February 24 - Second Sunday of Lent : Rhythms of Ecstasy and Agony

February 20th, 2018

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First Reading Genesis 22:1-2,9a,10-13,15-18

Abraham obeyed God and prepared to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 116:10,15,16-17,18-19

A prayer of faithfulness to God

 

Second Reading Romans 8:31b-34

God's faithfulness is shown in his offering of his own Son for our salvation.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 9:2-10

 

There is a connection between this mountain even (Mount of Tabor) and another mountain event (Mount of Olivet). On mount Tabor Peter, James and John saw Jesus in a moment of ecstasy when his divinity was revealed in a privileged way. On mount Olivet, the same three apostles saw Jesus in a moment of agony, when his humanity was revealed in a privileged way. The two events are complementary in that they reveal the total Jesus in a total way: true God and true man. The three apostles probably needed “a spiritual shot in the arm” (i.e. extra energy) before they were to witness the passion and death of Jesus, that their faith may not fail. Our faith is often like a ‘roller coaster’. Faith is a lot like life. It has high points and low points. That’s the same even with life in general. Faith is like that too, following the rhythms of happiness and sadness, ecstasy and agony, light and darkness. When moments of darkness come, we should follow the example of Abraham in today’s first reading who trusted in God when things were seemingly unexplainable and impossible. Therefore God blessed him beyond his wildest dreams. Let us remain faithful when we too are tested. 

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February 18 - First Sunday of Lent: Renounce Satan with the power of the Word of God

February 15th, 2018

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First Reading  Genesis 9:8-15

God establishes a covenant with Noah, giving a rainbow as its sign.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 25:4-5,6-7,8-9

A prayer praising God for his covenant

 

Second Reading  1 Peter 3:18-22

In our baptism, we are saved through Christ's death and Resurrection.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 1:12-15

 

The tempter seeks to divert Jesus from the Father’s plan, that is, from the way of sacrifice, of the love that offers itself in expiation, to make him take an easier path, one of success and power. The devil, in fact, to divert Jesus from the way of the cross, sets before him false messianic hops; economic well-being, indicated by the ability to turn stones into bread; a dramatic and miraculous style, with the idea of throwing himself down from the highest point of the Temple in Jerusalem; an lastly, a shortcut to power and dominion, in exchange for an act of adoration to Satan. These are the three groups of temptations: and we, too, know them well. Jesus does not dialogue with Satan, as Eve had done in the earthly paradise. Jesus is well aware that there can be no dialogue with Satan, for he is cunning. So Jesus chooses to take refuge in the Word of God and responds with the power of this Word. Let us remember this: at the moment of temptation, there is no arguing with Satan, our defense must always be the Word of God. And this will save us. 

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February 11 - Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Broken but Restored

February 8th, 2018

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First Reading  Leviticus 13:1-2,44-46

The Law regarding leprosy is given to Moses and Aaron

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 32:1-2,5,11

A prayer of contrition and confession for sin.

 

Second Reading  1 Corinthians 10:31—11:1

Paul urges the Corinthians to imitate him as he imitates Christ.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 1:40-45

 

In the ancient society no figure was more pathetic than a leper. People were deadly afraid they would catch the disease from him. The leper’s life was a living hell. To such a tragic leper Jesus reached out his hand lovingly, touched the man, and healed him. This story illustrates something that happens over and over in life. It tells us that no tragedy is so terrible that we can’t survive it. It tells us that no calamity is so crushing that we can’t recover from it. It tells us that no disaster is so destructive that we can’t pick up the pieces ad tart over again, in one form or the other. Whenever we think our life is ruined forever, we need only turn to Jesus. He can repair our broken life. Jesus can do more. He can even make from a broken life something better and more beautiful than it was before.

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February 4 - Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Saved to Serve

February 4th, 2018

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First Reading Job 7:1-4,6-7

Job laments his sufferings and his life.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 147:1-6

A song of praise for the Lord's goodness to the lowly.

