Sunday Gospel Reflection - 2nd Sunday of Easter - A

On this Second Sunday of Easter,  we celebrate the Feast of Christ, the King of Divine Mercy.  We do so not only in response to a specific request made by Jesus himself to Saint Faustina Kowalska, but also as a manifestation of our need to experience God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Our observance should fill our hearts with trust and faith not only in the reality of Christ’s resurrection, but also from his merciful love.  Jesus is, indeed, the King of Divine Mercy.  Our participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice should, likewise, be a commitment that is extended to our neighbor of the mercy we implore from God for ourselves.  We will do so not only by forgiving our offenders, but by practicing the works of corporal and spiritual mercy that make our love of neighbor genuinely “Christ-like.”

Fr. Norlito Concepcion

 

 

Easter Sunday Gospel Refection - A

Proclamation and witness are the two central themes running through this morning’s Easter Sunday readings.  In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter speaks about his own experience and shares that experience with the listening crowds. Peter is filled with the joy of knowing with utter conviction that Jesus, who died on the Cross, is now alive.  He simply must share that same joy with others – so that it can be theirs, too. 

Similarly, Paul’s experience of the resurrection leads him to advise us that we need to keep focus on the risen Christ, since Christ is our life.  For Paul, we know that his experience of the Risen Lord brought a total revolution to his life, and gave him a total new vision of things and especially of the meaning of Jesus' life and message.

In the Gospel, we have the experience of the empty tomb as a sign that Jesus is risen.  The discovery of the empty tomb by Mary Magdala leads to her running back to tell the disciples that Lord's body is not in the tomb. Peter and John went to the tomb and found just as Mary of Magdala had reported.  That experience may have been very disappointing, but it was also a clear message that Christ is risen as he had said. 

John the Evangelist, who writes the Gospel, tells us that he entered into the empty tomb, “he saw and he believed”.  He believed that the Lord is risen indeed.  That experience strengthened the faith of the disciples in the resurrection, and completely transformed their lives.  Renewed in their conviction, they were moved to witness to the mystery of the resurrection.

The message we take home on this Easter Sunday is that Easter is not an event we celebrate annually to remember the resurrection of Christ.  Rather Easter is an encounter with the risen Lord that touches us so deeply that we cannot be the same again.  Easter is a way of life in which we live our Easter faith without fear.

Msgr. John  Mbinda

 

 

Every Individual in our Church Takes Part

This Sunday, the Gospel is proclaimed by someone besides a priest or deacon.  Every individual in our church takes part.  It’s a great privilege and it literally gives us a role in Christ’s passion.  However, what do we say? What lines are we given? 

“He deserves to die!"  -  " Barabbas!”  -  “Let him be crucified!” 

“Crucify him!”  -  “Take him away, crucify him!

We are the mob, and we cruelly assist in condemning Christ to death.  The great irony, of course, is that we do it while clutching the palms.  They are a reminder and an indictment.  While we were standing here, crying out “Crucify him!”, we were clutching the branches that we use to sing out “Hosanna”.  The palms reveal our very human duplicity of how easily we turn.  How quickly we pivot from faithful to faithless, from belief to doubt, from being disciples to being betrayers.  We start out acting like angels, singing “Hosanna”, and we end up just being the mob.

In our own brokenness and sinfulness, we ask that he remember us.  We pray that we may be better than we are, and receive better than we deserve. We pray that we, who often deserve to be forgotten, may be remembered.

So, this is the day we remember.   We remember Christ’s journey to the    

cross, which began with his journey into Jerusalem.  We remember our role in his passion – our own sinfulness.

As we journey forward this Holy Week, let us look at the palms and what we are called to do, and who we are called to be.

Dcn. Romeo Ganibe

 

 

Sunday Gospel Reflection - 5th Sunday of Advent - A

The fifth Sunday of lent leads us to the reflection of Christ’s role in our existence, as the “source of our life and resurrection”.  The death of Lazarus makes us reflect on the many forms of “death” that afflict mankind and which make us shed tears of sorrow and compassion. It is not just the physical death that we must morn but that that of the death of the sanctity of our souls caused by sin and unbelief.  

Jesus’ calling Lazarus back to life portrays Him as the conqueror of death, foreshadowing his own resurrection which is to come, and justification of the righteous who put faith in Him day and night.  The event of Lazarus’ resuscitation is also a symbol of so many spiritual and moral “resurrections” brought about by Jesus. 

