January 23-28 weekday homilies

Jan 23-28:Click on http://frtonyshomilies.com for missed homilies:

23 Monday (Saint Vincent, Deacon and Martyr; USA)

For a short biography click on https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-vincent-of-zaragossa) Saint Marianne Cope, VirginUSA): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-marianne-cope Day of Prayer for the Legal white or violet Protection of Unborn Children [USA): Mk 3: 22-30: 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said,
“He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out
the demons.” 23 And he called them to him, and said to them in parables,
“How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself,
that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that
house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself
and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can
enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the
strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house. 28 “Truly, I say to you,
all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter;
29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is
guilty of an eternal sin” — 30 for they had said, “He has an unclean
Feast Day gospel: Jn 15: 9-17)

 The context:
Today’s Gospel passage gives Jesus’ crushing reply to the slander propagated by
the observers from the Sanhedrin, that Jesus expelled devils using the
assistance of the leader of devils.

Jesus refutes the false allegation raised against him by
the Sanhedrin scribes with three counterarguments and a warning: 1) A house
divided against itself will perish and a country engaged in civil war will be
ruined. Hence, Satan will not fight against Satan by helping Jesus to expel his
co-workers. 2) If Jesus is collaborating with Satan to exorcise minor demons,
then the Jewish exorcists are doing the same. 3) Jesus claims that he is using
the power of his Heavenly Father to evict devils, just as a stronger man can
tie up the strong man who has guarded all his possessions,  and take all the strong man  has acquired. The evil one, the strong man,
has muh of the world as a guarded possession, but Jesus is stronger that the
evil one and will destroy the captor and free the captives. – by dying on the
cross in willing sacrifice to save all of us, 4) Finally, Jesus gives a
crushing blow to his accusers, warning them that by telling blatant lies they
are blaspheming against the Holy Spirit and, hence, that their sins are
unforgivable (unless, of course,  they

 Life message: 1)
Jesus teaches that we can be influenced by the evil spirit if we listen to him
and follow him. Hence, we have to keep our souls daily cleansed and filled with
the Spirit of God, leaving no space for the evil spirit to enter our souls. Fr.
(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

24 Tuesday: (Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)

For a short biography click on https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-francis-de-sales  Mk 3:31-35:: 31
And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and
called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him,
“Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you.” 33 And
he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking
around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my
brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and

The context: As
Jesus became a strong critic of the Jewish religious authorities, his cousins,
taking Mary His mother with them (though she supported him and all he was  doing) to get a hearing by Jesus and take him
to Nazareth by force, perhaps because they feared that he would be arrested and
put to death, and that they might be next

 Jesus’ plain statement: Today’s Gospel episode
seems to suggest that Jesus ignored the request of his mother and close
relatives who had traveled a long distance of 20 miles to talk to him. But
everyone in the audience knew that Jesus loved his mother and had taken care
of her
for years before he started his public ministry. Besides, Jesus’
plain answer, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and
was actually a compliment to his mother who had always listened
to the word of God
and obeyed it. Jesus was declaring, “Blessed are those
who hear and keep the word of God as she is faithfully doing” (Vatican II,
Lumen Gentium, 58).   Jesus was also using the occasion to
teach the congregation a new lesson about their relationship with God.
Being a disciple of Jesus, or a Christian, is first and foremost a relationship of mutual love, service,  and unity with God the Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit,  and so with all who belong to
God as His children.  Jesus has changed the order of relationships and
shows us here that true kinship is not just a matter of flesh and blood.
God’s gracious gift to us is His adoption of us as His sons and
daughters.  This gift enables us to recognize all those who belong to
Christ as our brothers and sisters.
  Our adoption as sons and
daughters of God transforms all our relationships and requires a new order
of loyalty to God and His kingdom. 
Everyone who does the will of
the Father
,” that is to say, who obeys Him, is a brother or sister of
Christ, because he is like Jesus who fulfilled the will of his Father.
But he who not only obeys but converts others, begets Christ in them, and thus
becomes like the Mother of Christ” (“Commentary on St. Matthew”,

Life message:
1) Let us remember that by Baptism we become the children of God, brothers and
sisters of Jesus, and members of the Heavenly family of the Triune God. Hence,
let us observe our obligations of treating others with love and respect and
of sharing our love with them in corporal and spiritual works of mercy
. We
are also His disciples, and so are obliged to be hearers as well as doers of
the word of God
. Fr. Tony
(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 25 Wednesday: (The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/conversion-of-saint-paul 

