October 13 – Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Give thanks with a grateful heart

October 11th, 2019

 

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First Reading 2 Kings 5:14-17
Naaman is cleansed of his leprosy and chooses to serve the God of Israel.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 98:1,2-3,3-4
Rejoice! The salvation of God is made known to all.

 

Second Reading 2 Timothy 2:8-13
Those who remain faithful to Christ will share Christ's glory.

 

Gospel Reading
Luke 17:11-19

 

Today's readings are about remembering and thanksgiving, healing and salvation. In the Old Testament reading, (Second Kings 5:14-17) Naaman the Syrian remembers to thank Elisha for his cure, and one of the 10 lepers cured by Jesus remembered to turn up and thank his healer. It is the foreigner who returns, who praises God and who expresses gratitude to Jesus. When Jesus says: “Your faith has made you well," the blessing certainly refers to some benefit other than that which all, including the other nine, had received earlier. The verb “made well” is the same very often translated “to be saved.” The stories of the lepers teach us some powerful lessons about remembrance, gratitude, healing and salvation. Grateful hearts are the hallmark of authentic Christians. Those who possess the virtue of gratitude are truly rich. They not only know how richly they have been blessed, but they continuously remember that all good things come from God. There is an old saying: Justice is when you get what you deserve. Mercy is when you don’t get what you deserve. Grace is when you get what you don’t deserve. I like you get asked a dozen times a day, “How are you doing?” I have trained myself to often answer, “More blessed than I deserve.” Yes, All is gift. Thankful people store up in their grateful memory all the good experiences of the past, just as the French proverb states: “Gratitude is the heart’s memory.”

October 6 : 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Faith as a mustered seed

October 3rd, 2019

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First Reading Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
The patience of the just man shall be rewarded when he sees the vision fulfilled.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 95:1-2,6-7,8-9
Sing joyfully to God, our salvation.

 

Second Reading 2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14
Paul urges Timothy to remain strong in the Spirit of faith Timothy received.

 

Gospel Reading
Luke 17:5-10

 

The power of our faith doesn't depend on its quantity but its quality; It seems to me that this is why, when the apostles said increase our faith, Jesus took them immediately out of the area of quantity, and brought them to the smallest seed he could think of, the mustard seed. Jesus could have said, for example: If your faith were the size of a grain of sand, or a speck of dust, but the point of the comparison with the mustard seed is that it is living; it has a living power which a grain of sand does not. Just as a small weed can split a slab of concrete, or a mustard seed can produce a huge tree in which the birds of the air find shelter, so the living power of faith can move mountains. The secret of the living power which faith has is that it is built on the living word of God. Faith, trust and deep commitment to the wonderful things that God does through the strangeness of his ways, are the basis of the Christian life. Through a deep and trusting acceptance of the goodness, yet strangeness of God’s ways, revealed to us through the loving gift of His Son, we can make sense of our lives. We, who have received this gift of living faith in God’s Word, have a responsibility for its growth in us, or more precisely, we have a responsibility to grow in this gift of faith.

September 29 – Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Who is the Lazarus in my life?

September 27th, 2019

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First Reading Amos 6:1,4-7
God will judge the complacency of the people and their leaders.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 146:7-10
Happy are those who find solace in God, the help of the poor.

 

Second Reading 1 Timothy 6:11-16
Paul exhorts Timothy to stay faithful to God in all things.

 

Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31

 

 

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus has left Bible readers wondering why the rich man had to go to hell. We are not told he acquired his wealth by foul means or that he was responsible for the poverty and misery of Lazarus or that he committed any crime or evil deed. He went to hell not for the things he did but for the things he didn't do. We often think that we sin by doing what we are not supposed to do -by thought, word and deed (i.e. the sin of commission). Today’s parable reminds us that the sin of omission can land someone in hell. The poor man Lazarus was lying at his gate. And the rich man simply couldn't care less. Of course he did nothing against Lazarus. But he has failed to do a good deed, failed to reach out and share a little of his blessings with someone in need. His sin is that of omission, and for that he was going to roast in hell.

