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World Mission Sunday – Oct. 24, 2021 (L-21)

WORLD MISSION SUNDAY [C] (Oct 24) summary (L/21)

Introduction: Over one billion Catholics all over the world observe today as World Mission Sunday. This annual observance was instituted 95 years ago in 1926 by Pope Pius XI’s Papal decree. Every year since then, the universal Church has dedicated the month of October to reflection on and prayer for the missions. On World Mission Sunday, Catholics gather to celebrate the Eucharist, and to contribute to a collection for the work of evangelization around the world. This annual celebration gives us a chance to reflect on the importance of mission work for the life of the Church. It reminds us that we are one with the Church around the world and that we are all committed to carrying on the mission of Christ, however different our situations may be.

The Holy Fathers’ Mission Sunday messages: In his World Mission Sunday messages, Pope Benedict XVI stressed the importance of Christian charity in action as the keynote of evangelization. He encouraged Churches with a shortage of priests to get them from countries with many priests. In the Pauline Year, heencouraged everyone “to take renewed awareness of the urgent need to proclaim the Gospel.” He reminded us that the “the goal of the Church’s mission is to illumine all peoples with the light of the Gospel,” and he exhorted all Christians “to redouble their commitment to participate in the missionary activity that is an essential component of the life of the Church.“ Pope Francis, in his first World Mission Sunday message, 2013, challenged us to proclaim courageously and in every situation the Gospel of Christ, a message of hope, reconciliation, and communion. In his 2014 Mission Sunday message, the Pope challenged the Church to become a welcoming home, a mother for all peoples, and the source of rebirth for our world through the intercession of Mary, the model of humble and joyful evangelization. “The Church is on a mission in the world,” Pope Francis wrote in his 2019 World Mission Day message, Baptized and Sent. “This missionary mandate touches us personally: I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptized man and woman is a mission.” Hence the Holy Father calls on all Catholics and the Church to revive missionary awareness and commitment. In his 2020 message our Holy Father asked us to discharge our mission duty by volunteering with prophet Isaiah “Here am I, send me” (6:8) to alleviate the suffering of our Covid-19-stricken brothers and sisters. The theme of 2021 World Mission Day – “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), is a summons to each of us to “own” and to bring to others what we bear in our hearts. In these days of pandemic, when there is a temptation to disguise and justify indifference and apathy in the name of healthy social distancing, there is urgent need for the mission of compassion, which can make that necessary distancing an opportunity for encounter, care and promotion.

The missionary Church: The Church, according to Vatican Council II, is “missionary” in her very nature because her founder, Jesus Christ, was the first missionary. God the Father sent God the Son, Incarnate in Jesus, His Christ, into the world with a message of God’s love and salvation. Thus, the evangelizing mission of the Church is essentially the announcement of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation, as these are revealed to mankind through the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.

How should we evangelize? By exemplary and transparent Christian life, by prayer, and by financial support.  The most powerful means of preaching Christ is by living a truly   Christian life — a life filled with love, mercy, kindness, compassion, and a spirit of forgiveness and service. Prayer is the second means of missionary work.  Jesus said: “Without Me you can do nothing.”  Therefore, prayer is necessary for anyone who wishes to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. All missionary efforts also require financial support because the love of God can often be explained to the poor only by providing them with food, medicine, and a means of livelihood.  Hence, on this Mission Sunday, let us learn to appreciate our missionary obligation and support the Church’s missionary activities by leading transparent Christian lives, by fervent prayers, and by generous donations.

OCTOBER 24, 2021: WORLD MISSION SUNDAY–  Is 60:1-6, Rom 10:9-18, Mt 28:16-20

Homily starter anecdotes: # 1: “I have no other plan.” S.D. Gordon has a beautiful story about the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. When the grand welcome ceremony was over, the Archangel Gabriel approached Jesus to resolve his doubts. He said, “I know that only very few in Palestine are aware of the great work of human salvation You have accomplished through Your suffering, death and Resurrection. But the whole world should know and appreciate it and become Your disciples, acknowledging You  as their Lord and Savior. What is Your plan of action?”  Jesus answered, “I have told all My Apostles to tell other people about Me and preach My Message through their lives. That’s all.” “Suppose they don’t do that?” Gabriel asked. “What’s your Plan B?” Jesus replied, “I have no other plan; I am counting on them.” On this World Mission Sunday, the Church reminds us that Jesus is counting on each one of us to make Him known loved and accepted by others around us. Fr. Tony (      

# 2: “We Wanted to be Like ThemA striking story tells about one remote area in western Sudan. Expatriate missionaries, especially priests, Brothers and Sisters, had labored there for many years with few visible results. Then expatriate lay missionaries — married and single — came to that area and soon many Sudanese people become Catholics. A Sudanese elder explained: “When we saw the priests and Sisters living separately and alone, we didn’t want to be like them. But when we saw Catholic families — men, women and children — living happily together, we wanted to be like them.” — In our family-oriented African society, married missionary couples with children have a powerful and unique witness and credibility. (Fr. Joseph G. Healey, M.M., a Maryknoll missionary) Fr. Tony (      

# 3:  “God Is Like a Large Baobab Tree” One day my pickup truck broke down on the road from Maswa to Bariadi in western Tanzania. After I had waited for a half-hour, a big Coca-Cola truck came by, and the driver, named Musa,  kindly towed my vehicle to the next town — a common occurrence of friendship and mutual help on our poor dirt roads. Part of the time I sat in his big cab,  and we talked about, of all things, religion. Musa was a Muslim who belonged to the Nyamwezi Ethnic Group from Tabora. In commenting on the tensions between Christians and Muslims in Tanzania he told me: “There is only one God. God is like one large tree with different branches that represent the different religions of Islam, Christianity, African Religion and so forth. These branches are part of the same family of God so we should work together.” — Simply put, Musa taught me an African metaphor of world religions and interreligious dialogue. (Fr. Healey). Fr. Tony (      

Introduction: Over one billion Catholics all over the world observe today as the 95th   World Mission Sunday. Pope Pius XI instituted this annual observance in 1926  by Papal decree. Every year since then, the universal Church has dedicated the month of October to reflection on, and prayer for, the missions. On World Mission Sunday, Catholics gather to celebrate the Eucharist and to contribute to a collection for the work of evangelization around the world. Of the 3000 dioceses in the world, about 1000 are missionary dioceses—they need assistance from more established dioceses to build catechetical programs, seminaries, Religious Communities, chapels, churches, orphanages, and schools.  This annual celebration gives us a chance to reflect on the importance of mission work for the life of the Church. It reminds us that we are one with the Church around the world and that we are all committed to carrying on the mission of Christ, however different our situations may be. The greatest missionary challenge that we face at home is a secular and consumerist culture in which God is not important, moral values are relative, and institutional religions are deemed unnecessary.

The Holy Fathers’ Mission Sunday messages: It is because of the modern challenges to evangelization that, in his World Mission Sunday Message, for 2003, Pope St. John Paul II  called on the Church to become “more contemplative, holy, and missionary-oriented, grounding its work on fervent prayer.” Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2006 message, stressed the importance of Christian charity in action as the keynote of evangelization.   “All the Churches for all the World” was the Pope’s theme for World Mission Sunday, 2007. Pope Benedict encouraged the sending of missionaries from Church communities which have a large number of vocations to serve those communities of the West which experience a shortage of vocations.  In 2008, the Pope encouraged everyone “to take renewed awareness of the urgent need to proclaim the Gospel” in this Pauline Year, following the example, and imbibing the missionary zeal, of St. Paul, the greatest missionary of all times.  In 2009, the Pope clarified that the “the goal of the Church’s mission is to illumine all peoples with the light of the Gospel as they journey through history towards God.” He asked all Christians to redouble their commitment to participate in the missionary activity that is an essential component of the life of the Church. Pope Francis, in his first World Mission Sunday message (2013), challenged us to proclaim courageously and in every situation the Gospel of Christ, a message of hope, reconciliation, and communion, a proclamation of God’s closeness, His mercy, and His salvation.   This proclamation would make clear  that the power of God’s love is able to overcome the darkness of evil and guide us on the path of goodness. In the light of the conclusion of the Year of Faith, the Pope offered his thoughts about Faith: the necessity of sharing it, some roadblocks missionary efforts can encounter, and the importance of generously responding to the missionary call of the Holy Spirit. In his 2014 Mission Sunday message, Pope Francis challenged the Church to become a welcoming home, a mother for all peoples, and the source of rebirth for our world through the intercession of Mary, the model of humble and joyful evangelization. In his 2015 message, Pope Francis declared “The Church’s mission is faced by the challenge of meeting the needs of all people to return to their roots and to protect the values of their respective cultures. This means knowing and respecting other traditions and philosophical systems, and realizing that all peoples and cultures have the right to be helped from within their own traditions to enter into the mystery of God’s wisdom and to accept the Gospel of Jesus, who is light and transforming strength for all cultures.”  “The Church is on a mission in the world,” Pope Francis said in his 2019 World Mission Day message, Baptized and Sent. “This missionary mandate touches us personally: I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptized man and woman is a mission.” Hence, the Holy Father was calling on all Catholics and the Church to revive missionary awareness and commitment. In his 2020 message, our Holy Father asked us to discharge our mission duty by volunteering  with the prophet Isaiah, “Here am I, send me” (6:8), to help  alleviate the suffering of Covid-19-stricken brothers and sisters. The theme of 2021 World Mission Day“We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), is a summons to each of us to “own” and to bring to others what we bear in our hearts. In these days of pandemic, when there is a temptation to disguise and justify indifference and apathy in the name of healthy social distancing, there is urgent need for the mission of compassion, which can make that necessary distancing an opportunity for encounter, care and promotion. (

The missionary Church: The Church, according to Vatican Council II, is “missionary” in her very nature because her founder, Jesus Christ, was the first missionary.   God the Father sent God the Son into the world Incarnate in Jesus of  Nazareth, His Christ,  with a message.   This message, called the Gospel or the Good News, is explicitly stated in John 3:16: “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only-begotten Son, so that whoever who believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life”(RSV2Catholic).  John further clarifies Jesus’ message in his epistle: “God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”(I Jn 4:9).  St. Paul writes to Timothy about the Church’s mission: “God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth.” (I Tm 2:4). Thus, the evangelizing mission of the Church is essentially the announcement of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation, as these are revealed to mankind through the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Gospels show us how Jesus demonstrated this all-embracing and unconditional love of God by His life, suffering, death, and Resurrection.

