Nov 1 - Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time: What are your Priorities?

October 31st, 2015

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First Reading  Revelation 7:2-4,9-14
John describes his vision: those who have endured the trials worship the Lamb.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 24:1-2,3-4,5-6
Those who seek the face of the Lord shall be rewarded.

Second Reading  1 John 3:1-3
We are God's children now.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 5:1-12

In the Judaism of Jesus' time there were two opposite tendencies. On the one hand there was a tendency to endlessly multiply the commandments and precepts of the law, creating norms and obligations for every minimal detail of life. On the other hand there was the desire to look underneath this suffocating congeries of norms to find those things that really count for God, the spirit of all the commandments. The scribe's question and Jesus' response are situated in this approach to the essentials of the law, in this desire not to get lost in the thousand other secondary precepts. It is precisely this lesson about method that above all we must learn from today's gospel. There are things in life that are important but not urgent (in the sense that nothing will happen if we let them slide); and vice versa, there are things that are urgent but not important. The danger is that we will systematically sacrifice the important things to pursue those that are urgent but often secondary. What are the priorities, in your life? To health, family, friends and character -- we need to add two others, which are the biggest of all, the two greatest commandments: love God and your neighbour.

October 25 - Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time: leaving behind the cloak in order to come closer to Christ

October 22nd, 2015

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First Reading  Jeremiah 31:7-9
The Lord declares himself to be the Father of Israel.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 126:1-2,2-3,4-5,6
A song of praise to God who does great things

Second Reading  Hebrews 5:1-6
Christ was made high priest by God.

Gospel Reading
Mark 10:46-52

In today’s Gospel we see how everyone discouraged Bartimaeus when he wanted to meet Jesus. But he refused to be silenced, and the heart of Christ didn’t let him down. St Mark makes a point of explaining that Bartimaeus “threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.” The Fathers of the Church have seen in this cloak a symbol of self- sufficiency, a symbol of our deep-seated tendency to think that we are capable of solving all of our problems on our own. The cloak symbolizes all those things that we wrongly depend on for happiness, that we tend to idolize: good looks, intelligence, athletic ability, money, good education, success, popularity etc Then, when he hears the Lord’s call, he doesn’t hesitate to cast off his cloak and spring forward, teaching us all that our only sufficiency should be Jesus Christ.

October 18 - Twenty Ninth Sunday in the Ordinary Time: Power

October 15th, 2015

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First Reading  Isaiah 53:10-11
Through his suffering, the servant of Yahweh will justify many.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 33:4-5,18-19,20,22
A prayer of praise for God's mercy


Second Reading  Hebrews 4:14-16
Jesus is the high priest who sympathizes with our weakness.

Gospel Reading
Mark 10:35-45 (shorter form Mark 10:42-45)

According to the Gospel James and John saw authority when they asked Jesus for seats at his right and left. Like typical careerists and opportunists they were looking for a comfortable position for themselves. Most people see authority as a chance to promote their own honour and glory. But Christ saw it differently. He saw it as an opportunity to serve others – to promote the good of others rather than to promote one’s own honour and glory. He said “look at the pagan rulers. See how they lord over their subjects. It must not be like that among you must be the one in authority must be the one who serves”. Surely this is the most revolutionary thing ever said about authority. It makes for true greatness. All of us exercise authority in some way or the other. We have to examine ourselves. Do we exercise authority according to the spirit of Christ? Let us not presume that we are necessarily superior to or better than, those we command. A uniform, a promotion, a position of authority, these of themselves do not make us better persons.

October 11 - Twenty Eighty Sunday in Ordinary Time: Riches

October 8th, 2015

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First Reading  Wisdom 7:7-11
Wisdom is preferred above gold and silver.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 90:12-13,14-15,16-17
The Lord fills us with love and joy.

Second Reading  Hebrews 4:12-13
The Word of God exposes the heart.

Gospel Reading
Mark 10:17-30 (shorter form Mark 10:17-27)

The rich man was capable of doing more than just keeping the commandments, but he lacked the commitment to do so. Today's Gospel story makes it painfully clear that there is more to Christianity than just keeping the commandments. Jesus made it clear to the rich man that Christianity is more than just a set of negative commands like not staling or not cheating. Christianity is far more positive. It is about doing what you can in generosity and love: "Have you ever used your wealth to feed the hungry, clothe the naked or shelter the homeless?" We are like the rich man in today's gospel. we have kept the commandments too, but we haven't been able to reach out as generously as we could to the needy, the naked, and the hungry. Let us reflect. 

October 4 – Twenty seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Marriage and Divorce

October 1st, 2015

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First Reading  Genesis 2:18-24
God creates woman from Adam's rib.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 128:1-2,3,4-5,6
A prayer for God's blessing

Second Reading  Hebrews 2:9-11
Christ was made perfect through suffering so that we might all be consecrated.

Gospel Reading
Mark 10:2-16 (shorter form Mark 10:2-12)

The Pharisees question Jesus about the lawfulness of divorce. In reply, Jesus quotes from the Book of Genesis and counters that God's original intention was that men and women would become one flesh in marriage. Jesus describes the teaching of Moses as a concession made to God's original intention because of human stubbornness. Jesus' teaching was more restrictive than the teaching of the Pharisees, which permitted remarriage. Divorce tears apart the bonding and the union that love impels us to attain. Divorce, Jesus says, has to do with laws. Marriage has to do with love. Marriage is far more than merely a license to live together. Marriage takes us back to our beginnings, to Adam and Eve. When read together, however, these passages present a strong picture of Jesus' emphasis on the importance of family. God intended for women and men to be joined together in marriage. Among the purposes of marriage is the raising of children. By welcoming children and fostering their relationship with God, parents and families bear witness to the Kingdom of God. It is our responsibility to speak in support of marriage as a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman in an enduring bond of love. This union is ordered to both the mutual good of the spouses and to the procreation and raising of children.

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