32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 12th November 2017

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 12th November 2017

 

Theme: WE PREPARE FOR THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST BY DOING GOOD WORKS 

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  • Matthew 25:1-13

Today is the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time or 32nd Sunday of the Liturgical Year A. And as we come to the last 3 weeks of the Liturgical Year, the readings tell us about the end time, the end of the world, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

The readings today tell us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works! The gospel tells us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works!

The gospel parable tells us of 10 virgins; 5 were wise and 5 were foolish. The wise virgins brought oil with them for their lamps, but the foolish virgins did not bring oil with them! As the bridegroom was late in coming, the virgins fell asleep! When the bridegroom arrived at midnight, the virgins woke up, and the wise virgins accompanied the bridegroom into the wedding hall, but the foolish virgins went to buy oil, and were late, and they did not enter the wedding hall!

Matthew 7: 24. 26 also tell us about the wise man and the foolish man! The wise man listens to the word of God and acts on it, but the foolish man listens to the word of God, but does not act on it! Acting on the word of God and not acting on the word of God distinguishes the wise man from the foolish man respectively! In short, the wise man does good works, but the foolish man does not do good works!

In the gospel of today, the oil symbolizes good works! The wise virgins do good works, but the foolish virgins do not do good works!

Again, the gospel today tells us to do good works to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

The second reading from 1 Thessalonians also tells us about the “Parousia”! “Parousia” is a Greek word meaning “presence” and by extension, it means “appearance”. “Parousia” means the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The second reading tells us that at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the dead will rise from the dead, just as Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and they will be taken into heaven with him, and those who are still alive will also be taken up into heaven to be with Jesus Christ forever!

Today’s second reading is taken from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, but if we were to read what immediately follows it, that is, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, St. Paul also tells us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! (CSB/NAB)

Today in this 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 His Holy Spirit to do good works to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, so that when He comes, he will take us up into heaven with him forever! This is the good news!

Amen!

I wish you a happy, holy and blessed week! Sunday is not the last day of the week, or the end of the week, on the contrary, Sunday is the first day of the week, the beginning of the week, the day of the Sun, the day of the Son, the day of the Resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the Sanctification and Salvation of the whole Universe! If you come to Mass on Sunday you will be blessed, graced, and favored, and you will be happy and holy every day of the week! Again, a happy, holy and blessed week to all of you!

 

Amen!

2nd Sunday of Advent (Year A) – 4th December 2016

2nd Sunday of Advent (Year A) – 4th December 2016

Theme: ADVENT IS A TIME WHEN WE PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST

  • Isaiah 11:1-10
  • Psalm 71:1-2. 7-8. 12-13. 17. R. v. 7
  • Romans 15:4-9
  • Matthew 3:1-12

Today is the Second Sunday of Advent. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word “Adventus” meaning “Coming”! Advent is a time when we prepare for the Coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time!

The two comings are similar in the sense that when Jesus Christ comes, whether at Christmas or at the end of time, he will bring us his love, his mercy, his forgiveness, his peace, and his joy!

The preparation for the two comings are also the same, whether we prepare for his coming at Christmas or at the end of time, we have to pray, to do good works, to practice justice, to make peace, to practice charity towards the poor, to go to confession, etc.!

The difference between the two comings is that the Second Coming completes and perfects the First Coming, which we celebrate at Christmas! In the Second Coming he will complete and perfect the love, mercy, forgiveness, peace, and joy of his First Coming, so that his love, mercy, forgiveness, peace and joy will be complete and perfect in us!

Advent is therefore a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time!

 

The first reading from the prophet Isaiah tells us that when Jesus Christ comes, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit and the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Counsel, Insight, Power, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord!

But more importantly, the first reading tells us that when he comes he will bring justice to the earth. Unlike the corrupted kings of Israel, he will judge the poor with integrity and honesty. He will judge the weak with justice. He will strike down the ruthless and the merciless, and he will destroy the wicked!

But most importantly, the first reading tells us that he will bring peace to the earth! There will be peace between God and man, between man and man, and between man and the animal kingdom! It will be a restoration of the peace of Paradise!