As branches on one vine, and Jesus himself is the vine, we can do nothing unless we are fully and truly united with Him who gives us the nourishment to make our good works as fruits, worthy of God.  Grateful to Him for the gifts we received, we ask Him to lead us and drive us to work, united with him and not separate from Him. We entrust to him, ourselves and the people who are emotionally or affectively or spiritually “dead.”

May we all share in the fullness of his life, especially through the celebration of the Eucharist that gives us life in the spirit and always keep us mantle of goodness which is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Fr. Norlito Concepcion

 

 

Sunday Gospel Reflection - 4th Sunday of Lent A

The account of the man born blind in the Gospel of St. John this Sunday is not so much about the man being healed, but about seeing as God sees.  Here we meet a blind man with sight as compared to the intellectual Pharisees who are blindThe Gospel reminds us that our Baptism illuminates us to see and embrace God’s vision, life, goodness and truth.  Our Baptism commits us to be bearers of the truth and to confront the spiritual blindness of the world with the truth.

The passage clearly contrasts light and darkness, faith and the refusal to accept the truth.  These contrasts emerge from the controversy with the Pharisees. Because they are in the darkness of their own prejudice, they refuse to recognize Jesus as the messiah; they refuse to acknowledge that Jesus has the power to heal the blind man.  The healing of blind man becomes an opportunity for Jesus to manifest once again his own true divine identity for all to see and believe.  In the story, Jesus not only gives the blind man his sight, physical light, but he also gives him the light of faith. 

The story of the man born blind is about you and me in moments of our own spiritual blindness and darkness. However, we need to focus on the Joy of the Gospel this Sunday. In baptism, Christ has healed our blindness and given us the light of faith, so that, like the healed blind man, we may proclaim Christ boldly despite the opposition from those still in darkness. Jesus heals our blindness so we can see our brothers and sisters as He sees them. Like the blind man, we have been healed and have become fearless disciples ready to give our time, talent and treasure in witness to Christ.

Msgr. John Mbinda

 

 

Sunday Gospel Reflection - 3rd Sunday of Lent - A

In the Gospel of this Sunday, Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman who comes to Jacob’s Well to draw water.  Jesus sees her spiritual thirst and asks the woman for some water to drink.  However, his intention is to use water to lead her to discover her own spiritual thirst; her need for conversion; for new life in Christ, the water of life.  Jesus knows that the woman is an outcast with quite a reputation in her village, having been married five times and living with a sixth man!  Perhaps that is why she comes to the well at noon instead of the morning when other women come.

In the course of an interesting dialogue, Jesus, who thirsts for her conversion, gradually leads her to scrutinize herself.  Though embarrassed at Jesus’ scrutiny and insight into her private life, she is led gradually first to confess that she knows that the Messiah is coming and when he comes he will tell us everything.  At that point, Jesus reveals his true identity to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you”.  She is first surprised and then becomes completely converted and accepts the water of life that Jesus offers to quench her spiritual thirst.  This woman who first came for a jug of water, now puts the jug down and becomes a disciple and an apostle sent to her village where she tells her people: Come and see!  Come and see the person who has changed my life!”  She goes home not only transformed, but also refreshed after drinking the life-giving water that only Jesus can give. 

As we celebrate the first of three Scrutinies with the candidates for Baptism this Sunday, the readings invite us to scrutinize ourselves, like the Samaritan woman, to discover our spiritual thirst for the water of life.  Jesus is not only the water of life, but also the well and source of life-giving water; the one who satisfies all our spiritual yearnings.

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

 

 

The Lord, Jesus, Has Shown Us the Way Up the Mountain

The Lord Jesus has shown us the way up the mountain.

He has invited us into a new way of living in Him through living within the communion of the Church. We are invited to go into the world and invite all men and women through the waters of the womb of Baptism into the new communion of love, where they can begin the process of conversion and transfiguration.

We are all invited to join with Peter, James and John and cry out today: "It is good for us to be here."

Today and in the days to come, we reflect on the Transfiguration of Jesus and enter more deeply into the mystery it reveals by living that change now. It truly is good for us to be here.

Let us be encouraged, inspired and respond to the invitations of grace in our daily lives.  Let us grow more fully into the Image and likeness of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord revealing His Transfigured glory to a world waiting to be born anew.

We are called into an ongoing transformation in Jesus Christ, beginning right NOW.

