March 1 - Second Sunday of Lent : Rhythms of Ecstasy and Agony

February 25th, 2015

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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. 

February 22 - First Sunday of Lent : Knitting and reconciling creation together (2nd Sermon)

February 20th, 2015

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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

Saint Mark gives us this magnificent icon that’s stands at the heart of our Gospel reading. How wonderful for us to listen to this at the first Sunday of Lent. Listen to this: “The spirit drove Jesus out into the desert. He was among wild beasts. And the Angels ministered to him”. It’s a way of telling that Jesus is reconciling the whole creation with God and one another, Do you see how Jesus is knitting creation together? The spiritual and the material are now linked. The angels and the beasts are connected through him. He is the one definitively who listens to God and therefore, kind of fact, the knitting together of all of creation. He is the definitive Noah’s ark. This is what happens to us when we sin and refuse to listen God’s Word. It divides us. Your public life is split from your private life. You become a mess, a jumble of contradictions.  This is what happens when you stop listening to God. Your soul, to use classical language, is set against your body. Jesus is the one who reconciles the angels and the beasts. See what I mean? Jesus is the one who brings together, the spiritual and the material. When you surrender to him, then everything in you find its proper place. This zoo of worrying animals in you becomes the unity. And this is what the desert and the Lent is all about. 

February 22 - First Sunday of Lent: Renounce Satan with the power of the Word of God

February 19th, 2015

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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. 

 

What is Lent ?

February 19th, 2015

 

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Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.

February 15 - Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Broken but Restored

February 12th, 2015

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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.

February 8 - Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Saved to Serve

February 3rd, 2015

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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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