 

Second Reading  1 Corinthians 9:16-19,22-23

Paul explains the conditions under which he preaches the gospel and the reasons why he will not accept financial help from the Corinthians.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 1:29-39

 

God hasn't saved anyone so they can just sit around but so we can serve. Just as there is no such thing as a non-functioning member of your human body, so there ought to be no such thing as a non-functioning member of the body of Christ. If God has saved you from your sin, He has called you to serve Him in some way in accordance with your gifts and abilities. God does not want us to stand before Him with “empty hands” in that day when we give an account of our lives. If we do not know God’s purpose for our life, then we are actually “missing the mark” of what it means to be a Christian. Every Christian is saved to serve! The matter of how you are supported may depend on the type of service to which you are called. But every person God saves is conscripted into serving Him according to how God has gifted him. This is what we see in the Gospel today. In Mark's direct and uncomplicated style he says, "...and the fever left her and she served them” . ... Simon Peter's mother-in-law "served" immediately after having been raised. The verb is diakoneo, the same verb Jesus uses to describe the essence of his own ministry in Mark 10:45. It is "to serve" rather than "to be served" that characterizes the Christ of God. It is also "to serve" that characterizes his disciples. Let us remember that we have been saved and healed to serve. We each have some define service do for the Lord.

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January 28 - Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Speaking with Authority

January 31st, 2018

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First Reading  Deuteronomy 18:15-20

Moses tells the people that God will raise up for them a new prophet.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 95:1-2,6-7,7-9

A song of praise to the Lord.

 

Second Reading  1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Paul expresses his concern that those who are married are more likely to face the distractions of earthly life than those who are celibate.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 1:21-28

  Jesus’ teaching always contrasted sharply with that of the scribes. What Jesus taught them that day, as well as the way he      presented and demonstrated his message, simply amazed them. In one word, Jesus taught with authority, the scribes did not.    “They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22). What    does it mean to teach with authority? When we compare and contrast the teaching of Jesus with that of the scribes we notice  three distinguishing qualities: The teaching of Jesus is (a) from the heart and not just from the head, (b) focuses on the spirit and  not on the letter of the law, and (c) inspires a positive change of heart in the hearers. There was a transparency about what he  was saying. And most important of all – he backed up his words with deeds. Can we say the same thing with regard to our  words? Do deeds accompany our words? Today we have a glut of words but many of them are rendered worthless by insincerity  or poisoned by falseness. Therefore what is needed is credibility because “example is better than precept”.

 

 

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January 21 - Third Sunday in ordinary Time :Seek that which lasts

January 31st, 2018

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First Reading Jonah 3:1-5,10

God spared the people of Nineveh because they heeded the message God sent through Jonah.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 25:4-5,6-7,8-9

The Lord teaches us his ways.

 

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Paul warns the Corinthians that they must act differently because the world in its present form is passing away.

 

Gospel Reading Mark 1:14-20

 

It must be noticed that the disciples are about their everyday tasks as fishermen; they are casting their net into the sea, in their boat, mending their nets. But the summons of Jesus shatters all these external signs of their settled life as successful fishermen. They leave what their peer group would have seen as signs of their success: their nets, their boas, their hired servants and their father to follow Jesus as he journeys in response to the will of his Father. Thus the disciples were able to discern what is temporal and what is eternal. Because this world is temporary and the world to come is permanent, and our permanent inheritance depends on how we live now with God’s grace, we are wise to have a detachment from the things of this world. Detachment does not mean that we don’t love our spouses, that the things that hurt us do not really hurt, that the things that make us happy don’t really give us joy, that we don’t really need physical things, and that these things do not have their own value. Detachment does mean that we see all these persons and good things—and the hardships of life—in light of eternity. Marriage, sorrows, joys, material things, and work find their real meaning in the light of Christ. No earthly good—as truly good as these can be—is our final end. No earthly evil—as truly evil as these can be—is the last word either.

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January 14 - Second Sunday in the Ordinary Time : Introducing Jesus to others

January 31st, 2018

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First Reading 1 Samuel 3:3b–10,19 

The Lord calls Samuel.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 40:2, 4, 7–8, 8–9, 10

A prayer of commitment to follow the will of the Lord.

 

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 6:13c–15a,17–20

Paul reminds the Corinthians that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.

