularly money, and we ask God to help us to practice social justice and charity towards the poor and the needy. God bless you! Amen!

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 1st Sept 2019

Theme: PRIDE IS THE GREATEST SIN; HUMILITY IS THE GREATEST VIRTUE

  • Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 3:17-20. 28-29;
  • Psalm 67 (68):4-7. 10-11. R/ cf. v. 11;
  • Hebrews 12:18-19. 22-24
  • Luke 14:1. 7-14

 Today is the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us about humility.

The gospel today tells us that when we are invited to a wedding feast we must not take the place of honor, lest someone who is more honorable than us turns up and we will have to be moved down to the lowest place. But when we are invited to a wedding feast we must take the lowest place so that when no one more honorable than us turns up we will be moved up to the place of honor!

This gospel parable tells us a very important spiritual truth, that is, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.”! (Lk 14:11; SM) That is, God humbles the proud and raises up the humble! A parallel passage is found in the same gospel of Luke in chapter 18: 9-14. It is the parable on the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.

The parable tells us that a Pharisee and a tax collector went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee prayed to himself, thanking God that he was not greedy, dishonest and adulterous, like the rest of men, particularly, he was not like the tax collector. He fasted twice a week and he gave tithes (10%) of all of his income to the Temple. The tax collector on the other hand prayed to God for mercy. The tax collector was justified but the Pharisee was not justified! Again, “For everyone who raises himself up will be humbled, but anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.” (Lk 18:14; NJB)

Indeed, pride is the greatest sin and humility is the greatest virtue! Satan (the Devil) fell from heaven because of pride (1 Tm 3:6)! (CGDB) And Satan tempted Adam and Eve with the Original Sin of pride; and Adam and Eve fell also because of pride! The Pharisees in today’s gospel fell also because of pride! But most importantly, the world was saved because of humility, because of the humility of Jesus Christ!

The letter to the Philippians tells us that Jesus the second Adam and the new Adam was opposite of the first Adam and the old Adam who was proud, who though a man wanted to be God! Jesus was God but he humbled himself and became man and he became lower than man by accepting death on the cross, but the Father raised him from the dead and saved the whole world through him! (Ph 2:6-9; NJB)

In the “Gospel Acclamation” today Jesus tells us: “Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” (Mt 11:29; SM) That is, carry the cross of Jesus and learn from Jesus, for he is gentle and humble in heart, that is, he depends on God the Father, he trust and believe in God his Father. He puts his faith in God his Father! A proud man on the other hand trust, believe and depend on himself. He puts his faith in himself!

Saint Augustine (354-430) was asked as to which are the three most important virtues! St. Augustine answered: “humility, humility and humility”! If we were to ask St. Augustine which are the three biggest sins, I believe he will answer: “pride, pride and pride”! Again, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.”! (Lk 14:11; SM)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that God favors the humble and he listens to the prayers of the humble (NJB), but there is no cure for the sickness of the proud! (Lefrois) Thus we read in the first reading:

“The greater you are, the more you should behave humbly, and then you will find favor with the Lord; for great though the power of the Lord is, he accepts the homage of the humble. There is no cure for the proud man’s malady, since an evil growth has taken root in him.” (Si 3:18-20. 28; SM)

The last verse (v. 28) of the above quotation – “There is no cure for the proud man’s malady” – reminds me of what Cardinal Rozales of the Philippines said in our annual priests’ retreat in “Bundu Tuhan”, Sabah some years back. He said that in order for us to be humble we need to be humbled / humiliated! We cannot humble ourselves but others can humble/humiliate us and help us to be humble! Therefore if someone humbles/humiliates you, give thanks to God! Praise the Lord!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God gives new life and home to the poor and the humble! The responsorial psalm is a hymn of praise to God who gives new life and home to the poor and the humble. (Fuller)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us to give praise to God. The third stanza tells us that God gives new life and home to the poor and the humble. (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the third stanza:

“In your goodness, O God, you prepared a home for the poor. (for the humble; NJB)

Indeed, God gives a home to the poor and the humble not only on earth, but also in heaven! (Fuller) Thus the second part of the second reading tells us about heaven! The second reading tells us that we will be in heaven with God the Father, with Jesus Christ, with the angels, with the saints, and with one another, indeed with the whole world! (NJBC; Craghan) Thus we read in the second reading:

“But what you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church in which everyone is a ‘first-born son’ and a citizen of heaven. You have come to God himself, the supreme Judge, and been placed with spirits of the saints who have been made perfect; and to Jesus, the mediator who brings a new covenant.”! (Heb 12:22-24; SM)

Indeed, just as we fell from heaven with the pride of Satan, we will go to heaven with the humility of Jesus!

