3rd Sunday of Easter (Year C) – 1st May 2022

3rd Sunday of Easter (Year C) – 1st May 2022

Theme: THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH TO PREACH THE GOOD NEWS FOR THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD

  • Acts 5:27-32. 40-41;
  • Psalm 29 (30):2. 4-6. 11-13. R/ v. 2;
  • Apocalypse 5:11-14
  • John 21:1-19 (Shorter Form, 21:1-14)

1. Today is the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Liturgical year C. The readings today tell us about the mission of the Church to preach the good news for the salvation of the world!

The gospel today tells us that the disciples were fishing the whole night in the Sea of Tiberias, but they caught nothing! More importantly, the gospel tells us that the Risen Lord appeared to them and instructed them to cast their net on the right side of the boat and they caught so many fish that they could not pull the net in!

The gospel also tells us that when the Risen Lord asked for some of the fish they have caught, Peter pulled in the net with 153 big fish and the net was not broken!

Finally the gospel tells us that the Risen Lord invited the disciples for breakfast. He took the bread and gave it to them and he did the same with the fish!

The gospel ends by telling us that this was the third time that the Risen Lord appeared to the disciples!

The gospel today tells us of 3 important things:

(i) That the mission of the Church is to preach the good news for the salvation of the world! That is, the mission of the Church is to be the fisher of men, to catch men for God! In the Early Church fish symbolizes the baptized Christian in the waters of baptism! (Lefrois) The boat symbolizes the Church!

More importantly, the gospel tells us that without the Risen Lord our mission will be a failure, we will not catch anything; but with the Risen Lord our mission will be a success, we will catch so many fish that we will not be able to pull the net in!

(ii) That Peter is the head of the Church, and that the mission of the Church is universal, and that though the Church is universal, it is a unity under Peter the first Pope! Thus when Risen Lord requested for some fish, it was Peter who pulled the net in, and though there were 153 large fish, the net did not break! The 153 big fish symbolizes the universal mission of the Church and the unbroken net symbolizes the unity of the Church! 

(iii) That the Risen Lord is present with us today in the Eucharist! Thus the Risen Lord took the bread and gave it to the disciples and he did the same with the fish. The Lord did the same thing at the “multiplication of the loaves” which is a symbol of the Eucharist! (Jn 6:11)

Similarly, the gospel of Luke on “the road to Emmaus” tells us that the Risen Lord is present in the Word of God, in the Eucharist and in the Community! (Lk 24: 13-35) This gospel of Luke is read on the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year A.          

The gospel ends by telling us that this is the 3rd time that the Risen Lord appeared to the disciples!

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the apostles and the Holy Spirit are the witnesses to the resurrection of the Lord! That is, the apostles filled with the Holy Spirit are the witnesses of the resurrection of the Lord! (Ac 1:8; Mt 10:20; NJB) The apostles filled with the Holy Spirit witnessed to the resurrection of the Lord by proclaiming the Good News of the resurrection even in the face of persecution and death:

“It was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and savior, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Ac 5:30-32; SM)   

3. The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for salvation! In the responsorial psalm today we praise and thank God for saving us through his Son Jesus Christ! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.” (Ps 29 (30): 2; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza praises and thanks God for salvation (vv. 2 & 4). The second stanza invites others to praise and thank God for salvation (vv. 5-6). The third stanza continues to praise and thank God for salvation (vv. 11-13). (CSB)

4. The second reading is a doxology. The second reading has two parts. In the first part the angels in heaven give glory, praise, honor and power to the Lamb of God who saved us (vv. 11-12)! In the second part the whole of creation gives glory, praise, honor and power to God the Father and to the Lamb of God (vv. 13-14)! (CSB)

Today we join the angels in heaven and the whole of creation to give glory, praise, honor and power to God the Father and to the Lamb of God for our salvation!

5. Today we thank God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we may proclaim the good news of the resurrection, so that all may believe and be baptized and be saved! A happy Easter to all of you! Amen!

2nd Sunday of Lent – 13th March 2022

2nd Sunday of Lent – 13th March 2022

*We use Readings from Year A because the church will be having Baptism on Easter Vigil.

