1st Sunday of Lent (Year C) – 10th Mar 2019

Theme: ADAM BROUGHT SIN AND DEATH, BUT JESUS CHRIST THE NEW ADAM BROUGHT GRACE AND LIFE

  • Genesis 2:7-9. 3:1-7;
  • Psalm 50 (51): 3-6. 12-14. 17. R/ cf. v. 3;
  • Romans 5:12-19
  • Matthew 4:1-11

Today is the First Sunday of Lent, Liturgical Year A. We use the readings of Liturgical Year A instead of Year C, because there will be catechumens for Baptism on Easter Vigil Night!

Lent is a time when we prepare for the celebration of Easter, that is, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world!

Lent is also a time when our catechumens prepare for Baptism on Easter Vigil Night so that they will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter through the waters of Baptism and through the power of the Holy Spirit!

Lent is also a time when we who are baptized prepare to renew our Baptism on Easter Vigil Night so that we too may die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new Life of Easter through the waters of Baptism and through the power of the Holy Spirit! That is why on Easter Vigil Night after renewing our Baptism we will be sprinkled with the waters of Baptism!

Lent is therefore a time of repentance, that is, to turn away from sin, from oneself and from the world; and to turn to God, to the God of Jesus Christ, who is love, mercy and forgiveness, and to our neighbor in love, mercy and forgiveness!

That is why during this time of Lent the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor in order to help us repent and prepare for the celebration of Easter!

The first reading tells us that our first parents Adam and Eve committed the Original Sin of pride by eating the forbidden fruit! They wanted to be gods themselves and decide for themselves what is good and what is evil. They did not believe in God, they did not want to depend on God and they did not want God to tell them what is good and what is evil. As a result sin and death entered the world!

Today too there are people who do not believe in God. They believe in themselves. They decide for themselves what is good and what is evil. They have decided for themselves that abortion is good. As a result there are 43.8 million abortions worldwide every year! (Internet, Catholic World News, January 20, 2012) Making the mother’s womb the most dangerous place in the world! And introducing the culture of death! Indeed sin and death have entered the world!

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that Jesus Christ the new Adam was also tempted by the devil! Again, the devil tells Jesus Christ not to believe in God his Father, not to depend on God and not to do the will of God; but to believe in oneself, to depend on oneself and to do one’s own will!

The devil tempted Jesus Christ three times. In the first temptation the devil tells Jesus to turn stones into bread to satisfy his hunger. In the second temptation the devil tells Jesus to jump down from the top of the Temple to test God. And in the third temptation the devil tells Jesus to worship him and he will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world.

But more importantly are the three faith responses of Jesus! Just as the first Adam turned away from God, Jesus the second Adam turned back to God. Just as the first Adam depended on himself, Jesus the second Adam depended on God his Father. Thus the three faith responses of Jesus:

(i) “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

(ii) “You must not put the Lord your God to the test.”

(ii) “You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.”

And most importantly, the second reading tells us that it is through the grace of Jesus Christ that we turn back to God and find life! Indeed the second reading tells us that it is through Adam that sin and death entered the world and it is through Jesus Christ the new Adam that grace and life entered the world! And more importantly, the second reading tells us that the grace of Jesus Christ more than compensates for the sin of Adam! And it is through the grace of Jesus Christ that we turn back to God and find life!

Indeed the responsorial psalm is a “prayer of repentance”! (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.” (Ps 50 (51): 3; Sunday Missal)

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas ask God to forgive us our sins. The third and fourth stanzas ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we will not sin anymore! (CSB; IBC)

Again, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter! Lent is therefore a time of repentance. During this time of Lent the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor in order to help us to repent and to prepare for the celebration of Easter when we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! A happy and blessed Lent to all of you! Amen!

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 9th July 2017

Theme: ADAM SINNED BECAUSE OF PRIDE; JESUS THE NEW ADAM SAVED THE WORLD BECAUSE OF HUMILITY 

  • Zechariah 9:9-10;
  • Psalm 144:1-2. 8-11. 13-14. R/ v. 1;
  • Romans 8:9. 11-13
  • Matthew 11:25-30

Today is the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us about humility! Humility is the greatest virtue, because pride is the greatest sin! Adam sinned because of pride, but Jesus the New Adam saved the world because of humility! Thus we read in Philippians 2:6-8:

“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (CSB)

That is why when Saint Augustine was asked, as to which are the three greatest virtues, he answered, “humility, humility, humility”! And that is why Saint Teresa of Avila tells us that humility must be busy like a bee, it must never stop working! If humility stops, all the other virtues also stop, including the virtue of love! Thus the three theological virtues are named in this order, “faith, hope and love”! The humility of faith must come first!

The gospel today tells us that God our Father reveals the “mysteries of the kingdom” (Gospel Acclamation), not to the learned and clever; but to mere children!

The gospel also tells us that God our Father has entrusted everything to his Son, Jesus, and no one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him!

Finally, the gospel tells us that if we labor and are overburdened we must come to Jesus and Jesus will give us rest. We must shoulder the yoke of Jesus and learn from Jesus for he is gentle and humble of heart and we will find rest for our souls. Yes, the yoke of Jesus is easy and his burden light!

The gospel today tells us that we have to be like little children, we have to be like Jesus, the child and Son of God! We have to be humble! We have to depend on God our Father, we have to put our faith in God our Father and our yoke will become easy and our burden light, including the yoke and burden of the cross of love and service!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about Jesus the humble King of kings! The first reading tells us that Jesus the humble King of kings will come to us humble and riding on a donkey, but he will be victorious and triumphant over all the other kings who ride on horses and chariots and fight wars; because he will bring peace to the whole world! His kingdom will reach from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “See now, your king comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will banish chariots from Ephraim and horses from Jerusalem; the bow of war will be banished. He will proclaim peace for the nations. His empire shall stretch from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.” (Zc 9:9b-10; SM) 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm gives praise to Jesus our Divine King! Thus we respond:

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

The responsorial psalm also tells us about Jesus our Divine King in stanzas two and four. Thus we read:

“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 144:8-9; SM)

“The Lord is faithful in all his words and loving in all his deeds. The Lord supports all who fall and raises all who are bowed down.” (Ps 144:13-14; SM) 

The second reading tells us that we must be interested in spiritual things because the Spirit of God is in us. The second reading also tells us that the Spirit in us will give life to our mortal bodies. Finally, the second reading tells us that with the help of the Spirit we must therefore stop sinning and live!

But how do we receive the Holy Spirit? Again, we receive the Holy Spirit by becoming humble, by becoming like little children, by becoming like Jesus the child and Son of God, by becoming dependent on God our Father, by putting our faith in God our Father; and our yoke will become easy and our burden light, even the yoke and burden of the cross of love and service, suffering and sacrifice, sanctification and salvation will become easy and light! Amen!