14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 7th July 2019

Theme: THE PEACE OF SALVATION (SHALOM)

  • Isaiah 66:10-14;
  • Psalm 65:1-7. 16. 20. R/ v. 1;
  • Galatians 6:14-18
  • Luke 10: 1-9 (Shorter Form)

Today is the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us about The Peace of Salvation (Shalom)! The word “Peace” comes from the Hebrew word “Shalom” meaning wholeness, completeness, perfection, soundness, well-being, lacking nothing, prosperity, happiness, etc., in the Old Testament. In the New Testament it is almost synonymous with Salvation!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus sent out the seventy-two disciples to preach the “Peace of Salvation (Shalom)” (HCSB) to the whole world. The number seventy-two (or seventy) symbolizes the universal mission of the Church!

They were sent out two by two, they were instructed to pray for laborers for the harvest, they were told not to carry any purses, bags and sandals, they were told not to greet anyone on the road, and they were told to preach the peace of salvation!

They were sent out two by two for mutual support, to bear witness to each other’s testimony, and to embody the peace that they preach. (NJBC) They were instructed to pray for laborers for the harvest, because the mission of the Church is from God. Thus prayer and mission cannot be separated. Every mission has to begin and end with prayer. They were instructed not to carry any purses, backpacks or sandals, because they were to depend on the providence of God. God provides! Thus the vow of poverty of the religious! They were not to greet anyone on the way, that is, they were not to be distracted from their mission! Today our hand phones distract us even during Mass and we distract others too. We must switch off our hand phones, especially during Mass! And finally they were to preach the peace of salvation and not to preach damnation!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the joy of the peace of salvation in the New Jerusalem! The New Jerusalem becomes our Mother and we the infants who suckle milk from her breast! Today the New Jerusalem is our mother Church! It is in her that we find the peace of salvation and it is from her that missionaries are sent to the whole world to preach the peace of salvation! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Rejoice, Jerusalem, be glad for her, all you who love her! Rejoice, rejoice for her, all you who mourned her! That you may be suckled, filled, from her consoling breast, that you may savor with delight her glorious breasts. For thus says the Lord: Now towards her I send flowing peace, like a river, and like a stream in spate the glory of the nations.” (Is 66: 10-12; SM)       

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us about the joy of salvation! Thus the response:

“Cry out with joy to God all the earth.” (Ps 65:1; SM)

That is, cry out with joy to God all the earth in praise and thanksgiving for salvation! The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first, second and third stanzas (vv 1-7) are a praise and thanksgiving for salvation! Thus verse 6 of the third stanza:

“He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the river dry-shod. Let our joy then be in him.” (Ps 65:6; SM)

Verse 6 is a summary of the whole history of salvation of Israel! Thus the first event and the last event of salvation are mentioned together, that is, the crossing of the Reed Sea in the Exodus and the crossing of the river Jordan into the Promised Land!

The fourth stanza (vv. 16. 20) tells us that God does not only save the community as a whole, but God also saves each and every individual in the community in a personal way! (IBC)

The second reading tells us that the peace of salvation cannot be merited by the works of the Law, but the peace of salvation can only be received as a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ, especially through faith in the cross of Jesus Christ through which we die to the world and the world die to us and through which we are made a new creation! Thus we read in the second reading:

“But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation. Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God.” (Ga 6:14-16; CSB) 

Today we thank God for the Peace of Salvation and we ask God to help us to be missionaries of the Peace of Salvation! The Peace of Salvation be with you all! Shalom! Amen!

 

6th Sunday of Easter (C) – 26th May 2019

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL HELP US UNDERSTAND THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS AND PUT THEM INTO PRACTICE

  • Acts 15:1-2. 22-29;
  • Psalm 66 (67): 2-3. 5-6. 8. R/ v. 4;
  • Apocalypse 21:10-14. 22-23
  • John 14:23-29

Today is the 6th Sunday of Easter, Liturgical year C. Next Sunday will be “The Ascension of the Lord”, and the Sunday after that will be “Pentecost Sunday”. Easter is the most important feast in the Church. It is more important than Christmas.

The Church started to celebrate Christmas only in the 4th century, but Easter was celebrated in the very first centuries. In fact, in the first three centuries there were no other celebrations except Easter! Easter is the most important feast, because at Easter we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the whole world!

