September 17 - Twenty fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time : The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 15th, 2017

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First Reading :  Numbers 21:4b-9
anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he or she was healed

 

Psalm  :  Psalm 78:1-2, 34-34, 36-37, 38
Do not forget the works of the Lord.

 

Second Reading:  Philippians 2:6-11
Jesus Christ, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God as a thing to be grasped.

 

Gospel  :  John 3:13-17


Today we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The Gospel clearly shows us that when Moses raised the Serpent on a pole to save the people from their sins how this foretold that Christ would be lifted high on the cross to save us from our sins. For Christ took the price of all our sins upon himself and was raised. To us it is promised that if we look to him in faith we will be saved and exalted as well. This is the importance of the crucifix in the Christian Tradition. We do not have empty crosses because an empty cross didn't save us. Christ crucified is the sign of our salvation. You can choose to have your suffering have meaning by offering it for others. Or you can choose to have it be pointless by grumbling and complaining about it. My suggestion to you: Look to Christ crucified on the cross. Exalt the cross in your life. Live out your baptismal priesthood. You choose between freedom for meaning or freedom from meaning. You suffer for someone or you suffer from afflictions. The happiness and peace you seek (which means the triumph, the exaltation, the victory and the glory) is found (only) in the way of the Cross, the way of Christ.

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September 10: Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: restoration of the erring brother or sister

September 6th, 2017

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First Reading : Ezekiel 33:7-9

 The Son of Man is appointed as guardian of Israel.

 

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

 Song of praise to God, our salvation.

 

Second Reading :Romans 13:8-10 

The Law is summarized in the commandment to love your neighbour as yourself.

 

Gospel : Matthew 18:15-20

 

Notice that both the Gospel and the First Reading presume that believers have a duty to correct sinners in our midst. Ezekiel is even told that he will be held accountable for their souls if he fails to speak out and try to correct them. This is the love that Paul in today’s Epistle says we owe to our neighbours. To love our neighbours as ourselves is to be vitally concerned for their salvation. We must make every effort, as Jesus says, to win our brothers and sisters back, to turn them from the false paths. We should never correct out of anger, or a desire to punish. Instead our message must be that of today’s Psalm - urging sinner to hear God’s voice, not to harden their hearts, and to remember that He is the one who made us, and the rock of our salvation.

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September 3 – Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time : Lose yourself

August 29th, 2017

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First Reading  :  Jeremiah 20:7-9

Jeremiah laments but cannot fail to speak in God's name.

 

Psalm : Psalm 63:2-6,8-9 

Our souls yearn for God.

 

Second Reading  : Romans 12:1-2

Paul encourages the Romans to stay faithful to God.

                         

Gospel : Matthew 16:21-27

 

Before Peter could truly be a follow Jesus he had to learn the cost of discipleship. Peter had to learn from Jesus how to replace his self-centred ambition and desire for prestige with recognition of the value of self-sacrifice. he had to learn how to lose himself in Christ, to take up his mission, his way of life, and his very identity as his own. Peter had to learn that being a disciple of Jesus means taking up the Cross, not grudgingly enduing it but embracing it, being willing to suffer for the Gospel and getting behind Jesus in order to follow in the way that he leads.  This is what we see in today's Gospel. Let us embrace our little crosses for the simple reason Jesus embraced his cross: for salvation and sanctification of ourselves and the world. 

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August 27 -Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time : Who is Jesus for me?

August 23rd, 2017

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First Reading  :  Isaiah 22:19-23  
God will remove Shebna from his office as master of the palace.

 

Psalm  : Psalm 138:1-3,6,8
God's kindness is forever.

 

Second Reading  : Romans 11:33-36
Paul sings praise to God.

 

Gospel  : Matthew 16:13-20

 

Jesus chose the region of Caesarea Philippi to ask His disciples, “Who do you say I am?†The area was scattered with the remains of ancient Syrian Baal worship, at least 14 temples have been identified. A cave near this city is said to be the birthplace of the Greek god pan, the warrior god. There had also been a great temple of white marble built to the godhead of Caesar. It is as if Jesus deliberately set Himself against the background of the world’s religions in all their splendour and glory to teach his disciples as to who he really was: man and not only God; God and not only man. To know about Jesus and to know Jesus are two different things. We can know about Jesus by listening to someone else or by reading books on him but knowing Jesus is always a result of a personal experience. So the million dollar question is "who is Jesus for me?"

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August 20 – Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Outrageous Grace

August 16th, 2017

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First Reading   Isaiah 56:1,6-7

The Lord reveals his salvation to all.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 67:2-3,5-6,8

All the nations will praise God.

 

Second Reading Romans 11:13-15,29-32

God's favor to Israel is irrevocable.

 

Gospel Reading Matthew 15:21-28

 

Jesus heals the daughter of the Canaanite woman because of her great faith.

 

Knowing about Jesus debate with the Pharisees helps us to understand this coming Sunday's Gospel. In fact the story heightens the surprise and shock we feel as we hear Jesus exchange with the Canaanite woman. The woman, who is not Jewish, approaches Jesus, requesting that he heal her demon-possessed daughter. At first Jesus ignores her; he says nothing. The disciples ask Jesus to send her away, and Jesus agrees, remarking that he was sent to minister to the Jews alone.