 

Another problem we have with this parable is why Lazarus went to heaven. This is the only parable of Jesus where the character in the story has a name. So the name must be significant for interpreting the parable. The name “Lazarus” means “God is my help.” Lazarus, therefore, is not just a poor man, but a poor man who believes and trusts in God, which opens the gates of heaven to him.

The good news of this parable is this: If you feel like a Lazarus right now, battered by sickness, poverty and pain, forgotten by society and by those whom God has blessed in this life, continue believing and trusting in God knowing that it will be well with your soul in the end. If you see yourself as one of those blessed by God with the good things of life, open your door and see. Probably there is a Lazarus lying at your gates and you have not taken notice.

 

These readings remind us that the law of love (see John 15:12; Romans 13:8) means that each of us in some way will be judged by the mercy we show to the poor. As the rich man learns in the parable of Lazarus - the distance between ourselves and God in the next life may be the distance we put between ourselves and the poor in this life (see Matthew 25:31-46; James 2:8,14-17).

September 22: Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time -The parable of the Unjust Steward

September 20th, 2019

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First Reading Amos 8:4-7
Unfair business practices and injustice to the poor will be judged by God.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 113: 1-2,4-6,7-8
Praise be to God, who raises up the poor.

 

Second Reading
1 Timothy 2:1-8 : Paul tells Timothy that prayer for those in authority is pleasing to God because God wills the salvation of all.

 

Gospel Reading
Luke 16:1-13 (shorter form, Luke 16:10-13)

 

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus relates the parable of the Unjust Steward. It’s a very tricky parable. The steward was a rogue, who dishonestly reduced the quantum of debts of his master’s tenants, but the master praised his cleverness. The master praised not his dishonesty, but his foresight, prudence and astuteness. We can learn a lot of lessons for our spiritual life from the way men behave and organize their worldly affairs. We should not adopt their goals, but we can profitably use their methods for our spiritual well being. We should hate their ends, but we must love to adopt their methods. The children of this world may be wise but their wisdom pertains only to this passing world. Though this worldly wealth is not to be trusted for our happiness, it could be used as subservient to our pursuit of our happiness in the other world. Now is the only time we have got to make good use of our gifts, talents and possession to gain heaven.

September 11 – Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Joyful Finding

September 14th, 2019

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First Reading Exodus 32:7-11,13-14
Moses stands up to God, recalling all of God's great promises.

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 51:3-4,12-13,17,19
Once we are forgiven, we can hope for a new heart and a fresh start.

 

Second Reading 1 Timothy 1:12-17
Paul proves it's never too late to repent and serve God.

 

Gospel Reading
Luke 15:1-32

 

The words of the father in the story, to the sulking elder brother, are filled with the pathos of Jesus’ appeal: ‘My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours’. The‘best robe’, the ‘ring’, the ‘sandals’ and the ‘feast’, all marks of special regard, point to a mercy and generosity that have no limits. We are left to imagine the aftermath. Surely, the son’s life is transformed, as he comes, at last, to share in the love in the heart of his father. The future the Saviour promises to the world, in fact, will be a sharing in the love of his Father (cf. John 14:25 etc). The merciful, loving heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the merciful, loving heart of God our heavenly Father. His mercy tirelessly seeks out each sinner and should the sinner respond there is delirious happiness and rejoicing in the whole court of heaven. To every sinner in the state of mortal sin I say as simply as I can, ‘Your sin is not the big deal you think it is; the big deal is your return to the merciful love of God. Trust in his mercy, not in your sin. And if you continue to sin, continue to trust and to return to his mercy.

September 8 - Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time : Hating our own life

September 5th, 2019

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First Reading Sirach 3:17-18,20,28-29
Humble yourself and you will find favor with God

 

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 68:4-7,10-11
The just rejoice and exult before God.

 

Second Reading Hebrews 12:18-19,22-24
You have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.

