Jan 2-7 (2023) weekday homilies

Jan 2-7 :Click on http://frtonyshomilies.comfor missed homilies

Jan 2 Monday (Saints Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops) For a short biography click on (https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-gregory-nazianzen; John 1:19-28: 19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 They said to him then, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, `Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

The context: The news reached the central Jewish religious authorities in Jerusalem that one John, the son of a Jewish priest, was preaching repentance and renewal of life to the Jews and inviting them to receive the baptism of repentance meant only for Gentiles. Hence, the Sanhedrin sent a delegation of experts to Bethany on the eastern bank of river Jordan (different from the Bethany near Jerusalem, where Lazarus lived), to discover whether John was claiming to be the expected Messiah or his forerunner Elijah, the prophet, and to ask why he encouraged the Chosen People to receive the baptism of repentance.

John’s witnessing mission: John frankly declared in all humility that he was not Elijah nor the expected Messiah nor even one of the Old Testament prophets reincarnated. Later, Jesus referred to him as “a lamp “He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light (Jn 5:35). In the spiritual life, the ideal is to become invisible, and our role as Christians is to become salt, yeast, grain, and light. But John claimed that he was the forerunner of the real Messiah, and that his mission was to prepare the lives of the Jews to receive the expected Messiah and to bear witness to him when he should appear in public. John also explained to them that he was baptizing the Jews with water because they must be made holy through repenting of their sins and renewing their lives if they were to receive the most Holy Messiah in their midst.

Life messages: 1) As Catholic Christians, we believe in the coming of Jesus our Lord and Savior on our altars during each Eucharistic celebration. Hence, we, too, need to repent of our sins and ask God’s pardon and forgiveness on a daily basis if we wish to receive Jesus into our hearts and lives sacramentally. 2) We, too, need to renew our lives with the help of our Lord Jesus living within us, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, so that He may radiate His love, forgiveness, and mercy to all around us. 3) We too need to practice the true humility of John the Baptist. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/23.For additional reflections, click on: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/;https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Jan 3 Tuesday: (The Most Holy name of Jesus): John 1:29-34: 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 … 34

The context: The central theme of today’s Gospel is a challenge to live like the Lamb of God and to die like the Lamb of God. The Gospel passage presents two themes, namely, John’s witness to Jesus and Jesus’ epiphany and identification by John as the “Lamb of God.” Today’s Gospel is a personal and corporate call to us to become witnesses to the Lamb of God. John the Baptist gave testimony to Jesus by pointing out that He was the Lamb of God (vv. 29, 36); a man who was before me (vs. 30); the one on whom the Holy Spirit remained (v. 33); and the Son of God (vs. 34). Lamb of God is the most meaningful title given to Jesus in the Bible. John’s introduction probably brought five pictures of the “lamb” to the minds of his Jewish listeners. 1) The Lamb of yearly Atonement (Scapegoat): (Lv 16:20-22). Two lambs were brought to the Temple on the Day of Atonement. Lots were cast, and the high priest slowly led one to the altar to be killed as a sin offering for the people. Then he placed both his hands on the head of the other and confessed the sins of Israel and transferred them to that scapegoat. It was then sent into the forest to be killed by some wild animal. 2) The Lamb of Daily Atonement (Ex. 29:38-42; Nm 28:1-8). This was the lamb sacrificed on the “Black Altar” of the Temple every morning and evening to atone for the sins of the Jews. 3) The Paschal Lamb (Ex. 12:11ss.). This was the lamb whose blood saved the firstborn of the Jewish families in Egypt from the “Angel of destruction” as well as the Paschal Lamb killed every year on the Passover Feast. 4) The Lamb of the Prophets. The prophets portrayed one Lamb Who, by His sacrifice, would redeem His people: “The gentle lamb led to the slaughterhouse” (Jer 11:19), “like a lamb to the slaughter” (Is 53:7). Both refer to the sufferings and sacrifice of Christ. 5) The Lamb of the Conquerors. This was the image of the horned lamb on the Jewish flag at the time of Maccabaean liberation war, used as a sign of conquering majesty and power.

Life messages: We need to live and die like the Lamb of God.

