16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 21st July 2019

Theme: OUR GOOD WORKS AND SERVICES MUST COME FROM THE WORD OF GOD, FROM FAITH, AND FROM PRAYER  

  • Genesis 18:1-10;
  • Psalm 14 (15):2-5. R/ v. 1;
  • Colossians 1:24-28
  • Luke 10:38-42

Today is the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus was in the house of Martha and Mary, and Martha was busy serving. She was preparing a meal, but Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to Jesus speaking. At this Martha complained to Jesus to ask Mary to help her in her work, but Jesus chided her and told her that she was busy over many things, yet only one thing was needed and Mary had chosen the better part and it would not be taken from her!

The gospel today does not tell us that good works and services are not important, but the gospel tells us that the word of God is more important, because all our good works and services must flow from the word of God, from faith, and from prayer, in short, from God! Otherwise our services may become self-services and our good works may become empty and boring activities devoid of meaning!

Indeed the “Gospel Acclamation” today tells us to respond to the word of God with generosity and perseverance and we will bear fruit! (NJBC; CSB) Thus we read in the “Gospel Acclamation” which is taken from the explanation of the “Parable of the Sower”:

“Blessed are those who, with a noble and generous heart, take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.” (cf. Lk 8:15) 

And indeed in the “Parable of the Sower”, we are told that in spite of the devil, the persecutions and the temptations of the world, the word of God will ultimately bear fruit in abundance, that is, a hundredfold! (NJBC; CSB; IBC) Thus we read:

“And some seed fell into good soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.” (Luke 8:8; NJB)    

Again, our good works and services must come from the word of God, from faith and from prayer, that is, from God! The word of God gives faith and we respond to the word of God in prayer and God will act in and through us, in and through our good works and services!

The first reading tells us that Abraham welcomed three men, that is, the Lord and two angels! Abraham prepared a meal for them and waited on them! More importantly, the first reading tells us that the Lord promised Abraham a son in his old age!

In the context of today’s gospel where Martha welcomed Jesus into her house and Mary welcomed Jesus into her heart, the first reading tells us to welcome Jesus into our home and heart and we will receive eternal life! Jesus the word of God is spirit and life! He has the message of eternal life! (“Gospel Acclamation” of previous Sunday; cf. Jn 6:63. 68; SM) The son symbolizes eternal life! One’s life continues in the son!

The responsorial psalm is an entrance liturgy for entry into the temple. The responsorial psalm has five verses. The first verse is the question the worshipers ask the temple official, that is, what qualifications are required to enter the temple. The four verses that follow are the answer to the question, that is, the requirements.

Again, in the context of today’s gospel, the responsorial psalm tells us that when we welcome Jesus into our house and heart, like Martha and Mary, respectively, we “will live in the presence of the Lord” (Response), and we will also love our neighbor as ourselves (cf. Lev 19:18), as spelled out in the eleven moral conducts from verses two to five (IBC), that is:

(1) “Walk without fault.” (2) “Act with justice.” (3) “Speak the truth from one’s heart.” (4) “Do not slander.” (5) “Do no wrong to one’s brother.” (6) “Cast no slur on one’s neighbor.” (7) “Hold the godless in disdain.” (8) “Honor those who fear the Lord.” (9) “Keep one’s pledge.” (10) “Take no interest on a loan.” (11) “Accept no bribes against the innocent.”

Finally, in the second reading, Saint Paul tells us that he suffers for the proclamation of the word of God, that is, Jesus Christ, for the salvation of the pagans! It is a mystery hidden for ages, but is now revealed for the salvation of the pagans!

Today we thank God for the word of God, that is, Jesus Christ, and we ask God to help us proclaim his word, that is, Jesus Christ, to the whole world, so that all may believe and be saved!

Today we also thank God for all the good works, services and activities in our parish! We believe that all our good works, services and activities are from the word of God, from faith, from prayer and from God! This is because in our parish we have the Bible-Sharing Groups, the Charismatic Renewal, the Alpha Course, the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), and most importantly, the Sunday Mass! All these are centered on the word of God, on faith, on prayer and on God!

A blessed Sunday to all of you!  Amen!

6th Sunday of Easter (C) – 26th May 2019

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL HELP US UNDERSTAND THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS AND PUT THEM INTO PRACTICE

  • Acts 15:1-2. 22-29;
  • Psalm 66 (67): 2-3. 5-6. 8. R/ v. 4;
  • Apocalypse 21:10-14. 22-23
  • John 14:23-29

Today is the 6th Sunday of Easter, Liturgical year C. Next Sunday will be “The Ascension of the Lord”, and the Sunday after that will be “Pentecost Sunday”. Easter is the most important feast in the Church. It is more important than Christmas.

