33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 18th Nov 2018

Theme: THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST

  • Daniel 12:1-3;
  • Psalm 15 (16): 5. 8-11. R/ v. 1;
  • Hebrews 10:11-14. 18
  • Mark 13:24-32

Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical year B. Next Sunday will be the last Sunday of the Liturgical year. As we come to the end of the Liturgical Year the readings today tell us about the end of the world, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will come a second time when he will win over all!

The gospel today tells us of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel tells us that he will come in the clouds with power and glory and his angels will gather all his chosen ones and bring them to heaven! Thus we read in the gospel:

“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven”. (Mk 13: 26-27; SM)

The gospel also tells us that we do not know when Jesus Christ will come a second time, not even the angels, not even Jesus Christ himself! Only God the Father knows when Jesus Christ will come a second time! Thus the gospel ends by telling us:

“But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.” (Mk 13:32; SM)

That is why the Gospel Acclamation today tells us to be always prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ:

“Stay awake and stand ready, because you do not know the hour when the Son of Man is coming.” (Mt 24:42. 44; SM)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the end of the world. The first reading tells us that at the end of the world the dead will rise to life! The virtuous will rise to everlasting life, but the wicked to everlasting damnation. The wise who instructed many in righteousness will shine like the vault of heaven and like the stars of heaven! (HCSB) Thus we read in the first reading:

“Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace. The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars for all eternity.” (Dn 12:2-3; SM)

It is significant that the resurrection of the dead is mentioned for the first time in the Old Testament! (NJBC; CCB)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us to trust God, because he is the only one who can save us from death and give us life and happiness! (CSB)

The response and the first verse of the responsorial psalm tell us to trust in God. Thus we pray with the psalmist:

“Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you. O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup; it is you yourself who are my prize.” (Ps 15 (16): 1 and 5; SM)

Verses 10 and 11 tell us that God is the only one who can save us from death and give us life and happiness. Thus we pray with the psalmist:

“For you will not leave my soul among the dead, nor let your beloved know decay. You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, at your right hand happiness for ever.” (SM)

The second reading is a continuation and a conclusion of the second readings of the past few Sundays. Again, the second reading compares the Levitical priesthood of the Jews of the Old Testament with the priesthood of Jesus Christ in the New Testament:

(i) The Levitical priests offer sacrifices everyday, but their sacrifices cannot take away sins.

(ii) Jesus Christ offered himself once and for all and has taken away all our sins and made us holy.

(iii) We do not need the sacrifices of the Levitical priests anymore. We already have the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We only need the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Thus we read in the second reading today:

“All priests stand at their duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking sins away. Christ, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins. .… By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying. When all sins have been forgiven, there can be no more sin offerings.” (Heb 10: 11-12a. 14. 18; SM)

Today in the Mass, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church makes present, real and effective, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our salvation; and today in the Mass, we receive the Holy Spirit, to help us prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! A happy and holy Sunday to all of you! Amen!

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!

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!