30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 24th October 2021

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 24th October 2021

Theme: JESUS HEALS US OF OUR SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS SO THAT WE CAN SEE WITH THE EYES OF FAITH AND FOLLOW HIM TO JERUSALEM TO SUFFER, TO DIE AND TO RISE FROM THE DEAD

  • Jeremiah 31:7-9;
  • Psalm 125 (126): R/ v. 3;
  • Hebrews 5:1-6
  • Mark 10:46-52

1. Today is the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that Jesus heals us of our spiritual blindness so that we can see with the eyes of faith and follow him to Jerusalem to suffer, to die and to rise from the dead!

    The gospel today is a continuation of the gospel of last Sunday (Mk 10:35-45). The gospel last Sunday tells us that even after the third prophesy of his passion, death and resurrection, the disciples still did not understand. In fact, James and John requested to be seated at the right and left hand of Jesus in his glory. Jesus then told them that they have to drink the cup of suffering that Jesus was to drink and that they have to be baptized by the baptism of death that Jesus was to be baptized.

    The gospel last Sunday also tells us that the other ten disciples were indignant with James and John; presumably, they also wanted to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus in his glory. Jesus then taught them that to be great one must be servant, and to be first one must be slave of all. For Jesus himself came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many!

    The gospel today tells us that the disciples were spiritually blind though they were not physically blind. More importantly, the gospel today tells us that Bartimaeus the blind man was physically blind, but not spiritually blind. Bartimaeus had faith in Jesus and Jesus heals him of his physical blindness and he follows Jesus to Jerusalem to suffer, die and rise from the dead with Jesus! (NJBC) The gospel today continues in chapter eleven where Jesus enters Jerusalem to suffer, die and rise from the dead!        

    We started the Neo-Catechumenate Community in our parish to help us grow in faith so that we may follow Jesus in his passion, death and resurrection. The Catechumenate (RCIA) gives us faith so that we may be baptized, but the Neo-Catechumenate – neo means new – helps us to continue to grow in faith.

    We also started the BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities) to help us grow in faith so that we may follow Jesus in his passion, death and resurrection. In the BECs we share and pray on the word of God (Sunday Mass readings) so that we grow in faith. Faith comes from the word of God (Rm 10:17)!      

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the blind and the lame of the Northern Kingdom of Israel will return from exile from Assyria and they will be full of joy! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “The Lord says this: Shout with joy for Jacob! Hail the chief of nations! Proclaim! Praise! Shout! ‘The Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel!’ See, I will bring them back from the land of the North and gather them from the far ends of the earth; all of them: the blind and the lame, women with child, women in labor: a great company returning here. They had left in tears, I will comfort them as I lead them back; I will guide them to streams of water, by a smooth path where they will not stumble. For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born son.” (Jr 31:7-9)    

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us of the return from exile of the Southern Kingdom of Judah from Babylon. Again, the returnees are full of joy! Thus the first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm:

    “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then we thought we were dreaming. Our mouths were filled with laughter; our tongues sang for joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord had done great things for us; Oh, how happy we were!” (Ps 125 (126): 1-3/CSB)  

    And thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.” (Ps 125 (126):3/SM)

4. The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday. The second reading tells us that Jesus was called by God to be the high priest. The second reading tells us that the high priesthood of Jesus is not that of the hereditary priesthood of the Jews, the Levitical priesthood, the priesthood of Aaron; but the priesthood of Jesus is that of the priesthood of Melchizedek. Melchizedek has no beginning and no end, no father and no mother. He is like the Son of God! He is a priest for ever. (Heb 7:1-3)

    The second reading tells us of “Jesus the compassionate high priest”. (Heb 5:1-10/NJB) The word com-passionate means to feel and to suffer with. Jesus does not only love us, but he also feels and suffers with us. He sympathizes with us, that is, he feels and suffers with us. He empathizes with us, that is, he feels and suffers in us.

    Let us pray that our present and future priests be compassionate priests like Jesus Christ. Let us also pray that all of us who are baptized and who share in the common priesthood of Jesus Christ be compassionate “priests” like Jesus Christ.   

