March 1 - Second Sunday of Lent : Rhythms of Ecstasy and Agony

February 25th, 2015

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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. 

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February 22 - First Sunday of Lent : Knitting and reconciling creation together (2nd Sermon)

February 20th, 2015

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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

Saint Mark gives us this magnificent icon that’s stands at the heart of our Gospel reading. How wonderful for us to listen to this at the first Sunday of Lent. Listen to this: “The spirit drove Jesus out into the desert. He was among wild beasts. And the Angels ministered to him”. It’s a way of telling that Jesus is reconciling the whole creation with God and one another, Do you see how Jesus is knitting creation together? The spiritual and the material are now linked. The angels and the beasts are connected through him. He is the one definitively who listens to God and therefore, kind of fact, the knitting together of all of creation. He is the definitive Noah’s ark. This is what happens to us when we sin and refuse to listen God’s Word. It divides us. Your public life is split from your private life. You become a mess, a jumble of contradictions.  This is what happens when you stop listening to God. Your soul, to use classical language, is set against your body. Jesus is the one who reconciles the angels and the beasts. See what I mean? Jesus is the one who brings together, the spiritual and the material. When you surrender to him, then everything in you find its proper place. This zoo of worrying animals in you becomes the unity. And this is what the desert and the Lent is all about. 

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February 22 - First Sunday of Lent: Renounce Satan with the power of the Word of God

February 19th, 2015

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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. 

 

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What is Lent ?

February 19th, 2015

 

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Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.

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February 15 - Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Broken but Restored

February 12th, 2015

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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.

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February 8 - Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Saved to Serve

February 3rd, 2015

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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

God hasn't saved anyone so they can just sit around but so we can serve. Just as there is no such thing as a non-functioning member of your human body, so there ought to be no such thing as a non-functioning member of the body of Christ. If God has saved you from your sin, He has called you to serve Him in some way in accordance with your gifts and abilities. God does not want us to stand before Him with “empty hands” in that day when we give an account of our lives. If we do not know God’s purpose for our life, then we are actually “missing the mark” of what it means to be a Christian. Every Christian is saved to serve! The matter of how you are supported may depend on the type of service to which you are called. But every person God saves is conscripted into serving Him according to how God has gifted him. This is what we see in the Gospel today. In Mark's direct and uncomplicated style he says, "...and the fever left her and she served them” . ... Simon Peter's mother-in-law "served" immediately after having been raised. The verb is diakoneo, the same verb Jesus uses to describe the essence of his own ministry in Mark 10:45. It is "to serve" rather than "to be served" that characterizes the Christ of God. It is also "to serve" that characterizes his disciples. Let us remember that we have been saved and healed to serve. We each have some define service do for the Lord.

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February 1 - Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Speaking with Authority

January 28th, 2015

 

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First Reading  Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Moses tells the people that God will raise up for them a new prophet.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 95:1-2,6-7,7-9
A song of praise to the Lord.

Second Reading  1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Paul expresses his concern that those who are married are more likely to face the distractions of earthly life than those who are celibate.

Gospel Reading
Mark 1:21-28

  Jesus’ teaching always contrasted sharply with that of the scribes. What Jesus taught them that day, as well as the way he      presented and demonstrated his message, simply amazed them. In one word, Jesus taught with authority, the scribes did not.    “They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22). What    does it mean to teach with authority? When we compare and contrast the teaching of Jesus with that of the scribes we notice  three distinguishing qualities: The teaching of Jesus is (a) from the heart and not just from the head, (b) focuses on the spirit and  not on the letter of the law, and (c) inspires a positive change of heart in the hearers. There was a transparency about what he  was saying. And most important of all – he backed up his words with deeds. Can we say the same thing with regard to our  words? Do deeds accompany our words? Today we have a glut of words but many of them are rendered worthless by insincerity  or poisoned by falseness. Therefore what is needed is credibility because “example is better than precept”.

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January 25 - Third Sunday in ordinary Time : Seek that which lasts

January 22nd, 2015

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First Reading Jonah 3:1-5,10
God spared the people of Nineveh because they heeded the message God sent through Jonah

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 25:4-5,6-7,8-9
The Lord teaches us his ways.

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Paul warns the Corinthians that they must act differently because the world in its present form is passing away.

Gospel Reading
Mark 1:14-20

It must be noticed that the disciples are about their everyday tasks as fishermen; they are casting their net into the sea, in their boat, mending their nets. But the summons of Jesus shatters all these external signs of their settled life as successful fishermen. They leave what their peer group would have seen as signs of their success: their nets, their boas, their hired servants and their father to follow Jesus as he journeys in response to the will of his Father. Thus the disciples were able to discern what is temporal and what is eternal. Because this world is temporary and the world to come is permanent, and our permanent inheritance depends on how we live now with God’s grace, we are wise to have a detachment from the things of this world. Detachment does not mean that we don’t love our spouses, that the things that hurt us do not really hurt, that the things that make us happy don’t really give us joy, that we don’t really need physical things, and that these things do not have their own value. Detachment does mean that we see all these persons and good things—and the hardships of life—in light of eternity. Marriage, sorrows, joys, material things, and work find their real meaning in the light of Christ. No earthly good—as truly good as these can be—is our final end. No earthly evil—as truly evil as these can be—is the last word either.

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January 18 - Second Sunday in the Ordinary Time : Introducing Jesus to others

January 15th, 2015

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First Reading 1 Samuel 3:3b10,19 
The Lord calls Samuel.

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 40:2, 4, 7–8, 8–9, 10
A prayer of commitment to follow the will of the Lord.

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 6:13c–15a,17–20
Paul reminds the Corinthians that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.

Gospel Reading
John 1:35–42

 

 

The Gospel reading presents John the Baptizer sharing his faith with two disciples and with Andrew sharing his faith with his brother Peter. Significantly, John mentions Andrew three times in his Gospel. Each time Andrew is bringing someone to Jesus. Each time Andrew is sharing his faith. If we believe the Gospel is good news, why don’t we share it with others? Or if we believe Jesus is the greatest treasure the heart can possess, why don’t we share our faith with others? Like John and like Andrew let us never hesitant to share our in Jesus with others. 

 

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APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO SRI LANKA

January 9th, 2015

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Monday, January 12, 2015

19:00 – Departure from the Airport of Rome/Fiumicino to Colombo

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

09:00 – Arrival at the Colombo International Airport, Katunayake WELCOME CEREMONY
13:15 – MEETING with the Bishops of SRI LANKA at the Archbishop’s House, Colombo – 08
17:00 – COURTESY VISIT to the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at the President’s House.
18:15 – INTERRELIGIOUS MEETING in the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) Colombo.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

08:30 – Celebration of Holy Eucharist and Canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz in Galle Face Green Colombo
14:00 – Departure to Madhu Shrine
15:30 – MARIAN PRAYER at the Shrine of our Lady of Rosary of Madhu
16:45 – Departure to Colombo

Thursday, January 15, 2015

08:15 – Visit to the Chapel of the “Benedict XVI Cultural Institute” at Bolawalana
08:45 – Farewell ceremony at the Colombo International Airport, Katunayake
09:00 – Departure from Colombo to Manila

 

Official Hymn for Pope Francis Visit to Sri Lanka 2015

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