3rd Sunday of Easter (Year C) – 5th May 2019

Theme: THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH TO PREACH THE GOOD NEWS FOR THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD

  • Acts 5:27-32. 40-41;
  • Psalm 29 (30):2. 4-6. 11-13. R/ v. 2;
  • Apocalypse 5:11-14
  • John 21:1-19 (Shorter Form, 21:1-14)

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Liturgical year C. The readings today tell us about the mission of the Church to preach the good news for the salvation of the world!

The gospel today tells us that the disciples were fishing the whole night in the Sea of Tiberias, but they caught nothing! More importantly, the gospel tells us that the Risen Lord appeared to them and instructed them to cast their net on the right side of the boat and they caught so many fish that they could not pull the net in!

The gospel also tells us that when the Risen Lord asked for some of the fish they have caught, Peter pulled in the net with 153 big fish and the net was not broken!

Finally the gospel tells us that the Risen Lord invited the disciples for breakfast. He took the bread and gave it to them and he did the same with the fish!

The gospel ends by telling us that this was the third time that the Risen Lord appeared to the disciples!

The gospel today tells us of 3 important things:

(i) That the mission of the Church is to preach the good news for the salvation of the world! That is, the mission of the Church is to be the fisher of men, to catch men for God! In the Early Church fish symbolizes the baptized Christian in the waters of baptism! (Lefrois) The boat symbolizes the Church!

More importantly, the gospel tells us that without the Risen Lord our mission will be a failure, we will not catch anything; but with the Risen Lord our mission will be a success, we will catch so many fish that we will not be able to pull the net in!

(ii) That Peter is the head of the Church, and that the mission of the Church is universal, and that though the Church is universal, it is a unity under Peter the first Pope! Thus when Risen Lord requested for some fish, it was Peter who pulled the net in, and though there were 153 large fish, the net did not break! The 153 big fish symbolizes the universal mission of the Church and the unbroken net symbolizes the unity of the Church! 

(iii) That the Risen Lord is present with us today in the Eucharist! Thus the Risen Lord took the bread and gave it to the disciples and he did the same with the fish. The Lord did the same thing at the “multiplication of the loaves” which is a symbol of the Eucharist! (Jn 6:11)

Similarly, the gospel of Luke on “the road to Emmaus” tells us that the Risen Lord is present in the Word of God, in the Eucharist and in the Community! (Lk 24: 13-35) This gospel of Luke is read on the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year A.

The gospel ends by telling us that this is the 3rd time that the Risen Lord appeared to the disciples!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the apostles and the Holy Spirit are the witnesses to the resurrection of the Lord! That is, the apostles filled with the Holy Spirit are the witnesses of the resurrection of the Lord! (Ac 1:8; Mt 10:20; NJB) The apostles filled with the Holy Spirit witnessed to the resurrection of the Lord by proclaiming the Good News of the resurrection even in the face of persecution and death:

“It was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and savior, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Ac 5:30-32; SM)   

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for salvation! In the responsorial psalm today we praise and thank God for saving us through his Son Jesus Christ! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.” (Ps 29 (30): 2; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza praises and thanks God for salvation (vv. 2 & 4). The second stanza invites others to praise and thank God for salvation (vv. 5-6). The third stanza continues to praise and thank God for salvation (vv. 11-13). (CSB)

he second reading is a doxology. The second reading has two parts. In the first part the angels in heaven give glory, praise, honor and power to the Lamb of God who saved us (vv. 11-12)! In the second part the whole of creation gives glory, praise, honor and power to God the Father and to the Lamb of God (vv. 13-14)! (CSB)

Today we join the angels in heaven and the whole of creation to give glory, praise, honor and power to God the Father and to the Lamb of God for our salvation!

Today we thank God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we may proclaim the good news of the resurrection, so that all may believe and be baptized and be saved! A happy Easter to all of you! Amen!

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 15th July 2018

Theme: THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH

  • Amos 7:12-15;
  • Psalm 84 (85): 9-14. R/ v. 8;
  • Ephesians 1:3-10 (Shorter Form)
  • Mark 6:7-13

Today is the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about the mission of the Church. The gospel today tells us that Jesus sent out the Twelve to preach repentance in word and in deed!

He sent them out two by two, a symbol of community, because the Church is a community! (CCB; CS) That is why our religious priests, brothers and sisters live in communities of four! And that is why we build BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities)! The Church is a community of communities of love and unity!

He instructed them not to take anything for the journey, no food, no “backpack”, no money, and not even a spare tunic/shirt! (CCB) They were to depend on God for everything! They were to believe in providence! Again, that is why our religious priests, brothers and sisters take the vow of poverty/simplicity!

And they were to preach repentance, that is, to turn away from sin and the world, and to turn to God, to the God of Jesus Christ, the God of love! Only the God of love can save us! They were to cast out devils and cure the sick!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the mission of the Church. The mission of the Church is to be the prophet of God. She has to speak the word of God to society and to governments, especially on issues of justice and peace!

