5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 10th Feb 2019

Theme: THE GRACE OF GOD FORGIVES US OUR SINS AND CALLS US TO BE APOSTLES

  • Isaiah 6:1-8;
  • Psalm 137 (138): 1-5. 7-8. R/ v. 1;
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (Longer Form)
  • Luke 5:1-11

Today is the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us that the grace of God forgives us our sins and calls us to be apostles!

The gospel today tells us that after the miraculous catch of fish, Peter was overwhelmed and told Jesus to leave him, because he was a sinful man; but Jesus did not leave him, instead Jesus told him not to be afraid and called him to be a fisher of men, that is, to be his apostle!

The gospel tells us that Peter, James and John, and Andrew (NJB) responded immediately and totally to the call of Jesus to be his apostles!

“They left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:11; SM)

In front of God’s grace that forgives us our sins and calls us to be apostles, the only proper response is immediate and total!

And more importantly, our mission as apostles will not fail, but will succeed; because it is not from us, but it is from the grace of God! Thus the miraculous catch of fish!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us of the call of the prophet Isaiah. Again, Isaiah was a sinner. He was a man of unclean lips and he lived among a people of unclean lips.

But again, the Lord touched his lips with a live coal from the altar and forgave his sins and called him to be his prophet! And again, Isaiah responded immediately and totally!

    “Here I am, send me.” (Is 6:8; SM)

Again, in front of God’s grace that forgives us our sins and calls us to be his prophets, our response must be immediate and total!

And again, our mission as prophets will not fail, but will succeed; because it is not from us, but it is from the grace of God!    

The second reading tells us that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a historical fact and that our faith and salvation depend on it! But the long form of the second reading also tells us of the call of Saint Paul.

Again, Saint Paul was a sinner. In fact he was a persecutor of Christians, but again, because of God’s grace he became an apostle and he became the most hardworking of all the apostles! Thus we read in the second reading:

“I am the least of the apostles; in fact, since I persecuted the Church of God, I hardly deserve the name apostle; but by God’s grace that is what I am, and the grace that he gave me has not been fruitless. On the contrary, I, or rather the grace of God that is with me, have worked harder than any of the others.” (1 Co 15: 9-10; SM) 

Again, the mission of Saint Paul will not fail, even if he will have to die, but will succeed; because it is not from him, but it is from the grace of God!

Again, in front of the grace of God that forgives our sins and calls us to be apostles and prophets, we give thanks to God! The responsorial psalm today is a psalm of thanksgiving! Thus the response:

“Before the angels I will bless you, O Lord.” (Ps 137 (138): 1; SM)

That is, ‘before the angels, I will praise and thank you, O Lord’.

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas (vv. 1-3) are a “thanksgiving for deliverance”. The third stanza (vv. 4-5) is a “prayer that all nations acknowledge Yahweh”. And the fourth stanza (vv. 7-8) is a “statement of confidence”. (NJBC)

Today in this Mass, we give thanks to God for two of the greatest apostles, Peter and Paul. Peter was the first Pope and Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles (non-Jews), that is, an apostle to the whole world!

Today we also thank God for all his graces that forgive us our sins and call us to be his apostles. And we ask God to help us to respond to his call immediately and totally. And we are confident that our mission will not fail, but will succeed; because it is not from us, but it is from the grace of God! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!       Amen!

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 3rd February 2019

Theme: JESUS THE PROPHET OF GOD SPEAKS GOD’S WORD OF SALVATION

  • Jeremiah 1:4-5. 17-19;
  • Psalm 70 (71):1-6. 15. 17. R/ v. 15;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
  • Luke 4:21-30

Today is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the prophet of God who speaks God’s word of salvation! Thus we read in the gospel today, “the gracious words that came from his lips”. “Gracious words”, that is, words of salvation. “Came from his lips” (Dt 8:3), that is, word of God. (NJBC)

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that like the prophets Elijah and Elisha, who ministered not only to the Jews but also to the pagans, not only to man (Naaman) but also to woman (widow); Jesus came to save not only the Jews but also the pagans, not only man but also woman!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that the Jews rejected Jesus and they wanted to throw him down the cliff, but Jesus slipped through them. This points to the future rejection of Jesus by the Jews and to the “Easter victory” of Jesus! (NJBC)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the call of the prophet Jeremiah. The prophet Jeremiah prefigures Jesus the prophet! Like Jesus, Jeremiah was called to be a prophet to all the nations, not only to the Jews! Like Jesus, Jeremiah was also rejected by the Jews. The second part of today’s first reading (vv. 17-19) tells us that the kings, princes, priests and people of Judah will fight against Jeremiah. And like Jesus, the Lord was with Jeremiah to deliver him!