(1) Living like a lamb means: a) leading a pure, innocent, humble, selfless life, obeying Christ’s commandment of love; b) appreciating the loving providence and protecting care of the Good Shepherd in his Church; c) eating the Body and drinking the Blood of the Good Shepherd and deriving spiritual strength from the Holy Spirit through Sacraments and prayers.

(2) Dying like a sacrificial lamb means: a) sacrificially sharing our blessings of health, wealth, and talents with others in the family, parish and community; b) bearing witness to Christ in our illness, pain, and suffering; c) offering our sufferings for the salvation of souls and as reparation for our sins and those of others(https://frtonyshomilies.com/)LP/23

For additional reflections, click on : https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Jan 4 Wednesday (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious (U. S. A.) John 1:35-42: John 1:35-42: 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

In Mathew’s Gospel, Jesus called the fishermen Andrew and his brother Simon from their fishing boat. But John the Evangelist gives a slightly different story. According to him, Andrew and he (John, son of Zebedee) were disciples of John the Baptist. John the Baptist wanted them to join the true Messiah, Jesus, as His disciples. So, one day when Andrew and John (according to tradition) were standing with their master, John the Baptist, Jesus happened to pass in front of them. John the Baptist promptly introduced Jesus to them as the Lamb of God. It was natural for Andrew and John to guess what their master, John the Baptist, wanted them to do. So, they followed Jesus. Since Sabbath rest was about to begin when travel was forbidden, Jesus cordially invited them to come and stay with Him and learn more about his life and mission till the Sabbath was over.

When the Sabbath rest with Jesus was over, Andrew and John went home. Andrew was so fascinated with Jesus and his contact with him the previous day that he promptly told his brother Simon about Jesus: “We have found the Messiah.” Without wasting time Andrew brought his brother to Jesus. Jesus surprised Simon by calling him by his name, Simon, and changing that Hebrew name to the Greek name, Cephas (Peter),meaning rock, and accepting him as His disciple.

Life message: 1) We need to be missionaries like Andrew. Just as a day’s contact with Jesus transformed Andrew into a missionary, leading his brother to Jesus, we are expected to experience Jesus in our lives by Bible reading, personal prayers and sacramental life and acts of charity. Once we experience Jesus personally, we too must start leading others to the same experience of Jesus as their Lord and Savior, enabling them to surrender their lives to Jesus, too. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/23

For additional reflections, click on : https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Jan 5 Thursday: St. Jon Neumann, Bishop (U.S. A): John 1:43-51: 43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Beth-sa’ida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathan’a-el, and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathan’a-el said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathan’a-el coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” 48 Nathan’a-el said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathan’a-el answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

In today’s Gospel of John (John 1:43-51), Nathanael, also called Bartholomew or “son of Tholomay,” is introduced as a friend of Philip. He is described as initially being skeptical about the Messiah coming from Nazareth, saying: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” But he accepts Philip’s invitation to meet Jesus. Jesus welcomes him saying, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Jesus’ comment, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you,” is probably based on a Jewish figure of speech referring to studying the Torah. Nathanael immediately recognizes Jesus as “the Son of God” and “the King of Israel.” Nathanael reappears at the end of John’s Gospel (Jn 21:2) as one of the disciples to whom Jesus appeared at the Sea of Tiberius after his resurrection from the tomb. The Gospels thus present Bartholomew as a man with no malice and a lover of Torah with openness to truth and readiness to accept the truth. Nathanael was the first Apostle to make an explicit confession of Faith in Jesus as the Messiah and as the Son of God.

Life message: Let us pray for the grace to love the word of God as Bartholomew did and to accept the teaching of the Bible and the Church with open heart and open mind without pride or prejudice. (Fr. Tony) LP/23

For additional reflections, click on : https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Jan 6 Friday: (St. Andre Bessette, Religious (U.S.A.) Mark 1:7-11: And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9. In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; 11 and a voice came from heaven, “Thou are my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.” (or Lk 3:23-28 or 3:23, 31-34, 36, 38

Introduction: The Baptism of the Lord is the great event celebrated by the Eastern churches on the feast of Epiphany because it is the occasion of the first public revelation of all the Three Persons in the Holy Trinity, and the official revelation of Jesus as the Son of God to the world by God the Father. Hence, it is described by all four Gospels. It marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.