Mk 16:15-18:  Paul, the “Apostle to the Gentiles” and the greatest missionary of the Apostolic age, was
a Roman citizen by his birth in Tarsus (in Cilicia), and a Jew born to the
tribe of Benjamin. His Hebrew name was Saul. Since he was a Pharisee, Saul was
sent to Jerusalem by his parents to study the Mosaic
Law under the great rabbi Gamaliel. As a student, he
also learned the trade of tent-making. He was present as a consenting observer
at the stoning of Stephen. But Saul was miraculously converted on his way to
Damascus to arrest the Christians. After that, Saul, now called Paul, made
several missionary journeys, converted hundreds of Jews and Gentiles and
established Church communities. He wrote 14 epistles. He was arrested and kept
in prison for two years in Caesarea and spent two more years under house arrest
in Rome. Finally, he was martyred by beheading at Tre
Fontane in Rome). Paul’s spiritual journey was a
spiritual experience (Mysica), that produced a
transformation (Metanoia) and impelled him to assume a mission of evangelization

Today we celebrate the feast of the conversion St. Paul
(described thrice in the New Testament: Acts
chapters 9, 22, and 26)
an event which revolutionized the history and
theology of the early Church. Saul of Tarsus, because of his zeal for the
Jewish law and Jewish traditions, became the most outrageous enemy of Christ
and his teaching, as the apostles started preaching the Gospel. Saul consented
to the martyrdom of Stephen, watching the cloaks of the stoners. After the
martyrdom of the holy deacon, the priests and magistrates of the Jews raised a
violent persecution against the Christian communities at Jerusalem, and Saul
was their fanatical young leader. By virtue of the authority he had received
from the high priest, he dragged the Christians out of their houses, chained
them and thrust them into prison. In the fury of his zeal, he applied to the
high priest and Sanhedrin for a commission to take up all Jews at Damascus who
confessed Jesus Christ and bring them bound to Jerusalem to be properly
punished. He was almost at the end of his journey to Damascus, when, at about
noon, he and his company were suddenly surrounded by a great light. As Saul
fell to the ground, he heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why are you
persecuting Me?” Saul answered, “Who are you, Sir?” And the
voice said, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now, get up and go
into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Saul rose and,
blind, was led by his companions into Damascus. The Lord sent a Damascus
disciple named Ananias to heal and instruct Saul. Ananias entered the house
and, obeying Jesus’ orders, laid his hands on Saul and prayed over him so that
he might regain his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And immediately
something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes. He regained his sight, got up, was
baptized and, having eaten, recovered his strength.  Saul had realized the truth that Jesus was
the mysterious fulfillment of all he had been blindly pursuing. He could easily
identify Jesus with Jesus’ followers. He stayed several days in Damascus with
Christian disciples and started teaching in the synagogues that Jesus was the
promised Messiah and the Son of God. Life message: Saul’s
conversion into Paul teaches us that we, too, need conversion and the
renewal of our lives
by a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, which will enable
us to bear witness to Christ, as St. Paul did,
by exemplary lives.(Feast Day gospel: Lk 10:1-9)   Fr. Tony
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

26: Thursday: (Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops) For a short biography click on https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saints-timothy-and-titus  

Mk 4: 21-25: 21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or
under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For there is nothing hid, except to be made
manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. 23 If any man has
ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And he said to them, “Take heed what
you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will
be given you. 25 For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has
not, even what he has will be taken away.”

 The context:
Today’s Gospel passage is taken from Mark’s version of Jesus’ teaching after he
had told the parable of the sower.  Jesus reminds us that we are the light
of the world and that our duty is to receive and radiate around us Christ’s
light of love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness.

 The image of light and lamp:
Lamps help people to see and work in the dark, and their light prevents our
stumbling and falling down. For the Jews, Light represented the inner beauty,
truth, and goodness of God. God’s Light illumines our lives with Light,
celestial joy, and everlasting peace. The glory of the Lord shone around
the shepherds at Bethlehem (Lk 2:9). Paul recognized the presence of God in a blinding
(Acts 9:3; 22:6); God “dwells in inaccessible Light” (1 Tim 6:16).
That is why Jesus claims that he is the Light of the world. When the Light
of Christ
shines in our hearts, we are able to recognize who we are, who
our neighbors are and Who God is and to see clearly how we are related to God
and our neighbors. When we live in Christ’s Light, we do not foolishly try to
hide truths about ourselves from ourselves, from our neighbors, or from God.
Christ’s Light will also remind us of the consequences of our sinful ways and
bad habits.  

