May 1-6 weekday homilies

May 1 Monday: Feast of St. Joseph the Worker: Mt 13:54-58: (alt=Jn 15:1-8): For a short account, click on: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-joseph-the-worker;

Introduction: Today we celebrate the liturgical feast of St. Joseph the Worker to honor St. Joseph, to highlight the dignity and importance of labor, and to honor the workers who are dignified by their labor and who bring Christ to their workplace. This is the second feast of St. Joseph; the first was the feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary and patron of the universal Church, which we celebrated on the 19th of March.

History: In response to the May Day Celebrations of workers in the Communist countries where workers were considered mere “cogs in the machine,” Pope Pius XII (declared Venerable December 19, 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI; Wikipedia), instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955 to Christianize the concept of labor, to acknowledge the dignity of labor and to give all workers a role-model and heavenly patron.

Theology of work: The Bible presents God as a worker (Gen 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”) Who is engaged in the work of creation and of providing for His creatures. God the Father assigns His Son Jesus the work of human redemption and gives the Holy Spirit the work of our sanctification. That is why Jesus said: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work (John 5:17). In Paradise, Adam and Eve tilled and kept the Garden in obedience to the Father, and after their Fall into disobedience, He command that man should continue to work outside the Garden where their work would become toil “to earn your bread by the sweat of your brow” (Gn 3:19). Jesus showed us the necessity and nobility of work by working in Joseph’s carpentry shop until he started his public life — a work of preaching and healing in his Messianic ministry. The workers are important and their work noble, not only because they obey God’s command to work, but also because they sustain and promote social welfare and the progress of societies.

Joseph as an exemplary worker: Joseph worked to support his family by helping his neighbors, using his skill in carpentry. He was a just worker, honest in his trade of buying wood, selling his finished products, and charging for his services. He was a working parent, laboring hard to support his family. He was a praying worker who prayed in all his needs, got answers from God in dreams on important occasions, and kept God’s presence in his workshop. He was an obedient worker who kept the Mosaic Law of Sabbath rest and spent the day of rest to take Jesus to the local synagogue and to teach Jesus God’s Law given through Moses.

Life messages: 1) Let us appreciate the dignity of all forms of work and all types of laborers as they glorify God and promote the welfare of society. 2) Let us be sincere and committed to our work as St. Joseph was, working in the constant awareness of the presence of God. 3) Let us love our work and convert it into prayer by offering it for God’s glory. 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 or Copy and paste these web addresses on the Address bar of any Internet website like Google or MSN and press the Enter button of your Keyboard).

May 2 Tuesday: (St. Athanesius, Bishop, Doctor of the Church)For a short biography, click on:https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-athanasius/Mt 10: 22-25 (Mt 10: 24-33): 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. 26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

The context: Today’s Gospel passage comes from the end of Jesus’ instruction to the apostles, sending, them forth to carry on the mission of preaching and healing, and instructing them to live simple lives, expecting opposition and rejection. Predicting future opposition and persecution, Jesus encourages the apostles to stand firm, three times urging them, and us, “Do not fear!” “Do not be afraid!” Thus, we know that we, too, will be successful despite the opposition we encounter.

Have no fear. Jesus gives three reasons why the apostles, and we, should not be frightened. The first reason is that opponents will not be able to prevent their mission from succeeding because God will expose their evil plans and deeds: “Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered.” The Lord “will bring to light the hidden things of darkness” (1 Cor 4:5) and will vindicate the faithful. That God will not permit evil to win is the promise of v. 26. The second reason they, and we, should not be afraid is that the power of their, and our, opponents is limited. They can kill the body, which dies all too soon anyway, but have no power over the soul. The third reason they, and we, should not be afraid is that they, and we are always under the providential care and protection of their, and our, Heavenly Father Who cares for all His creatures. They, and we, are more important to God than sparrows “sold at two for a penny.” The God Who cares for a trivial bird like the sparrow also cares about our smallest problems – even counting the hairs on our heads. While this is an encouraging assurance, we may find it difficult to believe in the midst of persecution.

Life message: “Be not afraid!” We can suffer from many fears: (A) Fear of Loss: a) Loss of life by illness or accident; b) Loss of dear ones – spouse, children, parents; c) Loss of belongings and property or savings; d) Loss of a job; e) Loss of our good name and reputation by slanderers (B) Baseless fears due to mental illness. C) Global fears: of terrorist attacks, nuclear holocaust, plagues, like Corvid-19, war etc. When we are afraid let us remind ourselves that God cares – we are each a dear child of His and He cares for each of us. “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (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

May 3 Wednesday: (St. Philip sand St. James, Apostles) For a short biography, click on:https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saints-philip-and-james/Jn 14: 6-14: 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. 14

James, son of Alphaeus, called James the Lesser wrote the epistle that bears his name and became the bishop of Jerusalem. He is the brother of Jude, and they are cousins of Jesus because their mother Mary (who was married to Alphaeus or Clophas/Cleopas), is the sister or cousin of Jesus’ mother. [This James is different from James the
Greater,
the son of Zebedee who was married to another sister or cousin of
Mary; hence, James and his brother John were
also cousins of Jesus.] James the Lesser is also known by the title of James the Just on account of his eminent sanctity. James and his brother Jude were called to the apostleship in the second year of Christ’s preaching, soon after the Pasch, probably in the year 31. James, son of Alphaeus, only appears four times in the New Testament, each time in a list of the twelve apostles as number 9. In Christian art he is depicted holding a fuller’s club because he was believed to have been martyred, beaten to death with a fuller’s club, at Ostrakine in Lower Egypt, where he was preaching the Gospel.

