The Baptism of The Lord (Year B) – 10th Jan 2021

Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS SON OF GOD AND SUFFERING SERVANT OF GOD

  • Isaiah 55:1-11;
  • Isaiah 12:2-6. R/ v. 3;
  • 1 John 5:1-9
  • Mark 1:7-11

1. Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Today is also the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Ordinary Time. Like Christmas and Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord is the revelation of the Lord. The Baptism of the Lord is the revelation of the Lord as Son of God and Suffering Servant of God, sent by God to serve, suffer, sacrifice, sanctify and save the world. Thus we read in the gospel today:

    “It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. No sooner had he come up out of the water then he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you.’” (Mk 1:9-11)

    The reference “My favor rests on you.” (NJB) or “With you I am well pleased” (CSB) is taken from the first verse of the first suffering servant song of Isaiah (Is 42:1) indicating that Jesus is the suffering servant of God sent by God to save the world. (NJBC)     

    The same thing happens to us in our Baptism. When we are baptized, we also receive the Holy Spirit and we become the sons/daughters and suffering servants of God, sent by God to serve, suffer, sacrifice, sanctify and save the world. We begin as Jesus did, by proclaiming the good news! (Mk 1:15) Mark 1:15 is the climax of the prologue or introduction (Mk 1:1-15) of Mark’s gospel. (NJBC)

2. The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading also tells us that Jesus is the Son of God and the Suffering Servant of God, sent by God to save the world. The second reading tells us that Jesus came with water, blood and the Holy Spirit! Water refers to the baptism of Jesus as Son of God, blood refers to the death of Jesus on the cross as Suffering Servant of God, and the Holy Spirit that descended on Jesus at his baptism is poured out upon the whole world at his death and resurrection! Thus we read in the second reading:

    “Jesus Christ who came by water and blood, not with water only, but with water and blood; with the Spirit as another witness – since the Spirit is the truth – so that there are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water and the blood, and all three of them agree.” (1 Jn 5:6-8)   

    The second reading also tells us about the two most important sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist in which we receive the Holy Spirit! In the sacrament of Baptism we receive the Holy Spirit and we become the sons/daughters and suffering servants of God. In the Eucharist we continue to receive the Holy Spirit and we grow as sons/daughters and suffering servants of God, sent by God to serve, suffer and sacrifice, in order to sanctify and save the world. And we begin as Jesus did, by proclaiming the good news! (Mk 1:15)

3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel and the second reading. The first reading tells us that “God’s salvation is freely extended to his people and to all nations” (CSB) Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come! Buy corn without money, and eat, and, at no cost, wine and milk. Why spend money on what is not bread, your wages on what fails to satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy. Pay attention, come to me; listen, and your soul will live.

    With you I will make an everlasting covenant out of the favors promised to David. See, I have made of you a witness to the peoples, a leader and a master of the nations. See, you will summon a nation you never knew, those unknown will come hurrying to you, for the sake of the Lord your God, of the Holy One of Israel who will glorify you.” (Is 55:1-5)       

4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us that God’s salvation is freely extended to his people and to all nations. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm (CSB):

    “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” (Is 12:3)

    And thus the responsorial psalm:

    “Truly, God is my salvation, I trust, I shall not fear. For the Lord is my strength, my song, he became my savior. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

    Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name! Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples! Declare the greatness of his name.

    Sing a psalm to the Lord for he has done glorious deeds, make them known to all the earth! People of Zion, sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” (Is 12:2-6)  

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 proclaim the good news to the whole world. The Holy Spirit will help us serve, suffer, and sacrifice in order to sanctify and save the whole world! 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!

11th January 2015 – THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

Theme: WE ARE BAPTISED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WE BECOME THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD, LOVED BY GOD AND FAVOURED BY GOD

  • Isaiah 42:1-4. 6-7
  • Psalm 28:1-4. 9-10. R. v. ll
  • Acts 10:34-38
  • Mark 1:7-11

Today we celebrate the feast ofthe Baptism of the Lord. Today is also the last day of the Christmas season. Like Christmas and Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord is also the revelation of the Lord.

St. Mark’s gospel does not have an account ofthe birth ofJesus. In the gospel of Mark today the Lord reveals himself to us as a thirty-year-old adult at his Baptism. There are 3 signs in which the Lord reveals himself to us at his baptism:

(i) the heavens were torn apart

(ii) the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove

(iii) a voice from heaven saying, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you.’

In other words, the Lord reveals himself to us that he is not the son of Joseph and Mary, no matter how holy they are! Joseph is only the foster father and Mary is only the virgin mother! The Lord reveals himself to us that he is the Son of God the Father, born not through the marriage of Joseph and Mary, but through the power of the Holy Spirit!

He is the Son of God, loved by God and favored by God!

The first reading from Isaiah tells us that as the Son of God, he is like God his Father — like father like son! He is obedient to God his Father and he does the will and work of God the Father. Thus the first reading tells us, ‘he will bring justice to the nations, but more than that, he will bring mercy to the nations. He will not cry out or shout. His voice will not be heard in the streets. In other words, he will be gentle! He will not crush the bruised reed, nor quench the wavering flame. In other words, he will be merciful to the sinner. He will not condemn, punish nor destroy the sinner, but he will show mercy to the sinner!

He will bring justice to the nations. He will be the light of the nations. He will open the eyes of the blind. He will free captives from prisons and he will free those living in the darkness of the dungeons — the dark underground prisons that have no windows and no light!

The responsorial psalm takes up this theme of the Son like the Father, obedient to the Father and doing the will and work of the Father. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm says, ‘the Lord will bless his people with peace’! In other words, he will bring peace to the nations!

The second reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us that in his Baptism he was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and he went about doing good and curing all who have fallen into the power of the devil. The second reading also tells us that he brought the good news of peace to all men!

In fact to proclaim the good news was his first duty, and the first duty of the bishop, and the first duty of the priest, and the first duty of the Christian!

Today as we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Church also invites us to look at our own baptism! Our baptism is the baptism of the Lord himself!

When we are baptized, the heavens also tear open and the Holy Spirit comes down to us and we are born again and we become the sons and daughters of God, loved by God and favored by God!

And as God’s sons and daughters, we are like God, we are obedient to God and we do his will and his works! And like Jesus his Son, we bring justice to the nations. We bring mercy to the nations. We become the light to the nations. We open the eyes of the blind, free captives from prisons and free those who live in darkness in the dungeons, in the underground prisons! We bring peace to the nations! We do good works, cure those who have fallen into the power of the devil and bring the good news of peace to all men!

Today we thank the Lord for revealing himself to us in his Baptism. We also thank the Lord for our own baptism. We thank the Lord for his Holy Spirit and for making us into his sons and daughters and for loving us and favoring us.

Today we also thank the Lord for this Eucharist, for giving us the body and blood of his Son Jesus Christ for us to eat and drink, so that we may grow in his Holy Spirit and so that we may grow as his sons and daughters, and grow to be more like him, obedient to him and do his will and work! Amen