Theme: LENT IS A TIME WHEN WE RENEW AND STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH  

  • Genesis 12:1-4;
  • Psalm 32:4-5. 18-20. 22. R/ v. 22;
  • 2 Timothy 1:8-10
  • Matthew 17:1-9

1. Today is the Second Sunday of Lent. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Particularly, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the sacrament of Baptism on Easter Vigil night!

    For those who will be baptized, Lent is a time of final preparation for baptism. But for those who are already baptized, Lent is a time to prepare to renew our baptism on Easter Vigil night!

    Lent is therefore a time for us to renew and strengthen our faith! That is why during this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor!

2. The gospel today tells us of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The Lord was transfigured. His face shone like the sun and his clothes were white as light. And a voice from the bright cloud said: This is my beloved Son. My favor rests on him. Listen to him. Listen to him, especially when he tells you about his passion, death and resurrection. (CSB) After the Transfiguration, Jesus told the disciples not to tell anyone about it until he has risen from the dead.

    The transfiguration was a preview and a prefigure of the Resurrection! The Transfiguration was to strengthen the faith of the disciples for the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. (Fuller; Lefrois; Raas)

    That is why in all the three gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the Transfiguration is placed immediately after the first prediction of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection, and immediately after Jesus’ instruction to his disciples to take up their crosses and follow him: He who saves his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake will save it!

    Again, the Transfiguration was a preview of the Resurrection, to prepare the faith of the disciples for the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   

3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us of the faith of Abraham. (NJB; CCB)

    In the first reading, God tells Abraham to leave his country, his family and his father’s house and go to a land that God will show him; and God will make him into a great nation; and God will bless him and through him God will bless all the nations of the world.

    Abraham did as God told him to do. Indeed, Abraham is a father in faith, not only for the Christians, but also for the Jews and the Muslims! Abraham was 75 years old and his wife was barren!     

4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.” (Ps 32 (33): 22; SM)

    The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us of God’s creative word. God created the whole universe through his word! The second stanza tells us that God is our savior. In fact, God is our only savior. (NJBC) The third stanza tells us that the community of faith places their hope in God. (HCSB) Thus again, the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.” (Ps 32 (33): 22; SM)  

5. The second reading tells us to preach the good news. More than that, the second reading tells us to suffer for the good news. The good news is that salvation is attained not by our good works, but by the grace of Jesus Christ! (CSB) And it is this grace of Jesus Christ that we receive in the sacrament of baptism on Easter Vigil night!

6. Again, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Particularly, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the sacrament of baptism on Easter Vigil night. Lent is therefore a time to renew and strengthen our faith. That is why in this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor. A happy Lent to all of you!

 Amen!

THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD (A, B, C) – 2nd Jan 2022

THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD (A, B, C) – 2nd Jan 2022

Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS KING, GOD AND SUFFERING SAVIOR TO ALL THE PAGAN NATIONS OF THE WORLD

  • Isaiah 60:1-6;
  • Psalm 71:1-2. 7-8. 10-13. R/ v. 11;
  • Ephesians 3:2-3. 5-6
  • Matthew 2:1-12

1. A Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you! Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, that is, the revelation of the Lord as King, God and Suffering Savior to all the pagan nations of the world!

     The gospel today tells us that the Jews rejected Jesus in the person of King Herod! But more importantly, the gospel today tells us that the pagans accepted Jesus in the persons of the wise men! But most importantly, the gospel today tells us of the revelation of the Lord as King, God and Suffering Savior to all the pagan nations of the world!

The gospel today tells us that some wise men came from the east to do homage to the infant king of the Jews! The wise men represent all the different nations of the world! That is why in our Christmas crib they are of different colors! But more importantly, the gospel tells us that they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh! The Fathers of the Church tell us that gold is a gift for a King, frankincense is a gift for a God, and myrrh which is used for embalmment and burial symbolizes a Suffering Savior! (NJB)

Thus the revelation of the Lord as King, God and Suffering Savior to all the pagan nations of the world!

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Jerusalem is the light of all the nations! The light of God’s glory! The glory of God shines on Jerusalem!

    All the nations of the world will come to the light of Jerusalem! The light of God’s glory! The glory of God shines on Jerusalem! They will bring back the exiled Jews. They will bring all the riches of the world to Jerusalem and Jerusalem will rejoice! The nations will come to Jerusalem to praise and worship the Lord!

