28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 10th October 2021

Theme: ATTACHMENT TO WEALTH IS AN OBSTACLE TO CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP

  • Wisdom 7:7-11;
  • Psalm 89 (90): 12-17. R/ v. 14;
  • Hebrews 4:12-13
  • Mark 10:17-30

1. Today is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The gospel today tells us that attachment to wealth is an obstacle to Christian discipleship. (Fuller; Faley)

The gospel today tells us that a rich man came to Jesus to look for eternal life. He was a good man because he kept all the commandments of God. He did not kill, he did not commit adultery, he did not steal, etc. But Jesus asked him to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor and follow Jesus. The man went away sad because he had great wealth. He did not follow Jesus and become Jesus’ disciple. He was attached to his wealth. The gospel today tells us to be detached from our wealth and to share our wealth with the poor and the needy and to follow Jesus and become His disciple.

The gospel also tells us that it is very hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. In fact it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God! Again, attachment to wealth is an obstacle to enter the kingdom of God. Again, detach from your wealth, share your wealth with the poor, and enter the kingdom of God! For salvation is “impossible” for men and money, salvation is “possible” only for God!

Finally, the gospel tells us that those who have detached themselves from their wealth and family and followed Jesus will be rewarded a hundred times over with houses, land, mothers, sisters, brothers, children, etc. now in this life and also eternal life in the world to come! That is, they will be rewarded with a Christian community of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and children, who will share with them their houses and lands and possessions! And they will also be rewarded with eternal life in heaven! 

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us to pray for wisdom and not to pray for wealth, power, health or beauty. When we have wisdom we will know the will of God and all the other things will be given to us as well! Thus we read in the first reading:

“In her company all good things came to me, at her hands riches not to be numbered.” (Ws 7:11; SM)

Solomon did not pray for wealth, power or long life, but Solomon prayed for wisdom and God gave Solomon wisdom as well as wealth, fame and long life! (1 K 3:5-15)

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us to pray for wisdom. (NJBC; CCB) Thus the first verse of the first stanza:

“Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart.” (Ps 89 (90): 12; SM)

The responsorial psalm also asks us to pray for love and joy. Thus the second stanza:

“In the morning, fill us with your love; we shall exult and rejoice all our days. Give us joy to balance our affliction for the years when we knew misfortune.” (Ps 89 (90): 14-15; SM) 

Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the second stanza:

“Fill us with your love that we may rejoice.” (Ps 89 (90): 14; SM)

4. The second reading is a warning; a warning that the word of God is both judgment and salvation. (CSB) The word of God is judgment for those who do not persevere in the faith and salvation for those who persevere in the faith. It is not enough to have faith. We have to persevere in the faith, especially in times of trials, so that the word of God becomes salvation for us!     

5. Today in this Mass we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ, who suffered died and rose from the dead to give us the Holy Spirit; and we ask God our Father through his Son Jesus Christ to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we may be detached from our wealth, share our wealth with the poor and needy, and follow Jesus and become his disciples. And so that we will have the wisdom to know God’s will. We also ask God to help us persevere in the faith, especially in times of great trials. A happy and joyful Sunday to all of you!

Amen!

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 18th July 2021

Theme: JESUS CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPHERD

  • Jeremiah 23:1-6;
  • Psalm 22 (23): R/ v. 1;
  • Ephesians 2:13-18
  • Mark 6:30-34

1. Today is the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B. The readings today tell us about Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd.

    The gospel tells us that the people were like sheep without a shepherd. More importantly, the gospel tells us that Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd had compassion and pity on them and taught them at some length, though he was tired and had no time to rest and no time to eat. The first duty of a good shepherd is to preach and teach the word of God! Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “So as Jesus stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.” (Mk 6:34)    

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. But the first reading tells us about the bad shepherds of Judah, particularly King Zedekiah of Judah (6th Century BC) who against the prophet Jeremiah made alliance with Egypt to rebel against Babylon. As a result Jerusalem was destroyed and the people exiled into Babylon.

