January 1 – Solemnity of Mary the Holy Mother of God: The mind of Christ

December 31st, 2016

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First Reading  Numbers 6:22-27
God gives a blessing for the Israelites.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 67:2-3,5,6,8
All the people sing praises to God.

Second Reading  Galatians 4:4-7
God sent his Son to make us children of God.

Gospel Reading
Luke 2:16-21

The mystery of her divine motherhood that we celebrate today contains in superabundant measure the gift of grace that all human motherhood bears within it, so much so that the fruitfulness of the womb has always been associated with God’s blessing. Mary is the mother and model of the Church, who receives the divine Word in faith and offers herself to God as the “good soil” in which he can continue to accomplish his mystery of salvation. The spiritual meaning of Mary’s motherhood was made known by St. Augustine who said “Prium concepit in mente quam corpore” which means Mary conceived Jesus in her mind before conceiving Him in her womb. May was filled with Christ her son, she became the faithful disciple of the Lord. We are called upon to do the same: to put on and live with the mind of Christ. One of the instructions given to us in the Bible is to have the mind of Christ. We read in Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” May the Virgin Mary, whom today we venerate with the title of Mother of God, help us to contemplate the face of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. May she sustain us and accompany us in this New Year: and may she obtain for us and for the whole world the gift of peace. Amen!

December 25 - Christmas Day: God had visited us

December 22nd, 2016

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First Reading  Isaiah 9:1-6
To those in darkness, a child will be born who will have dominion over the earth.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 96:1-2,2-3,11-12,13
Sing a new song to the Lord.

Second Reading  Titus 2:11-14
God has appeared, bringing salvation to all.

Gospel Reading
Luke 2:1-14

 

Today we celebrate Christmas, the mystery of Incarnation, God becoming man, the astonishing entrance that God made into our broken world. Again and again the beauty of this Gospel astonishes us that God makes himself a child so that we may love him, so that we may dare to love him, and as a child trustingly lets himself be taken into our arms. It is as if God were saying: I know that my glory frightens you, and that you are trying to assert yourself in the face of my grandeur. So now I am coming to you as a child, so that you can accept me and love me. God is born for us but the question is whether we are ready to welcome him. The most unfortunate and the saddest sentence is found in the Gospel of Luke: “There was no place for them in the Inn” (Lk 2:7). Centuries have passed but this stark reality still continues in our lives. God wants to come in but we keep our doors closed. Why should we not also be moved by curiosity to see more closely and to know what God has said to us? At this hour, let us ask him to touch our hearts with the holy curiosity and the holy joy of the shepherds, and thus let us go over joyfully to Bethlehem, to the Lord who today once more comes to meet us. Amen

December 18 - Fourth Sunday in Advent: Joseph, the just man

December 14th, 2016

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First Reading  Isaiah 7:10-14
Ahaz proclaims the sign that the Lord will give: a virgin shall give birth to a son, Emmanuel.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 24:1-2,3-4,5-6
The Lord is the King of Glory who established the earth.

 

Second Reading  Romans 1:1-7
Paul greets the community at Rome and declares himself a servant of Christ Jesus.

 

Gospel Reading Matthew 1:18-24

 

Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent. Christmas will dawn in few days. Matthew’s story of the birth of Jesus centres on the person of Joseph. The mystery is so great that Joseph cannot understand what is happening. In his puzzlement, the Lord calls Joseph to a remarkable act of faith and obedience. Joseph, in wordless response to the word of God communicated by an angel, rose and ‘took his wife to his home’. A total and unquestioning acceptance of the word of God is Joseph’s first action in Matthew’s infancy story. St. Joseph shows us the value of grace under pressure. He always found himself in emergency situations during the brief period of his life on earth: having to accept a young wife who is pregnant before they are married, having to travel to faraway Bethlehem, having to flee as refugees into Egypt etc. He had to face a lot of pressure, a lot of crisis and a lot of emergency situations but God’s grace was sufficient for him. St. Bernard comments that God never gives us a challenge or a call or a duty without the sufficient grace to accomplish it. Joseph leads the way and shows us the quality of trust and commitment to the coming of God, which should mark the lives of each and every one of us this Christmas.

December 11 - Third Sunday of Advent: Rejoice

December 8th, 2016

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First Reading  Isaiah 35:1-6,10
In the day of the Lord, all sorrow and mourning will cease.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 146:6-7,8-9,9-10
The Lord will save his people.

 

Second Reading  James 5:7-10
Be patient, and be ready; the coming of the Lord is near.

 

Gospel Reading
Matthew 11:2-11

 

The third Sunday of Advent is called the "Gaudete Sunday" -- Rejoice Sunday, the Sunday of joy. The Liturgy speaks of Joy in order to give us courage since our hearts can easily become frightened and weighed down by the hardships we face. We can lose patience in our sufferings as we await the coming of the Lord. That’s what happened to John the Baptist as we hear in today’s Gospel. He is in a dungeon, the victim of a petty tyrant and his vengeful, immoral consort. It is just possible that, in the dark, vile hole of a prison John is having some doubts about Jesus as the Messiah. Therefore Jesus gives John the reassurance, echoing the words of the Prophet Isaiah, that He is truly the awaited messiah. All of us are searching for happiness, but why are so few truly happy and even those who are happy are only happy for such a short time? It is because our approach is wrong. We go up the wrong side and we decide to take the wrong way up. Revelation says: "God is love," but man has tried to reverse the phrase so that it says: "Love is God"! Thus, when we say, "Happiness is God," we divinize our little experiences; we make happiness into an idol. This explains why he who seeks God always finds joy while he who seeks joy does not always find God. Therefore let us pray that we will always ‘seek joy in the Lord’

November 4 - Second Sunday in Advent : A voice crying in the wilderness

December 2nd, 2016

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First Reading  Isaiah 11:1-10
A descendent of Jesse will usher in a time of peace.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 72:1-2,7-8,12-13,17
The Messiah will bring justice and peace to the nations.

Second Reading  Romans 15:4-9
Both Jews and Gentiles glorify God for the salvation found in Christ Jesus.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 3:1-12

 

The Church’s use of John the Baptist over the Advent Season invites us to join John’s audience in these days of preparation. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the one who is able to separate the wheat from the chaff is coming. John never saw a superhighway, but he uses the image in order to prepare the way for the coming of the world’s most wonderful and most extraordinary traveller, the Messiah Jesus, into our lives. The highway John wishes to construct is within our hearts. It hasn't a number, but it does have a name-conversion. Conversion results when a person realizes profoundly that the message and the life of Jesus make sense and is infinitely desirable. Conversion takes place when Jesus and his message cut through the moments of pain, tears, worry, fear and uneasiness in our lives. Conversion means meeting Jesus in his word and allowing Him to become directly involved in our lives. Once this happens, life can never be the same for us.

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