Nov 21-26:Click on http://frtonyshomilies.com for missed homilies
Nov 21 Monday: (The Presentation of Blessed Virgin Mary)
For a short account, click here:https://www.franciscanmedia.org/presentation-of-mary/ Feast: Mt 12: 46-50; (Regular reading:Lk 21: 1-4, & 50) This feast commemorates the presentation of the Blessed Virgin as a young girl in the Temple. (Mary’s house was in Nazareth, 95 miles away from Jerusalem which meant 4-5 days walking distance). Tradition holds that all young Jewish girls were left in the care of the Temple for a period, during which they were educated in reading Scriptures, singing liturgical songs and helping in the Temple. As with Mary’s birth, we read of Mary’s presentation in the Temple only in apocryphal literature. The Protoevangelium of James (recognized as an unhistorical account), tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was very young. Later versions of the story (such as the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary), tell us that Mary was taken to the Temple at around the age of three in fulfillment of a vow made by her parents. Tradition held that she was to remain there to be educated in preparation for her role as Theotokos- Mother of God. This was to carry out her mother’s promise made to God when Anna was still childless. The feast originated as a result of the dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary the New, built in AD 543 by the Byzantines under Emperor Justinian I near the site of the ruined Temple in Jerusalem. The feast originated in the Orient probably about the 7th century. The Eastern Orthodox church celebrates it on November 21 as one of its twelve “Great Feasts.” The feast which continued to be celebrated throughout the East, was being celebrated in the monasteries of Southern Italy by the ninth century. It was introduced into the Western Church in the 14th century.In the 1974 encyclical Marialis Cultus, Pope St. Paul VI (canonized by Pope Francis, October 14, 2018) wrote, “despite its apocryphal content, it presents lofty and exemplary values and carries on the venerable traditions having their origins in the Eastern Churches.” Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation has an important theological purpose. It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the birth of Mary. It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond.
Life message: 1) Every Holy Mass in which we participate is our presentation. Although we were officially presented to God on the day of our Baptism, we present ourselves and our dear ones on the altar before God our Father through our Savior Jesus Christ at every Holy Mass. Hence, we need to live our daily lives with the awareness both that we are dedicated people consecrated to God and, therefore, that we are obliged to lead holy lives. We offer ourselves to God, asking to be made holy under the patronage of Mary and assisted by her powerful intercession and the union of her merits. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22Additional reflections: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
Nov 22 Tuesday: (St. Cecilia, Virgin, Martyr): For a short biography, click here:https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-ceciliaLk 21: 5-11:5 And as some spoke of the Temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, 6 “As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 7 And they asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?” 8 And he said, “Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, `I am he!’ and, `The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. 9 And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
The context: Today’s Gospel begins with Jesus’ reaction to the comments the disciples had been making about the splendor of the Temple in Jerusalem. The forty-foot tall pillars supporting the beams of the front porch were made of solid marble. Most of the decorations and the large vine on the front porch with six-foot long grape clusters were made of solid gold plates, while the dome was gold-plated. But Jesus prophesied this Temple’s total destruction. In AD 70, the Roman army invaded the city, plundered everything valuable, set fire to the Temple, pulled down the City’s walls, killed one million Jews, and took 97,000 healthy Jews as captives. Jesus also gave the disciples warnings about false military messiahs and their deceptive doctrines about overthrowing the Romans. Then Jesus listed some signs of the end of the world, like wars between nations, earthquakes, famines, plagues, and unnatural movements of the heavenly bodies.
Life message: We need to learn from the signs of the times, like crises in morality, a culture of death, an increase in violence and terrorism, the “normalization” of sexual deviations, the breaking down of families, and the moral degradation of society, and to prepare ourselves for the end times by living ideal Christian lives, helping others, sharing our blessings with others, getting and staying reconciled with God and our neighbors, and trusting in the living presence of Jesus in the Church . (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
Nov 23 Wednesday: (St. Clement I, Pope), Martyr; For a short biography, click here:https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-clement ; St. Columban, Abbot; For a short biography, click here:https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-columban; Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro. Priest, Martyr (U.S.A.): For a short biography, click here:https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/blessed-miguel-agustin-proLuke 21: 12-19:12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 This will be a time for you to bear testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; 17 you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish.19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.