    The first reading tells us that the bad shepherds (kings) of Judah did not take care of the flock (people) of Judah; as a result the flock was destroyed and scattered. But more importantly, the first reading tells us that the Lord will send good shepherds to Judah to take care of the flock of Judah. But most importantly, the first reading tells us that the Lord will send a good shepherd to Judah to save Judah. The good shepherd’s name will be: The Lord is our Saving Justice, that is, the Lord is our Salvation! (NJBC) Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall raise an upright Branch for David; he will reign as king and be wise, doing what is just and upright in the country. In his days Judah will triumph and Israel live in safety. And this is the name he will be called, ‘Yahweh-is-our-Saving-Justice.’” (Jr 23:5-6/NJB)       

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us about the Good Shepherd. The responsorial psalm tells us that the good shepherd provides food and drink for his sheep. Thus we read in the first stanza of the responsorial psalm:

    “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.” (Ps 22 (23): 1-3a)

    The responsorial psalm also tells us that the good shepherd is also “the host of the messianic banquet”! (NJB) The images of “shepherd” and “host” are closely related as both provide food and drink! (NJBC) Thus we read in the third stanza of the responsorial psalm:

    “You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is over flowing.” (Ps 22 (23): 5)         

    Indeed, Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd gives us his Body to eat and his Blood to drink in the Eucharistic banquet!

4. The second reading tells us that it is through the body and blood of Jesus Christ, it is through his cross, it is through his death and resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit, that the Gentiles are united with the Jews, and that the Gentiles and Jews are united with God the Father!    

5. 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 be good shepherds, to preach and teach the word of God, to celebrate the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and to build Christian 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 world!

                                                                                                                                    Amen! 

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 20th June 2021

Theme: JESUS CHRIST IS GOD: A GOD OF LOVE WHO BECAME MAN AND DIED FOR MEN SO THAT MEN SHOULD LIVE FOR HIM

  • Job 38:1. 8-11
  • Psalm 106:23-26. 28-31. R. v. 1
  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-17
  • Mark 4:35-41

1. Today is the 12th Sunday of the Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that Jesus Christ is God: a God of love who became man and died for men so that men should live not for themselves but for Him. And so that men should live not in the flesh but in the Spirit, and so that in Him men should become a new creation!

2. The first reading tells us that God created the sea! In the first reading God counter questions Job: ‘Were you there when I created the sea? Who are you to question my power and wisdom?’ Job’s question was: ‘Why does the good man suffer?’

    But the Church has chosen the first reading today to tell us that God created the sea! The first reading tells us that God shut the doors to the sea to control the sea. God even bundled the sea with mist and clouds as a new born baby is bundled in swaddling clothes! Again, the first reading tells us that God marked the boundaries of the sea, preventing the sea from coming over the shore!    

3. The responsorial psalm takes up the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that God not only created the sea, but God is also in control of the sea! The responsorial psalm is a psalm of thanksgiving by sailors who were saved by God from the stormy sea! The Church has chosen the responsorial psalm to tell us that God is in control of the sea! Thus the responsorial psalm tells us that God sent a strong wind and the waves went up and the ships went up with the waves, and as the waves came down the ships also came down with the waves. The sailors were terrified and cried to God for help! God calmed the storm and brought the sailors safely to shore! The sailors thank God for their salvation!

4. The Church has chosen the first reading and the responsorial psalm to go with the gospel! The gospel today tells us that Jesus Christ is God because he can do the things that only God can do! He calmed the stormy sea!

    The gospel tells us that the disciples and Jesus were in a boat in the sea, when suddenly a storm broke out! The disciples were terrified and cried out to Jesus for help. Jesus woke up and clamed the stormy sea! The disciples said to one another ‘Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.’ The implicit answer to the disciples’ question is Jesus Christ is God because he can do the things that only God can do!

5. But more than that, the second reading tells us that Jesus Christ is not only God, but He is a loving God who became man to die for men so that men should live not for themselves but for Him, so that men should live not in the flesh but in the Spirit, and so that in Him men should become a new creation!

6. 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 his Holy Spirit! He will give us life so that we live not for ourselves but for Him, and so that we live not in the flesh but in the Spirit, and so that in Him we become a new creation!

                                                                                                                                    Amen!

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 14th Feb 2021

Theme: THE LORD SAVES US FROM SINS AND GIVES US HAPPINESS

  • Leviticus 13:1-2. 44-46;
  • Psalm 31 (32): 1-2. 5. 11. R/ v. 7;
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1
  • Mark 1:40-45

1. Today is the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that the Lord saves us from sins and gives us happiness!

