November 18 - Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Life is short

November 17th, 2018

 

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First Reading  Daniel 12:1-3
Daniel prophesies about the judgment of the last days.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 16:5,8,9-10,11
God protects us and shows us the path of life.

Second Reading  Hebrews 10:11-14,18
Jesus' offering for sin has made all to be consecrated perfect forever.

Gospel Reading
Mark 13:24-32

In this, the second-to-the-last week of the Church year, Jesus has finally made it to Jerusalem. Near to His passion and death, He gives us a teaching of hope—telling us how it will be when He returns again in glory. The Gospel text is an eschatological (i.e., an End of Time) image. Jesus is being typically provocative, trying to cajole his audience into thinking large and imagining what is really important among all the complexities and clutter of normal human life. Today’s Gospel narrative is from the 13th Chapter of Mark’s Gospel account, sometimes labeled “The Little Apocalypse.” It uses what 20th Century people called technicolor and surround-sound by way of dramatizing the imaginary end of the created universe. Jesus was very serious about getting people to think somewhat more critically than they were culturally accustomed to doing. He tried to move them away from the idea of merely earning God’s approval, and toward the idea of engaging life ever-more fully, thoughtfully, justly, and wisely. The just and the wise would recognize “the Son of Man coming in the clouds” as a sign of God’s presence and justice.

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November 11 - Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time: To give thankfully

November 8th, 2018

 

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First Reading 1 Kings 17:10-16
Through Elijah, a widow and her son are blest with enough flour and oil to supply them for a year.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 146:7,8-9 9-10
A prayer of praise to God who raises up the lowly

 

Second Reading Hebrews 9:24-28
Christ died once to take away sin; he will return again to bring salvation.

 

Gospel Reading
Mark 12:38-44 (shorter form, Mark 12:41-44)

 

In today's well-known Gospel story (Mark 12:38-44), Jesus praises the poor widow's offering, and makes it clear that the standard measurement for assessing gifts is not how much we give to the works of God or how much we put in the collection basket, but how much we have left for ourselves. Those who give out of their abundance still have abundance left. It is said that there are three kind of givers: grudge givers (“I hate to give”), duty givers (“I ought to give”) and thanks givers (“I want to give”). Do we give grudgingly or dutifully or thankfully? The best way to give is to give thankfully, i.e. with a generous and full heart. In their self-sacrifice, these widows embody the love that Jesus last week revealed as the heart of the Law and the Gospel. They mirror the Father’s love in giving His only Son, and Christ’s love in sacrificing himself on the cross. And again we are called to imitate His sacrifice of love in our own lives. We will be judged, not by how much we give—for the scribes and wealthy contribute far more than the widow. Rather, we will be judged by whether our gifts reflect our livelihood, our whole beings, all our heart and soul, mind and strength.

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November 4 - Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time: What are your Priorities?

November 1st, 2018

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First Reading Revelation 7:2-4,9-14
John describes his vision: those who have endured the trials worship the Lamb.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 24:1-2,3-4,5-6
Those who seek the face of the Lord shall be rewarded.

 

Second Reading 1 John 3:1-3
We are God's children now.

 

Gospel Reading
Matthew 5:1-12

 

In the Judaism of Jesus' time there were two opposite tendencies. On the one hand there was a tendency to endlessly multiply the commandments and precepts of the law, creating norms and obligations for every minimal detail of life. On the other hand there was the desire to look underneath this suffocating congeries of norms to find those things that really count for God, the spirit of all the commandments. The scribe's question and Jesus' response are situated in this approach to the essentials of the law, in this desire not to get lost in the thousand other secondary precepts. It is precisely this lesson about method that above all we must learn from today's gospel. There are things in life that are important but not urgent (in the sense that nothing will happen if we let them slide); and vice versa, there are things that are urgent but not important. The danger is that we will systematically sacrifice the important things to pursue those that are urgent but often secondary. What are the priorities, in your life? To health, family, friends and character -- we need to add two others, which are the biggest of all, the two greatest commandments: love God and your neighbour.

 

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October 28 - Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time: leaving behind the cloak in order to come closer to Christ

October 25th, 2018

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First Reading Jeremiah 31:7-9
The Lord declares himself to be the Father of Israel.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 126:1-2,2-3,4-5,6
A song of praise to God who does great things

 

Second Reading Hebrews 5:1-6
Christ was made high priest by God.

