4th Sunday of Lent – 27th March 2022

4th Sunday of Lent – 27th 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 PREPARE TO CELEBRATE THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION: BAPTISM, CONFIRMATION AND EUCHARIST

  • 1 Samuel 16:1. 6-7. 10-13;
  • Psalm 22. R/ v. 1;
  • Ephesians 5:8-14
  • John 9:1-41 (Shorter Form, verses 1. 6-9. 13-17. 34-38)

1. Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent. Today is also “Rejoice” Sunday or joyful Sunday! We are joyful because we are more than half way through to Easter! That is why today we use rose vestments instead of purple vestments!

    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! Besides receiving the sacrament of baptism, some of us are also receiving the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist! These three sacraments are the sacraments of initiation into full communion with the Catholic Church!    

    The readings today tell us about these three sacraments of initiation, namely, baptism, confirmation and Eucharist.

    The gospel today tells us about the sacrament of baptism. The gospel today tells us that Jesus “anointed” (Lefrois; Brown) the blind man with saliva mixed with earth and told the blind man to wash himself in the Pool of Siloam. Siloam means ‘sent’. Jesus was sent by the Father. After washing himself, the blind man could see, that is, see with the eyes of faith! He could see God in creation, in salvation, and in sanctification!

    Washing, anointing and faith are three important themes of baptism. When we are baptized, we are washed with the waters of baptism, the waters of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit cleanses us of our sins and gives us new life! A new life that is even better than the life before sin! Paul tells us that the grace of Jesus Christ more than compensated for the sin of Adam! When sin increased, grace increased all the more!   

    After that we are anointed with the oil of Chrism as Christ was anointed priest, prophet and king. We share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. As a priest, I share in the “ministerial priesthood” of Christ in the “parish church”. You share in the “common priesthood” of Christ. This is especially evident in the “BECs” (Basic Ecclesial Communities), that is, in the “community church” and in the “domestic church” where the head of the house presides in prayer and worship. You are also prophets. You proclaim the word of God and you share and pray and act on the word of God in the BECs! You are also kings. You build the kingdom of God and you build the Church by building BECs of love and unity, and of justice and peace!      

    After washing himself, the blind man could see with the eyes of faith! The gospel tells us that not only the blind man had faith, but that his faith also grew. At first he saw Jesus as a man, then he recognized Jesus to be a prophet, and finally he believed in the Son of Man, Jesus and worshipped him as Lord! The Pharisees on the other hand did not believe in Jesus, then they did not even believe that the blind man was blind, and finally they believed that Jesus was a sinner! Even today there are those who believe that Jesus was a sinner! Indeed, they have lost their faith! 

    After baptism, we have to renew our baptism every year, so that like the blind man, our faith will grow stronger and stronger every year! Otherwise like the Pharisees our faith will grow weaker and weaker every year!

    There is another important theme of baptism found in the longer form of the gospel today, that is, light! It is related to the theme of faith, particularly to the faith of the blind man. Light in the New Testament basically, symbolizes three things, namely, faith, life and good. (NJB; Jn 8:12) The three themes are related, that is, if we have faith in God, we will receive new life, and this new life is a life of good and good works!

    The gospel today tells us about the light of faith. Thus we read in the long form of the gospel: “As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world.” (Jn 9:5; SM)

    The Gospel Acclamation today tells us about the light of life. Thus we read in the Gospel Acclamation: “I am the light of the world, says the Lord; anyone who follows me will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12; SM)

    Finally the second reading tells us about the light of good and good works. Thus we read in the second reading: “You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth.” (Ep 5:8-9; SM)        

    After baptism and after being anointed with the oil of Chrism, we will be given candles lighted from the big Easter candle symbolizing the light of Jesus Christ, the light of faith, life and goodness!

2. The first reading tells us about the sacrament of confirmation. To confirm is to strengthen, to make strong. In the sacrament of baptism we are born again in the Holy Spirit. In the sacrament of confirmation we are made strong in the Holy Spirit! David was a youth, but he was made strong in the Spirit so he could defeat the giant Goliath! We read this in the next chapter (1 S 17). Thus we read in the first reading:

    “The Lord said, ‘Come, anoint him, for this is the one.’ At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord seized on David and stayed with him from that day on.” (1 S 16:12-13; SM) In the next chapter, David defeats the giant Goliath! (1 S 17)           

3. The responsorial psalm today tells us about the Eucharist! Just as we are born again in baptism and we are made strong in confirmation, we continue to grow stronger and stronger in the Eucharist by eating the body of Christ and drinking the blood of Christ every Sunday! That is why it is important to come to Mass every Sunday after baptism! If we do not eat and drink, we die! Our faith will die! That is why not coming to Mass on Sunday is a mortal sin! The word mortal is from a Latin word meaning death!

