3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 23rd January 2022

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 23rd January 2022

Theme: JESUS CHRIST WILL FULFILL THE LAW OF GOD IN US

  • Nehemiah 8:2-6. 8-10;
  • Psalm 18 (19): 8-10. 15. R/ Jn 6:63;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 (Shorter Form, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14. 27)
  • Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

1. Today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us about the Law of God. The Law of God is good, because it gives life and happiness! But the Law of God is very hard to keep and all of us break the Law of God. That is why we cannot find life and happiness. But the good news is that the Law of God comes to us today fulfilled in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ will fulfill the Law of God in us, so that we can find life and happiness!

The first reading tells us that Ezra the priest read the Law of God to the Israelites and they were all weeping, because the Law of God was very hard to keep and they have all broken the law of God. (NJBC; HCSB) But Ezra told them not to weep, but to be joyful, because the day was sacred to the Lord! Thus we read in the first reading:

“And Ezra read from the Law of God, translating and giving the sense, so that the people understood what was read.

Then Nehemiah – His Excellency – and Ezra, priest and scribe (and the Levites who were instructing the people) said to all the people, ‘This day is sacred to the Lord your God. Do not be mournful, do not weep.’ For the people were all in tears as they listened to the words of the Law.

He then said, ‘Go, eat the fat, drink the sweet wine, and send a portion to the man who has nothing prepared ready. For this day is sacred to our Lord. Do not be sad: the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.’” (Ne 8:8-10; SM)   

2. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Law of God is good because it is spirit and life. It gives life and happiness! (HCSB) Thus the response:

“Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life.” (Jn 6:63; SM)

And thus the first and second stanzas:

“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. The precepts of the Lord are right, they gladden the heart. The command of the Lord is clear, it gives light to the eyes.” (Ps 18 (19): 8-9; SM)

3. The gospel today tells us that the Law of God comes to us today fulfilled in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ will fulfill the Law of God in us through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will help us keep the Law of God, so that we can find life and happiness! Thus in the Gospel today Jesus Christ reads “The Good News of Deliverance” (HCSB) from the prophet Isaiah:

“The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor.” (Is 61:1-2; Lk 4:18-19; SM) “The Lord’s Year of favor”, that is, “the time of God’s salvation”! (CSB; Is 61:1f)

More importantly, the gospel today concludes with theses words of Jesus Christ:

“This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.” (Lk 4:21; SM)

4. That is why we come to Mass every Sunday. Every Sunday at Mass, we make present, real and effective the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will help us keep the Law of God, so that we will find life and happiness! 

5. The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again the second reading has something important to tell us! The second reading tells us that we are all different parts of the one body of Christ. We were all baptized in the one Spirit and we all drink the one Spirit in the Eucharist!

Though we may belong to different groups and communities or received different spiritual gifts, we are all parts of the body of Christ. Therefore we must not compete with one another or be jealous of one another, but we must work together for the glory of God and for the good of the community! Thus we read in the second reading:

“Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptized, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

Nor is the body to be identified with any one of its many parts.

Now you together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it. In the Church, God has given the first place to apostles, the second to prophets, the third to teachers; after them, miracles, and after them the gift of healing; helpers, good leaders, those with many languages. Are all of them apostles, or all of them prophets, or all of them teachers? Do they all have the gift of miracles, or all have the gift of healing? Do all speak strange languages, and all interpret them?” (1 Co 12:12-14. 27-30; SM)      

Today in this Mass we thank God for all the different groups and communities in our parish. We also thank God for all the different spiritual gifts or charisms in our parish, and we ask God to help us work together for glory of God and for the good of the community! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!                                           

Amen!

2nd Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 5th Dec 2021

2nd Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 5th Dec 2021

Theme: LET US PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AT CHRISTMAS AND AT THE END OF TIME

  • Baruch 5:1-9;
  • Psalm 125 (126) R/ v. 3;
  • Philippians 1:3-6. 8-11
  • Luke 3:1-6

1. Today is the Second Sunday of Advent, Liturgical Year C. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. The word Advent means coming. Jesus Christ came two thousand yeas ago, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas, and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time.

    Because Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago, and continues to come every Christmas, we believe that he will come again at the end of time. Jesus Came two thousand years ago in Memory, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in Mystery, and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time in Majesty!