The context: Today’s Gospel gives Jesus’ prophetic warning to the apostles and disciples about the sufferings they will have to bear for their Faith in Him until Jesus’ Second Coming. Jesus advises them to bear witness to Him in spite of persecutions, for those persecutions would also encourage the disciples to flee to remote places and to preach the Gospel among the Jews and the Gentiles. Believers, Jesus warns, will be locked up in prisons and brought for trial before kings and governors. Jesus assures them that the Holy Spirit will give them words of defense and witness-bearing. (In the Acts of the Apostles, we read how Stephen was given the wisdom to bear witness to Jesus in Jerusalem). Since there will be divisions in families between believers and non-believers, Jesus declares, close relatives will betray their Christian family members to the pagan authorities and cause their martyrdom. But Jesus assures the disciples in today’s Gospel passage that their suffering for Him will be amply rewarded.
Life messages: 1) Although we may not get a chance to die for the Faith, we are invited to face “dry martyrdom,” a “living death” as outcasts in our contemporary materialistic, secular, liberal, agnostic, and atheistic society. 2) We are called to bear witness to Christ by loving those who hate us, by showing mercy and compassion to those who hurt and ill-treat us, by forgiving those who continue to offend us, by accepting our sufferings without complaint, and by continuing to keep Jesus’ word in our lives. . (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22Additional reflections:https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections
Nov 24 Thursday: (St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Companions, Martyrs) For a short biography, click here:https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-andrew-dung-lac-and-companionsLk 21: 20-28: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand.o21Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Let those within the city escape from it, and let those in the countryside not enter the city,p22for these days are the time of punishment when all the scriptures are fulfilled.23Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth and a wrathful judgment upon this people.q24They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles* are fulfilled.rThe Coming of the Son of Man.s25“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.t26People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens* will be shaken.u27And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.v28But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”w
Using biblical and apocalyptic images, Jesus foretells the brutal attack of the Roman army on the city of Jerusalem which will occur forty years later, killing most of its revolting residents and demolishing the Temple. Jesus combines the destruction of Jerusalem with events preceding the end of the world because most of the Jews believed that if the Temple were destroyed their world would end. In his prophecy, Jesus attributes the faithlessness of the chosen people and their moral corruption as the main causes of the destruction. That is why Jesus calls it as the “time of punishment” and “days of retribution.” Jewish prophets Isaiah (63:4), Jeremiah (5:29), Hosea (9:7) and Daniel (9:27) gave their prophetic warnings about the future destruction of Jerusalem and its residents. The temple was desecrated by the Greek Antiochus IV Epiphanes from 167 to 165 BC. The “horrible abomination” perhaps refers to an inscription placed on the portal of the temple, dedicating it to the Roman god Olympian Zeus. Jesus warns that these desecrations will be repeated by the Romans. Many will be murdered and other healthy residents will be led away into captivity to Rome and other pagan territories. The holy city itself, its Temple in ruins, will be trampled on by the Gentiles. Then Jesus speaks of various cataclysmic and apocalyptic signs to signal the end of the world using the Hebrew Biblical images. They conclude with Daniel’s vision of the “Son of Man” riding on a cloud coming with great power and glory. But Jesus gives assurance to his loyal followers that this is the time for them to “stand up straight and raise your heads, for your redeeming is near at hand”.
Life messages: 1) Sufferings and tribulations are part and parcel of Christian life. They should help us to reflect on the end of our lives and the final end of our world and to live by the vision and values of the Gospel, sharing agape love with others rendering them humble and sacrificial service. L/22
Life messages: 1) Sufferings and tribulations are part and parcel of Christian life. They should help us reflect on the end of our lives and the final end of our world and to live by the vision and values of the Gospel, sharing agape love with others rendering them humble and sacrificial service. L/22
Nov 24 Thursday: (Thanksgiving Day in the U. S):
Lk 17:11-19: Introduction: Today is a day of national thanksgiving 1) for the blessings and protection God has given us; 2) for our democratic government and the prosperity, we enjoy; 3) for our freedom of speech and religion; and 4) for the generosity and good will of our people.
History: The winter of 1610 at Jamestown, Virginia, had reduced a group of 409 settlers to 60. The survivors prayed for help, without knowing when or how it might come. When help arrived in the form of a ship filled with food and supplies from England, a thanksgiving prayer meeting was held to give thanks to God. President George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789. President Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War, established Thanksgiving Day as a formal holiday to express our thanks to God. In 1941 Congress passed the official proclamation declaring that Thanksgiving should be observed as a legal holiday the fourth Thursday of each November.