   Again, it is the Lord who provides – providence! The Lord provides us with both material food and drink, and spiritual food and drink! Thus we read in the first and third stanzas of the responsorial psalm depicting the Lord as Shepherd and Host respectively:

    “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.” (Stanza 1; SM)   

    “You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing.” (Stanza 3; SM)

4. 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. Besides receiving the sacrament of baptism, some of us are also receiving the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist.

    Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the sacraments of initiation, namely, baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. That is why the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor during this time of Lent. A happy Lent to all of you!

                                                                                                                             Amen!

3rd Sunday of Lent – 20th March 2022

3rd Sunday of Lent – 20th March 2022

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

Theme: IT IS IN FAITH THAT WE ARE BAPTIZED AND IT IS IN BAPTISM THAT WE RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD’S LOVE, LIFE AND HAPPINESS  

  • Exodus 17:3-7;
  • Psalm 94 (95): 1-2. 6-9. R/ v. 8;
  • Romans 5:1-2. 5-8
  • John 4:5-42 (Shorter Form, 4:5-16. 19-26. 39-42)

1. Today is the 3rd 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! It is in faith that we are baptized and it is in baptism that we receive the Holy Spirit of God’s love, life and happiness!

    The readings today tell us about these two most important themes of baptism, namely, faith and the Holy Spirit!

    The readings today tell us about faith. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel lost faith in God because there was no water in the desert. They quarreled (Meribah) with God and they put God to the test (Massah) saying, “Is the Lord with us, or not?”

    The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us not to be like the people of Israel who quarreled with God and tested God. The responsorial psalm tells us to trust in God, to believe in God, and to have faith in God. Thus the third stanza of the psalm from which the response is taken:

    “O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert when your fathers put me to the test; when they tried me, though they saw my work.’” (Ps 94 (95): 8-9; SM)    

    The first stanza of the responsorial psalm tells us to praise and worship God because he is our savior. The second stanza tells us to praise and worship God because he is our creator and shepherd/savior. (NJBC) 

    The second reading tells us that it is through Jesus Christ by faith that we are made righteous and at peace with God, and it is by faith and through Jesus Christ that we have entered the state of grace! In short, it is by faith in Jesus Christ that we are saved!

    Finally, the gospel today tells us that the Samaritan woman had faith in Jesus Christ! Like Abraham the father of faith, the Samaritan woman had nothing, but faith. She was a Samaritan (half-Jew), a woman, and a sinner who had five husbands and living with a sixth man (NJBC; IBC), but she had the most important thing, that is, faith in Jesus Christ!

    Not only did the Samaritan woman have faith, but her faith grew as she encountered Jesus. She first saw Jesus as a Jew, then she recognized Jesus to be a prophet, then she believed that Jesus was the Messiah (HCSB), and finally she became a missionary and an apostle and brought other Samaritans to believe in Jesus!      

2. The readings today also tell us about the Holy Spirit. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel were dying of thirst in the desert, but more importantly, the first reading tells us that God gave them water from the rock to quench their thirst and saved them from death! The water symbolizes the Holy Spirit, because only the Holy Spirit can quench our thirst and save us from death!

    More importantly, the gospel today tells us that the Lord will give us living water so that we will not be thirsty anymore, because this living water will turn into a spring inside us welling up to eternal life!

    The Samaritan woman had five husbands and living with a sixth man who was not her husband, but she was still thirsting for the living water of eternal life. She was still thirsting for love, life and happiness. Only the living water of the Holy Spirit (NJB; NJBC; IBC; CCB) which Jesus gives can quench her thirst and give her the love, life and happiness that she was looking for!

    We may not have five husbands or wives, but we may have five million dollars, five houses, five cars, five jobs, five pieces of property, etc. But these cannot give us love, life and happiness. Only the living water of the Holy Spirit can give us the love, life and happiness that we are looking for!

