16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 23rd July 2017

Theme: THE LORD IS A MERCIFUL JUDGE

  • Wisdom 12:13. 16-19; 
  • Psalm 85:5-6. 9-10. 15-16. R/ v. 5; 
  • Romans 8:26-27
  • Matthew 13:24-43 (Shorter Form, 13:24-30)

1. Today is the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that the Lord is a Merciful Judge! The gospel today tells us about the parable of the wheat and the darnel (poisonous grass). The gospel tells us that a man sowed good seed, but when everyone was asleep his enemy sowed bad seed. And when the wheat grew, the poisonous grass also grew. The servants of the man wanted to pull up the grass, but the man left the grass to grow with the wheat until harvest when the grass will by pulled up and burned and the wheat will be gathered into his barn!
The gospel today tells us about the reality of our world today and the reality of ourselves today! In our world today we find good as well as evil. We find good people who work for peace, who sacrifice their lives in order to help the sick and the poor, who donate millions to charity, who forgive the enemies, etc.; but in our world today we also find a lot of evil people who practice injustice, who oppress and exploit the poor and the weak, who kill in the name of God, who kidnap and torture, who abuse children, etc.

In fact, in ourselves too, we find good and evil! We are kind to people, we help the poor, we pray for others, etc.; but we are also jealous, mean, selfish, indifferent, etc.

But more importantly and most importantly, the gospel today tells us that at harvest time, that is, at the end of time, at the end of the world, the fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness, will burn away all the evils in the world and in ourselves, totally, completely and finally! 

That is why it is most important that we continue to proclaim the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the outpouring of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness for the salvation of the world! 

The gospel of last Sunday, Bible Sunday, tells us about the parable of the sower (Mt 13:1-9, Shorter Form). The gospel tells us of the different responses of the different peoples in different situations to the word of God; but most importantly, the gospel tells us that ultimately and finally, the word of God will bear fruit, thirty fold, sixty fold and a hundredfold! A good harvest is only ten fold! (Fuller)     

Again, we have to proclaim the good news “in season and out of season”, that is, every time and everywhere! That is what our Pope Francis tells us in his Apostolic Exhortation, “Joy of the Gospel / Evangelii Gaudium” (24 November, 2013)! The word of God is Spirit and Life (Jn 6:63)!  
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that the Lord is a merciful judge. The first reading tells us that the Lord is a just judge, but more importantly, the first reading tells us that he is lenient and mild in his judgment! The first reading also tells us that just as the Lord is kind and merciful to us, we must also be kind and merciful to one another! Finally the first reading tells us that after sin, the Lord will give us repentance for the forgiveness of our sins! 
3. Indeed, we responded three times in the Responsorial Psalm: 

“O Lord, you are good and forgiving.” (Ps 85:5; SM) 

Verses 5 and 15 of the Responsorial Psalm elaborate on the goodness and forgiveness of the Lord! Thus we read: 

“O Lord, you are good and forgiving, full of love to all who call.” (Ps 85:5; SM) 

“But you, God of mercy and compassion, slow to anger, O Lord, abounding in love and truth (faithfulness; HCSB), turn and take pity on me.” (Ps 85:15; SM; Ex 34:6; NJBC) 
4. The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells us that when we do not know how to pray properly, the Holy Spirit comes to help us to pray properly and correctly! The Holy Spirit helps us to pray according to the mind of God and according to the will of God! 

Without the Holy Spirit we pray like the pagans according to our own minds and will and asking for material things, like power, money and fame! But with the Holy Spirit, we pray like Christians according to the mind and will of God, asking for spiritual things, like love, joy and peace! That is why the first thing we must ask for in prayer is to ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit!

Today, we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ who died, rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit, and we ask our Father to continue to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we will pray according to his mind and will; and so that the fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of His love, mercy and forgiveness will continue to burn away all the evil in the world and all the evil in ourselves, and so that at harvest time, that is, at the end of time, at the end of the world, at the second coming of Jesus Christ, the fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of His love, mercy and forgiveness will burn away all the evil in the world and in ourselves, totally, completely and finally! Amen!            

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) – 12th February 2017

​Theme: THE LAW IS LOVE, LIFE AND HAPPINESS! 

  • Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 15:15-20; 
  • Psalm 118:1-2. 4-5. 17-18. 33-34. R/ v. 1; 1 
  • Corinthians 2:6-10 
  • Matthew 5:17-22. 27-28. 33-34. 37. (Shorter Form)

1. Today is the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that the Law is love, life and happiness! God is love, life and happiness. 
God gives us the law to give us his love, life and happiness! In heaven there is only love, life and happiness! Love, life and happiness are the three most important things and they are eternal! 