Counter-witnessing affects Mission Sunday message: Revelations of recent and past sex abuse cases and the culpable failure of the hierarchy to prevent them, prompting some Catholics to leave the Church, put non-Catholics and non-Christians in a dilemma, and some of them postponed  or even abandoned their plan to join the Catholic Church. They naturally expected the Church ministers to be holy or at least honorable, and they were disillusioned by the counter-witnessing caused by the sex abuse crisis. They wanted the Church authorities to take drastic and effective steps to restore the Church to its true dignity, loving the Church as Christ does. Observance of Mission Sunday is the appropriate time to reorder the Church to meet the demands and expectations of the true apostolic nature and Divine vocation, given to it by Christ. The holy living of faithful Christians and their anointed ministers, with their fervent prayer,  is the only solution to tide us over the present crisis.

Why should we preach? Jesus, the first missionary, made a permanent arrangement for inviting all men throughout the ages to share God’s love and salvation:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.” (Mt 28:19).  This is why the Council Fathers of the Second Vatican Council declared that the Church of Christ “is missionary in its origin and nature.”  Hence, it follows that the mission of the Church is the mission of every member of the Church, and is not reserved for the priests, the religious, and the active missionaries alone.    Thus, every Christian is a missionary with a message to share — the message of God’s love, liberation, and eternal salvation.

How are we to accomplish this goal?   The most powerful means of fulfilling this goal is by living a truly   Christian life — a life filled with love, mercy, kindness, compassion, prayer,  and a forgiving spirit.   Mr. Gandhi used to say:   “My life is my message.”  He often challenged the Christian missionaries to observe the “apostolate of the rose.”   A rose doesn’t preach. It simply radiates its fragrance and attracts everyone to it by its irresistible beauty.   Hence, the most important thing is not the Gospel we preach, but the life we live.  This is how the early Christians evangelized.   Their Gentile neighbors used to say:  “See how these Christians love one another!”   The Christ they recognized and accepted was the Christ who lived in each Christian.

Prayer is the second requirement for  missionary work.  Jesus said: “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Therefore, prayer is necessary for anyone who wishes to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, and for everyone who preaches the Good News in his life.   In his message for World Mission Sunday, 2004, Pope St. John Paul II stressed the fact that the Holy Spirit would help us to become witnesses of Christ only in an atmosphere of prayer.  Since missionaries are weak human beings, and since witnessing to Christ through life is not easy, we need to support them by our prayers always. In his message for 2007, Pope Benedict reminds us, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”, the Lord said; “pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Lk 10: 2).

All missionary efforts also require financial support because the love of God can often be explained to the poor only by providing them with food and means of livelihood.  The sick can experience the healing power of Jesus only through the dedicated service of doctors, nurses, and health care workers.   Hospitals and nursing homes require funding.  The use of expensive modern media of communication is often necessary to bring Christ’s message of love and liberation more effectively to non-Christians in the modern world.

Hence, on this Mission Sunday, let us learn to appreciate our missionary obligation and support the Church’s missionary activities by leading transparent Christian lives, by fervent prayers, and by generous donations. Pope Benedict XVI concluded his 2006 Mission Sunday message thus: “May the Virgin Mary, who collaborated actively in the beginning of the Church’s mission with her presence beneath the Cross and her prayers in the Upper Room, sustain their action and help believers in Christ to be ever more capable of true love, so that they become sources of living water in a spiritually thirsting world.”


# 1: 97% of the world has heard of Coca-Cola
72% of the world has seen a can of Coca-Cola
51% of the world has tasted a can of Coca-Cola
Coke has only been around 122 years (2021).
If God had given the task of world evangelization to the Coke company it would probably be done by now!

# 2:  Did Jesus Christ Ever Kill a Lion? A story is told about a missionary who went to a remote area in Northern Tanzania to proclaim the Gospel among the Maasai tribes who were warriors.  One day he was explaining to a group of adults the saving activity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He told how Jesus is the Savior and Redeemer of all humankind. When he finished, a Maasai elder slowly stood up and said to the missionary: “You have spoken well, but I want to learn more about this great person Jesus Christ. Now I have three questions about Jesus. First, did he ever kill a lion? Second, how many cows did he have? Third, how many wives and children did he have?”

# 3: Rescue mission to Egypt: Nine-year-old Joey was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday school. “Well, Mom,” he reported, “our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he ordered his engineers to build a pontoon bridge, and all the people walked across safely. He used his walkie-talkie to radio headquarters to call in an air strike. They sent in bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved.

“Now, Joey, is that REALLY what your teacher taught you?” his mother asked.

“Well, no, Mom,” Joey admitted, “but if I told it the way the teacher did, you’d never believe it!”

#4: Religion is a good thing, if it’s in small doses. A family lived off the alley behind my first church. There were three floors to their row house, each floor inhabited by a different generation. The grandparents, who were members of the church, lived on the ground floor. Next floor up was their son and daughter-in-law, and the grandchildren’s bedrooms were at the top. One day, the grandfather beckoned me to the back fence. “I’m worried about my grandson,” he said. “What’s the problem?” I asked. He said, “When he gets up in the morning, he reads the Bible before he does anything else. Every time he sits at the kitchen table, he insists on saying grace. Now he’s talking about joining a prayer group with his girlfriend.” Walter,” I said, “what’s the problem?” “Don’t get me wrong, Reverend,” he said. “Religion is a good thing, as long as it’s in small doses. I’m worried my grandson is becoming an extremist.” — I admit it was hard to sympathize with my neighbor. So far, no member of my family has been lost to such radical behavior. Neither has a child of mine wandered off to the Temple for three days. But it’s important to remember that religious commitments can divide a family. [William G. Carter, Praying for a Whole New World, CSS Publishing Company.]

# 5: And hell broke loose:   Mark Twain used to tell a joke that he put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment, to see if they could get along. They did. So, he put in a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put in a Baptist, a Presbyterian, and a Catholic, and hell broke loose.

Additional anecdotes: 1)You’re not a white man; you’re Jesus.”  A touching story is told of a British missionary priest who lived   in a remote part of Tanzania.  He lived alone, a single white man among his African flock, speaking their language.  One day a British government official arrived on a tour of the area. The Tanzanian children ran out to welcome the visitor. They entertained the official by clapping, singing and dancing.  After the official left, the children excitedly told the missionary priest, “We saw a white man! We saw a white man!”   Some of the children said that the visitor was the first foreigner they had ever seen. The priest was amazed and exclaimed, “But I’m a white man. I’m a foreigner. But I’ve been living here with you all these years.”   One of the children said, “You’re not a white man; you’re Jesus, you are our Father.” — Mission Sunday reminds us that transparent Christian life, as lived by this missionary, radiating the real presence of Jesus within, is the mission of every Christian. (Joseph G. Healey, M.M). Fr. Tony (      

2)  “Athanasius Evangelized Me with a Cup of Tea” : One day Bishop Christopher Mwoleka came to our house in Nyabihanga Village in Rulenge, Tanzania on an unexpected visit. My good friend Athanasius and I hurriedly prepared tea for the villagers who came to greet the bishop. We started with two full thermoses, but then several other visitors came and soon we had finished all the tea. I wondered what I would do if another person came. Just then one of our neighbors arrived to say hello. As I started to apologize for not having any more tea, Athanasius spontaneously picked up his own cup of tea and politely handed it to the visitor. It was a simple gesture of sharing, but for me a profound act of love and beauty. By his example Athanasius had evangelized me. (Joseph G. Healey, M.M).  Fr. Tony (      

3) Americans give $700 million per year to mission agencies. However, they pay as much for pet food every 52 days. A person must overeat by at least $1.50 worth of food per month to maintain one excess pound of flesh. Yet $1.50 per month is more than what 90 percent of all Christians in America give to missions. If the average missions’ supporter is only five pounds overweight, it means he spends (to his own hurt) at least five times as much as he gives for missions. If he were to choose simple food (as well as not overeat), he could give ten times as much as he does to missions and not modify his standard of living in any other way!  [Ralph Winter of the William Carey Library, 1705 North Sierra Bonita Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91104, in Leadership, IV,4,p. 64. ] Fr. Tony (      

 4) Mary Moffatt Livingstone:  Sometimes marriage to a great leader comes with a special price for his wife. Such was the case for Mary Moffatt Livingstone, wife of Dr. David Livingstone, perhaps the most celebrated missionary in the Western world. Mary was born in Africa; she was the daughter of Robert Moffatt, the missionary who inspired Livingstone to go to Africa. The Livingstones were married in Africa in 1845, but the years that followed were difficult for Mary. Finally, she and their six children returned to England so she could recuperate as Livingstone plunged deeper into the African interior. Unfortunately, even in England Mary lived in near poverty. The hardships and long separations took their toll on Mrs. Livingstone, who died when she was just forty-two.
[Today in the Word, MBI, January 1990, p. 12.] Fr. Tony (      


 Scriptural Homilies” (No. 57) by Fr. Tony:

Visit my website by clicking on missed or previous Cycle A homilies, 141 Adult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197Question of the Week.” Contact me only at Visit also  under   Fr. Tony’s homilies for my website version. (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020)  Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604 .

Continue reading World Mission Sunday – Oct. 24, 2021 (L-21)

Sept 27 – Oct 2 (L-21) Weekday Homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies, RCIA & Faith Formation lessons.

Sept 27- Oct 2: Sept 27 Monday (St. Vincent de Paul, Priest) : Lk 9:46-50: 46 And an argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. 47 But when Jesus perceived the thought of their hearts, he took a child and put him by his side, 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me; for he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” 49 John answered, “Master, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him; for he that is not against you is for you.” USCCB video reflections:; ; Tony ( L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ criterion for greatness with advice to be accepting of others who do good in ways different from ours. Jesus  exhorts the spiritual leaders as well as all believers in responsible positions in the Church to be like children, humble, trusting and innocent. Child-like qualities: Children are basically innocent and honest. They are naturally humble, because they depend on their parents for everything. They trust and obey their parents because they know their parents love them.  Hence, Jesus advises his disciples to forget their selfish ambitions and to spend their lives serving others in all humility, with trusting Faith in a loving and providing God.  Then they will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Next, Jesus tells his disciples that there should not be any rivalry, jealousy or suspicion among them, as long as all hold the same belief.  In today’s passage, the Apostles, upset  by seeing someone who did not belong to their group using Jesus’ name to cast out demons, complain to Jesus.  Since the present-day divisions in Christianity are substantive, rising from differences over the basic tenets of Faith, today’s Gospel passage does not apply to them.  But there is no reason for any Christian denomination to be jealous of another denomination because of the greater good they do for people for the glory of God.  True love seeks the highest good of our neighbor, while envy results from selfishness and pride, and it is contrary to true Christian love.

