February 15th, 2017
First Reading : Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
Psalm : Psalm 119:33-40
Second Reading : 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
Gospel : Matthew 5:38-48
Jesus tells his disciples: “Do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you”. And this is the liturgical theme for today: “love your enemies”. Humanly speaking this is not an easy thing to do but Jesus wants us to aim higher than the tax collectors. We are to imitate God’s perfection. When people hate their enemies and resent them, they end up hurting themselves far more than they hurt their enemies. The person we hate has the power to rob us of our peace of mind and capacity to love. Our hatred is not hurting them at all. It only turns our own days and nights into a hellish turmoil. There is a Chinese Proverb which goes like this: "He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself". It’s the same lesson we find in the Letter to the Romans: “Do not let evil defeat you; instead, conquer evil with good” (Rom 12:21).
February 8th, 2017
First Reading Sirach 15:15–20
The eyes of God see all he has made.
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 119:1–2,4–5, 17–18,33–34
Happy are those who walk in the way of the Lord.
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 2:6–10
God has revealed this wisdom to us through the Spirit.
Gospel Reading Matthew 5:17–37
Today's Gospel invites us to understand the deeper meaning of religion and the difference between observing the “letter of the law” and “the spirit of the law”. It was Jesus’ teaching that it was not enough not to commit a sinful act (like murder or adultery); the only thing sufficient was never even to wish to commit a sinful act. It means that thoughts are just as important as deeds, and that it is not enough not to commit a sin; the only thing that is enough is not to wish to commit it. By Jesus’ standards a man is not a good man until he never even desires to do a forbidden thing.
January 31st, 2017
First Reading Isaiah 58:7-10
In the work of justice, light shall break through darkness.
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 112:4-9
The just person will be a light in the darkness.
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Paul shows that he came to Corinth preaching Christ crucified.
Gospel Reading Matthew 5:13-16
So, when Jesus says to his followers – “You are the salt of the earth”, it simply means that a follower of Jesus must lend flavour to life, bringing joy & gladness, happiness & peace, justice & love, care & concern, hope & consolation, among whom he lives. Just as insipid salt is of no use in flavouring or preserving food, so too the so-called 'disciples' are of no use if they fail to live as Christ teaches. Jesus also says we are the light of the world. By itself light is no good. It is only good when it shows us something other than itself. That is what Christians are called to do - to live lives that show the presence of God in the world. If we do not do this there is darkness and, without doubt, the world is today in deep darkness in many ways. We Christians must ask ourselves if we are giving out light.
January 27th, 2017
First Reading Zephaniah 2:3, 3:12-13
There will be a people who remain sheltered from God's anger.
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 146:6-10
The Lord is faithful forever.
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
God chooses the weak to show his power.
Gospel Reading Matthew 5:1-12a
Today's reading is the beginning of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, which is found in
Matthew's Gospel. Jesus describes those who are truly fortunate, the lucky ones of their
day. “Blessed” is sometimes translated as happy, fortunate, or favored. But it is not
emperors, conquerors, priests, and the wealthy who enjoy this favor. Rather, it is the
common people, those whom earthly success has largely passed by: the poor, the meek,
the persecuted, and the peacemakers. Jesus is saying that divine favor is upon those
who are poor, those who mourn, those who are persecuted. This news might have been
welcome—and surprising—to the crowds who heard Jesus that day.
How can this be? The answer is that even though they may have been denied worldly
success, what cannot be taken away from them is their potential to live rightly by one
another. It is all too easy for those who enjoy the pleasures of this world from their
hilltop mansions to float above such obligations. Jesus goes on to say that so long as
ordinary people stand for the right things and do not retreat in their rightness before
those who seem to have more power, what is right will prevail. It’s their kingdom — a
kingdom organized not from the top down, but from the bottom up. In the Beatitudes,
Jesus offers a description of the community of goodwill His teachings will build in this
world – if we follow them
January 18th, 2017
First Reading Isaiah 8:23-9:3
The people in darkness have seen a great light.
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 27:1,4,13-14
The Lord is our refuge, our light, our salvation.
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17
Paul urges the community at Corinth to be united as people baptized in Christ's name.
Jesus begins his ministry not from the Holy city of Jerusalem but from Galilee, the land of Herod Antipas, the ruler who had just arrested John the Baptist. Matthew saw this as a fulfillment of ancient prophecy (Is 9:1-2). Light has come into a land of darkness (Jn 8:12). Christ’s work goes on wherever even one true follower of his is found for there still many who live in darkness and in the shadow of death. Each of us has areas of darkness in our lives. Darkness can stand for many things: fear, illness, pain, sin, error, loneliness, despair, oppression etc. As followers of Christ we are called to be bearers of His light
January 11th, 2017
First Reading Isaiah 49:3,5-6
God's servant, Israel, will be made a light to the nations.
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 40:2,4,7-10
God desires obedience.
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 1:1-3
Paul greets the Church in Corinth.
John the Baptist found his reason for existence. He was to point out the Lamb of God to the world. His mission is not different from the mission of every Christian. We are to point out the Lamb of God to the world. There is nothing greater that any of us can do in our lives than point Christ out to others, first to our children who must follow us in pointing to the Lord for others to find him, and then to all who meet us. John the Baptist was not a typical person of his time. He was extraordinary. When we consider his life, we realize that it was not John’s dress or preaching that made him extraordinary, it was the fact that he found the purpose for his life. He looked to Jesus and said, “There is the Lamb of God.” We have been called to do the same.
January 4th, 2017
First Reading Isaiah 60:1-6
Jerusalem shall be a light to all nations.
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 72:1-2,7-8,10-11,12-13
Every nation on earth shall worship the Lord.
Second Reading Ephesians 3:2-3a,5-6
Gentiles are coheirs in the promise of Christ.
In Matthew 2: 9-11, the ageless story describes a Star in the East guiding three wise men, or magi, to the place of the divine birth of Christ. According to medieval legends, the three wise men were named Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar. These three priest-kings and wisemen brought royal gifts to the divine infant: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Melchior brought a golden cup, which, according to legend, was preserved by the Blessed Virgin Mary and was the same cup used in the institution of the Holy Eucharist. Balthazar brought a gold box of frankincense. Gaspar brought a curiously chased flask of myrrh, a royal embalming oil. The gift of gold symbolizes the kingship of Christ, which represents our own true royal Self-hood and our giving of love and service as directed and commanded by that Self. The gift of frankincense symbolizes the Godhead of Christ and our own gifts of honour and reverence to our indwelling Divinity. The gift of myrrh is a prophecy of the death and burial of the earthly body of Christ, which represents our understanding and empathy for the suffering of humanity. Let us pray that just as the Magi were guided by a star we too be guided by the signs of the times to find God and worship Him.
December 31st, 2016
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.
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 22nd, 2016
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.
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 14th, 2016
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.
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