Importance: The baptism from John was a very important event in the life of Jesus because 1) it was a moment of his identification with us sinners; 2) it was a moment of conviction about his identity and mission: that Jesus is the Son of God and his mission is to preach the Good News of God’s love and salvation and to atone for our sins by becoming the “suffering servant”; 3) it was a moment of equipment: the Holy Spirit equipped Jesus by descending on him in the form of dove, giving him the power of preaching and healing; and 4) it was a moment of decision to begin public ministry at the most opportune time after receiving the approval of his Heavenly Father as His beloved Son.

Life messages: (1) The baptism of Jesus reminds us of our identity. It reminds us of who we are and Whose we are. By our Baptism we become sons and daughters of God, members of God’s family, brothers and sisters of Jesus, members of his Church, heirs of Heaven and temples of the Holy Spirit. (2) Jesus’ baptism reminds us also of our mission: a) to experience the presence of God within us, to acknowledge our own dignity as God’s children, and to appreciate the Divine presence in others by honoring them, loving them and serving them in all humility; b) to live as the children of God in thought, word, and action; c) to lead a holy and transparent Christian life, and not to desecrate our bodies (the temples of the Holy Spirit and members of Jesus’ body) by impurity, injustice, intolerance, jealousy, or hatred; d) to accept both the good and the bad experiences of life as the gifts of a loving Heavenly Father for our growth in holiness; e) to grow daily in intimacy with God by personal and family prayers, by meditative reading of the Word of God, by participating in the Holy Mass, and by frequenting the Sacrament of Reconciliation. (3) It is a day to thank God for the graces we have received in Baptism, to renew our Baptismal promises, and to preach Christ’s “Good News” by our transparent Christian lives of love, mercy, service, and forgiveness. (Fr. Tony) LP/23

For additional reflections, click on: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections

Jan 7 Saturday: (St. Raymond Penyafort, Priest)https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-adrian-of-canterbury/John 2:1-11: Miracle at Cana 1 On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; 2 Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. 3 When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 … 11

We are at a wedding at Cana where Jesus reveals his Divine power by his first miracle, transforming water into wine. The Bible begins with one wedding, that of Adam and Eve in the garden (Gn 2:23-24), and ends with another, the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rv 19:9, 21:9, 22:17). Throughout the Bible, marriage is the symbol of the Covenant relationship between God and His chosen people. God is the faithful Groom and humanity is His beloved bride.

In today’s Gospel, John describes the first of the seven “signs’ by which Jesus showed forth his divinity. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother told him about it. At first Jesus seemed to refuse to do anything about it. But later he told the servants to fill six large stone jars with water and take some to the headwaiter. When they did so, the water had become wine, better wine than that which had run out.

Life messages: 1) We need to, “Invite Jesus and Mary to remain with us in our homes.” St. John Mary Vianney suggests this as the solution for many of our family problems. He used to encourage parents to create an atmosphere of prayer, Bible reading, mutual love and respect, and sacrificial service at home so that the presence of Jesus and Mary might be perpetually enhanced and experienced in the family. 2) We need to, “Do whatever He tells you.” This is the only command and piece of advice given by Mary recorded in the New Testament, and it is a prerequisite for miracles in our families. The Bible tells us how to do the will of God and effect salvific changes in our daily lives. 3) Just as Jesus filled the water jars with wine, let us fill the hearts around us with love. If our families have lost the savor of mutual love, let us renew them at the altar with the invigorating power of the Holy Spirit. By the miracle of Cana, Jesus challenges us also to enrich the empty lives of those around us with the new wine of love, mercy, concern, and care. 4) We need to learn to appreciate the miracles of God’s providence in our lives. God, often as an uninvited guest in our families, works daily miracles in our lives by protecting us from physical and moral dangers, providing for our needs, inspiring us, and strengthening us with His Holy Spirit. Let us also appreciate the miracle of the Real Presence of the Lord on the altar, where God transforms our offering of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. (Fr. Tony) L/23

For additional reflections, click on: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/; https://www.epriest.com/reflections