February 28 - Second Sunday of Lent : Rhythms of Ecstasy and Agony

February 25th, 2021

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

February 18th, 2021

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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. 

Lent 2021 - An Introduction

February 17th, 2021

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February 15 - Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

February 17th, 2021

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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 7 - Fifth Sunday of ordinary time Year B

February 7th, 2021

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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
Jesus cures Simon’s mother-in-law and many others as well.

 

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today we continue to read from Mark’s Gospel, learning more about the ministry of Jesus. Jesus cured Simon’s mother-in-law, and she immediately began to serve Jesus and his disciples. Jesus also cured many others who were brought to him, healing their illnesses and driving out demons. As we will see throughout Mark’s Gospel, Jesus did not permit the demons to speak because they knew his identity and would have revealed it to those who were present.

On the morning after this busy day, Jesus retreated in prayer, but was pursued by Simon and others who brought news that many people were looking for him. At this point in Mark’s Gospel, we begin to see a distinct role for the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples—they act as intermediaries between Jesus and the people. Jesus reports to his disciples that they need to leave Capernaum to preach in other places.

Today’s Gospel completes a picture of Jesus’ ministry: preaching, curing the sick, driving out demons, and then moving on to continue this work in another place. Mark's Gospel tells us that Jesus did this throughout Galilee.

Jesus’ compassion and healing of the sick is a sign of the Kingdom of God. The Church continues to extend Christ’s healing presence to others in its ministry to the sick. In the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the Church prays for spiritual and physical healing, forgiveness of sins, and comfort for those who are suffering from illness.

In today’s Gospel we also notice the importance of prayer in Jesus’ daily life. Jesus rose early in the morning, removed himself from the crowds, and went to a deserted place to pray. When the disciples found him, he told them that it was time to move on. We believe that in his prayers Jesus found guidance and direction from God. We also bring our decision-making to God in prayer, asking for his guidance and direction in our lives.

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