Deacon Romeo Ganibe

 

 

Obedience of Jesus

After the baptism of our Lord Jesus on the river Jordan by Saint john the Baptist, Jesus went into the desert and there he was tempted three times by the devil.  Instead of celebrating the event of His baptism and proclamation as a “Son of God” by the father himself, he chose to undertake the 40 days of fasting and penance.  The God who took humanity to himself, except sin, went on fasting and penance not just to make fasting and penance holy, but to make man’s nature at peace with the divine.   Therefore gaining mastery of humanity, a mastery that no one will ever accomplish in this mundane world.  Many have claimed enlightenment, but no one has ever come face to face with the prince of darkness, been tempted by himself, and emerged victorious.  Holy wisdom triumphs over falsehood and humanity was given a chance to resist evil by using human faculties itself (human senses and reason) because the God, who assumes humanity, did it.   

As people, who died in sin and reborn in baptism following Christ, we are expected to also master our humanity by fasting and penance.  With the discipline of the body, our spirit may be given attention, by penance.  We humble ourselves to the one who is the provider, that He may not judge us, but shows us his love for we have undertook the way of the cross that he began when he was hungry in the desert.  Similar to those who went into the desert to repent, like Abba Anthony the hermit, Amma Mary of Egypt and St. Benedict in the wilderness, the first week of Lent invites us to retreat into the desert of our soul and empty ourselves the way we did when we welcomed baby Jesus during Advent. Lent is when we allow ourselves to be welcomed by the resurrected Jesus.

The first week of Lent remind us of our forgotten power that we received when we received the mark of Jesus in baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of confirmation, for the consecrated religious; the vigilant force received by the evangelical vows, and for the ordained; the Christ like ministry.  Like Jesus, who was tempted by Satan, we are not immune to him, we are meant to combat against him.  We must expect that we will be oppressed by the mechanisms he has placed in this world to ruin our path towards goodness.  Like our Lord proclaimed as “Son of God” in the waters of Jordan, we are announced as heirs to the kingdom by the virtue of baptism. When we were cleansed of original sin in water, we have been set up as watchers on the fortress with our lights as weapons against darkness. We must cast our fears and rejoice as partakes of the path of Jesus. Our consolation is his victory for we have suffered with him for 40 days.  

Fr. Norlito Concepcion

 

"Seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness."

Jesus in the Gospel this Sunday teaches his disciples that God cares for them more than all other creatures.  “Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon …was clothed like one of them.”  What Jesus is driving in this passage is to convince us to stop worrying so that we can set our priorities right to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”. God in turn will care for all our other needs.

As faithful disciples and stewards, we believe that God cares so much for us.  That kind of faith and trust in God has led many women and men down the centuries to accept the invitation of Jesus in today’s passage, to leave everything and follow Him.  They freed themselves from worry and relied totally on God for their needs. 

An example that comes to mind is St. Francis of Assisi.  When accused by his own father of having taken away family property to give to the poor, Francis removed his clothes and walked away naked to underlines the point of detachment from possessions.  We are called to radical trust in God: seeking first for the kingdom of God

Another example is Mother Teresa who always trusted in divine providence.  “God will provide,” she used to say. That radical trust frees us from worrying too much about the means, in order to focus on being better disciples and stewards of time, talent and treasure that God has given us especially as we begin our One Community Capital Campaign.

Msgr. John Mbinda

 

 

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time - A

This Sunday as Jesus continues his Sermon on the Mountain in the Gospel, he focuses our attention on forgiveness, challenging us further to go beyond the law of love and revenge. The Gospel challenges us to do the impossible by turning the other cheekby loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us. In other words, we are called to use the secret weapon of kindness to disarm them.

In a world so marked by a culture of violence and revenge, Christians are called to be compassionate and forgiving. As followers of Christ, we must never revenge. Instead, Jesus tells us, “When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well.”

What does Jesus mean by “turning the other cheek”? At the time of Jesus in Palestine, the law forbad anyone in authority from striking anybody with the back of the right hand, or with the left hand. Therefore, if you turned the other cheek, the enemy would first be surprised and stop to think! That technique of Jesus may be called disarming the enemy because it is a game changer. It transforms behavior and defuses a situation that would have otherwise ended in violence or revenge.

Msgr. John Mbinda

 

 

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A: The 10 Commandments

Hundreds of years after Moses received the Ten Commandments, Jesus fulfills the law.  He teaches us that the Ten Commandments must not only guide what we do, but also how we treat those around us. 

Thousands of years after Jesus explained the commandments, we find our generation struggling to define right from wrong.  Do we have anything to show — in terms of progress from the years of Moses — that we have learned to live justly?