    Indeed, the second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love. The second tells us that what proves that God loves us is that Jesus Christ died for us while we were still sinners. It is hard to die even for a good man, but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners!     

    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! Again, it is in faith that we are baptized and it is in baptism that we receive the Holy Spirit of God’s love, life and happiness.  

    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. A happy Lent 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!

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 20th February 2022

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 20th February 2022

Theme: BE MERCIFUL AS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS MERCIFUL

  • 1 Samuel 26:2. 7-9. 12-13. 22-23
  • Psalm 102:1-4. 8. 10. 12-13. R. v. 8
  • 1 Corinthians 15:45-49
  • Luke 6:27-38

1.   Today is the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C. The readings today tell us to be merciful just as our heavenly Father is merciful.

    The gospel tells us to be merciful just as our heavenly Father is merciful. The gospel tells us not to judge, so that we will not be judged; not to condemn, so that we will not be condemned; to forgive, and we will be forgiven; and to give, and much will be given to us!

    The gospel also tells us to love our enemies; to do good to those who hate us; to bless those who curse us; to pray for those who persecute us; to the one who strikes us on the cheek, turn the other cheek to him; to the one who takes our coat, give him also our shirt (undergarment); give to the one who asks; and to the one who robs us, do not ask him to return what is robbed!

    Again, the gospel asks us to love our enemies, to do good, and to lend without expecting to be paid back. We will then be rewarded, and we will be children of our heavenly Father who is kind even to the ungrateful and the wicked. Again, be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful!        

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that David was merciful to King Saul. King Saul tried to kill David twice, and twice David could have killed King Saul, but did not. David spared the life of King Saul twice; once in the cave where David cut off the corner of his cloak instead of killing him (1 S 24); and once David took away his spear and jar of water when he was asleep instead of killing him (1 S 26). David was merciful to King Saul.   

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Again, the responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord is compassion and love. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “The Lord is compassion and love.”! (Ps 102:8) And thus the third and fourth stanzas of the responsorial psalm: “The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy. He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults. As far as the east is from the west so far does he remove our sins. As a father has compassion on his sons, the Lord has pity on those who fear him.”! (Ps 102: 8. 10. 12-13)

4. Again, the second reading tells us of the resurrection of the dead. The second readings of the 5th and 6th Sundays also told us about the resurrection of the dead. The second reading today tells us about the resurrected body, that is, what kind of body is the resurrection body. Paul tells us in the second reading that the resurrected body will not be the natural physical body of Adam, but it will be the spiritual body of the Second Adam, that is, the Resurrected Christ! (CSB/NJB)

5. 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 the Holy Spirit, and raise us from the dead! He will give us the Holy Spirit to help us to be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful (Lk 6:36)! He will give us the Holy Spirit to help us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, to bless those who curse us, to do good to those who hate us; and to give to those who ask (Lk 6: 27-30); ………….. to love our enemies and to do good to them; and to lend without hope of return (Lk 6:35); ……….. to forgive; and to give (Lk 6:37-38)!

Amen!

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 13th February 2022

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 13th February 2022

Theme: TRUST IN GOD: “IN GOD WE TRUST”! 

  • Jeremiah 17:5-8;
  • Psalm 1:1-4. 6. R/ Ps 39:5;
  • 1 Corinthians 15:12. 16-20
  • Luke 6:17. 20-26

1. Today is the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C. The readings today tell us to trust in God!

    The gospel today tells us that the poor are blessed, and to the poor belong the kingdom of God! But who are the poor? The poor are: (i) those without money; (ii) those who have money, but are detached from their money, and put their trust in God, for life, love and happiness; (iii) those who are spiritually poor, that is, the sinners; (iv) those who are sinners, but who put their trust in God for their salvation! Thus the parallel gospel of St. Mathew: “How blessed are the poor in spirit: the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”! (Mt 5:3) Note that Matthew added the words “in spirit” to the word “poor”!

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us to put our trust in God and not in man! The first reading tells us that those who put their trust in God are like a tree planted next to a stream. Its leaves are always green and it bears much fruit. It will not die even in the dry season, and even if there is a drought; instead its leaves remain green and it bears much fruit!

    But those who trust in man and not in God are like a bush planted in the desert where there is no water or soil, but only sun and sand! It will die!