5. 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 heal us of our spiritual blindness so that we may see with the eyes of faith and follow Jesus to Jerusalem to suffer, die and rise from the dead with him. The Holy Spirit will fill us with the joy of the returning exiles from Assyria and Babylon. The Holy Spirit will help all of us to be compassionate priests, both in the ministerial priesthood and in the common priesthood.

Amen!

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

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!

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 8th July 2018

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 8th July 2018

Theme: WE ARE TO BE THE PROPHETS OF GOD TO SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD

  • Ezekiel 2:2-5;
  • Psalm 122 (123): R. v. 2;
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
  • Mark 6:1-6

Today is the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that we are to be the prophets of God to speak the word of God!

In the year 2001 there was a synod of the world’s bishops in Rome on the duties of the bishop. The synod concluded that the duties of the bishop was to be prophet, priest and king, that is, to preach and teach the word of God (prophet), to celebrate the sacraments, especially the Eucharist (priest), and to build the Christian community, the Church, and the Kingdom of God (king). But of the three, the first is to preach and teach the word of God! The first is to be a prophet of God!

The duties of the priest is also to be prophet, priest, and king, that is, to preach and teach the word of God; to celebrate the sacraments, especially the Eucharist; and to build the Christian community, the Church, and the Kingdom of God. But again, the first duty of the priest is to preach and teach the word of God. The first duty of the priest is to be a prophet of God!

The priest is not only a priest; he is also a prophet and a king. The “pastoral work” of the priest is not only “sacramentalization”, but also “evangelization”! Indeed, the word of God gives faith, and only with faith can we celebrate the sacraments, and when we celebrate the sacraments with faith, the risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will help us build the community of love and unity, and the community will become a sign of salvation for the world.

Indeed, the Church is not a gasoline station or a service station where we come for baptism, marriage, and the other sacraments, etc., but the Church is a Christ centered community, that is, centered on the Word and Eucharist that the Lord has given us. And when we celebrate the Word and Eucharist, the risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will help us build a community of love and unity, and the community will become a sign of salvation for the world. The identity of the priest cannot be separated from the nature of the Church! 

The gospel today tells us that Jesus himself was a prophet, but he was rejected by his own people. But Jesus continued preaching and teaching the word of God until his death and resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! We have to preach the word of God even in the face of opposition because it is the word of God and the word of God will prevail! Thus we read in the gospel:

  “And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mk 6: 3c-6) 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading is on the call of Ezekiel to be a prophet to speak the word of God to a rebellious people. Again, Ezekiel had to speak the word of God even in the face of opposition because it is the word of God, and again, the word of God will prevail! Thus we read in the first reading:

   “The Lord said, ‘Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to the rebels who have turned against me. Till now they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me. The sons are defiant and obstinate; I am sending you to them, to say, “The Lord says this.” Whether they listen or not, this set of rebels shall know there is a prophet among them.’” (Ezk 2: 3-5)          

In order to be the prophets of God we have to rely on God, we have to depend on God, and we have to put our confidence in God. The responsorial psalm is a psalm of reliance on God. The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas are expressions of confidence in God. The third stanza asks God to save us from our persecutors. (CSB/HCSB)

Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the second stanza: “Our eyes are on the Lord till he show us his mercy.” (Ps 122 (123): 2) And thus the third stanza of the responsorial psalm: “Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy. We are filled with contempt. Indeed all too full is our soul with the scorn of the rich, with the proud man’s disdain.” (Ps 122 (123): 3-4) 

Incidentally, the second reading tells us that in the face of opposition and persecution St. Paul relied on God. The second reading tells us that St. Paul had a thorn in his flesh. This could mean a sickness (physical or mental), a temptation, or an opponent and persecutor. Probably it meant his opponents and persecutors. Thus the second reading tells us that in the face of opposition and persecution St. Paul relied on God. Thus we read in the second reading:

“So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.” (2 Co 12: 9b-10)        

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 to be the prophets of God to speak the word of God! Amen!