    The word Christ-mas comes from the two words “Christ’s” and “Mass”. (Raas) The Mass is the Sacrament of Sacraments. The word Sacrament in Latin and in Greek means mystery. Jesus Christ comes to us every Christ-mas in mystery!        

    Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. The readings today tell us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel today tells us about “repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. (Lk 3:3)

    Repentance is not only turning away from sin, but repentance is also turning away from the world; and turning to God, and turning to the God of love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation; the God of Jesus Christ; the God who gives us love, life and happiness! If we only turn away from sin without turning away from the world and turning to Jesus Christ; we will turn back to sin!          

    The gospel also tells us to fill up the valleys, to flatten the mountains, to make the paths straight, and to make the rough roads smooth, that is, to make a radical change in our lifestyle. (NJBC) To live a simple lifestyle, dependent on God for love, life and happiness!

    Most importantly, the gospel today tells us about universal salvation, that is, the salvation of all men and of every man! Thus we read in the gospel: “And all mankind shall see the salvation of God”! (Lk 3:6/SM)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the salvation of the Jews. The first reading tells us about the return of the Jews from exile from Babylon in the sixth century BC. Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights and turn your eyes to the east: see your sons reassembled from west and east at the command of the Holy One, jubilant that God has remembered them. Though they left you on foot, with enemies for an escort, now God brings them back to you like royal princes carried back in glory. For God has decreed the flattening of each high mountain, of the everlasting hills, the filling of the valleys to make the ground level so that Israel can walk in safety under the glory of God. And the forest and every fragrant tree will provide shade for Israel at the command of God; for God will guide Israel in joy by the light of his glory with his mercy and integrity for escort.” (Ba 5:5-9/SM)

    More importantly, the first reading is a prophecy of universal salvation, that is, the salvation of all men and of every man! This prophecy will be fulfilled in Jesus Christ!

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us about the salvation of the Jews. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Jews had returned from exile from Babylon, and they were very happy, and it was all the work of God! Thus the first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm:

    “When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage, it seemed like a dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, on our lips there were songs. The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels the Lord worked for them!’ What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.” (Ps 125 (126): 1-3/SM)

    And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.” (Ps 125 (126): 3/SM)        

    The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us that the Jews had returned from exile and they were very happy and it was all the work of God. (Ps 125 (126): 1-3) The third and fourth stanzas are a prayer for prosperity and fertility of the land! (Ps 125 (126):4-6/CSB/HCSB)

4. Finally, the second reading tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by growing in love for each other and consequently in knowledge and discernment so that we will know what is important and so that we will be just and blameless at the coming of Jesus Christ! (NJB) Thus we read in the second reading:

    “My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognize what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.” (Ph 1:9-11/SM)   

5. 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 prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time.

    The Holy Spirit will help us to repent, that is, to turn away from sin and from the world, and to turn to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will help us to change our lifestyle radically. And the Holy Spirit will help us grow in love for each other and consequently in knowledge and discernment so that we will know what is important and so that we will be pure and blameless when our Lord Jesus Christ comes! 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!  

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.

                                                                                                                                  

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 27th June 2021

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 27th June 2021

Theme: JESUS RAISES US FROM DEATH AND GIVES US NEW LIFE 

  • Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24;
  • Psalm 29 (30): 2. 4-6. 11-13. R. v. 2;
  • 2 Corinthians 8:7. 9. 13-15.
  • Mark 5:21-24. 35-43. (Shorter Form)

1. Today is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The gospel today tells us that Jesus raised a synagogue official’s (Jairus’) daughter from the dead. Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “And taking the child by the hand Jesus said to her, ‘Talitha, kum!’ which means, ‘Little girl, I tell you to get up.’ The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At this they were overcome with astonishment, and he ordered them strictly not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.” (Mk 5: 41-43/SM)

    Jesus told the people not to tell anyone about the miracle (the “Messianic Secret” of St. Mark), because Jesus himself had not risen from the dead yet and had not given the Holy Spirit yet to raise us from the dead and to give us new life!  

    More importantly, the gospel today tells us that Jesus can also raise us from the dead if we have faith in him. Jesus can raise us from the dead and give us new life. A new life that is even better than the life before sin and death. Thus we sing in the “Easter Proclamation” on Easter Vigil night: “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”       

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that God created everything to live and not to die. But it was the Devil who brought death into the world by tempting man to sin. When man sinned man brought death not only upon himself, but also upon other men and upon the environment. Thus we have wars. Thus we have abortions; so much so that the most dangerous place in the world is the mother’s womb, because more lives are destroyed there than all the wars in the world!