Note that of the many gifts; only two gifts are named, that is, gold and incense (frankincense). Gold for a King and Frankincense for a God! They have come to praise and worship the Lord as King and as God!

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:

    “All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.” (Ps 71:11; SM)

The responsorial psalm tells us about the Promised King, the Davidic King, and the Messianic King!

The responsorial psalm tells us that unlike the other kings who are corrupted, the Messianic King will bring justice and peace! Peace, shalom, salvation! Thus we read:

“In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails.” (Ps 71:7; SM)  

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first (vv. 1-2), second (vv. 7-8) and fourth (vv. 12-13) stanzas tell us that the Messianic King will bring justice and peace! Peace, shalom, salvation! The third stanza (vv. 10-11) tells us that all the kings of the world will bring him gifts and will come and worship him, because unlike other kings who are corrupted, he will bring justice and peace! Peace, shalom, salvation!

4. The second reading tells us that the mystery that has been kept secret for ages has now been revealed! The mystery is that pagans now share the same inheritance as the Jews, that pagans are parts of the same body, and that the same promise is made to pagans, in Christ Jesus, through the gospel.

That is why we have to preach the gospel to the pagans, so that all pagans may share the same inheritance, so that all pagans may be parts of the same body, and so that the same promise is made to pagans in Christ Jesus through the gospel!

That is why the first duty of the Bishop is to preach the good news, the first duty of the Priest is also to preach the good news and the first duty of the Christian is also to preach the good news! That is why we end the Sunday Mass with this mission:

“Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”!

A Blessed feast day of the “Epiphany of the Lord” to all of you! Amen!

CHRISTMAS MASS AT MIDNIGHT / MASS DURING THE DAY (A, B, C)

CHRISTMAS MASS AT MIDNIGHT / MASS DURING THE DAY (A, B, C)

Theme: GOD HAS BECOME MAN, GOD HAS BECOME FOOD FOR MAN, GOD  HAS BECOME FOOD FOR SINFUL MAN

  • Titus 2:11-14 / Hebrews 1:1-6
  • Luke 2:1-14 / John 1:1-5. 9-14 (Shorter Form)

A Merry, Happy and Blessed Christmas to all of you! After Easter, Christmas is the most ancient feast day of the Church! We may say that after Easter, Christmas is the most important feast day of the Church! That is why the gospel tonight has something important to tell us! The gospel tonight tells us that God has become man, God has become food for man, and God has become food for sinful man! So that sinful man may live and not die!

The gospel tonight tells us that the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and announced to them the news of great joy that a Savior has been born to them and he is Christ the Lord! And the angel gave them this sign, that is, a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, that is, God has become man (Wrapped in swaddling clothes), God has become food for man (The manger is the place where the animals feed) and God has become food for sinful man! (The shepherds are dirty and poor and they are thieves. They are a despised trade like the prostitutes and tax-collectors) Note the importance of the sign. It is mentioned twice in tonight’s gospel and mentioned a third time in tomorrow’s gospel at the Christmas Mass at Dawn!

The gospel also tells us that suddenly an army of heavenly angels appeared with the angel and they praised God singing:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favor”. (Lk 2:14; Sunday Missal (SM))  

That is, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace, shalom, salvation to men who enjoy his favor, his blessing, his grace!

It is also important to note that Saint Luke began his gospel tonight with Caesar Augustus, not only to tell us that he ordered the census, so that Joseph had to go back to Bethlehem with Mary to register there and that Jesus is a descendent of David; but also to tell us that Caesar Augustus is not God. He is not Savior and Bringer of Peace, though he had political, economic and military power and the Romans worshiped him as God, Savior and Bringer of Peace! Saint Luke wants to tell us that Jesus Christ is God, Savior and Bringer of Peace, Shalom, Salvation! And he does this by his favor, blessing and grace!

2. The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that God’s grace has been revealed and has made salvation possible and has taught us that we must give up everything that does not lead us to God. We are to give up all our worldly ambitions. And we are to be self-restrained and live good and holy lives. In short, we are to do good until the second coming of Jesus Christ when we will be blessed!

More importantly, the second reading tells us that through his sacrifice, that is, through his death and resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit he has given us the strength to do good until his second coming!

