4th Sunday of Lent – 31st Mar 2019

Theme: JESUS CHRIST THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD: THE LIGHT OF FAITH, LIFE AND GOODNESS

  • 1 Samuel 16:1. 6-7. 10-13;
  • Psalm 22 (23). R/ v. 1;
  • Ephesians 5:8-14
  • John 9:1-41 (Shorter Form, 9:1. 6-9. 13-17. 34-38.)

Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent, Liturgical Year A. We use Liturgical Year A instead of Year C, because there will be baptisms on Easter Vigil Night! The readings of Year A are most suitable for baptism!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the light of the world (v. 5b)! Light in the New Testament symbolizes 3 things (NIB; Jn 8:12b): (i) Light symbolizes faith as opposed to unbelief which is darkness. (ii) Light symbolizes life, contentment and joy as opposed to death, unhappiness and misery which is darkness. (iii) Light symbolizes good as opposed to evil which is darkness.

More importantly, the 3 themes are related, that is, faith in God gives us life and the life from God is a life of goodness!

Most importantly, light will overcome darkness, faith will overcome unbelief, life will overcome death, and good will overcome evil!

This is because Jesus Christ the light of the world has overcome the devil the darkness of the world! And the Risen Lord continues to overcome the darkness of the devil through the power of the Holy Spirit until the end of time when all darkness will be overcome! That would be the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the light of faith. (CCB; Lefrois) The gospel tells us that Jesus cured the blind man so that he could see not only physically, but also spiritually, that is, with the eyes of faith!

The gospel tells us that the faith of the blind man grew! At first he saw Jesus to be a man, then he saw Jesus to be a prophet, and finally at the end, he worshipped Jesus as Lord! The faith of the Pharisees on the other hand got from bad to worse! At first they said that Jesus was not from God, and then they doubted that the miracle even happened, and finally they called Jesus a sinner!

We have to grow in our faith every year; otherwise our faith will decrease and disappear! That is why we renew our faith and baptism every year! That is why on Easter Vigil Night we have to answer 6 questions, 3 to reject Satan and 3 to profess our faith in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit!

The gospel today also tells us about baptism. The gospel tells us that Jesus put a paste on the eyes of the blind man and told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. After washing the blind man could see with the eyes of faith!

In baptism we will also be anointed with the oil of chrism. We will also be washed with the waters of baptism. We will also be able to see with the eyes of faith. That is why we will be given candles lighted from the big Easter candle! We will be given the light of faith, life and goodness!

The Gospel Acclamation tells us that Jesus is the light of life! Thus we read in the Gospel Acclamation:

“I am the light of the world, says the Lord; anyone who follows me will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12; SM) 

The second reading tells us that Jesus is the light of goodness! Thus we read in the second reading:

“You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth.” (Ep 5:8-9; SM) 

The first reading tells us that David was anointed king by the prophet Samuel and the spirit of the Lord seized on him from that day onwards! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord seized on David and stayed with him from that day on.” (1 S 16:13; SM)  

In the Sacrament of Confirmation we will also be anointed with the oil of Chrism and we will also receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit and we will be made strong witnesses of the Lord!

The responsorial psalm is on the good Shepherd! The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas are on the good Shepherd. The third and fourth stanzas are on the host of the messianic banquet.

The messianic banquet is a prefigure of the Eucharist! (CCB) And the Eucharist is an anticipation of the heavenly banquet! Thus we read in the third and fourth stanzas of the psalm:

“You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.” (Ps 22 (23): 5-6; SM)

On Easter Vigil Night some of our catechumens will be receiving the three Sacraments of Christian Initiation, namely, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist! In Baptism they will be born again in the Holy Spirit, in Confirmation they will be made strong in the Holy Spirit and in the Eucharist they will continue to grow in the Holy Spirit! That is why it is important that after Baptism and Confirmation they continue to come to Mass every Sunday!

During this time of Lent the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor to prepare us to receive the three Sacraments of Christian Initiation, and for those of us who are baptized to prepare us to renew our baptism so that we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter!

Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent. Today is Rejoice Sunday or Joyful Sunday because we are more than half way through to Easter! That is why we use pink/rose vestment! A happy and joyful Sunday to all of you! Amen!

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 27th Jan 2019

Theme: JESUS CHRIST WILL FULFILL THE LAW OF GOD IN US

  • Nehemiah 8:2-6. 8-10;
  • Psalm 18 (19): 8-10. 15. R/ Jn 6:63;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-30
  • (Shorter Form, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14. 27)
  • Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today tell us about the Law of God. The Law of God is good, because it gives life and happiness! But the Law of God is very hard to keep and all of us break the Law of God. That is why we cannot find life and happiness. But the good news is that the Law of God comes to us today fulfilled in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ will fulfill the Law of God in us, so that we can find life and happiness!

The first reading tells us that Ezra the priest read the Law of God to the Israelites and they were all weeping, because the Law of God was very hard to keep and they have all broken the law of God. (NJBC; HCSB) But Ezra told them not to weep, but to be joyful, because the day was sacred to the Lord! Thus we read in the first reading:

“And Ezra read from the Law of God, translating and giving the sense, so that the people understood what was read.

