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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

4th Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 19th December 2021

Theme: CHRISTMAS IS A BLESSING OF SALVATION

  • Micah 5:1-4;
  • Psalm 79 (80): 2-3. 15-16. 18-19. R/ v. 4;
  • Hebrews 10:5-10
  • Luke 1:39-45

1. Today is the 4th and last Sunday of Advent. In a few days’ time we will celebrate Christmas! The readings today tell us that Christmas is a blessing of salvation! The gospel today tells us that Christmas, that is, the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior, is a blessing, a grace, a free gift, and a favor!

    In the short address of Elizabeth to Mary, in today’s gospel, the word “blessed” is mentioned three times! ‘Blessed are you among women’, ‘Blessed is the fruit of your womb’, and ‘Blessed are you who believed that the promise made to you would be fulfilled’!

    Indeed the late Bishop Fulton Sheen said that it is easier to believe that a dog gives birth to a human being, than to believe that a human being gives birth to the Son of God! Again, it is all a blessing, a grace, a favor and a free gift! We do not deserve it, nor can we merit it! Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “(Elizabeth) gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’” (Lk 1:42-45/SM)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem, the least of the clans of Judah, and he will be a descendant of David. David was the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse, but he was chosen to succeed Saul as king of Israel. God chose the least and the youngest! Again, it is all God’s blessing, it is all God’s grace, it is all God’s favor, and it is all God’s free gift! The first reading tells us that the Messiah will bring peace to Israel (and to the whole word)!

    Peace (shalom) means completeness, soundness, wholeness, perfection, well-being, lacking nothing, etc. In the New Testament, peace is synonymous with salvation! (McKenzie) Thus we read in the first reading:

    “The Lord says this: You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah, out of you will be born for me the one who is to rule over Israel; his origin goes back to the distant past, to the days of old. …. He himself will be peace.” (Mi 5:1. 4/SM)   

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer for the salvation of Israel (and of the whole world)! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.” (Ps 79 (80): 4/SM) That is, ‘God of the heavenly hosts of angels, bring us back; let your face smile on us, that is, show us your favor, and we shall be saved.’ (NJBC/HCSB)

    The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza is a prayer for salvation. (Ps 79 (80): 2-3/HCSB) The second and the third stanzas are a prayer for salvation through the Davidic King. (Ps 79 (80): 15-16. 18-19/CSB) Thus we read in the third stanza: “May your hand be on the man you have chosen, the man you have given your strength.” (Ps 79 (80): 18/SM)

4. Finally, the second reading tells us that Jesus Christ saved the whole world by sacrificing himself on the cross! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.” (Heb 10:10)

5. A word on the Advent wreath in relation to the second reading. The Advent wreath does not only signify the four Sundays of Advent, but originally it signified the cross of Jesus Christ. The lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath signifies the increase of light which is completed on the cross. The wreath is made from the branches of the evergreen pine tree which signifies life. The shape of the wreath which is a circle signifies eternal life. A circle has no beginning and no end! (Raas)

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 believe, as Mary did, that the promise made to us will be fulfilled. The Holy Spirit will help us pray for the salvation of the whole world. A happy Advent to all of you!

Amen!

3rd Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 12th December 2021

  • Zephaniah 3:14-18;
  • Responsorial Psalm (Isaiah 12:2-6. R/ v. 6);
  • Philippians 4:4-7
  • Luke 3:10-18

Theme: WHEN THE LORD COMES, HE WILL BURN AWAY OUR SINS WITH THE FIRE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND WE WILL BE VERY HAPPY

1. Today is the 3rd 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 years 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 Christ 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. When Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory, he did something very important; before he died, rose from the dead, and gave us the Holy Spirit; he gave us the Eucharist/Mass in memorial of him, that is, to make real, present and effective what he did two thousand years ago, so that he can continue to come to us every Christmas in Mystery, and so that he can come to us 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 Greek and in Latin means Mystery. Jesus Christ comes to us every Christ-mas in Mystery and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time in Majesty! Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time.

