February 18, 2017

7th Sunday - A (February 19, 2017)

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Commentary


I Say to You …

The idea behind the rule “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is to ensure that revenge does not get out of hand (a kind of punishment that fits the crime).  It is for the preservation of a community and a tribe.

The law of Jesus goes beyond the benefits of one community or tribe, or even one people or one nation.  Jesus gives and is the new law of love for all humanity.  In Christ, all are brothers and sisters, children of the same Heavenly Father. 

Yet, in our world today, we, Christians included, might not even put a community first.  We often operate by the principle, “What’s in it for me.” 

As Jesus continues to teach the new law, today’s Gospel certainly offers us a chance for some examination of conscience. 

How am I living for all others the way Jesus Christ does?

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February 10, 2017

6th Sunday - A (February 12, 2017)


Commentary
Matthew 5: 17-37

Who, not What, to Follow

Laws, rules, principles, customs, and regulations provide the necessary basics and foundations.  This can be seen in games, sports, music, arts, etc.  as well as in family life and all human relationships.

Let’s take the example of a sport.  There are certain rules that everybody needs to follow in the game.  Then there are the basic techniques, set plays, strategies, etc. 

A start athlete knows the rules, and masters the techniques and strategies.  Yet, he/she becomes a star for the creativity and moments of ingenuity. 

So it is with Christian spiritual life.

There are the basics, which the law, traditions, and principles provide, for all to observe. 

But it is Jesus Christ who inspires, and who is the supreme model for Christians to follow.  In this way, Christians continue to be the presence of Christ to others, the light of the world, and the salt of the earth (the theme which began with last week’s Gospel passage).

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February 4, 2017

5th Sunday - A (February 5, 2017)


Commentary


Light of the World

When Matthew introduces Jesus’ public ministry, he identifies Jesus as the light, citing the Prophet Isaiah, “the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” (4:16, the Gospel we heard 2 Sundays ago).

Today, Jesus calls us to be the light of the world.  He shares his mission with us [1].

In order to be the light of Christ to the world, we must live as he has lived. 

Looking at the Sunday Gospels continuously, the Beatitudes, which we heard last week, are our guides.  

We know that only Jesus lives the Beatitudes to perfection [2].  The better we live the Beatitudes, the brighter our reflection of Christ’s light. 


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[2] . Saint Pope John Paul II. “The Beatitudes are a self-portrait of Christ.”  Tweeted by Rocco Palmo, http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com

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January 28, 2017

4th Sunday - A (January 29, 2017)


Commentaries


Beatitudes = Jesus’ Qualities

“[Jesus’] disciples came to him.  He began to teach them, saying …”

By this introduction, Matthew seems to indicate, “If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, these are the qualifications….”

Moreover, Jesus does not simply teach by words.  This is truly the list of his own qualities, what he lives by.

By teaching them to the disciples, Jesus offers his own qualities to be the qualities or guidelines for those who are his followers (disciples).

If I want to be his follower, these are the qualities I must strive for.   

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January 21, 2017

3rd Sunday - A (January 22, 2017)

Commentary 


Single Purpose

Matthew introduces the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee pointing out that Jesus is fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy.  In other words, by preaching in “Galilee of the Gentiles,” Jesus is fulfilling God’s plan of salvation for all people.

Jesus’ life has a single purpose – doing the Father’s will.  His ministry in Galilee is the beginning of this mission [1].  And everything he does serves that purpose.

When he called the first disciples, they followed him “at once” (in the case of Simon and Andrew) or “immediately” (in the case of James and John).  In fact, it is the same adverb in the Greek text.

Was it because they felt drawn by Jesus who was so clear about the mission of his life?  And they became a part of that mission. 

That attitude was the desire the Apostle Paul wanted for the Christian community of Corinth, “that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose” (2nd Reading). 

All of us should desire for that same attitude – living life with a single purpose – being the instruments of God’s salvation to all people.  





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[1]  The translation reads “withdrew.”  It does not mean Jesus retreated or ran away in face of danger when he learned that John had been arrested.  It simply means he “returned” to Galilee. (Rev. John Petty, http://www.progressiveinvolvement.com)

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January 15, 2017

2nd Sunday - A (January 15, 2017)


Commentary

Jesus 101 – Christians 101

The Scripture readings for this Sunday give us at least 5 titles or identities of Jesus.

As you read, try substituting your name for Jesus in each of the five sentences.

From the Gospel:
 
1.    At the baptism at the Jordan, Jesus is identified as “the Son of God.”
2.    Jesus is the Anointed One (meaning, the Christ).
3.    The Holy Spirit is with Jesus. (“The Holy Spirit comes down and remains with him.”)

From the Second Reading:
4.    Jesus is holy.

From the First Reading:
5.    Jesus is the light, through whom God shows God’s glory to the nations.

What is true about Jesus is true about us.
With Baptism, all of us Christians have been baptized into Christ, and become members of Christ’s Body.

Then, let us reflect or ask ourselves, “How am I living these identities?”

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January 7, 2017

Epiphany of the Lord



Commentary

Matthew 2:1-12

Ask

The magi ask and receive guidance on their search for the Divine Child.

Some of those who help them are religious people, such as the chief priests and the scribes.

But not all.  Herod definitely is not.

God indeed works through all kinds of people and events, in this case the appearance of the star, to guide us to our Savior.   

We simply need to ask and be open.  


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