The gospel today tells us that the Father will send us the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. And the Holy Spirit will teach us everything and remind us all that Jesus taught us. That is, the Holy Spirit will help us understand the teachings of Jesus and put them into practice! (BM, Opening Prayer 2)

The gospel also tells us that Jesus will give us peace through the Holy Spirit. Peace, shalom, salvation! Peace is not just the absence of war, but peace is shalom (Hebrew), that is, wholeness, well-being, completeness, soundness, lacking nothing, etc., that is salvation!

That is why the gospel tells us not to be afraid! There is nothing to fear, not even sin and death, because there is resurrection and life! A life better than the life before sin and death! In short, there is salvation!

The first reading also tells us about the Holy Spirit. The first reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is with the Church and in the Church, and that the Church teaches in and with the Holy Spirit! (Magisterium)

The first reading tells us that the Holy Spirit and the apostles taught that the Gentile Christians need not follow the Mosaic Law of the Jewish Christians, particularly the law of circumcision; but that as a compromise they have to follow the dietary laws, that is, they are not to eat food offered to idols and they are not to eat meat with blood in them; because they live with the Jewish Christians and eat with them and celebrate the Eucharist with them! They are also to avoid fornication. But for us Christians today the dietary laws symbolize the capital sins of idolatry and murder.

More importantly, the Holy Spirit does not only teach us what laws to keep or not to keep, but the Holy Spirit also helps us to do good, and to avoid evil and to overcome sin!

The responsorial psalm is a petition to God to bless Israel with a good and rich harvest, so that the nations of the world will see the blessings of God on Israel and will worship the God of Israel! Thus the response:

“Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.” (Ps 66 (67): 4)

But in the context of today’s liturgy and readings, we ask God to bless us with the Holy Spirit and with salvation, so that all the nations may see the blessings of the Holy Spirit and of salvation and worship our God! Thus the response:

“Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.” (Ps 66 (67): 4)

The second reading tells us about the New Jerusalem, that is, the Church. The second reading tells us that the New Jerusalem will come down from heaven and God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit will dwell in it. And we will not need the Temple anymore, nor the sun and the moon to light up the day and the night, because the radiant glory of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit will light up the Church and the world!

That is why today in the Church we have the Liturgy, the Sacraments, and the Sacrament of Sacraments, that is, the Eucharist/Mass! Every Sunday Eucharist/Mass is a celebration of Easter and Pentecost! Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI told the youths in one of the World Youth Days that the Sunday Eucharist/Mass is a perpetual Pentecost! In the Sunday Eucharist/Mass, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! That is why it is most urgent and most important to come to Mass every Sunday!

Today, we thank God our Father for Easter, that is, for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world; and we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we will understand the teachings of Jesus and put them into practice; and so that like Paul and Barnabas in the first reading, we will proclaim the good news of the resurrection, so that all may hear and believe and be saved; and so that like Paul and Barnabas in the first reading, we will build Christian communities of love and unity, so that all may see and believe and be saved; and so that our Church may be a communion of communities of love and unity, and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world! A happy Easter Season 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!

Christmas – Mass at Midnight (A B C)

Theme: JESUS CHRIST IS GOD, SAVIOR AND BRINGER OF PEACE

  • Isaiah 9:1-7;
  • Psalm 95 (96): 1-3. 11-13. R/ Lk 2:11;
  • Titus 2:11-14
  • Luke 2:1-14

 A happy and joyful Christmas to all of you! The readings today tell us why we are happy and joyful about Christmas!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus Christ is God, Savior and bringer of peace! The gospel tells us that Caesar Augustus with all his political, economic and military powers is not god, savior and bringer of peace! The Roman Empire believed that Caesar Augustus was god, savior and bringer of peace! That is why the gospel today began with Caesar Augustus.

The gospel also tells us that the promise God made to David about the Messiah is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The promise was fulfilled not because David and his descendents, that is, the kings of Israel, were faithful, but because God was faithful!

Indeed, the gospel tells us that God has become man, God has become food for man, and God has become food for sinful man! A professor in one of our local colleges said that he cannot believe that God can become man, that God can die, and that God can die for sinful man! He believes in a God of law, justice, punishment and damnation, but we believe in a God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!