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 be humble, to depend on God, to trust in God and to put our faith in Go d our Father! The Holy Spirit will help us to pray so that like Jesus Christ, all our actions will come from the Father and go back to the Father!Amen!

Holy Thursday – Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper – 18th Apr 2019

Theme: THE EUCHARIST MAKES PRESENT, REAL AND EFFECTIVE THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD!

  • Exodus 12:1-8. 11-14;
  • Psalm 115:12-13. 15-18.
  • R/ cf. 1 Corinthians 10:16;
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
  • John 13:1-15

This evening we celebrate Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. This evening we commemorate three principal mysteries, that is, the institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood, and the commandment to love!

The gospel today tells us about the washing of the feet of the disciples by Jesus. Unlike the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, the gospel of John does not have the institution of the Eucharist; instead it has the washing of the feet of the disciples by Jesus! The washing of the feet of the disciples by Jesus is the meaning of the Eucharist!

The gospel today tells us that when they were at supper, Jesus got up from the table, took off his outer garment, wrapped a towel round his waist, poured water into a basin and washed the disciples’ feet and dried them with the towel.

When he had finished washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus put on his clothes and went back to the table. And he told his disciples that though he was their Lord and Master, yet he washed their feet. They were therefore to follow him and wash one another’s feet! That is, they were to love and serve one another!

But more than that, the dialogue of Jesus with Peter in today’s gospel tells us of the symbolic meaning of the gospel, that is, Jesus does not only wash our feet, but more importantly, Jesus also washes away our sins with the waters of Baptism, that is, he washes away our sins with the Holy Spirit! And Jesus continues to wash away our sins with the blood of the Eucharist, that is, the blood of the cross, every Sunday! (HCSB; IBC; CSB; CCB)

In other words, Jesus does not only love and serve, but he also suffers and sacrifices for the sanctification and salvation of the world! And he told us to follow him and do the same! But how can we do the same? We can do the same with the help of the Holy Spirit!

That is why before his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world, Jesus instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood to make present, real and effective his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world!

The second reading tells us about the institution of the Eucharist and of the priesthood. The second reading from the first letter to the Corinthians is the most ancient written account of the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood. It is even more ancient than the accounts in the gospels. It was written around the year A.D. 55! (CCB)

The second reading tells us that in instituting the Eucharist, Jesus did four things: (i) He took the bread. (ii) He thanked God for the bread. (iii) He broke the bread. (iv) He gave the bread.

Tonight in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we will do the same four things that Jesus did in the institution of the Eucharist: (i) We will take the bread (Offertory). (ii) We will thank God for the bread (Eucharistic Prayer). (iii) We will break the bread. (iv) We will give the bread (Holy Communion)!

Most importantly, the second reading tells us that whenever we eat the bread and drink the cup we proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes! That is, whenever we eat the bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the “saving death” of the Lord (HCSB), that is, his death, resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world, until he comes again at the end of the world when all will be saved!

Again, the Eucharist makes present, real and effective the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! It is with the help of the Holy Spirit that we do what Jesus commanded us to do, that is, to love and serve, to suffer and sacrifice, and to sanctify and save the world!

Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper begins Good Friday; in fact, it begins the Easter Triduum of three days, namely, Good Friday (Crucifixion), Holy Saturday (Burial), and Easter Sunday (Resurrection)! The three days are but one celebration! That is why there is no dismissal on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The dismissal will only be given after the Easter Vigil. That is why we have to come for all the three days! We shall now proceed with the “washing of the feet” and the Eucharist! A happy and blessed Easter Triduum 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!

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 19th August 2018

Theme: WE EAT THE BODY OF THE RISEN LORD

  • Proverbs 9:1-6;
  • Psalm 33 (34): 2-3. 10-15. R/ v. 9;
  • Ephesians 5:15-20
  • John 6:51-58 

Today is the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about the bread of life. In fact, for the past four Sundays, inclusive of today, the gospel is from John chapter 6 and it tells us about the bread of life.

Jesus is the bread of life, that is, Jesus is the revelation of God the Father. Jesus is the revelation of God the Father 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 is what we celebrate in the Eucharist!

With the gospel today the Eucharistic theme emerges! The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the living bread come down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread shall live forever and the bread that Jesus gives is his flesh for the life of the world! This is the first time that the word “flesh” is used for the “bread of life”! And not only “flesh”, but also “blood”! Thus the Eucharistic theme!