Philip: John describes Philip as a fisherman from Bethsaida in Galilee, the same town as Andrew and Peter. It is possible that Philip was originally a follower or disciple of John the Baptist because John depicts Jesus calling Philip out of a crowd attending John’s baptisms. Immediately after his call as an apostle by Jesus, Philip introduced Jesus to his friend Nathaniel/Bartholomew as the “one about whom Moses wrote” (Jn 1:45). On one occasion, when Jesus saw the great multitude following him and wanted to give them food, he asked Philip where they should buy bread for the people to eat. Philip expressed his surprise declaring “two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enoughfor each of them to have a little bit” (Jn 6:7). It was in answer to Philip’s question, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” (Jn 14:8) that Jesus answered, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). Since Philip had a Greek name, some Greek Gentile proselytes once approached him with a request to introduce them to Jesus. Eusebius records that Polycrates, 2nd century Bishop of Ephesus, wrote that Philip was crucified in Phrygia and later buried in Hierapolis, in Turkey. Tradition has it that Philip’s death was around AD 54. We celebrate his feast day on May 3rd.

Life message: Let us ask the intercession of Sts. James and Philip so that we too may bear witness of Jesus by our lives to those around us. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) 23.

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

May 4 Thursday: Jn 13:16-20:16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the scripture may be fulfilled, `He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me.”

The context: Today’s Gospel is the second part of the explanation Jesus gave to his disciples after washing their feet before the Last Supper. He promised his disciples that that whoever listened to them would be listening to him as well, provided his preaching disciples became the humble servants of others. Gospel lessons: In the first part of today’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes the fact that the hallmark of his disciples must be their readiness and generosity in offering humble and sacrificial service to others, because that was the model Jesus had given them by his life and especially by washing their feet. It is by serving others that we become great before God. In the second part of today’s Gospel, Jesus shows his apostles how to treat people who are unfaithful and disloyal. Jesus hints at the betrayal of Judas by quoting Psalm 4:9: “He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.” Instead of distancing himself from Judas, Jesus offers him reconciliation, showing him more affection by washing his feet and by giving him a morsel of bread dipped in sauce with his own hand. In the third part, Jesus gives the basis for apostolic succession, stating that one who receives his apostles and messengers receives him, thereby receiving God the Father who sent Jesus.

Life messages: 1) Let us prove that we are true disciples of Jesus by rendering others humble and loving service today. 2) Let us learn to be reconciled with those who offend us by unconditionally pardoning them, by wishing them the very best, and by keeping them in our prayers. 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

May 5 Friday: Jn 14:1-6:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

The context: Jesus consoles his apostles who are sad and disheartened at the prospect of his arrest and crucifixion by assuring them that he is going to prepare an everlasting accommodation for them in his Father’s house in Heaven. He gives them the assurance that he will come back to take them to their Heavenly abodes. It is then that Thomas says to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus answers Thomas’ question with, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

Jesus the Way, the Truth, and the Life: The basic doctrine of Judaism is that Yahweh is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Hence, Jesus is making the revolutionary claim that he is equivalent to Yahweh. Jesus declares that he is the safest and surest way to God, thus discrediting the notions that all religions are equally sure ways to reach God, and that no organized religion, but only living a good life of sharing love, is necessary to reach God. Jesus is the Way which he calls narrow, for it is the way of loving, sacrificial service. Jesus is the Truth who revealed truths about God and God’s relationship with man in his teaching. Jesus also taught moral truths by demonstrating them in his life. Jesus is the Life because he himself shares the Eternal Life of God, and because He shares his Divine Life with his disciples through the Word of God and the Sacraments.

Life messages: We should share the Divine Life of God by making use of the means Jesus established in his Church: a) by actively participating in the Eucharistic celebration and properly receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion; b) by the worthy reception of the other Sacraments; c) by the meditative daily reading of the Word of God; d) by following the guidance of the life-giving Spirit of God, living in the Church and within us; e) by communicating with God the Source of Life, in personal and family prayers and f) by going to God to be reconciled with Him daily, repenting of our sins, and by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, at a minimum, when we are in mortal sin (so that we can receive Him in the Eucharist), by forgiving others who offend us, and by asking God’s forgiveness of our own sins. Fr. Tony Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) 23

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

May 6 Saturday: John 14:7-14: 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; 14 if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

Scripture lesson: Answering Philip’s request at the Last Supper, Jesus explains, in today’s Gospel selection, the unity and oneness of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus clarifies the abiding presence of each Person of the Holy Trinity in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Hence, Jesus is the visible expression of the invisible God. Jesus identified Himself totally with the Father. At every moment he did what the Father asked him to do (Jn 5:30; 8:28-29.38). So, in order to see what God looks like, we have only to look at Jesus, and in order to hear how God speaks, we have only to listen to Jesus. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a God Who cares intensely, and Who yearns for all men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus makes visible a God Who loves us unconditionally, unselfishly, and perfectly. If we put our trust in Jesus and believe in him, Jesus promises that God the Father will hear our prayers when we pray in Jesus’ Name. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray with confidence, Our Father who art in heaven ..give us this day our daily bread … (Mt 6:9,11; Luke 11:2-3).

Life message: 1) We believe that God dwells within our souls in the form of His Holy Spirit, making us the temple of God where we have the indwelling presence of the Triune God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit living. Hence, it is our duty to live always aware of the real presence of God within us and to adjust our life, accordingly, doing good to others and avoiding evil. Fr. Tony (https://frtonyshomilies.com/) 23

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