September 25 – Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Who is the Lazarus in my life?

September 21st, 2016

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First Reading  Amos 6:1,4-7
God will judge the complacency of the people and their leaders.


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 146:7-10
Happy are those who find solace in God, the help of the poor.


Second Reading  1 Timothy 6:11-16
Paul exhorts Timothy to stay faithful to God in all things.


Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31


 

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarushas left Bible readers wondering why the rich man had to go to hell. We are nottold he acquired his wealth by foul means or that he was responsible for thepoverty and misery of Lazarus or that he committed any crime or evil deed. Hewent to hell not for the things he did but for the things he didn't do. Weoften think that we sin by doing what we are not supposed to do -by thought,word and deed (i.e. the sin of commission). Today’s parable reminds us that thesin of omission can land someone in hell. The poor man Lazarus waslying at his gate. And the rich man simply couldn't care less. Of course he didnothing against Lazarus. But he has failed to do a good deed, failed to reachout and share a little of his blessings with someone in need. His sin is thatof omission, and for that he was going to roast in hell.

 

Another problem we have with this parableis why Lazarus went to heaven. This is the only parable of Jesus where thecharacter in the story has a name. So the name must be significant forinterpreting the parable. The name “Lazarus” means “God is my help.”Lazarus, therefore, is not just a poor man, but a poor man who believes andtrusts in God, which opens the gates of heaven to him.

The good news of this parable is this: Ifyou feel like a Lazarus right now, battered by sickness, poverty and pain,forgotten by society and by those whom God has blessed in this life, continuebelieving and trusting in God knowing that it will be well with your soul inthe end. If you see yourself as one of those blessed by God with the goodthings of life, open your door and see. Probably there is a Lazarus lying atyour gates and you have not taken notice.

 

These readings remind us that the law oflove (see John 15:12; Romans 13:8) means that each of us in some way will bejudged by the mercy we show to the poor. As the rich man learns in the parableof Lazarus - the distance between ourselves and God in the next life may be thedistance we put between ourselves and the poor in this life (see Matthew25:31-46; James 2:8,14-17).

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September 18: Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time -The parable of the Unjust Steward

September 13th, 2016

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First Reading  Amos 8:4-7
Unfair business practices and injustice to the poor will be judged by God.


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 113: 1-2,4-6,7-8
Praise be to God, who raises up the poor.


Second Reading
1 Timothy 2:1-8


In today’s Gospel, Jesus relates the parable of the Unjust Steward. It’s a verytricky parable. The steward was a rogue, who dishonestly reduced the quantum ofdebts of his master’s tenants, but the master praised his cleverness. Themaster praised not his dishonesty, but his foresight, prudence and astuteness.We can learn a lot of lessons for our spiritual life from the way men behaveand organize their worldly affairs. We should not adopt their goals, but we canprofitably use their methods for our spiritual well being. We should hate theirends, but we must love to adopt their methods. The children of this world maybe wise but their wisdom pertains only to this passing world. Though thisworldly wealth is not to be trusted for our happiness, it could be used assubservient to our pursuit of our happiness in the other world. Now is the onlytime we have got to make good use of our gifts, talents and possession to gainheaven. 

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September 11 – Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Joyful Finding

September 8th, 2016

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First Reading  Exodus 32:7-11,13-14
Moses stands up to God, recalling all of God's great promises. 


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 51:3-4,12-13,17,19
Once we are forgiven, we can hope for a new heart and a fresh start.


Second Reading  1 Timothy 1:12-17
Paul proves it's never too late to repent and serve God. 


Gospel Reading
Luke 15:1-32   


The words of the father in the story, to the sulking elder brother, are filled with the pathos of Jesus’ appeal: ‘My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours’. The‘best robe’, the ‘ring’, the ‘sandals’ and the ‘feast’, all marks of special regard, point to a mercy and generosity that have no limits. We are left to imagine the aftermath. Surely, the son’s life is transformed, as he comes, at last, to share in the love in the heart of his father. The future the Saviour promises to the world, in fact, will be a sharing in the love of his Father (cf. John 14:25 etc). The merciful, loving heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the merciful, loving heart of God our heavenly Father. His mercy tirelessly seeks out each sinner and should the sinner respond there is delirious happiness and rejoicing in the whole court of heaven. To every sinner in the state of mortal sin I say as simply as I can, ‘Your sin is not the big deal you think it is; the big deal is your return to the merciful love of God. Trust in his mercy, not in your sin. And if you continue to sin, continue to trust and to return to his mercy.’

