13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) – 28th June 2020

Theme: HOSPITALITY AND DISCIPLESHIP

 

Today is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings today tell us about hospitality! The readings also tell us that we will be reward for our hospitality!

The gospel tells us that if we welcome a prophet of God we will receive the same reward as the prophet, and if we welcome a holy man, we will receive the same reward as the holy man! And if we welcome a disciple of Jesus Christ, we will not lose our reward!

The first reading from the second book of the Kings tells us that a woman from Shunem was hospitable to the prophet Elisha. She built him a room and furnished it with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. And she gave him food to eat. And the woman was rewarded with a son though her husband was old!

A son for us symbolizes new life and long life, not only quantitative life, but also qualitative life, eternal life, happy, healthy, loving, peaceful, and joyful life!

The first reading of yesterday’s (Saturday’s) morning mass was from Genesis 18:1-15. It was on the hospitality of Abraham! Abraham welcomed 3 men and gave them food and drink under a tree! The 3 men were God Himself and 2 angels! Abraham did not know that they were God Himself and 2 angels! Abraham was rewarded with a son though both Abraham and his wife Sarah were old and had no son! Abraham’s son was Isaac!

The Church has chosen the readings of today to tell us to be hospitable to the prophets of God, to the holy men of God, and to the disciples of Jesus Christ, and we will be duly rewarded!

All of us who have been baptized are the prophets of God, the holy men of God, and the disciples of Jesus Christ! We have to be hospitable to one another, especially to the poor and the needy!

The prophets of God, and the holy men of God, and the disciples of Jesus Christ are not only the priests, the religious, and the lay missionaries, but they are all who speak God’s word, live holy lives, and are baptized!

But to be hospitable to the disciples of Jesus Christ also means that we become the disciples of Jesus Christ ourselves, because to welcome the disciples of Jesus Christ is to welcome Jesus Christ, and to welcome Jesus Christ is to welcome the Father who sent him, and to welcome the Father who sent him is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ!

In fact, taken on its own, the main message of the gospel of today is about discipleship!

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mt 10:37-39/CSB)!

We love Jesus Christ more than father or mother, son or daughter, or even oneself, because Jesus Christ loves us more than our fathers and mothers love us, we love Jesus Christ more than our sons and daughters, because Jesus Christ loves us more than our sons and daughters love us, and we love Jesus Christ more than we love ourselves, because Jesus Christ loves us more than we love ourselves, and Jesus Christ loves us more than he loves himself!

He died in love for us! He rose from the dead in love for us! He gave the Holy Spirit in love for us! And he gave us new and eternal life in love for us!

St. Paul tells us in the second reading from the letter to the Romans that this is the meaning of baptism! In baptism we die and rise with Jesus Christ to a new life! In baptism we die to sin and we live a new life for God in Jesus Christ! We become the disciples of Jesus Christ!

Today in this Eucharist we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us his Holy Spirit, and make us into his disciples! Amen!

6th Sunday of Easter (Year A) – 17th May 2020

Theme: JESUS GIVES US THE HOLY SPIRIT SO THAT HE WILL BE WITH US FOREVER

  • Acts 8:5-8. 14-17;
  • Psalm 65:1-7. 16. 20. R/ v. 1;
  • 1 Peter 3:15-18
  • John 14:15-21

A Happy and Blessed Easter to all of you! Today is the 6th Sunday of Easter, Liturgical Year A, and next Sunday will be Ascension Sunday and the Sunday following that will be Pentecost Sunday, that is, the coming of the Holy Spirit! Jesus ascends into heaven not to abandon us, but to send us the Holy Spirit so that he will be with us forever!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus will ask the Father to give us the Holy Spirit to be with us forever. The gospel tells us that Jesus will not leave us orphans, but just as Jesus is in the Father, we are in Jesus and Jesus is in us through the Holy Spirit. Finally the gospel tells us that not only Jesus, but Jesus with the Father will dwell in us through the Holy Spirit. These we can read from the Gospel Acclamation (Jn 14:23; CSB) and from the last verse of today’s gospel (Jn 14:21; NJB)!

God is love. God created us out of love, but when we sinned he loved us even more, he became man in Jesus Christ to save us, but when we killed him on the cross, he loved us even more, he rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit does not dwell in heaven, or on earth, but the Holy Spirit dwells in us and within us.

