26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 26th September 2021

Theme: WE MUST WORK WITH ONE ANOTHER FOR THE SAKE OF JESUS AND FOR THE SAKE OF GOD HIS FATHER

  • Numbers 11:25-29;
  • Psalm 18 (19): 8. 10. 12-14. R/ v. 9;
  • James 5:1-6
  • Mark 9:38-43. 45. 47-48

1. Today is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that we must not be jealous of one another or compete with one another, but we must be tolerant (be inclusive; Faley) towards one another and work with one another for the sake of Jesus and for the sake of God His Father!

The gospel today tells us that John complained to Jesus that there was a man who cast out devils in Jesus’ name and John tried to stop him, because he did not belong to the company of Jesus. But Jesus told John not to stop him, because he who works a miracle in Jesus’ name will not speak ill of Jesus. Those who are not against Jesus are for Jesus!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Joshua told Moses to stop two men from prophesying, because the two men did not belong to the company of the seventy elders who received the spirit of Moses. But Moses told Joshua not to be jealous because of him. In fact Moses wished that all the people received the spirit and became prophets!

These two readings tell us that we must not be jealous of one another or compete with one another, but we must tolerate one another and work with one another for the sake of Jesus and for the sake of God His Father!

Within our Catholic Church we have many groups, communities, apostolate, ministries, movements, etc., with different gifts and charisms of healing, miracles, exorcism, teaching, preaching, praying, counseling, catechizing, evangelizing, etc.! We must not be jealous of one another or compete with one another, but we must work with one another for the sake of Jesus and God His Father.

Within the Christian Churches too we have different denominations with different organizations, structures, ministries, gifts, charisms, etc. Again, we must not be jealous or compete with other Christian denominations, like the Anglicans, Methodists, Basel, etc., but we must learn from them and work with them for Jesus and for God our Father.

Within the religious communities too, we have different religions, like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. Again, we must not be jealous of one another or compete with one another, but we must tolerate one another and work with one another to overcome “secularism”, “individualism” and “relativism”!

“Secularism”, that is, atheism, that is, people do not believe in God anymore! “Individualism”, that is, people are individualistic, they think of themselves only, they do not think of others. They are selfish. “Relativism”, that is, there are no absolute truths; all truths are relative. I have my truth and you have your truth; I do not believe in God and you believe in God. Absolute truths of Religions have been reduced to relative truths of cultures!  

But we believe in absolute truths, that is, we believe in God and we believe that God is love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation! This is the absolute truth!

2. The second part of the gospel tells us that we must not cause scandal, that is, we must not cause others to sin. (NJBC) The gospel tells us that if our eye, hand or foot causes others to sin, we must cut them off! It is better to enter heaven with one eye, one foot and one hand than to have the whole body cast into hell! (IBC; CCB) That is, we must not cause scandal; we must not cause others to sin, even if it means making sacrifices!  

3. The response of the responsorial psalm and the first stanza tell us that the law is good, because it gives happiness to the heart, life to the soul, and wisdom to the simple! Thus the response:

“The precepts of the Lord gladden the heart.” (Ps 18 (19):9; SM) 

And thus the first stanza:

“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.” (Ps 18 (19):8; SM)

4. The second reading is not against riches. The “gospel of prosperity” tell us that riches are a blessing from God! But the second reading is against injustices, that is, the rich do not pay the poor their wages or the rich underpay the poor their wages. That is, the rich oppress and exploit the poor, that is, social injustice. Thus we read in the second reading:

“Laborers mowed your fields, and you cheated them – listen to the wages that you kept back, calling out; realize that the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.” (Jm 5:4; SM)   

5. Today in this Mass, we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus who suffered, died, and rose from the dead to give us the Holy Spirit. And we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we may work with one another for the sake of Jesus and for the sake of God His Father; and so that we will not cause others to sin, even if it means making sacrifices; and so that we will keep the laws of God and find happiness, life and wisdom; and so that we will practice social justice towards the poor by paying them just and living wages. A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!                                                 

Amen!  

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 29th Aug 2021

Theme: THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD GIVES LIFE AND LOVE

  • Deuteronomy 4:1-2. 6-8;
  • Psalm 14 (15): 2-5. R/ v. 1;
  • James 1:17-18. 21-22. 27
  • Mark 7:1-8. 14-15. 21-23

1. Today is the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that the commandment of the Lord gives us life and love!

The gospel today tells us not to substitute human traditions for the commandment of God. Human traditions cannot give us life and love, only the commandment of God can give us life and love!