The gospel today tells us that the Law is love, that is, the spirit of the law is love, and the fulfillment of the law is love. That is why we have to go beyond the law to love! (CSB; NJB) 

That is why the gospel today tells us that it is not enough not to kill, but we must also not get angry with our brother! We must love our brother! The gospel also tells us that it is not enough not to commit adultery, but we must also not look at a woman lustfully! We must look at a woman lovingly! Finally, the gospel tells us that it is not enough not to take false oaths, but we must not swear at all! (CSB) We must just tell the truth! Thus we read in the gospel today: 

“You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court.” (Mt 5:21-22; SM) 

“You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:27-28; SM) 

“Again, you have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfill your oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you: do not swear at all.” (Mt 5:33-35; SM) 

Again, the spirit of the Law is love and the fulfillment of the Law is love! Love is the only law and the only law is love! Love is the greatest commandment of the Law! (Mt 22:34-40) Jesus fulfilled the Law in love and through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he fulfilled the law in us! Let us then fulfill the law in love by loving God and by loving our neighbor as we love ourselves! (Mt 22:34-40) 

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the law is life! The first reading tells us that we can choose between keeping the law and not keeping the law. If we choose to keep the law, we choose life (water), but if we choose not to keep the law, we choose destruction (fire) and death! Thus we read in the first reading: 

“If you wish, you can keep the commandments, to behave faithfully is within your power. He has set fire and water before you; put out your hand to whichever you prefer. Man has life and death before him; whichever a man likes better will be given him.” (Si 15:15-17; SM)3. 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the law is happiness! Thus we responded four times: 

“They are happy who follow God’s law!” (Ps 118:1; SM) 

And thus the first stanza of the responsorial psalm: 

“They are happy whose life is blameless, who follow God’s law! They are happy those who do his will, seeking him with all their hearts.” (Ps 118:1-2; SM) 

The opposite is also true, that is, they are unhappy who do not follow God’s law! If we are unhappy, we are not following God’s law! 

4. The second reading is a continuation of the second reading of last Sunday. The second reading of last Sunday (1 Co 2:1-5) tells us not to preach human wisdom, but to preach the crucified Christ! Human wisdom cannot save us, only the crucified Christ can save us! 

The second reading this Sunday tells us not to preach human wisdom, but to preach the wisdom of God! The wisdom of God is “God’s plan for our salvation”! (CSB) Again, human wisdom cannot save us, only the wisdom of God can save us! 

God bless you! Amen!

2nd August 2015 – 18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Theme: “WORK FOR FOOD THAT ENDURES TO ETERNAL LIFE.”

  • Exodus 16:2-4. 12-15;
  • Psalm 77 (78): 3-4. 23-25. 54. R/ v. 24;
  • Ephesians 4:17. 20-24
  • John 6:24-35

Today is the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us not to “work for food that cannot last”, but to “work for food that endures to eternal life”!

The gospel today tells us that after being fed at “the miracle of the loaves” (Jn 6: 1-15; NJB), the people followed Jesus, but Jesus told them not to work for food that do not last, but to work for food that endures to eternal life.

More importantly, the gospel tells us that to work for food that endures to eternal life means to believe in Jesus! And when we believe in Jesus, God our Father will give us “bread from heaven”. And the bread from heaven will give life to the world!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that Jesus is the “bread from heaven” who gives life to the world! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger; he who believes in me will never thirst”. (Jn 6:35; SM)

Indeed Jesus is the “bread of life” both in word and in sacrament! Thus the “Gospel Acclamation” today:

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4; SM)

And thus verse 54 of chapter 6 of today’s gospel:

“Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day”. (NJB)

That is why our Sunday Mass consists of two parts, namely, “the Liturgy of the Word” and “the Liturgy of the Eucharist”. The “Liturgy of the Word” gives us faith. (Rm 10:17) And when we celebrate “the Liturgy of the Eucharist” with faith and eat the body of Christ and drink his blood, the Holy Spirit will transform us into the Body of Christ!

That is why it is important that we come early for Sunday Mass to read the readings before Mass to prepare ourselves for the Mass. And that is why it is important that we listen attentively to the readings and homily during Mass and not talk or use our hand phones during Mass! And that is why it is important that after Mass we share and pray spiritually and personally on the Sunday Mass readings in our Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs)!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel had nothing to eat in the desert, so they grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and against God. They wanted to return to Egypt to eat meat and bread.

