July 22 - Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Work and Prayer

July 19th, 2018

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First Reading  Jeremiah 23:1-6

The Lord promises to shepherd his people Israel.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 23:1-3,3-4,5,6

The Lord is our shepherd.

 

Second Reading  Ephesians 2:13-18

Christ has reconciled us with God and united us in peace.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 6:30-34

 

In the Gospel we see those who were “sent” returning, after their success, full of their own importance. Instead of recognizing that their success depended entirely upon the one who “sent” them. They have been caught up in the excitement of their missionary success and they have lost their perspective. So the Lord invites them to a “quiet place” just to “rest” and be him. Behind the quiet place are the words of the Psalm: “he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul” (Ps 23:1-3). There is a practical message here for each one of us. It is simply this: when heavy burden threatens to crush us, we should do what Jesus did. We should turn to God in prayer. He taught them to do what he did: to balance action and contemplation, to go from contact with people to secret and regenerating dialogue with oneself and with God. This need for times of solitude and listening is posed in a special way to those who proclaim the Gospel and to animators of the Christian community, who must stay constantly in contact with the source of the Word that they must transmit to their brothers.

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July15 - Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Called and Sent

July 14th, 2018

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First Reading   Amos 7:12-15

The prophet Amos is sent from Bethel.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 85:9-10,11-12,13-14

A prayer for the Lord's salvation

 

Second Reading  Ephesians 1:3-14 ( shorter form Ephesians 1:3-10)

Paul teaches that we were chosen for Christ before the creation of the world.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 6:7-13

 

We see in the first reading how Amos was chosen from the South to go to the North to be the “mouth piece of God”. In the same way Jesus “summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs” (Mk 6:7). One important aspect of the three-year earthly ministry of Jesus was that he formed a community of disciples. All the gospels mention the Twelve apostles, and the gospel of Luke even talks about a larger community of 72 others (Lk 10:1). We have been brought to life with a purpose. We are “called” in order to be “sent out” for a special mission which we need to discover as we mature in our faith. Blessed John Henry Newman says that “God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another”. Let us ask God’s grace to discover our mission. 

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July 8 - Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: To reject and to be rejected

July 6th, 2018

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First Reading  Ezekiel 2:2-5

The Lord sends the prophet Ezekiel to the Israelites.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 123:1-2,3-4

A prayer to God for mercy

 

Second Reading  2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Paul bears insults and weakness for the sake of Christ.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 6:1-6

 

Shortly after He began His public ministry, Jesus went back to His hometown of Nazareth but it was far from being a happy homecoming. They gave Him the cold shoulder and He ended up leaving Nazareth never to return. Why? It was because they could not believe that God could come in ordinary ways. When God came in human flesh they could not accept him because that story was ‘too good to be true”. Evasion and avoidance have not been limited to the people of Jesus’ own hometown. Jesus might pass without my realizing it and He might pass without my being ready to welcome Him. Today’s Gospel also tells us another point: that those who want to serve must be ready to go through the experience of rejection because “we don’t grow when things are easy but we grow when we face challengers”. Something positive always comes out of something negative. Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze us but they're supposed to help you discover who you are. 

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July 1 - Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: God who is close to us

June 29th, 2018

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First Reading  Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24

Death entered the world through the work of the devil.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 30:2,4,5-6,11,12,13

A prayer of thanksgiving to God for having rescued us

 

Second Reading  2 Corinthians 8:7,9,13-15

As Christ became poor for our sake, so must we share with those in need from our abundance.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 5:21-43 ( shorter form, Mark 5:21-24,35b-43)

 

Why did Jesus go all the way to Jairus's house and take his little daughter by the hand in order to bring her back to life? Why not just do it from a distance? It is because God wants to be close to us; he wants to share His very life with us (the divine life), he wants to live in friendship with us. He wants to be part of our lives (to get involved with us -in all its ups and downs- and wants us to be a part of His life.  That’s the whole meaning of INCARNATION: God becoming man. He is Emmanuel: God with us. God truly does want to walk by our side through the Church’s sacraments. They are instruments through which God enters into the very flesh and blood of our daily lives just as Jesus entered into the house of Jairus. Our God doesn't keep his distance; he walks by our side.