    Thus we have environmental destruction, that is, the destruction of God’s creation. Thus we have not only homicide and genocide, but also “biocide” (destruction of life itself) and “geocide” (destruction of earth itself)! Environmental destruction is caused by one of the seven Capital Sins, that is, the sin of greed / avarice. Traditionally, the other Capital Sins are pride, envy, sloth, lust, intemperance and anger. The seven Capital sins are the sources and causes of other sins. Thus we have the seven steps down the Baptismal Pool symbolizing the seven Capital Sins.

    Thus we read in the first reading: “Yet God did make man imperishable, he made him in the image of his own nature; it was the devil’s envy that brought death into the world, as those who are his partners will discover.” (Ws 2:23-24/SM)              

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving to God for salvation from death. The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza is a thanksgiving to God for salvation from death. In the second stanza the psalmist invites the community to join in to thank God. In the third stanza the psalmist continues to thank God. (CSB)

    Thus we read in the first stanza: “I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead, restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.” (Ps 29 (30):2. 4. /SM)

    And thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the first stanza: “I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.” (Ps 29 (30): 2)    

4. The second reading does not follow the theme of the day, but the second reading has something important to tell us. The second reading tells us that we have to share our resources with the poor not only in the name of charity (love) but also for the sake of unity. Thus in our “BECs” (Basic Ecclesial Communities) we always help the poor with our “Lenten Appeal” collections. We also give 25% of our first collection to our Diocese and 10% of the second collection to our Diocese. And incidentally today both our collections will be sent to Rome and given to our Pope as “Peter’s Pence”!

    In the second reading, St. Paul tells the Corinthians (Gentiles) to make a collection for the Church in Jerusalem (Jews) not only in the name of charity (love) but also for the sake of unity. (HCSB) St. Paul tells the Corinthians that they have been blessed with many charisms and that they should practice charity. St. Paul also tells the Corinthians that Jesus Christ became poor to make them rich and that they should follow the example of Jesus Christ. Finally, St. Paul tells them to balance their surplus with those in need so that there may be “equality”! St. Paul gives them the example of the “manna in the desert” where God gives to all “equally”!

5. 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 raise us from death and give us new life. The Holy Spirit will help us raise others from death and give them new life!              

                                                                                                                                    Amen!

PENTECOST SUNDAY (B) – 23th May 2021

PENTECOST SUNDAY (B) – 23th May 2021

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS US TO PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS AND TO BUILD CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES OF LOVE AND UNITY

  • Acts 2:1-11;
  • Psalm 103:1. 24. 29-31. 34. R/ cf v.30;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:3-7. 12-13
  • John 20:19-23

1. A happy and blessed Pentecost Sunday to all of you! Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, Liturgical Year A.

The first reading tells us that on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles. The first reading tells us that there was a loud noise which sounded like a strong wind that filled the room and there were tongues of fire resting on the apostles and the apostles spoke in foreign languages! The wind symbolizes the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:8). In Greek, as in Hebrew, one word serves for both ‘wind’ and ‘spirit’ (NJB). The loud noise and fire symbolize the presence of God as at the covenant on Sinai (Ex 19:16. 18).

The first reading also tells us that the Jews from all the nations of the world assembled at the loud noise and each of them heard the apostles preaching the marvels of God each in their own language! The first reading foreshadows the universal mission of the Church to preach the good news to the whole world! When we receive the Holy Spirit we preach the good news to the whole world!    

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

“Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103:30; SM)

The responsorial psalm is a hymn of “Praise of God the Creator” (CSB). But in today’s liturgy, it is a hymn of praise to God the Savior! The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The second stanza from which the response is taken is the most important! Thus the second stanza:

“You take back your spirit, they die, returning to the dust from which they came. You send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth.” (Ps 103:29-30; SM)

The responsorial psalm tells us that the Holy Spirit gives us life, without the Holy Spirit we die, but with the Holy Spirit, even though we die we will live!

3. The second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of unity! The second reading tells us about unity in diversity, not unity in uniformity! The second reading tells us that though there are many different gifts, they are from the same Spirit; though there are many different services, they serve the same Lord; and the same God is working in all of us! And all the different gifts are given for the common good!

