August 30 - Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time: why we do what we do?

August 26th, 2015

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First Reading  Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8
Moses tells the Israelites to observe the commandments that God gave them.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 15:2-3,3-4,4-5
Those who do justice will find favor with God.

Second Reading  James 1:17-18,21b-22,27
James teaches that Christians should be doers of the Word.

Gospel Reading
Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

For the Jews Religious was slowly degenerating into an activity of performing external rituals. Which is to say that external rituals (like washing hands before meals) was becoming identified with being religious and serving God. Therefore Jesus in today’s Gospel warns against identifying religion with performing external acts. The point is this: we can do all religious acts but for the wrong reason. That is we can perform all religious rituals but without love and mercy. What counts is not what we do. What counts is the love in our heart that motivates us to do what we do. If our heart is filled with bitterness or pride or jealousy, then all the external practices in the world won’t make us holy before God.  In short, what counts in religion is not what we do, but why we do it. What counts is the love in our hearts: love of God and love of neighbor. 

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August 23 - Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time : Do you want to quit?

August 20th, 2015

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First Reading  Joshua 24:1-2a,15-17,18b
Joshua and the people declare that they will serve the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 34:2-3,16-17,18-19,20-21
The Lord hears the cries of the just.

Second Reading  Ephesians 5:21-32 (or shorter form Ephesians 5:2a,25-32)
Husbands and wives should love one another as Christ loves the Church.

Gospel Reading
John 6:60-69

There are times in life when we are pushed to the wall, when we are ready to quit. There are times in life when we need something to hold on to. We see this in today's Gospel. The disciples of Jesus are pushed to the wall. Their faith in Jesus is challenged severely by what Jesus said earlier about giving them his body to eat. The disciples respond to the challenged in two ways: one group part company with Jesus and no longer walk with him. The second group meet the challenge successfully and remain faithful to Jesus. The group who left did so because they had their attention fixed on the problem where as the group who stayed did so because they had their attention fixed on Jesus. In which group do you want to be? The choice is yours?

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August 16 - Twentieth Sunday in ordinary Time: To become what we receive

August 12th, 2015

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First Reading  Proverbs 9:1-6
Wisdom has set a feast before us.

Responsorial Psalm   Psalm 34:2-3,4-5,6-7
A prayer of praise to God for his goodness

Second Reading  Ephesians 5:15-20
Filled with the Spirit, Christians strive to follow the will of the Lord.

Gospel Reading
John 6:51-58

Love demands union. The greater the love, the more intimate is the union desired. The lover longs to be joined to the beloved – in thought, in letters, in phone conversations, in physical presence, and ultimately – in spousal love – through the love embrace between husband and wife. So much does Jesus love us that he conceals himself under what looks like bread in order to ravish us in the love embrace of Holy Communion! Such was the meaning of one of the early Church Fathers, St. John Chrysostom, when he wrote: “How many of you say, I would like to see his face, his garments, his sandals. You do see him, you touch him, you eat him. He gives himself to you, not only that you may see him – but also to be your food and your nourishment.”

The Eucharist is a prayer, it is a sacrifice. It is a blessing and it is also a challenge. We have to become what we behold, to become what we receive

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August 9 - Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Eucharist – a foretaste of heaven

August 6th, 2015

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First Reading  1 Kings 19:4-8
The Lord feeds Elijah, strengthening him for his journey to Horeb.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 34:2-3,4-5,6-7,8-9
A prayer of praise to God for his goodness

Second Reading  Ephesians 4:30—5:2
The Ephesians are encouraged to be imitators of Christ.

Gospel Reading
John 6:41-51

 

Jesus calls himself “the living bread that came down from heaven.” We need food that not only gives us strength of body, keeps us alive here on earth, but food that strengthens us for eternal life, keeps us for life forever. The Lord makes an amazing, a tremendous promise, one that we may and should accept as it stands: “whoever eats this bread will live forever.” We heard in the first reading about the wonderful power of the food the Lord provided for Elijah. This food strengthened him for a journey of forty days in the desert. This power of the food God gives, to strengthen him for forty days, is only a sign and indication of the much more marvelous power of this bread of life, the Eucharist, which strengths not for forty days, but for life forever, for eternal life. In the Eucharist Christ gives us himself totally. He comes to us and becomes our bread, our food for that life with God that never ends. Christ's love overcame death. He who is united in faith and love with Christ, will live forever, soul and body, according to the Lord's promise: "I will raise him on the last day."

 

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August 2 - Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Food that lasts for ever

July 30th, 2015

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First Reading  Exodus 16:2–4, 12–15
The Lord feeds the Israelites with manna

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 78:3–4, 23–24, 25, 54
A song of praise to God for his deeds to Israel.

Second Reading  Ephesians 4:17, 20–24
Christians become a new creation in Christ.

Gospel Reading
John 6:24–35

 

Jesus tells the crowd in this week’s Gospel that they are following him for the wrong reasons. They seek him because he filled their bellies. The Israelites, too, were content to follow God so long as there was plenty of food. Food is the most obvious of signs—because it is the most basic of our human needs.  We need our daily bread to live. But we cannot live by this bread alone. We need the bread of eternal life that preserves those who believe in him. The manna in the wilderness, like the bread Jesus multiplied for the crowd, was a sign of God’s Providence—that we should trust that he will provide. These signs pointed to their fulfillment in the Eucharist, the abundant bread of angels we sing about in this week’s Psalm. This is the food that God longs to give us. This is the bread we should be seeking. But too often we don’t ask for this bread. Instead we seek the perishable stuff of our everyday wants and anxieties. In our weakness we think these things are what we really need.