He is nearer to us than we are to ourselves, he loves us more than we love ourselves and he knows us more than we know ourselves. He will continue to love us until we love God, love our neighbor and love ourselves! Then will come the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when all will be saved!

The first reading tells us that those who received the Holy Spirit will proclaim the good news! The first reading of last Sunday tells us that the Twelve apostles chose seven men filled with the Holy Spirit to help them to distribute food so that the apostles can have more time for prayer and for proclaiming the good news!

And among the seven were Stephen and Philip! But not surprisingly, after that we never hear of Stephen or Philip distributing food, but instead we hear of them proclaiming the good news. In fact Stephen proclaimed the good news until he was stoned to death and became the first martyr!

The first reading today tells us that Philip proclaimed the good news in Samaria and the people of Samaria accepted the word of God, because they have heard or have seen for themselves the miracles Philip worked! Those possessed by evil spirits were exorcised and those who were sick were cured and the people were filled with joy!

The first reading also tells us that when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to pray for them so that they will receive the Holy Spirit! Does it mean that we do not receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism? No! Does it mean that if we are baptized only in the name of Jesus and not in the name of the Trinity we do not receive the Holy Spirit? No! Then what does it mean? It means that we have to be in “communion with the apostles”/Church! (NJBC) Peter and John represent the Twelve apostles. They represent the Church! They represent “the role of the Church in the bestowal of the Spirit”. (CSB)

That is why Christians who are not Catholics have to be confirmed before they are accepted into the Catholic Church and that is why Christians who are baptized only in the name of Jesus have to be baptized again in the name of the Trinity and have to be confirmed before they are accepted into the Catholic Church.

The second reading tells us that the good news that we proclaim is that by his death and resurrection “Christ the righteous one saved the unrighteous”! (CSB) Thus we read in the second reading:

“Christ himself, innocent though he was, had died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life”. (1 Pt 3:18; SM)

And it is all the work of God! And that is why in the responsorial psalm we give praise and thanks to God for our salvation!

The responsorial psalm is a hymn/prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God for our salvation! Thus the response:

“Cry out with joy to God all the earth.” or “Alleluia!”

And thus the third stanza of the responsorial psalm:

“He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the river dry-shod.” (Ps 65:6a; SM)

The third stanza summarizes the whole history of salvation of Israel by referring to the Exodus from Egypt through the Red Sea and the crossing of the river Jordan into the Promised Land! For us it summarizes our salvation by referring to our baptism and our entry into heaven!

God has done everything for us! What do we do? How shall we respond? The psalm tells us to respond by giving praise and thanks to Him, the first reading tells us to respond by proclaiming the good news, the gospel tells us to respond by loving Jesus and by keeping his commandments, especially the greatest commandment of loving God and neighbor, and the second reading tells us to respond by suffering for doing what is right and not by suffering for doing what is wrong. In this way we will proclaim the good news not only with our words, but also with our deeds and our lives! Again, a happy and blessed Easter to all of you! Amen!

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 23rd Feb 2020

Theme: WE HAVE TO LOVE BEYOND THE LAW

  • Leviticus 19:1-2. 17-18;
  • Psalm 102:1-4. 8. 10. 12-13. R/ v. 8;
  • 1 Corinthians 3:16-23
  • Matthew 5:38-48

Today is the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that love is the spirit of the law and love is the fulfillment of the law! That is why we have to love beyond the law! Indeed the gospel today tells us to love beyond the law! Thus we read in the gospel today:

(i) “If anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well. …. (ii) Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.

(iii) Love your enemies (do good to those who hate you; NJB) and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. …. (iv) You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:39. 42. 44-45. 48; SM)

That is, you must love just as your heavenly Father loves! (NJB; Lk 6:36)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us to be holy just as the Lord our God is holy! That is, we must not hate our brother, we must not take revenge on our brother, we must not hold a grudge against our brother; instead, we must love our brother as we love ourselves! (HCSB) Thus we read in the first reading:

“Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.