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August 13 - Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Fixing our eyes on Jesus

August 11th, 2017

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First Reading  1 Kings 19:9a,11-13a

The Lord appears to Elijah in a whisper.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 85:9-14

The Lord is the source of salvation.

 

Second Reading  Romans 9:1-5

Paul speaks of the blessings that have come to the Israelites.

 

Gospel Reading Matthew 14:22-33

 

We can enter into today’s Gospel from two directions: From the side of Jesus and from the side of Peter. From the side of Jesus- When the disciples were struggling in a stormy weather Jesus comes to their help. There are times when life becomes a desperate struggle. At such a time Jesus comes to us across the storms of life, with hand stretched out to save, and with his clam clear voice bidding us take heart ad have no fear. The great truth is that, wherever Jesus Christ is, the wildest storm becomes a calm. From the side of Peter- We see Peter making a mistake and that is taking his eyes off Jesus and looking down at the stormy sea. This is what often happens to you and me. We start off our lives fine. We have our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus. But then something happens to make us take our eyes off Jesus. We look away from Jesus. And that’s when we lose our balance. That’s when we begin to sink. Therefore today’s Gospel invites us to turn our eyes back to Jesus. 

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August 6 - Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Transfiguration

August 2nd, 2017

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First Reading  Daniel 7:9-10,13-14 

The prophet Daniel describes his vision of one like the Son of Man who received dominion from God.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 97:1-2,5-6,9

A Song of Praise to God our King

 

Second Reading  2 Peter 1:16-19

Peter says that the voice heard from Heaven confirmed the truth of his testimony about Christ.

 

Gospel Reading

Matthew 17:1-9

 

The transfiguration of Jesus offers the disciples an ever fuller glimpse of who Jesus is and what he will do. The shadow of the Cross and the imminent suffering and death were always before the eyes of Jesus. The disciples too must become sharers in His Cross. The transfiguration experience provided them an extraordinary strength to face the future. The disciple who witnessed the heavenly glory must also witness his earthly agony at Gethsemane. That is the same for us: suffering and glory are both a call and a gift. 

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July 30 – Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time : There’s no way to measure what Jesus is worth

July 25th, 2017

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First Reading 1 Kings 3:5,7-12

Solomon pleases God when he asks for a wise and understanding heart to better govern the people.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 119:57,72,76-77,127-130

The law of the Lord is more precious than silver and gold.

 

Second Gospel Reading Romans 8:28-30

God chose us to be conformed to the image of his Son.

 

Gospel Reading Matthew 13:44-52 (shorter form: Matthew 13:44-46)

 

The Gospel metaphors of a buried treasure and the pearl of great price speak as clearly today as they did long ago. Jesus is the treasure and the pearl of great prize. Is it so in your life as well? We have to find that out because we are going to be changed and formed by what we treasure and love. We become what we treasure and love. Psalmist says: “Therefore I love your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold (Ps 119). This is what we see in the lives of saints. For them Jesus became the most important treasure in their lives. And so Paul says that he considers everything as mere garbage compared to the value of knowing Jesus (Phil 3:7-8). Can we boast of the same? Can I say that Jesus is the most valuable treasure I have? That there is no way to measure what He is worth? May God give us the grace to say that with conviction. To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances, to seek Him is the greatest adventure, to find him the greatest human achievement (St. Augustine). 

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July 23 – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time : God gives many chances

July 18th, 2017

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First Reading  Wisdom 12:13,16-19
God has shown himself to be a God of justice and mercy.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 86:5-6,9-10,15-16
A prayer to God for mercy.

 

Second Reading  Romans 8:26-27
The Spirit intercedes for us with God.

 

Gospel Reading Matthew 13:24-43
(shorter form: Matthew 13:24-30)

 

Central to today’s parable of the wheat and the weeds is the preciousness of the wheat. God is patient, kind, and loving like a grandparent. If you want to know what God is like, picture that farmer in the Gospel. The servants wanted to go and pull up the weeds, and the farmer says, "Well, let's not be too hasty, too quick to judge. Let's give it some time. The landowner refuses to lose any of it in order to get rid of the weeds. “We might pull out some wheat thinking it's a weed." That's God speaking. And it's a picture of God that Jesus himself gives us. And it's the way God treats us, because God loves us very, very much. In its present stage, the world is composed of the good and the bad. The judgment of God alone will eliminate the sinful. Until then there must be patience and the preaching of repentance. We can learn much from God’s patience as we see him allow both the good and the evil to grow together. God wants all to be saved that’s why He keeps the sinner in the world. God gives us many chances and opportunities to repent. What is the weed in me?

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July 16 - Fifteenth Sunday of the Ordinary Time: God’s Word

July 15th, 2017

 

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First Reading  Isaiah 55:10-11

The Word of the Lord shall achieve its purpose.

 

Responsorial Psalm   Psalm 65:10-14

A prayer of praise to God for his abundance.

 

Second Reading   Romans 8:18-23

Together with all of creation, we await God’s redemption.

 

Gospel Reading Matthew 13:1-23 (shorter form: Matthew 13:1-9)

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus describes four possible responses to the word of God. The seed on the foot path refers to those people who quickly lose the word because they do not understand it. The seed on rocky ground describes those who have no firm foundation. The seed fallen among thorns relates to those who receive the good news, but later abandon it for the lure of the world. Finally, the seed on good soil describes those who hear the word of God, accept it, and conform their lives to it. 

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