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

Theme: WE PRAY FOR ALL OUR FAITHFUL DEPARTED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 6th October 2019

Theme: FAITH: TO BELIEVE IN GOD, TO DO THE WILL OF GOD, AND TO PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS OF GOD

  • Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4;
  • Psalm 94:1-2. 6-9. R/ v.8;
  • 2 Timothy 1:6-8. 13-14
  • Luke 17:5-10

Today is the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us about faith! That is, faith is believing in God, doing the will of God and proclaiming the good news of God, so that others may also believe in God and do the will of God!

The gospel today tells us that even if our faith is as small as a mustard seed, we can tell the big mulberry tree to uproot itself and be planted in the sea and it will obey us! To uproot a big mulberry tree with deep roots and to plant it in the sea is doubly impossible! But with faith in God all things are possible! With God all things are possible!

The second part of the gospel tells us that faith is doing the will of God, that is, serving God! (NJBC; Vatican II, Sunday Missal) Thus we read at the end of the gospel today:

“So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, ‘We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.’” (Lk 17:10; SM)

Thus the first question of the YOUCAT (Youth Catechism):

“For what purpose are we here on earth?

We are here on earth in order to know and to love God, to do good according to his will, and to go someday to heaven.”

That is, what is the meaning of life? To know God, to love God, to serve God, and to be happy with God forever! To know God, that is, faith; to love God, because God is love and because God first loved us; to serve God, because we love God; and to be happy with God forever in heaven! That is the secret to happiness! That is the meaning of life!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that those who believe in God and do his will, will live, that is, will find life, love and happiness! Thus the caption of the first reading:

“The upright man will live by his faithfulness.” 

That is, the upright man who believes in God and does his will, will live!

But the first reading also tells us that those who do not believe in God and do not do the will of God will not find life!

The first reading tells us that the prophet Habakkuk questioned God as to why God was not doing anything about the injustice, the oppression, the violence, etc., in Judah and with the pagan Babylonians. (HCSB; Faley) And God answered that the unjust who practiced oppression and violence will not find life! Thus we read in the first reading:

“See how he flags, he whose soul is not at rights, but the upright man will live by his faithfulness.” (Hab 2:4; SM) 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us to be faithful to God, that is, to have faith in God and to obey God! Thus the response:

“O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.” (Ps 94:8; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us to praise and worship God who is our shepherd and savior! The third stanza from which the response is taken tells us to be faithful to God, that is, to believe in God and to do his will! (CSB; NJBC) Thus the third stanza:

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

Meribah (Hebrew), that is, to quarrel with God! Massah (Hebrew), that is, to test God! That is, do not quarrel with God and do not test God, but be faithful to God!

The second reading tells us to proclaim the good news even in the face of suffering, so that all may believe in God and do the will of God! Thus we read in the second reading:

“So you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord, or ashamed of me for being his prisoner; but with me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God.” (2 Tm 1:8; SM)

Today we thank God for the gift of faith and we ask God to increase our faith, to help us do his will and to proclaim his good news, so that others may also believe in God and do the will of God! God bless you! Amen!

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!

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 19th November 2017

Theme: PREPARE FOR THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST: DO GOOD WORKS 

  • Proverbs 31:10-13. 19-20. 30-31
  • Psalm 127:1-5. R. v. 1
  • Thessalonians 5:1-6
  • Matthew 25:14-30

Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, or the 33rd Sunday of the Liturgical Year A. As we come to the end of the Liturgical Year, the readings today tell us about the end times, the end of the world, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The readings today tell us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works!

The gospel parable tells us of a man who went abroad. Before he went abroad he gave his servants talents to trade with. To one he gave 5 talents, to another 2 talents, and to a third 1 talent. The first servant made 5 more talents, the second servant made 2 more talents, but the third servant buried his 1 talent in the ground. When the master returned after a long while, he said the servant who made 5 more talents, ‘Well done good and faithful servant, you have been faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater, come and join in your master’s happiness’! He said the same to the second servant who made 2 more talents, but to the third servant who buried his 1 talent, the master said, ‘You wicked and lazy servant’! And the master continued, ‘As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth’!

The Church has chosen the gospel reading of today to tell us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works!

It is important to note that the sin of the third servant who buried his talent is not the sin of commission, but the sin of omission! The third servant was sent to hell, not because he stole, killed, or committed adultery, but because he did nothing! He did not love, serve, and do good works! To go to heaven, it is not enough not to commit sin; we have also to love, serve, and do good works!

The first reading from the book of Proverbs is about the perfect wife! The first reading tells us that the perfect wife is an asset to her husband. Besides other housework, she also makes wool, linen cloth, spins her own thread, and makes cloth (GNB). Besides her housework, she also helps the poor and the needy! But most importantly, she is a wise woman, that is, a woman who ‘fears the Lord’! (NJB/NAB) In fact, ‘the fear of the Lord’ is the theme of the book of Proverbs, which begins with ‘the fear of the Lord’ (1:7) and ends with ‘the fear of the Lord’ (31:30)! The perfect wife is wisdom personified, the fear of the Lord personified!

The fear of the Lord is not a slavish fear, but a reverential fear, a religious fear, a devotional fear, a respectful fear, and a loving fear of loving children for their loving parents!

