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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September 9 - Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: The gift of receiving and the gift of transmitting

September 6th, 2018

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First Reading  Isaiah 35:4-7a

Isaiah prophesies about God's vindication.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 146:7,8-9,9-10

A song of praise to God

 

Second Reading  James 2:1-5

James teaches that there is to be no partiality within the Christian community.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 7:31-37

 

The healing which is recorded in the Gospel, which follows the pattern of healings in Mark, is intended to be read as one more indication of the arrival and nature of the messianic times. Each healing and each miracle is like a pointer to one more aspect of Jesus as ‘the Christ’. At the end of the healing, the crowd’s reaction and amazement is a direct allusion to the reaction described in Isa 35:5-6; and for Mark, the healing taken with the reaction is an indication that the glorious future, which was long awaited, is already a reality in Jesus. St John gives us the key to interpret Jesus’ miracles. Whereas the other evangelists refer to the miracles as “wonders” or “powers”, John calls them “signs”; for him the miracles point beyond themselves to the “kingdom of God”.  The gift of new hearing allows us to hear the word of God in our gatherings, in the situations and ups and downs of life, and in our consciences. We can come to know that God loves us, cares for us, and calls us to be his ministers and his witnesses. The gift of new speech allows us to praise him in prayer, to proclaim the truth to sisters and brothers, and to announce the good news of Jesus. God’s gift to us is the gift of receiving and the gift of transmitting. We are enabled to hear the word of God, and we are empowered to communicate the word of God. In opening our ears and lips, Jesus gathers us up into his own divine life.

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September 02 - Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time: Why we do? What we do??

August 31st, 2018

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First Reading  Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8

Moses tells the Israelites to observe the commandments that God gave them.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 15:2-3,3-4,4-5

Those who do justice will find favor with God.

 

Second Reading  James 1:17-18,21b-22,27

James teaches that Christians should be doers of the Word.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

 

For the Jews Religious was slowly degenerating into an activity of performing external rituals. Which is to say that external rituals (like washing hands before meals) was becoming identified with being religious and serving God. Therefore Jesus in today’s Gospel warns against identifying religion with performing external acts. The point is this: we can do all religious acts but for the wrong reason. That is we can perform all religious rituals but without love and mercy. What counts is not what we do. What counts is the love in our heart that motivates us to do what we do. If our heart is filled with bitterness or pride or jealousy, then all the external practices in the world won’t make us holy before God.  In short, what counts in religion is not what we do, but why we do it. What counts is the love in our hearts: love of God and love of neighbor. 

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August 26 - Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time : Do you want to quit?

August 22nd, 2018

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First Reading  Joshua 24:1-2a,15-17,18b

Joshua and the people declare that they will serve the Lord.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 34:2-3,16-17,18-19,20-21

The Lord hears the cries of the just.

 

Second Reading  Ephesians 5:21-32 (or shorter form Ephesians 5:2a,25-32)

Husbands and wives should love one another as Christ loves the Church.

 

Gospel Reading John 6:60-69

 

There are times in life when we are pushed to the wall, when we are ready to quit. There are times in life when we need something to hold on to. We see this in today's Gospel. The disciples of Jesus are pushed to the wall. Their faith in Jesus is challenged severely by what Jesus said earlier about giving them his body to eat. The disciples respond to the challenged in two ways: one group part company with Jesus and no longer walk with him. The second group meet the challenge successfully and remain faithful to Jesus. The group who left did so because they had their attention fixed on the problem where as the group who stayed did so because they had their attention fixed on Jesus. In which group do you want to be? The choice is yours?

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August 19 - Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time: To Become What We Receive

August 16th, 2018

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First Reading  Proverbs 9:1-6

Wisdom has set a feast before us.

 

Responsorial Psalm   Psalm 34:2-3,4-5,6-7

A prayer of praise to God for his goodness

 

Second Reading  Ephesians 5:15-20

Filled with the Spirit, Christians strive to follow the will of the Lord.