In Genesis 3, man rebelled against God, and consequently man was not at peace with God, not at peace with other man, and not at peace with the earth.

In his 1990 World Day of Peace Message, Pope John Paul II quoted Genesis 3:17-19 to tell us that man was not at peace with the earth, so much so that man had to get his food from the earth painfully, and the earth yielded him thorns! The Pope also quoted Genesis 4:12 to tell us that when man tilled the earth, the earth would not yield its fruit to man!

Indeed today with the destruction of the rainforest, the pollution of the environment, the destruction of other species, the ozone hole, the warming of the earth, over fishing, the pollution of the earth with chemicals, the earth will not yield up its food for man!

The first reading tells us that when Jesus Christ comes there will be peace between God and man, man and man, and man and the animal kingdom!

Thus the prophesy of Isaiah: “The wolf lives with the lamb, the panther lies down with the kid (of the goat), calf and lion cub feed together with a little boy to lead them. The cow and the bear make friends, their young lie down together. The lion eats straw like the ox. The infant plays over the cobra’s hole; into the viper’s lair the young child puts his hand”!

 

The responsorial psalm helps us to meditate on the first reading, thus the responsorial psalm takes up the theme of the first reading. The response of the responsorial psalm tells us that when Jesus Christ comes there will be justice and peace: “In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails”! Peace forever!

The psalm tells us that he will judge the people with justice and the poor with right judgment. He will save the poor when they cry, and he will save the weak and the poor from oppression and exploitation!

The responsorial psalm relates justice to peace! There can be no peace without justice!

 

But most importantly, the gospel tells us that when Jesus Christ comes he will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire! His Holy Spirit will burn away our sins like fire burning away the impurities to purify the gold! Something that even water cannot do! The Holy Spirit of God’s love will burn away our sins!

That is why at a penitential service for our priests, we were told to write down our sins on pieces of paper and burn them with the fire of the paschal candle and throw them into a metal container! The fire of the paschal candle is the Holy Spirit of God’s love and the metal container is hell!

Hell is not a place where God burns you. Hell is the love of God burning away our sins! Hell is the love of God experienced by a sinner! A sinner experiences God’s love as pain, suffering, punishment, purification, purgatory, and hell, for his repentance and conversion, so that he will find the love, mercy, forgiveness, peace, joy, and life of God!

I was brought up by my mother to do good works for fear of hell and for love of heaven! A Muslim woman mystic was asked why she always carried water on one hand and fire on the other! She carried water to put out the fire of hell and she carried fire to burn heaven, because people do good works, for fear of hell and for love of heaven, but not for the love of God! God first loved us! We respond by loving God in return! We do good works because we love God and we love one another! God’s love burns away our sins so that we can love God and love one another!

The gospel today asks us to repent and to convert, that is, to turn away from sin (repent) and to turn to Jesus Christ (convert)! To turn away from sin is not good enough, because we will turn back to sin! We have to turn away from sin and more importantly, to turn to Jesus Christ who will burn away our sins with the Holy Spirit of God’s Love! 

That is why when you go to confession during this time of Advent, it is more important that you listen to what the priest confesses than the priest listen to what you confess!

After you have confessed your sins and received your penance, the priest gives you the absolution with these words:

    “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 you answer: “Amen”.

   With these words of absolution Jesus Christ burns away your sins with the fire of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit of the love and mercy of God! Amen!

 

Besides going to confession during this time of Advent, the Church also asks us to practice justice and to make peace, but more importantly, the Church also asks us to practice charity (from the Latin word “caritas” meaning love) and love, especially to the poor, the aged, the children, the orphaned, the blind, the deaf and the dumb, the sick, etc., by becoming “Santa Claus” to them!

Finally, the Church also asks us to go caroling to share the Good News of Christmas with others, including the pagans!

Thus the second reading from Romans exhorts us: “The reason Christ became the servant of circumcised Jews was not only so that God could faithfully carry out the promises made to the patriarchs, it was also to get the pagans to give glory to God for his mercy, as scripture says in one place: For this I shall praise you among the pagans and sing your name”!