    The gospel today tells us that the Lord had pity on a leper and touched him and healed him, but he warned him not to tell anyone about it, but to show himself to the priest who will certify that he was clean and offer the accompanying purification rituals. But the man told everyone about the cure and great crowds came to Jesus.

    Jesus forbade the cleansed leper to tell anyone about it because Jesus did not want to be mistaken to be a miracle worker. Jesus came to suffer, die, rise from the dead, and give us the Holy Spirit to save us from sins – the “Messianic Secret” of Saint Mark! (NJBC/CCB/Fuller)   

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the priest was to certify that a man was a leper. And as a leper he was to wear torn clothing, he was not to comb his hair, he was to cover his lips, and shout, “unclean, unclean”, and he was to be isolated from the community.      

    Leprosy symbolizes sin! In fact sin is worse than leprosy!

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord does not only heal us of leprosy, but the Lord also saves us from sins and gives us happiness! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.” (Ps 31 (32): 7/SM)

    The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us that when our sins are forgiven us we will be very happy! Thus we read in the first stanza: “Happy the man whose offence is forgiven, whose sin is remitted. O happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no guile.” (Ps 31 (32): 1-2/SM)

    The second stanza tells us that we have to confess our sins to God and God will forgive our sins. Thus the second stanza: “But now I have acknowledged my sins; my guilt I did not hide. I said: ‘I will confess my offence to the Lord.’ And you, Lord, have forgiven the guilt of my sin.” (Ps 31 (32): 5/SM)

    Verses 3 and 4 of the original psalm which are not quoted in the responsorial psalm tell us that if we do not confess our sins to the Lord, we will suffer!

    The third stanza tells us that when we confess our sins to the Lord and when the Lord forgives our sins we will be very happy! Thus the third stanza: “Rejoice, rejoice in the Lord, exult, you just! O come, ring out your joy, all you upright of heart.” (Ps 31 (32): 11/SM)

    We confess our sins to the priest because the priest represents the “mercy” of God the Father, the “reconciliation” of God the Son through his death and resurrection, and the “forgiveness” of God the Holy Spirit! Thus the formula for absolution:

    “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself, and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.”

    And the penitent answers: “Amen”! The penitent believes that his sins are forgiven. Some people do not believe that God can forgive their sins, because their sins are “too big” and “too many”! They sin against the Holy Spirit, that is, they do not believe that God can forgive their sins! There is no forgiveness for the Sin against the Holy Spirit!           

    Note that in the formula of absolution the priest is number five, not number one: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Church, and Priest!    

4. The second reading does not follow the theme of the day. But the second reading has something important to tell us. The second reading tells us that whatever we do; we must do it for the glory of God and for the good of man, that is, for their salvation!

    The second reading tells us that eating food offered to idols is not a sin, but if it scandalizes others then we are not to eat it!   

    The second reading also tells us to imitate St. Paul just as St. Paul imitated Jesus Christ! Let us imitate St. Paul in proclaiming the Good News just as St. Paul imitated Jesus Christ in proclaiming the Good News!

5. 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 confess our sins to the Lord and the Lord will forgive our sins and give us happiness! The Holy Spirit will also help us to do everything for the glory of God and for the good of man, that is, for their salvation! The Holy Spirit will help us imitate St. Paul in proclaiming the Good News!

                                                                                                                                    Amen!

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 24th January 2021

Theme: TURN AWAY FROM SIN AND FROM THE WORLD AND TURN TO GOD – TO THE GOD OF JESUS CHRIST

  • Jonah 3:1-5. 10;
  • Psalm 24 (25): 4-9. R/ v. 4;
  • 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
  • Mark 1:14-20

Today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The gospel today tells us to “Repent, and believe the Good News”. That is, to turn away from sin and from the world, and to turn to God, to the God of Jesus Christ! A God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!

The gospel also tells us that the first disciples, Simon (Peter), Andrew, James and John repented and believed the Good News. That is, they turned away from the world and they turned to Jesus Christ! They followed Jesus Christ!

In the case of Simon (Peter) and Andrew, they left their nets at once and followed Jesus. And in the case of James and John they left their father and their father’s employees and their boat and they followed Jesus!