 

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September 4 - Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time : Hating our own life

August 30th, 2016

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First Reading  Sirach 3:17-18,20,28-29
Humble yourself and you will find favor with God


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm68:4-7,10-11
The just rejoice and exult before God.


Second Reading  Hebrews 12:18-19,22-24
You have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.


Gospel Reading
Luke 14:1,7-14


We have yet to comment on the phrase “hating our own life”. This is justan extension of the earlier part. Jesus wants our lives to be lived in totaltruth and love. Our lives are not to be determined and manipulated byattachments, desires, ambitions or fears and anxieties which can become verymuch part of ourselves. We are to live in total freedom. “None of you can be mydisciples unless he gives up all his possessions.” It is the ability to let go,even of health and life itself. Any aspect of a person or anything that lessensthat freedom to follow truth and love is to be “hated” and transcended. Today'steachings are addressed to people who have not yet made the option fordiscipleship but are considering it. It reminds Luke's Christian readers of thechoice they have already undertaken.

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August 27 - Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time : Take the Lower Place

August 24th, 2016

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First Reading  Isaiah 66:18-21
Nations of every language shall come to see my glory.


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 117:1-2
Praise the Lord, all you nations.


Second Reading  Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13
Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines. 


Gospel Reading
Luke 13:22-30 


In the Gospel of Luketoday we also hear Jesus talking about humility. Our Gospel acclamation todaysays “I am meek and gentle of heart.” Indeed this quality of humility is onefor which Jesus is very much a role model. We often talk about how Jesuslowered himself to become like us – a God becoming a man! How much more humblecould he be? So when Jesus talks about humility we know that he is “walking thetalk”! This idea is actually a theme in Luke, and it is the same theme that weread in the first reading: The greater you are, the more you must humbleyourself; so you will find favor in the sight of the Lord. Luke startedthis theme in the first chapter with the beautiful Magnificat of Mary we heardtwo weeks ago: He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he hassent away empty. He will end it with Jesus at the Last supper taking on therole of servant.

 

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August 21 – Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C : Enter through the narrow Gate

August 16th, 2016

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First Reading  Isaiah 66:18-21
Nations of every language shall come to see my glory.


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 117:1-2
Praise the Lord, all you nations.


Second Reading  Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13
Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines.


Gospel Reading
Luke 13:22-30


 “The gate to perdition is the devil,through whom we enter into hell; the gate of life is Christ, through whom weenter into the kingdom of Heaven. The Devil is said to be a wide gate, notextended by the mightiness of his power, but made broad by the license of hisunbridled pride. Christ said to be a strait Gate not with respect to smallnessof power, but to His humility; for He whom the whole world contains not, shutHimself within the limits of the Virgin’s womb” (St. John Chrysostom).

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August 15 - The Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven : Crown of Glory

August 15th, 2016

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The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church. On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII, exercising papal infallibility, declared in "Munificentissimus Deus" that it is a dogma of the Church "that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." As a dogma, the Assumption is a required belief of all Catholics; anyone who publicly dissents from the dogma, Pope Pius declared, "has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith." The "Magnificat," which we find in Luke's Gospel, indicates that the praise of the Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, intimately united to Christ her son, regards the Church of all times and places. The evangelist's report of these words presupposes that the glorification of Mary was already present at that time and that he saw it as a duty and task of the Christian community for all generations. Mary's words tell us that it is a duty of the Church to recall Our Lady's greatness in faith. This solemnity is, then, an invitation to praise God and to look to Our Lady's greatness since we know who God is by gazing about the faces of those who are His.

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August 14 - Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Fire upon the Earth

August 11th, 2016

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First Reading  Jeremiah 38:4-6,8-10
Jeremiah is punished for criticizing the wealthy for their corruption and theirinjustice to the poor.


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 40:2-4,18
A prayer for God's help


Second Reading  Hebrews 12:1-4
Let us persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyesfixed on Jesus.