Life Messages: 1) We need to practice humility in thoughts, words and actions. “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.”  2) We should not seek recognition and recompense for the service we do for Christ and the Church as parents, teachers, pastors etc. 3) Trusting Faith resulting from true humility is essential for all corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  4) Let us not try to prevent anyone from doing good to others because of envy or jealousy.  Envy and jealousy are sinful because they lead us to sadness over what should make us rejoice.  True love always seeks the highest good of the neighbor. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Oct 27, 2021: St. Vincent de Paul: Vincent de Paul was born to a poor peasant family in France in 1580.  Although he later achieved fame for his dedication to the poor, his early life was spent attempting to escape his humble roots. His family shared his ambition, hoping that a career in the priesthood would better the family fortune.  Vincent became a priest at the young age of 19. But he had to be 24 to become an associate pastor in a parish. So he was sent for higher studies in theology and canon law for six years. As a young priest of 25,  he spent most of his early priesthood mingling with members of the elite. He was very well liked because of his charm, intelligence, and sense of humor.

God had a different plan for Vincent: In 1605, (at 25)  Vincent was returning home by boat from a trip. He had been on his way to sell some property he had received in an inheritance from a wealthy patron. While travelling, he was captured by pirates, who brought him to Tunis in Northern Africa. He was sold into slavery, and he remained a slave for two years.  During this time, he prayed to God, telling Him that if his life would be spared and he was freed, he would devote the rest of his life to the service of the poor.

A pastor and community organizer: After his eventual escape from Africa, Vincent volunteered  to serve a church in rural France. The poverty he found there shocked him—it was not uncommon for people who were unable to find work in his poor community to die from starvation.  He began to take stock of his resources, and his former connections with the wealthy and influential led him to seek their financial assistance. He met with affluent friends and inspired them to organize into groups going from house to house requesting furniture, food and clothing for the poor parishioners. They were extremely successful in their efforts, and other parishes began to seek him out to learn how they could organize in the same way.

Founding the Vincentian congregation and Sisters of Charity: As time went by, Fr. Vincent realized that the mistakes of his young life, especially his focus on wealth and fame, had been caused by a poor faith foundation. As a result, he founded in 1625 an order of priests, the Vincentians, who received thorough seminary training and who pledged to devote their lives to the spiritual and material needs of the poor. Later, along with Louise de Marillac, he founded the Sisters of Charity. He then expanded his work, founding hospitals, orphanages and homes for people who were mentally ill.  He also devoted his last years to serving prisoners and slaves, sharing with them his story of hope as a former slave himself.  He was very well known throughout Europe in his own time. He died on September 27, 1660, and he was canonized in 1737. Pope Leo XIII made him the patron of all charitable societies.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul: The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was not founded until more than 150 years after St. Vincent’s death.  When Frederic Ozanam founded the Society, he named it after St. Vincent de Paul. Ozanam was devoted to St. Vincent, who is the patron saint of charitable societies, and he modeled the Society on his call to “see Christ in the poor and to be Christ to the poor”.  The members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul continue to honor his life and legacy by helping people in need and do not discriminate against cultural, religious or political beliefs.

Sept 28 Tuesday (St. Wenceslaus, Martyr) ( , St. Lawrence Ruiz & companions, Martyrs) : Lk 9: 51-56: 51 When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him; 53 but the people would not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 And they went on to another village. USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage deals with the beginning of Jesus’ journey from the northern towns of Galilee to the southern city of Jerusalem in Judea through the land of Samaria. The Samaritans were hostile towards the Jews because the Jews considered them impure. The Samaritans were descendants of Jewish men and women who married Assyrian  Gentile immigrants during the Assyrian captivity(721 BC). In addition, the Samaritans had mixed the religion of Moses with various superstitious practices of the Assyrians. When the “pure” Israelites of Judah rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem (520-525 BC) after their Babylonian captivity (598 BC—538 BC), the Samaritans offered to help, but they were rejected because of their racial impurities. Hence, the angry Samaritans built their own temple on Mount Gerizim, in opposition to the Temple in Jerusalem (cf. John 4:20), and started offering sacrifices there.  Because of this mutual hatred, the Jews from Galilee never took the shortcut through Samaria to go to Jerusalem. They took the long route east of the Jordan River.   Jesus, however, chose the shortcut through Samaria. Hence, the Samaritans not only refused to honor Jesus as a prophet, but also violated the sacred duties of hospitality due to a rabbi.  This made the Apostles angry, and two of them, James and John, asked if Jesus wanted them to command fire to come down from Heaven and consume these Samaritans as Elijah had done to destroy the messengers from the king of Samaria.  (II Kings 1:9-12).  Jesus rebuked them because Jesus was not a destroyer but a Savior. Lesson in tolerance: In today’s Gospel, Jesus corrects the disciples’ desire for revenge because it is out of keeping with the mission of the Messiah, to save men and not to destroy them.  Jesus knew that prejudices are cured through love, not force, through mercy, not punishment.

Life message: Today’s Gospel gives us the greatest passage in the Bible concerning tolerance, which is brotherly, patient love, our “bearing with” one another. Quick anger over little incidents flares up – in the home between parents and children, in the workplace between the co-workers, and in the neighborhood between neighbors. Very often the anger explodes over nothing. The Spirit of Jesus is opposed to such feelings. Hence, let us have this beautiful prayer in our hearts and on our lips: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and a right spirit within me.  Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation.” (Psalms 51: 10). Tony ( L/21

Sept 29 Wednesday (St. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Archangels): Saints Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Archangels): (The Archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael) : Jn 1: 47-51: Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” 48 Nathaniel 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 Nathaniel answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”50… 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.”

The Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael: The angels are spirits created by God before He created man. They are meant to be extensions of God’s love and provident care for us. Their role is to praise and worship God, act as God’s messengers, do God’s will, and protect human beings. “He will give His angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:1). God sent His angels to destroy the evil cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, and to save Lot’s family. God gave Moses an angel to support and guide him: “My angel shall go before you” (Ex 32:34).  It was an angel who helped Jesus in the desert and encouraged Jesus during His agony in Gethsemane. The Acts of the Apostles (1:14) describes how God sent an angel to liberate Peter from the prison. The Archangels form one of the nine orders of angels. The most prominent among them in Scripture are Michael the protector, Gabriel the messenger of God, and Raphael, the healer and guide for humans. All their names end in the suffix –el. This is a reference to God called Elohim in the Old Testament. Michael then means “Who is like God?” Gabriel means “God is my strength.” Raphael means “God heals.”

Michael: Michael means “Who is like God?” from the challenge he flung at the rebel angels  led by Lucifer. In Daniel, he is the great prince who defended Israel. In the Book of Revelation, he is the mighty prince who fought with Lucifer and who dragged the serpent into Hell. Since he is the protector of the Church we recite the prayer to him, composed by Pope Leo XIII.   Gabriel: He is God’s messenger. (Gabriel means “God is my strength”). It was Gabriel who announced to Elizabeth’s husband, the priest Zechariah, the happy news that his barren wife would conceive a son, John the Baptist. He announced the “good news” to Mary, that she was to bear the Son of God. He may have been the angel sent to Joseph in a dream to tell him that he was to take Mary into his home as his wife, “for it is through the Holy Spirit that this Child has been conceived in her. She will bear a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sins.” Gabriel also announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds; he may have been the messenger instructing the Magi to return to their lands by another route rather than returning to King Herod, and also the messenger who appeared to Joseph in a dream to instruct him to return to Israel, as, “They who sought the life of the Child are dead.” RaphaelHe is man’s God-appointed guide and healer. He guided Tobiah’s journey, did Tobiah’s task of collecting his father’s money from Gabael of Rhages, arranged Tobiah’s marriage with Sarah, gave Tobiah the means to heal Tobit’s blindness, and protected Sarah from the devil.

Life messages:  1) Dependable angelic assistance is a salutary, encouraging assurance for us to remember in our fears. 2) The truth that an angel is always watching us is an incentive for us to do good and to avoid evil. 3) Angelic protection and assistance form a great provision for which we must be always thankful to God. Tony ( L/21;

Sept 30 Thursday (St. Jerome, Priest, Doctor of the Church) : Lk 10:1-12:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. 2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4..9 USCCB video reflections: ; Tony ( L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel describes the sending forth of another group of paired disciples by Jesus to prepare towns and villages for Jesus’ own arrival there. Sent out with power and authority from Jesus, they exercised their preaching and healing mission according to the action plan given by Jesus. Jesus sent out seventy disciples, just as God had Moses commission 70 elders to be prophets in Israel. (Nm 11:24-25). Their ministry anticipates the Church’s mission to the nations. Jesus’ instructions and travel tips. Elisha gave similar instructions when he sent his servant on a pressing mission (2 Kgs 4:29). By these instructions, it is clear that Jesus meant the disciples to take no supplies for the road. They were simply to trust that God, the Provider, would open the hearts of believers to take care of their needs. Jesus’ instructions also suggest that the disciples should not be like the acquisitive priests of the day, who were interested only in gaining riches.  They were to be walking examples of God’s love and providence. The Jews supported their rabbis and judged doing so a privilege as well as an obligation, for hospitality was an important religious tradition in Palestine. The Apostles and disciples were to choose temporary accommodation in a reputable household, they were to bless the residents with God’s peace, and they were to be satisfied with the food and accommodation they received, not search for better.

Life messages: 1) We have a witnessing mission:   Each Christian is called, not only to be a disciple, but also to be an apostle. As apostles, we are sent out to evangelize the world by sharing with others, not just words, or ideas, or doctrines, but our experiences of God and His Son. We are to make Jesus “visible” through our transparent Christian lives, showing the people around us the love, mercy, and concern of Jesus for them. 2)  We also have a liberating mission: There are many demons which can control our lives and the lives of people around us making us and them helpless slaves —the demon of nicotine, the demon of alcohol, the demon of gambling, the demons of pornography and promiscuous sex, the demons of secularism,  materialism and consumerism. We need the help of Jesus to be liberated from these demons ourselves and to help Him liberate others from these bondages. 3)  We have a supporting mission: According to Catholic tradition and Canon Law (Canon 222 #1), Christians are obliged to contribute to the Church from their earnings to help to support the clergy, to provide for the necessities of liturgical worship and to equip the Church to minister to the needy (CCC #2043, 2122). (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Oct 1 Friday (St. Teresa of Child Jesus, Virgin, Doctor of the Church) :  1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me. USCCB video reflections: ; Tony ( L/21

Marie Therese Martin was born on Jan 2, 1873 as the youngest of nine children of a watch-maker, Louis Martin, and his wife, a lace-maker, Zelie Guerin. Therese lost her mother at 4 and four of her siblings in their early childhood. She was the “little flower” of her father. One of her older sisters joined the Visitation convent and three others became Carmelite nuns. Therese joined the Carmelite convent at Lisieux at 15 with special permission from Pope Leo XIII. She died of tuberculosis when she was 24 years and 9 months old on September 30, 1897. Pope Pius XI declared her a saint on May 17, 1925, just 28 years after her death. Pope St. John Paul II declared her a “Doctor of the Church” in 1997.

