5th Sunday of Lent (Year B) – 18th March 2018

Theme: JESUS IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE; WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NEVER DIE

  • Ezekiel 37:12-14;
  • Psalm 129 (130). R/ v. 7;
  • Romans 8:8-11
  • John 11:1-45 (Shorter Form, verses 3-7. 20-27. 33-45)

Today is the 5th Sunday of Lent, Liturgical Year B, but again, we are using the readings of Year A, because there will be Baptisms on Easter Vigil Night! Two Sundays ago, the readings told us about the “waters” of Baptism. Last Sunday the readings told us about the “Light” of Baptism. This Sunday the readings tell us about the “life” of Baptism!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and that whoever believes in him, even though he dies, he will live, and whoever lives and believes in him will never die!

That is, Jesus is the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in him even though he dies in his sins will live, and whoever lives and continues to believe in him will never die in his sins!

More importantly, the gospel tells us that Martha believed in Jesus. Martha believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, though Lazarus was dead for four days and smelled!

Like Martha we too believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world. That is, Jesus is Savior, he is God and he is God become man! And we profess this faith on Easter Vigil Night by answering “I do” to the fifth of the six questions of faith; and like Lazarus, we will be raised from the dead by Jesus in the sacrament of Baptism!

But unlike the raising of Lazarus which was a resuscitation and a sign of the resurrection, Jesus will raise us from the dead through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! It is the Holy Spirit of Jesus that raises us from the dead!

Thus the first reading tells us that the Lord will open our graves and raise us from our graves, and the Lord will put his spirit in us and we will live!

Thus the second reading tells us that if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to our mortal bodies through his Spirit living in us!

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!

Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” (Ps 129 (130): 7; SM)

The responsorial psalm is a prayer for forgiveness and a prayer of trust in God. The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas are a prayer for forgiveness from God. The third and fourth stanzas are a prayer of trust in God. Thus again, the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the fourth stanza:

“With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” (Ps 129 (130): 7; SM)

Again, during this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor, not as a punishment for our sins, but to help us grow in faith, so that we may profess our faith on Easter Vigil Night, and so that the Lord may raise us from the dead in the sacrament of Baptism on Easter Vigil Night! A blessed Lent to all of you! Amen!

5th Sunday of Lent (Year A)

Theme: LENT IS A TIME WHEN WE PREPARE TO DIE AND RISE WITH JESUS CHRIST TO THE NEW LIFE OF EASTER IN THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM 

  • Ezekiel 37:12-14;
  • Psalm 129. R/ v. 7;
  • Romans 8:8-11
  • John 11:1-45 (Shorter Form, John 11:3-7. 17. 20-27. 33-45)

Today is the 5th Sunday of Lent; Liturgical Year A. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and our death and resurrection with him in the sacrament of baptism!

Lent is therefore a time when our catechumens prepare for their baptism and when we who are baptised prepare for the renewal of our baptism on Easter Vigil Night!

Lent is therefore a time of repentance! Lent is therefore a time when we prepare to die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter in the sacrament of baptism!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and that anyone who believes in him even though he dies he will live! And that whoever lives and believes in him will never die!

More importantly, the gospel tells us that Martha believed in Jesus! Martha believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into the world!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that because Martha believed in Jesus, Jesus raised his brother Lazarus from the dead! Thus we read in the gospel:

“Jesus said: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

‘Yes Lord,’ Martha said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’ ….

Jesus cried in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, here! Come out!’ The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with bands of stuff and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, let him go free.’” (Jn 11:25-27. 43-44; SM)   

 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Lord will open our graves and raise us from our graves and the Lord will put his spirit in us and we will live! Thus we read in the first reading:

“And you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. And I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live. ….” (Ezk 37: 13-14a; SM)

 

The second reading tells us that if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to our mortal bodies through his Spirit living in us! Thus we read in the second reading:

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.” (Rm 8:11; SM)

 

In front of this Good News we can only respond with the psalmist in today’s responsorial psalm. Thus the response:

“With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” (Ps 129:7; SM)

Indeed, the Lord is love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!

 

During this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor; not as a punishment for our sins, but to help us to repent! To help us die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter in the sacrament of Baptism! A blessed Lent to all of you! Amen!

 

19th April 2015 – 3rd Sunday of Easter

Theme: BE WITNESSES OF THE RESURRECTION AND PREACH REPENTANCE FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS

  • Acts 3:13-15. 17-19;
  • Psalm 4:2. 4. 7. 9. R/ v. 7;
  • 1 John 2:1-5
  • Luke 24:35-48

A Happy Easter to all of you! Today is the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us to be the witnesses of the resurrection and to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

The gospel today tells us that on the day of his resurrection the Lord appeared to his disciples and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ That is, shalom, salvation! A peace that the world cannot give! (Jn 14:27; CSB) And he showed them his hands and his feet. He also asked them to touch him for he has flesh and bones. He is not a ghost. A ghost has no flesh and bones. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! A joy that the world cannot take away! (Jn 16:22) He then ate a piece of baked fish in front of their eyes! Indeed, the Lord has risen from the dead!