Biblical examples of thanksgiving: (1) Today’s Gospel describes how one of the ten lepers Jesus healed, a Samaritan, returned to Jesus to express his gratitude, while the nine Jewish lepers did not think to thank God and the One He had used to heal. Jesus asks the pained question: ”Where are the other nine?” The episode tells us that God, too, expects gratitude from us.
(2) In 2 Kgs 5:1-9 Naaman the leper, the chief of the army of the Syrian King, returned to the prophet Elisha to thank him for the complete disappearance of his leprosy, and he offered Elisha a gift of 10 talents of silver, 6000 pieces of gold and six Egyptian raiments. When Elisha refused the gift, Naaman asked for permission take home two sacks of the soil of Israel to remember the Lord Who healed him, and he promised to offer personal sacrifices only to the God of Israel.
3) Jesus’ example of thanksgiving at the tomb of Lazarus: “Thank you Father for hearing my prayer” (Jn 11:42-42). (4) St. Paul’s advice, “Give thanks to God the Father for everything” (Eph 5:20).
The Eucharistic celebration is the most important form of thanksgiving prayer for Catholics. In fact, Eucharist is the Greek word for thanksgiving. In the Holy Mass we offer the sacrifice of Jesus to our Heavenly Father as an act of thanksgiving, and we surrender our lives on the altar with repentant hearts, presenting our needs and asking for God’s blessings.
Life messages: 1) Let us be thankful and let us learn to express our thanks daily: a) To God for His innumerable blessings, providential care and protection, and for the unconditional pardon given to us for our daily sins and failures. b) To our parents – living and dead – for the gift of life and Christian training and the good examples they gave us. c) To our relatives and friends for their loving support and timely help and encouragement. d) To our pastors, teachers, doctors, soldiers, police and government officers for the sincere service they render us. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
Nov 25 Friday: (St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin, Martyr): For a short biography, click here:https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-catherine-of-alexandria Lk 21: 29-33:29 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 as soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
The context: Foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, and the end of the world at an unspecified future time, Jesus warns the disciples in today’s Gospel that tribulations are inevitable before the Last Judgment and the coming of Jesus’ Kingdom. Jesus uses the small parable of the fig tree to explain the point that we must be prepared for the time of tribulation, Jesus’ Second Coming, and the Last Judgment. Fig trees in Israel produce fruits twice a year, at Passover time and in autumn. The sign of the ripening of their fruits is the appearance of fresh leaves on the tree. The Jews believed that the Messiah would appear during the Passover period, which coincides with the appearance of fresh leaves on fig trees. The destruction of Jerusalem would be the end of their world for the Jews. So, the generation in AD 70 saw the end of the world symbolically. Jesus wants us to understand that the Kingdom of God will be near when wars, natural calamities, pestilences, and unnatural movements of heavenly bodies occur. Except for the last-named, these seem to occur in every age. Hence, we must be ever vigilant and prepared.
Life messages: 1) We must be able to read the signs of the times and stay in the kingdom of God by faithfully doing God’s will every day of our lives. 2) We need to continue serving others in humility and love and bearing witness to Jesus through the integrity and transparency of our Christian lives. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22
Nov 26 Saturday: Lk 21: 34-36:34 “But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; 35 for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. 36 But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man.”
The context: In St. Luke’s version of Jesus’ advice to the disciples before His passion and death, as given in today’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes that every Christian needs to be vigilant and prepared because we cannot be sure of the time of our own death when we will be asked to give an account of our lives. Vigilance consists in obtaining strength from God through prayer, so that we may be freed from evil addictions and unnecessary attachment to worldly pleasures. Jesus also instructs us to be vigilant because we do not know the time either of our own death or of the end of the world and Jesus’ Second Coming. St. Paul repeats this advice: “You are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief” (I Thes 5: 4).
Life messages: 1) We need to avoid spiritual laziness and indifference. 2) We need to be freed from excessive and crippling anxiety, needless worries and evil habits. 3) We need to get our strength from God by prayer, which means listening to God and talking to Him. (Fr. Tony) (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/22