Sources of her life history: 1) Autobiography of a Little Flower (The Story of a Soul); 2) 300 letters; 3) 8- One act Plays; 4) 50 poems.

Secret of her Little Way and short-cut to Heaven: Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way out of love for God, with 100% dedication and child-like trust, being ever ready to undertake any type of sacrifice. Convert suffering into redemptive suffering and use it for the apostolate.

Conditions: 1)   Be child-like and innocent with trusting Faith in a loving Heavenly Father. 2)    Do everything with 100% dedication as being done for our caring and forgiving God, our Father.  3)    Be ready to undertake sacrifice for others. St. Therese offered all her sacrifices a) in reparation for the sins of others and for her own sins b) for missionaries c) for the conversion of sinners.

Message: Let us follow the shortcut of Little Flower by becoming child-like in our relationship with God by doing His will with 100% sincerity, commitment and love. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Oct 2 Saturday (The Holy Guardian Angels): : Mt 18:1-5, 10: 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; 10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven 1 angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. USCCB video reflections:; ; Tony ( L/21

The Guardian Angel: Although the doctrine and traditional belief in the Guardian Angel is not a dogma of Faith, it is based on the Bible. Each person’s Guardian Angel is an expression of God’s enduring love and providential care extended to him or her every day.  Today’s prayers in the Breviary and in the Roman Missal mention the three-fold function of the angels: a) they praise and worship God, b) they serve as His messengers, c) they watch over human beings.

Historical note: Devotion to the Guardian Angels began to develop in the monasteries. St. Benedict gave it an additional impetus and St. Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century reformer), spread the devotion in its present form. The feast of the Guardian Angels originated in the 1500s. It was placed on the official liturgical calendar of the Church by Pope Paul V in 1607. “By God’s Providence angels have been entrusted with the office of guarding the human race and of accompanying every human being so as to preserve him from any serious dangers […]. Our Heavenly Father has placed over each of us an angel under whose protection and vigilance we are” (“St. Pius V Catechism”, IV, 9, 4).

Biblical teaching: Today’s Gospel (Mt 16:10), clearly states that even children have their Guardian Angels: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in Heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father Who is in Heaven.” Psalm 91:1 teaches: “For He has given His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”  

Life messages: 1) The conviction that we are protected by an angel is an encouragement against our baseless fears and unnecessary anxieties. 2) The thought that a messenger from God is constantly watching our thoughts, words and deeds is an inspiration for us to lead holy lives and to do good for others and avoid evil. 3) We need to be grateful to God every day, thanking Him for His loving care given us through His angel. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Sept 20-25 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies. Sept 20-25: Sept 20 Monday (St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Priest and Paul Chong Ha-sang, and companion Martyrs): Lk 8:16-18: 16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. 18 Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel passage is taken from Luke’s version of Jesus’ teachings after telling the parable of the sower.  It 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, move 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 experienced the presence of God in a blinding light (Acts 9:3; 22:6); God “dwells in inaccessible light” (1 Tim 6:16). That is why Jesus claims to be the light of the world. When the light of Christ shines in our hearts, we will be 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 will 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 loving the darkness of sinful ways and bad habits.

The paradox of the rich getting richer: In today’s Gospel, Jesus makes the comment, “for to him who has will more be given,” following the warning “Take heed how you hear….” Jesus is telling us that if we listen to Him with open minds and open hearts and walk in Jesus’ light, the tiny bit of wisdom and understanding that we’ve already gained will grow and grow with God’s help. If, on the other hand, our hearts are closed to Jesus, 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. Jesus 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, it certainly won’t grow, and it may well not last at all.

Life messages: As “light of the world” it is our duty 1) to remove the darkness from around us and 2) to show others the true light of Jesus, His ideas and ideals through our model Christian life. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Sept 21 Tuesday (St. Mathew, Apostle, Evangelist): Mt 9:9-13: 9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.  10 And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.  11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  13 Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel episode of Matthew’s call as Jesus’ apostle reminds us of God’s love and mercy for sinners and challenges us to practice this same love and mercy in our relations with others. The call and the response: Jesus went to the tax-collector’s station to invite Matthew to become a disciple. Since tax-collectors worked for a foreign power and extorted more tax money from the people than they owed, the Jewish people, especially the Pharisees, hated and despised the tax collectors as traitors, considered them public sinners, and ostracized them. But Jesus could see in Matthew a person who needed Divine love and grace. That is why, while everyone hated Matthew, Jesus was ready to offer him undeserved love, mercy and forgiveness. Hence, Matthew abandoned his lucrative job, because, for him, Christ’s invitation to become Jesus’ follower, was a promise of salvation, fellowship, guidance, and protection. Scandalous partying with sinners. It was altogether natural for Matthew to rejoice in his new calling by celebrating with his friends who were also outcasts. Jesus’ dining with all these outcasts in the house of a “traitor” scandalized the Pharisees, for whom ritual purity and table fellowship were important religious practices. But they asked, not Jesus but the young disciples, “Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  Jesus, coming to the rescue of the disciples, cut in, and answered the question, in terns of healing: “Those who are well do not need a physician; the sick do.” Then Jesus challenged the Pharisees, quoting Hosea, “Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’” (Hosea 6:6).  Finally, Jesus clarified, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” [After the Ascension, Saint Matthew remained for over ten years in Judea, writing his Gospel there in about the year 44. Then he went to preach the Faith in Egypt and especially in Ethiopia, where he remained for twenty-three years. The relics of Saint Matthew were for many years in the city of Naddaver in Ethiopia, where he suffered his martyrdom, but were transferred to Salerno in the year 954].

Life messages: 1) Jesus calls you and me for a purpose: Jesus has called us through our Baptism, forgiven us our sins, and welcomed us as members of the Kingdom. In fact, Jesus calls us daily through the Word and through the Church, to be disciples and, so, to turn away from all the things that distract us and draw us away from God. 2) Just as Matthew did, we, too, are expected to proclaim Christ through our lives by reaching out to the unwanted and the marginalized in society with Christ’s love, mercy, and compassion. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Sept 22 Wednesday: Lk 9:1-6): 1 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal. 3 And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, or bag, or bread, or money; and do not have two tunics. 4 And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel describes the commissioning of the twelve Apostles. Sent out with “power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases,” they exercised their preaching and healing mission according to the detailed action-plan given by Jesus.

Jesus’ instructions and travel tips. By these instructions, it is clear that Jesus meant the apostles to take no supplies for the road. They were simply to trust that God, the Provider, would open the hearts of believers to take care of their needs. The Jews supported their rabbis, and judged doing so a privilege as well as an obligation, because hospitality was an important religious tradition in Palestine. Jesus’ instructions also suggest that the apostles should not be like the acquisitive Jewish priests of the day, who were interested only in gaining riches.  They should be walking examples of God’s love and providence in action. They should choose temporary accommodation in a reputable household, they should bless the residents with God’s peace, and they should be satisfied with whatever food and accommodation they receive, and not search for better.

Life messages: 1) We, too, have a witness-bearing mission:  Each Christian is called not only to be a disciple but also to be an apostle. As apostles, we are sent out to evangelize the world by sharing with others, not just words, or ideas, or doctrines, but our experiences of God and His Son, Jesus. It is through our transparent Christian lives that we are to show the love, mercy and concern of Jesus to the people around us.

2) We also have a liberating mission: There are many demons which can control the lives of people around us, making them helpless slaves —the demon of nicotine, the demon of alcohol, the demon of gambling, the demon of pornography and promiscuous sex, the demon of materialism and consumerism. We need the help of Jesus to be liberated ourselves and to help Jesus liberate others from these bondages. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Sept 23 Thursday (St. Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest): Lk 9:7-9: 7) Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, 8 by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen. 9 Herod said, “John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him. USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Although King Herod respected and feared John the Baptist as a great prophet, he was not converted, and he was maneuvered into beheading John by his vengeful, intolerant, immoral, jealous wife Herodias. When his personal staff started reporting stories to Herod about the new prophet, Jesus, as the reappearance of Elijah the prophet, Herod expressed his fear that Jesus was the reincarnation of John the Baptist whom he had unjustly killed. He wanted to see Jesus — not to hear Jesus preaching of the Good News, but in order to get rid of his fear and feelings of guilt.

The haunting conscience: Herod Antipas was one of the several sons of Herod the Great, the King of Israel who had divided his kingdom among four of his sons.  Herod Antipas ruled over Galilee and Perea from 4 BC to 39 AD. The conscience of this immoral oriental tyrant Herod started destroying his peace of mind when he realized the heinousness of his crimes of an illicit and immoral relationship with his niece and sister-in-law, Herodias, in gross violation of Mosaic laws, and his cooperation in the murder of John the Baptist. His discomfort led him, not to repentance, but to the fear that John had come back from the dead to punish him, a fear that might have prompted Herod’s wish to see Jesus in person. His wish was finally realized when Jesus was dragged to him during Jesus’ trial before Pilate. But Jesus did not yield to Herod’s demand for a miracle and kept silence.

Life messages: 1) We need to keep our conscience clean by repenting of our sins and being reconciled with God and His Church. Otherwise, our sins will haunt us, making our lives miserable.

2) It is necessary that we should have a clear understanding of Who Jesus really is. We need to see, experience and accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Such an acceptance should lead us to a total adoption of Jesus’ ideas and ideals and way of life.  Otherwise, we will be like Herod, who resembled the people who flock to healing services today, looking for miracles but not for Jesus. If our following of Jesus causes in us no change that transforms our souls and radiates Jesus outward from us, our attempts to have mountain-top experiences will be meaningless and vain. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Sept 24 Friday: Lk 9:18-22: 18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone the disciples were with him; and he asked them, “Who do the people say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen.” 20 And he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” 21 But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third  day be raised.” USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel passage is the first of the three times when Jesus foretells His Passion, death and Resurrection.  It consists of two sections, the Messianic confession of Peter and the prediction of the Passion by Jesus.

Jesus as the Christ, our Lord and Savior: Today’s Gospel explains the basis of our Faith as the acceptance of Jesus as the Christ, our Lord and Savior.  It also tells us that Christ Jesus became our Savior by suffering, death and Resurrection.  According to Matthew (16:13-19), and Mark (8:27-30), this famous profession of Faith by Peter took place at Caesarea Philippi, at present called Banias, twenty-five miles northeast of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus realized that if the apostles did not know Who He really was, then His entire ministry, suffering and death would be useless.  Hence, Jesus decided to ask a question in two parts. 1) “What is the public opinion about Me? “and 2) “What is your personal opinion? “Their answer to the first question was: “Some say John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen.”  Peter volunteered to answer the second question, saying: “You are the Christ of God.”  But Jesus charged and commanded them to tell this to no one and predicted His Passion and death.