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June 24 - Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time : A God who guides me through storms of life

June 23rd, 2018

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First Reading  Job 38:1,8-11

The Lord answers Job's complaints.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 107:23-24,25-26,28-29,30-31

A song of praise to God for rescue

 

Second Reading  2 Corinthians 5:14-17

Those in Christ are a new creation.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 4:35-41

 

The sea is a wonderful metaphor in Scripture. It represents evil, chaos and disorder. So, when Jesus calms the storm and the sea is stilled, it is a symbol for us that God can still the chaos and disorder in our lives. In some versions of the Bible, it says that “Jesus rebuked the storm…” which is an illustration of the divine power of God at work in the world. Life is so unpredictable, we don’t know what surprises lie in store for us from day to day, even from hour to hour. The words of God to us in Isaiah 43 are so beautiful. His promise is this: “Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.” That is the experience of Christians throughout history. That is the experience of so many of us. For those of us who are currently in the storms and chaos of life, the promise of God holds good for us today.

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June 17 - Eleventh Sunday of the Ordinary Time: God works in mysterious and surprising ways

June 13th, 2018

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First Reading  Ezekiel 17:22–24

I, the Lord, bring low the high tree and lift high the lowly tree.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 92:2–3,13–16

They that are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.

 

Second Reading  2 Corinthians 5:6–10

The lives of all are to be revealed before the tribunal of Christ.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 4:26–34

Today we read two of the three seed parables of Mark. All three are about seeds. The first parable tells about a farmer who planted seed. Some was planted in good soil, some in bad soil. Only the seed in the good soil bore fruit. This reveals that the kingdom can grow only in good hearts that are open to God. The second parable, which we read in today’s gospel, tells how seed grows beneath the soil without the farmer knowing how. It’s a mystery to him. This reveals that God’s kingdom grows in our heart in a marvellous, mysterious way, without our knowing how. The third parable, which we also read in today’s gospel, contrasts the tiny seed to the large beautiful plant that grows from it. This reveals that the tiny seed of the kingdom in our heart will eventually grow into something beautiful. It is from the smallest of all beginnings that great things will come. For all this to happen we must trust God and remain patient. If we trust God and remain patient, things will work out in God’ own time and in God’s own way. 

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June 10 – Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B : Jesus our Brother

June 9th, 2018

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First Reading Genesis 3:9–15
Adam and Eve eat the fruit of the forbidden tree.

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 130:1–2,3–4,5–6,7–8 (7bc)
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.

Second Reading  2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1
We believe and so we speak.

Gospel Reading  Mark 3:20–35

 

Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me.

In the section of the Gospel just before these verses, Jesus calls his Twelve Apostles. Now he performs his first exorcism. It is told within the context of conflict with his family.

A crowd so large has gathered that Jesus and his disciples are not even able to eat their bread. His family comes to take him away because they think he is beside himself. And the scribes think he is possessed by the devil. Jesus points out to them the absurdity of their thinking that he uses the devil to cast out demons. In fact, it is Jesus who ties up the strong man, Beelzebub, and overcomes him.

He concludes with a brief saying about the forgiveness of sins. All sin can be forgiven except for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It’s not known exactly what he means by this. It could be that the only sin that can’t be forgiven is the one that cuts you off from the source of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit.

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June 3 - Solemnity of Corpus Christi: Bread that liberates

May 31st, 2018

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First Reading  Exodus 24:3-8 

The covenant is established between God and the people.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 116:12-13,15-16,17-18

God brings salvation.