 

Amen!

 

First Sunday of Advent (Year A) – 27th November 2016ad

First Sunday of Advent (Year A) – 27th November 2016ad

Theme: ADVENT IS A TIME WHEN WE PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS AND FOR THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST 

  • Isaiah 2:1-5
  • Psalm 121:1-2. 4-5. 6-9. R. v. 1
  • Romans 13:11-14
  • Matthew 24:37-44

Today is the first day of the liturgical year and today is the first Sunday of Advent! The word Advent comes from the Latin word “Adventus” meaning “coming”!

Advent is a time when we prepare ourselves to celebrate the First Coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas, and Advent is also a time when we prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time! As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we also prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! In preparing for Christmas and for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we pray, we do good works, we love, we avoid sin, we practice justice, we make peace, we help the poor, etc.!

 

The gospel tells us about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The gospel tells us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! The gospel tells us to stay awake and to be ready for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

The gospel has 3 parables! The first parable tells us to stay awake and to be ready, and not to be like the people in Noah’s time, eating and drinking and marrying, until the Floods came and swept them away!

The second parable tells us of two men working in the fields, one is taken away and one is left! It also tells us of two women working and one is taken way and one left! The one who is prepared is taken away into heaven and the one who is not prepared is left!

The third parable tells us of the burglar who comes at a time you do not know and you do not expect!

All the three parables in today’s gospel tell us to stay awake and to be ready for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! In short the gospel today tells us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

 

The second reading from the letter to the Romans also tells us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! It tells us to love one another (Rm 13:8-10)! It also tells us not to get drunk, not to get involved in orgies, that is, drunken or immoral merrymaking, not to be promiscuous, that is, indiscriminate in sexual relations, not to be licentious, that is, not to be lax in morals, not to quarrel, not to be jealous of each other, etc., but to put on Jesus Christ!

The first reading from Isaiah tells us that when Jesus Christ comes he will bring us peace! The theme of the first reading is peace! The first reading tells us that the weapons of war will be turned into tools of agriculture, that is, instruments of peace! But before it tells us about peace the first reading also tells us about justice. The first reading tells us that God will judge the nations with justice!

Referring to the situation in Palestine, Pope John Paul II tells us that there can be no peace without justice! Today and yesterday, many wars are fought because of injustices, because of oppression, and exploitation, etc.! But Pope John Paul II also tells us that there can be no justice without forgiveness! Without forgiveness, “a tooth for a tooth”, very quickly spirals and escalates into “a life for tooth”!

The peace that Jesus Christ gives us is a peace that the world cannot give! It is a peace grounded on forgiveness! Jesus Christ made peace with us by forgiving our sins on the cross, so that we can make peace with God our Father, with each other, with our own selves, and with the environment!

The responsorial psalm helps us to meditate on the theme of peace of the first reading! In the third and forth stanzas of the responsorial psalm the word “peace” is mentioned 5 times: “For the peace of Jerusalem pray: ‘Peace be to your homes! May peace reign in your walls, in your palaces, peace!’ For love of my brethren and friends I say: ‘Peace upon you!’”!

Again, like the first reading, even before it tells about peace, the psalm tells us that the Lord will judge with justice! Again, there can be no peace without justice! But more than that, the responsorial psalm also tells us that the Lord will bring us prosperity!

In the New Jerusalem Bible, the word “peace” is alternated with the word “prosperity”: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, prosperity for your homes! Peace within your walls, prosperity in your palaces! For love of my brothers and my friends I will say, ‘Peace upon you!’”!

There can be no prosperity without peace, and there can be no peace without prosperity! The two go together! Today too, many wars are fought because of poverty!

In sum, the psalm tells us that the Lord will bring us peace, peace with justice and peace with prosperity!

 

During this time of Advent, the Church asks us to make peace with God, with one another, with oneself, and with the environment! That is why in this time of Advent there will be Penitential Services with Individual Confessions in every parish of our Diocese!

The Church also asks us to be “Santa Claus” (St. Nicholas) to give gifts to the poor, the sick, the aged, the orphaned, the children, etc.!

