January 29, 2011


4th Sunday - A
Matthew 5: 1-12a

Who? You, Me, Everybody

In the Gospel according to Matthew, the first of Jesus' 5 major teachings runs from chapter 5 to chapter 7. The teachings from these 3 chapters make up The Sermon on the Mount.

And from the very beginning, in 5:1, Matthew makes sure to indicate who the teaching is for: "the crowds." Then, at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew brings the audience back, probably as a reminder, "When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching." (7:28) [1]

Moreover, before Matthew begins the Sermon in 5:1, he clearly points out the background of the people who make up "the crowds." In 4:24, he reports that "[Jesus'] fame spread to all of Syria," which was the Roman Province that Palestine belonged to. Thus, "great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him" (4:25). These were all the areas where Palestine Jews lived during the time of Jesus. [2]

In addition, Matthew, as commonly accepted, wrote the Gospel for his community that was made up of mainly Jewish Christians (based on his use of the Jewish Scripture or Old Testament, certain Jewish expressions, historical references, etc).

The Sermon on the Mount - the way of God's Kingdom - is then for all people who are willing to listen to Jesus. It is not the law of perfection for a selected few. It is for the crowds who are called from all over to enter the Kingdom of God.

This way of God is for you, for me, and for everybody.

[1] Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., The Gospel of Matthew, Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 78.
[2] Ibid., p. 73.

4th Sunday - A (January 30, 2011)

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January 22, 2011


3rd Sunday - A
Matthew 4: 12-23

God's Time

The words of Isaiah quoted by Matthew in this Gospel passage was given over 700 years before Jesus came to Capernaum.

"Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen."

In 733 BC, Assyria conquered Israel. Zebulun and Naphtali were "the northernmost" areas of the country that were first overrun by the Assyrian armies. [1]

It was shortly after this defeat that Isaiah gave the prophecy. It seemed to be intended first as a promise of deliverance from foreign occupation and a better future for Israel.

In Isaiah's mind, that was probably the only meaning.

Matthew, however, gives a deeper understanding of the prophecy. Jesus Christ is the true fulfillment of the prophecy. He came to enlighten not just the children of Israel, but also all the nations.

It takes over 700 years for the prophecy to be fulfilled.

God does not take anything lightly; especially when it comes to our salvation.

[1] Joseph Jensen, O.S.B., "Isaiah 1 - 39" in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, edited by Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland E. Murphy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990; p. 236.

3rd Sunday - A (January 23, 2011)


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January 14, 2011


2nd Sunday - A
John 1: 29-34

For this Reason I Came

"The reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel."

John knows that he is not the Lamb of God. More importantly, he knows who he is and what the mission of his life is.

Therefore, he is able to recognize the Lamb of God when he comes.

Knowing ourselves gives us the humility to know the purpose of our life. And more, it makes it easier to recognize who God is.

2nd Sunday - A (January 16, 2011)

January 8, 2011


Baptism of the Lord - A
Matthew 3: 13-17

The Heavens Were Opened

At the baptims of Jesus in the Jordan, the voice from the heavens proclaimed him God's beloved Son.

The proclamation of Jesus as the Son of God comes with the opening of the heavens. The verb is used in the passive voice -- "the heavens were opened."

God, with the sending of His Son, opens the heavens - the separation between humanity and God [1]. Now, men and women can communicate with God through the Son. In fact, through the Son's coming to us, God makes us God's sons and daughters.

Jesus is God's beloved Son. So am I, a beloved child of God.

[1] Daniel J. Harrington, The Gospel of Matthew (Sacra Pagina Series). Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 62.

Baptism of the Lord - A (January 9, 2011)

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January 1, 2011


Epiphany of the Lord
Matthew 2: 1-12

His Star

The magi come to Jerusalem asking for the newborn king of the Jews because they saw "his star at its rising." And it is the star that has guided them up to this point. The star will continue to lead them "to the place where the child" is.

In between, however, other people help guide the magi to the newborn king. They include religious leaders ("the chief priests and the scribes of the people"), the prophet of old, and even a cruel and manipulative king. Herod for sure does not intend to lead the magi to the newborn king for their good.

Isn't it amazing how God works through people?

How does God work in my life to draw me closer to God? Who have helped me find God? How do they do it?

Who have I led to an encounter with the Savior? In what way and circumstances has God worked through me to lead others to God?

Epiphany of the Lord (January 2, 2011)

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