You must not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. …. You must not exact vengeance, nor must you bear a grudge against the children of your people. You must love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lv 19:2. 17a. 18a; SM)

But brotherly love also means brotherly/fraternal correction! (NJBC) Thus we read in the first reading:

“You must openly tell him, your neighbor, of his offence; this way you will not take a sin upon yourself.” (Lv 19: 17b; SM)  

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the gospel and the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us that the Lord is compassion and love! Thus we responded four times:

“The Lord is compassion and love.” (Ps 102:8; SM)

And thus the third and fourth stanzas of the psalm from which the response is taken and which praise and thank God for his compassion and love:

“The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy. He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults.

As far as the east is from the west so far does he remove our sins. As a father has compassion on his sons, the Lord has pity on those who fear him.” (Ps 102:8. 10. 12-23; SM) 

In the second reading, Saint Paul tells the Corinthians to be united in Christ and in God! The Corinthians were divided, with some belonging to Paul, some to Peter and some to Apollos. (1 Co 1:12)

Saint Paul tells them that Paul, Peter and Apollos belong to them instead. Paul, Peter and Apollos are their servants to serve them; in fact, the whole of creation is their servant to serve them, so that they belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God! (NJB) They are therefore to be united in Christ and in God! Thus we read in the second reading:

“So there is nothing to boast about in anything human: Paul, Apollos, Cephas, the world, life and death, the present and the future, are all your servants; but you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.” (1 Co 3:21-23; SM)

The readings today tell us about love and unity! These are the two most important themes of the Church. The Church is a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the world!

That is why in the renewal of our Church we build small Christian communities of love and unity, like the BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities), the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the Prayer-Groups, the Bible-Sharing Groups, and the Support-Groups, like the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), the NA (Narcotics Anonymous), the GA (Gamblers Anonymous), OA (Over-Eaters Anonymous), SA (Sex Addicts Anonymous), EA (Emotions Anonymous), etc., where we share and pray personally and spiritually on the Bible, the Sunday Mass readings, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and our personal and spiritual experiences, etc.! God bless you!    Amen!

 

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 16th Feb 2020

Theme: THE LAW IS LOVE, LIFE AND HAPPINESS!

  • Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 15:15-20;
  • Psalm 118:1-2. 4-5. 17-18. 33-34. R/ v. 1;
  • 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
  • Matthew 5:17-22. 27-28. 33-34. 37. (Shorter Form)

Today is the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that the Law is love, life and happiness! God is love, life and happiness. God gives us the law to give us his love, life and happiness! In heaven there is only love, life and happiness! Love, life and happiness are the three most important things and they are eternal!

The gospel today tells us that the Law is love, that is, the spirit of the law is love, and the fulfillment of the law is love. That is why we have to go beyond the law to love! (CSB; NJB)

That is why the gospel today tells us that it is not enough not to kill, but we must also not get angry with our brother! We must love our brother! The gospel also tells us that it is not enough not to commit adultery, but we must also not look at a woman lustfully! We must look at a woman lovingly! Finally, the gospel tells us that it is not enough not to take false oaths, but we must not swear at all! (CSB) We must just tell the truth! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court.” (Mt 5:21-22; SM)

“You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:27-28; SM)

“Again, you have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfill your oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you: do not swear at all.” (Mt 5:33-35; SM) 

Again, the spirit of the Law is love and the fulfillment of the Law is love! Love is the only law and the only law is love! Love is the greatest commandment of the Law! (Mt 22:34-40) Jesus fulfilled the Law in love and through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he fulfilled the law in us! Let us then fulfill the law in love by loving God and by loving our neighbor as we love ourselves! (Mt 22:34-40)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the law is life! The first reading tells us that we can choose between keeping the law and not keeping the law. If we choose to keep the law, we choose life (water), but if we choose not to keep the law, we choose destruction (fire) and death! Thus we read in the first reading:

“If you wish, you can keep the commandments, to behave faithfully is within your power. He has set fire and water before you; put out your hand to whichever you prefer. Man has life and death before him; whichever a man likes better will be given him.” (Si 15:15-17; SM)         

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the law is happiness! Thus we responded four times:

“They are happy who follow God’s law!” (Ps 118:1; SM)

And thus the first stanza of the responsorial psalm:

“They are happy whose life is blameless, who follow God’s law! They are happy those who do his will, seeking him with all their hearts.” (Ps 118:1-2; SM)

The opposite is also true, that is, they are unhappy who do not follow God’s law! If we are unhappy, we are not following God’s law!