 The paradox of the rich getting
: In
today’s Gospel, Jesus makes the comment “for to him who has, more will be
” following the warning “Take heed how you hear….”
is telling us that if we listen to him
with open minds and open hearts and walk in his Light, the tiny bit of wisdom
and understanding that we’ve already gained will grow and grow with his help.
If, on the other hand, our hearts are closed to him, even the little bit of
wisdom that we think we’ve got will be lost. Jesus is not talking about money
or wealth in any form. He is talking about the extent and depth of our
connectedness to God. If we are already deeply rooted in God, our spirits will
grow larger, richer, and fuller by the day. But if our connection to the Lord
is only superficial, our spirits certainly won’t grow, and our connection to
Him may well not last at all.

 Life message: As “light
of the world
” it is our duty to remove the darkness from around us and to
show others the true Light of Jesus, his ideas and ideals from our model
Christian life.  Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/23 For additional reflections, click on: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/;

27: Friday: [Saint Angela Merici, Virgin] For a short biography click on https://ajmerdiocese.org/saint-angela-merici-franciscan-media/

Mk 4:26-34: 26 Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed upon the ground, 27 and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” 30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” 33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything. (Feast Day gospel: MT 23: 8-12)

The context: Using the mini-parables of the growth of wheat seeds and mustard seeds in the field, Jesus explains the nature of the growth of the Kingdom of God or rule of God in human beings and human societies. In the case of both wheat and mustard seeds, the initial growth is slow and unnoticeable. But within days a leafy shoot will emerge, and within months a mature plant with numerous branches and leaves, flowers and fruits will be produced. The growth is silent and slow but steady, using power from the seed in the beginning and transforming absorbed water and minerals for energy in the later stages. Jesus explains that the Kingdom of God grows this way in human souls. The Kingdom of God is the growth of God’s rule in human hearts that occurs when man does the will of God and surrenders his life to God. It is slow and microscopic in the beginning. But it grows by using the power of the Holy Spirit, given to us through the Word of God, the Sacraments, and our prayers. Finally, God’s rule in the human heart transforms individuals and communities into God’s people, doing His will in His kingdom.

Life message 1) As we learn God’s will from His words and try to put these words into practice, we participate in the growth of God’s Kingdom on earth, a growth which will be completed in our Heavenly life. But we need the special anointing of the Holy Spirit to be doers of the word of God, so let us offer our lives before God every day, asking for this special anointing. Fr. Tony (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

28 Saturday: (Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church) For a short biography click on https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-thomas-aquinas

Mk 4:35-41: 35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” 41 And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

The context: Mark’s emphasis on Jesus’ wondrous works helps him to reveal Jesus’ true Messianic identity. The role of God in calming the storms of life is the central theme of today’s Gospel. By describing the miracle, Mark also gives the assurance to his first-century believers that nothing can harm the Church as long as the risen Lord is with them. The incident reminds us today to keep Jesus in our life’s boat and to seek God’s help in the storms of life.

The storm: The Sea of Galilee is lake thirteen miles long from north to south and eight miles broad from east to west at its widest. It is notorious for its sudden storms. When a cold wind blows from the west, the valleys and gullies and hills act like gigantic funnels, compressing the winds and letting them rush down to the lake to create storms with violent waves. Unable to control their fears in just such a storm, the disciples awaken Jesus, accusing him of disregarding their safety. Jesus' response is immediate. First, Jesus rebukes the winds and the sea, producing perfect calm, to the great astonishment of his disciples. Then only does he reproach them for their lack of Faith.
Life messages: 1) We need to welcome Jesus into the boat of our life. All of us are making a journey across the sea of time to the shore of eternity, and it is natural that, occasionally in our lives, we all experience different types of violent storms: physical storms, emotional storms, and spiritual storms. We face storms of sorrow, doubts, anxiety, worries, temptations, and passion. Only Jesus can give us real peace in the storm of sorrow or console us at the loss of our dear ones.

2) When the storm of doubts seeks to uproot the very foundations of our Faith, Jesus is there to still that storm, revealing to us His Divinity and the authority behind the words of Holy Scripture. He gives us peace in the storms of anxiety and worries about ourselves, about the unknown future, and about those we love. Jesus calms the storms of passion in people who have hot hearts and blazing tempers. Fr. Tony (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