21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) – 23rd Aug 2020

Theme: PETER: THE FIRST POPE

  • Isaiah 22:19-23;
  • Psalm 137 (138): 1-3. 6. 8. R/ v. 8;
  • Romans 11:33-36
  • Matthew 16:13-20

Today is the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The gospel today tells us that after Peter professed his faith in Jesus that he was the “Christ” / Messiah and “the Son of the living God”, Jesus appointed him to be the first Pope! Jesus gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven, so that whatever he binds on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever he loose on earth will be loosed in heaven!

Peter is given the authority to teach and to excommunicate. (CSB) Today we believe that our present Pope Benedict XVI is a direct successor of St. Peter the first Pope in an unbroken line of 266 Popes over 2000 years! We also believe that our Bishops are the direct successors of the Twelve Apostles. That is why at every Mass we pray for our Pope and Bishop, even mentioning their names!

We believe that the word of God is not only the Bible, but the word of God is the Bible, the Church and Tradition. Before the gospels were written the word of God was in the Church and in Tradition, that is, Oral Tradition. The word of God was proclaimed through word of mouth.

The four gospels were written some 40 to 60 years after Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! The gospel of Mark was written around the year 70, the gospels of Matthew and Luke were written around the year 80, and the gospel of John was written around the year 90! Jesus died and rose from the dead around the year 30!

Today there are important issues that are not directly and explicitly addressed in the Bible. Important issues like the ecological crisis, globalization, population explosion, dialogue with Islam, etc.

There are also important issues within the Church that are not directly and explicitly addressed by the Bible. Issues like married priests, women priests, and even the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary which we celebrated only a few days ago. We need the Church to teach us on these issues and to discipline us on these issues. And we need to obey the Church on these issues!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the appointment of Eliakim to be the master of the palace of King Hezekiah.

Eliakim is given the key to the door of the palace. He can grant or deny access to the palace of the King. Thus we read in the first reading:

“I place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; should he open, no one shall close, should he close, no one shall open.” (Is 22:22; SM)

Eliakim prefigures Peter in today’s gospel who was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Peter can grant or deny access to the kingdom of heaven!

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for deliverance, but in the context of today’s readings it can be read as a thanksgiving for God’s call to be the master of the palace in the case of Eliakim, and for God’s call to be the first Pope in the case of Peter.

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas are a thanksgiving. The third stanza tells us that God will not abandon the humble! Thus the last verse of the responsorial psalm which is also the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Your love, O Lord, is eternal, discard not the work of your hands.” (Ps 137 (138): 8; SM)

The second reading today is a continuation of last Sunday’s second reading. In last Sunday’s second reading, St. Paul tells us about the merciful plan of God, where the rejection of Jesus by the Jews meant that the gospel will be preached to the non-Jews. And when the non-Jews accept the gospel, the Jews will be envious and will also accept the gospel. In this way both Jews and non-Jews will be saved through the merciful plan of God.

In the second reading today, St. Paul gives glory to God for his wise and merciful plan of salvation both for Jews and non-Jews. St. Paul ends by giving glory to God who created all things, continues to sustain all things and is the end and goal of all things. (NJBC) Thus we read in the second reading:

“All that exists comes from him; all is by him and for him. To him be glory for ever! Amen.” (Rm 11:36; SM)

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 obey the word of God in the Bible and in the teaching and tradition of the Church. The Holy Spirit will also help us give glory to God for his wise and merciful plan of salvation for both Jews and non-Jews. A happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you! Amen!

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 26th August 2018

Theme: WE BELIEVE JESUS IS THE REVELATION OF GOD AND WE BELIEVE IN THE REAL PRESENCE OF JESUS IN THE EUCHARIST

  • Joshua 24:1-2. 15-18;
  • Psalm 33 (34):2-3. 16-23. R/ v. 9;
  • Ephesians 5:21-32
  • John 6:60-69

Today is the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The gospel today is a continuation of the gospel of the past four Sundays. The gospel is on John chapter six on the bread of life.

Jesus Christ is the bread of life, that is, Jesus Christ is the revelation of God in his teachings, in his person and life, in his words and actions, and especially in his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! And this we celebrate in the Eucharist!

The gospel of the first three Sundays on John chapter six was on Jesus as the revelation of God. The gospel of last Sunday was on the Eucharist! And the gospel today which ends John chapter six is on faith and belief!

The gospel today tells us that many of the disciples of Jesus did not believe in Jesus. They did not believe that he was the revelation of God and they did not believe in the Eucharist. (NJBC; IBC; CCB) They stopped following Jesus!

But more importantly, the gospel today tells us that Peter who represented the Twelve believed in Jesus! They believed Jesus was the only one who could give eternal life! No one else could give eternal life!

In fact the words of Peter echoed the words of Jesus himself: “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe.” (Jn 6:68-69; SM) Earlier on in the gospel today Jesus said: “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (Jn 6:63; SM)

It is important to note that those who did not believe in Jesus in today’s gospel were not the Jews; but they were the Christians, the followers of Jesus, the disciples of Jesus, members of the Christian community, members of John’s community! (NJBC)

Today too many have left the Catholic Church because they do not believe in Jesus. They do not believe that Jesus is the revelation of God and they do not believe in the Eucharist!

But more importantly, you and I believe in Jesus as the revelation of God and you and I believe in the Eucharist! We believe in the “real presence” of Jesus in the Eucharist! We believe only Jesus can give us eternal life. No one else can give us eternal life! Thus the gospel acclamation: “Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life: you have the message of eternal life.” (cf. Jn 6:63. 68; SM) Thus again, the gospel today: “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe.” (Jn 6:68-69; SM)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Joshua and his household chose to serve the Lord their God. And more importantly, the first reading tells us that Israel also chose to serve the Lord their God. And most importantly, because it was the Lord their God who brought them out of Egypt, who protected them on their journey to the Promised Land and who helped them conquer the Promised Land!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps 33 (34):9; SM) That is, experience (CCB) and see that the Lord is good! Israel’s faith is based on Israel’s experience of God!

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for the deliverance of the just from trouble! (CSB; HCSB) The responsorial psalm has five stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 2-3; SM) is a thanksgiving. The second, third, fourth and fifth stanzas (vv. 17-23; SM) are the deliverance of the just from trouble. Thus again, the response: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” That is, experience and see that the Lord is good!

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 that husbands must love their wives and sacrifice themselves for their wives just as Jesus Christ loved his Church and sacrificed himself for his Church!

The second reading tells us that wives must love their husbands and serve their husbands just as the Church loved Jesus Christ and served Jesus Christ!

The second reading tells us of the meaning of Genesis 2:24: “a man must leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one body.” (Ep 5:31; SM) That is, husbands and wives become one body in love, service and sacrifice, just as Jesus Christ is one body with the Church in love, service and sacrifice!

In the male dominated world of the Ephesians, where women were subordinated to men, the letter to the Ephesians preached equality (justice) and mutuality (love) between husbands and wives!

Today in this Mass, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, the bread of life and the revelation of God. We thank God for the Eucharist. We thank God for the gift of faith. And we ask God to increase our faith, so that we will continue to grow in faith and grow in the eternal life! We also pray God that husbands and wives be one in love, service and sacrifice, as Jesus Christ is one with his Church in love, service and sacrifice! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

18th January 2015 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

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 4.1 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!