    The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by practicing charity and justice. But before we practice charity we have to practice justice. Justice is giving back to the poor what belongs to them, that is, paying them a just wage, etc. Charity or “sharity” is sharing what we have with the poor, the have-nots. Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “When all the people asked John, ‘What must we do?’ he answered, ‘If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.’ There were tax collectors too who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than your rate.’ Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!’ (Lk 3:10-14)      

    More importantly, the gospel today tells us that when the Lord comes he will burn away our sins with the fire of his Holy Spirit, that is, the fire of his love! God the Father is love, God the Son is love, and God the Holy Spirit is also love! Theologians tell us that God the Father loves the Son, and God the Son loves the Father, and the love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God’s love will burn away our sins! Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “John declared before them all, ‘I baptize you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Lk 3:16/Pentecost, Acts 2)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us to rejoice because the Lord is with us to save us! More than that the first reading also tells us that God is not only with us to save us, but God also rejoices with us! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has repealed your sentence; he has driven your enemies away. The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you have no more evil to fear. When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem: Zion, have no fear, do not let your hands fall limp. The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love; he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.” (Zp 3:14-18a)

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us to rejoice because God is with us to save us! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” (Is 12:6)

    And thus the first stanza of the responsorial psalm:

    “Truly, God is my salvation, I trust, I shall not fear. For the Lord is my strength, my song, he became my savior. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” (Is 12:2-3)      

4. Finally, the second reading tells us to rejoice in the Lord because the Lord is near! Thus we read in the second reading: “I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness.” (Ph 4:4) And thus the “Entrance Antiphon” of today’s Mass which is taken from the first verse of today’s second reading with a different translation (Ph 4:4): “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.”!

    The first word of the “Entrance Antiphon” of today’s Mass is the name given to this Third Sunday of Advent, that is, “Rejoice Sunday” or “Joyful Sunday”! Today we celebrate Joyful Sunday because we are more than half way through to Christmas! That is why we use rose colored vestment to symbolize joy, light the rose candle, start caroling, start making the Christmas Crib, start putting up the Christmas Tree, etc.! 

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 prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. The Holy Spirit will help us practice charity and justice to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ comes he will burn away our sins with the fire of his Holy Spirit, that is, the fire of his love, and we will be very happy! A happy Advent to all of you!   Amen!

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

1st Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 28th November 2021

Theme: ADVENT IS A TIME WHEN WE PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AT CHRISTMAS AND AT THE END OF TIME

  • Jeremiah 33:14-16;
  • Psalm 24 (25):4-5. 8-9. 10. 14. R/ v. 1:
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
  • Luke 21:25-28. 34-36.

1. Today is the First Sunday of Advent and today we begin the new Liturgical Year C. Advent means coming. There are three comings of Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory. Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in mystery. And Jesus Christ will come at the end of time in majesty!

Because Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in memory, and Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in mystery, we believe that Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time in majesty as King of the universe! He will win over all and he will rule over all!

Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time! “Advent is thus a period for devout and joyful expectation.” (General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, 39, Roman Missal)

2. The gospel today tells us of the end of the world and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The gospel tells us that there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars; and the powers of heaven will be shaken, that is, the sun, moon and stars will be shaken! 

We believe that the end of the world is not only the end of the physical world, but the end of the evil world, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

More importantly, the gospel today tells us about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The gospel tells us that Jesus Christ will come in a cloud with power and great glory and we are to stand erect and lift up our heads, because our liberation, redemption and salvation is near at hand! The salvation which Jesus Christ began in his First Coming will be completed, perfected, fulfilled and fully realized in his Second Coming! 

The gospel also tells us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by detaching ourselves from the material world. The gospel tells us not to be engrossed in our material pursuits and worldly pleasures; but to stay awake, to keep vigil and to pray.

3. The second reading also tells us about the end of the world and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. St. Paul and the Thessalonians believed that the end of the world and the Second Coming of Jesus was imminent, that is, in their lifetime!

In the second reading St. Paul prayed that the Thessalonians increase in love and love one another and love the whole human race as much as St. Paul loved them. St. Paul also prayed that they be holy and blameless for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

Finally, St. Paul exhorted them to live the Christian life and to grow in the Christian life!