Theme: GOD REVEALS HIMSELF IN CREATION, GOD REVEALS HIMSELF IN OTHER RELIGIONS AND GOD REVEALS HIMSELF FULLY, COMPLETELY AND PERFECTLY IN JESUS CHRIST

3. Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord is all about revelation! That is why Christmas season begins today at Christmas and ends with the Baptism of the Lord. The gospel and the second reading for the Mass during the Day, that is, the Mass for Christmas Day tell us that God reveals himself in creation! That is why we have to protect the environment! God created us in his image to be the co-creators and stewards of his creation! God alone is the Master and Lord of creation!

Human beings are the apex, highpoint and peak of creation! That is why besides protecting the environment we have also to dialogue with philosophy, science and culture! That is why our priests spend two years studying philosophy and three years studying theology and that is why our Church continues to dialogue with science and culture!

The gospel and second reading for the “Mass During the Day” also tell us that God reveals himself in other religions, particularly in Judaism! That is why we have to dialogue with other religions, particularly with Islam!

But most importantly, the gospel and the second reading for Christmas Day Mass tell us that God reveals himself fully, completely and perfectly in his Son Jesus Christ! That is why we have to proclaim the good news so that all may believe and so that all may be saved! Thus the gospel concludes:

“The Word was made flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth”. (Jn 1: 14; SM)

“Full of grace and truth”, that is, full of love and faithfulness! God loves us even when we do not love him and God is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to him! God saved us by his faithful love in his Son Jesus Christ!

 Again, a Merry, Happy and Blessed Christmas to all of you! Amen!

Christ the King (Year B) – 21st November 2021

Christ the King (Year B) – 21st November 2021

Theme: JESUS CHRIST, UNIVERSAL KING OF LOVE, LIFE, JOY, JUSTICE AND PEACE

  • Daniel 7:13-14;
  • Psalm 92 (93): 1-2. 5. R. v. 1;
  • Apocalypse 1:5-8
  • John 18:33-37

1. Today is the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year B, and today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. We celebrate the feast of Christ the King at the end of the liturgical Year because we believe that at the end of time Jesus Christ will come again as king of the universe. He will establish his kingdom here on earth completely, fully and finally! The readings today tell us that Jesus Christ will come a second time as king of the universe, but the readings also tell us that the kingdom of Jesus Christ is very different from the other kingdoms of the world!

    The gospel today tells us that his kingdom is not of this world. His kingdom is not of power and might, wealth and money, fame and name, but his kingdom is a kingdom of love, life, joy, justice and peace! Or as the “Preface” of today’s Mass says: “an eternal and universal kingdom: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace”!

    The gospel also tells us that Jesus came to bear witness to the truth. The truth is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ revealed to us that God is not law, justice, punishment and damnation, but God is love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation! Jesus Christ bore witness to the truth by his life, passion, death, resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! (LeFrois, Fuller, Craghan)

2. The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, and the First-born from the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. He bore witness to the truth until his death and resurrection, and he is now the King of kings! The second reading also tells us that he loves us, and has washed away our sins with his blood, and made us kings and priests to serve God our Father! To him, then, be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

    More than that, the second reading tells us that he will come a second time on the clouds, and all will see him, including those who killed him, and all the nations of the world shall mourn over him, that is, mourn over his death. (CCB) The second reading tells us that this is the truth! Amen!             

3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading from the prophet Daniel tells us that Jesus Christ will come a second time on the clouds, and God the Father will confer on him kingship and glory. And all the nations of the world will serve him. His kingdom will have no end, nor can it be destroyed!

4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God will come as king at the end of time! (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed.”! (Ps 92 (93): 1)

    The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us that God is the king of the world. (Ps 92 (93): 1-2) The third stanza tells us that his decrees are eternal. (Ps 92 (93): 5/NJBC)    

5. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We eat his body and drink his blood, and the risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Spirit will help us believe and trust that at the end of time Jesus Christ will come a second time to be the king of the universe. He will establish his kingdom completely, fully and finally!

    The Holy Spirit will help us to build the kingdom of God here on earth! A kingdom of love, life, joy, justice and peace! Or as the “Preface” of today’s Mass says: “an eternal and universal kingdom: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace”!

    The Holy Spirit will help us build the kingdom of God here on earth, by building Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) of love and unity, as a sign and sacrament of salvation for the world! Amen! 

