21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 25th August 2019

Theme: JESUS CHRIST THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WORLD! 

  • Isaiah 66:18-21;
  • Psalm 116 (117). R/ Mk 16:15;
  • Hebrews 12:5-7. 11-13
  • Luke 13:22-30 

Today is the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us about salvation! The gospel today tells us that in order to be saved we must enter by the narrow door, that is, we must make great efforts. The gospel also tells us that the narrow door does not remain open indefinitely, that is, we have to enter it immediately, here and now! (CSB)

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that the Jews rejected the salvation of Jesus! But most importantly, the gospel tells us that the pagans accepted the salvation of Jesus! That is why they will come from the East and West, and from the North and South to enter into the kingdom of God!

The gospel ends by telling us that:

“Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.” (Lk 13:30; SM)  

That is, the pagans who were called last will be the first to enter the kingdom of God, and the Jews who were called first will be the last to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, St. Paul tells us in Chapter 11 of the letter to the Romans that in the end even the Jews who crucified Jesus will believe and accept Jesus and will also be saved!

Indeed, whether first or last, Jew or pagan, all have to be saved in Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world! Thus the Gospel Acclamation of today:

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, says the Lord: no one can come to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6; SM) 

That is, Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father, because he is the only truth that reveals the Father’s love and it is only the Father’s love that can give us eternal life!

That is why the first reading tells us that all the nations of the world will be converted! And more than that, the first reading also tells us that the converted nations will in their turn become missionaries and evangelizers of salvation! And even more than that, the first reading tells us that the converted pagans will even become priests!

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

“Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.” (Mk 16:15; SM)

 The responsorial psalm is the shortest of all the 150 psalms of the Psalter. It has only two verses. The first verse, that is, the first stanza, tells us to praise and worship God! The second verse, that is, the second stanza, tells us why we praise and worship God, that is, we praise and worship God because he is love and faithfulness! The two attributes of God revealed to Moses (Ex 34:6) and revealed perfectly by Jesus Christ (Jn 1:14; NJB)!

God loves us even when we do not love him and God is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to him! We see, hear, touch, smell and taste these two attributes of God perfectly in the cross of Jesus Christ!

The response of the responsorial psalm tells us to “go out to the whole world” and “proclaim the Good News” of God’s love and faithfulness in the cross of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the whole world!

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading has something important to tell us because it answers the question we always ask, that is, if God is love then why all the sufferings in the world!

An Australian theologian answered this question well! He said that suffering is the love of God experienced by the sinner for his conversion, so that he will turn away from sin and death and turn to God and receive love, life and happiness! Or in the words of today’s second reading:

“Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? Of course, any punishment is most painful at the time, and far from pleasant; but later, in those on whom it has been used, it bears fruit in peace and goodness.” (Heb 12:7. 11; SM)    

Today we give thanks to God for the free gift of salvation and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we will proclaim the Good News of his salvation to the whole world and so that the whole world may believe and be saved, including the Jews who crucified Jesus! Then will come the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world and the final fulfillment of the kingdom of God here on earth!

A blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 17th June 2018

Theme: THE KINGDOM OF GOD WILL COME IN ALL ITS FULLNESS AT THE END OF TIME

  • Ezekiel 17:22-24;
  • Psalm 91 (92): 2-3. 13-16. R/ cf. v. 2;
  • 2 Corinthians 5:6-10
  • Mark 4:26-34 

Today we celebrate the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that the Kingdom of God will come in all its fullness at the end of time! (NJBC)

The gospel today tells us of two parables; the “parable of the seed growing by itself” and the “parable of the mustard seed”. (NJB)

The first “parable of the seed growing by itself” tells us that the kingdom of God is like a man who sowed the seed and the seed grew by itself. Whether the man was awake or asleep, the seed grew by itself! And when harvest time came the man reaped the crop!

The first parable tells us that the kingdom of God will come in all its fullness at the end of time, because it is God who makes his kingdom grow! We are therefore not to be discouraged or impatient, even in the face of difficulties, sufferings, problems, failures or persecutions! (NJBC)

We are to do what Jesus Christ did, that is, to sow the seed of the kingdom, that is, to preach the word of God, to proclaim the good news (Gospel Acclamation), and God will make the seed grow into his kingdom! As Paul the preacher says in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7:

“I did the planting, Apollos did the watering, but God gave growth. In this, neither the planter not the waterer counts for anything; only God, who gives growth.” (NJB)

The second “parable of the mustard seed” tells us that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed which is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grew, it grew into the biggest shrub of all and all the birds settled in it!