And more importantly, the first reading tells us that God gave them “bread from heaven”! The first reading prefigures the “bread from heaven” that Jesus gives in today’s gospel!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“The Lord gave them bread from heaven”. (Ps 77 (78): 24; SM)

And thus verses 23 to 25 of the responsorial psalm:

“He commanded the clouds above and opened the gates of heaven. He rained down manna for their food, and gave them bread from heaven. Mere men ate the bread of angels. He sent them abundance of food”. (SM)

Again, the responsorial psalm prefigures the “bread from heaven” given by Jesus in today’s gospel!

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 about “Renewal in Christ” (CSB), that is, to put off “the old self” and to put on “the new self”! This we did in baptism and we continue to do every Sunday in the Eucharist!

But we are happy to note that in our parish there are so many renewal movements that help us to renew ourselves in Jesus Christ! We have the Charismatic Renewal, the Prayer Meetings, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the Bible-Sharing Groups, the Alpha Course, the Divine Mercy, etc.! All these renewal movements help us renew ourselves in Jesus Christ!

Today in this Mass, we thank God our Father for his Son Jesus Christ, the food of eternal life! And we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we may be renewed in his Son Jesus Christ! A happy and holy Sunday to all of you!

19th July 2015 – 16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Theme: JESUS CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPHERD

  • Jeremiah 23:1-6;
  • Psalm 22. R/ v. 1;
  • Ephesians 2:13-18
  • Mark 6:30-34

Today is the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus and the “apostles” went to a lonely place in order to rest and to eat, but the people followed them. More importantly, the gospel tells us that although Jesus was tired and hungry, he had pity on the people; for they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he went on to teach them at some length! (Faley; Gilhooley) Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep! (Jn 10:11-18)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the good shepherd! (CCB) But the first reading begins by telling us about the bad shepherds of Israel, that is, the bad kings of Israel. The bad shepherd-kings of Israel were unfaithful to God and were unjust to the people of God. As shepherds they did not pasture the sheep. They did not provide for the sheep, but they provided for themselves. They did not take care of the sheep. The sheep were scattered. As a result, God will punish the bad shepherd-kings of Israel.

But more importantly, the first reading tells us that God will bring back the remnants of Israel from the foreign countries where they were dispersed. And God will give them shepherds that will care for them and pasture them. The sheep will increase in numbers and none of them will be lost.

But most importantly, the first reading tells us that God will give them a good shepherd/king who will be a descendent of David! He will be called “Yahweh-is-our-Saving-Justice”. (Jr 23:6; NJB) Or “The Lord Our Salvation”. (Jr 23:6; GNB)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us about the good shepherd. (NJB) The responsorial psalm tells us that the good shepherd is the Lord himself! And if the Lord himself is the good shepherd; we will not need or even want anything! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” (Ps 22 (23):1; SM)

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas:

The first stanza tells us that the good shepherd will provide us with food and drink:

“Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.” (vv. 2-3a; SM)

The second stanza tells us that the good shepherd will guide (staff) and protect (rod) us. (HCSB):

“He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name. If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear. You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort.” (vv. 3b-4; SM)

The third stanza on the host of the “messianic banquet” (NJB) tells us that the good shepherd will provide us with spiritual food and drink in the Eucharist (Fuller):

“You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing.” (v. 5; SM)

And the fourth stanza tells us that the Lord’s goodness and love (CSB; GNB) will follow us all the days of our lives and that we will praise God in his temple forever (Faley; Craghan):

“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.” (v. 6; SM)!

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 both Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles) are united in Jesus Christ! The Law of Moses divided the Jews from the non-Jews with the Jews having the privileges and the non-Jews disadvantaged, but Jesus Christ through his death abolished the Law of Moses and replaced it with the Love of God the Father, thus uniting the Jews with the non-Jews and uniting both Jews and non-Jews with God the Father!

Even today the Law of Moses cannot unite the Jews with the non-Jews; only the Love of God in Jesus Christ can unite the Jews with the non-Jews! Even today the Law of Moses cannot unite the peoples of the world; only the Love of God in Jesus Christ can unite the peoples of the world and unite the peoples of the world with God!

 Today we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd, and we ask God to give us good shepherds in the persons of priests, religious, catechists, lay leaders, prayer leaders, community leaders, etc. We ask God to give us good shepherds that teach the word of God, that pastures the sheep, that provides material and spiritual food and drink for the sheep, that guides and protects the sheep, that unites the sheep, etc.! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!