The first four disciples responded to the Good News of repentance immediately (NJBC) and totally, that is, they left everything and followed Jesus (NJB)!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the message of repentance is not only for the Jews, but it is also for the gentiles, the pagans, the non-Jews, the enemies of the Jews, the worst enemies of the Jews, that is, the Ninevites, the Assyrians!

The first reading tells us that when Jonah preached the message of repentance to the Ninevites, they repented with fasting and sackcloth! Consequently, God did not punish them.

It is important to note in the following chapter 4:1-3 that Jonah was angry because God was merciful! Jonah did not want the Ninevites to repent and be saved. Jonah wanted God to destroy the Ninevites.

In the first place, Jonah did not even want to preach to the Ninevites, because he knew that God was loving and merciful, slow to anger and rich in kindness, and slow to punish. (GNB) Jonah was quoting Exodus 34:6-7 where God revealed himself and his divine attributes – most particularly his faithful love – to Moses! (NJB)

Jonah was so angry that he asked God to take his life! He preferred to be dead than to be alive! Jonah was a typical Jew of his time! But most importantly, the whole book of Jonah prepares for the gospel revelation that “God is love”! (NJB) God is love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation! 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer for guidance and forgiveness. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Lord, make me know your ways.” (v. 4; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza is a prayer for guidance (vv. 4-5). The second stanza is a prayer for forgiveness (vv. 6-7). And the third stanza is an affirmation of God’s goodness, which is the ground of the prayer (vv. 8-9)! (HCSB; CSB)

Incidentally, the second reading also follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading also tells us to turn away from the world! In the second reading St. Paul mistakenly thought that the end of the world was imminent! (HCSB; NJBC) Nonetheless the second reading is relevant to us because it corresponds to the gospel exhortation to turn away from the world! Thus we read in the second reading:

“Brothers: our time is growing short. Those who have wives should live as though they had none, and those who mourn should live as though they had nothing to mourn for; those who are enjoying life should live as though there were nothing to laugh about; those whose life is buying things should live as though they had nothing of their own; and those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it. I say this because the world as we know it is passing away.” (1 Co 7:29-31; SM)  

Incidentally, St. Paul was advising virgins! (CSB; HCSB)

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 “Repent and believe the Good News”. The Holy Spirit will help us to turn away from sin and from the world, and to turn to God – to the God of Jesus Christ; a God of love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation! A happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you! Amen!

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 30th June 2019

Theme: WE ARE TO LEAVE EVERYTHING TO FOLLOW JESUS

  • 1 Kings 19:16. 19-21;
  • Psalm 15:1-2. 5. 7-11. R/ cf. v. 5;
  • Galatians 5:1. 13-18
  • Luke 9:51-62 

Today is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, to suffer, to die, to rise from the dead, to ascend into heaven and to send down the Holy Spirit to save the word!

The gospel tells us that when Jesus and his disciples were rejected by a Samaritan village, James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven to burn them up, but Jesus rebuked them and told them that he “came not to destroy souls but to save them”! (NJB) Indeed, Jesus came to save souls, and not only the souls of the Jews, but also the souls of the Samaritans, the enemies of the Jews!

The gospel also tells us that we are to leave everything, including our families, in order to follow Jesus! That is why to the first man who wanted to follow him, Jesus told him that foxes have holes and birds of the air have nest, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head!

And to the second man who wanted to follow him, but wanted to bury his father first, Jesus told him to let the dead bury the dead, that is, to let the spiritually dead to bury the physically dead, and that his duty was to preach the good news of the kingdom!

And to the third man who wanted to follow him, but wanted to say good-bye to his family first, Jesus told him that anyone who puts his hand on the plough and looks back is not worthy of the kingdom of God!

Again, we are to leave everything, including our families, in order to follow Jesus!

Indeed the first reading tells us that the prophet Elisha left everything, including his family, in order to follow the prophet Elijah and to succeed him! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Elisha left his oxen and ran after Elijah. ‘Let me kiss my father and mother, then I will follow you’ he said. …. Elisha turned away, took the pair of oxen and slaughtered them. He used the plough for cooking the oxen, then gave to his men, who ate. He then rose, and followed Elijah and became his servant.” (1 K 19:20-21; SM) 

The responsorial psalm tells us that God is the supreme good! (CSB) In fact Jesus tells us that God is the only good! (Mk 10:18) That is why we leave everything, including our families, in order to follow him!