God has given us the freedom to choose right from wrong (good vs. evil).  He wants us to be formed to his life-giving divine wisdom and act accordingly.  We choose the kingdom of heaven by the choices we make on earth.  “Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

When evaluating ourselves, we feel we are good law-abiding people, because we have not murdered anybody.  We are not in the habit of stealing anything from our neighbors.  We are Sunday-Mass-goingCatholics; we say our prayers and mind our own business. Jesus asks of us to do more.

We are challenged to do the most we can for God and our neighbor; in love and deed.

 

Deacon Romeo Ganibe

 

 

Jesus Invites and Challenges Us True Christians...

On the 5th Sunday in ordinary time, Jesus invites and challenges us true Christians of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church to be the salt and the light of the world.  In a world that is reigned by the darkness of fear, selfishness, personal convenience, and indifference towards the gospel, those who live by the gospel must reach out to those who are enslaved by this world and be free to walk on the light of truth without hesitation or guilt, to be among the people enlighten by the supreme truth, to witness the beauty of faith, and to feel the goodness of the God that rescues people from the danger of sin.

Charity and corporal works of mercy show the light of faith unlike selfish philanthropy. Charity demands loyalty to God, for a person who practices charity does it, not according to the human spirit that makes people push both the endurance of the psyche and the body to achieve a goal, but by the spirit of humanity that comes from sympathy and empathy. Christian Charity compels a loyal heart to act in Goodness for the sake of God, to continue and participate in God’s plan to free people or give remedy from forces that are convinced to take away or prevent the realization of God given dignity. Philanthropy is a show of personal ability, power and personally acquired wealth and status. It seeks satisfaction and admiration of those who are deprived of such standards.     

The charity of Jesus on the cross lifted and glorified those who believed in Him, He has become the light of their city, the heavenly city that will endure forever. As citizens of the city of God, each of us carry the light from the heavenly city. We are sent as disciples of the light in the world to bring those who live in the city of man towards the light. If our light is not as bright, how can we bring those in the dark towards the light, or how can we survive the darkness that waits to entrap us outside?

 

Fr. Norlito Concepcion 

 

Who Doesn't Want to be Blessed?

Being blessed conjures up images of peace, prosperity, perfection.  Jesus “began” to teach the Beatitudes to his disciples - the great Sermon on the Mount, which forms the core of Jesus’ teaching.  He is saying that discipleship must be rooted in, shaped by, arise from his own blessedness.  In the Beatitudes, Jesus announces the blessings for those who live in “the kingdom of heaven.”  These blessings continue an ancient tradition reflected in the first reading from the prophet Zephaniah.  God extends protection and refuge to those who “seek justice” and are “humble & lowly.”   Jesus went ahead and described the qualities that mark true discipleship: poor in spirit, mourning loss, meek, seekers of justice, merciful, clean of heart, peacemakers, bearers of insults and persecution.  His blessedness is marked by giving of self, emptying of self, letting go of self.  For Jesus, being blessed is more than here-and-now, tangible happiness.  Jesus teaches that being blessed comes from the joy of being of, in, and with him – and his followers.  Our blessedness is a quality of who we are and a blueprint for how we are to be and live as followers of Jesus.

 

Becoming and living as followers of Jesus is not very complicated.  What he taught through his words and actions is simple in nature, yet profound in its impact on each of us, on everyone with whom we interact, and on our entire world.  However, when we hear the word “blessed,” we tend to think of holiness and discount ourselves.  The Beatitudes remind us that blessedness is bestowed by God on those who faithfully follow Jesus.  It points to permanency!  It leads us to heaven!  The “kingdom of heaven” is promised to those who seek the happiness, the blessedness that comes from possessing God.  We arrive at the promise of the Beatitudes – “for they will” – after a lifetime of faithful discipleship.

 

Let us seek God’s mercy for the times we have not lived up to our blessedness!

 

Dcn. Modesto Cordero

 

 

Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand.

The readings this Sunday draw our attention to two central themes that are closely related: Christ revealed as the light of the world and Christ in whose name we are baptized and united.  Both themes are interwoven.  The first reading gives an example of the kingdom established by David, which was torn apart by divisions soon after Solomon’s death.  Consequently, foreigners invaded the Northern Kingdom in 733-32 BC and occupied it, and further threatened the Southern Kingdom of Judah.  Centuries thereafter, darkness reigned all over Israel.  However, today’s first reading prophecies a great light in time to come.  Great joy and happiness would be restored. A king of peace would come to establish freedom and unify Israel forever. The second reading gives another example of divisions in the Christian community of Corinth.  Paul reminds the Christians there that they belong to Christ and not to any particular apostle who may have baptized them. It is the death and resurrection of Christ that is the symbol in their baptism, which binds them together as a Christian community.