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Again, the responsorial psalm tells us that those who trust in the Lord are like a tree planted next to a running stream! It will never die; instead its leaves will always be green and it will bear much fruit! Those who trust in the Lord will prosper in all that they do!

    But not so are the wicked! The wicked are like winnowed chaff (husks)! They will be blown away by the wind! They will die! They are doomed!

    Thus the response (Ps 39:5) and the third and fourth stanzas of the responsorial psalm (Ps 1:3-4. 6):

    “Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord”! (Ps 39:5) “He is like a tree that is planted beside the flowing waters, that yields its fruit in due season and whose leaves shall never fade; and all that he does shall prosper. Not so are the wicked, not so! For they like winnowed chaff shall be driven away by the wind. For the Lord guards the way of the just but the way of the wicked leads to doom.”! (Ps 1:3-4. 6)

4. Most importantly, the second reading tells us that Jesus Christ trusted in God the Father until death, and God the Father raised him from the dead, and through him will raise us all from the dead!

    In the second reading Paul tells the Corinthians that God the Father raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and through Jesus Christ, God the Father will raise us all from the dead! The Corinthians did not believe in the resurrection of the dead!

    Thus Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “If Christ raised from the dead is what has been preached, how can some of you be saying that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Co 15:12) “But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.”! (1 Co 15:20) 

5. 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, so that like him, we will trust in God our Father until death, and God our Father, through his Son Jesus Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, will raise us all from the dead!

Amen!

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 in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 16th January 2022

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 16th January 2022

Theme: JESUS CHRIST THE REAL BRIDEGROOM

  • Isaiah 62:1-5;
  • Psalm 95 (96): 1-3. 7-10. R/ v. 3;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
  • John 2:1-11

1. Today is the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C. The readings today tell us that Jesus Christ is the real bridegroom! (IBC) The gospel today tells us that Jesus, his mother Mary, and Jesus’ disciples were at a wedding feast! The wedding feast ran out of wine and Jesus changed water into wine! And the wine that Jesus made was even better than the first and best wine, so much so that the steward complained to the bridegroom that normally people serve the best wine first and the cheaper wine later, but the bridegroom had kept the best wine to the end!

    Marriages begin with “honey moon”, full of love, life and happiness, but as the years pass, the love, life and happiness diminish and finally we run out of wine! But Jesus can change water into wine and the wine that Jesus gives is even better than the first and best wine! In other words, as we get older the love increases, the life increases, and the happiness increases! The late Bishop Fulton Sheen said that it takes three to get married, that is, a man, a woman and Jesus Christ. That is why we get married not in court, but in the Church. The court can only give us a certificate of marriage/divorce, but it cannot give us the Holy Spirit of love, life and happiness! Only Jesus Christ can give us the Holy Spirit of love, life and happiness!

    When a man and a woman gets married they do the most important and the most holy thing, that is, they do what God the Father does, that is, they love, they create life (procreation), and they are happy as God the Father is happy in heaven! But today, especially in Europe, people do not want to be married! They only want sex, they do not want children, and they are not happy. And even if they are married, they divorce and they remarry, etc., and the vicious circle goes on and on, and they become more and more unhappy.

    But those who “invite” Jesus Christ to their “wedding” do not divorce, they remain married, and their love, life and happiness grow stronger and stronger as they get older and older! I stayed with an Italian family, where the husband and wife had decided to marry for only six months, and they did not want any children, and they were not happy; but after entering the “Neo-Catechumenal Way” they had three children and was expecting a fourth child, and they were happy, loving and full of life, that is, they had many children! Pope Benedict XVI has given the final approval to the “Statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way” on the 11th of May 2008, the Solemnity of Pentecost!                         

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that God will be the bridegroom and Israel/Jerusalem will be the bride! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “No more will you be known as “Forsaken” or your country be known as ‘Desolation’; instead, you will be called ‘My Delight is in her’ and your country ‘The Wedded’; for Yahweh will take delight in you and your country will have its wedding. Like a young man marrying a virgin, your rebuilder will wed you, and as the bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so will your God rejoice in you.” (Is 62:4-5/NJB)

    Today this prophesy of Isaiah is fulfilled in Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is His Bride! Jesus Christ is the real Bridegroom, because he is “love” and “faithfulness”, the attributes of God in the Old Testament (Ex 34:6/NJB), perfected by Jesus Christ in the New Testament!