Life messages: Let us experience Jesus as our Lord: 1) We experience Jesus as our personal Savior by listening to Jesus through the daily, meditative reading of the Bible, by talking to Jesus through daily, personal and family prayers, by offering Jesus our lives on the altar in frequent attendance at Holy Mass, by being reconciled with Jesus every night, asking pardon and forgiveness for our sins, and by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation whenever we are in mortal sin.

2) The next step is the surrender of our lives to Jesus by rendering humble and loving service to others with the strong conviction that Jesus is present in every person. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Sept 25 Saturday: Lk 9: 43-45: 43 And all were astonished at the majesty of God. But while they were all marveling at everything he did, he said to  his disciples, 44 “Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask him about this saying. USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Coming down from the mountain after His Transfiguration, Jesus healed an epileptic boy.  Today’s Gospel begins with the reaction of the crowds to this cure: “and all were astonished at the majesty of God.” But Jesus uses this occasion of high popularity to explain that, in order to reveal Jesus’ real majesty, “the Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men.”

Jesus’ least understood prediction: His coming suffering and death: In fact, Jesus foretold three times great suffering through betrayal, rejection, and the punishment of a cruel death. The Apostles could not take it in because they were dreaming of a political messiah in Jesus. Besides, Jesus showed His glory to three of them on the mountain and baffled everyone by instantly healing an epileptic boy whom the Apostles could not heal, so plainly, no one could do this to Jesus by their own power. In addition, Jesus’ disciples were really frightened by such a prediction, perhaps fearing the same fate for themselves. They may also have been ignorant of the “Suffering Servant” prophecy of Isaiah, where the Messiah was pictured as making atonement for sins through suffering and death. When Jesus called Himself the “Son of Man,” the Apostles got the impression of the Messiah coming in glory as described by Daniel.

Life messages: 1) Jesus paid the ransom for our sins by His blood and freed us from the tyranny of sin and death through the Resurrection. Hence, it is our duty to live and die as free children of God, freed from all types of slavery to sin, evil habits and addictions.

2) We should ask Jesus for help to carry our daily crosses in the same spirit of atonement for our sins and those of others that marked Jesus’ willing, sacrificial sufferings and death for all of us. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21


September 13-18 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

Sept 13-18: Sept 13 Monday (St. John Chrysostom, Bishop, Doctor of the Church) : Lk 7:1-10: 1 After he had ended all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a slave who was dear to him, who was sick and at the point of death. 3 When he heard of Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his slave. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he built us our synagogue.”6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; 7 therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, `Go,’ and he goes; and to another, `Come,’ and he comes; and to  my slave, `Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard this he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I  found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well. USCCB video reflections:;

Context: Jesus’ healing of the centurion’s slave, described in today’s Gospel, shows us how God listens to our Faith-filled prayers and meets our needs. Centurions were reliable, commanding officers, brave captains in charge of 80 soldiers in the first century AD.. They were the backbone of the Roman army. According to Luke’s account (Lk 7:1-10), this centurion loved the Jews, respected their religious customs, built a synagogue for them, loved his sick servant, trusted in Jesus’ power of healing, and was ready to face the ridicule of his fellow-centurions by pleading before a Jewish rabbi.

The remote healing: The centurion asked Jesus to shout a command, as the centurion did with his soldiers, so that the illness might leave his servant by the power of that order. Jesus was moved by the centurion’s Faith-filled request and rewarded the trusting Faith of this Gentile officer by performing a telepathic healing. When we ask for  the intercession of the saints, we are like the centurion,  acknowledging that we are not worthy, by our own merits, to stand before the Lord and bring Him our request, trusting in His healing love and forgiveness.

 Life message: 1) We need to grow to the level of the Faith of the centurion by knowing and personally experiencing Jesus in our lives. We do so by daily meditative reading of the Bible, by our daily personal and family prayers and by frequenting the Sacraments, especially the Eucharistic celebration. The next step to which the Holy Spirit brings us is the complete surrender of our whole being and life to Jesus whom we have experienced, by rendering loving service to others seeing Jesus in them. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Sept 14 Tuesday (The Exaltation of the Holy Cross) : John 3:13-17: USCCB video reflections:;

Introduction: We celebrate this feast of the Exaltation of the Cross for two reasons: (1) to understand the history of the discovery and recovery of the True Cross and (2) to appreciate better the importance of the symbol and reality of Christ’s sacrificial love, namely, the cross in the daily life of every Christian.

History: The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is one of twelve “Master feasts” celebrated in the Church to honor Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master. This feast is celebrated to memorialize the first installation of the remnants of the true cross of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at Mount Calvary, September 14, AD 335, and its reinstallation on September 14, AD 630. The original cross on which Jesus was crucified was excavated in AD 326 by a team led by St. Helena, the mother of the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine. The Emperor built the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on Calvary, it was consecrated on September 14, AD 335, and the remains of the cross were installed in it by Archbishop Maccharios of Jerusalem. After three centuries, the Persians invaded Jerusalem, plundered all valuables and took with them the relic of the Holy Cross. In AD 630, Heraclius II defeated the Persians, recaptured the casket containing the holy relic and reinstalled it in the rebuilt Church which was destroyed by Muslims in 1009. The crusaders rebuilt it as the present Church of the Holy Sepulcher in 1149. The largest fragment of the holy cross is now kept in Santa Croce Church in Rome

The first reading today describes how God healed the complaining Israelites through the brazen serpent. In today’s Gospel, answering the question raised by Nicodemus, Jesus cites the example of how, when the Israelites were in the desert, the impaled brazen serpent (representing the healing power of God), which God commanded Moses to raise, saved from death the serpent-bitten Israelites who looked at it (Numbers 21:4-9). Then Jesus explains how He is going to save the world by dying on the cross.

Life messages: 1) We should honor and venerate the cross and carry it on our person to remind ourselves of the love of God for us and the price Jesus paid for our salvation. 2) The cross will give us strength in our sufferings and remind us of our hope of eternal glory with the risen Lord. With St. Paul, we express our belief that the “message of the cross is foolishness only to those who are perishing” (1Cor 1:18-24), and that we should “glory in the cross of Our Lord” (Gal 6:14). 3) We should bless ourselves with the sign of the cross to remind ourselves that we belong to Christ Jesus and to honor the Most Holy Trinity, asking the Triune God to bless us, save us and protect us. 4) The crucifix should remind us that we are forgiven sinners and, hence, we are expected to forgive those who offend us and to ask for forgiveness whenever we offend others or hurt their feelings. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Sept 15 Wednesday (Our Lady of Sorrows or Mother of Sorrows) Jn 19:25-27 or Lk 2:33-35: USCCB video reflections:;

Today we remember the spiritual martyrdom of the Mother of Jesus and her participation in the sufferings of her Divine Son. Mary is the Queen of martyrs because she went through in spirit all Jesus suffered during His Passion and death, her spiritual torments were greater than the bodily agonies of the martyrs, and Mary offered her sorrows to God for our sake. The principal Biblical references to Mary’s sorrows are in Luke 2:35 and John 19:26-27. Many early Church writers interpret the sword prophesied by Simeon as Mary’s sorrows, especially as she saw Jesus die on the cross.  In the past, the Church celebrated two feasts to commemorate separately 1) the spiritual martyrdom of the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout her life as the mother of Jesus and 2) her compassion for her Divine Son during his suffering and death. The devotion to the Seven Dolors (sorrows) of Mary honors her for the motherly sufferings she endured during the whole life of Jesus on earth. In 1239 the seven founders of the Servite Order took up the sorrows of Mary who stood under the Cross as the main devotion of their religious Order. Originally, this day was kept on the Friday before Good Friday. It was Pope Pius XII who changed the date of the feast to the 15th of September immediately after the feast of the Triumph of the Cross.  The nineteenth-century German mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich claimed to have received a vision in which Mary actually kisses the blood of Jesus in the many sacred places on the way of the cross. In his film, The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson was inspired by this vision and pictures Claudia, Pontius Pilate’s wife, secretly handing Mary cloths to collect the blood of Jesus from the streets of    Jerusalem.

The seven sorrows: There are seven times of great suffering in Mary’s life. These events remind many parents of their personal family experiences of sorrow and mourning for their dear children. 1) The prophecy of Simeon, 2) The flight into Egypt, 3) The loss of the Child Jesus at Jerusalem, 4) Meeting Jesus on the road to Calvary, 5) The standing at the foot of the Cross, 6) The descent of Jesus from the Cross, and 7) The burial of Jesus.

Life message: 1) On this feast day let us pray for those who continue to endure similar sufferings that they may receive from God the strength that they desperately need to continue to carry their spiritual crosses. Let us try to enter into the sorrowing hearts of the mothers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Nigeria and other terrorist-haunted nations and the mothers in the United States and other countries grieving for their children, soldiers and civilians alike. 2) Let us also remember with repentant hearts that it is our sins which caused the suffering of Jesus and Mary. [“At the cross her station keeping,/ Stood the mournful mother weeping, / Close to Jesus to the last.// Through her heart, his sorrow sharing, / All his bitter anguish bearing, / Now at length the sword has passed.” (Stabat Mater)] (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Sept 16 Thursday (St. Cornelius, Pope) ( ) & St. Cyprian, Bishop ( , Martyrs): Luke 7: 36-50: 36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house, and took his place at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of  woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “What is it, Teacher?” 41 …43 … USCCB video reflections:;

The context: The central theme of today’s Gospel is an invitation to repent, do penance, and renew our lives, instead of continuing to carry the heavy baggage of our sins. This Gospel celebrates the gift of God’s forgiveness. Our God is a God Who always tries, not to punish, but to rehabilitate, so that we may be made whole and experience inner peace and harmony.  The sinner at the feet of Jesus: The Gospel story tells of a woman of the streets who washes Jesus’ feet with her tears, wipes them with her hair, and perfumes them with costly oil. In sharp contrast, the host, Simon the Pharisee, has purposely omitted these Jewish customs of welcoming a guest.  When one invited a Rabbi to one’s house, it was normal to place one’s hand on his shoulder and give him the kiss of peace, to bathe his feet (Palestine is a very dusty country), and to burn a grain of incense or put a drop of attar of roses on his head. Jesus contrasts Simon’s rudeness with the prostitute’s public expression of repentance, and says that the repentant woman’s sins are forgiven because of her love. By telling the short parable of the two debtors, Christ teaches us two things–His own Divinity and His power to forgive sins. The parable also shows the merit the woman’s love deserves and underlines the discourtesy implied in Simeon’s neglecting to receive Jesus in the conventional way.

