April 5 - Easter Sunday : Experiencing Easter Everyday

March 26th, 2015

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First Reading  Genesis 1:1—2:2
God creates the heavens and the earth. (shorter form, Genesis 1:1,26-31a)

Second Reading Genesis 22:1-18 (shorter form, Genesis 22:1-2,9a,10-13,15-18)
God puts Abraham to the test.

Third Reading Exodus 14:15—15:1
The Israelites pass through the Red Sea.

Fourth Reading Isaiah 54:5-14
The Lord promises to redeem Israel.

Fifth Reading Isaiah 55:1-11
A call to return to the Lord who is merciful

Sixth Reading  Baruch 3:9-15,32—4:4
Israel is told to follow the way of God's commandments.

Seventh Reading  Ezekiel 36:16-17a,18-28
The Lord will cleanse Israel for the sake of his holy name.

Epistle  Romans 6:3-11
Those who have been baptized have died with Christ.

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 118:1-2,16-17,22-23
God's mercy endures forever.

Gospel Reading
Mark 16:1-7

The significance of Jesus' resurrection is that it offers for all believers the hope pf a new life here and now. Yes, we will all rise from the dead one day and share in eternal glory but even today, here and now we experience the power of Easter glory, the effects of Jesus' rising from the dead. we all testify to the power of the Resurrection among us when we don't let evil and death get the better of us but let the way of Jesus triumph in our lives through our faith, hope and love. 

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April 3 - Good Friday : By His wounds we have we healed.

March 26th, 2015

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Today we venerate the wood of the Cross because it was by His Cross that Jesus redeemed the world. No one can separate Jesus from His Cross: Where Christ is there is the Cross and where there is the Cross there is Jesus. The world may look at the Cross as a threat or as a curse or as a headache. But for a Christian the Cross is the road to salvation and holiness. Pope St. John Paul II said on the canonization of Bl. Padre Pio “difficulties and pain, is accepted with love become a privileged path to sanctity”. Each one of us has been given some type of a Cross. The presence of the Cross in our lives tells us that we are in the surest road to sanctity. Therefore let us ask the grace to embrace our little crosses with love. Because it is in the Cross that we find forgiveness, healing and salvation

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April 2 - Holy Thursday : The Day of Love

March 26th, 2015

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The Mass of the Lord's Supper is characterized by the announcement of the commandment of love and the gesture of washing the feet.What Jesus did at the last supper when he washed the feet of his disciples, was not just an act of humility. It was an act of love revealing our God who is ‘passionately loving in his self-giving service’. In Johns Gospel, the Eucharistic meal is a celebration of the whole life of Jesus Christ. The last supper is not separated from his other meals which he took with the publicans and sinners and with Pharisees and with well to do people and above all with his own disciples. Foot washing expresses what living a life of self-emptying love looks like in imitation of the Lord who emptied Himself for us and who still does in the Most Holy Eucharist. It has been traditionally referred to as the Mandatum, the Command. It is an invitation to become a man or woman poured out for others. A Christian who lives the love of Charity (Caritas), the Love of Jesus Christ, makes Jesus Christ real. In so doing, the Incarnation continues.

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March 29 - Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday : Human abandonment of Jesus

March 25th, 2015

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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?

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March 22 - Fifth Sunday in Lent: Dying to oneself

March 18th, 2015

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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”. 

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March15 - Fourth Sunday in Lent : The measure of God’s love

March 11th, 2015

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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. 

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March 8 - Third Sunday in Lent : Reverence vs Religion

March 5th, 2015

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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.

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March 1 - Second Sunday of Lent : Rhythms of Ecstasy and Agony

February 25th, 2015

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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. 

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February 22 - First Sunday of Lent : Knitting and reconciling creation together (2nd Sermon)

February 20th, 2015

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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

Saint Mark gives us this magnificent icon that’s stands at the heart of our Gospel reading. How wonderful for us to listen to this at the first Sunday of Lent. Listen to this: “The spirit drove Jesus out into the desert. He was among wild beasts. And the Angels ministered to him”. It’s a way of telling that Jesus is reconciling the whole creation with God and one another, Do you see how Jesus is knitting creation together? The spiritual and the material are now linked. The angels and the beasts are connected through him. He is the one definitively who listens to God and therefore, kind of fact, the knitting together of all of creation. He is the definitive Noah’s ark. This is what happens to us when we sin and refuse to listen God’s Word. It divides us. Your public life is split from your private life. You become a mess, a jumble of contradictions.  This is what happens when you stop listening to God. Your soul, to use classical language, is set against your body. Jesus is the one who reconciles the angels and the beasts. See what I mean? Jesus is the one who brings together, the spiritual and the material. When you surrender to him, then everything in you find its proper place. This zoo of worrying animals in you becomes the unity. And this is what the desert and the Lent is all about. 

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February 22 - First Sunday of Lent: Renounce Satan with the power of the Word of God

February 19th, 2015

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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. 

 

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