The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph (Year B) – 31st December 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 22nd October 2017

Theme: THE POWER OF GOD TO SAVE AND THE POWER GOD GIVES US TO SAVE!

  • Isaiah 45:1. 4-6
  • Psalm 95 (96): 1. 3-5. 7-10. R. v. 7
  • Matthew 22:15-21

Today is the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, or 29th Sunday of the Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us of the power of God to save and the power God gives us to save!

The first reading from Isaiah tells us of King Cyrus who defeated the Babylonians and let the exiled Jews in Babylon to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple!

King Cyrus of Persia (Iran) was the most powerful king of his time (6th century BC)! He defeated the Babylonians who defeated the Jews and exiled them into Babylon in the 6th century BC!

But most importantly, the first reading tells us that God is even more powerful than the most powerful king on earth! In fact King Cyrus was only an instrument of God to free the Jews from Babylon! And King Cyrus himself did not even know that he was only an instrument of God to free the Jews from Babylon! Such is the power of God!

That is why in the response of the responsorial psalm we sang and prayed: “Give the Lord glory and power”!

That is why in the first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm (Ps 95:1. 3-5) the Israelites tell the glory of God to all the nations, so that all the nations will praise the God of Israel!

That is why in the third and fourth stanzas of the responsorial psalm (Ps 95:7-10) all the nations of the earth are called to worship the God of Israel!

All in all, all the nations of the earth are to “praise and worship” the God of Israel!

And if we are to read today’s psalm to the end, that is, up to verses 11 to 13, we find that even creation acknowledges and praises God! The heavens, that is, the stars, the Sun, the Moon, the planets, including planet earth are to praise God! Even the seas and the fishes in the sea, and the trees, etc. praise God! (CSB/NAB/NJBC)

 

The gospel today tells us of the power of God in Jesus Christ! When the Pharisees and the Herodians asked Jesus if taxes should be paid to Caesar or not, Jesus answered: “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God”! (Mt 22:21)

Like King Cyrus, Caesar was the most powerful emperor of his time, but again, God is even more powerful than the most powerful emperor! Thus, ‘give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar’ and more and most importantly, ‘give back to God what belongs to God’!

What belongs to Caesar? Taxes! What belongs to God? Good Deeds! Two Sunday ago our gospel reading was on the “parable of the wicked tenants” of the vineyard (Mt 21: 33-43) and the point of the parable was in verses 41 and 43, that is, to produce fruits of good deeds! (CSB/NAB)

The gospel today takes up the same point of good deeds! (CSB/NAB) Give back to God what belongs to God! Give back to the good God what is due to him, that is, good deeds! And indeed the early Christians did good deeds and by the year 315, the whole Roman Empire, including the emperor himself was converted to Christianity, and basilicas (royal halls) were given to the Christians to be used as churches!

Today we may criticize and complain that governments are corrupted and unjust, nations are corrupted and unjust, and with globalization, the whole world is corrupted and unjust; but if we continue to do the good deeds that the early Christians did and changed the world of their time, we will also change the world of our time!

Today in this Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us his Holy Spirit, and it is in the power of the Holy Spirit that we do good deeds and change the world! This is the Good News!

 

Amen!

 

The Most Holy Trinity (Year A) – 11th June 2017

Theme: THE HOLY TRINITY IS THE MYSTERY OF GOD’S LOVE AND UNITY

  • Exodus 34:4-6. 8-9;
  • Daniel 3:52-56. R/ v. 52;
  • 2 Corinthians 13:11-13
  • John 3:16-18

A happy and blessed Trinity Sunday to all of you! Today we celebrate Trinity Sunday, Liturgical Year A. The Holy Trinity is the mystery of God’s love and unity! Last Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, we have seen that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God’s love and unity! The Holy Spirit comes from the Trinity that is why it is the Spirit of God’s love and unity!

That is why we have to live in love and unity and build Christian communities of love and unity, so that our Church may be a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the world! The world cannot be saved by hatred and division! The world can only be saved by love and unity! We are created in the image of God – G-O-D! We are not created in the image of dog – D-O-G!

 

The first reading tells us that God is love! The first reading tells us that at the remaking of the covenant at Sinai, God revealed himself to Moses as a God of tenderness and compassion (merciful and gracious; CSB), rich in kindness (Steadfast love, HCSB; faithful love, NJB) and faithfulness! In short, God revealed himself to Moses as a God of “faithful love”! (NJB) God continues to love us even though we do not love him and God continues to be faithful to us even though we are not faithful to him! Thus we read in the first reading:

“A God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness.” (Ex 34:6b; SM)   

Indeed, the gospel today tells us that when we sinned and broke the Law, God loved us even more! He sent his Son Jesus Christ to save us, so that those who believe will be saved; but those who do not believe will not be saved, because they condemn themselves by refusing to believe! Thus we read in the gospel:

“God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved. No one who believes in him will be condemned; but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already, because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.” (Jn 3: 16-18; SM)        

But when we crucified 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 among us, in us and within us! The Holy Spirit is nearer to us than we are to ourselves, loving us more than we love ourselves (St. Augustine) and knowing us more than we know ourselves!

The Holy Spirit will continue to love us until we love God and neighbor and the Holy Spirit will continue to love us until we live in love and unity with God and with our neighbor! Then will come the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world; the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the “Parousia” in all his glory when all will be saved!

Thus the conclusion of the second reading:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Co 13:13; SM)

Or in the new translation at the greeting at the beginning of the Mass:

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

That is, through his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ graces us with the love and unity of God, that is, through his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ gives us the Holy Spirit of God’s love and unity, so that we will live in love and unity, so that we will build Christian communities of love and unity, and so that our Church will be a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world!