The responsorial psalm is a prayer of an old man, but in the context of today’s readings, it is a prayer of a persecuted prophet. The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. Stanzas one, two and three is a prayer for deliverance (vv. 1-6). Stanza four is a vow to praise and thank God for deliverance (vv. 15. 17). (NJBC) Thus the response which is taken from the fourth stanza:

“My lips will tell of your help”. (Ps 70 (71): 15; SM)

We are all called to be prophets because of our baptism! The readings today tell us about being prophets:

(i) We must speak God’s word of salvation. (Gospel)

(ii) We must speak to all the nations. (Gospel and First Reading)

(iii) We must expect rejection. (Gospel and First Reading)

(iv) God is with us to deliver us. (Gospel and First reading)

(v) We must pray for deliverance. (Responsorial Psalm)

(vi) We must prophesy with love. (Second Reading)

The second reading today tells us to be ambitious for the higher gifts, that is, the gifts of faith, hope and love. In fact the second reading tells us to be ambitious for the highest gift, that is, the gift of love! In heaven we do not need faith and hope anymore! In heaven we find only love and love gives life and happiness! Thus in heaven we find only three things, that is, love, life and happiness! Thus the second reading concludes:

“In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Co 13:13; SM)

The second reading today tells us that

“Love is always patient and kind: it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.” (1 Co 13:4-7; SM)

The quotation above can serve as a checklist to see if you have love or to see if others have love. We have only to substitute the word love with our name or with the name of others. But first substitute the word love with the name Jesus because Jesus is love!

Today in this Mass we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ the prophet par excellence and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we may become the prophets of God to speak God’s word of salvation to all the nations!

Today in this Mass we also thank God for the many spiritual gifts and charisms and we ask God to help us to be ambitious for the highest gift, that is, the gift of love, so that we can love God, neighbor and our own very selves! A Happy and Blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 27th Jan 2019

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

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)

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)

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 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)

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!

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 his glory and for the good of the community! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 20th Jan 2019

Theme: JESUS CHANGED THE WATER OF THE PURIFICATION RITES OF THE JEWS INTO THE WINE OF THE MESSIANIC WEDDING BANQUET!

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

Today is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus changed water into wine. That is, Jesus changed the water of the purification rites of the Jews into the wine of the Messianic Wedding Banquet! (Is 62:4-5; First Reading; NJBC) Jesus did two things. First he asked the servants to “replace” the water of the “empty” water jars, and then he changed the water into wine!

The gospel tells us that this was the first of seven signs of Jesus and the disciples saw his glory and believed in him. It was done at the request of his mother Mary before his hour had come! Next, Mary appeared at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25-27) when his hour had come! Mary is the symbol of the Church! (CSB)

It is through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that he will change the water into the waters of Baptism, the waters of the Holy Spirit; and he will change the wine into his blood, the blood of the Eucharist! The Fathers of the Church see these two sacraments as signifying the Church! (Jn 19:34; NJBr) The Church is the bride of Christ born from the side of Christ!

The first reading tells us about the glory of Jerusalem. The first reading tells us that the Lord will be the bridegroom and Jerusalem will be the bride! The first reading was a prophecy made to the Jews returned from exile! The prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus Christ who is the bridegroom of the bride the Church! Thus we read in the first reading:

“No more shall men call you “Forsaken,” or your land “Desolate,” But you shall be called “My Delight,” and your land “Espoused.” For the Lord delights in you, and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.” (Is 62: 4-5; CSB)  

The responsorial psalm invites all the peoples to praise and worship the Lord who rules the world with justice! The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas (vv. 1-3) invite all the peoples to praise the Lord. The third and fourth stanzas (vv. 7-10) invite all the peoples to worship the Lord who rules with justice! (CSB) Thus the response:

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

The second reading tells us about unity in diversity in our Church! The second reading tells us that there are many different gifts in our Church; the gifts of preaching, teaching, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, speaking in tongues, etc.; but they are all from the same Spirit, and they are all to serve the same Lord, and they all have the same God working in them, and they are all for the common good! Unity in diversity not unity in uniformity! We are a Christian Community, not a Communist Commune! 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)

Today in this Mass we thank God for the many different spiritual gifts and we ask God to help us live in love and unity, that is, to work together for the glory of God and for the good of the Church!