The Church started to celebrate Christmas only in the 4th century, but Easter was celebrated in the very first centuries. In fact, in the first three centuries there were no other celebrations except Easter! Easter is the most important feast, because at Easter we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the whole world!

The gospel today tells us that the Father will send us the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. And the Holy Spirit will teach us everything and remind us all that Jesus taught us. That is, the Holy Spirit will help us understand the teachings of Jesus and put them into practice! (BM, Opening Prayer 2)

The gospel also tells us that Jesus will give us peace through the Holy Spirit. Peace, shalom, salvation! Peace is not just the absence of war, but peace is shalom (Hebrew), that is, wholeness, well-being, completeness, soundness, lacking nothing, etc., that is salvation!

That is why the gospel tells us not to be afraid! There is nothing to fear, not even sin and death, because there is resurrection and life! A life better than the life before sin and death! In short, there is salvation!

The first reading also tells us about the Holy Spirit. The first reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is with the Church and in the Church, and that the Church teaches in and with the Holy Spirit! (Magisterium)

The first reading tells us that the Holy Spirit and the apostles taught that the Gentile Christians need not follow the Mosaic Law of the Jewish Christians, particularly the law of circumcision; but that as a compromise they have to follow the dietary laws, that is, they are not to eat food offered to idols and they are not to eat meat with blood in them; because they live with the Jewish Christians and eat with them and celebrate the Eucharist with them! They are also to avoid fornication. But for us Christians today the dietary laws symbolize the capital sins of idolatry and murder.

More importantly, the Holy Spirit does not only teach us what laws to keep or not to keep, but the Holy Spirit also helps us to do good, and to avoid evil and to overcome sin!

The responsorial psalm is a petition to God to bless Israel with a good and rich harvest, so that the nations of the world will see the blessings of God on Israel and will worship the God of Israel! Thus the response:

“Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.” (Ps 66 (67): 4)

But in the context of today’s liturgy and readings, we ask God to bless us with the Holy Spirit and with salvation, so that all the nations may see the blessings of the Holy Spirit and of salvation and worship our God! Thus the response:

“Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.” (Ps 66 (67): 4)

The second reading tells us about the New Jerusalem, that is, the Church. The second reading tells us that the New Jerusalem will come down from heaven and God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit will dwell in it. And we will not need the Temple anymore, nor the sun and the moon to light up the day and the night, because the radiant glory of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit will light up the Church and the world!

That is why today in the Church we have the Liturgy, the Sacraments, and the Sacrament of Sacraments, that is, the Eucharist/Mass! Every Sunday Eucharist/Mass is a celebration of Easter and Pentecost! Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI told the youths in one of the World Youth Days that the Sunday Eucharist/Mass is a perpetual Pentecost! In the Sunday Eucharist/Mass, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! That is why it is most urgent and most important to come to Mass every Sunday!

Today, we thank God our Father for Easter, that is, for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world; and we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we will understand the teachings of Jesus and put them into practice; and so that like Paul and Barnabas in the first reading, we will proclaim the good news of the resurrection, so that all may hear and believe and be saved; and so that like Paul and Barnabas in the first reading, we will build Christian communities of love and unity, so that all may see and believe and be saved; and so that our Church may be a communion of communities of love and unity, and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world! A happy Easter Season to all of you! Amen!

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 9th September 2018

Theme: JESUS MADE THE DEAF HEAR AND THE DUMB SPEAK SO THAT THEY CAN COMMUNICATE AND BE IN COMMUNION AND COMMUNITY WITH GOD AND MAN

  • Isaiah 35:4-7
  • Psalm 145 (146): 7-10. R/ v.1
  • James 2:1-5
  • Mark 7: 31-37

Today is the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak so that they can communicate and be in communion and community with God and Man!

The three words, communication, communion and community come from the same Latin word “communis” meaning common. (WNNCD) If there is no communication, there is no communion and community.

The deaf cannot hear and the dumb cannot speak. We cannot speak to the deaf and we cannot hear the dumb. There is no communication, communion and community. But spiritual deafness and spiritual dumbness is even worse. We cannot hear God speak to us and we cannot speak to God in prayer. And we cannot hear and speak to one another on the personal-spiritual level.

The gospel today tells us that Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak so that they can hear the word of God and speak to God in prayer; so that they can communicate with God and be in communion and community with God. And so that the spiritually deaf and dumb can hear and speak to one another on the personal-spiritual level; so that the spiritually deaf and dumb can communicate with one another and be in communion and community with one another.