Again, the second parable tells us that the kingdom of God will come in all its fullness at the end of time, but more than that, the second parable tells us that the kingdom of God will include all the nations of the world! (CSB)

To begin with, the kingdom of God is not the kingdom of man. The kingdom of man is a political, nationalistic and military kingdom; but the kingdom of God is a kingdom of love, joy and peace! The kingdom of God includes all the kingdoms of man!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Lord will plant a cedar tree, that is, a large evergreen tree, and all the birds will settle in it!

The first reading tells us that the Lord will restore the kingdom of David through David’s descendant!

But again, it will not be King David’s political, nationalistic and military kingdom; but it will be the kingdom of love, joy and peace of Jesus Christ! A kingdom that will include all the kingdoms of the world!

The responsorial psalm is a psalm of thanksgiving! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“It is good to give you thanks, O Lord.” (Ps 91 (92): 2; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza gives thanks to God for his love and faithfulness/truth (Faley)! (v. 3; SM) Love and faithfulness are the two attributes of God! (Ex 34:6c; NJB)

The second and third stanzas tell us that God protects, rewards and blesses the just! (CSB; NJBC; IBC) The second stanza tells us that the just will be prosperous and live long lives (HCSB)! (v. 13; SM) The third stanza tells us that the just will be fertile even when they are old! (v. 15; SM)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something important to tell us. The second reading tells us that we live by faith, not by sight!

Like Paul we would like to be in heaven with the Lord and to see him face to face, but we are on earth. We are to live by faith not by sight.

We are to please the Lord by doing good and by avoiding evil. For if we do good we will see the Lord in heaven, but if we do evil we will not see the Lord in heaven!

Today in the Eucharist, we give thanks to God for his kingdom and we ask God to continue to make his kingdom grow. We also ask God to help us sow the seed of his kingdom, that is, to preach his word, to proclaim the good news. We also ask God to help us please him by doing good and by avoiding evil, so that one day; we will be with him in heaven! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!     Amen!

34th or Last Sunday of The Year (Year A) – Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King – 26th November 2017

Theme: THE END OF THE WORLD: THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AS KING OF THE UNIVERSE 

  • Ezekiel 34:11-12. 15-17
  • Psalm 22 (23):1-3. 5-6. R. v. 1
  • 1 Corinthians 15:20-26. 28
  • Matthew 25:31-46

Today is the 34th or last Sunday of the Liturgical Year 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 the world, Jesus Christ will be the King of the universe! He will have established his kingdom fully, perfectly and completely! The end of the world is not the end of the physical world, but the end of the evil and sinful world; the end of death and the Devil! As Christians we do not fear the end of the world, but we look forward to the end of the world, because the end of the world is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as King of the universe!

The gospel today tells us that at the end of the world, Jesus Christ will come a second time as king to judge the nations! He will reward those who have done good deeds of mercy and punish those who have not done good deeds of mercy!

It is important to note that the gospel today does not talk about sin, but about good works! In order to go to heaven it is not enough not to commit sin, but we must also do good works, especially good works of mercy! But if we want to talk about sin in today’s gospel, then we talk about the sin of omission and not the sin of commission!

The gospel today tells us that the wicked were sent to hell not because they committed sins of stealing, killing, adultery, etc., but because they did not do good works of mercy! Again, the good were sent to heaven not because they did not commit sins, but because they did good works!

Like the gospels of the last two Sundays on the “Virgins” and the “Talents” respectively, the gospel today tells us to prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works, especially good works of mercy, so that when Jesus Christ comes a second time he will welcome us to heaven!

‘Come you whom my Father has blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was naked and you clothed me, a stranger and you welcomed me, sick and in prison and you visited me’!

But more than that, the first reading from the prophet Ezekiel tells us that Jesus Christ is not only a King, but he is a Shepherd-King! And like a shepherd, he looks after his sheep, he rescues his sheep, he saves his sheep, he feeds his sheep, he looks for the lost sheep, he brings back the stray sheep, he bandages the wounded sheep, he makes the weak sheep strong, and he watches over the healthy sheep!

The first reading today (Ez 34:11-16) is an outline of the allegory (symbolic story) of the Good Shepherd in John 10:11-18, (NJB), where Jesus says, ‘I am the good shepherd. I lay down my life for my sheep! I know my sheep and my sheep know me! Just as the Father knows me and I know my Father. And I lay down my life for my sheep’! (Jn 10: 11. 14-15)

Jesus Christ is not only a King, but a Shepherd-King, and not only a Shepherd-King, but a Good Shepherd-King who lays down his life for his sheep!