Indeed, the symbolic details of today’s gospel tell us that God became man, God became food for man, and God became food for sinful man! The sign the angel gave to the shepherds was “a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12; SM). “A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes” symbolizes that God has become man, and “lying in a manger” symbolizes that God has become food for man! The shepherds symbolize sinful man! (CSB; NJBC)

That is why the angels sang glory to God saying, ‘peace, shalom, salvation to men who enjoy his favor, blessing, grace’! Salvation is a total free gift from God! That is why the angel told the shepherds, ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared with all the people, today a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord’!

 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the “Prince of Peace”! (CSB; NJBC) Again, peace, shalom, salvation! Again, be happy, be joyful, and rejoice! Thus we read in the first reading:

“You have made their gladness greater, you have made their joy increase; they rejoice in your presence as men rejoice at harvest time, as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.” (Is 9:3; SM)

 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us to rejoice and to be happy because of our Savior Jesus Christ! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Today a savior has been born to us; he is Christ the Lord.” (Lk 2:11; SM)

And thus the third stanza of the responsorial psalm:

“Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad, let the sea and all within it thunder praise, let the land and all it bears rejoice, all the trees of the wood shout for joy at the presence of the Lord for he comes, he comes to rule the earth.” (Ps 95 (96): 11-13; SM)

Note that not only human beings rejoice, but the whole of creation rejoices, because the peace that Jesus Christ brings is also a peace with the whole of creation! Remember the message of Pope John Paul II for World Day of Peace, 1 January 1990: “Peace with God the Creator, Peace with all of Creation”!

 

The second reading also follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading also tells us that salvation is a grace from God! But more than that, the second reading tells us to respond to the grace of salvation by avoiding evil, by avoiding worldliness, and by living good lives and doing good works until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when all will be saved!

Again, a happy and joyful Christmas to all of you!  Amen!

19th Ordinary Time (Year A) – 13th August 2017

Theme: THE LORD BRINGS PEACE, SHALOM, SALVATION

  • 1 Kings 19:9. 11-13;
  • Psalm 84:9-14. R/ v. 8;
  • Romans 9:1-5.
  • Matthew 14:22-33

Today is the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that the Lord brings peace, shalom, salvation! The gospel today tells us that the disciples were in a boat battling a heavy sea because there was a strong headwind. More importantly, the gospel tells us that Jesus walked towards them on the water! Jesus was the Son of God! Most importantly, the gospel tells us that Peter walked towards Jesus, but when he felt the strong wind, he lost faith and began to sink, but Jesus saved him! And when they entered the boat the wind dropped! There was peace, shalom, salvation!

Today the Church is troubled from within and from without! From within, the Church is troubled by the scandalous sins of its ministers, its theologians teach against the Pope, its people do not obey the teachings of the Church, particularly in abortion and contraception, and many of its people do not even come to Mass on Sundays. They do not believe in the Church and they do not believe in God! From, the outside, the Church is troubled by the world, by secularism, by unjust government laws, by extremists of other religions, by persecution, etc.

In all these, the Lord comes to bring us peace, shalom, salvation! We have to repent and we have to be renewed in order to experience the peace, shalom, salvation of the Lord! There are many renewal movements in our parish, e.g., the Charismatic Renewal, the Life in the Spirit Seminar, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the Bible Sharing Groups, the Alpha Course, etc., but most importantly, we have to come to Mass every Sunday! After Baptism, we are renewed every Sunday by the Eucharist!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel! The first reading tells us that after Elijah destroyed the prophets of Baal, Queen Jezebel was after him to kill him. The first reading tells us that Elijah went to Mount Horeb, that is, Mount Sinai, where God appeared to Moses. God appeared to Elijah on Mount Horeb! As at Mount Sinai, there was a strong wind, there was earthquake, and there was fire; but the Lord was not in the strong wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire! Then there was a gentle breeze. The Lord was in the gentle breeze! Like in the gospel today, the gentle breeze symbolizes the peace, shalom, salvation of the Lord!