Today is our parish feast day! Our parish is called Holy Trinity Church (HTC)! The Holy Trinity is the mystery of God’s love and unity! The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God’s love and unity! We have to live in love and unity and build Christian communities of love and unity so that our Church may be a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world!

A happy feast day to all of you and a blessed Trinity Sunday 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!

Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year A) – 7th April 2017 (Vocation Sunday)

Theme: THE GOOD SHEPHERD HAS FAITH IN GOD, HAS LOVE, MERCY, AND FORGIVENESS FOR SINNERS, AND GIVES LIFE TO THE DEAD

  • Acts 2:14. 36-41;
  • 1 Peter 2:20-25;
  • John 10:1-10

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter! Today is also Good Shepherd Sunday and that is why the gospel reading of today is taken from the gospel of John chapter 10 on the Good Shepherd. In fact the gospels of Years A, B, and C for Good Shepherd Sunday are all taken from St. John chapter 10 on the Good Shepherd! Today is also Vocation Sunday, that is, World Day of Prayer for Vocations, particularly vocations to the priesthood and religious life! The Good Shepherd is the model of the Good Christian, particularly, the model of the Good Priest!

The gospel today tells us about the Good Shepherd, but before we look at the Good Shepherd, let us look at the bad shepherd in chapter 9 of the same gospel of John. In fact chapter 10 of John on the Good Shepherd (Jesus Christ) is a commentary on chapter 9 of John on the Bad Shepherd – the Pharisees (CSB/NAB). In chapter 10 of John, Jesus continues to attack the Pharisees who were the Bad Shepherds!

Chapter 9 of John is on the cure of the blind man and the reaction of the Pharisees to the cure of the blind man. The reaction of the Pharisees shows them to be bad shepherds, that is, they have no faith, they have no love, mercy, and forgiveness, and they cannot give life! The Good Shepherd on the other hand, has faith, has love, and can give life!

The Pharisees (bad shepherds) had no faith. They did not believe in the miracle, they did not believe in Jesus Christ. In fact they believed that Jesus Christ was a sinner! And in the words of Jesus Christ himself they were blind, they cannot see with the eyes of faith: “It is for judgment that I have come into this world, so that those without sight (the blind man) may see (faith) and those with sight (the Pharisees) may become blind”!

The Pharisees (bad shepherds) had no love, mercy and forgiveness! They only had law, judgment, and punishment! They said of Jesus Christ who cured the blind man: “That man cannot be from God: he does not keep the Sabbath (law)”! They condemned Jesus Christ for showing love, mercy and forgiveness to the man who was physically and spiritually blind on the Sabbath and thus breaking the Sabbath law of rest! Unlike and opposed to Jesus Christ, for the Pharisee, man is made for the law, not the law for man!

The Pharisees (the bad shepherds) cannot give life to the sinner and to the dead! They said to the blind man who was cured: “you a sinner through and through ever since you were born!” And they threw him out of the synagogue! They excommunicated him!

Again, the gospel today tells us, “The thief (the Pharisee) comes only to steal and kill and destroy”! (John 10:10)

The 3 readings today tell us that Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd, that is, he had faith, he had love, mercy, and forgiveness, and he gives life!

He had faith in God! The second reading from 1 Peter tells us that “He was insulted and did not retaliate with insults; when he was suffering he made no threats but PUT HIS TRUST IN THE UPRIGHT JUDGE”! (1 Peter 2:23).

He had love, mercy, and forgiveness! In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter tells the Jews on the day of Pentecost: “You must repent, and every one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”! (Acts 2:38)

Finally, Jesus Christ tells us in today’s gospel that he is the Good Shepherd who gives life: “I have come so THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE AND HAVE IT TO THE FULL”! (John 10:10).

 

The Good Shepherd is the model of the Good Priest and the Bad Shepherd is the model of the Bad Priest! A good priest has faith in God, has love, mercy, and forgiveness, and gives life! A bad priest has no faith in God, but has faith in himself, in his own goodness and good will, and in his own strength and ability! A bad priest has no love, but has only the law! A bad priest cannot give life! Faith, love, and life are connected: In faith we receive God’s love, and in love we give life!

Today is “Vocation Sunday”, and today we have a message from our late Holy Father Pope John Paul II for “World Day of Prayer for Vocations”. The following are excerpts:

“’Put out into the deep!’” (Luke 5:4). “This well-known Gospel scene can serve as the background setting of the coming World Day of prayer for Vocations, which has the theme: ‘Called to put out into the deep’. This is a special occasion for reflecting on the vocation to follow Christ and, in particular, to follow him in the priesthood and the consecrated life”. No. 1  

 “Do not forget that today too there is need of holy priests, of persons wholly consecrated to the service of God! With this in mind, I want to repeat once more: ‘There is a pressing need to implement an extensive plan of vocation promotion, based on personal contact and involving parishes, schools, and families in the effort to foster a more attentive reflection on the essential values of life. These values reach their fulfillment in the response which each person is invited to give to God’s call, particularly when the call implies the total gift of oneself and of one’s energies for the sake of the Kingdom’ (‘Novo Millennio Ineunte,’ 46).” No. 5

 “May an ardent prayer sustained by the motherly intercession of Mary, rise from every corner of the earth, to the heavenly Father to obtain “laborers for his harvest” (Matthew 9:38). May He give zealous and holy priests to every part of his flock”. No. 6

Castel Gandolfo, 11th August 2004, John Paul II.

 

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!