The Gospel from Matthew uses a passage from the first reading to show that Jesus is the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy. “The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.” Jesus Christ is therefore our light and source of unity in a world that is very much in need of enlightenment and unity in the midst of fragmentation. Ideological differences, regional and civil wars, ethnic conflicts and Christian divisions continue to cast a deep shadow over the world. Our Christian faith and hope, however, tell us that someday a great light will indeed shine and unity will be restored. The source of that light and unity is Jesus Christ. As Jesus begins His ministry by proclaiming a message of repentance, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”   That message is a wakeup call for all disciples of Christ to be transformed into God’s authentic witnesses in a world overshadowed by the darkness of disunity due to human pride, greed and selfishness. Our witness will only be effective if we are first transformed into the light of Christ and signs of the unity; if we shed off our pride in realizing how much we need to be enriched by Jesus Christ, and by one another’s gifts. If we are credible witnesses, others will want to become Christian.

Msgr. John S. Mbinda

 

 

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday, we are at the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. In both the first reading and the psalm, Jesus is seen as the “Servant of the Lord” who comes to do God’s will.  In the Gospel, John the Baptist points out Jesus to his disciples, saying, Behold the Lamb of God.” What does that phrase mean?

When John the Baptist describes Jesus as “the Lamb of God”, he draws the phrase from an Old Testament tradition of the “lamb of God” symbolism. The blood of the paschal lamb of the Old Testament protects and saves the Israelites in Exodus 12. This link is made explicit in 1 Cor 5:7. For Paul, we are saved by Christ as our true Paschal Lamb of God. Therefore, John the Baptist in the Gospel draws our attention to the identity of Jesus and all he would have to undergo in order to save us.

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied graphically the fate of the “Suffering Servant” of the Lord. He was pierced for our offences; crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole; by his stripes we were healed.  The Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all. He was harshly treated; He submitted and never opened his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter…  He was wounded for our sins, bruised for our iniquities. (Isaiah 53:2-3).  We use the phrase “Lamb of God” at Mass three times in order to reflect on what Jesus did for our salvation and also to humbly seek his mercy and compassion before we receive him in the Holy Eucharist.

Msgr. John Mbinda

 

Celebrating the Epiphany of the Lord

The Epiphany of the Lord is a great day of celebration for all Catholics.  Today we celebrate Jesus, the Manifestation of our Lord, to the whole world.  The Epiphany is a high point in the Christmas season—affirming universal salvation through Christ.

The beautiful star placed on top of the Nativity scene (and Christmas tree) is significant in the story of Jesus’ birth.  As the star shown brightly in Bethlehem, the birth of baby Jesus was revealed to the shepherds nearby and people far away.  The Magi that saw the star from a distance began a journey to find the newborn King.  Similarly, the star shines upon us— leading us from our Baptism, through our faith journey, and ultimately towards Christ.

Amidst the hardest times in life, the star shines brightly.  Bereavement, crime, addiction, abuse, illness, and all struggles we may encounter make the star seem far, but our support for each other and faith in God will help to endure the journey to Christ.  Enjoy the graces on the journey too.  The birth of a child, becoming a parent (grandparent), falling in love, job success — let them reenergize you and remind you to continue following the bright star of God.

When the Magi completed the journey led by the bright star, they found the baby Jesus. The Magi presented Him with gifts and kneeled in adoration to Him. The shining star — our Faith — is always guiding us towards Christ. 

In celebration of the Epiphany, I challenge you to find a Nativity scene and marvel it.  Find the Magi, who followed the star and traveled long and far.  Look at Joseph and Mary; parents to the newborn king. The baby Jesus, savior to the world, laying in a manger.  Adore him.

Deacon Romeo Ganibe

 

Mary, Mother of God

MARY KEPT ALL THESE THINGS, REFLECTING ON THEM IN HER HEART. Mary must remember fondly the cold journey on a donkey, the reassuring faith of Joseph, the first cry and laughter of her baby, the smell of hay in the manger, and the inspired visits. All these will live forever in her heart and sustain her through the trials she will face.

The first day of the year is a good time to keep all the good things in our hearts, like Mary --- how we quietly survived the past year, faithful friends who kept watch, and the simple blessings we received.  Everything has a meaning and a purpose, even in trying and difficult experiences, if we just quietly wait, reflect and pray over them in our hearts.