Again, the Church is troubled from the outside by the world, by secularism, by modernism, by governments that make discriminatory laws, by extremists from other religions, by persecutions, etc. Again, in these times of trouble, the Lord brings us peace, shalom, salvation! Again, the Church has to repent and be renewed in order to experience the peace, shalom, salvation of the Lord!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord brings us peace, shalom, salvation, through his justice and mercy! The Lord is both just and merciful! As Saint Pope John Paul II said of the conflict in the Middle East, ‘There can be no peace without justice, and there can be no justice without forgiveness’! Thus we responded and prayed three times:

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

The responsorial psalm itself (84:9-14) is an oracle of salvation! (NJBC) Note the words “justice, mercy and peace”! Thus we read:

“I will hear what the Lord God has to say, a voice that speaks of peace.” (Ps 84:9; SM) “Mercy and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have embraced. Faithfulness shall spring from the earth and justice look down from heaven.” (Ps 84:11-12; SM) “Justice shall march before him and peace shall follow his steps.” (Ps 84:14; Sunday Missal (SM)) 

Note that “justice” in the Bible is “saving justice’! Thus verse 11b in the New Jerusalem Bible reads:

“Saving Justice and Peace embrace”! (Ps 84:10)    

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 of Saint “Paul’s love for Israel”! (CSB)

In the second reading, Saint Paul said something very shocking, but it showed his love for Israel! He said that he was willing to be condemned, to be cut off from Jesus Christ and to be sent to hell, if it helped the people of Israel to be saved and to go to heaven! Indeed, in Romans, Chapter 11, Paul believes that at the end of time, even the Jews who crucified Jesus will be saved!

We must have the same love for the world! We must be ready to say with Paul that if we have to be condemned and cut off from Jesus Christ and go to hell, in order to save the world, then let it be so! We must proclaim the good news so that the world may believe and be saved!

Today we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ who brings us peace, shalom, salvation! And we ask God our Father to help us to repent and be renewed so that we will experience the peace, shalom, salvation of the Lord! We also thank God for Saint Paul and we ask God to help us love the world as Paul loved Israel, so that we will proclaim the good news and so that the world may believe and be saved! Amen!

25th December 2014 – Christmas Day

Theme: GLORY TO GOD WHO HAS FAVORED MEN WITH HIS PEACE

 

  • Luke 2: l -14
  • Hebrews l:l-6
  • John 111-18

A Merry, Happy and Blessed Christmas to all of you! Before we look at the gospel reading of today from St. John, let us first look again at the gospel reading from St. Luke, i.e. the gospel reading for last night’s midnight mass. The two gospels are very different and they complement one another!

To look at the gospel of St. Luke from last night’s midnight mass, we have to look at the Christmas crib! The Christmas crib tells us that Jesus was born in a stable in a cave in Bethlehem. This was because Bethlehem was David’s town and Jesus was a descendent of David, but more than that, it was also because of the census of Caesar Augustus.

 

In this short gospel, St. Luke has a lot of good news to tell us! St. Luke wants to tell us that Caesar Augustus is not the God, Savior, and Bringer of peace, but Jesus Christ is the God, Savior, and Bringer of peace! Caesar Augustus was a very powerful Roman emperor who ruled from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D. He brought about peace — in the sense of no war — during his reign, because he was powerful politically and militarily, and rich and wealthy, and famous.

 

But peace is not just the absence of war! The word peace comes from the Hebrew word

“Shalom” which means completeness, perfection, and wholeness! In the O.T. it means security, well-being, prosperity and righteousness, and more importantly, it is from God!

In the N.T. it means reconciliation, harmony, salvation, communion, love, joy, and again, more importantly, it is from God!

 

St. Luke has something very important to tell us today, and that is, peace cannot be achieved by political power, economic wealth, and military might. Peace does not come from man. Peace comes from God. And Jesus Christ, the Son of God is the Bringer of peace!

 

St. Luke also tells us in last night’s gospel that when Joseph and Mary registered themselves at Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to give birth and Mary gave birth to a son whom she wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, because there was no room in the inn!

In these three details ~ swaddling clothes, manger, and no room in the inn — St. Luke tells us that God has become man (swaddling clothes) and more than that, he has become food for man (manger) and he is here to stay (no room in the inn). He is not a traveller who stays in a traveller’s lodge or inn (John F. Craghan, Herman Hendrix) for a few days only, nor is he a tourist who stays in the hotel (inn) for a few days only, but he is here to stay for good and forever! That is why instead of staying in the inn, he is laid in a manger — feeding place for the ox and ass! He becomes food for us so that he stays in us, within us, with us and among us forever, and so that he becomes us and we become him!