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July 26 - Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: To place in the hands of Jesus

July 22nd, 2015

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First Reading  2 Kings 4:42-44
Elisha the prophet feeds 100 people with 20 barley loaves.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 145:10-11,15-16,17-18

The Lord feeds his people and answers their needs.

Second Reading  Ephesians 4:1-6

The Ephesians are encouraged to live the unity of their Baptism.

Gospel Reading

John 6:1-15


Today’s readings invite us to look into our hearts and to ask ourselves this question: How much of our lives and our resources are we currently placing in the hands of Jesus to do with as he wishes? Like the boy in today’s Gospel who gave Jesus the little he had we too are called to place what we have in His hands: our time, our talent, our prayers, our sacrifices, our resources and He will use in a way that will exceed our greatest expectations. He will multiply them beyond anything we dreamed of, Just as he did the boy’s loaves and fish. Little is always much in the hands of the Lord. 

 

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July 19 - Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: work and prayer

July 16th, 2015

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First Reading  Jeremiah 23:1-6
The Lord promises to shepherd his people Israel.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 23:1-3,3-4,5,6
The Lord is our shepherd.

Second Reading  Ephesians 2:13-18
Christ has reconciled us with God and united us in peace.

Gospel Reading
Mark 6:30-34

In the Gospel we see those who were “sent” returning, after their success, full of their own importance. Instead of recognizing that their success depended entirely upon the one who “sent” them. They have been caught up in the excitement of their missionary success and they have lost their perspective. So the Lord invites them to a “quiet place” just to “rest” and be him. Behind the quiet place are the words of the Psalm: “he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul” (Ps 23:1-3). There is a practical message here for each one of us. It is simply this: when heavy burden threatens to crush us, we should do what Jesus did. We should turn to God in prayer. He taught them to do what he did: to balance action and contemplation, to go from contact with people to secret and regenerating dialogue with oneself and with God. This need for times of solitude and listening is posed in a special way to those who proclaim the Gospel and to animators of the Christian community, who must stay constantly in contact with the source of the Word that they must transmit to their brothers.

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July12 - Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Called and Sent

July 8th, 2015

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First Reading   Amos 7:12-15
The prophet Amos is sent from Bethel.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 85:9-10,11-12,13-14
A prayer for the Lord's salvation

Second Reading  Ephesians 1:3-14 ( shorter form Ephesians 1:3-10)
Paul teaches that we were chosen for Christ before the creation of the world.

Gospel Reading
Mark 6:7-13

 

We see in the first reading how Amos was chosen from the South to go to the North to be the “mouth piece of God”. In the same way Jesus “summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs” (Mk 6:7). One important aspect of the three-year earthly ministry of Jesus was that he formed a community of disciples. All the gospels mention the Twelve apostles, and the gospel of Luke even talks about a larger community of 72 others (Lk 10:1). We have been brought to life with a purpose. We are “called” in order to be “sent out” for a special mission which we need to discover as we mature in our faith. Blessed John Henry Newman says that “God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another”. Let us ask God’s grace to discover our mission. 

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July 5 - Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: to Reject and to be rejected

July 2nd, 2015

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First Reading  Ezekiel 2:2-5
The Lord sends the prophet Ezekiel to the Israelites.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 123:1-2,3-4
A prayer to God for mercy

Second Reading  2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Paul bears insults and weakness for the sake of Christ.

Gospel Reading
Mark 6:1-6

Shortly after He began His public ministry, Jesus went back to His hometown of Nazareth but it was far from being a happy homecoming. They gave Him the cold shoulder and He ended up leaving Nazareth never to return. Why? It was because they could not believe that God could come in ordinary ways. When God came in human flesh they could not accept him because that story was ‘too good to be true”. Evasion and avoidance have not been limited to the people of Jesus’ own hometown. Jesus might pass without my realizing it and He might pass without my being ready to welcome Him. Today’s Gospel also tells us another point: that those who want to serve must be ready to go through the experience of rejection because “we don’t grow when things are easy but we grow when we face challengers”. Something positive always comes out of something negative. Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze us but they're supposed to help you discover who you are. 

 

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June 28 - Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: God who is close to us

June 23rd, 2015

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First Reading  Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24
Death entered the world through the work of the devil.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 30:2,4,5-6,11,12,13
A prayer of thanksgiving to God for having rescued us

Second Reading  2 Corinthians 8:7,9,13-15
As Christ became poor for our sake, so must we share with those in need from our abundance.

Gospel Reading
Mark 5:21-43 ( shorter form, Mark 5:21-24,35b-43)

Why did Jesus go all the way to Jairus's house and take his little daughter by the hand in order to bring her back to life? Why not just do it from a distance? It is because God wants to be close to us; he wants to share His very life with us (the divine life), he wants to live in friendship with us. He wants to be part of our lives (to get involved with us -in all its ups and downs- and wants us to be a part of His life.  That’s the whole meaning of INCARNATION: God becoming man. He is Emmanuel: God with us. God truly does want to walk by our side through the Church’s sacraments. They are instruments through which God enters into the very flesh and blood of our daily lives just as Jesus entered into the house of Jairus. Our God doesn't keep his distance; he walks by our side.

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