We also thank God for the gifts of the Sacraments and we ask God to give us more priests to celebrate the Sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, so that all may see the glory of the Lord and believe in him!

Let us pray for more vocations to the priesthood so that we will have enough priests to celebrate the sacraments, to preach the good news and to build the kingdom of God, so that all may see the glory of the Lord and believe in him! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!   Amen!

The Baptism of The Lord (Year C) – 13th Jan 2019

Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS SON AND SUFFERING SERVANT OF GOD

  • Isaiah 40:1-5. 9-11;
  • Psalm 103 (104): 1-2. 3-4. 24-25. 27-30. R/ v. 1;
  • Titus 2:11-14. 3:4-7
  • Luke 3:15-16. 21-22

Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Liturgical Year C. Like Christmas and Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord is about the revelation of the Lord. At Christmas, the Lord revealed himself to shepherds, that is, to the poor, the humble, the lowly, and to sinners! At Epiphany, the Lord revealed himself to the wise men from the east, that is, to all the nations, not only to the Jews, but to the whole world! At the Baptism of the Lord, the Lord revealed himself as Son and Suffering-Servant of God!

The gospel today tells us that when Jesus was baptized and was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him and a voice from heaven said,

“You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you”. (Lk 3:22; SM; CSB)

That is, Jesus is the Son and Suffering-Servant of God! (NJBC; Is 42:1) As Son, Jesus is to love God, as Servant, Jesus is to serve God, and as Suffering-Servant, Jesus is to suffer and sacrifice in order to sanctify and save the world!

The gospel also tells us that Jesus will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire! That is, he will baptize us with the fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of Pentecost! (Acts 2) The fire of God’s love! The fire of God’s love will burn away our sins and make us into sons and servants of God! As sons of God we will love God and neighbor, as servants of God, we will serve God and neighbor, and as suffering-servants of God we will suffer and sacrifice for the sanctification and salvation of the world!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the revelation of the Lord. The first reading tells us that the glory of the Lord will be revealed to all the nations!

The first reading was originally about the return from exile from Babylon to Jerusalem, the new and second exodus; but the New Testament sees it as a prophecy on John the Baptist and Jesus Christ! (CSB; Mt 3:3) Thus we read in the first reading:

“A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway for our God across the desert. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley; then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Is 40: 3-5; SM)

More importantly, the first reading tells us that when the Lord is revealed he will be revealed as the Good Shepherd! (NJB; Jr 23:1-6; Ezk 34; Mt 18: 12-14; Jn 10:11-18) Thus the first reading concludes:

“He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.” (Is 40:11; SM)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord does not only reveal himself in the glory of salvation, but the Lord also reveals himself in “the glories of creation”! (NJB)

The responsorial psalm has five stanzas. The first and second stanzas (vv. 1-4) tell us about the creation of the heavens. The third stanza (vv. 24-25) tells us about the creation of the many and various creatures of the land and sea!

And most importantly, the fourth and fifth stanzas (vv. 27-30) tell us that all creatures depend on God! (HCSB) God does not only create the universe, but God also sustains the universe! Ongoing creation! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Bless the Lord, my soul! Lord God, how great you are.” (Ps 103 (104): 1; SM)

The second reading also tells us of the revelation of the Lord. The second reading tells us that God has revealed his grace for our salvation and this he did through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ who purified us from sins so that we will do good. This happens to us in the Sacrament of Baptism where we receive the Holy Spirit who renews us and justifies us with the grace of God! Thus we read in the second reading:

“God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race. …. He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good.” (Tt 2:11. 14; SM) ….