That is what we do in our Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs). In our BECs we listen to God in the Sunday Mass readings and we pray to God. In our BECs we listen to one another, and we share with one another on the personal-spiritual level. We communicate with God and with one another and we are in communion and community with God and with one another!

Thus the caption of today’s gospel: “He makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”! (Mk 7:37)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading was a prophesy of the return from exile from Babylon in the sixth century B. C.

But our theme today is the deaf and dumb. The first reading tells us that the deaf will hear and the dumb will speak, that is, the spiritually deaf and dumb. This prophesy is already fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He made the deaf hear and the dumb speak so that they can communicate with God and man and be in communion and community with God and man!

Thus the caption of the first reading: “The ears of the deaf shall be unsealed and the tongues of the dumb shall be loosed.”!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a hymn of praise to God the Redeemer who saves the weak and the oppressed. (NJBC) He saves the oppressed, the hungry, the prisoners, the blind, the bowed down, the just, the stranger, the widow, and the orphan. Although the deaf and the dumb are not mentioned here, they are implied. (Fuller)

Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “My soul, give praise to the Lord.”! (Ps 145 (146): 1) My soul, give praise to the Lord for making the deaf hear and the dumb speak! (Imperative)

The second reading tells us that the Christian community must not favor the rich and discriminate against the poor. We must not give the “best seats” to the rich and tell the poor to stand or sit on the floor. We must give the “best seats” both to the rich and the poor!

In our Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), we have the rich and the poor, men and women, young and old, single and married, and peoples of different races, cultures and nationalities! In our BECs we must not favor anyone or discriminate against anyone! All are equal and mutual!

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 listen to God and speak to God in prayer and be in communication, communion and community with God.

The Holy Spirit will help us listen to one another and speak to one another on the personal-spiritual level and be in communication, communion and community with one another. The Holy Spirit will help us not favor the rich and discriminate against the poor, but to give the “best seats” to the rich and poor alike! 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!

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 6th August 2017

Theme: WE THANK GOD FOR OUR MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL FOOD AND WE SHARE OUR MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL FOOD WITH OTHERS

  • Isaiah 55:1-3;
  • Psalm 144:8-9. 15-18. R/ v. 16;
  • Romans 8:35. 37-39
  • Matthew 14:13-21

1. Today is the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that the Lord gives us material and spiritual food! The gospel today tells us that Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish and gave thanks to God and he broke the loaves and gave them to the people to eat. The people ate as much as they wanted and they collected the leftovers which filled twelve baskets! Those who ate numbered five thousand men and if we include women and children the number would have been twenty to thirty thousand! (New Jerome Biblical Commentary)
The gospel today tells us that Jesus did three important things! First, he thanked God! The prayer of thanksgiving is most important! Even before we ask God for anything, we must thank God for everything! An American Creation theologian said that if the only prayer we know is “thank you”, that is good enough! Even if we start thanking God here and now we will not finish thanking him even at the end of the world!
The word Eucharist in Greek means “thanksgiving” and in the Eucharistic Prayer we first thank God before we ask him for anything! But today there are people who not only do not thank God but they do not believe in God at all! That is why they never come to Mass at all! That is why it is important that you bring them to Mass every Sunday!
The second thing that Jesus did was to break the loaves and give them to the people to eat! That is sharing! There is enough for everyone’s need but there is not enough for everyone’s greed! That is, if we share, then there will be enough for everyone! The Youth Catechism (YOUCAT; 448) tells us that:
“God has entrusted to us a rich earth that could offer all men sufficient food and living space. Yet ….There are more than a billion people living on this earth who must make do with less than one dollar per day. They suffer from a lack of food and clean drinking water; most of them have no access to education or medical care. It is estimated that more than 25,000 people die every day from malnutrition. Many of them are children.”
The Youth Catechism tells us that we have to share! We have to practice charity and justice towards the poor and needy!
The third thing that Jesus did is expressed more explicitly in a parallel verse in John 6:12 (Mt 14:20):
“When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing is wasted.’” (New Jerusalem Bible (NJB))
Waste not, want not! Indeed it is our wasteful and greedy lifestyle that is destroying our environment today! We have to live a simple lifestyle to save our environment today! Thus Saint Pope John Paul II wrote in his Message for World day of Peace (1 January 1990):
“Modern society will find no solution to the ecological problem unless it takes a serious look at its lifestyle. … Simplicity, moderation and discipline, as well as a spirit of sacrifice, must become a part of everyday life. … .”
The gospel today also tells us that the Lord does not only give us material food, but he also gives us spiritual food! Thus the four actions of Jesus, that is, take, thank/bless, break and give, correspond to the four actions of the Eucharist, that is, take (Offertory), thank/bless (Eucharistic Prayer), break (Breaking of the Bread), and give (Holy Communion)! But our Sunday Mass has two parts, that is, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist! Thus the Gospel Acclamation today:
“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Sunday Missal (SM); Mt 4:4)
We must come to Mass every Sunday to eat the spiritual food of the Word and the Eucharist! We must not come to Mass late for the spiritual food of the Word; instead we must come to Mass early to read the Word of God before Mass!
2. The first reading today tells us that the Lord gives us spiritual food! Thus we read:
“Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come! Buy corn without money, and eat, and, at no cost, wine and milk. Why spend money on what is not bread, your wages on what fails to satisfy? Listen, listen to me and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy. Pay attention, come to me; listen, and your soul will live. With you I will make an everlasting covenant out of the favors promised to David.” (SM; Is 55:1-3)
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:
“You open wide your hand, O Lord, you grant our desires.” (SM; Ps 144:16)
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us that “the Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love” (Ps 144:8; Ex 34:6). The second stanza tells us that the Lord gives us food! Material and spiritual food! The third stanza tells us that the Lord is just and loving and he listens to our prayers!
4. The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ! That is, nothing can stop God from loving us and nothing can stop us from loving God! God first loved us that is why we love God and neighbor as we love ourselves! Thus the greatest commandment of all:
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (NJB; Lk 10:27) This is the greatest commandment because this is our salvation!
5. Today we thank God for our material and spiritual food and we ask God to help us share our material and spiritual food with others! Today we also thank God for his love and we ask God to help us love him and love our neighbor as we love ourselves! Amen!