 

And more than that, St. Luke tells us that he becomes food not for the priests and kings, but for the shepherds and sinners. The shepherds were mangy, bathless, and stinking. They were poor and destitute and they steal. They were classified with the tax collectors and prostitutes as a despised trade.

 

The gospel of Luke tells us that the angel of the Lord appeared t0 the shepherds and the glory of God shone upon them and they were terrified, but the angel said t0 them, ‘Do not be afraid, I have news of great joy for the whole people. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign. You will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger!

 

And suddenly with the angel there was a throng of heavenly host singing and praising God: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who are favoured by Him’! In other words, we must give glory to God and not to ourselves. We must not steal the glory from God because it is all God’s work and grace! It is not our work! God has graced and favored men with his peace, his reconciliation, his forgiveness, his harmony, his salvation, his love, and his joy!

A Merry, Happy and Blessed Christmas to all of you! Amen!

 

Theme: GOD REVEALED HIMSELF IN CREATION, IN HUMAN BEINGS, IN OTHER RELIGIONS, AND IN JESUS CHRIST

 

If we only read the gospel of St. Luke on the birth of Jesus Christ, we may get the impression that God first revealed himself in Jesus Christ! But today’s gospel reading from St. John and today’s second reading from the letter to the Hebrews, for today, Christmas day, tell us that God did not first reveal himself in Jesus Christ, but on the contrary, God last revealed himself in Jesus Christ in all his perfection, fullness, and completeness!

 

Today’s gospel reading from St. John and today’s second reading from Hebrews tell us that God first revealed himself partially in creation, then he revealed himself partially in human beings, then he revealed himself partially in the other religions, and finally in the fullness of time he revealed himself perfectly, fully and completely in Jesus Christ!

 

The gospel of John tells us that, ‘In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God. Everything was created through him; nothing was created without him. Everything that came to be had life in him.

Then the gospel continues, ‘he was the light of men. He came into the world which has its being through him, but the world did not recognize him’.

Again, the gospel continues, He came into his own domain (Jewish religion), but his own people received him not’.

Again, the gospel continues, ‘but to those who received him, he made them children of God the Father. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen his glory. lt was the glory of the Father, full of grace and truth. Grace and truth here means love and faithfulness, faithful love (NJB), enduring love. lt means mercy and loving-kindness (NJBC). In other words, even when we are not faithful to God, he is faithful to us and even when we do not love him, he still loves us!

 

Finally the gospel ends by saying, ‘Indeed, from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. Though the law was given through Moses, grace and truth was given through him. No one has ever seen God. It is the only Son who is nearest to the Father’s heart who has revealed him to us!

 

If God reveals himself in creation then we have to respect creation. We have to love and care for the environment. More than that, Pope John Paul II in his message for the world day of tourism on “Eco-tourism” this year tells us that we have to contemplate creation because creation reveals the Creator God to us!

 

If God reveals himself in human beings then we have to respect and love each and every human being. We have to respect and love every human being of every race, every culture and every nationality. And in times of need, we have to offer humanitarian aid to every human being of every race, religion, culture and nationality.

 

If God reveals himself in other religions then we have to respect other religions. We have to understand other religions. We have to dialogue with other religions. And we have to work together with other religions for the good of humanity and for the good of the world! We have to work together with other religions for peace among men and for harmony between men and the environment!

 

If Jesus Christ is the fullness of God’s revelation then we have to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to the whole world! Notice when I said that God reveals himself in other religions, I did not say as some people say that all religions are the same. On the contrary I emphasized that God reveals himself partially in other religions, but he reveals himself fully in Jesus Christ. Again, I did not say that God reveals himself fully in the Christian or in Christianity, but in Jesus Christ! This is because Christians and Christianity are not always like Jesus Christ! In short we have to proclaim Jesus Christ to the whole world! We have to proclaim the love, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to the whole world! We have to proclaim the good news of Christmas to the whole world!

 

This is our Christmas present to the whole world!

 

Again, a very Merry, Happy and Blessed Christmas to all of you! Amen!