The Church also asks us to go “caroling” to proclaim the Good News to others!

A Happy Advent to all of you!

 

Amen!

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) – 7th August 2016

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) – 7th August 2016

​Theme: THE END OF THE WORLD: THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST 

  • Wisdom 18:6-9; 
  • Psalm 32 (33):1. 12. 18-20. 22. R/ v. 12; 
  • Hebrews 11:1-2. 8-12. (Shorter Form) 
  • Luke 12:35-40 (Shorter Form)

Today is the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us about the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when all will be saved! 

The gospel today tells us that Jesus will come a second time, but we do not know when. 

That is why we must always be ready for his Second Coming! Thus the “Gospel Acclamation” today: 

“Stay awake and stand ready, because you do no know the hour when the Son of Man is coming.” (Mt 24:42. 44; SM) 

And thus the gospel today ends: 

“You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Lk 12:40; SM) 

To prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time, we must pray, we must do the will of God, and we must be detached from the world! 

The first reading tells us that when Jesus Christ comes a second time he will destroy sin and death completely and finally and he will save the whole world! 

The first reading tells us about the destruction of the first-born of the Egyptians and the salvation of the Israelites in the Exodus from Egypt! Thus the caption of the first reading: 

“By the same act with which you took vengeance on our foes you made us glorious by calling us to you.” (Ws 18:8; SM) 

But more importantly, the first reading prefigures the second and new Exodus of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit destroys sin and saves us from death! Today the Holy Spirit continues to destroy sin and saves us from death in the Sacrament of Baptism! 

But most importantly, the first reading prefigures the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time when sin and death will be completely destroyed and we will all be saved! 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the Sunday. The responsorial psalm tells us that as baptized Christians we are the chosen people of God and as we prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ we are to hope and pray for his love and he will rescue us from death! 

The responsible psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 1 & 12) tells us that as baptized Christians we are the chosen people of God! Thus the response which is taken from the first stanza: 

“Happy are the people the Lord has chosen as his own.” (Ps 32 (33): 12; SM)

The second stanza (vv. 18-19; SM) tells us to hope in God’s love and he will save us from death! The third stanza (vv. 20 & 22) tells us to pray and hope in God’s love and he will save us from death! (IBC) 

Incidentally, the second reading also follows the theme of the Sunday. The second reading tells us that we have to hold on to our faith until the end of our lives and until the end of the world, even and especially in the face of persecutions and the Lord will save us! 

The second reading was addressed to the Jewish Christians who were persecuted and who were losing their faith! (NJB; CCB) 

The second reading gives us the example of Abraham! Abraham held on to his faith even in the face of many obstacles! Abraham had to go to a land he did not know. He was promised a son in his old age and his wife was barren. And finally he was asked to sacrifice Isaac, the son of the promise! (Longer Form, vv. 17-19; SM) But, because of his faith, Abraham was blessed with many descendants, as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the grains of sand on the seashore! 

We are therefore to hold on to our faith to the end of our lives and to the end of the world, even in the face of persecutions and we will be blessed with salvation! 

Today we thank God for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of our sins and for saving us from death. And we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit to help us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when all will be saved! Again, we prepare for the Second 

Coming of Jesus Christ by prayer, by doing the will of God and by detaching ourselves from the world! God bless you!

30 November 2014 – 1st Sunday of Advent

30 November 2014 – 1st Sunday of Advent

Theme: ADVENT IS A TIME TO PRAY FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD AT CHRISTMAS

  • Isaiah 63:16-17; 64:1. 3-8
  • Psalm 79:2-3. 15-16. 18-19. R. v. 4
  • 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
  • Mark 13:33-37

 

 1. Today we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. The word Advent means “coming” — the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas! Jesus Christ came the first time 2000 years ago and Jesus Christ will come a second time at the end of the world! Jesus Christ came the first time to give us his Holy Spirit, his grace, his love, joy and peace, and when his love, joy and peace become complete and perfect in us, Jesus Christ will come a second time to take us to heaven with him! But in the meantime, Jesus Christ will not abandon us to ourselves for two thousand years and perhaps for another two thousand years! We celebrate Christmas every year because every year, every month and everyday Jesus Christ continues to come and strengthen us in the Holy Spirit that he has given us in his first coming! Every year beginning with Christmas — every month and every day Jesus

Christ continues to help us grow in his grace, in his love, in his joy, in his peace and in his mercy until the end of time when his grace, love, peace and joy become complete and perfect in us and he will come a second time to take us all to heaven with him!

