World Mission Sunday 2014

October 16th, 2014

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Mark 16 : 15 - 20

 

Annually, World Mission Sunday is celebrated on the next-to-last Sunday in October. As described by Pope John Paul II, World Mission Sunday is "an important day in the life of the Church because it teaches how to give: as an offering made to God, in the Eucharistic celebration and for all the missions of the world" (see Redemptoris Missio 81). It is a special Sunday set aside by the Church for the public and annual renewal of our commitment to missionary activities. Mission Sunday was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1926 as the day of prayer and propaganda of mission. Therefore, Christ who opened wide his arms on the cross, and the Holy Mother Church, the visible sign of Christ on earth ask us to join our hands and hearts in continual prayer for the success of missionary activities. They encourage us never to lose heart in order that Missio dei (God’s mission) may be sustained, and all peoples come to know the salvation of our Lord and God.

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October 19 – Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Caesar Vs. God

October 16th, 2014

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First Reading : Isaiah 45:1,4-6
The Lord chooses Cyrus to subdue the nations for the sake of Israel.

Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 96:1,3-10
Sing praise to the Lord.

Second Reading : 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b
Paul greets the Thessalonians, recalling the Gospel they received.

Gospel Reading : Matthew 22:15-21

Every Christian holds dual citizenship, each one of which has its own benefits and duties. Our birth made us citizens of an earthly nation; our baptism made us citizens of a heavenly Kingdom. Obedience to the spiritual Law, obedience to the temporal law! This is the summary of today's gospel. As far as possible, we need to live out both of these citizenships responsibly. We can be good citizens of earth, giving to Caesar what belongs to him, as well as good citizens in Christ's Kingdom, giving to God what belongs to him. But through the centuries, the many Christian saints and martyrs have taught us that if we are ever forced to choose between the two, if ever Caesar tries to take what belongs to God, we must be faithful to our true, everlasting homeland, even if it means suffering painful consequences here on earth.

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October 12 - Twenty eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time: When God calls don’t give excuses

October 9th, 2014

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First Reading : Isaiah 25:6-10a 
The Lord will provide richly for his people.

Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 23:1-6
The Lord is our shepherd.

Second Reading : Philippians 4:12-14,19-20
Paul tells the Philippians that God provides whatever he needs.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 22:1-14 (shorter form Matthew 22:1-10)

Often in the rich symbolism of a wedding feast, with its abundance of wine, food and a union of love, is used to speak of God’s taking final possession of his people. Today in the Gospel we see how the ones invited to the banquet gives excuses for not attending the wedding feast. They had other interest: a farmer a business. Indeed, these other attractions were so powerful than the wedding feast of the king. This same thing can happen to some of us. God is waiting to meet us and give us his blessings though the Sacraments (specially the Holy Mass and the Sacrament of Confession) but at times we will not realize this and go after mundane things. E.g. our business becomes important than the Sunday Mass. Can we learn something from this parable?  

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October 5 - Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: God’s Patience versus Our accountability

October 1st, 2014

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First Reading : Isaiah 5:1-7
The Lord compares the house of Israel to a vineyard.

Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 80:9,12-16,19-20
The Lord protects his vineyard, the house of Israel.

Second Reading : Philippians 4:6-9
Paul encourages the Philippians to stay faithful to the teaching they received from him.

Gospel Reading : Matthew 21:33-43

Today’s parable teaches us about the need to produce fruit in our lives. God gave us his vineyard so that we would produce a bountiful harvest for Him and not remain lazy and selfish. The parable teaches also about God’s patience with us and our accountability to God. The vineyard owner made three efforts to get the tenant farmers to change their ways. When he saw more patience was futile, he passed judgement on the tenants. He held them accountable for their actions. It is the same way with God and us. Our heavenly Father is infinitely patient. But the time will come when God’s patience will give way to judgement. We, too, will be held accountable for our actions. 

 

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September 28 – Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Deeds and not only words

September 24th, 2014

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First Reading : Ezekiel 18:25-28
It is possible to turn from sin and preserve one's life.

 

Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 25:4-9
A prayer to God for mercy.

 

Second Reading : Philippians 2:1-11 (shorter form Philippians 2:1-5)
Be like Christ who humbled himself and was exalted by God.

 

Gospel Reading
Matthew 21:28-32

 

The Parable teaches that discipleship is fundamentally about what one does, not just about what one says. Some may claim in words to be religious, but their lack of deeds and lack of genuine repentance and obedient faith betray their hypocrisy. Yet amazingly, the grace of God shown in repentance can draw even notorious sinners into the kingdom. The kingdom is promised not to those who merely say “I will go”, but to those who actually do the will of the Father.  

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September 21 – Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Gods Generosity

September 18th, 2014

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First Reading          : Isaiah 55:6-9
God's ways are far beyond the ways of human beings.

Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 145:2-3,8-9,17-18
God is near to those who call upon him.  

Second Reading         : Philippians 1:20c-24,27a
Paul tells the Philippians to live for Christ.