The second reading is a continuation of the second reading of last Sunday. The second reading of last Sunday (1 Co 2:1-5) tells us not to preach human wisdom, but to preach the crucified Christ! Human wisdom cannot save us, only the crucified Christ can save us!

The second reading this Sunday tells us not to preach human wisdom, but to preach the wisdom of God! The wisdom of God is “God’s plan for our salvation”! (CSB) Again, human wisdom cannot save us, only the wisdom of God can save us!

God bless you!    Amen!

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 3rd Nov 2019

Theme: JESUS THE SAVIOR SEEKS OUT AND SAVES THE LOST SINNER

  • Wisdom 11:22-12:2;
  • Psalm 144:1-2. 8-11. 13-14. R/ cf. v. 1;
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:11- 2:2
  • Luke 19:1-10

Today is the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus the Savior seeks out and saves the lost sinner! In other religions man seeks God; but in Christianity, God seeks man! Because the Christian God is a God of love!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus invited himself to stay with Zacchaeus at Zacchaeus’ house! More importantly, the gospel tells us that Zacchaeus was converted by Jesus, so much so that he promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and if he had cheated anyone he will pay him back fourfold! After his conversion, Zacchaeus practiced Justice and Charity! There can be no Peace without Justice and there can be no Justice without Charity! Most importantly, the gospel today tells us that Jesus the Savior seeks out and saves the lost sinner! Thus we read in the gospel:

“For the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.” (Lk 19:10; SM)

The gospel today reminds us of the parable of the lost sheep where the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine sheep to look for the one lost sheep! (Lk 15:4) This also reminds us of what Nicky Gumbel said in the Alpha Course, that is, even if you are the only one in the world Jesus will still die for you! Thus the Gospel Acclamation today:

“God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16; SM)  

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that the Lord loves us and saves us! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Yet you are merciful to all, because you can do all things and overlook man’s sins so that they can repent. …. Little by little, therefore, you correct those who offend, you admonish and remind them of how they have sinned, so that they may abstain from evil and trust in you, Lord.” (Ws 11:23. 12:2; SM)    

The first reading also tells us that the Lord does not only love and save sinners, but the Lord also loves, preserves and provides for his creation! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Yes, you love all that exists, you hold nothing of what you have made in abhorrence, for had you hated anything, you would not have formed it. And how, had you not willed it, could a thing persist, how be conserved if not called forth by you? You spare all things because all things are yours, Lord, lover of life, you whose imperishable spirit is in all.” (Ws 11:24-12:1; SM)

The New Jerusalem Bible notes that, “Never before had the universality of God’s compassion for sinners, and the decisive role of love in the creation and preservation of beings been expressed with such force or in dialectical form.”

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm gives praise to God for his love and compassion towards his creation and invites the whole community and the whole of creation to praise God for his love and compassion towards his creation!

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first stanza from which the response is taken gives praise to God (vv. 1-2). The second stanza tells us that we praise God because he is loving and compassionate towards his creation (vv. 8-9). The third stanza invites the whole community and the whole of creation to praise God (vv. 10-11). And the fourth stanza echoes the second stanza in which we praise God for his love and compassion, especially towards the weak and afflicted (vv. 13-14). (HCSB)

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 St. Paul prayed for the Thessalonians so that they will live their Christian life of faith in a God of love, and of loving one’s neighbor, even in times of persecution! (2 Th 1:3-4; IBC) Thus we read in the second reading:

“We pray continually that our God will make you worthy of his call, and by his power fulfill all your desires for goodness and complete all that you have been doing through faith; because in this way the name of our Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified in you and you in him, by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Th 1:11-12; SM)

Today we also pray that we may live our Christian life of faith in a God of love, and of loving our neighbor, even in times of persecution!

The second paragraph of the second reading tells us not to be deceived by predictions of the Parousia, that is, the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must not be preoccupied with the Parousia, but we must be preoccupied with living our Christian life of faith in a God of love, and of loving our neighbor, even in times of persecution!