This is the good news and it makes a lot of sense! It is very meaningful even to the young. Young people do not like abstract ideas, nor are they fearful of the end of the world, nor are ethics and morals appealing to them! They want meaning, inspiration and something real! They want something that can help them make sense of life and give them a vision and a mission in life! In other words young people are very very good people! They are even better than old people! The law of Evolution?

 

2. The gospel today tells us to “stay awake”! To stay awake to pray! There are certain communities in our Sacred Heart Cathedral who take this gospel literally! Every day of Advent until Christmas they will wake up very early in the morning to pray! And even before the sun rises, and even before the priest wakes up for the 6 am mass, they will already be in church watching and praying! In this first week of Advent they will also wake up at 2 am or 3 am in the morning to pray! I am not asking you do it because I myself am not dong it!

 

3. The first reading tells us to pray for the coming of the Lord! In the first reading the prophet Isaiah prays for the coming of the Lord. There is urgency and immediacy in his prayer: ‘Tear open the heavens and come down Lord! Why let your servants go astray! Return to us Lord here and now! Yes, we have sinned and you were angry with us. We have been unclean. Like dead leaves we are blown away. But Lord, you are our Father. We are clay in your hands. You are the potter who can shape us and reshape us!

This text of Isaiah was written in the 6th century B.C. when the Israelites returned from exile from Babylon. The temple was still in ruins and everything was still in a mess and the people were still committing sin and suffering and dying!

 

The Church has chosen this reading today to tell us to pray with the same urgency and immediacy as Isaiah! To begin with, some people think that only holy people pray or that we pray because we are holy. This is not true! The truth is that we pray because we are miserable, suffering and dying because of our sins! That is why there is an urgency and immediacy in our prayers! We cannot wait another two thousand years for the second coming of Jesus Christ! We are unhappy, we cannot love, we cannot forgive, we cannot even accept ourselves, we are suffering, and we cannot wait for another two thousand years! Jesus Christ has to come here and now this Christmas!

 

4. The responsorial psalm takes up this same theme of prayer and again there is urgency and immediacy in the psalm: ‘Oh Lord, come to our help. Let your face shine upon us and we shall be saved. Look down from heaven and see us. Visit this vine (Israel like the vine needs care and protection) of yours. Put your hand on the man (the king who represents the people) you have chosen’.

 

5. In the second reading today, from the first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul thanks God our Father for giving us his graces and his Spirit through his Son Jesus Christ as we wait for the second coming of Jesus Christ! His graces and his Spirit will protect us, make us strong and help us grow in his graces and in his Spirit until the end of time and the second coming of Jesus Christ, when we will be taken to heaven with him!

This is what I said at the beginning, i.e. Jesus Christ will not abandon us to ourselves after his first coming, but will continue to grace us and help us grow in his Spirit until the end of time when we will be perfected and completed in him and we will be taken up into heaven with him! This is the good news!

 

6. That is why during these four weeks of Advent as we prepare for Christmas, the Church asks us to pray, to go for confession, to attend Sunday and daily masses, to do penance, to do good works, to practice charity, and to be Santa Claus to the poor, the children, the aged, the weak, the sick, the handicapped, etc., so that when Jesus Christ comes at Christmas we may be able to welcome him and receive his Spirit, his grace, his love, his peace and his joy, and so that we may grow in him until the end of time when we will be taken up into heaven with him!

In this mass let us thank the Father for giving us his Son Jesus Christ and let us ask the Father to help us in this time of Advent to prepare ourselves for the coming of his Son Jesus Christ at Christmas! A happy Advent to all of you! Amen!