The gospel today tells us that whoever does not eat the flesh of Jesus and drink his blood will not have life, but whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood has eternal life and Jesus will raise him up on the last day! For the flesh of Jesus is real food and the blood of Jesus is real drink. He who eats the flesh of Jesus and drinks his blood lives in Jesus and Jesus lives in him. And as Jesus draws life from the Father, he who eats Jesus draws life from Jesus. Jesus is the bread come down from heaven. The Jews ate bread in the desert and they are dead. Whoever eats Jesus will live for ever!

We Catholics believe in the real and effective presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We Catholics believe that the Eucharist makes real, present and effective what Jesus did two thousands years ago, that is, his death, resurrection and outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world!

That is why we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! That is why we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from the Eucharist! That is why we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from the Church. And that is why we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from God the Father and God the Son! The Holy Spirit is the love of God the Father given to us in God the Son. The love of God the Father revealed in God the Son is given to us in God the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love! “The Holy Spirit is Holy Love”! (Fr. John Reilly, SJ)

At “the Communion Rite” at Mass, the priest breaks the body of Christ and puts a piece into the blood of Christ. This symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ! (GIRM 83.2) When body and blood are separated death occurs, but when body and blood are together life occurs! In Holy Communion we eat the body of the Risen Lord! The Risen Body that can enter locked doors and be at any place at an instance! A Risen Body not limited by time and space! (Jn 20) The Risen Body that can enter the bread and change it into His Body! The Risen Body that can destroy sin and death and give us new and eternal life! It is this Risen Body that we receive in Holy Communion! And we receive it in faith! Thus the priest says “the Body of Christ” and we respond “Amen”! “Amen” is a faith response! 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Wisdom invites the foolish to eat and drink at the banquet of life. Wisdom symbolizes Jesus Christ, the foolish symbolizes sinners and the banquet of life symbolizes the banquet of life of the Eucharist! In other words, Jesus invites us sinners to the banquet of life of the Eucharist to eat his body and to drink his blood so that we may have eternal life!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. (Ps 33 (34): 9; SM) The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for deliverance. (CSB) In the context of today’s readings and liturgy, it is a thanksgiving for deliverance from death by eating the body of Christ and drinking the blood of Christ in the Eucharist! Thus again, the response: “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. This psalm was used in the early Church during the time of Holy Communion. (Fuller; Previous Sunday)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again, the second reading has something important to tell us! The second reading tells us three important things: (i) Do not be foolish, but be wise. (ii) Do not be ignorant, but know the will of God. (iii) Do not get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit by singing psalms and hymns and by giving thanks to God the Father every time and everywhere through Jesus Christ. (Vat. II SM)

The third exhortation reminds us of “AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)” and the “Twelve Steps”, where alcoholics gather together anonymously to share and pray on the “twelve steps” to be freed from their addiction by the Holy Spirit! This spiritual programme is effective not only for alcoholics, but also for gamblers, over-eaters, drug addicts, sex addicts, emotions addicts, etc. Thus besides AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), we also have GA (Gamblers Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous), SA (Sex Addict Anonymous), EA (Emotions Anonymous), OA (Over-Eaters Anonymous), etc. (HERALD, The Catholic Weekly, July 16, 2000)

Today in this Mass, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, the food of eternal life; and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we will speak no evil and do no evil, and so that we will do good and seek after peace/shalom! (Responsorial Psalm; Fourth Stanza) And so that we will be freed from all forms of addictions! (Second Reading) A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!  Amen!

The Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi (Year B) – 2nd June 2018

Theme: ONLY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST CAN PURIFY US FROM SINS 

  • Exodus 24:3-8;
  • Psalm 115 (116): 12-13. 15-18. R/ v. 13;
  • Hebrews 9:11-15
  • Mark 14:12-16. 22-26

Today we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. The readings today tell us that the blood of animals cannot purify us from sins. Only the blood of Christ can purify us from sins.

The first reading tells us about the sealing of the Sinai Covenant. The Sinai Covenant was sealed with the blood of animals. Moses poured half of the blood of the animals on the altar and half of the blood towards the people. Blood symbolizes life and purification. The pouring of half of the blood on the altar and half towards the people symbolizes union and communion with God and keeping the commandments of God. Thus we read in the first reading:

“Half of the blood Moses took up and put into basins, the other half he cast on the altar. And taking the Book of the Covenant he read it to the listening people, and they said, ‘We will observe all that the Lord has decreed; we will obey.’ Then Moses took the blood and cast it towards the people. ‘This’ he said ‘is the blood of the Covenant that the Lord has made with you, containing all these rules.’” (Ex 24:6-8/SM)

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving to God for salvation from death. (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name.” (Ps 115 (116): 13)

