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!

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!

 

5th July 2015 – 14TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Theme: JESUS THE PROPHET OF GOD

  • Ezekiel 2:2-5; Psalm 122 (123). R/ v. 2;
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
  • Luke 4:18 (Gospel Acclamation)
  • Mark 6:1-6

 

Today we celebrate the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that Jesus is the prophet of God. A prophet is one who speaks on behalf of God. He is the mouthpiece of God. He speaks the word of God. Jesus is the Word of God. He is the prophet of God par excellence!

The Gospel Acclamation today tells us that as the Prophet of God Jesus brings good news to the poor and proclaims liberty to the captives! St. Luke may have the economically and socially poor in mind, but in the context of today’s liturgy and readings, we may also include the spiritually poor and those held captives by sin!

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that we must have faith and believe in the good news in order to be saved!

The gospel today tells us that the people of Jesus’ home town did not believe in him. They saw him to be a carpenter. They knew his mother and brothers and sisters. (Brothers and sisters in Hebrew and Greek can also mean cousins, nephews, nieces, etc.; CSB; Faley) As a result Jesus could not work any miracles there. Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that whether the people listen or not, obey or disobey, the Lord will send them a prophet and the prophet will preach the word of God, whether the people listen or not, obey or disobey. Thus we read in verse 7:

“You are to deliver my words to them whether they listen or not, for they are a tribe of rebels.” (Ezk 2:7; NJB)

The first reading is in fact the call of the prophet Ezekiel. (NJBC) Ezekiel prefigures Jesus Christ, the prophet par excellence! Jesus Christ will preach the word of God in season and out of season; whether the people listen or not, Jesus will preach the word of God. He will preach the word of God until his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world!      

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the prophet depends and relies on God, especially in times of persecution. (Faley) The responsorial psalm is a prayer of reliance and dependence on God. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Our eyes are on the Lord till he shows us his mercy.” (Ps 122 (123): 2; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas are a prayer of reliance on God. The third stanza asks God to save the psalmist from the contempt of the proud. (CSB)

Incidentally, the second reading also tells us that Paul relies on God and depends on God’s grace, especially in times of weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and agonies! And by relying on God in times of weakness, Paul becomes strong in God! Thus we read in the second reading:

“So I shall be 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; SM)

Today in this Mass, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, the prophet of God par excellence! And we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we may become his prophets as a Church and as individuals to proclaim the good news of salvation so that all may believe and be saved! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!

Amen!