Finally in the second reading from the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us that ‘Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man, in the same way, Resurrection from the dead came through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, all men will be brought to life in Jesus Christ in the proper order: First Jesus Christ, the first-fruits, then after the Coming of Jesus Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when Jesus Christ will hand over his kingdom to his Father after destroying all sovereignty, power and authority. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet, and the last and worst enemy is death. After subjecting everything to himself, he will in turn subject himself to his Father who has subjected all things to him, so that God his Father may be all in all’! This is the end of the world! This is the second coming of Jesus Christ! This is the Good News!

Today in this Mass 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 to do good deeds of mercy, so that when Jesus Christ comes a second time he will say to us, ‘Come you, whom my Father has blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, naked and you clothed me, a stranger and you welcomed me, sick and in prison and you visited me’! Go to heaven! Not “go to hell”, but go to heaven! This is the Good News!

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 15th October 2017

Theme: THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

  • Isaiah 25:6-10
  • Psalm 22 (23). R. v. 6
  • Matthew 22:1-10 (Shorter Form) 

Today is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, or 28th Sunday of the Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us about the “kingdom of heaven”!

The gospel tells us that the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent out his servants to call the invited guests to the wedding, but they would not come. He sent out more servants to call the invited guests, but still they would not come! Instead, one went to his farm, another went to do his business, and the rest seized his servants, ill-treated them and killed them. The king was angry and he destroyed the murderers and burned their town.

Then the king said to his servants, ‘the wedding is ready, and since the invited guests are not worthy, go to the crossroads and invite everybody’! The servants went to the roads and invited everybody, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was full of guests!

The allegory of this parable is clear. The king is God the Father, his son is Jesus Christ. The servants are the prophets. The invited guests who did not come for the wedding are the Jews. The “uninvited guests” who were invited later and came for the wedding are the Gentiles and the sinners, and the tax collectors and prostitutes!

But more importantly, the first reading from Isaiah tells us what the king (NJBC) does in the kingdom of heaven! The first reading tells us that “on this mountain”, that is, on Mount Zion, a symbol of the heavenly Jerusalem (CSB), that is, in the kingdom of heaven, the king will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food and fine wine, rich and juicy food and fine strained wines! The king will remove the mourning veil and the mourning shroud from his people. He will destroy death forever! He will wipe away every tear. He will remove the shame from his people. He will save his people!

The responsorial psalm tells us that in the kingdom of heaven, the shepherd-king (the kings of Israel are shepherd-kings, NJBC) will lead his people and provide his people with food and drink! Thus we sang and prayed in the responsorial psalm:

Stanza 1: ‘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 2: ‘He guides me in the right path. He is true to his name. If I should walk in the valley of darkness and death, no evil would I fear. You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort’!

Stanza 3: ‘You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my enemies. (So that my enemies will see that I am a friend and guest of God). You have anointed my head with oil (perfumed olive oil of welcome and hospitality) and my cup is overflowing (with wine)’!

Stanza 4: ‘Surely goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house will I dwell forever and ever’! (This last verse of the responsorial psalm is the response of the responsorial psalm)!

Today the “kingdom of heaven” is the Church, not the building, but the people of God! And the banquet of rich food and fine wines is the Eucharist! In the Eucharist we eat the body of Christ, and we drink the blood of Christ! And our Risen Lord in the power of His Holy Spirit will remove our mourning veils and mourning palls. He will destroy our deaths forever! He will wipe away our tears. He will remove our shame! He will save us!

He is doing it right here and now and he will continue to do it every Sunday until the end of time when we will eat and drink of the eternal and eschatological banquet in heaven! This is the Good News!  Amen!

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A) – 30th July 2017

Theme: SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS SALVATION AND ALL THE OTHER THINGS WILL BE GIVEN TO US AS WELL

  • 1 Kings 3:5. 7-12;
  • Psalm 118:57. 72. 76-77. 127-130. R/ v. 97;
  • Romans 8:28-30
  • Matthew 13:44-52 (Shorter Form, 13:44-46)

Today is the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us to seek first the kingdom of God/heaven and his righteousness/salvation and all the other things will be given to us as well!
The gospel today tells us that the kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field which someone has found, he buries it again, goes off happy and sells all that he owns and buys the field! The gospel also tells us that the kingdom of God is like a merchant looking for fine pearls and when he finds one of great value, he sells all that he owns and he buys the pearl!
The gospel today tells us to sell all that we own and buy the kingdom of God! The gospel today tells us to sell all our houses, cars, business, property, land, etc. in order to buy the kingdom of God! In other words the gospel today tells us to seek first the kingdom of God/heaven and his righteousness/salvation (CSB) and all the other things will be given to us as well! (Mt 6:33)
The pagans seek first the kingdom of the world and its damnation and all they get is sin and death! The pagans seek wealth, power and fame, that is, the three temptations of the Devil (Mt 4:1-11) and all they get is sin and death!
We Christians seek first the kingdom of heaven/God and his righteousness/salvation and all the other things will be given to us as well! We seek first the love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation of God! We seek first the love, joy and peace of God and all the other things, including wealth, power and fame will be given to us as well!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Solomon asked God for wisdom to discern between good and evil so that he can govern God’s people! Solomon did not ask for wealth and long life!
More importantly, the first reading tells us that God was happy with the request of Solomon and God granted Solomon wisdom and more than that, God also gave Solomon riches and long life which Solomon did not ask for! (1Kgs 3:13-14)
Again, seek first the kingdom of God and his salvation and all the other things will be given to us as well!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us to look for God’s law and love and not to look for silver and gold! That is why we responded four times:
“Lord how I love your law!” (Ps 118:97; SM)
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first stanza tells us to look for God’s law and not to look for silver and gold:
“My part, I have resolved, O Lord, is to obey your word. The law from your mouth means more to me than silver and gold.” (Ps 118:57. 72; SM)