The second reading tells us that the blood of animals cannot purify us from sins. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can purify us from sins. The blood of animals can only purify us externally, ritually and legally, but the blood of Jesus Christ can purify us internally. The blood of Jesus Christ can purify us from sins, and save us from death, so that we serve the living God! Thus we read in the second reading:

“How much more effectively the blood of Christ, who offered himself as the perfect sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit, can purify our inner self from dead actions so that we do our service to the living God.” (Heb 9:14/SM)

The gospel tells us of the institution of the Eucharist. (NJB) Jesus Christ instituted the Eucharist to give us his body to eat and his blood to drink; to forgive our sins, to save us from death, so that we serve the living God. Thus we read in the gospel:

“And as they were eating he took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. ‘Take it,’ he said ‘this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them, ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.’” (Mk 14:22-25/SM)

Today in the Eucharist we will do the four actions that Jesus did in the institution of the Eucharist. We will take (Preparation of the Gifts/Offertory). We will bless/thank (Eucharistic Prayer). We will break (Break the Bread). And we will give (Holy Communion).

We will eat his body and drink his blood and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit to forgive our sins, and to save us from death, so that we will serve the living God!

Amen!

6th Sunday of Easter (Year B) – 6th May 2018

Theme: “LOVE ONE ANOTHER, AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.” (Jn 15:12)

  • Acts 10:25-26. 34-35. 44-48;
  • Psalm 97 (98): 1-4. R/ cf. v. 2;
  • 1 John 4:7-10
  • John 15:9-17

Today is the 6th Sunday of Easter. The readings today tell us to love one another as Jesus loved us. Jesus tells us in the gospel today to love one another as he has loved us. Jesus tells us in the gospel today: ‘As the Father has loved him so he has loved us. Remain in his love. If we keep his commandments we will remain in his love, just as he has kept his Father’s commandments and remain in his love. He has told us this so that his own joy may be in us and our joy be complete. This is his commandment: love one another, as he has loved us. A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends’.

Again, Jesus tells us in today’s gospel to love one another as he has loved us, that is, to lay down our lives for our friends. Jesus also tells us in today’s gospel that his own joy will be in us and our joy will be complete, that is, if we love as Jesus loved we will be joyful and happy as Jesus was joyful and happy. We seldom think of Jesus as being joyful and happy, but Jesus was joyful and happy. Love and joy cannot be separated, that is, if we love we will be happy, if we do not love we will not be happy. God the Father is love, that is why we call him Father; and God the Father is happy, that is why he is in heaven! Thus we read in today’s gospel:

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete. This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you. A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends’.” (Jn 15: 9–13/SM)

The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading also tells us to love one another. The second reading tells us to love one another because love is from God. And he who loves is begotten by God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God for God is love. God’s love was revealed to us when God sent his Son into the world so that we may have life through him. This is the love the second reading means: not our love for God, but God’s love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice to take away our sins. Thus we read in the second reading:

“My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love. God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him; this is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God’s love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.” (1 Jn 4: 7-10/SM)

The good news today is that this love comes to us today already fulfilled in Jesus Christ, in his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And this love will be fulfilled in us today here and now through the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus the first reading tells us about the “Pentecost of the Pagans”, that is, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the pagans. The first reading tells us of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Roman centurion Cornelius and his household and their baptism. Thus we read in the first reading:

“While Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit came down on all the listeners. Jewish believers who had accompanied Peter were all astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit should be poured out on the pagans too, since they could hear them speaking strange languages and proclaiming the greatness of God. Peter himself then said, ‘Could anyone refuse the water of baptism to these people, now they have received the Holy Spirit just as much as we have?’ He then gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Ac 10:44-48/SM)

The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love. God the Father is love, God the Son is love, God the Holy Spirit is also love. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can love as Jesus loved us, and we can lay down our lives for our friends as Jesus laid down his life for us his friends, and we can be joyful and happy as Jesus was joyful and happy!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a call to praise God. The responsorial psalm is a call to God’s people to praise God for saving Israel. (Ps 97 (98): 1-3) But the last verse of the responsorial psalm is a call to all the nations which have seen the salvation of Israel to praise and worship the God of Israel. Thus the last verse of the responsorial psalm:

“Shout to the Lord all the earth, ring out your joy.” (Ps 97 (98): 4)

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“The Lord has shown his salvation to the nations.” (Ps 97 (98): 2)

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 love one another as Jesus loved us. The Holy Spirit will help us lay down our lives for our friends as Jesus laid down his life for us his friends. The Holy Spirit will help us be happy and joyful as Jesus was happy and joyful. And the Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the Gospel (Good News) to the pagans! Amen.