 

Gospel Reading
Mark 10:46-52

 

In today’s Gospel we see how everyone discouraged Bartimaeus when he wanted to meet Jesus. But he refused to be silenced, and the heart of Christ didn’t let him down. St Mark makes a point of explaining that Bartimaeus “threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.” The Fathers of the Church have seen in this cloak a symbol of self- sufficiency, a symbol of our deep-seated tendency to think that we are capable of solving all of our problems on our own. The cloak symbolizes all those things that we wrongly depend on for happiness, that we tend to idolize: good looks, intelligence, athletic ability, money, good education, success, popularity etc Then, when he hears the Lord’s call, he doesn’t hesitate to cast off his cloak and spring forward, teaching us all that our only sufficiency should be Jesus Christ.

 

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October 21 - Twenty Ninth Sunday in the Ordinary Time: Power

October 25th, 2018

 

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First Reading Isaiah 53:10-11
Through his suffering, the servant of Yahweh will justify many.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 33:4-5,18-19,20,22
A prayer of praise for God's mercy

 

Second Reading Hebrews 4:14-16
Jesus is the high priest who sympathizes with our weakness.

 

Gospel Reading
Mark 10:35-45 (shorter form Mark 10:42-45)

 

According to the Gospel James and John saw authority when they asked Jesus for seats at his right and left. Like typical careerists and opportunists they were looking for a comfortable position for themselves. Most people see authority as a chance to promote their own honour and glory. But Christ saw it differently. He saw it as an opportunity to serve others – to promote the good of others rather than to promote one’s own honour and glory. He said “look at the pagan rulers. See how they lord over their subjects. It must not be like that among you must be the one in authority must be the one who serves”. Surely this is the most revolutionary thing ever said about authority. It makes for true greatness. All of us exercise authority in some way or the other. We have to examine ourselves. Do we exercise authority according to the spirit of Christ? Let us not presume that we are necessarily superior to or better than, those we command. A uniform, a promotion, a position of authority, these of themselves do not make us better persons.

 

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October 14 - Twenty Eighty Sunday in Ordinary Time: Riches

October 25th, 2018

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First Reading  Wisdom 7:7-11
Wisdom is preferred above gold and silver.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 90:12-13,14-15,16-17
The Lord fills us with love and joy.

Second Reading  Hebrews 4:12-13
The Word of God exposes the heart.

Gospel Reading
Mark 10:17-30 (shorter form Mark 10:17-27)

The rich man was capable of doing more than just keeping the commandments, but he lacked the commitment to do so. Today's Gospel story makes it painfully clear that there is more to Christianity than just keeping the commandments. Jesus made it clear to the rich man that Christianity is more than just a set of negative commands like not staling or not cheating. Christianity is far more positive. It is about doing what you can in generosity and love: "Have you ever used your wealth to feed the hungry, clothe the naked or shelter the homeless?" We are like the rich man in today's gospel. we have kept the commandments too, but we haven't been able to reach out as generously as we could to the needy, the naked, and the hungry. Let us reflect. 

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October 7 – Twenty seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Marriage and Divorce

October 3rd, 2018

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First Reading  Genesis 2:18-24
God creates woman from Adam's rib.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 128:1-2,3,4-5,6
A prayer for God's blessing

Second Reading  Hebrews 2:9-11
Christ was made perfect through suffering so that we might all be consecrated.

Gospel Reading
Mark 10:2-16 (shorter form Mark 10:2-12)

The Pharisees question Jesus about the lawfulness of divorce. In reply, Jesus quotes from the Book of Genesis and counters that God's original intention was that men and women would become one flesh in marriage. Jesus describes the teaching of Moses as a concession made to God's original intention because of human stubbornness. Jesus' teaching was more restrictive than the teaching of the Pharisees, which permitted remarriage. Divorce tears apart the bonding and the union that love impels us to attain. Divorce, Jesus says, has to do with laws. Marriage has to do with love. Marriage is far more than merely a license to live together. Marriage takes us back to our beginnings, to Adam and Eve. When read together, however, these passages present a strong picture of Jesus' emphasis on the importance of family. God intended for women and men to be joined together in marriage. Among the purposes of marriage is the raising of children. By welcoming children and fostering their relationship with God, parents and families bear witness to the Kingdom of God. It is our responsibility to speak in support of marriage as a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman in an enduring bond of love. This union is ordered to both the mutual good of the spouses and to the procreation and raising of children.