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 7th November 2021

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 7th November 2021

Theme: DEPEND ON GOD FOR OUR MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL SUSTENANCE

  • 1 Kings 17:10-16;
  • Psalm 145 (146): 7-10. R/ v. 2;
  • Hebrews 9:24-28
  • Mark 12:38-44

1. Today is the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us to depend on God for our material and spiritual sustenance. The Gospel Acclamation today tells us that the poor in spirit are blessed and the kingdom of God belongs to them!

The poor in spirit are the materially poor, the spiritually poor, and most importantly, they are those who depend in God for their material and spiritual sustenance! Thus the Gospel Acclamation:

“How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:3; SM)

Our religious sisters, brothers and priests take the vow of poverty, not because poverty is good, not even because they want to help the poor, but because they want to depend on God for their material and spiritual sustenance! They believe that God will provide! They believe in providence! They have great faith! Let us renew our faith so that we too may have great faith!

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” (Mt 6:33; CSB)

That is, seek first the kingdom of love, justice and peace and his salvation, and all these other things will be given to you as well! 

2. The gospel today tells us that a widow gave all she had and all she had to live on to the Temple treasury! Indeed she was very very generous! She was more generous than the rich who gave much more. Although she gave only two small coins, she gave all that she had and all that she had to live on! She gave her whole life to the Temple treasury!

But more importantly, she was a widow of great faith. She depended on God for her spiritual and material sustenance! (CSB) She prefigured Jesus Christ who depended on God for his material and spiritual sustenance until his death, resurrection and the salvation of the whole world!   

3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us of another widow – in a man’s world, widows have no power or money! The first reading tells us that a widow shared her last meal with the prophet Elijah. After that she and her son will die of hunger because there will be nothing left to eat. Indeed the widow was very very generous. She shared all that she had to live on with the prophet Elijah.

But more importantly, she was a widow of great faith. (CCB) She depended on God for her spiritual and material sustenance! And because of her great faith the Lord rewarded her with food and life. She and her son were not to die of hunger. She and her son will have food to eat and will live! Thus the first reading tells us,

“The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as the Lord had foretold through Elijah.” (1 K 17: 16; SM)

4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us to trust in God and to depend on God, because he is a God who gives justice to the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, sets prisoners free, gives sight to the blind, protects the stranger, helps the widow and the orphan, etc.! (CSB; HCSB) Thus we read in the responsorial psalm:

“It is the Lord who is just to those who are oppressed. It is he who gives bread to the hungry, the Lord, who sets prisoners free. It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind, who raises up those who are bowed down. It is the Lord who loves the just, the Lord, who protects the stranger. The Lord upholds the widow and orphan.” (Ps 145 (146): 7-9; SM)

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“My soul, give praise to the Lord.” (Ps 145 (146): 2; SM)    

5. The second reading is a continuation of the second readings of the past few Sundays. Again, the second reading compares the Levitical priesthood of the Jews in the Old Testament with the priesthood of Jesus Christ in the New Testament:

(i) The Levitical priesthood has its sanctuary on earth made by human beings, but the priesthood of Jesus Christ has its sanctuary in heaven where God is!

(ii) The Levitical priest offers sacrifices of blood of animals every year on the Day of Atonement, but Jesus Christ offered himself as a sacrifice once and for all!

(iii) The Levitical priest will not come a second time at the Parousia, but Jesus Christ will come a second time at the Parousia to reward with salvation all who are waiting for him!

6. Again, today in this Mass, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church makes present, real and effective, the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our salvation and again today in this Mass, we receive the Holy Spirit to help us to depend on God for our material and spiritual sustenance! A happy and holy Sunday to all of you! Amen!     

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 26th September 2021

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 26th September 2021

Theme: WE MUST WORK WITH ONE ANOTHER FOR THE SAKE OF JESUS AND FOR THE SAKE OF GOD HIS FATHER

  • Numbers 11:25-29;
  • Psalm 18 (19): 8. 10. 12-14. R/ v. 9;
  • James 5:1-6
  • Mark 9:38-43. 45. 47-48

1. Today is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that we must not be jealous of one another or compete with one another, but we must be tolerant (be inclusive; Faley) towards one another and work with one another for the sake of Jesus and for the sake of God His Father!