The second stanza tells us that the law of God gives us love:
“Let your love be ready to console me, by your promise to your servant. Let your love come to me and I shall live, for your law is my delight.” (Ps 118:76-77; SM)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells us that everything works for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose! Everything, good as well as evil, because God can draw good out of evil! That is what Joseph told his brothers in Genesis 50:20:
“The evil you planned to do me has by God’s design been turned to good, to bring about the present result: the survival of a numerous people.” (NJB)
Joseph prefigures Jesus Christ in the New Testament! The Jewish leaders put Jesus Christ to death on the cross, but God raised him from the dead and through him gave the Holy Spirit and saved the whole world! And according to Saint Paul even the Jews who put Jesus Christ to death on the cross will also be saved at the end of the world! (Romans, Chapter 11)

Today, we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ who established his kingdom here on earth, and we ask God our Father to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we will seek first the kingdom of God and his salvation, and all the other things will be given to us as well! Amen!

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 26th February 2017

Theme: SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS SALVATION AND ALL THE OTHER THINGS WILL BE GIVEN TO US AS WELL

  • Isaiah 49:14-15;
  • Psalm 61:2-3. 6-9. R/ v. 6;
  • 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
  • Matthew 6:24-34

1. Today is the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The gospel today tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all the other things will be given to us as well! That is, to seek first the kingdom of God and his love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation and all the other things will be given to us as well! (CSB)
The gospel today also tells us that we cannot be the slave of two masters; we will either hate the first and love the second or we will treat the first with respect and the second with scorn; we cannot serve both God and money. We must serve God alone and we must not serve money; and God will provide us with food and drink and clothing and money!
That is why our religious priests, brothers and sisters take the vow of poverty; not because poverty is good, not even because to identify with the poor to work for social justice, but because to trust in God, to trust in his providence, to trust that God will provide!
We who are not religious, who do not take the vow of poverty, should also practice voluntary poverty, that is, to trust in God, to trust in providence, to trust that God will provide!
Again, seek first the kingdom of God and his love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation and all the other things will be given to us as well!
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that a mother will not forget her baby at her breast or forget the son of her womb. In the same way God will not forget us!

More importantly, the first reading tells us that even if a mother forgets her baby at her breast and forgets the son of her womb, God will not forget us! That is, God loves us with an “everlasting love”, not with a human love! (NJB)
That is why we trust in him, trust in his providence, trust that he will provide!
Again, seek first the kingdom of God and his salvation and all the other things will be given to us as well!
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a “Song of Trust in God Alone”! (HCSB; CSB) That is why we responded three times:
“In God alone is my soul at rest.” (Ps 61:6; SM)
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. All three stanzas are an expression of trust in God by the psalmist! The last verse of the third stanza instructs the community to also trust in God! (HCSB) Thus we read in the responsorial psalm:
“In God alone is my soul at rest; my help comes from him. He alone is my rock, my stronghold, my fortress: I stand firm.
In God is my safety and glory, the rock of my strength. Take refuge in God all you people. Trust him at all times. Pour out your hearts before him.” (Ps 61:2-3. 6-9; SM)
4. The second reading is a continuation of the second reading of last Sunday. In the second reading of last Sunday (1 Co 3:16-23; SM) Paul tells the Corinthians that he is their servant to serve them. (NJB) In the second reading of this Sunday Paul tells the Corinthians that although he is their servant, they are not his judge. They are not to judge his worthiness in the ministry. Only God and Christ can judge him at the Parousia, that is, at the second coming of Christ. (CSB)
So, do not judge your priests and bishop, but support them and pray for them!
5. Today we thank God for the gift of his creation and especially for the gift of his salvation and we ask God to help us to seek first his kingdom and his salvation and all the other things will be given to us as well! God bless you! Amen!