August 30 - Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time: why we do what we do?

August 26th, 2015

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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. 

August 23 - Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time : Do you want to quit?

August 20th, 2015

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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?

August 16 - Twentieth Sunday in ordinary Time: To become what we receive

August 12th, 2015

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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

August 9 - Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Eucharist – a foretaste of heaven

August 6th, 2015

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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.

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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