“He saved us by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our savior. He did this so that we should be justified by his grace, to become heirs looking forward to inheriting eternal life.” (Tt 3:5-7; SM) 

Today in this Mass, we thank God for the revelation of his Son Jesus Christ and we thank God for the gift of Baptism. And we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we will grow as sons and servants of the Lord; and so that as sons we will love the Lord and love one another, and so that as servants we will serve the Lord and serve one another. And so that as suffering servants we will suffer and sacrifice in order to sanctify and save the world! A happy feast day to all of you!

Amen!

THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD (A, B, C) – 6th Jan 2019

Theme: EPIPHANY: THE MANIFESTATION OF THE LORD TO ALL THE NATIONS

  • Isaiah 60:1-6;
  • Psalm 71 (72):1-2. 7-8. 10-13. R/ v. 11;
  • Ephesians 3:2-3. 5-6
  • Matthew 2:1-12.

A Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you! We are still in the season of Christmas! Christmas season will end only next Sunday with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord! Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, that is, the manifestation of the Lord to all the nations!

The gospel today tells us that some wise men came from the East to worship Jesus. The wise men represent the nations of the world. That is why in our Christmas crib they are of different colors. The wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the child Jesus.

The Fathers of the Church, such as Irenaeus (ca. 130-200), see in these gifts the symbols of Jesus’ kingship (gold), divinity (frankincense) and passion (myrrh). That is, the gold symbolizes Jesus as king, the frankincense which is used for worship symbolizes Jesus as God, and the myrrh which is used for embalmment and burial symbolizes Jesus as Suffering-Messiah!

Indeed the Star of Bethlehem which led the wise men to Jesus symbolizes Jesus as King, God and Messiah! Thus we read in the prophecy of the famous pagan prophet Balaam: “A star is emerging from Jacob”! (Nb 24:17; NJBf) 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that all the nations of the world will come and worship the Lord and they will bring with them the riches of the world, including gold and frankincense! And even the exiled Jews will return to Jerusalem!

This is because the glory of the Lord will rise above Jerusalem and all the nations will come to the light of his glory! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Arise, shine out Jerusalem, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord is rising on you, though night still covers the earth and darkness the peoples. Above you the Lord now rises and above you his glory appears. The nations come to your light and kings to your dawning brightness.” (Is 60:1-3; SM)

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

“All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.” (Ps 71 (72): 11; SM)

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first, second and fourth stanzas tell us that the Messianic King will bring justice and peace, especially to the poor!

There can be no peace without justice! And peace is not just an absence of war, but Peace is Shalom, Salvation!

The third stanza tells us that all the nations of the world will worship him! Thus the third stanza from which the response is taken:

“The kings of Tarshish and the sea coasts shall pay him tribute. The kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring him gifts. Before him all kings shall fall prostrate, all nations shall serve him.” (Ps 71 (72): 10-11; SM)

The second reading also follows the theme of Epiphany, that is, manifestation or revelation. The second reading tells us that the mystery that had been hidden in the past has now been revealed! And the revelation is that pagans are co-heirs, co-members and co-sharers with the Jews (IBC), that is,

“Pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Christ Jesus, through the gospel.” (Ep 3:6; SM)

Let us renew our faith, share our faith and proclaim our faith to the whole world! Let us use the Bible, the Sunday Mass Readings and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) to renew our faith, share our faith and proclaim our faith in our families, in our communities, in our churches, in our schools, in our workplaces, and in the internet! A happy and joyful Epiphany to all of you!

Amen!

THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH (C) – 30th Dec 2018

Theme: A HAPPY AND HOLY FAMILY

  • Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 3:2-6. 12-14;
  • Psalm 127 (128): 1-5. R/ v. 1;
  • Colossians 3:12-21
  • Luke 2:41-52

A Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you! Christmas is such a big feast that we celebrate it in eight days! The octave day (eighth day) of Christmas will be on New Year’s Day, when we will celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God! But the Christmas season ends only with the Baptism of the Lord on the 13th of January 2019!

Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord are all the manifestations of the Lord! Christmas, manifestation to sinners (Shepherds); Epiphany, manifestation to all the nations (wise men); and Baptism of the Lord, manifestation of the Lord as Son and Servant of God!