More importantly, the gospel also tells us that, in fact, even before his death and resurrection, when he was still with his disciples, he had already told them that he had to fulfill the Law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms, that is, the scriptures, that the Messiah was to suffer and on the third day rise from the dead and that in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations beginning from Jerusalem. That is, from Jerusalem to Judea, to Samaria, and to the ends of the earth! (Ac 1:8)

And most importantly, the gospel also tells us that the disciples were to be his witnesses!

 

Indeed, the first reading tells us that the disciples were witnesses to his resurrection and preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins! The first reading tells us that Peter and the other apostles preached the good news of his resurrection:

“You killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses.”! (Ac 3:15; SM)

They preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins:

“Repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.” (Ac 3:19; SM)

Indeed, repentance is not only turning away from sin, but repentance is also turning away from the world, that is, from wealth, power, fame, etc., and more importantly, repentance is turning to God, and most importantly, repentance is turning to the God of Jesus Christ, a God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation; not a God of law, justice, punishment and damnation!

 

Thus the responsorial psalm tells us that salvation is a favor, a grace and a blessing, that is, salvation is a free gift! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Lift up the light of your face on us, O Lord.” (Ps 4:7; SM)

That is, show us your favor, O Lord! (HCSB; NJBC) Salvation is a favor, a grace, a blessing and a free gift, because the God of Jesus Christ is a God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!

 

Thus the second reading tells us that Jesus Christ is the sacrifice that takes away our sins, and not only our sins, but the sins of the whole world! Thus we read in the second reading:

“He is the sacrifice that takes our sins away, and not only ours, but the whole world’s.” (1 Jn 2:2; SM)

That is why we have to be witnesses of the resurrection and preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins, so that all may believe and be baptized and have their sins forgiven!

 

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 to be witnesses of the resurrection and preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins! Again, a Happy Easter to all of you!

29th March 2016 – Passion Sunday

Theme: THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS VICTORY, RESURRECTION, LIFE, GLORY AND SALVATION

  • Mark 11:1-10; Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 21:8-9. 17-20. 23-24. R/ v. 2;
  • Philippians 2:6-11
  • Mark 14:1- 15:47 (Shorter Form, 15:1-39)

Today we celebrate Passion Sunday. Passion Sunday is also called Palm Sunday. This is because the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ is victory, resurrection, life, glory and salvation! The Palm symbolizes victory, resurrection, life, glory and salvation!

The gospel today tells us that the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ is resurrection and glory. The gospel tells us in Jesus’ own words that the passion is resurrection and glory! When they were at the Mount of Olives, Jesus told his disciples that they will lose faith in him and they will desert him, but more importantly, Jesus told them that after his resurrection he will go before them to Galilee. The gospel also tells us that when the high priest asked Jesus if he was the Christ/Messiah and the Son of God, Jesus answered that he was! And Jesus added that he will sit at the right hand of God in glory and he will come with the clouds of heaven in glory!       

The gospel also tells us that the passion of Jesus Christ is salvation! The gospel tells us that Barabbas the murderer was saved and Jesus the innocent one was crucified in his place! The gospel also tells us that when Jesus died, the veil of the temple which separated the “holy of holies” from the rest of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Only the high priest entered the holy of holies and only once a year on the Day of Atonement! But now the presence of God in the holy of holies becomes assessable to everyone and at every time! Finally, the gospel tells us that the pagan centurion professed his faith in Jesus as the Son of God!

 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that the passion of Jesus Christ is victory, resurrection and glory! The first reading is the third of four suffering servant songs of Isaiah. The suffering servant is innocent, but he suffers on behalf of the guilty – vicarious suffering! The Lord will save his suffering servant and through him the Lord will save the whole world! Thus we read in the first reading:

“I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face against insult and spittle. The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults. So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed.”

 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us that the passion of Jesus Christ is victory and glory.

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The response and the first three stanzas tell us of the sufferings of the servant (NJB), but more importantly, the fourth stanza tells us that the suffering servant praises God for his salvation and invites the whole community to praise God for salvation! Thus the fourth stanza:

“I will tell of your name to my brethren and praise you where they are assembled. ‘You who fear the Lord give him praise; all sons of Jacob, give him glory. Revere him, Israel’s sons.’”

 

The second reading also follows the theme of the Sunday. The second reading tells us that Jesus Christ was God, but he did not count equality with God. He became man and he became lower than man by accepting death on the cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name above all other names, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bend and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father! Again, the passion of Jesus Christ is victorious and glorious! That is why we have to put the palm with the crucifix to symbolize that the passion of Jesus Christ is resurrection and glory!

 

During the past five weeks of Lent we have been praying, fasting and giving alms to the poor, to prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery of the Lord’s death and resurrection. We celebrate the paschal mystery during Holy Week. Passion Sunday / Palm Sunday begins Holy Week and climaxes in the Easter Triduum of the Lord’s death (Good Friday), burial (Holy Saturday) and resurrection (Easter Sunday)! Good Friday begins with Holy Thursday. The Easter Triduum begins with Holy Thursday and ends with the Easter Vigil. The Easter Triduum is one celebration. There will not be any dismissal on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The dismissal will only be given after the Easter Vigil. Lent will end with the Holy Thursday Evening Mass, exclusive. Let us then continue to pray, fast and give alms to the poor to follow the Lord in his suffering and death, so as to follow him in his resurrection and glory! A blessed Holy Week to all of you!