March 25 - Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday : Human abandonment of Jesus

March 21st, 2018



Gospel at the Procession with Palms Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16
Jesus enters Jerusalem as the crowds shout, “Hosanna!”


First Reading Isaiah 50:4-7
The Lord's servant will stand firm, even when persecuted.


Responsorial Psalm Psalm 22:8-9,17-18,19-20,23-24
A cry for help to the Lord in the face of evildoers


Second Reading Philippians 2:6-11
Christ was obedient even to death, but God has exalted him.


Gospel Reading Mark 14:1—15:47 (shorter form: Mark 15:1-39)


Palm Sunday is the great doorway into Holy Week, the week when the Lord Jesus makes his way towards the culmination of his earthly existence. Today’s liturgy calls us to keep in mind two points. 1) The early Church Fathers saw a symbol in the gesture of the people who followed Jesus, the gesture of spreading out their clothes/coats before the Lord. Before Christ –the Fathers said- we must spread out our lives in an attitude of gratitude and adoration.   2) The totality of the human abandonment of Jesus which is portrayed by Mark. All flee, with the last one leaving even his clothes behind in order to get away from Jesus – the opposite of leaving all things to follow him. Have you abandoned Jesus like that young man reported in the Gospel of Mark?


March 18 - Fifth Sunday in Lent: Dying to oneself

March 14th, 2018



First Reading  Jeremiah 31:31-34

Jeremiah tells the people that the Lord will make a new covenant with them, planting the law within their hearts.


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 51:3-4,12-13,14-15 A

prayer for God's mercy and forgiveness


Second Reading  Hebrews 5:7-9

Through his sufferings, Jesus gained salvation for all who obey him.


Gospel Reading John 12:20-33


In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that unless a grain of wheat dies, it cannot bear fruit. Or to put it another way, unless we die to our own will, we cannot bear fruit for God. It is a paradox and a bitter one. The paradox of life through death would not puzzle us so much if we were to look at the nature and human growth. Our highest life dos not consist in self-expression but in self-sacrifice. It is not we take up but what we give up that makes us and others rich. Dying to self would often mean, sacrificing one’s self-will,  for the sake of God’s will, which is his law, “placed within us and written upon our hearts” (Jer 31:33). Dying to self often means sacrificing ourselves for the sake of others. Only by dying to our self-seeking and vain ambitions, can we bring life to others, spreading joy and inspiring hope. If one has found nothing worth dying for, then probably found nothing worth living for. Let us pray: “Lord Jesus help us imitate the wheat and the grapes and offer our lives to you for whatever use you wish to make of them”. 


March11 - Fourth Sunday in Lent : The measure of God’s love

March 8th, 2018



First Reading  2 Chronicles 36:14-16,19-23

The causes for the Israelites' captivity in Babylon are described.


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 137:1-2,3,4-5,6

A lament from exile for the loss of Jerusalem


Second Reading  Ephesians 2:4-10

In grace we have been saved, so that we may do the work of the Lord.


Gospel Reading John 3:14-21


Nicodemus is a leading Jew who comes to Jesus from the darkness of the night but he finds difficult to understand beyond his Jewish upbringing and training. So Jesus trys to show him how the history of salvation, from the fall of Adam until the final judgment revolves around the coming of Jesus Christ, the savior, the Son of God. Why did the Father send him? Because he “loved the world so much”. God simply couldn't bear to see us perish in our sins: he longed to share with us his everlasting lifer. God cares. St. Augustine used to say that “God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love”. Hence the verses 16 and 17 of the Chapter 3 of Johns Gospel is known as “the summery of the Bible” and “essence of the Gospel”. This is a cause for great JOY and so his 4th Sunday of Lent is also known as the “Laetare Sunday” which is the ‘Sunday of rejoicing’. The rose colour vestments used today are a symbol of that joy, like the pink horizon that comes before a beautiful sunrise. But in the life of Jesus, it is the “lifting up’. In the Cross that God’s love is made known to us in a powerful way. The Cross shows us how much God loves us. “To love is to give” and this is the message of the Cross. It is ‘sacrificial love’.  Can we love as Jesus loves? That means we should love without counting the cost and without expecting anything in return. Love through pain and suffering. 


March 4 - Third Sunday in Lent : Reverence vs Religion

March 1st, 2018



First Reading  Exodus 20:1-17 (or shorter form, Exodus 20:1-3,7-8,12-17)

Moses is given the Ten Commandments.


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 19:8,9,10,11

A prayer of praise to God who gives us his commandments


Second Reading  1 Corinthians 1:22-25

Paul preaches Christ crucified to the Corinthians.


Gospel Reading John 2:13-25


The Gospel for the third Sunday of Lent interrupts the Mark’s Gospel we have been reading to give us a little of John’s. It is here to show us the prophecy of Jesus Resurrection – the event that we are preparing for in Lent, but I would like you to also note that the one time that Jesus gets angry that we are told about happens here as well. It happens because Jesus sees the commandments of our relationship to God being damaged. The house of God, the temple where God dwelt was considered sacred. It was where worship was held, it was where God’s name was never taken in vain, but glorified. Yet the porticos of the Temple were surrounded by trade and finance, and indeed, more emphasis was being put on the buying and selling than the worship and sacrifice itself. Jesus’ anger caused the event that did more than any other to upset the priests and Pharisees and directly led to the death he was about to suffer. So it is an important event. In some sense it was foolish of Jesus and because he gave into his human violence, it may have led to his own violent death. But Paul tells us God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” God had a plan, and that plan brought about nothing less than the salvation of all people.


February 24 - Second Sunday of Lent : Rhythms of Ecstasy and Agony

February 20th, 2018



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. 


February 18 - First Sunday of Lent: Renounce Satan with the power of the Word of God

February 15th, 2018


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. 


February 11 - Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Broken but Restored

February 8th, 2018


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.


February 4 - Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Saved to Serve

February 4th, 2018



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.


January 28 - Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Speaking with Authority

January 31st, 2018



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”.




January 21 - Third Sunday in ordinary Time :Seek that which lasts

January 31st, 2018



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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