The second reading also tells us that just as the human body has many parts, the many parts make up one body, so it is with the body of Christ. We are different parts of the one body of Christ! We were all baptized with the one Spirit, “Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens”, and we were all given the one Spirit to drink in baptism! Again, the second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of unity, not of division!

4. The Gospel Acclamation tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love! Thus the Gospel Acclamation:

“Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.”

The fire of the Holy Spirit is the fire of God’s love that burns away our sins! Only the fire of God’s love can burn away our sins! That is why at a Penitential Service we were asked to write our sins down on a piece of paper and burn it with the fire of the Easter Candle and throw it into a bin symbolizing hell! And we were told that hell is a place where God burns away our sins with the fire of his love so that we can go to heaven! Hell is the love of God experienced by a sinner for his conversion!

5. The gospel today also tells us about Pentecost, but the gospel today tells us that the Holy Spirit was given on the day of the Lord’s resurrection and not fifty days after his resurrection! The gospel today is from St. John. The gospel today tells us that on the day of his resurrection the Lord appeared to his disciples and said to them, ‘Peace be with you,’ and showed them his hands and his side and the disciples were filled with joy! Again, he said to them, ‘Peace be with you. As the father sent me so I am sending you’. After saying this he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit, those whose sins you forgive they are forgiven, those whose sins you retain they are retained’.

    That is, proclaim the good news, those who believe and are baptized will have their sins forgiven, but those who do not believe and are not baptized will not have their sins forgiven. (NJBC; Fuller) The Holy Spirit forgives our sins in the sacrament of Baptism! The Holy Spirit also forgives our sins in the sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation. And above all, the Holy Spirit forgives our sins in the sacrament of sacraments, the Eucharist, the “Perpetual Pentecost”! The Holy Spirit forgives our sins in the Church, particularly, in the sacraments of Baptism, Penance and Eucharist! That is why it is most important that we come to Mass every Sunday!  

6. Today, more than fifty years after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Holy Spirit continues to renew the Church through the Charismatic Renewal, the Life in the Spirit Seminars, and the Prayer Meetings; the Holy Spirit continues to renew the Church through the Neo-Catechumenal Way, the Neo-Catechumenal Communities; and the Holy Spirit continues to renew the Church through the BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities)! All these three movements involve the proclamation of the good news and the building of Christian communities of love and unity, so that our Church may be a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world!

    That is why it is important that we attend Mass every Sunday and we attend the Life in the Spirit seminars and we attend the Neo-Catechumenate Catechesis and the BECs so that we may receive the Holy Spirit and proclaim the good news and build Christian communities of love and unity and so that our Church may be a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world! Again, a happy and blessed Pentecost Sunday to all of you! Amen!

THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD (B) – 13th May 2021

THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD (B) – 13th May 2021

Theme: THE LORD ASCENDS INTO HEAVEN IN ORDER TO SEND US THE HOLY SPIRIT SO THAT WE TOO MAY ASCEND INTO HEAVEN WITH HIM IN GLORY 

  • Acts 1:1-11;
  • Psalm 46 (47): 2-3. 6-9. R/ v. 6;
  • Ephesians 4:1-7. 11-13
  • Mark 16:15-20

1. Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord into heaven in glory, Liturgical Year B. Next Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost Sunday, that is, the descend of the Holy Spirit! The Easter Season of fifty days which began on Easter Sunday will end next Sunday with Pentecost Sunday.

The readings today tell us that the Lord ascends into heaven, not to abandon us, but to send us the Holy Spirit, so that we may do his work on earth, and so that one day we too may ascend into heaven with him in glory!     

The gospel today tells us that after his resurrection and before his ascension, the Lord sent his apostles out into the world to preach the Good News, so that those who believe and are baptized will be saved, but those who do not believe and are not baptized will not be saved!

And these are the signs associated with believers, that is, in the name of Jesus, they will drive out devils, they will speak in tongues, they will pick up snakes in their hands, and even if they drink poison they will not die, and they will heal the sick.  

But more importantly, the gospel tells us that the Lord has ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father in glory! But most importantly, the gospel tells us that the apostles went out preaching and the Lord was working with them confirming their words with signs! The Lord was with them in the Holy Spirit!

2. The first reading tells us that after his resurrection the Lord spent forty days with his disciples instructing them on the kingdom of God, preparing them to preach the kingdom of God! Moses also spent forty days on the mountain and Jesus also spent forty days in the desert to prepare for their ministries!