The gospel today tells us that John complained to Jesus that there was a man who cast out devils in Jesus’ name and John tried to stop him, because he did not belong to the company of Jesus. But Jesus told John not to stop him, because he who works a miracle in Jesus’ name will not speak ill of Jesus. Those who are not against Jesus are for Jesus!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Joshua told Moses to stop two men from prophesying, because the two men did not belong to the company of the seventy elders who received the spirit of Moses. But Moses told Joshua not to be jealous because of him. In fact Moses wished that all the people received the spirit and became prophets!

These two readings tell us that we must not be jealous of one another or compete with one another, but we must tolerate one another and work with one another for the sake of Jesus and for the sake of God His Father!

Within our Catholic Church we have many groups, communities, apostolate, ministries, movements, etc., with different gifts and charisms of healing, miracles, exorcism, teaching, preaching, praying, counseling, catechizing, evangelizing, etc.! We must not be jealous of one another or compete with one another, but we must work with one another for the sake of Jesus and God His Father.

Within the Christian Churches too we have different denominations with different organizations, structures, ministries, gifts, charisms, etc. Again, we must not be jealous or compete with other Christian denominations, like the Anglicans, Methodists, Basel, etc., but we must learn from them and work with them for Jesus and for God our Father.

Within the religious communities too, we have different religions, like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. Again, we must not be jealous of one another or compete with one another, but we must tolerate one another and work with one another to overcome “secularism”, “individualism” and “relativism”!

“Secularism”, that is, atheism, that is, people do not believe in God anymore! “Individualism”, that is, people are individualistic, they think of themselves only, they do not think of others. They are selfish. “Relativism”, that is, there are no absolute truths; all truths are relative. I have my truth and you have your truth; I do not believe in God and you believe in God. Absolute truths of Religions have been reduced to relative truths of cultures!  

But we believe in absolute truths, that is, we believe in God and we believe that God is love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation! This is the absolute truth!

2. The second part of the gospel tells us that we must not cause scandal, that is, we must not cause others to sin. (NJBC) The gospel tells us that if our eye, hand or foot causes others to sin, we must cut them off! It is better to enter heaven with one eye, one foot and one hand than to have the whole body cast into hell! (IBC; CCB) That is, we must not cause scandal; we must not cause others to sin, even if it means making sacrifices!  

3. The response of the responsorial psalm and the first stanza tell us that the law is good, because it gives happiness to the heart, life to the soul, and wisdom to the simple! Thus the response:

“The precepts of the Lord gladden the heart.” (Ps 18 (19):9; SM) 

And thus the first stanza:

“The law of the Lord is perfect, it revives the soul. The rule of the Lord is to be trusted, it gives wisdom to the simple.” (Ps 18 (19):8; SM)

4. The second reading is not against riches. The “gospel of prosperity” tell us that riches are a blessing from God! But the second reading is against injustices, that is, the rich do not pay the poor their wages or the rich underpay the poor their wages. That is, the rich oppress and exploit the poor, that is, social injustice. Thus we read in the second reading:

“Laborers mowed your fields, and you cheated them – listen to the wages that you kept back, calling out; realize that the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.” (Jm 5:4; SM)   

5. Today in this Mass, we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus who suffered, died, and rose from the dead to give us the Holy Spirit. And we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we may work with one another for the sake of Jesus and for the sake of God His Father; and so that we will not cause others to sin, even if it means making sacrifices; and so that we will keep the laws of God and find happiness, life and wisdom; and so that we will practice social justice towards the poor by paying them just and living wages. A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!                                                 

Amen!  

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 1st Aug 2021

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 1st Aug 2021

Theme: “WORK FOR FOOD THAT ENDURES TO ETERNAL LIFE.”

  • Exodus 16:2-4. 12-15;
  • Psalm 77 (78): 3-4. 23-25. 54. R/ v. 24;
  • Ephesians 4:17. 20-24
  • John 6:24-35

1. Today is the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us not to “work for food that cannot last”, but to “work for food that endures to eternal life”!

The gospel today tells us that after being fed at “the miracle of the loaves” (Jn 6: 1-15; NJB), the people followed Jesus, but Jesus told them not to work for food that do not last, but to work for food that endures to eternal life. 