Let us pause with Mary and take stock of what we have been blessed with, to serve as well as from where we can draw water in moments of dryness. Mary, Mother of God, pray for us and with us. Amen.

Happy New Year!  

Fr. Ramon Francisco

 

Christmas Gospel Reflection

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord". (Lk. 2:11)

More than two thousand years ago, while silence covered the little town of Bethlehem, something extraordinary happened.  A child was born of the Virgin Mary.  That is why at Christmas we joyfully celebrate the Good News announced by the Angel that night: "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord".  We join Christians around the world in celebrating this joyful event of Christ in our midst, the Son of God, who assumes our human flesh, born of the Virgin Mary.  When we receive a precious gift, we rejoice because it is a sign that someone loves us.  God’s gift of himself to us in the Incarnation, is therefore clear evidence of His tremendous love and goodness to us.  During the last 4 weeks of Advent, we have prepared ourselves for Christmas, the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy in the first reading of the midnight Mass.  "For there is a child born for us, a son is given to us".  That is why at Christmas we rejoice because the salvation promised us is now fulfilled; our Savior is born; a Savior who brings light into the world. "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone".

The readings lead us into great joy and gratitude before the mystery of the child who is born from Mary.  On that first Christmas in Bethlehem, a great light was shone in the darkness.  Christ our Savior was born of Mary and laid in a manger, "because there was no room for them in the inn".  The birth of Christ takes place in poor surroundings in order to attract the attention of the shepherds. Through Christ, God's grace is revealed to the poor who open their hearts to welcome Christ.  Like the shepherds, let us open our hearts so that Christ may come to us with his blessings of peace and joy this Christmas.  Like the shepherds, who went with haste and shared the good news, we are called to go with haste and share the good news of great joy.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Fr. John Mbinda

 

 

Blessed Christmas

As we near the end of this advent season, we remember the baby Jesus and His mother Mary, but now let us give a little more attention to his earthly father Joseph.  We remember Joseph’s courage and obedience in responding to the angel of the Lord in his dream to take the pregnant Mary into his home as his wife.

If we ourselves experienced an angel in our dreams, commanding us to do something life changing, how might we respond?  The story reveals Joseph to be a man of faith and trust in God despite the unsettling situation. Joseph does as the angel of the Lord directs, taking Mary to be his wife and accepting the child in her womb as his own. Both Mary and Joseph become the very models of faithful servants of God.

Now, what can we learn from Joseph’s actions?  Think of the times in your life when you have felt God calling you to do something important. For example, you sensed God’s hand working in your life when volunteering to feed the homeless, visiting the home bound, being a Catechist to the children, or providing gifts to the church’s Christmas Angel Tree. God sends you a message, working in your life, just as he did to Joseph.

Take the time now and reflect on your life and listen to when and where God calls to you.  Act in faith even when the meaning is unclear.

Have a BlessedChristmasand say a prayer thanking St. Joseph for showing us how to respond to calls from God.

Merry Christmas and Peace to all

 

 Deacon Romeo Ganibe

3rd Sunday of Advent

The Gospel this Sunday starts with John the Baptist in prison. John sends his disciples to ask Jesus whether he is really the Messiah or would there be another to come. Jesus refers to what Isaiah had prophesied in today’s First Reading, and says that there is no need to keep waiting for salvation. It is already in our midst. There are already clear signs of joy, hope and new life. Jesus tells the messengers: "Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, the lame walk, and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor". That is why we need not wait. That is why we need to rejoice and not just be happy.

The deeper question we need to ask on this Sunday is what constitutes real joy in our lives?  I am a lover of high tech and cool gadgets, once I have them, I enjoy using them, but at the end of the day, they do not give me real joy.   The happiness and excitement that many had in having the latest cool gadgets on Black Friday is already over.  In other words, material possessions, no matter how cool, never give lasting satisfaction and joy.  This Sunday, the readings help us see what Christ is already accomplishing in our midst, through the Church and through our own witness that makes the blind see, the deaf hear and the lame walk! Miracles do happen in our parish: just open your eyes and ears!

The message we take home is threefold. 1) The gospel draws our attention to the Messiah who is already in our midst. There are many signs of hope: the saving action of Christ is present in our parish. 2) The readings lead us to rejoice as we encounter the hidden “miracles” of today. Yes, “the blind see, the lame walk, and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor.” 3) Let us pray that the Lord may open our eyes and ears of faith to see and hear what Jesus is already doing in our midst; that we may go and tell others what we have seen and heard.

Fr. John Mbinda

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