More importantly, the first reading tells us that after forty days, the Lord will ascend into heaven in order to send down the Holy Spirit on the apostles, so that they will become his witnesses, not only in Jerusalem, but also in Judaea, and Samaria and indeed to the ends of the earth! That is, not only in Jerusalem where Jesus died, rose from the dead and gave the Holy Spirit, but also in Judaea, that is, to all the Jews, and also in Samaria, that is, to the “half-Jews”, and indeed to the ends of the earth, that is, to the non-Jews, the gentiles, the pagans!     

But most importantly, the first reading tells us that the Lord has been taken up into heaven in a cloud. And when the disciples were staring at him into the sky, two men in white (angels) appeared to them and said to them, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you staring into the sky, the Jesus that has been taken up into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him go’, that is, he will return in a cloud in glory at the Parousia, that is, at his Second Coming at the end of the world, when all will be saved!    

3. The Responsorial Psalm is a hymn calling on all the nations of the earth to acknowledge the universal rule of the God of Israel who is enthroned as king of Israel and as king of all the nations! (CSB)

The Responsorial Psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 2-3) calls on all the nations to acknowledge the universal rule of the God of Israel. The second and third stanzas (vv. 6-9) tells us that the God of Israel is enthroned as king of Israel and as king of all the nations!

In the liturgy today the Responsorial Psalm tells us about the Ascension of the Lord into heaven in glory! (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“God goes up with shouts of joy; the Lord goes up with trumpet blast.” (Ps 46 (47): 6; SM)

4. As we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord today and as we will celebrate Pentecost next Sunday, the second reading tells us about the Holy Spirit! The second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of unity! Because there is only one body (church), one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God! The “seven unities”! (CSB)

And although there are many gifts, that is, the gifts of being apostles, prophets, evangelizers, pastors and teachers; all these gifts unite into one service of the one body of Christ!

5. Today in the Eucharist, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, especially for his death and resurrection and ascension into heaven; and we ask God to send us the Holy Spirit so that we may do the work of Jesus Christ on earth, especially in proclaiming the Good News as apostles, prophets, evangelizers, pastors, and teachers, and so that at the end of time, we may all ascend into heaven with him in glory! A happy Ascension Day to all of you!

Amen! 

5th Sunday of Easter (Year B) – 2nd April 2021

5th Sunday of Easter (Year B) – 2nd April 2021

Theme: IN THE HOLY SPIRIT WE LIVE IN GOD AND GOD LIVES IN US AND WE BEAR FRUIT IN PLENTY.    

  • Acts 9:26-31;
  • Psalm 21 (22):26-28. 30-32. R/ v. 26;
  • 1 John 3:18-24;
  • John 15:1-8.

Today is the 5th Sunday of Easter, Liturgical Year B. We are still in the Easter Season of 50 days! The Easter Season began on Easter Sunday and it will end on Pentecost Sunday, a period of 50 days!

The Gospel of John which we read on the Octave Day of Easter tells us that the Risen Lord gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples on the very day of his resurrection and sent them out to proclaim the good news so that those who believe and are baptized will have their sins forgiven!

Today the second reading tells us that it is in the Holy Spirit that we live in God and God lives in us and that we believe and love his Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another!

The gospel today tells us that if we remain in Jesus and Jesus remains in us we will bear fruit in plenty! But cut off from Jesus we will bear no fruit. Not only will we bear no fruit, but we will die! The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. If we remain in Jesus we will bear fruit, but cut off from Jesus we will die!

The first reading tells that the Risen Lord is alive and active in the early Church in the Apostle Paul in the Holy Spirit! The first reading tells us that Paul a persecutor of Christians became a persecuted Christian! The first reading tells us that Paul preached the good news even in the face of persecution and death!

The Responsorial Psalm tells us to praise God, because the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world are all the work of God! Thus the response of the Responsorial Psalm:

“You, Lord, are my praise in the great assembly.”

The Responsorial Psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells the community to praise God! The second stanza tells the nations of the world to praise God! The third stanza tells the future generations to praise God!

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 live in God and God in us and the Holy Spirit will help us believe and love Jesus Christ and love one another!

The Holy Spirit will help us remain in Jesus and Jesus remain in us, so that we will bear fruit in plenty, especially the fruits of love, peace and joy! The Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the Good News even in the face of persecution and death! And the Holy Spirit will help us praise and worship God and serve him!

A happy Easter Season to all of you! Amen!