 

Gospel Reading John 1:35–42

 

 

The Gospel reading presents John the Baptizer sharing his faith with two disciples and with Andrew sharing his faith with his brother Peter. Significantly, John mentions Andrew three times in his Gospel. Each time Andrew is bringing someone to Jesus. Each time Andrew is sharing his faith. If we believe the Gospel is good news, why don’t we share it with others? Or if we believe Jesus is the greatest treasure the heart can possess, why don’t we share our faith with others? Like John and like Andrew let us never hesitant to share our in Jesus with others. 

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January 7 - The Feast of the Epiphany: Follow the star

January 31st, 2018

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First Reading   Isaiah 60:1-6
Jerusalem shall be a light to all nations.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 72:1-2,7-8,10-11,12-13
Every nation on earth shall worship the Lord.

 

Second Reading  Ephesians 3:2-3a,5-6
Gentiles are coheirs in the promise of Christ.

 

Gospel Reading
Matthew 2:1-12

 

 

The Feast of the Epiphany could be understood by the three S. The first S is, to See. The wise men saw the star and they followed. God speaks to us through signs. Are we able to see and understand those sings? God tells us not to see with our physical eyes but to see with our hearts. The second S is Search. The wise men were searching for Christ. Once we have found the star we have to hvae a great desire to put our desire into action and seek after that sign. The last S is Submit or to obey. The wise men did this once they found Jesus and offered to Him the best of everything. All signs finally lead us to worship the Lord. Is there a star out there beckoning you? The star is the good out there to be sought, the truth to be embraced. Even our regrets about our weaknesses and sinfulness which can sometimes stir up our conscience could be that twinkling star. It may be a feeling of anger or guilt, or perhaps a sense of loss. Let that not frighten you. Let it not create clouds to hide it from you. Follow where that star leads and when it stops, go into the house, prostrate yourself and offer your gifts. The Eucharist that we celebrate today can be itself an epiphany, an encounter with that Star, a marvellous revelation of the love of Jesus in Word and Sacrament, for those who believe. May our celebration today be an epiphany that leads us to see God more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly.

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January 1 - The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God: The Blessing

January 31st, 2018

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First Reading  Numbers 6:22-27
God gives a blessing for the Israelites. 

Responsorial Psalm   Psalm 67:2-3,5,6,8
All the people sing praises to God. 

Second Reading   Galatians 4:4-7
God sent his Son to make us children of God.   

Gospel Reading
Luke 2:16-21  

In the first reading we find the ancient prayer of blessing which God gave to Moses to hand on to Aaron and his sons: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Num 6:24-25). There is no more meaningful time than the beginning of a new year to hear these words of blessing: they will accompany our journey through the year opening up before us. The Mother of God is the first of the blessed, and it is she who bears the blessing; she is the woman who received Jesus into herself and brought him forth for the whole human family. Thus we can say that the message of hope contained in this blessing was fully realized in Mary. This was the very experience that the shepherds of Bethlehem too had, who reappear in today’s Gospel. They had the experience of standing in God’s presence and seeing the Blessing. Let us ask the grace to behold this Blessing, to receive that blessing and to be a blessing to all whom we meet.

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December 31 - The Feast of the Holy Family

December 27th, 2017

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First Reading Genesis 15:1-6; 21:1-3 (or the first reading from Cycle A: Sirach 3:2-7,12-14)

God fulfills his promise to Abraham, and Sarah gives birth to a son.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 105:1-6,8-9 (or the psalm from Cycle A: Psalm 128:1-5)

A prayer of thanksgiving to God for his faithfulness to his covenant.

 

Second Reading Hebrews 11:8,11-12,17-19 (or the second reading from Cycle A: Colossians 3:12-21)

Paul examines Abraham's example of faith.

 

Gospel Reading Luke 2:22-40 (or shorter form: Luke 2:22,39-40)

  

This Feast of the Holy Family can help us see that families can be holy. The story of the Holy Family is the story of life not always turning out the way you expected. It’s the story of a teenage mother, conceiving a child before she was married.  It's the story of an anxious father, confronting scandal, planning on divorce. It's the story of a family forced to become refugees, living as immigrants in the land that once held their ancestors as slaves.  It's the story of a missing child, and days of anxious searching by his parents. The Holy Family has to go through all the difficulties and challenges like a normal human family. But there had two great qualities: Trust in God and sacrificial love. These are the same two qualities which will bring happiness and fulfilment to our families as well. 

 

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