April 4, 2020

Holy Week - 2020

Palm Sunday - A

Pope Francis' Message for Holy Week 2020



March 28, 2020

5th Sunday of Lent - A (March 29, 2020)


“Untie him and let him go”

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

Lazarus was ill.
His sisters sent word to Jesus saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.”

When Jesus saw Mary and the people weeping, “he became perturbed and deeply troubled.”

“And Jesus wept.”

So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”

With the current health crisis that our world is facing, let us spend some time meditating on these words.  Let us live the love that Jesus has for us, which is revealed in a unique way when we suffer.

“If you believe, you will see the glory of God.”

We know the rest of the story. 

But not just the story of Lazarus.

More importantly, we know the story of Jesus, who is the Resurrection and life.  



March 21, 2020

4th Sunday of Lent - A (March 22, 2020)


Jesus Sought Us Out

“As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.”
The man did not ask Jesus to heal him.  Nor did anybody else do so on the man’s behalf.

Jesus reached out to the man in need and healed him. 

At the end of the Gospel passage, “when Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him.”  The verb here could mean that Jesus came across the man (by chance).  It could also be translated as Jesus sought him out. 

That Jesus took the initiative to heal the man, and what Jesus would say next indicate that Jesus sought him out.  “I came so that those who do not see might see.”

In these days of anxiety and much suffering, may we be more aware and believe that Jesus knows our sufferings and our needs.  May we believe that he always reaches out and heals us.   

Image:  El Greco, Healing of the Man Born Blind, wikipedia.org

March 14, 2020

3rd Sunday of Lent - A (March 15, 2020)


Savior of the World

Today, Jesus tells us that he is and he gives us water of life.  His words of truth free us and bring us into the family of God, as they did for the woman and the people of that Samaritan town.

The next two Sundays, He will reveal that He is “the light of the world,” “the resurrection and the life.”

He “is truly the savior of the world.”

The Samaritans in today’s Gospel believes in him.

May we have the same faith.     


Image:  Sébastien Bourdon - Christ and the Samaritan Woman, commons.wikimedia.org

March 7, 2020

2nd Sunday of Lent - A (March 8, 2020)


The Vision

Lent in some ways offers us a chance to visit the spiritual eye doctor to check or refocus our vision.

The vision is Jesus Christ, the “beloved Son, with whom God is well pleased.”  He is the model for us to live as God’s sons and daughters. 

We see this vision when we pray and we reflect on his life.  This life was given to others to the point of the cross.

We also learn about this vision when we listen to him, as God instructs us. 

Living this vision is living a holy life (2nd reading) that brings blessing to “all the communities of the earth” (1st reading).
Image source:  www.agnusday.org

February 29, 2020

1st Sunday of Lent - A (March 1, 2020)


Three Temptations, Three Lenten Practices

The three temptations that Jesus faced have one thing in common – to be in control.
First, to be in control of taking care of ourselves and our wants and needs.
Second, to be in control of God – we want God to do what we want, to provide for what we need (even in the way and at the time we want it).
Third, to be in control of others.

Which of these three is God inviting me to work on this Lent?  Probably a little of all three.

And the three Lenten practices (disciplines) the Church teaches us can be helpful accordingly.
Fasting helps us to learn through hunger, thirst, and want that we are not in control of our own destiny, and that we depend on God and others.
Prayer helps us to let God be in control.
Almsgiving helps us to focus not on ourselves but others, not on our wants but the needs of others.   
Image source:  www.agnusday.org

February 22, 2020

7th Sunday - A (February 23, 2020)


Your Heavenly Father is Perfect

Jesus continues to show us how we can be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Last week, we could summarize the practices he taught as, “It is not enough to avoid evil, we must do good.”

Similarly, today’s Gospel can be summarized as, “Not only should we not take revenge, we must love those who wrong us.”

That is the way of God, which Jesus is inviting us to follow.  That is the way to become more like the heavenly Father who is perfect. 

Lent begins this Wednesday, this invitation from Jesus should be the motivation and purpose of our Lenten practices.  
Image source:  www.agnusday.org

February 15, 2020

6th Sunday - A (February 16, 2020)


Fulfilment

Earlier in Matthew 5, Jesus told the disciples to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.”

Immediately following that, Jesus now tells the disciples some concrete practices for them to share in his mission of fulfilling the law.