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 16th July 2017

Theme: THE WORD OF GOD WILL BEAR FRUIT ABUNDANTLY IN SPITE OF REJECTIONS, PERSECUTIONS AND THE TEMPTATIONS OF THE WORLD 

  • Isaiah 55:10-11;
  • Psalm 64 (65):10-14. R/ Lk 8:8;
  • Romans 8:18-23
  • Matthew 13:1-9. 18-23 (Shorter Form)

Today is the 15th Sunday of the Year, Liturgical Year A. Today is also “Bible Sunday” for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. The readings today tell us that the word of God will bear fruit abundantly, in spite of rejections, persecutions and the temptations of the world.

The gospel today tells us of the parable of the sower. The gospel today tells us that a sower went out to sow and as he sowed, some seeds fell besides the path and the birds ate them up. These are the people who reject the word of God. Some seeds fell on rocks where the soil was shallow. They took no root and when the sun rose they were scorched. These are the people who accepted the word of God, but because of persecutions they gave up. Some seeds fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked them. These are the people who at first accepted the word of God, but because of the temptations of the world, they bore no fruit. Some seeds fell on rich soil and they produced a hundred-fold, sixty-fold, thirty-fold. The usual harvest is about eight-fold. (Fuller)

Again, the gospel today tells us that the word of God will ultimately bear abundant fruit, in spite of rejections, persecutions and the temptations of the world. We are therefore to proclaim the word of God in season and out of season!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the word of God is like the rain. The rain does not return to God empty, but the rain waters the earth to make it bear fruit. The word of God does not return to God empty, but the word of God makes us bear spiritual fruits! Thus we read in the first reading:

“As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.” (Is 55:10-11; SM)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a reflection on the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us that the word of God makes us bear fruit. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop.” (Lk 8:8; SM)

The responsorial psalm tells us that God sends down rain to water the earth to make the earth bear fruit, to make the wheat grow and the flocks of sheep multiply. In the same way God sends us the word of God to make us bear fruit. Thus we read in the first and fourth stanzas of the responsorial psalm:

“You care for the earth, give it water, you fill it with riches. Your river in heaven brims over to provide its grain.

The hills are girded with joy, the meadows covered with flocks, the valleys are decked with wheat. They shout for joy, yes, they sing.” (Ps 64 (65): 10. 13b-14; SM)

Again, the word of God is like the rain. It makes us bear spiritual fruits!

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 we are intimately connected to creation, so much so that when we sin, creation also suffers the consequences, but more importantly, when we are saved, creation is also blessed.

An Australian theologian by the name of Denis Edwards tells us that we are intimately connected with creation. He tells us that we all came from the same “Big Bang” about 14 billion years ago, we all came from the same supernova about 5 billion years ago, we all came from the same biological evolution which began on earth about 4 billion years ago, and today we share the same environment.

But more importantly, he tells us that it is in human beings that creation became conscious of itself, that is, self-awareness. And it is in human beings that creation consciously and freely gives praise to God.