More importantly, the gospel tells us that to work for food that endures to eternal life means to believe in Jesus! And when we believe in Jesus, God our Father will give us “bread from heaven”. And the bread from heaven will give life to the world!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that Jesus is the “bread from heaven” who gives life to the world! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger; he who believes in me will never thirst”. (Jn 6:35; SM)

Indeed Jesus is the “bread of life” both in word and in sacrament! Thus the “Gospel Acclamation” today:

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4; SM)     

And thus verse 54 of chapter 6 of today’s gospel:

“Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day”. (NJB)

That is why our Sunday Mass consists of two parts, namely, “the Liturgy of the Word” and “the Liturgy of the Eucharist”. The “Liturgy of the Word” gives us faith. (Rm 10:17) And when we celebrate “the Liturgy of the Eucharist” with faith and eat the body of Christ and drink his blood, the Holy Spirit will transform us into the Body of Christ!

That is why it is important that we come early for Sunday Mass to read the readings before Mass to prepare ourselves for the Mass. And that is why it is important that we listen attentively to the readings and homily during Mass and not talk or use our hand phones during Mass! And that is why it is important that after Mass we share and pray spiritually and personally on the Sunday Mass readings in our Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs)! 

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel had nothing to eat in the desert, so they grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and against God. They wanted to return to Egypt to eat meat and bread.

And more importantly, the first reading tells us that God gave them “bread from heaven”! The first reading prefigures the “bread from heaven” that Jesus gives in today’s gospel!

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“The Lord gave them bread from heaven”. (Ps 77 (78): 24; SM)

And thus verses 23 to 25 of the responsorial psalm:

“He commanded the clouds above and opened the gates of heaven. He rained down manna for their food, and gave them bread from heaven. Mere men ate the bread of angels. He sent them abundance of food”. (SM)

Again, the responsorial psalm prefigures the “bread from heaven” given by Jesus in today’s gospel!

4. 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 about “Renewal in Christ” (CSB), that is, to put off “the old self” and to put on “the new self”! This we did in baptism and we continue to do every Sunday in the Eucharist!

    But we are happy to note that in our parish there are so many renewal movements that help us to renew ourselves in Jesus Christ! We have the Charismatic Renewal, the Prayer Meetings, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the Bible-Sharing Groups, the Alpha Course, the Divine Mercy, etc.! All these renewal movements help us renew ourselves in Jesus Christ!   

5. Today in this Mass, we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ, the food of eternal life! And we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we may be renewed in his Son Jesus Christ! A happy and holy Sunday to all of you! Amen!

                                                                                                                                   

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 4th July 2021

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 4th July 2021

Theme: WE ARE TO BE THE PROPHETS OF GOD TO SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD

  • Ezekiel 2:2-5;
  • Psalm 122 (123): R. v. 2;
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
  • Mark 6:1-6

1. Today is the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that we are to be the prophets of God to speak the word of God!

    In the year 2001 there was a synod of the world’s bishops in Rome on the duties of the bishop. The synod concluded that the duties of the bishop was to be prophet, priest and king, that is, to preach and teach the word of God (prophet), to celebrate the sacraments, especially the Eucharist (priest), and to build the Christian community, the Church, and the Kingdom of God (king). But of the three, the first is to preach and teach the word of God! The first is to be a prophet of God!     

    The duties of the priest is also to be prophet, priest, and king, that is, to preach and teach the word of God; to celebrate the sacraments, especially the Eucharist; and to build the Christian community, the Church, and the Kingdom of God. But again, the first duty of the priest is to preach and teach the word of God. The first duty of the priest is to be a prophet of God!

    The priest is not only a priest; he is also a prophet and a king. The “pastoral work” of the priest is not only “sacramentalization”, but also “evangelization”! Indeed, the word of God gives faith, and only with faith can we celebrate the sacraments, and when we celebrate the sacraments with faith, the risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will help us build the community of love and unity, and the community will become a sign of salvation for the world.

    Indeed, the Church is not a gasoline station or a service station where we come for baptism, marriage, and the other sacraments, etc., but the Church is a Christ centered community, that is, centered on the Word and Eucharist that the Lord has given us. And when we celebrate the Word and Eucharist, the risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will help us build a community of love and unity, and the community will become a sign of salvation for the world. The identity of the priest cannot be separated from the nature of the Church!