Life messages: 1) We can accept or reject the mercy of God: We are challenged to accept or reject the mercy of God. We often share Simon’s mentality by displaying an attitude of lovelessness and harshness.   We need to love Jesus because Jesus is the one and only Savior who has died for our sins. 2) We need to be grateful to our forgiving God: Our serious attempts to avoid the near occasions of sin will be both the proof of our sincere repentance and the expression of our gratitude to the merciful God who has forgiven our sins. 3) We need to cultivate a forgiving attitude towards our neighbor: Although it is not easy, we must learn to forgive those who hurt us if we want to be able to receive the daily forgiveness we need from a merciful God (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Sept 17 Friday (St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop, Doctor of the Church ( Luke 8: 1-3: 1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone  out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus began his preaching and healing ministry in the company of the twelve Apostles and a group of women volunteers.  Luke’s Gospel pays special attention to women. The female following of Jesus was out of the ordinary at the time and place where Jesus lived. In those days, strict rabbis would not speak to a woman in public, and very strict ones would not speak to their own wives in the streets or public places.  In his Gospel, Luke describes several women around Jesus, like Mary’s kinswoman, Elizabeth, the prophetess Anna, the sinful woman, Martha and Mary, the crippled woman, the woman with hemorrhage, the women who supplied the needs of Jesus and his Apostles out of their own resources, and, in the parables, the woman kneading yeast into the dough, the woman with the lost coin and the woman who tamed the judge.

The ministry and the associates: Jesus started preaching the “Good News” that God His Father is not a judging and punishing God, but a loving and forgiving God Who wants to save mankind through His Son Jesus. Luke mentions the names of a few women who helped Jesus’ ministry by their voluntary service and financial assistance. Some among them were rich and influential like Joanna, the wife of King Herod’s steward, Chuza. We meet Joanna again among the women who went to the tomb on the morning of the Resurrection (Luke 24:10). Some others like Mary of Magdala were following Jesus to express their gratitude for the healing they had received from Jesus. It was a mixture of different types of women volunteers who were attracted by the person and message of Jesus. They supported the work of proclaiming the Gospel by providing food and other material assistance to Jesus and the Apostles who proclaimed the Gospel by word and deed and by their communal and shared life. It is nice to know that our Lord availed Himself of their charity and that they responded to Him with such refined and generous detachment that Christian women feel filled with a holy and fruitful envy (St. J. Escriva).  At crucial moments, Jesus was better served by the women disciples than by the men.

Life message: 1) The evangelizing work of the Church needs the preaching of the missionaries and preachers, feeding and leading the believers in parishes. This work also needs the active support of all Christians by their transparent Christian lives, fervent prayers and financial assistance. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

Sept 18 Saturday: Luke 8: 4-15: 4 And when a great crowd came together and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 9 And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10 he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while  and in time of temptation fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives us the parable of the sower, the seeds sown, and the yield depending upon the type of soil. It is the first parable of Jesus in the New Testament about the Kingdom of Heaven. It is also a parable interpreted by Jesus Himself. This parable was intended as a warning to the hearers to be attentive, and to the apostles to be hopeful, about Jesus’ preaching in the face of growing opposition to Jesus and Jesus’ ideas. The sower is God—through Jesus, the Church, the parents, and the teachers. The seed sown is the high-yielding word of God which is also “a sharp sword” (Is. 49: 2), “two-edged sword” (Heb 4: 12), and “fire and hammer” (Jer 23:29).

Soil type and the yield: The hardened soil on the footpath represents people with minds closed because of laziness, pride, prejudice, or fear. The soil on flat rock pieces represents emotional types of people who go after novelties without sticking to anything and are unwilling to surrender their wills to God. “I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19).  The soil filled with weeds represents people addicted to evil habits and evil tendencies, those whose hearts are filled with hatred and jealousy or the greed that makes them interested only in acquiring money by any means and in enjoying life in any way possible.  The good and fertile soil represents well-intentioned people with open minds and clean hearts, earnest in hearing the word and zealous in putting it into practice. Zacchaeus, the sinful woman and the thief on Jesus’ right side, St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Francis Xavier, among others, fall into this category of the good soil.

Life message: Let us become the good soil and produce hundred-fold harvests by earnestly hearing, faithfully assimilating and daily cultivating the word of God we have received, so that the Holy Spirit may produce His fruits in our lives.  (Fr. Tony) ( L/21


September 6-11 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

Sept 6-11: Sept 6 Monday: (Labor Day in the U. S.homily on next page): Lk 4:31-37: 31 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath; 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority. 33 And in the synagogue, there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Ah! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” 37 And reports of him went out into every place in the surrounding region. USCCB video reflections:;

Context: After the sad experience in Nazareth, Jesus used the city of Capernaum on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the center of the fishing business, as a base for a teaching, healing, and preaching ministery. The people were impressed by the authority with which Jesus taught. The Old Testament prophets had taught using God’s delegated authority, and the scribes and Pharisees taught quoting Moses, the prophets and the great rabbis. But Jesus, as God Incarnate taught using Divine authority and knowledge. Perfect knowledge of God, perfect obedience to the will of God His Father, and absolute confidence in God were the sources and supports of Jesus’ authority. The second part of today’s Gospel describes a healing by exorcism, which Jesus performed in the synagogue. We are told how Jesus, as God Incarnate, exercised Divine authority to cast out the devil by just one command: “Be silent, and come out of him!” The demon obeyed at once, throwing the man it had possessed to the floor in the midst of the people in the synagogue on its departure. The people were impressed with Jesus’ power and authority that could command even evil spirits.

 Life messages: 1) Our Faith is based on the Divinity of Christ, demonstrated by His miracles, which in turn give authority and validity to His teaching and promises. Hence, let us accept Jesus’ teachings, even if some of them are mysteries beyond our understanding 2) Let us read the authoritative word of God every day and assimilate it into our lives. 3) In our illnesses, let us confidently approach Jesus the Healer with trusting Faith first, then go to the doctors who are the ordinary instruments of Jesus’ healing ministry in our midst. ( L/21

Sept first Monday: Labor Day in the U.S.: .:(  The first Labor Day was observed on September 5, 1882, to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers and to give them a day off on the last day of the summer. Today, Labor Day unofficially signals the beginning of a new “school” year of work and study and the end of the lazy days of summer. It was President Grover Cleveland who signed a bill into law on June 28, 1894, declaring Labor Day a national holiday.

1) It is a day to acknowledge the dignity and necessity of labor and workers. We participate in the creative act of God by the various forms of work we do, using our God-given talents,  a) The Bible presents God as working six days in the creation of the world and commanding Adam to work six days and rest on the seventh as He had done. b) Jesus, God’s Son, was a professional carpenter. c) Most of Jesus’ apostles were fishermen, and Paul was a tentmaker. d) In an “Inaugural Address” in the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus expressed a preferential option for the poor – the working class and those who cannot work. e) Work is necessary for our own wellbeing, for health of body, mind, and spirit. It enables us to support and care for all God has entrusted to us, with His help, and to help those who are less fortunate and unable to work.

f) Works of charity are the main criteria of our Last Judgement: “Whatever you did to one of these least brethren you did to Me.”

2) A day to remember the Church’s teaching on the nobility of work and the necessity of just wages. In the encyclical, Laborem exercens (September 14, 1981), Pope St. John Paul II instructs us that all of us are called to work together for a just society and a just economy which allow us all to share God’s blessings. He reminds us that governments should see that the greed of a minority does not make the life of the majority miserable. He advises labor unions to fight for social and economic justice, better wages and better working conditions.  3) It is the day to remember and pray for the job-less people: There are thousands without work and millions more who are underemployed, working at part-time jobs or jobs that do not pay a decent wage. Society has a moral obligation to reduce joblessness because it is through work that families are sustained, children are nurtured, and the future is secured. Joblessness is also a clear threat to family life. 4) It is an appropriate time to acknowledge and bless the temporal and spiritual work that our parishioners do for their families, for their neighbors and for the parish community. It is also a day to remind ourselves that our workplace gives us an opportunity to practice what we believe, and to display a level of integrity that matches our Faith, thus witnessing to Christ. 5) It is a day to pay attention to a warning: The warning is that we should be aware of the danger in work. If not properly oriented it can make us workaholics, we may turn work into our god or may consider it as an escape mechanism to run away from spouse, children, and neighbors.

Thus, on this Labor Day, let us try to realize the dignity of work, the necessity for work and the dangers involved in work. Let us thank the Lord for the talents and work He has given us to do. Let us pray that we may find joy and satisfaction in our work, realizing that we are co-creators with God and stewards of His creation. By offering our work for God’s glory, let us transform our work to prayer. ( L/21

Sept 7 Tuesday: Lk 6:12-19: 12 In those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles; 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. 17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; 18 and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19…. USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives a short account of the call of the Apostles and of the preaching and healing mission of Jesus. Jesus was the first missionary, sent by His Father with the “Good News” that God his Father is a loving, merciful, and forgiving Father Who wants to save everyone through His Son, Jesus. Today’s Gospel describes how this First Missionary selected and empowered twelve future missionaries as Apostles to continue the mission.

Special features: Jesus selected very ordinary people, most of them hard-working fishermen with no social status, learning or political influence. Jesus was sure that this strange mixture of people would be very effective instruments in God’s hands. Matthew was a hated tax collector serving the Roman Empire, while Simon the Cananaean was a Zealot, a fanatical nationalist or terrorist of those days, determined to destroy Roman rule by any means. The others were mostly professional fishermen with a lot of good will, patience and stamina. It was only Jesus‘ love for them and their admiration and love for Jesus that united them. Jesus selected them after a night of prayer and gave them His own Divine powers of healing and exorcism and made them a key part of His own Messianic mission of preaching the “Kingdom of God.”