Two examples from the list:
It is not enough not to kill.  The disciples must treat others with love and respect. 

It is not enough to avoid false oaths.  The disciples must live with integrity and honesty. 

By living these new applications of God’s law, the disciples would be salt of the earth and light of the world.  
Image source:  www.agnusday.org

February 8, 2020

5th Sunday - A (February 9, 2020)


Two Conditions of Being Disciples of Jesus

Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world.”

Consequently, if I am not salt of the earth and do not bring light into the world, I am not living as a disciple of Jesus. 

It is also to note Paul’s reminder that Jesus Christ crucified is the true salt and light, not me (2nd reading).  I don't have to generate my own salt or light.  I am only His instrument.  

Image source:  www.agnusday.org

February 1, 2020

Presentation of the Lord (February 2, 2020)


God’s Consecration

The feast of the Presentation of the Lord marks the event when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple so that Jesus might be “consecrated to the Lord.”

With Baptism, all Christians are consecrated to God, which means “to be made holy” or “to be dedicated to a sacred purpose.” [1]

Saint Pope John Paul II highlighted this concept of consecration when he established this day to be the World Day of Consecrated Life in 1997.  Religious profession or consecration continues this gift of holiness in men and women who God calls to this way of life.

Please pray for us religious to be more faithful and generous in our response to God’s consecration – to be holy.  

Please encourage young people to consider this vocation, and pray for those who God calls it.  May they listen and be open to God’s invitation to consecrate their lives to God, guided by the Holy Spirit, so that the whole world may see God’s salvation in Jesus Christ.


--------------
[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com
Image source:  Philippe de Champaigne, The Presentation in the Temple.  commons.wikimedia.org 

 

January 25, 2020

3rd Sunday - A (January 26, 2020)


To Me, Here, and Now

Pope Francis, reflecting on this Gospel passage, pointed out that Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James and Joh while they are “in the middle of their daily activity.”  Likewise, “the Lord reveals himself to us in everyday circumstances of our life.” [1]

St. Matthew also points out that Jesus began his ministry in Galilee, not Jerusalem, the religious center of Judaism.  The population of Galilee included the gentiles.  On these people, where they were, the light of God shone.    

Today, Jesus continues to be the light for us as who we are and where we are.

-------------
[1]  Pope Francis, Reflection during the Angelus, January 22, 2017.  Quoted in Give Us This Day, January 2020 issue, p. 271.

 Image source: Pietro da Cortona, Calling of St. Peter and St. Andrew
commons.wikimedia.org

January 18, 2020

2nd Sunday - A (January 19, 2020)


The Lamb of God Who Takes away the Sins of the World

Instead of some reflections on this Sunday’s readings, I’d rather put together a summary that I found run through these readings.

I’ve been reflecting on this summary, and I’d like to invite you to do the same.

The Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world (Gospel).  He thus “sanctifies us” and makes us “holy” (2nd Reading).  Consequently, what is true about Jesus Christ is now true for us:  Each one of us is now “a light to the nations, that [God’s] salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” (1st Reading).


 Image source:  Diego Velázquez, Christ Crucified, Museo del Prado, Madrid 
www.wikipedia.org

January 11, 2020

Baptism of the Lord (January 12, 2020)


The Mission of the Son of God, Our Mission

Jesus came to be baptized by John, even know he had no need for it.  It was for us that the “beloved Son” of God came to be with us, so that we, sinners, might become children of God. 

By now, most of the Christmas lights and decorations have been taken down, Nativity scenes put back in storage.  How do we know that the Savior who came to us sinners remains with us?  And what do we do to help people who do not know Jesus to experience his presence?

Jesus empowers us to continue his mission, the mission announced by Isaiah (First Reading):  “I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”  

Image source: www.agnusday.org

January 4, 2020

Epiphany of the Lord (January 5, 2020)


Our Guiding Star

The miraculous star and various people assisted the magi in their search for the newborn King.  God works through people, things, and events to guide us on our journey to Him. 

In this new year, let’s pray that we may be more receptive to God’s manifold guidance as God continues to draw us to God.

In particular, God gives us a kind of GPS in the Gospels, Prayer, and the Sacraments, which we celebrate and receive in the community of the Church.  May this GPS be the star to guide us to the King of all nations.

Image source:  www.agnusday.org