 

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September 30 – Twenty Sixth Sunday in ordinary Time: acknowledge the good others do

September 26th, 2018

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First Reading  Numbers 11:25-29
The Lord bestows his spirit on the seventy elders.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 19:8,10,12-13,14
The Law of the Lord brings joy.

Second Reading  James 5:1-6
James chastises the rich.

Gospel Reading
Mark 9:38-43,45,47-48

This Sunday’s Gospel presents one of those episodes in Christ’s life which, even if they are noted, so to speak en passant, contain a profound meaning (cf. Mk 9:38-41). The event involved someone who was not a follower of Jesus but who had expelled demons in his name. The Apostle John, a young man and ardently zealous as he was, wanted to prevent him but Jesus did not permit this; on on the contrary, he drew inspiration from this circumstance to teach his disciples that God could work good and even miraculous things even outside their circle, and that it is possible to cooperate with the cause of the Kingdom of God in different ways, even by simply offering a missionary a glass of water (v. 41).St Augustine wrote in this regard: “as, therefore, there is in the Catholic — meaning the Church — something which is not Catholic, so there may be something which is Catholic outside the Catholic Church” (cf. On Baptism, Against the Donatists, PL 43, VII, 39, 77). Therefore if a stranger to the community does good works in Christ’s name, so long as he does so with upright intentions and with respect, members of the Church must not feel jealous but must rejoice. Even within the Church, people can find it difficult, in the spirit of deep communion, to value and appreciate good things achieved by the different ecclesial entities. Instead, we must all and always be able to appreciate one another, praising God for the infinite “creativity” with which he acts in the Church and in the world.

 

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September 23 - Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Becoming the first to serve

September 19th, 2018

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First Reading  Wisdom 2:12,17-20
The just one is put to the test.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 54:3-4,5,6 & 8
A prayer for God's protection.

Second Reading  James 3:16—4:3
James teaches about the wisdom from above.

Gospel Reading
Mark 9:30-37

There is something about being human that drives us to succeed, to want to achieve things. For some people they target greatness, look at our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, for others maybe the ambition is smaller, getting the kids to eat breakfast and get to school on time is challenge enough. Ambition, drive, success and winning are the themes of today. And our teaching from Christ today seems contradictory, "If anyone wants to be first, they must ke themselves last of all." The message doesn't fit with the way we see the world ork. Our society tells us that being right, being first, being the best is all important. But society is wrong. There is nothing good or important about being first, however there is only one thing bad about being right, or first or best, and that one thing is doing something just to be right or just to be the best or just to be the first. Following our lord is not easy. He never promised it would be. Selflessness is not in our nature, pride and greed are. If you are to be a follower of Christ you needs put your human nature last to enable you to put your spiritual nature first. Work hard, but always for others, strive to do your best, but resist the urge just to be the best, if you are the best thank God that you are able to serve so well.

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September 16 - Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Where Sorrow is there is holy ground

September 13th, 2018

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First Reading  Isaiah 50:5-9a

The suffering servant of Yahweh is assured of God's help.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 116:1-2,3-4,5-6,8-9

A prayer of praise to God for his salvation

Second Reading  James 2:14-18
James teaches that faith must be demonstrated in one's works.

 Gospel Reading
Mark 8:27-35

 The Christian under sanding of Christ has to include the idea of suffering, death and resurrection. To attempt to hold Jesus back from his divinely ordained path is to play Satan's game to frustrate God's gift of life to the world through the costly "service" he must render. In the same way we are called to 'get behind him' in the sense of following him along "his way" rather than standing "in his way". We know that suffering and sorrow are a part of life. There's no way we can escape them. The important thing isn't the sorrow that befall us but how we respond to them. The important thing is what we do about them. We can turn them into something constructive, not destructive. We can turn them into something that is life-giving and not death-dealing. we can turn them into something that makes us better, not bitter. Let the Lord have His way and let us follow that path in trust.

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