29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 20th Oct 2019

Theme: PRAY CONTINUALLY AND PERSISTENTLY THAT YOU MAY NOT LOSE YOUR FAITH AND LOSE YOUR GOD

  • Exodus 17:8-13;
  • Psalm 120. R/ cf. v. 2;
  • 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
  • Luke 18:1-8

Today is the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us about prayer. The gospel today tells us to pray persistently that we may not lose our faith! (CSB; IBC) Thus the first and the last sentence of the gospel:

“Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. …. And the Lord said, ‘But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?’” (Lk 18: 1 & 8b; SM)

The question is: “will he find any faith on earth?” The answer is: “he will find faith on earth if we pray continually and persistently!” Not only pray, but pray persistently!

The gospel tells us about the parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow. The gospel tells us that the unjust judge had no fear of God or respect for man; but more importantly, the gospel tells us that the persistent widow kept on demanding justice from the unjust judge until he gave her justice!

The emphasis of the gospel is not on the unjust judge, nor even on God who answers our prayers; but the emphasis is on the persistent widow! In short, the gospel today tells us to pray continually and persistently that we may not lose our faith!

If we lose our faith, we lose God, and if we lose God, we lose everything, including the most important things, that is, love, life and happiness! We lose the God of Jesus Christ, that is, love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!

Thus the gospel tells us to pray continually, persistently and perseveringly, so that we will not lose our faith, so that we will not lose the God of Jesus Christ, and so that we will find love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation! So that we will find love, life and happiness!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us to pray persistently! (CCB) The first reading tells us that Joshua was fighting the Amalekites, but more importantly, the first reading tells us that Moses was praying for Joshua! And as long as Moses arms were raised in prayer, Joshua was at an advantage, but as soon as Moses lowered his arms out of tiredness, Joshua was at a disadvantage! Moses’ arms had to be supported by Aaron and Hur until Joshua defeated the Amalekites! Thus we read:

“As long as Moses kept his arms raised, Israel had the advantage; when he let his arms fall, the advantage went to Amalek.” (Ex 17: 11; SM)  

The first reading tells us to pray persistently and continually so that we will win the fight even against the Devil himself!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God is our guard and guardian! (CSB) Thus the response:

“Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.” (Ps 120: 2; SM)

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first stanza tells us that the Lord is our guard and guardian (vv. 1-2)! The second stanza tells us that the Lord will guard our every step (vv. 3-4)! The third stanza tells us that the Lord will guard us day and night (vv. 5-6)! The fourth stanza tells us that the Lord will guard our every movement (vv.7-8)!

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but today is also “Mission Sunday” or “World Mission Day”! The second reading follows the theme of “Mission Sunday”! Thus we read in the second reading:

“Before God and before Christ Jesus who is to be judge of the living and the dead, I put this duty to you, in the name of his Appearing and of his kingdom: proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it.” (2 Tm 4:1-2; SM)

Pope Francis also has a message for us for “World Mission Day 2013”! Excerpts:

“The proclamation of the Gospel is part of being disciples of Christ and it is a constant commitment that animates the whole life of the Church. Missionary outreach is a clear sign of the maturity of an ecclesial community.” (No. 1)

“Each community is therefore challenged, and invited to make its own, the mandate entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles, to be his ‘witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8) and this, not as a secondary aspect of Christian life, but as its essential aspect: we are all invited to walk the streets of the world with our brothers and sisters, proclaiming and witnessing to our faith in Christ and making ourselves heralds of his Gospel.” (No. 2)

“I would like to encourage everyone to be a bearer of the good news of Christ and I am grateful especially to missionaries, to the priests, men and women religious and lay faithful – more and more numerous – who by accepting the Lord’s call, leave their homeland to serve the Gospel in different lands and cultures.” (No. 5)    

Today we thank God for the gift of faith and we ask God to help us pray persistently so that we will not lose our faith! We also ask God to help us share our faith with others by proclaiming the Good News, so that all may have faith and so that all may be saved! God bless you! 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!

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!

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!