Gospel Reading
Luke 12:49-53


Jesus makes an important statementin today's Gospel.

a. "I have come to bringfire on the earth." This is not the fire of destruction, the fire thatravages rain forests every year. It is the fire of heat and light. It is thefire that cleanses and purifies. It is the fire of God's presence as in theburning bush that Moses saw, as in the pillar of fire that accompanied theIsraelites in the desert, as in the tongues of fire at Pentecost where thebringing of fire was mandated to the disciples, to the Church, to all of us. Asa purifying fire it can also bring pain and purification but it ultimatelyleads to conversion and liberation.

c. "I have come not tobring peace but division." It is especially painful to hear the Gospelspeak of families being broken up because of Jesus. But this is less a prophecyor an expression of God's will than a description of the Church's very realexperience from the time the Gospels were being written down to our own day. In many countries, both Christianindividuals and Christian communities are seen as a threat to governments,various power groups and other religious groups. We saw this in practicallyevery Communist regime during this century: the Soviet Union, the East Europeansatellites, China and Vietnam. And these governments had reason to fear eventhough Stalin mockingly asked once how many divisions the Pope had. Yet it wasthe faith of Christians, who, without firing a shot (Stalin was right), wassignificantly instrumental in the collapse of Communism in Central and EasternEurope. Yet, in the long history of the Church, how many families have sufferedbecause members became Christians? Most of us – especially those who have livedin non-Christian or anti-Christian societies – probably have met someone whowas rejected by their family for becoming an active Christian. And, notinfrequently, persecution comes even from other Christians, from within theChurch itself. And how many people realize that there have been more martyrsfor the faith in the supposedly advanced and civilized 20th century than in allthe preceding centuries!

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August 7 - Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Being Faithful & Being Prepared

August 4th, 2016

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First Reading  Wisdom 18:6-9
The Hebrew people awaited the salvation of the just.

 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 33:1,12,18-22
Happy the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

 

Second Reading  Hebrews 11:1-2,8-19
We will look for the city designed and built by God.

 

Gospel Reading
Luke 12:32-48

 

 

Today the Gospel speaks to us -as the first theme- of the need to be prepared since our God is  a God who comes, a Godwho visits us. He can come to us in many ways. For example through theSacraments, through the Word of God, through the Priest, through the Communitygathered for worship, through the poor, the sick and the lowly, He could comeand speak to us through our live events and experiences etc etc. Are we readyto welcome him in all these modes of his coming? The second theme for todayspeaks to us the need to be faithful at all times. Thus Mother Theresa ofCalcutta would say : "God did not call us to be successful, but to befaithful." It is not what we do that matters at the end but how far wehave been faithful to Him and His Gospel. Let us ask God for the grace to beprepared all the time to welcome Him and that we be faithful we He callsus. 

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July 31 - Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: The Fool’s Vanity

July 28th, 2016

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First Reading  Genesis 18:20-32
Abraham pleads with God to save the innocent people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 138:1-3,6-8
Lord, on the day I cried for help, you answered me.

Second Reading  Colossians 2:12-14
You were buried with Christ in Baptism and also raised with him.

Gospel Reading
Luke 11:1-13

 

Trust in God - as the Rock of our salvation, as the Lord who made us His chosen people, as our shepherd and guide. This should be the mark of our following of Jesus. We can harden our hearts in ways more subtle but no less ruinous. We can put our trust in possessions, squabble over earthly inheritances, kid ourselves that what we have we deserve, store up treasures and think they’ll afford us security, rest. All this is “vanity of vanities,” a false and deadly way of living, as this week’s First Reading tells us. This is the greed that Jesus warns against in this week’s Gospel. The rich man’s anxiety and toil expose his lack of faith in God’s care and provision. That’s why Paul calls greed “idolatry” in the Epistle this week. Mistaking having for being, possession for existence, we forget that God is the giver of all that we have, we exalt the things we can make or buy over our Maker (see Romans 1:25). Jesus calls the rich man a “fool” - a word used in the Old Testament for someone who rebels against God or has forgotten Him (see Psalm 14:1). We should treasure most the new life we have been given in Christ and seek what is above, the promised inheritance of heaven. We have to see all things in the light of eternity, mindful that He who gives us the breath of life could at any moment - this night even - demand it back from us.

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