Human traditions, like the ritual purifications of the scribes and Pharisees, that is, the washing of hands before eating and the washing of cups, pots and dishes cannot wash away the fornication, theft, murder, adultery, greed, jealousy, pride, etc., in our hearts and give us life; only the commandment of God can wash away the sins in our hearts and give us life! Thus the Gospel Acclamation today:

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

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the commandments of the Lord give us life and give us the Promised Land, that is, Heaven! That is why we must not add anything to the commandments of God or subtract anything from the commandments of God! If we do, then it will not give us life and love! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Now, Israel, take notice of the laws and customs that I teach you today, and observe them, that you may have life and may enter and take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your fathers is giving you. You must add nothing to what I command you, and take nothing from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God just as I lay them down for you.” (Dt 4:1-2; SM)   

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm was originally “a liturgy for entrance into the sanctuary/temple” (HCSB; CSB), but in the context of today’s readings and liturgy, it also tells us that the commandments of the Lord give us life and love! (CCB) Thus the response:

“The just will live in the presence of the Lord.” (Ps 14 (15): 1; SM)

The responsorial psalm tells us of the commandments of the Lord, that is, act with justice, speak the truth, do no wrong to the neighbor, do not slander the neighbor, keep your pledge, do not take interest on your loan to the poor, do not take bribes against the innocent, etc. If we keep these commandments of the Lord we will live in the presence of the Lord!

But the opposite is also true, that is, if we do not act with justice, do not speak the truth, do wrong to the neighbor, slander the neighbor, take interest on our loans to the poor, take bribes against the innocent, do not keep our oaths, etc., then we will not live in the presence of the Lord, but we will die in the absence of the Lord!  

4. Incidentally, the second reading also follows the theme of the Sunday. The second reading tells us that we must not only listen to the word of God, but we must also do what the word tells us! And the word tells us to help the widow and orphans, that is, the poor and the needy! (CSB) Thus we read in the second reading:

    “But you must do what the word tells you, and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves.

Pure unspoilt religion, in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it.” (Jm 1:22. 27; SM)

5. Today in this Mass we thank God for the commandments and we ask God to help us keep the commandments so that we may have life and love and so that we will help the poor and the needy. A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!

Amen!

THE MOST HOLY TRINITY or TRINITY SUNDAY (Year B) – 30th May 2021

Theme: THE MYSTERY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY IS THE MYSTERY OF GOD’S LOVE

  • Deuteronomy 4:32-34. 39-40;
  • Psalm 32 (33): 4-6. 9. 18-20. 22. R/ v. 12;
  • Romans 8:14-17
  • Matthew 28:16-20

1. Today we celebrate the solemnity of THE MOST HOLY TRINITY, Liturgical Year B. The mystery of the Holy Trinity is the mystery of God’s love. God the Father created us out of love, God the Son saved us out of love, and God the Holy Spirit continues to sanctify us out of love!

God the Father created us out of love, but when we sinned, He loved us even more; He sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us, but when we crucified Him, He loved us even more; He rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit dwells amongst us and within us, nearer to us than we are to ourselves and loving us more than we love ourselves! (Saint Augustine) The Holy Spirit will continue to love us until we love God, love our neighbor and love ourselves!

That would be the end of the world, not the end of the physical world, but the end of the evil world. That would be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Parousia, when all will be saved!    

All monotheistic religions believe in one God, but we believe in one God in three persons, because we believe that God is love!

A lecturer in an institute of higher learning in Sabah said that he cannot believe in three persons in one God, and that God can become man and that God can die! He does not believe in a God of love, he believes in a God of law. But we believe that a God of law cannot save us, only a God of love can save us! It is a question of salvation or damnation, life or death!       

2. The first reading tells us that God is love! In fact, the heading for this first reading in the Catholic Study Bible (CSB) is “Proofs of God’s love”! What proves that God loves the people of Israel is that God freed them from slavery in Egypt in the Exodus! God also revealed himself to them on Mount Sinai (Horeb) and gave them the Ten Commandments! God gave the Israelites laws and commandments, so that they and their children may become prosperous and live long lives in the land God gives them! Indeed God loves not only in words, but also in action!        

3. The responsorial psalm tells us that God created the whole universe, including the Sun, Moon and stars, with a mere word! More importantly, the responsorial psalm tells us that our greatness consists in God choosing us as a special people and our faithful response to him! (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.” (Ps 32 (33): 12; SM)

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us that God created the whole universe with a mere word! The third and fourth stanzas tell us that our greatness consists of God choosing us as a special people and our faithful response to him! Thus again the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Happy the people the Lord has chosen as his own.” (Ps 32 (33): 12; SM) 

4. The gospel today tells us about the resurrection of Jesus Christ! The gospel tells us that after his resurrection the Lord sent his disciples to make disciples of all the nations, to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and to teach them to obey all the commandments that he has given them. And that the Lord was with them until the end of time!

The Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit are not mentioned in today’s gospel! For Matthew’s gospel today, the Ascension coincides with the Resurrection and like Paul (2 Co 3:17) the Holy Spirit is the presence of the Lord with his disciples! (NJBC)

5. The second reading tells us that the Holy Spirit makes us into children of God, calling God our Father! And we become heirs of God and coheirs with Jesus Christ, sharing in his sufferings so as to share in his glory! That is, loving as Jesus loved, that is, loving until suffering and death and sharing in his resurrection and glory!

6. Today as we celebrate the solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, especially for his death and resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we can love God, love neighbor and love ourselves and so that we can love as Jesus loved, that is, to love until suffering and death so as to share in his resurrection and glory! A happy and blessed Trinity Sunday to all of you!  Amen!

Today we also celebrate our parish feast day! Our parish church is named after the Holy Trinity. Thus Holy Trinity Church! As Holy Trinity Church we are to model ourselves after the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity is a community of persons living in love and unity! We are also to live in communities of love and unity! We are to build communities of love and unity, so that our parish church may be a community of communities of love and unity and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world! A happy and blessed feast day to all of you!   Amen! 

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Year B) – 27th December 2020

  • Genesis 15:1-6. 21:1-3;
  • Psalm 104/105:1-6. 8-9. R/ vv. 7. 8;
  • Hebrews 11:8. 11-12. 17-19
  • Luke 2:22. 39-40 (Shorter Form)

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

1. Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Holy Family is holy, because God is the Father, Jesus is the Son of God, born through the power of the Holy Spirit, from the womb of the Virgin Mary. Our families are also holy, because God is our Father, we are the children of God, born through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the sacrament of Baptism, from the womb of Mother Church. The Church is our Mother, God is our Father, and we are the children of God. And Jesus is our brother. Our families are therefore holy.

    The readings today tell us about faith. The first reading tells us that Abraham and Sarah were too old to have a child, but more importantly, the first reading tells us that God promised them a child, but most importantly, Abraham and Sarah put their faith in God and believed in the promise of God. And Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah in their old age.

2. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God is faithful to his promise. We put our faith in God because God is faithful to his promise. The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first three stanzas are a call to thank God for all that God has done for us. The fourth stanza is a praise for God who is faithful to his promise. (HCSB) Thus the fourth stanza:

    “He remembers his covenant for ever, his promise for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac.” (Ps 104 (105): 8-9)    

    And thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “He, the Lord, is our God. He remembers his covenant for ever.” (Ps 104 (105): 7-8)

3. Again, the second reading tells us about faith. The second reading tells us that it was by faith that Abraham obeyed God and set out on a journey to a country that God promised him and his descendents. He did not even know where he was going. The second reading also tells us that it was by faith that Sarah gave birth to Isaac in her old age. Finally, the second reading tells us that it was by faith that Abraham when tested, offered Isaac as a sacrifice to God!

4. More importantly, the New Testament tells us that it was by the faith of Mary and Joseph that Jesus the Son of God was born through the power of the Holy Spirit from the womb of the Virgin Mary. It was also by faith that we were born again as children of God through the power of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Baptism from the womb of the Church. The Church becomes our Mother, and God becomes our Father, and Jesus becomes our brother. It was also by faith that our children were born again as children of God through the power of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of baptism from the womb of the Church. The Church becomes their Mother, and God becomes their Father, and Jesus becomes their brother. Our families like the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph are therefore holy families!    

5. The gospel today tells us that the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph was faithful to the Law of the Lord. The gospel also tells us that Jesus grew up physically, mentally and spiritually. Thus we read in the gospel today: “When they had done everything the law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favor was with him.” (Lk 2:39-40) The gospel today tells us to keep the Law of the Lord and we and our children will grow up physically, mentally and spiritually!

6. Let us conclude with a few pastoral suggestions for our families:

    (i) A family must pray together. A family that prays together stays together.

    (ii) A family must be part of a bigger family, that is, a family must be part of a BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community) of ten to fifteen families.

    (iii) A family must eat dinner together everyday. There should be no watching of television during dinner time.

    (iv) Members of a family must communicate with one another, that is, listen and talk to one another.

    (v) A family should also play together and go for holidays together.

    (vi) Husband and wife must always be together. Parents and children must always be together. There must not be any “absent father syndrome” or “absent mother syndrome” or “absent parents syndrome”.

    (vii) Parents must pass their faith and love to their children.

7. Again, a merry, happy and blessed Christmas and New Year to all of you!       

                                                                                                                                    Amen!

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!