Today we thank God for his love in Creation (Father), for his love in Salvation (Son), and for his love in Sanctification (Holy Spirit)! And we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit so that we can continue to love God in faith and love our neighbor in good works, even in times of persecution! God bless you! Amen!

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 15th September 2019

Theme: GOD IS MERCIFUL: HE SEEKS OUT AND SAVES SINNERS

  • Exodus 32:7-11. 13-14;
  • Psalm 50 (51):3-4. 12-13. 17. 19. R/ Lk 15:18;
  • 1 Timothy 1:12-17;
  • Luke 15:1-32 (Shorter Form, verses 1-10)

Today is the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us that God is merciful and that he seeks out and saves sinners! The gospel today tells us in three parables that God is merciful and that he seeks out and saves sinners! The three parables are the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Lost Son (the Prodigal Son).

The first Parable on the Lost Sheep tells us that God is like the shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine sheep in the wilderness to look for the lost sheep until he finds it. And when he finds it he calls together his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him because he has “found the sheep that was lost”. The gospel tells us that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have not need of repentance!

The second Parable on the Lost Coin tells us that God is like the woman who has ten coins. When she loses one of the coins, she lights a lamp and sweeps the house until she finds the lost coin. And when she finds the coin she calls together her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her because she has “found the coin” she lost! The gospel tells us that in the same way the angels of God rejoice over one repentant sinner!

The third Parable on the Lost Son tells us that God is like the father who is always on the lookout for his lost son. When he sees him from afar he runs to him and clasps him and kisses him. He puts the best robe on him, puts a ring on his finger and puts sandals on his feet. He then slaughters the fattened calf to feast and celebrate because his son was dead and has come back to life, “was lost and is found”!

Again, the gospel today tells us that God is merciful and that he seeks out and saves sinners!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel worshipped the golden calf! God was angry with them and wanted to destroy them, but Moses pleaded with God not to destroy them, because of the promise God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their descendents will be as many as the stars of heaven!

And more importantly, the first reading tells us that God relented and did not destroy them: “So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.”! Indeed, God is merciful!       

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us to repent and turn back to God who is merciful. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the Parable of the Lost Son from the gospel of today:

“I will leave this place and go to my father.”! (Lk 15:18)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. In the first stanza we ask God to forgive us our sins. In the second stanza we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we will not sin anymore. In the third stanza we praise and thank God for forgiving us our sins and giving us the Holy Spirit so that we will not sin anymore!

Finally, the second reading tells us that God does not only save sinners, but God also call sinners to be his apostles! The second reading tells us that Paul was the greatest sinner, but he became the greatest apostle! Thus we read in the second reading:

“Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life.” (1 Tm 1:15-16)

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, and who judged me faithful enough to call me into his service even though I used to be a blasphemer and did all I could to injure and discredit the faith.” (1 Tm 1:12-13a)

Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and our Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us to repent and to turn back to God who is merciful, and the Holy Spirit will help us become apostles of Jesus Christ! Amen!

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 8th Sept 2019

Theme: LOVE GOD MORE THAN FATHER, MOTHER, WIFE, HUSBAND, CHILDREN, PARENTS, BROTHERS, SISTERS AND ONESELF 

  • Wisdom 9:13-18;
  • Psalm 89 (90): 3-6. 12-14. 17. R/ v. 1;
  • Philemon 9-10. 12-17;
  • Luke 14:25-33

Today is the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us to love God more than father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters and even oneself, and to love God more than all of one’s possessions!

We love God more than father and mother, because God loves us more than father and mother, we love God more than wife/husband and children because God loves us more than wife/husband and children, we love God more than brothers and sisters because God loves us more than brothers and sisters!

We love God more than oneself because God loves us more than we love ourselves! Saint Augustine tells us that God loves us more than we love ourselves and God is nearer to us than we are to ourselves! And I add, “God knows us more than we know ourselves”! We love God more than all our possessions because God loves us more than all our possessions! All our possessions cannot give us love, life and happiness! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. …. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.”! (Lk 14: 26-27. 33)      

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that God gives us Wisdom and the Holy Spirit (Wisdom and Holy Spirit are synonymous; R. H. Fuller) so that we will know the will of God, and so that we will live good moral lives pleasing to God, and so that we will be saved! Thus we read in the first reading:

“And who could ever have known your will, had you not given Wisdom and sent your holy Spirit from above? Thus have the paths of those on earth been straightened and people have been taught what pleases you, and have been saved, by Wisdom.”! (W 9:17-18; NJB)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer for Wisdom and for God’s pity, mercy, love, joy, favor and prosperity! The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us that God is eternal and man is frail and weak, and man’s life is short and made even shorter by sin. But more importantly, the third and fourth stanzas tell us to pray for Wisdom and for God’s pity, mercy, love, joy, favor and prosperity! Thus we read in the third and fourth stanzas of the responsorial psalm:

“Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. Relent, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! Fill us at daybreak with your love, that all our days we may sing for joy. May the favor of the Lord our God be ours. Prosper the work of our hands! Prosper the work of our hands!” (Ps 89 (90): 12-14. 17; CSB)

And thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “O Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to the next.” (Ps 89 (90): 1; SM)

The second reading tells us that St. Paul is in prison and in chains because of the Good News! In the second reading St. Paul is writing to Philemon to request that he set free his slave Onesimus. St. Paul also request that Onesimus be given to him as a companion to help him proclaim the Good News! Thus we read in the second reading:

“This is Paul writing, an old man now and, what is more, still a prisoner of Christ Jesus. I am appealing to you for a child of mine, whose father I became while wearing these chains: I mean Onesimus. I am sending him back to you, and with him – I could say – a part of my self. I should have liked to keep him with me; he could have been a substitute for you, to help me while I am in the chains that the Good News has brought me.” (Phm 9-10. 12-13; SM) 

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 love God more than father, mother, wife, husband, children, parents, brothers, sisters, and oneself, and all of one’s possessions! The Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the Good News! Amen!

 

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 4th August 2019

Theme: MONEY CANNOT BUY LIFE, LOVE AND HAPPINESS

  • Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth 1:2; 2:21-23;
  • Psalm 89 (90):3-6. 12-14. 17. R/ v. 1;
  • Colossians 3:1-5. 9-11
  • Luke 12:13-21

Today is the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us that money cannot buy life, love and happiness. Life, love and happiness are the three most important things! They are found in heaven! And God gives them to us through the death and resurrection of his Son and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Seek first the kingdom of God and all the other things will be given to you as well! That is, seek first salvation and all of creation will be given to you as well!

The gospel today tells us that a man in the crowd asked Jesus to tell his brother to give him his share of their inheritance, but Jesus did not respond to his request. Instead Jesus told them something more important, that is, life does not come from wealth, even if we have more than we need! Then Jesus told them the “parable of the rich fool”:

There was once a rich man who had a bountiful harvest. The harvest was so plentiful that he had to build new storehouses to store his harvest! Then the rich man thought to himself that his harvest will last him a life time, he will now take things easy and eat and drink and have a good time; but that very night God took away his soul, that is, he died!

We may not be physically dead, but we may be spiritually dead, that is, our souls may be dead because of sin and there is no life, love and happiness in our souls. Like the “rich fool” we cannot enjoy our rich harvest, that is, though we may be rich we have no life, love and happiness!

That is why the “Gospel Acclamation” today tell us:

“How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:3; SM)   

The poor in spirit are not only the materially or spiritually poor, but the poor in spirit are those who are dependent on God and God will bless them with his life, love and happiness from heaven!    

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel, but the first reading is not good news, but bad news! The first reading tells us that without God our lives are futile, empty and meaningless! “Vanity of vanity”! We work hard day and night year after year only to die and leave our possessions to others who never worked for it. And to make things worse our possessions may all be wasted in one generation by those who never worked for it! (Qo 2:18-19) “Vanity of vanity”! Without God it is all futility, emptiness and meaninglessness!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the Sunday. The responsorial psalm tells us that life and death, and love and happiness come from God. That is why we have to pray for wisdom to live a life of love and happiness!

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas (vv. 3-6) tell us that life and death come from God! The third and fourth stanzas (vv. 12-14. 17) tell us to pray for wisdom to live a life of love and happiness! The fourth stanza (v. 17) also tells us to pray for God’s blessings so that the work of our hands may be successful! Thus the response:

“O Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to the next.” (Ps 89 (90):1; SM) 

Incidentally, the second reading also follows the theme of the Sunday. The second reading has two paragraphs. The first paragraph (vv. 1-4) tells us to look for the things of heaven so that we can find life (NJB), love and happiness!