Gospel Reading         : Matthew 20:1-16

Our God is a God of surprises. It is this strange and unexpected generosity with creates problems. Those who think they can calculate exactly how God must act are in for a surprise. All work in the vineyard should be delighted that some receive what is just, while others have been blessed with God’s great generosity. Who are we to question why? Can God not do what He likes with his love? The point is that it is His kingdom and not ours. Even the grumbler is called ‘my friend’. God doesn't count or measure when he gives. He makes too much vine at the wedding, more than 100 gallons of it. He multiplies much bread and there were 12 baskets of bread left over. He pays a day’s wages even to those labourers who came to work at the last hour. When God does things he does in a BIG way. 

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September 14 - Twenty fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time : The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 9th, 2014

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First Reading       :  Numbers 21:4b–9
  | anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he or she was healed
Psalm                   :  Psalm 78:1–2, 34–34, 36–37, 38
  | Do not forget the works of the Lord.
Second Reading   :  Philippians 2:6–11
   | Jesus Christ, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God as a thing to be grasped.
Gospel                  :  John 3:13–17

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The Gospel clearly shows us that when Moses raised the Serpent on a pole to save the people from their sins how this foretold that Christ would be lifted high on the cross to save us from our sins. For Christ took the price of all our sins upon himself and was raised. To us it is promised that if we look to him in faith we will be saved and exalted as well. This is the importance of the crucifix in the Christian Tradition. We do not have empty crosses because an empty cross didn't save us. Christ crucified is the sign of our salvation. You can choose to have your suffering have meaning by offering it for others. Or you can choose to have it be pointless by grumbling and complaining about it. My suggestion to you: Look to Christ crucified on the cross. Exalt the cross in your life. Live out your baptismal priesthood. You choose between freedom for meaning or freedom from meaning. You suffer for someone or you suffer from afflictions. The happiness and peace you seek (which means the triumph, the exaltation, the victory and the glory) is found (only) in the way of the Cross, the way of Christ.

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September 7 - Twenty Thired Sunday in Ordinary Time: restoration of the erring brother or sister

September 4th, 2014

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First Reading       Ezekiel 33:7-9 | The Son of Man is appointed as guardian of Israel.
Psalm                 : Psalm 95:1-2,6-9  | Song of praise to God, our salvation.
Second Reading : Romans 13:8-10  | The Law is summarized in the commandment to love your neighbour as yourself.
Gospel                : Matthew 18:15-20  

 Notice that both the Gospel and the First Reading presume that believers have a duty to correct sinners in our midst. Ezekiel is even told that he will be held accountable for their souls if he fails to speak out and try to correct them. This is the love that Paul in today’s Epistle says we owe to our neighbours. To love our neighbours as ourselves is to be vitally concerned for their salvation. We must make every effort, as Jesus says, to win our brothers and sisters back, to turn them from the false paths. We should never correct out of anger, or a desire to punish. Instead our message must be that of today’s Psalm - urging sinner to hear God’s voice, not to harden their hearts, and to remember that He is the one who made us, and the rock of our salvation.

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August 31 – Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time : Lose yourself

August 27th, 2014

 

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First Reading        :  Jeremiah 20:7-9 | Jeremiah laments but cannot fail to speak in God's name.
Psalm                   :
Psalm 63:2-6,8-9 | Our souls yearn for God.
Second Reading  :
Romans 12:1-2    | Paul encourages the Romans to stay faithful to God.
Gospel                 :
Matthew 16:21-27 

 

Before Peter could truly be a follow Jesus he had to learn the cost of discipleship. Peter had to learn from Jesus how to replace his self-centred ambition and desire for prestige with recognition of the value of self-sacrifice. he had to learn how to lose himself in Christ, to take up his mission, his way of life, and his very identity as his own. Peter had to learn that being a disciple of Jesus means taking up the Cross, not grudgingly enduing it but embracing it, being willing to suffer for the Gospel and getting behind Jesus in order to follow in the way that he leads.  This is what we see in today's Gospel. Let us embrace our little crosses for the simple reason Jesus embraced his cross: for salvation and sanctification of ourselves and the world. 

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August 24 -Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time : Who is Jesus for me?

August 19th, 2014

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First Reading         :  Isaiah 22:19-23    | God will remove Shebna from his office as master of the palace.
Psalm                    : Psalm 138:1-3,6,8 | God's kindness is forever.
Second Reading    : Romans 11:33-36 | Paul sings praise to God.
Gospel                   :
Matthew 16:13-20
 
Jesus chose the region of Caesarea Philippi to ask His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” The area was scattered with the remains of ancient Syrian Baal worship, at least 14 temples have been identified. A cave near this city is said to be the birthplace of the Greek god pan, the warrior god. There had also been a great temple of white marble built to the godhead of Caesar. It is as if Jesus deliberately set Himself against the background of the world’s religions in all their splendour and glory to teach his disciples as to who he really was: man and not only God; God and not only man. To know about Jesus and to know Jesus are two different things. We can know about Jesus by listening to someone else or by reading books on him but knowing Jesus is always a result of a personal experience. So the million dollar question is "who is Jesus for me?"

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