4. The first reading is a prophecy on the First Coming of Jesus Christ, but for us it is a prophecy on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The first reading tells us that Judah will be saved and Israel (Jerusalem; NJBC) will live in safety and Jerusalem will be called ‘The Lord-our-righteousness’, that is, ‘The Lord-our-salvation’! (Fuller; GNB) Thus we read in the first reading:

“In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” (Jr 33:16; HCSB)

5. The responsorial psalm is a “Prayer for Guidance” (HCSB; CSB) to God our Savior.

    Thus the response:

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” (Ps 24 (25): 1; SM)

And thus the first stanza:

“Lord, make me know your ways. Lord, teach me your paths. Make me walk in your truth, and teach me: for you are God my savior.” (Ps 24 (25): 4-5; SM)

6. Again, Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time! We prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by detaching ourselves from the material world and from worldly pleasures, and by staying awake, keeping vigil and praying (Gospel); by loving one another and loving the whole human race, and by being holy and blameless, and by living and growing in the Christian life (Second reading); and by doing good works (Opening Prayer).

We also prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by repentance and by going to confession; by reading the Bible and the Sunday Mass readings; by reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church; by being Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas) to the poor and needy, especially to the poor and needy children; by going Christmas caroling and proclaiming the good news of Christmas; and by attending Bible-Sharing, Prayer-Meetings, BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) meetings, etc. A happy and blessed Advent to all of you! Amen!   

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! 

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 14th November 2021

Theme: IN THE END SIN AND DEATH WILL BE DESTROYED, AND LIFE AND JOY WILL BE RESTORED

  • Daniel 12:1-3;
  • Psalm 15 (16):5. 8-11. R. v. 1;
  • Hebrews 10:11-14. 18
  • Luke 21:36
  • Mark 13:24-32

1. Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. Next Sunday will be the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year B. As we come to the end of the Liturgical Year, the readings today tell us about the end times, the end of the world, the second coming of Jesus Christ! The readings today tell us that at the end of time sin and death will be destroyed and life and joy will be restored!

    The gospel today tells us about the second coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel tells us that at the end of time Jesus Christ will come a second time in glory. He will gather his chosen ones. The gospel tells us that we do not know when is his second coming, but we do know that he will come. And when he comes, sin and death will be destroyed and life and joy will be restored! Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven.” (Mk 13:26-27)   

    “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Mk 13:31)

    “But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.” (Mk 13:32)

    Today sin and death seem to overwhelm us. We have wars around the world, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have the destruction of the environment, climate change, global warming, etc., and we have abortion.

    In the year 2003 there were 41.6 million abortions worldwide (Catholic World News, October 15, 2009; Time, October 26, 2009). The mother’s womb is the most dangerous place in the world, more dangerous than Iraq and Afghanistan! The worldwide annual death toll from abortion is more than that of all the wars put together!

    But the gospel (good news) today tells us that in the end sin and death will be destroyed and life and joy will be restored!

2. The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that in the end, sin will be destroyed. The second reading tells us that the daily sacrifices of the Levitical priest cannot take away sins, but the sacrifice of Jesus can take away sins once and for all!

    The second reading also tells us that today Jesus continues to forgive our sins until the end of time when all sins will be forgiven. When we celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday, Jesus continues to forgive our sins, until the end of time when all sins will be forgiven! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “Christ, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his place for ever, at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for him.” (Heb 10:12-13)      

3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that in the end death will be destroyed. The first reading tells us that the dead will rise from the dead and they will shine like the stars in the heavens! This is the first time that resurrection and everlasting life are clearly mentioned in the Bible! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Of those who lie asleep in the dust of the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace. The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars for all eternity.” (Dn 12:2-3)         

4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us to trust in God because God will raise us from the dead and give us life, joy and happiness! (HCSB/NJBC) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.” (Ps 15 (16): 1)

    The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us to trust in God. The second stanza tells us that God will raise us from the dead. The third stanza tells us that God will give us life, joy and happiness! Thus the second and third stanzas:

    “And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; even my body shall rest in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead, nor let your beloved know decay. You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, at your right hand happiness for ever.” (Ps 15 (16): 9-11)     

5. Finally, the “Gospel Acclamation” of today’s Mass tells us to stay awake, to keep vigil, and to pray always to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! Thus the “Gospel Acclamation”: “Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.” (Lk 21:36)

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 believe and hope that at the end sin and death will be destroyed and life and joy and happiness will be restored. The Holy Spirit will help us to stay awake and to keep vigil and to pray always to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.                                                                                                                      Amen!

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!