The second paragraph (vv. 5. 9-11) tells us not to look for the things of earth, because the things of earth may tempt us to sin and sin brings death and in death there is no love and happiness!

Today we thank God for creation and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit of his life, love and happiness! Again, seek first the kingdom of God and all the other things will be given to you as well! (Lk 12:31; Mt 6:33) That is, seek first salvation and all of creation will be given to you as well! God bless you! Amen!

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 14th July 2019

Theme: THE WORD OF GOD IS LIFE, LOVE AND HAPPINESS

  • Deuteronomy 30:10-14;
  • Psalm 18:8-11. R/ v. 9;
  • Colossians 1:15-20
  • Luke 10:25-37

Today is the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us that the Word of God is life, love and happiness! Thus the Gospel Acclamation:

“Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life: you have the message of eternal life.” (cf. Jn 6:63. 68)

The gospel today tells us that the law of God gives us life! That is, if we keep the law of God by loving God and neighbor we will find life! But experience tells us that we cannot love God and neighbor on our own strength. The good news is that the law of God is fulfilled in Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ loved God and neighbor and through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit he will fulfill the law of God in us, so that we too will love God and neighbor and find life!

Today Jesus Christ continues to fulfill the law of God in us through the power of the Holy Spirit, especially in the Sacraments, and especially in the Sacrament of Sacraments, that is, the Holy Eucharist, so that we will love God and neighbor and find life!

The second part of the gospel is an elaboration of the first part of the gospel. The second part of the gospel which is the parable of the Good Samaritan tells us that besides loving God we must also love our neighbor. In fact we cannot love God without also loving our neighbor! And we have to love not only in thoughts and words, but also in deeds and in actions!

The parable tells us that the priest and the Levite loved God, but they did not love their neighbor! The priest and Levite were on their way from Jerusalem to Jericho, that is, they were on their way back from service in the Temple (IBC) in Jerusalem, but they did not stop to help the man who was beaten, robbed and stripped by the robbers. It was the Good Samaritan who stopped to help the man in need. He poured oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged him and he put him on his animal and brought him to the inn and cared for him. He also paid the innkeeper to continue to care for him!

The Good Samaritan is Jesus Christ himself and we are the man beaten, robbed and stripped by the robbers! Jesus Christ loved us in deeds and in action, so that we too can love those in need, in deeds and in action! Our love for God and neighbor is only a response to the love of God for us in Jesus Christ. We love God because God first loved us and we love our neighbor because God first loved us! (E. Lawrence)

The first reading tells us that the law is not beyond our strength and beyond our reach. The law is not in heaven so that we need someone to go to heaven to take it down for us to hear and keep. And the law is not across the sea so that we need someone to cross the sea to bring it to us to hear and keep! No, the law is very near to us, the law is in our mouths and in our hearts for us to observe!

This first reading is the “gospel” of Deuteronomy (IBC)! It is similar to Jeremiah 31:33 and Ezekiel 36:26-27 where God puts his law in our hearts, where God gives us a new heart, where God puts his Spirit in our hearts so that we will keep his law and find life! In fact this first reading should not begin from verse 10, but should begin with verse 6 where God will circumcise our hearts and make us keep his laws so that we will find life and prosperity! (NJBC; IBC; CCB)

The responsorial psalm tells us that the law of God gives us happiness! Thus the response:

“The precepts of the Lord gladden the heart.” (Ps 18:9; SM)

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us that the law of God gives us life, wisdom, joy and faith! 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: 8-9; SM)

The fourth stanza tells us that the laws of God are better than gold and sweeter than honey! Thus we read in the fourth stanza:

“They are more to be desired than gold, than the purest of gold and sweeter are they than honey, than honey from the comb.” (Ps 18:11; 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 was created in Jesus Christ, through Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ and more importantly, everything was saved in Jesus Christ, through Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ!

In the Mass we meet the Liturgical Christ, but in Creation we meet the Cosmic Christ! In the second reading today we meet the Cosmic Christ! Indeed, a liturgist who lectures in the seminary told me that in the Evening Prayer, the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Hours, we meet the Liturgical Christ, but in viewing the planets and the stars we meet the Cosmic Christ!