That is why, besides Jesus, Mary and Joseph, our crib has shepherds (Christmas), wise men (Epiphany), and a white cloud symbolizing God the Father and a white dove symbolizing God the Holy Spirit (The Baptism of the Lord)!

Again, a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you! Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Liturgical Year C!

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is holy, because God is the Father and Jesus is the Son of God born through the power of the Holy Spirit! Our families are also holy because in Baptism God became our Father and we became the children of God born through the power of the Holy Spirit! The Church became our Mother and Jesus became our brother and we became brothers and sisters to one another!

The gospel today tells us that when Jesus was twelve years old and was lost in the temple in Jerusalem for three days, and when Mary and Joseph found him and asked him why he had done this; Jesus replied that he had to do his Father’s work! (CSB) In other words, Jesus is the Son of God!

The gospel tells us that Jesus is also man. The gospel tells us that Jesus stayed with Mary and Joseph in Nazareth for thirty years! We do not hear about Jesus for thirty years! We only hear about Jesus for three years, his last three years! In the thirty years of silence in Nazareth Jesus was growing up physically, mentally and spiritually in the Holy Family! (Fuller)

Our children too have to grow up physically, mentally and spiritually in a holy family! The family is the cell of society and the domestic Church! If our families are broken our society and our Church will also be broken!

The first reading also tells us about the family. The first reading tells us about our duty towards our parents, especially when they are old and sick! The first reading tells us that if we honor our parents as the fourth commandment tells us to, God will bless us! We will be happy with our own children, our sins will be forgiven, God will listen to our prayers, we will live long and healthy lives, etc.!

The responsorial psalm also tells us about the family. (CSB; NJB; HCSB) The responsorial psalm tells us that if we revere the Lord and walk in his ways, we will be satisfied, we will be rich and happy; and our spouses will be fertile and we will have plenty of children! Thus the response and the first and second stanzas:

“O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways! By the labor of your hands you shall eat. You will be happy and prosper. Your wife like a fruitful vine in the heart of your house; your children like shoots of the olive, around your table.” (Ps 127 (128): 1-3; SM)    

The second reading also tells us about the family. The second reading has three paragraphs. The first and second paragraphs tell us about Christian life in general, that is, we have to love, forgive, be thankful to God, etc. The third paragraph tells us about the Christian family. Thus we read in the third paragraph:

“Wives, give way to your husbands, as you should in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and treat them with gentleness. Children, be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord. Parents, never drive your children to resentment or you will make them feel frustrated.” (Col 3:18-21; SM) 

In short, wives love your husbands, husbands love your wives; children love your parents, parents love your children!

Suggestions for a happy and holy family:

(i) A family must eat together at least once a day, preferably at dinner time. There must be no television, internet, hand phone, etc. at dinner time. 

(ii) A family must communicate, that is, family members must talk to each other and listen to each other. Communion and community begin with communication!    

(iii) A family must pray together everyday. A family that prays together stays together!

(iv) Parents must teach their faith to their children, especially in this Year of Faith. Besides the Bible and the Sunday Mass readings, parents must use the YOUCAT, that is, Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church!      

(v) A family must belong to a BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) of a few families. They must meet at least once a month for support, sharing, praying, meals, etc. A BEC is an extended Christian family!

(vi) A family must play together, exercise together, have recreation together, go for outings together, go for holidays together, etc.!

(vii) Grand parents should not be sent to homes for the aged and grand children should not be sent to nurseries. Grand parents can help take care of grand children!  

(viii) A family must go to Mass every Sunday and if possible be involved in Bible-Sharing, Prayer Meetings, BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities), Neo-Catechumenal Communities, Alpha Course, etc. on weekdays. 

(ix) A family must be open to life, that is, no artificial birth control, abortion, etc.  

(x) A family must keep Sunday holy. (Third Commandment!) Sunday is for the Lord and for one’s family, not for work and not for money. (Pope Benedict XVI) 

(xi) The father of the family must come home to avoid the “absent father syndrome”. And he must not only be physically present; he must also be emotionally present.   

(xii) Extended families, that is, cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunties, etc. should come together at least once a month for meals, drinks, fellowship, etc.

A Happy and Holy Family to all of you!

Amen!