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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January 11- Baptism of the Lord

January 9th, 2015

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First Reading Isaiah 55:1-11
(The first reading from Cycle A, Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7, may also be chosen.)
Isaiah calls upon the people to return to the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm Isaiah 12:2-3,4-6
(
The psalm from Cycle A, Psalm 29:1-4,9-10, may also be chosen.)
A prayer of praise for God's salvation.

Second Reading 1 John 5:1-9
 (The second reading from Cycle A, Acts of the Apostles 10:34-38, may also be chosen.)
The Spirit of Truth testifies on behalf of Jesus, God's Son.

Gospel Reading
Mark 1:7-11

 

Today we celebrate the Lord’s baptism by John in the River Jordan.  Jesus had no need to be baptized, but the first theologians say that in His Baptism, with His body and His divinity he blessed all the waters, so that the waters would have the power to give Baptism. Today is a good day to remind ourselves about the Baptism we have received. As Catholics we believe that God has come to us in Jesus Christ to share His very own life with us. God loves us and wants to share His life with us and become totally a part of how we live, in all that we think, say and do. And how does that happen? As Catholics, we encounter God and receive His life into our lives through sacred signs called ‘Sacraments’. And there are Seven Sacraments. So the sacraments are a sign and instruments of how God shares His very life with us. We experience God’s saving presence in and through the sacraments. That is why the Sacraments are so important to us. That is why the Holy Mass is so important to us. Baptism gives us a new identity as God’s son and daughter. Baptism is an initiation into a way of living, an inauguration into a lifetime adventure in which we try to claim everyday our belovedness in God as we share His very life.

 

 

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January 4 - The Feast of the Epiphany: Follow the Star

January 2nd, 2015

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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.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 2:1-12

 

The Feast of the Epiphany could be understood by the three S. The first S is, to See. The wise men saw the star and they followed. God speaks to us through signs. Are we able to see and understand those sings? God tells us not to see with our physical eyes but to see with our hearts. The second S is Search. The wise men were searching for Christ. Once we have found the star we have to hvae a great desire to put our desire into action and seek after that sign. The last S is Submit or to obey. The wise men did this once they found Jesus and offered to Him the best of everything. All signs finally lead us to worship the Lord. Is there a star out there beckoning you? The star is the good out there to be sought, the truth to be embraced. Even our regrets about our weaknesses and sinfulness which can sometimes stir up our conscience could be that twinkling star. It may be a feeling of anger or guilt, or perhaps a sense of loss. Let that not frighten you. Let it not create clouds to hide it from you. Follow where that star leads and when it stops, go into the house, prostrate yourself and offer your gifts. The Eucharist that we celebrate today can be itself an epiphany, an encounter with that Star, a marvellous revelation of the love of Jesus in Word and Sacrament, for those who believe. May our celebration today be an epiphany that leads us to see God more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly.

 

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January First - The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God : The Blessing

December 29th, 2014

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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.

Gospel Reading
Luke 2:16-21

In the first reading we find the ancient prayer of blessing which God gave to Moses to hand on to Aaron and his sons: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Num 6:24-25). There is no more meaningful time than the beginning of a new year to hear these words of blessing: they will accompany our journey through the year opening up before us. The Mother of God is the first of the blessed, and it is she who bears the blessing; she is the woman who received Jesus into herself and brought him forth for the whole human family. Thus we can say that the message of hope contained in this blessing was fully realized in Mary. This was the very experience that the shepherds of Bethlehem too had, who reappear in today’s Gospel. They had the experience of standing in God’s presence and seeing the Blessing. Let us ask the grace to behold this Blessing, to receive that blessing and to be a blessing to all whom we meet.

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December 28 - The Feast of the Holy Family

December 26th, 2014

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First Reading
Genesis 15:1-6; 21:1-3
(or the first reading from Cycle A: Sirach 3:2-7,12-14)
God fulfills his promise to Abraham, and Sarah gives birth to a son.

 

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 105:1-6,8-9 (or the psalm from Cycle A: Psalm 128:1-5)
A prayer of thanksgiving to God for his faithfulness to his covenant.

 

Second Reading
Hebrews 11:8,11-12,17-19 (or the second reading from Cycle A: Colossians 3:12-21)
Paul examines Abraham's example of faith.

Gospel Reading
Luke 2:22-40 (or shorter form: Luke 2:22,39-40)

 

 

This Feast of the Holy Family can help us see that families can be holy. The story of the Holy Family is the story of life not always turning out the way you expected. It’s the story of a teenage mother, conceiving a child before she was married.  It’s the story of an anxious father, confronting scandal, planning on divorce. It’s the story of a family forced to become refugees, living as immigrants in the land that once held their ancestors as slaves.  It’s the story of a missing child, and days of anxious searching by his parents. The Holy Family has to go through all the difficulties and challenges like a normal human family. But there had two great qualities: Trust in God and sacrificial love. These are the same two qualities which will bring happiness and fulfilment to our families as well.

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December 25 - The Nativity of our Lord: God enters our messy world

December 23rd, 2014

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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.

Gospel Reading
Luke 2:1-14

 

Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger. Why did God chose this messy condition, this dirty place to be born? The crib/the stable is a symbol. It is a symbol of our tainted nature, symbol of our wounded humanity and messy world. God wanted to be a part of this messy and sinful world. God wanted to be born to a broken and a wounded world. If the Word truly dwelt among us, then he was part of a family that, like most, was fairly dysfunctional, a mix of the good and bad, the saintly and the sinful, the glorious and the not so glorious. And this is such good news for us. The good news of Christmas is that God himself pushed into the dysfunctional and ambiguous family of man. And he continues to join us, even though we, like so many of his Israelite ancestors, are unworthy of him. Like them, we are flawed, compromised, half-finished. But he becomes our brother anyway. That's the amazing grace of the Incarnation. What appears to be our most chaotic, congested, convoluted times in our lives might be the best time for God to enter and be born (and flood us with his saving grace). 

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December 21 - Fourth Sunday in Advent: Nothing is impossible with God

December 20th, 2014

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First Reading
2 Samuel 7:1-5,8b-12,14a,16
The Lord promises David that he will raise from his descendents a kingdom that will endure forever.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 89:2-5,27,29
A prayer of praise to the Lord for his faithfulness to his covenant.

Second Reading
Romans 16:25-27
Paul praises God for making his revelation known.

Gospel Reading
Luke 1:26-38

 

Today’s Gospel presents to us the Annunciation to Mary by archangel Gabriel. Mary knew that from the human point of view she may not even be able to bring her pregnancy to its full term but she had faith to believe that what is impossible for us is possible for God. And so with that faith she said “yes.” She surrendered into the hands of God, and it really was surrendering because she did not know what the consequences would be. But she had faith to believe that no matter what difficulties would follow, God would provide a way out and a remedy. Mary’s final words to the angel are a model for each of us, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) And because Mary surrendered to God, Jesus came. Mary shows us how to be a follower of Jesus, making a loving surrender into the hands of God who loves us. When we wonder if we can make such an act of trust and abandonment into the hands of God let us remember that when God calls us he also gives us the grace.

 

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