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 1-2. 5; SM) tells us that the psalmist prefers the God of Israel to all the false gods! Thus the response which is taken from the first stanza:

“O Lord, it is you who are my portion.” (Ps 15:5; SM)

That is, O Lord, it is you who are my portion, my heritage, my inheritance!

The second, third, and fourth stanzas (vv. 7-11) tell us of the wise and life-giving presence of God, that is, God and God alone gives wisdom and life. That is why he is the supreme good and the only good! And that is why we give up everything, including our families, in order to follow him!

The second reading tells us that besides loving and serving God, we must also love and serve our neighbor! In fact we cannot love and serve God without also loving and serving our neighbor! Thus we read in the second reading:

“Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarized in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Ga 5: 13-14; SM) 

Today we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, who suffered, died, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world. And we ask God to help us to leave everything, including our families, in order to follow Jesus to love and serve God and to love and serve our neighbor!

Indeed, this is the meaning of life, this is the secret to happiness, and this is what God created us for, that is, to know him, to love him, to serve him and to be happy with him forever; and to know our neighbor, to love our neighbor, to serve our neighbor, and to be happy with our neighbor forever!

A blessed Sunday to all of you!  Amen!

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 14th January 2018

Theme: WE ARE TO RESPOND IMMEDIATELY AND TOTALLY TO THE CALL OF GOD

  • 1 Samuel 3:3-10. 19;
  • Psalm 39 (40): 2. 4. 7-10. R/ vv. 8. 9;
  • 1 Corinthians 6:13-15. 17-20
  • John 1:35-42

Today is the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about the call of the first disciples and the call of Samuel the prophet.

The gospel today tells us that when John the Baptist pointed out to his disciples (Andrew and, traditionally, John) that Jesus was the Lamb of God, they immediately followed Jesus. And when Jesus asked them what they wanted, they asked Jesus where he stayed. Jesus then invited them to see where he stayed and they saw where Jesus stayed and they stayed with Jesus.

The next day, early in the morning, Andrew one of the two disciples who followed Jesus brought his brother Simon to Jesus and Jesus named him Peter, that is, the Rock. The Rock on which to build His Church! (Mt 16:18)

The disciples responded immediately and totally to the call of God! This is even clearer in the parallel gospel texts of Matthew 4:18-20; Mk 1:16-20 and Luke 5:1-11.

“And at once they (Peter and Andrew) left their nets and followed him.” (Mt 4:20; Mk 1:18; NJB) “Then, bringing their boats back to land they (Peter, Andrew, James and John) left everything and followed him.” (Lk 5:11; NJB)

More importantly, the gospel tells us why they responded immediately and totally! They responded immediately and totally because Jesus is the Lamb of God; “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29). Or as the Gospel Acclamation today tells us, Jesus is the grace and truth of God, that is, Jesus is the love and faithfulness of God; the two divine attributes of God revealed to Moses in Ex 34:6! (Jn 1:17; CSB; NJB) Jesus is God!

The caption of today’s gospel: “They saw where he lived, and stayed with him” (Jn 1:39; SM) means they saw with the eyes of faith and they followed him. Again, the disciples responded immediately and totally in faith and followed Jesus!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the call of the prophet Samuel. Samuel was called three times by God, but he did not know it was God calling him. He thought it was Eli who was calling him. But at the fourth time and instructed by Eli, he answered, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” Samuel then became the prophet of God and his words became effective!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. To listen to God is also to do his will. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will”. (Ps 39: 8. 9; SM)

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for salvation. The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 2 & 4) tells us that the psalmist was saved by God. The second and third stanzas (vv. 7-9) from which the response is taken tell us that the psalmist thanked God for his salvation, not by offering animal sacrifices or offerings, but by doing the will of God! The fourth stanza (v. 10) tells us that the psalmist proclaimed the good news of his salvation to the whole community! (HCSB)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something important to tell us. St. Paul tells us in the second reading that our bodies do not belong to us, but our bodies belong to God. In Baptism we become the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit!