2. The gospel today tells us that Jesus himself was a prophet, but he was rejected by his own people. But Jesus continued preaching and teaching the word of God until his death and resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! We have to preach the word of God even in the face of opposition because it is the word of God and the word of God will prevail! Thus we read in the gospel:

    “And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mk 6: 3c-6)

3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading is on the call of Ezekiel to be a prophet to speak the word of God to a rebellious people. Again, Ezekiel had to speak the word of God even in the face of opposition because it is the word of God, and again, the word of God will prevail! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “The Lord said, ‘Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to the rebels who have turned against me. Till now they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me. The sons are defiant and obstinate; I am sending you to them, to say, “The Lord says this.” Whether they listen or not, this set of rebels shall know there is a prophet among them.’” (Ezk 2: 3-5)         

4. In order to be the prophets of God we have to rely on God, we have to depend on God, and we have to put our confidence in God. The responsorial psalm is a psalm of reliance on God. The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas are expressions of confidence in God. The third stanza asks God to save us from our persecutors. (CSB/HCSB)

    Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the second stanza: “Our eyes are on the Lord till he show us his mercy.” (Ps 122 (123): 2) And thus the third stanza of the responsorial psalm: “Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy. We are filled with contempt. Indeed all too full is our soul with the scorn of the rich, with the proud man’s disdain.” (Ps 122 (123): 3-4)

5. Incidentally, the second reading tells us that in the face of opposition and persecution St. Paul relied on God. The second reading tells us that St. Paul had a thorn in his flesh. This could mean a sickness (physical or mental), a temptation, or an opponent and persecutor. Probably it meant his opponents and persecutors. Thus the second reading tells us that in the face of opposition and persecution St. Paul relied on God. Thus we read in the second reading:

    “So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.” (2 Co 12: 9b-10)       

6. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us to be the prophets of God to speak the word of God! Amen.

                                                                                                                                  

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 20th June 2021

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 20th June 2021

Theme: JESUS CHRIST IS GOD: A GOD OF LOVE WHO BECAME MAN AND DIED FOR MEN SO THAT MEN SHOULD LIVE FOR HIM

  • Job 38:1. 8-11
  • Psalm 106:23-26. 28-31. R. v. 1
  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-17
  • Mark 4:35-41

1. Today is the 12th Sunday of the Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that Jesus Christ is God: a God of love who became man and died for men so that men should live not for themselves but for Him. And so that men should live not in the flesh but in the Spirit, and so that in Him men should become a new creation!

2. The first reading tells us that God created the sea! In the first reading God counter questions Job: ‘Were you there when I created the sea? Who are you to question my power and wisdom?’ Job’s question was: ‘Why does the good man suffer?’

    But the Church has chosen the first reading today to tell us that God created the sea! The first reading tells us that God shut the doors to the sea to control the sea. God even bundled the sea with mist and clouds as a new born baby is bundled in swaddling clothes! Again, the first reading tells us that God marked the boundaries of the sea, preventing the sea from coming over the shore!    

3. The responsorial psalm takes up the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God not only created the sea, but God is also in control of the sea! The responsorial psalm is a psalm of thanksgiving by sailors who were saved by God from the stormy sea! The Church has chosen the responsorial psalm to tell us that God is in control of the sea! Thus the responsorial psalm tells us that God sent a strong wind and the waves went up and the ships went up with the waves, and as the waves came down the ships also came down with the waves. The sailors were terrified and cried to God for help! God calmed the storm and brought the sailors safely to shore! The sailors thank God for their salvation!

4. The Church has chosen the first reading and the responsorial psalm to go with the gospel! The gospel today tells us that Jesus Christ is God because he can do the things that only God can do! He calmed the stormy sea!

    The gospel tells us that the disciples and Jesus were in a boat in the sea, when suddenly a storm broke out! The disciples were terrified and cried out to Jesus for help. Jesus woke up and clamed the stormy sea! The disciples said to one another ‘Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.’ The implicit answer to the disciples’ question is Jesus Christ is God because he can do the things that only God can do!

5. But more than that, the second reading tells us that Jesus Christ is not only God, but He is a loving God who became man to die for men so that men should live not for themselves but for Him, so that men should live not in the flesh but in the Spirit, and so that in Him men should become a new creation!

6. Today in the 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! He will give us life so that we live not for ourselves but for Him, and so that we live not in the flesh but in the Spirit, and so that in Him we become a new creation!

                                                                                                                                    Amen!