The first reading tells us that the prophet Amos prophesied against the Northern Kingdom of Israel for injustices and for oppressing of the poor and the weak. Amos was then told by the priest Amaziah to go back to Judah to make his living there as a professional prophet. But Amos replied that he was not a professional prophet, but he was called by God! He was not a prophet by profession, but a prophet by vocation! (Craghan)

Today the Church is to be the prophet of God, to speak the word of God to society and governments, especially on issues of social justice and peace! The Church must not be involved in party politics, but the Church must be involved in politics of justice and peace!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer for mercy and salvation, and for justice and peace! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Let us see, O lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.” (Ps 84 (85): 8; SM)  

And thus verses 9, 11, 12 and 14 of the responsorial psalm:

“I will hear what the Lord God has to say, a voice that speaks of peace, peace for his people. …. Mercy and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have embraced. Faithfulness shall spring from the earth and justice look down from heaven. …. Justice shall march before him and peace shall follow his steps.” (SM)

The word “justice” appears three times and the word “peace” appears four times in this short responsorial psalm! The themes of “justice” and “peace” are related! There can be no peace without justice!

There can be no peace without justice, but there can be no justice without forgiveness! (Pope John Paul II)

Peace! Shalom! Salvation!

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again, the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells us about God’s plan of salvation fulfilled in Jesus Christ! (CSB)

The second reading tells us that this plan of salvation in Jesus Christ is a blessing, a favor, a grace and a free gift in Jesus Christ! (NJBC)

Finally, the second reading tells us that God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ includes all of creation and the whole universes! (Fuller)

How inspiring! How inspiring!

Today in this Mass, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, and we thank God for the Twelve Apostles, and we thank God for his Church; and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit, so that as a Church and as individual Christians, we may preach repentance, cast out devils and cure the sick! And so that as a Church and as individual Christians we may speak God’s word to society and governments on issues of justice and peace! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Theme: IN BAPTISM JESUS BECAME THE SON OF GOD, THE SUFFERING SERVANT OF GOD, AND THE LAMB OF GOD

  • Isaiah 49:3. 5-6
  • Psalm 39:2. 4. 7-10. R. v. 8. 9
  • 1 Corinthians 1:1-3
  • John 1:29-34

Today is the Second Sunday of the Year. Last Sunday we celebrated the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and the last day of Christmastide. Today too the gospel tells us about the Baptism of the Lord and the beginning of the Lord’s mission and ministry.

The gospel tells us that when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon him and he became “the Chosen One of God”, the Son of God, the Servant of God, the Suffering Servant of God, the Sacrificial Lamb of God who takes way the sin of the world! In this way he was to baptize with the Holy Spirit!

After his baptism, and after receiving the Holy Spirit, Jesus not only became “the Chosen One of God”, the Son of God, but he also became the Servant of God, the Suffering Servant of God, and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! In this way, that is, in the way of his life of service, suffering, death, and resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he baptized with the Holy Spirit!

The first reading is from Isaiah. It is the second of 4 songs of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh (God). Though the word suffering is not mentioned in this reading, it is important to remember that Jesus was not only a servant of God, but he was also a suffering servant and lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

The first reading tells us that the suffering servant of God suffers and sacrifices not only for the salvation of Israel, but also for the salvation of the whole world! “It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel; I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth”! (Is 49:6)

Why all the nations? Because all the nations, irrespective of nationality, race, religion, culture, color, etc., need the salvation of God, that is, his love, mercy, and forgiveness!

The responsorial psalm today is a thanksgiving psalm. The responsorial psalm tells us that we do not thank God only by worship and animal sacrifice, but we also thank God by being obedient to him and doing his will! And the will of God is that we proclaim his saving justice (NJB), that we do not close our mouths, but that we open our mouths and proclaim his salvation! (CSB/NAB)

“Your justice I have proclaimed in the great assembly. My lips I have not sealed; you know it, O Lord”! (Ps 39:10)

Again, it is important to note that the word “justice” is not to be understood only as “fair play” or “legal equity”, but also as saving justice and salvation!

 

The second reading is from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. The second reading tells us that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ send us grace and peace! Again, it is all grace, favor, and blessing! We have heard it all in the gospel, the first reading, and the responsorial psalm! It is all grace! How can it be otherwise! It is not the Law! It is grace! We do not deserve it!

Peace! Again, as we have been told in the gospel of Luke at Christmas Midnight Mass, that it is not the peace of Caesar Augustus, who brought peace (absence of war) to the Roman Empire through political, economic, and military power, but the peace of Jesus Christ, who brought peace to the world by becoming the servant of God, the suffering servant of God, and the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

  Jesus Christ brought peace to the world through his service, suffering, death and resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins! The peace of Jesus Christ is not only an “absence of war”, but it is also the love, mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, and salvation of God!

 In Baptism, we also received the Holy Spirit, and like Jesus Christ, we also became the sons/daughters of God, the servants of God, the suffering servants of God, the lambs of God who take away the sin of the world!

In Eucharist, we celebrate his death and resurrection, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will continue to give us his Holy Spirit, so that we will grow as sons and daughters of God, as servants of God, as suffering servants of God, and as lambs of God who take away the sin of the world, so that we will grow in the Holy Spirit and “baptize with the Holy Spirit”!

Amen!