But when humans sinned and stop giving praise to God, creation also suffers its consequences. Today, the consequences of human sins can be seen in the destruction of creation, in the destruction of the rainforest, global warming, climate change, the destruction of other species, environmental pollution, desertification, etc.

More importantly, the second reading tells us that when humans are saved from sin, creation will also be blessed and restored to its original and pristine state!

Pope John Paul II said something similar in his “World Day of Peace” Message (1.1.1990) entitled: “Peace with God the Creator, Peace with all of Creation”.

Today is also “Bible Sunday” for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. The Regional Biblical Commission of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei has a message for us based on the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI (Verbum Domini – The Word of the Lord, 2010). We will summarize the message in 8 points:

(i) The word of God in Creation. God speaks to us in Creation.

(ii) The word of God in History. God speaks to us in the History of Israel.

(iii) The word of God in the Prophets. The Prophets help us understand the word of God.

(iv) Jesus Christ is the Word of God. Jesus Christ died, rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit.

(v) The word of God in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was given to the Church.

(vi) The word of God in the Church.

(vii) The word of God in the Living Tradition of the Church.

(viii) The word of God in the Bible of the Church.

Let us then continue to proclaim the word of God, share and pray it in BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities), share and pray it in “Bible-Sharing” groups every Monday, and celebrate it every Wednesday! Amen!

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 9th July 2017

Theme: ADAM SINNED BECAUSE OF PRIDE; JESUS THE NEW ADAM SAVED THE WORLD BECAUSE OF HUMILITY 

  • Zechariah 9:9-10;
  • Psalm 144:1-2. 8-11. 13-14. R/ v. 1;
  • Romans 8:9. 11-13
  • Matthew 11:25-30

Today is the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us about humility! Humility is the greatest virtue, because pride is the greatest sin! Adam sinned because of pride, but Jesus the New Adam saved the world because of humility! Thus we read in Philippians 2:6-8:

“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (CSB)

That is why when Saint Augustine was asked, as to which are the three greatest virtues, he answered, “humility, humility, humility”! And that is why Saint Teresa of Avila tells us that humility must be busy like a bee, it must never stop working! If humility stops, all the other virtues also stop, including the virtue of love! Thus the three theological virtues are named in this order, “faith, hope and love”! The humility of faith must come first!

The gospel today tells us that God our Father reveals the “mysteries of the kingdom” (Gospel Acclamation), not to the learned and clever; but to mere children!

The gospel also tells us that God our Father has entrusted everything to his Son, Jesus, and no one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him!

Finally, the gospel tells us that if we labor and are overburdened we must come to Jesus and Jesus will give us rest. We must shoulder the yoke of Jesus and learn from Jesus for he is gentle and humble of heart and we will find rest for our souls. Yes, the yoke of Jesus is easy and his burden light!

The gospel today tells us that we have to be like little children, we have to be like Jesus, the child and Son of God! We have to be humble! We have to depend on God our Father, we have to put our faith in God our Father and our yoke will become easy and our burden light, including the yoke and burden of the cross of love and service!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about Jesus the humble King of kings! The first reading tells us that Jesus the humble King of kings will come to us humble and riding on a donkey, but he will be victorious and triumphant over all the other kings who ride on horses and chariots and fight wars; because he will bring peace to the whole world! His kingdom will reach from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “See now, your king comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will banish chariots from Ephraim and horses from Jerusalem; the bow of war will be banished. He will proclaim peace for the nations. His empire shall stretch from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.” (Zc 9:9b-10; SM) 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm gives praise to Jesus our Divine King! Thus we respond:

“I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.” (Ps 144:1; SM)

The responsorial psalm also tells us about Jesus our Divine King in stanzas two and four. Thus we read:

“The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love. How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures”. (Ps 144:8-9; SM)

“The Lord is faithful in all his words and loving in all his deeds. The Lord supports all who fall and raises all who are bowed down.” (Ps 144:13-14; SM) 

The second reading tells us that we must be interested in spiritual things because the Spirit of God is in us. The second reading also tells us that the Spirit in us will give life to our mortal bodies. Finally, the second reading tells us that with the help of the Spirit we must therefore stop sinning and live!

But how do we receive the Holy Spirit? Again, we receive the Holy Spirit by becoming humble, by becoming like little children, by becoming like Jesus the child and Son of God, by becoming dependent on God our Father, by putting our faith in God our Father; and our yoke will become easy and our burden light, even the yoke and burden of the cross of love and service, suffering and sacrifice, sanctification and salvation will become easy and light! Amen!