 

Second Reading  Hebrews 9:11-15

Christ is the mediator of the new covenant.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 14:12-16,22-26

 

God’s nourishment at times does not seem as tasty as some foods that the world offers, and so the faithful at times dream of other meals, like the Israelites in their exodus from Egypt. They remembered the meals they had in Egypt, but had a “selective memory” at the times of their temptation and forgot that they ate at the table of slavery. A similar temptation is present today. If we look around, we realize that there are so many offers for food that don't come from the Lord and that apparently satisfy more. Some are fed with money, others with success and vanity, others with power and pride. But the food that truly nourishes and that satisfies is only that which the Lord gives! Man has both a physical hunger and another hunger, a hunger that cannot be satisfied with ordinary food. This is a hunger for life, a hunger for love, a hunger for eternity. Manna, the miraculous bread that fed the Israelites, is a sign of the food that satisfies this profound hunger that there is in man. Jesus gives us this food, by becoming himself the living bread that gives life to the world. His body is the true food under the species of bread; his blood is the true drink under the species of wine. Let us celebrate and adore.

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May 27 - Feast of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit

May 24th, 2018

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First Reading  Deuteronomy 4:32-34,39-40

Moses teaches the people that Yahweh is the only God

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Responsorial Psalm   Psalm 33:4-5,6,9,18-19,20,22

A prayer for the Lord's mercy

 

Second Reading  Romans 8:14-17

Through the Spirit, we have been adopted as children of God.

 

Gospel Reading Matthew 28:16-20

 

 

Jesus called God his Father, but did so in a special way. Jesus called his Father “Abba”, an Aramaic word, which means something like our “Daddy.” (Aramaic was the language in Palestine at the time of Jesus). So now we do not look on God as distant from us. Our heavenly Father is our Abba, he is our Daddy, the most perfect Daddy we could have. He is someone we can turn to in good times as well in bad, someone who will listen to us, someone who wants our good. The baby Jesus is described with the name “Emmanuel” in the Gospel of Matthew. Emmanuel means GOD IS WITH US. In Jesus, God is really With Us. Jesus is our brother. Paul sums it up very well, “If God is on our side, who can be against us.” (Rom 8:31). Jesus himself called the Spirit “the Comforter.” Like the Father and Jesus, the Spirit is also on our side to help us when we need. Paul says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness.” (Rom 8:26). On this Sunday every year we remember that God is our Father, our Daddy or Abba, and our brother Jesus who is Immanuel, God with us, and that nothing can separate us from his love except sin, and that God is also the Spirit who helps us in our weakness. Since God is a Daddy, and a Son who is Immanuel, God with us, and a Spirit who helps us in our weakness, let us continue to turn to God in our times of need. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

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May 20 - The Feast of Pentecost: Holy Spirit teaches us, reminds us and lets us speak

May 17th, 2018

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First Reading  Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11

The Holy Spirit descends upon the apostles gathered in Jerusalem.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 104:1,24,29-31,34

God's Spirit renews the earth.

 

Second Reading  1 Corinthians 12:3b-7,12-13

We are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

Gospel Reading John 20:19-23

 

Speaking to the Apostles at the Last Supper, Jesus said that after he left this world he would send them the gift of the Father, that is, the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 15:26). This promise was powerfully fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, who were gathered in the Upper Room. This extraordinary outpouring was not limited solely to that moment, but was an event that was renewed and still continues to be renewed. Christ glorified at the right hand of the Father continues to fulfill his promise, sending upon the Church the life-giving Spirit, who teaches us, reminds us, and lets us speak. The Holy Spirit teaches us to follow Jesus and to walk in his footprints. He reminds us of all that Jesus said. He is the living memory of the Church, and when he reminds us, he helps us to understand the words of the Lord. He lets us speak with God in prayer and lets us speak to men through prophecy, making us humble and docile “channels” of God’s Word. Prophecy is made with candour, to openly demonstrate the contradictions and injustices, but always with compassion and constructive intent. 

 

 

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