Then Nehemiah – His Excellency – and Ezra, priest and scribe (and the Levites who were instructing the people) said to all the people, ‘This day is sacred to the Lord your God. Do not be mournful, do not weep.’ For the people were all in tears as they listened to the words of the Law.

He then said, ‘Go, eat the fat, drink the sweet wine, and send a portion to the man who has nothing prepared ready. For this day is sacred to our Lord. Do not be sad: the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.’” (Ne 8:8-10; SM)

The responsorial psalm tells us that the Law of God is good because it is spirit and life. It gives life and happiness! (HCSB) Thus the response:

“Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life.” (Jn 6:63; SM)

And thus the first and second stanzas:

“The law of the Lord is perfect, it revives the soul. The rule of the Lord is to be trusted, it gives wisdom to the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, they gladden the heart. The command of the Lord is clear, it gives light to the eyes.” (Ps 18 (19): 8-9; SM)

The gospel today tells us that the Law of God comes to us today fulfilled in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ will fulfill the Law of God in us through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will help us keep the Law of God, so that we can find life and happiness! Thus in the Gospel today Jesus Christ reads from the prophet Isaiah:

“The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor.” (Is 61:1-2; Lk 4:18-19; SM) “The Lord’s Year of favor”, that is, “the time of God’s salvation”! (CSB; Is 61:1f)

More importantly, the gospel today concludes with theses words of Jesus Christ:

“This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.” (Lk 4:21; SM)

That is why we come to Mass every Sunday. Every Sunday at Mass, we make present, real and effective the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit will help us keep the Law of God, so that we will find life and happiness!

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again the second reading has something important to tell us! The second reading tells us that we are all different parts of the one body of Christ. We were all baptized in the one Spirit and we all drink the one Spirit in the Eucharist!

Though we may belong to different groups and communities or received different spiritual gifts, we are all parts of the body of Christ. Therefore we must not compete with one another or be jealous of one another, but we must work together for the glory of God and for the good of the community! Thus we read in the second reading:

“Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptized, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

Nor is the body to be identified with any one of its many parts.

Now you together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it. In the Church, God has given the first place to apostles, the second to prophets, the third to teachers; after them, miracles, and after them the gift of healing; helpers, good leaders, those with many languages. Are all of them apostles, or all of them prophets, or all of them teachers? Do they all have the gift of miracles, or all have the gift of healing? Do all speak strange languages, and all interpret them?” (1 Co 12:12-14. 27-30; SM)

Today in this Mass we thank God for all the different groups and communities in our parish. We also thank God for all the different spiritual gifts or charisms in our parish, and we ask God to help us work together for his glory and for the good of the community! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 15th October 2017

Theme: THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

  • Isaiah 25:6-10
  • Psalm 22 (23). R. v. 6
  • Matthew 22:1-10 (Shorter Form) 

Today is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, or 28th Sunday of the Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us about the “kingdom of heaven”!

The gospel tells us that the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent out his servants to call the invited guests to the wedding, but they would not come. He sent out more servants to call the invited guests, but still they would not come! Instead, one went to his farm, another went to do his business, and the rest seized his servants, ill-treated them and killed them. The king was angry and he destroyed the murderers and burned their town.

Then the king said to his servants, ‘the wedding is ready, and since the invited guests are not worthy, go to the crossroads and invite everybody’! The servants went to the roads and invited everybody, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was full of guests!

The allegory of this parable is clear. The king is God the Father, his son is Jesus Christ. The servants are the prophets. The invited guests who did not come for the wedding are the Jews. The “uninvited guests” who were invited later and came for the wedding are the Gentiles and the sinners, and the tax collectors and prostitutes!

But more importantly, the first reading from Isaiah tells us what the king (NJBC) does in the kingdom of heaven! The first reading tells us that “on this mountain”, that is, on Mount Zion, a symbol of the heavenly Jerusalem (CSB), that is, in the kingdom of heaven, the king will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food and fine wine, rich and juicy food and fine strained wines! The king will remove the mourning veil and the mourning shroud from his people. He will destroy death forever! He will wipe away every tear. He will remove the shame from his people. He will save his people!

The responsorial psalm tells us that in the kingdom of heaven, the shepherd-king (the kings of Israel are shepherd-kings, NJBC) will lead his people and provide his people with food and drink! Thus we sang and prayed in the responsorial psalm:

Stanza 1: ‘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’!

Stanza 2: ‘He guides me in the right path. He is true to his name. If I should walk in the valley of darkness and death, no evil would I fear. You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort’!

Stanza 3: ‘You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my enemies. (So that my enemies will see that I am a friend and guest of God). You have anointed my head with oil (perfumed olive oil of welcome and hospitality) and my cup is overflowing (with wine)’!

Stanza 4: ‘Surely goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house will I dwell forever and ever’! (This last verse of the responsorial psalm is the response of the responsorial psalm)!

Today the “kingdom of heaven” is the Church, not the building, but the people of God! And the banquet of rich food and fine wines is the Eucharist! In the Eucharist we eat the body of Christ, and we drink the blood of Christ! And our Risen Lord in the power of His Holy Spirit will remove our mourning veils and mourning palls. He will destroy our deaths forever! He will wipe away our tears. He will remove our shame! He will save us!

He is doing it right here and now and he will continue to do it every Sunday until the end of time when we will eat and drink of the eternal and eschatological banquet in heaven! This is the Good News!  Amen!