Life Messages: 1) God wants to show us that a calling for ministry, or a vocation to priestly or religious life or family life, is an initiative of God. 2) As Christians we have the same mission that Jesus entrusted to his Apostles. 3) We fulfill this mission of preaching the word of God, primarily, by our living out of Jesus’ teachings and by promoting and helping world-wide missionary activities of the Church. ( L/21

Sept 8 Wednesday: (Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary):  Mt 1: 1-16, 18-23: Anecdote: Life magazine estimated that the prayer “Hail Mary” is said two billion times every day, and each year five to ten million people make a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.  Many others visit Marian sites elsewhere in the world. Mary is prayed to as advocate and helper, and even in the sports area there is a reference to her power: the last desperate pass by a losing football team was once called a “Hail Mary pass.” Mary is also venerated by Muslims. It is reported that when the Prophet Muhammad cleared the idols out of the Kaaba in Mecca, he allowed only a fresco of the Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus to remain. In the Qur’an, she is described as having been sent as “a mercy for the worlds.” ( &

History: As one of the oldest Marian solemnities, this feast is based on the second century (A.D. 175), apocryphal book Protoevagelium Jacobi (The Pre-Gospel of James), which reflects the traditions of the early Church, although it is not considered an inspired book.  According to this book, Mary’s parents were Joachim and Anna. Mary was born either in Jerusalem or in Sephoris, three miles north of Bethlehem.  The Annunciation is believed to have taken place later in the house of Mary’s parents. The feast originated in the fifth century in Syria or Palestine. St. Romanus of Syria is supposed to have brought it to Rome. The Roman Church adopted it in the 7th century and fixed it on September 8th. It is found in the 8th and 9th century Gregorian Sacramentary.

Importance: The feast is the birthday celebration of the mother of Jesus, our Heavenly Mother and the Mother of the Church. It is the birthday of an ordinary woman who was chosen to become the mother of an extraordinary Divine Child. The Church celebrates the death day of a saint as his/her feast day, considering it his/her “birthday in Heaven.” The three exceptions are Jesus’ birthday (Christmas), Mary’s birthday (September 8), and John the Baptist’s birthday (June 24). Mary’s birthday is celebrated because of her Immaculate Conception. John the Baptist, in Elizabeth’s womb, was filled with the Holy Spirit during Mary’s visitation of Elizabeth. We honor Mary because God has done great things for her (Luke 1:49), a) by choosing her as the mother of Jesus His Son, b) by filling her with His Holy Spirit twice, c) by making her the embodiment of all virtues (“full of grace”), and our Heavenly Mother and d) by allowing her to become the most active participant with Christ, her son, in our redemption.  The readings: (Mi 5:1-4 or Rom 8:28-30; Mt 1:1-16, 18-23).  Romans 1:3 states that Mary was a descendant of David, and Matthew’s genealogy in today’s Gospel also supports this truth.

Life Messages: 1) Let us, as Mary’s children, give a suitable birthday gift to our Heavenly Mother. Every mother wants her children to inherit and acquire all her good qualities. Hence, the best birthday gift to Mary is for us to become holy children of a Holy Mother.  2) Let us make this day a day to start practicing Mary’s virtues. Let us practice her virtues of a) trusting Faith in the power of God (“nothing is impossible for God’), b) perfect obedience to the will of God (“be it done to me according your will”). c) the spirit of sacrificial and sharing love and d) the acceptance of suffering  with one hundred percent commitment to her heroic mission. (Fr. Tony) L/21 (Gospel readings suggested: Matthew 1:16, 18-23, 24a or Mt 1: 18-23)

Sept 9 Thursday (St. Peter Claver, Priest, U. S. A.): Lk 6:27-38: 27 “But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. 31 And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most  High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel passage is the second part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain as given by Luke.  It describes the power of Christian love when exercised by practicing the golden rule: Do to others as you would have them do to you.” This golden rule is amplified by a string of particular commands: 1) “Love your enemiesDo good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you and pray for those who maltreat you.”    Jesus orders us to love our enemies. 2) Show your Christian love to everyone, especially to your enemies by treating them with mercy and compassion because our Heavenly Father is merciful and compassionate to all His children. “Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate.”3) Stop judging and start forgiving.

Life messages: 1) We need to answer the invitation to grace-filled behavior: What makes Christianity distinct from any other religion is the quality known as grace, i.e., our ability to treat others, not as we think they deserve, but with love, kindness, the spirit of forgiveness and mercy. 2) We need to accept the challenges of day-to-day life. Jesus challenges our willingness to endure unjust suffering for His sake and the sake of His Gospel. 3) We need to pray for the strength to forgive. At every Mass we pray the “Our Father,” asking God to forgive us as we forgive others. We must forgive, because only forgiveness truly heals our relationships and heals us. If we remember how God has forgiven us, it will help us forgive others.   4) We need to live our lives in accordance with “the Golden Rule.”   ( L/21

Sept 10 Friday: Lk 6: 39-42: He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully taught will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: In today’s passage, taken from the Sermon on the Plain given in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus condemns our careless, malicious and rash judgments about the behavior, feelings, motives, or actions of others by using the funny examples of one blind man leading another blind man and one man with a log covering his eyes trying to remove a tiny speck from another’s eye.

Reasons why we should not judge others:  1) No one except God is good enough to judge others because only God sees the whole truth, and only He can read the human heart. Hence, only He has the ability, right, and authority to judge us. 2) We do not see all the facts or circumstances or the power of the temptation which has led a person to do something evil. 3) We are often prejudiced in our judgment of others, and total fairness cannot be expected from us.  4) We have no right to judge because we have the same faults as the one we are judging and often to a greater degree (remember the critical man with a wooden beam in his eye?) St. Philip Neri commented, watching the misbehavior of a drunkard: “There goes Philip but for the grace of God.” Abraham Lincoln said that only he has the right to criticize who has the heart to help ( L/21

Sept 11 Saturday: Lk 6: 43-49: 43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. 46 “Why do you call me `Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: In today’s passage, taken from the Sermon on the Plain given in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus teaches the necessity for cultivating a strong Christian moral character as the foundation of our Christian life.   The teaching: In the first part of the Gospel, Jesus teaches us that the good fruits of Christian virtues, like love, mercy, forgiveness, and service, result only from an upright character trained in and cultivated by the repeated practice of Christian principles. Jesus compares good works with figs and grapes and reminds us that thorny shrubs and bramble bushes cannot produce them.  In the second part, Jesus gives us two warnings: that we must match our profession of Faith with actual obedience to the will of God, and that we must build a life on the firm foundation of Jesus’ teachings. Jesus emphasizes the truth that we should not be mere hearers of the word of God but also consistent doers of that word. In other words, our profession of Faith should match our practice. Jesus compares mere hearers of the word to a foolish man who built his house on a sandy foundation, and the doers of the word to a wise man who built his house on strong and solid rock.

Life messages: 1) We need to be men and women of character with the courage of our religious convictions, doing what is right at all times. Such persons are honest and reliable before God, themselves, and their neighbors. 2) We need to build our family on a strong Christian foundation. There can be no great marriage and no great family without a solid foundation, and that foundation begins with the husband and wife doing and being the love of Christ for each other and for their children. 3)  We need to get ready to face the storms of life: Jesus wants us to follow his words and to build our lives and our families on these words. He wants us to be ready for the storms of life, including, among others, the current Covid-19 pandemic, economic downturns, pension defaults, war, depression both mental and economic, relationships that fade, the deaths of those who love us and whom we love, devastating illness, and protracted disease. ( L/21


August 30 to September 4

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

Aug 30- Sept 4: Aug 30 Monday: Lk 4:14-30: Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth 14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up  to read; 17 and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” (((?” 23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, `Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here also in your own country.'” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and put him out of the city and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. 30 But passing through the midst of them he went away. USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

Today’s Gospel presents the reaction of Jesus’ fellow- townsmen, to the “Inaugural Address” offered them at a synagogue in Nazareth when Jesus visited the town as a rabbi with a band of disciples.  The reading shows us how Jesus faced skepticism and criticism with prophetic courage. The incident reminds us that we should have and show the courage of our Christian convictions daily as we live in our communities, especially when we face hatred and rejection because of our Christian Faith and its practice

Amazement turns to hatred.  The first reaction of the people in the synagogue to Jesus’ words was astonishment.  They were amazed that one of their fellow villagers could speak with such grace, eloquence and authority.  But their amazement turned into displeasure when Jesus speaking as a prophet, (different from the image of the miracle-worker that people wished to see), claimed identity with the Messiah described by Isaiah. That claim turned Jesus’ fellow-townsmen’s displeasure into anger, then hatred. They challenged Jesus’ Messianic claim, asking, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”   They could not understand how a mere carpenter from their hometown Nazareth, could be the Messiah, who would liberate them from Roman rule and reestablish the Davidic kingdom. Jesus’ reaction to His people’s skepticism: Jesus reacted to their negative attitude with the comment, “No prophet is accepted in his native place.”  Next, he referred to the Biblical stories of how God had blessed two Gentiles, while rejecting the many Jews in similar situations, precisely because those Gentiles were more open to the prophets than the Jewish people.  Jesus reminded them of the Gentile widow of Zarephath, in Lebanon (1 Kgs 17:7-24).  The Prophet Elijah stayed with her and her son during the three-and-a-half-year drought, fed them miraculously and, later, raised her son from death.  Then Jesus described how Naaman, the pagan military general of Syria, was healed of leprosy by Elisha, the prophet.

Life messages: 1) We need to face rejection with prophetic courage and optimism, when we experience the pain of rejection, betrayal, abandonment, violated trust, neglect, or abuse from our friends, families, or childhood companions.  2) Let us not, like the people in Jesus’ hometown, reject God in our lives.  Are we unwilling to be helped by God, or by others?   Does our pride prevent us from recognizing God’s direction, help, and support in our lives through His words in the Bible, through the teachings of the Church and through the advice and examples of others?  3) We must have the prophetic courage of our convictions. This passage challenges us to have the courage of our Christian convictions in our day-to-day lives in our communities, when we face hatred and rejection because of our Christian Faith. ( L/21

August 30: Feast of St. Jeanne Jugan (October 25, 1792-August 29, 1879) foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor:  Charles Dickens, the great English novelist and writer, a contemporary of Jeanne Jugan, said of her: “There is in this woman something so calm, and so holy, that in seeing her I know myself to be in the presence of a superior being.  Her words went straight to my heart, so that my eyes, I know not how, filled with tears.”

Sr. Mary of the Cross, canonized under her baptismal name as St. Jeanne Jugan, Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor, was born into a poor family in Brittany, France on October 25, 1792.  She lived a heroic life, spent sacrificially in the care of the elderly poor.  She died a saintly death on August 29, 1879 at the age of 86.  This year (2020) marks her 141st birthday in Heaven and the 152nd anniversary of the arrival of her Little Sisters in the United States.  We are celebrating these anniversaries by offering all of her Little Sisters on the altar and presenting all the Residents and Caregivers of this Home before the Lord.

Although she was born into a poor family, Jeanne’s widowed mother trained her in the Catholic Faith and in its practice.  She learned the meaning of hard work, first by working as a shepherd girl, and then becoming a kitchen maid at 16.  Her mistress was a kind-hearted woman who took young Jeanne on visits to the sick and the poor.  Over time, Jeanne developed a special love for the aged, particularly for poor widows.  At age 25, the young woman became a member of the third Order of the Admirable Mother, founded by St. John Eudes (Eudists).  Jeanne did hospital work as a nursing assistant and domestic service for years until she was 47.