 

Gospel Reading
Luke 14:1,7-14

 

We have yet to comment on the phrase “hating our own life”. This is just an extension of the earlier part. Jesus wants our lives to be lived in total truth and love. Our lives are not to be determined and manipulated by attachments, desires, ambitions or fears and anxieties which can become very much part of ourselves. We are to live in total freedom. “None of you can be my disciples unless he gives up all his possessions.” It is the ability to let go, even of health and life itself. Any aspect of a person or anything that lessens that freedom to follow truth and love is to be “hated” and transcended. Today's teachings are addressed to people who have not yet made the option for discipleship but are considering it. It reminds Luke's Christian readers of the choice they have already undertaken.

 

September 01 - Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time : Take the Lower Place

August 31st, 2019

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First Reading  Isaiah 66:18-21
Nations of every language shall come to see my glory.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 117:1-2
Praise the Lord, all you nations.

 

Second Reading  Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13
Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines.

 

Gospel Reading
Luke 13:22-30

 

 

In the Gospel of Luke today we also hear Jesus talking about humility. Our Gospel acclamation today says “I am meek and gentle of heart.” Indeed this quality of humility is one for which Jesus is very much a role model. We often talk about how Jesus lowered himself to become like us – a God becoming a man! How much more humble could he be? So when Jesus talks about humility we know that he is “walking the talk”! This idea is actually a theme in Luke, and it is the same theme that we read in the first reading: The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself; so you will find favor in the sight of the Lord. Luke started this theme in the first chapter with the beautiful Magnificat of Mary we heard two weeks ago: He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty. He will end it with Jesus at the Last supper taking on the role of servant.

 

August 25 – Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C : Enter through the narrow Gate

August 31st, 2019

First Reading  Isaiah 66:18-21
Nations of every language shall come to see my glory.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 117:1-2
Praise the Lord, all you nations.

Second Reading  Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13
Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines.

Gospel Reading
Luke 13:22-30

 “The gate to perdition is the devil, through whom we enter into hell; the gate of life is Christ, through whom we enter into the kingdom of Heaven. The Devil is said to be a wide gate, not extended by the mightiness of his power, but made broad by the license of his unbridled pride. Christ said to be a strait Gate not with respect to smallness of power, but to His humility; for He whom the whole world contains not, shut Himself within the limits of the Virgin’s womb” (St. John Chrysostom).

August 18 : The Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven – Crown of Glory

August 31st, 2019

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church. On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII, exercising papal infallibility, declared in "Munificentissimus Deus" that it is a dogma of the Church "that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." As a dogma, the Assumption is a required belief of all Catholics; anyone who publicly dissents from the dogma, Pope Pius declared, "has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith." The "Magnificat," which we find in Luke's Gospel, indicates that the praise of the Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, intimately united to Christ her son, regards the Church of all times and places. The evangelist's report of these words presupposes that the glorification of Mary was already present at that time and that he saw it as a duty and task of the Christian community for all generations. Mary's words tell us that it is a duty of the Church to recall Our Lady's greatness in faith. This solemnity is, then, an invitation to praise God and to look to Our Lady's greatness since we know who God is by gazing about the faces of those who are His.

 

August 11 - Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Being Faithful & Being Prepared

August 31st, 2019

First Reading  Wisdom 18:6-9
The Hebrew people awaited the salvation of the just.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 33:1,12,18-22
Happy the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Second Reading  Hebrews 11:1-2,8-19
We will look for the city designed and built by God.

Gospel Reading
Luke 12:32-48

 

Today the Gospel speaks to us -as the first theme-  of the need to be prepared since our God is  a God who comes, a God who visits us. He can come to us in many ways. For example through the Sacraments, through the Word of God, through the Priest, through the Community gathered for worship, through the poor, the sick and the lowly, He could come and speak to us through our live events and experiences etc etc. Are we ready to welcome him in all these modes of his coming? The second theme for today speaks to us the need to be faithful at all times. Thus Mother Theresa of Calcutta would say : "God did not call us to be successful, but to be faithful." It is not what we do that matters at the end but how far we have been faithful to Him and His Gospel. Let us ask God for the grace to be prepared all the time to welcome Him and that we be faithful we He calls us. 

 

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