 

Gospel Reading John 6:51-58

 

Love demands union. The greater the love, the more intimate is the union desired. The lover longs to be joined to the beloved – in thought, in letters, in phone conversations, in physical presence, and ultimately – in spousal love – through the love embrace between husband and wife. So much does Jesus love us that he conceals himself under what looks like bread in order to ravish us in the love embrace of Holy Communion! Such was the meaning of one of the early Church Fathers, St. John Chrysostom, when he wrote: “How many of you say, I would like to see his face, his garments, his sandals. You do see him, you touch him, you eat him. He gives himself to you, not only that you may see him – but also to be your food and your nourishment.”

The Eucharist is a prayer, it is a sacrifice. It is a blessing and it is also a challenge. We have to become what we behold, to become what we receive. 

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August 12 - Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Eucharist – A Foretaste of Heaven

August 8th, 2018

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First Reading  1 Kings 19:4-8

The Lord feeds Elijah, strengthening him for his journey to Horeb.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 34:2-3,4-5,6-7,8-9

A prayer of praise to God for his goodness

 

Second Reading  Ephesians 4:30—5:2

The Ephesians are encouraged to be imitators of Christ

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Gospel Reading John 6:41-51

 

 

Jesus calls himself “the living bread that came down from heaven.” We need food that not only gives us strength of body, keeps us alive here on earth, but food that strengthens us for eternal life, keeps us for life forever. The Lord makes an amazing, a tremendous promise, one that we may and should accept as it stands: “whoever eats this bread will live forever.” We heard in the first reading about the wonderful power of the food the Lord provided for Elijah. This food strengthened him for a journey of forty days in the desert. This power of the food God gives, to strengthen him for forty days, is only a sign and indication of the much more marvelous power of this bread of life, the Eucharist, which strengths not for forty days, but for life forever, for eternal life. In the Eucharist Christ gives us himself totally. He comes to us and becomes our bread, our food for that life with God that never ends. Christ's love overcame death. He who is united in faith and love with Christ, will live forever, soul and body, according to the Lord's promise: "I will raise him on the last day."

 

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August 5 - Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Food that lasts for ever

August 3rd, 2018

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First Reading  Exodus 16:2–4, 12–15

The Lord feeds the Israelites with manna.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 78:3–4, 23–24, 25, 54

A song of praise to God for his deeds to Israel.

 

Second Reading  Ephesians 4:17, 20–24

Christians become a new creation in Christ.

 

Gospel Reading John 6:24–35

 

 

Jesus tells the crowd in this week’s Gospel that they are following him for the wrong reasons. They seek him because he filled their bellies. The Israelites, too, were content to follow God so long as there was plenty of food. Food is the most obvious of signs—because it is the most basic of our human needs.  We need our daily bread to live. But we cannot live by this bread alone. We need the bread of eternal life that preserves those who believe in him. The manna in the wilderness, like the bread Jesus multiplied for the crowd, was a sign of God’s Providence—that we should trust that he will provide. These signs pointed to their fulfillment in the Eucharist, the abundant bread of angels we sing about in this week’s Psalm. This is the food that God longs to give us. This is the bread we should be seeking. But too often we don’t ask for this bread. Instead we seek the perishable stuff of our everyday wants and anxieties. In our weakness we think these things are what we really need.

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July 29 - Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: To place in the hands of Jesus

July 29th, 2018

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First Reading  2 Kings 4:42-44

Elisha the prophet feeds 100 people with 20 barley loaves.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 145:10-11,15-16,17-18

The Lord feeds his people and answers their needs.

 

Second Reading  Ephesians 4:1-6

The Ephesians are encouraged to live the unity of their Baptism.

 

Gospel Reading John 6:1-15

 

 

Today’s readings invite us to look into our hearts and to ask ourselves this question: How much of our lives and our resources are we currently placing in the hands of Jesus to do with as he wishes? Like the boy in today’s Gospel who gave Jesus the little he had we too are called to place what we have in His hands: our time, our talent, our prayers, our sacrifices, our resources and He will use in a way that will exceed our greatest expectations. He will multiply them beyond anything we dreamed of, Just as he did the boy’s loaves and fish. Little is always much in the hands of the Lord. 

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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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