    A real bridegroom and a real husband loves his wife even if his wife does not love him, and a real husband is faithful to his wife even if his wife is not faithful to him! And in the end the unloving and unfaithful wife will go to heaven, because of the “faithful love” of the husband! 

3. The responsorial psalm has “a strong missionary note”! (NJBC/Fuller) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

   “Proclaim the wonders of the Lord among all the peoples.” (Ps 95 (96): 3/SM)

    The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us to proclaim the glory of the Lord to all the nations. (Ps 95 (96): 1-3) The third and fourth stanzas tell all the nations to worship God! (Ps 95 (96): 7-10)   

    In the context of Christian Marriage: “Proclaim the good news of Christian Marriage to all the nations”!

4. The second reading tells us about “unity in diversity”, not unity in uniformity! The second reading tells us that all the different gifts ((1) wisdom and (2) knowledge; (3) faith, (4) healing, and (5) miracle-working; (6) prophecy, (7) discernment of spirits, (8) tongues, and (9) interpretation of tongues / Fuller) are from the same Spirit, all the different services are to serve the same Lord, and it is the same God who works in all the different people in all their different works! And above all, all the gifts are given for the good of the whole community! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Co 12:4-7/HCSB)    

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 make our marriages loving, fruitful (procreation) and happy! The Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the good news of Christian Marriage! And the Holy Spirit will help us live in unity in diversity!

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!

THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH (C)

THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH (C)

Theme: THE HOLY FAMILY IS HOLY, BECAUSE GOD IS THE FATHER, JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD, BORN THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

  • 1 John 3:1-2. 21-24
  • Luke 2:41-52

1. A happy and blessed Christmas and New Year to all of you! We are in the Octave of Christmas which ends on New Year’s Day with the “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God”, inclusive. But the Christmas season ends only with the feast of “the Baptism of the Lord”, inclusive! Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, not Joseph, Mary and Jesus! The Holy Family is holy because God is the Father; Jesus is the Son of God, born through the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary! Jesus is the Son of God the Father, not the son of Joseph and Mary. Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’ ‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied. ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant.” (Lk 2:48-50)

2. More importantly, the readings today tell us that your families are also holy! Your families are holy because God is your Father; you are the children of God, born through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism in the womb of Mother Church! The Church is your Mother and Jesus is your Brother! Again, your family is holy because God is your Father; you are the children of God. The Church is your Mother and Jesus is your Brother! Which and what family can be holier than your family! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children; and that is what we are. …. My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed, all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.” (1 Jn 3:1-2)     

3. Finally, the gospel tells us that in the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Jesus grew up physically, mentally and spiritually. In your holy family too, your children will grow up bodily, mentally and spiritually! (Fuller) Thus we read in gospel today:

    “And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Lk 2:52)       

4. Pastoral suggestions for the Christian family:

    (i) Pray together everyday. A family that prays together stays together. A family that does not pray together does not stay together. You can share and pray on the word of God (Sunday Mass readings). You can pray the Liturgy of the Hours (Evening Prayer). You can also read the word of God at random and say spontaneous prayers, etc.

    (ii) Pass your faith to your children. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) asks us to pass our faith to our children by praying with them, giving them good example, teaching them, and participating with them in the life of the Church, especially the Sunday Mass! (CCC, 461)

    (iii) Join a BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community). A BEC is an extended Christian family. In the “kampong” (village) we have the “extended family” of grand parents, aunties, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, etc. But in the town and city we have only the “nuclear family” of father, mother and children. Today more than ever the “nuclear family” needs the support of the “extended family”!   

    (iv) Eat dinner together everyday. No watching television, internet, video, etc. during dinner. No “absent father syndrome” and “no absent mother syndrome”, because of working overtime or working overseas. And once a week or at least once a month, have dinner with the extended family or BEC.

    (v) Communication, that is, speak to each other and listen to each other. Without communication there can be no community and communion. Do not only talk about sports, but share your experiences, feelings, emotions, etc.

    (vi) Play together. Relax together. Have recreation together. Go for holidays, outings, picnics, etc. together.    

    (vii) Be open to life! Have many children!

    (viii) Pray and encourage your children to become priests, religious sisters and brothers.

Again, a happy and blessed Christmas and New Year 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!