That is why some priests are both “astronomers” and “environmentalists”! It is all about creation! The God who saved us is in the first place the God who created us! This is in the very first article of our creed! Thus the first article of the Apostles’ Creed:

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.”

A professor in the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, told me that today we have forgotten about God the Father, the Creator, thus the environmental destruction!

Today we thank God for his word of life, love and happiness fulfilled in Jesus Christ and we ask God to continue to fulfill this word in us through the power of his Holy Spirit, especially in the Sacraments, and especially in the Sacraments of Sacraments, that is, the Holy Eucharist, so that we may love God and neighbor and find life, love and happiness! A blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

5th Sunday of Easter (Year C) – 19th May 2019

Theme: WE ARE TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS JESUS LOVED US

  • Acts 14:21-27;
  • Psalm 144 (145): 8-13. R/ v. 1;
  • Apocalypse (Revelation) 21:1-5
  • John 13:31-35

Today is the 5th Sunday of Easter, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us to love one another as Jesus loved us, that is, to love one another in the dimension of the cross, that is, to love the sinner, to forgive the sinner and to save the sinner!

The gospel passage today is sandwiched between the announcement of Judas’s betrayal of Jesus and the prediction of Peter’s denial of Jesus. That is why to love one another as Jesus loved us is to love in the dimension of the cross, to love the sinner, to forgive the sinner and to save the sinner!

St. Cyril of Alexandria who lived between the 4th and 5th centuries (c. 376 – 444) tells us that this commandment to love one another as Jesus loved us is new, because in the old commandment we were asked to love our neighbor as ourselves (Lv 19:18), but in the new commandment we are asked to love our enemies more than we love ourselves! (Herald, 28th April 2013, 5th Easter)

Jesus loved sinners more than he loved himself! That is why he forgave sinners and sacrificed his life for the salvation of sinners! This is the only love that can save the world! Indeed, only this love can save the world!

But how can we love as Jesus loved? How can we love, forgive and save sinners, when we ourselves are sinners? Indeed, we can, with the help of the Holy Spirit! Jesus died, rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit! That is why the words glorify and glorified are mentioned five times at the beginning of today’s gospel!

With the help of the Holy Spirit we can love one another as Jesus loved us, that is, to love in the dimension of the cross, that is, to love, to forgive and to save sinners! Only the love of Jesus Christ can save the whole world!

The first reading tells us about the end of the first missionary journey of St. Paul. The first reading tells us that St. Paul proclaims the good news of the love of Jesus Christ to the pagans, that is, to the whole world! More than that, the first reading also tells us that St. Paul does not only proclaim the good news of the love of Jesus Christ, but he also built churches, not material buildings; but Christian communities of love and unity as signs and sacraments of salvation for the whole world; so that the whole world may see and believe and be saved! The first reading also tells us that we have to suffer many hardships and persecutions in order to build the kingdom of God!

The second reading tells us that in spite of all the persecutions and martyrdoms there will be a new heaven and a new earth. There will be a new Jerusalem, that is, the Church, and there will be a new creation, because God is the one who makes all things new!

Indeed, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, there will be a new Jerusalem, that is, the Church, and there will be a new creation, where we will love one another as Jesus loved us, where we will love in the dimension of the cross, where we will love the sinner, forgive the sinner and save the sinner!

The historical context of the second reading is the persecution and martyrdom of the Christians by the Roman emperors Nero and Domitian in the first century. (HCSB)

The responsorial psalm is a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God who is love and compassion and who rules with love and compassion! (HCSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.” (Ps 144 (145): 1; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us that God is love and compassion. Thus we read in the first stanza:

“The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love. How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures.” (Ps 144 (145): 8-9; SM)

The second and third stanzas give praise and thanks to God who is love and compassion and who rules with love and compassion.

Today we give thanks to God for his love and compassion in creation and in salvation and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit of his love, so that we can love one another as Jesus loved us, and so that we can proclaim the good news of his love to the whole world, and so that we can build Christian communities of love and unity as signs and sacraments of salvation for the whole world, and so that the whole world might be saved by his love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation! A happy Easter Season to all of you! Amen!