Again, we have to see this second reading in the context of today’s liturgical theme, that is, we have to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by ‘fearing the Lord’ and doing good deeds! In fact, we cannot do good deeds, without first fearing the Lord!

The responsorial psalm takes up the theme of the first reading, that is, ‘fear the Lord and walk in his ways’; fear the Lord and obey his will; fear the Lord and keep his commandments; fear the Lord and do not sin; fear the Lord and do good deeds! (127:1)

Again, we have to see the responsorial psalm in the context of today’s liturgical theme, that is, prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by fearing the Lord and doing good deeds!

Finally, St. Paul tells us in the second reading in his first letter to the Thessalonians that we do not know when is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We do not know the time or the day! The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be unexpected and sudden! We have always to be vigilant, watchful, awake, sober and prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

Today in this Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us His Holy Spirit to do good works to prepare for his Second Coming, so that when he comes he will say to us, ‘well done, good and faithful servants; you have been faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your Master’s happiness’!

We have often been told to ‘go to hell’, but the good news today tells us to ‘go to heaven’! Go to heaven! This is the good news!

Amen!

21st December 2014 – 4th Sunday of Advent

Theme: JESUS CHRIST WILL COME THIS CHRISTMAS, WITH US OR WITHOUT US

  • 2 Samuel 7:1-5. 8-12. 14. 16
  • Psalm 88:2-5. 27. 29.
  • Romans 16:25-27
  • Luke 1:26-38

 

Today we celebrate the 4th and last Sunday of Advent. In a few days’ time we will celebrate Christmas! Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas! As we come close to Christmas, the Church has chosen the readings of today to tell us that the promise God made to David in the first reading is fulfilled in the Gospel reading!

 

In other words, the readings today tell us of the faithful love 0f God! We may not be faithful to God, but God is always faithful to us! In the first reading today God promised King David a dynasty that will last forever! And God fulfilled his promise after one thousand years in Jesus Christ! The time between David and Jesus Christ is about a thousand years! The kings of Israel including David were not always faithful to God, but God was always faithful to them and God fulfilled his promise to Israel in Jesus Christ!

 

In fact the responsorial psalm today was written after the exile. When the kings of Israel were unfaithful to God, Israel was exiled. And when they returned from exile there were no kings for Israel. How then can God fulfill his promise? But the hymn and prayer of the psalm today is to “God the faithful”! In other words, God is faithful and God will fulfill his promise in spite of the unfaithfulness of the kings of Israel and in spite of the exile!

 

The first reading and the responsorial psalm have something very important to tell us, i.e. Jesus Christ will come this Christmas, with us or without us! If we prepare ourselves for Christmas, Jesus Christ will come, with us, but if we do not prepare ourselves for Christmas, Jesus Christ will still come, but without us!

 

The gospel reading today tells us that the promise God made to David in the first reading is fulfilled in Jesus Christ in the gospel reading. The angel Gabriel said to Mary that she will give birth to Jesus the Son of God and a descendent of David and his kingdom will last forever! Mary asked the angel how this was to come about since she was a virgin and the angel replied that the Holy Spirit will do it! And Mary responded with the famous saying ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to your word’. And the angle let her.

 

Again, it is important to know that not everyone said ‘yes’! Not everyone believed in the promise of God! Today’s gospel reading was read on last Friday, the 20″‘ of December and together with it was the first reading from Isaiah. The first reading from Isaiah contrasted the ‘No’ of king Ahaz with the ‘Yes’ of Mary. The first reading last Friday tells us that the Lord wanted to give a sign to king Ahaz, but Ahaz said ‘no’. He did not want a sign. And the Lord through the prophet Isaiah said to Ahaz, ‘I myself will give you a sign. A maiden is with child and she will soon give birth t0 a son whom she

will call Emmanuel, which means “God-is-with-us”.

 

Another person who did not believe in the promise of God is Zechariah the father of John the Baptist. We read about him in the gospel of last Thursday, the 19th of December.

 

Again, his unbelief contrasted with the belief of Mary in the gospel of the following Friday, the 20th of December, which was the same as today’s gospel. The angel Gabriel said to Zechariah that he was to be the father of John the Baptist, but he did not believe the angel. This was because Zechariah and Elizabeth his wife were both very old, too old to have a child. Zechariah was struck dumb because of his unbelief.

 

The important thing to note here is that in both Ahaz who said ‘no’ to God and Zechariah who did not believe the angel, God fulfilled his promises in spite of their unfaithfulness! God was faithful in spite of their unfaithfulness and both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ were born!

Again, the important message for us today is that Jesus Christ will come this Christmas, with us or without us! lf we prepare ourselves this Advent for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas then Jesus Christ will come, with us, but if we do not prepare ourselves this Advent for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas then he will come, without us!

 

That is why during this time of Advent, the Church asks us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas by prayer, by attending Sunday masses regularly, by attending weekday masses, by going to confession, by penance (though Advent is not a penitential season), by acts of mercy and charity, by becoming Santa Claus to the poor, the marginalized, the aged, the sick, the children, the weak, etc.!

 

A Happy Advent to all of you! Amen!