We are therefore not to commit the sin of fornication with prostitutes or with any other person. Fornication is between two unmarried persons. In the case of adultery one or both parties are married. We are not to engage in premarital sex or extramarital sex. This may lead to an even bigger sin, that is, the sin of abortion.

In the year 2003 there were 41.6 million abortions worldwide (Internet, Catholic World News, October 15, 2009), making the womb of the mother the most dangerous place in the world! More dangerous than Iraq or Afghanistan! More innocent and defenseless lives are destroyed in the wombs of mothers than all the wars put together!

We are to use our bodies to glorify God, that is, to get married and to procreate children and have a family and be happy! But today there is a crisis in marriage and the family, especially in the West, that is, some people do not want to get married and they do not want to have children and family. They only want sex, but sex was created by God for marriage, for love and procreation, that is, for the family! To maintain a population we need to have 2.1 children, that is, 3 children!

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 respond immediately and totally in faith to the call of God to follow him. The Holy Spirit will help us listen to God and do his will. And the Holy Spirit will help us use our bodies to glorify God by getting married and by having children and family. A happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you! Amen!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

12th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A) – 25th June 2017

Theme: PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST’S GRACE AND LIFE 

  • Jeremiah 20:10-13
  • Psalm 68:8-10. 14. 17. 33-35. R. v. 14.
  • Romans 5:12-15
  • Matthew 10:26-33

Today is the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time and the readings today (1st reading, psalm, and gospel) tell us 3 things: (i) Proclaim the Good News. (ii) Proclaim the Good News even in times of suffering and persecution. (iii) When we proclaim the good news even in times of suffering and persecution the Lord will be with us!

But first let us look at the good news itself! The second reading from the letter to the Romans tells us the good news that “Adam prefigured the One to come, but the gift itself considerably outweighed the fall. If it is certain that through one man’s fall so many died, it is even more certain that divine grace, coming through the one man, Jesus Christ, came to so many as an abundant free gift”! (Rm 5:15)

The caption of the second reading today tells us “The gift considerably outweighed the fall”! The grace was more abundant than the sin, so much so that we may say that the life that Jesus Christ gives is even better than the life before the fall, so much so that we may say that God loves us even more after the fall!

Yes, God loved us and created us out of nothing, but when Adam sinned, God loved us even more by sending us his Son Jesus Christ, the New Adam, the Second Adam, to save us, and today this salvation continues in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit!

We live in the faith and hope that the world is getting better and better because God continues to love us more and more in spite of our sins if not because of our sins!

To appreciate the second reading better, we have to read the second section of Romans Chapter Five (Rm 5:12-21), especially verses 20 and 21: “But however much sin increased, grace was always greater; so that as sin’s reign brought death, so grace was to rule through saving justice that leads to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”! (NJB)

As I have said earlier, the readings today tell us 3 things, namely, that we have to proclaim the good news, we have to proclaim the good news even in times of suffering and persecution, and when we proclaim the good news even in times of suffering and persecution, the Lord will be with us!

The first reading from the prophet Jeremiah tells us that Jeremiah was persecuted because he prophesied the Word of God! Jeremiah was a prophet in Judah between the 7th and 6th century BC (Before Christ). In today’s second reading he was persecuted because he prophesied the fall of Jerusalem!

But more importantly, the second reading tells us in Jeremiah’s own words “But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero; …. Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men”! (Jr 20:11&13)

Again, the responsorial psalm echoes the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us of an innocent man who is being persecuted for his commitment to the Lord, but more importantly, the responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord listens to his prayer for help!

The first stanza of the responsorial psalm tells us that the innocent man is being persecuted because he was committed to the cause of the Lord. The second stanza tells us that the innocent man prays to the Lord for help! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “In your great love, answer me, O God”! (Ps 68:14)  The third stanza tells us that the Lord listens to his prayer for help: “For the Lord listens to the needy and does not spurn his servants in their chains”! (Ps 68:34)

Again, the gospel tells us to proclaim the good news: “What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the house-tops”! (Mt 10:27) And to proclaim it even in times of suffering and persecution and the Lord will be with us: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; …. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows”! (Mt 10:28-31)

Today in this Mass let us pray for the Holy Spirit so that we may proclaim the good news, and proclaim it even in times of suffering and persecution, and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ’s grace and life which is more abundant than the sin and death of Adam!