  In 1837, Jeanne began to share a modest second floor apartment with an older woman, Francoise Aubert (65) and a 17-year-old orphan, Virginie Trédaniel.  Two years later, in the winter of 1839, with the permission of her housemates, Jeanne carried home a blind, paralyzed, impoverished old woman, Anne Chauvin and placed the lady in her own bed.  Jeanne slept in the attic from then on.  As much as they were able, Virginie and Françoise helped Jeanne to care for Anne.

These three women then formed a Catholic community of prayer, devoted to assisting the elderly poor. Soon several other women joined her good work of caring for the sick and elderly by moving into her house.  They became an informal prayer community and eventually elected Jeanne as superior, and she took the name Sr. Mary of the Cross.  They supported themselves through domestic work.  Over time, the community came to be known, first as “the Servants of the Poor” and later as the Little Sisters of the Poor.  Their members, who begged for the needs of the elderly in their care, took vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and hospitality.  A benefactor provided the growing community of women with a larger house, a former convent.  Since Sr. Mary of the Cross was a talented fundraiser and organizer, other houses were soon established.  The Sisters begged for the needs of the elderly in their care and ate only leftovers.

In 1843,  Sr. Mary of the Cross was forced out of her leadership role by Father Auguste Le Pailleur, the power-crazy priest who had been appointed Spiritual Father of the small community by the local bishop.  Ignoring the election of Jeanne Jugan as their Mother Superior by the Sisters, the spiritual director appointed his protegée,  Sister Marie Jamet, as the Mother General and instructed Jeanne Jugan to “live a hidden life behind the walls of the motherhouse with no contact with any of her former benefactors.”  She gladly accepted this demotion in great humility for 27 years, helping and encouraging the aspirants, postulants, and novices, without telling anyone that she had started the Congregation.  She rejoiced to see the 1879 approval of the  Constitution of the Little Sisters of the Poor  by  Pope Leo XIII.  At her death, August 29, 1879, her congregation had spread to other countries.  The autocratic spiritual director, Father Le Pailleur, however, was investigated and dismissed in 1890. It took until 1902 for Jeanne Jugan to be recognized, not  simply as “the third Little Sister,” but as the foundress of the Little Sisters.  God blessed the congregation with growth, establishing over 160 houses in the world in the 178 years since its founding, 26 of them in the United States.

Miracles leading to Jeanne Jugan’s canonization:  The medically inexplicable and sudden cure of Mr. Antoine Schlatter, a Resident of the Little Sisters of the Poor Home in Toulon, France in 1982, was recognized as the miracle necessary for the beatification.  When Pope John Paul II beatified her on October 3, 1982, he said: “God could glorify no more humble a servant than Jeanne Jugan”.  In early March, 2002,  Mrs. Jeanne Gatz of Omaha, Nebraska called the Superior of the Little Sisters Home in Kansas City, Missouri and told Sister that her husband had been cured of cancer in 1989, through the intercession of Blessed Jeanne Jugan.  On December 6, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI signed the decree approving the miraculous cure of Dr. Edward Gatz through the intercession of Blessed Jeanne Jugan, clearing the way for her canonization.  That same Pope canonized her as a saint of the universal Church on October 11, 2009, along with Blessed Damien of Molokai and three other Blesseds!

 Pope Benedict XVI, in his canonization sermon, said: “St. Jeanne’s canonization would show once again, how a living faith is prodigious in good works and how sanctity is a healing balm for the wound of humankind.  ‘Come, follow Me.’  This is the Christian vocation which is born from the Lord’s proposal of love and can only be fulfilled in our loving response.  Saints accept this demanding invitation and set out with humble docility in the following of the Crucified and Risen Christ . . .” 

Life message:  1) We need to imitate St. Jeanne Jugan in seeing Jesus in everyone around us and offering everyone corporal and spiritual works of charity, realizing the truth that our eternal destiny with God depends on our answer to six questions Jesus the judge is going to ask us on the Day of Last Judgement. These questions, found in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 25:31-36 , are:  “I was hungry, I was thirsty: what did you do?  I was naked, I was homeless: Did you do anything?  I was sick, I was in prison: what did you do?”  The Holy Bible, the seven Sacraments, the Ten Commandments, and the Six Precepts of the Church are all meant to help us to practice these corporal and spiritual acts of charity (mercy), in this life, with humble hearts filled with sacrificial and selfless agape love so that we may become eligible to receive God’s loving and eternal reward of Heavenly bliss.

Videos: 1) St. Jeanne Jugan speaks (Little Sisters of the Poor)

2) Life story (Animation):

3) Life in Sacred Heart Residence, Mobile, Al:

Aug 31 Tuesday: Lk 4:31-37: 31 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath; 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority. 33 And in the synagogue, there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Ah! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” 37 And reports of him went out into every place in the surrounding region. USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: After his sad experience with fellow-townsmen in, Nazareth, Jesus made the city of Capernaum on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the center of the fishing business a base for a Messianic preaching and healing mission. The people were impressed by the authority with which Jesus taught. The Old Testament prophets had taught using God’s delegated authority, and the scribes and Pharisees taught quoting Moses, the prophets and the great rabbis. But Jesus taught using His own authority and knowledge as God. Perfect knowledge of God, His Father, perfect obedience to God His Father’s will, and absolute confidence in God, His Father, were the sources of Jesus’ authority. The second part of today’s Gospel describes a healing by exorcism, which Jesus performed in the synagogue. We are told how, using His authority as God, cast out the devil by just one command: “Be silent, and come out of him!” The demon obeyed at once, throwing the man it had possessed to the floor in the midst of the people in the synagogue on its departure. The people were impressed with Jesus’ power and authority that could command even evil spirits.

 Life messages: 1) Our Faith is based on the Divinity of Christ, demonstrated by Jesus’ miracles, which in turn give authority and validity to Jesus’ teaching and promises. Hence, let us accept Jesus’ teachings, even if some of them are mysteries beyond our understanding 2) Let us read the authoritative word of God every day and assimilate it into our lives. 3) In our illnesses, let us confidently approach Jesus the healer with trusting Faith first, then go to the doctors who are the ordinary instruments of Jesus’ healing ministry in our midst. ( L/21

Sept 1 Wednesday: Lk 4:38-44: 38 And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they besought him for her. 39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her; and immediately she rose and served them. 40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ. 42 And when it was day he departed and went into a lonely place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them; 43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea. . USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel tells us that preaching the Good News of God’s love, mercy and salvation, and healing the sick were the means Jesus used to build up the Kingdom of God. By preaching and healing, Jesus drew listeners to belief in a loving and providing God and to loving obedience to His will. We are told that Jesus drew renewed spiritual streigth from God, His Father, every day by talking with and listening to Him, often in a desolate place at night.

Healing mission: Jesus never tired of healing the sick, thus demonstrating the mercy and compassion of His Heavenly Father to every sick person who approached with trusting Faith. Having finished the day’s preaching in the synagogue on one Sabbath, Jesus went to Simon’s home and healed Simon’s mother-in-law of a fever. In the evening, when the Sabbath rest was over, people brought all their sick dear ones to Jesus for healing and exorcism. Jesus either concluded the day or, here, began the new day, by spending time with the Father in prayer in a lonely place.

Life messages: 1) We are called to continue Jesus’ preaching mission primarily by bearing witness to Christ through our day-to-day lives, radiating Christ’s mercy, love, forgiveness and spirit of humble service to all around us. 2) We can participate in Jesus’ healing mission by praying for the sick and by visiting, helping, and encouraging the sick and shut-ins. 3) We, too, need to have our spiritual batteries recharged by prayer every day, as Jesus did.  ( L/21

Sept 2 Thursday: Lk 5:1-11: 1 While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. 2 And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, 7 they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: The scene is the Sea of Galilee (Gennesaret in Greek and Tiberius in Latin). The story of the miraculous catch of fish described in today’s Gospel is similar to the post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus recounted in John 21:4-14.  It is one of the “epiphany-call stories” which direct our attention to the fact that Jesus had distinct criteria for selecting people to be apostles.  The reading challenges us to examine our own personal calls to conversion and discipleship.

The miraculous catch followed by the call: After teaching the crowd from a seat in the boat of Simon, Jesus said to him “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” Simon and his companions were stunned by the biggest catch of their lives. This event led Simon to acknowledge his unworthiness, as a sinner, even to stand before the Divine Presence of Jesus. Impressed by Simon’s obedience and confession of unworthiness, Jesus immediately invited Simon, Andrew, James and John to become close disciples and so to “catch men” instead of fish.

Life Messages: 1) Our encounter with the holiness of God needs to lead us to recognize our sinfulness. The Good News of today’s Gospel is that our sinfulness — our pride and self-centeredness – does not repel God. That is why we offer this Mass asking God’s pardon and forgiveness, and why we receive Jesus in Holy Communion only after acknowledging our unworthiness.

2) With Jesus, the seemingly impossible becomes possible.  Today’s Gospel passage tells us an important truth about how God works in and through us for His glory.  God chooses ordinary people – people like you and me – as His ambassadors.  He uses the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives and our responses. ( L/21

Sept 3 Friday: (St. Gregory the great, Pope & Doctor of the Church): Lk 5:33-39: 33 And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” 36 And he also told them a parable. “No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match the old cloak. 37 Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. 38 Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. 39 (And) no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’ USCCB video reflections:; L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives Jesus’ reply to the question asked by a few disciples of John the Baptist about fasting and feasting. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving were three cardinal works of Jewish religious life. Hence, John’s disciples wanted to know why they and the Pharisees fasted while Jesus’ disciples were seen feasting with him and never fasting.

Jesus’ reply: Jesus responds to their sincere question using three metaphors: the metaphor of the “children of the bridal chamber,” the metaphor of patching torn cloth, and the metaphor of wineskins. First, Jesus compares the apostles with the children of the bridal chamber, the selected friends of the bride and groom who feasted in the company of bride and groom during a week of honeymoon. Nobody expected them to fast. Jesus explains that the apostles will fast when Jesus, the bridegroom, has been taken away from them. In the same way, we are to welcome both the joys of Christian life and the crosses it offers us. Jesus uses the comparisons of the danger of using new, unshrunken cloth to make a patch for an old garment and of using old wineskins to store freshly fermented wine, to tell the questioners that they must have more elastic and open minds and larger hearts to understand and follow the new ideas they are hearing, which are in many cases different from the traditional Jewish teachings.

Life messages: 1) We need to be adjustable Christians with open and elastic minds: The Holy Spirit, working actively in the Church and guiding the Church’s teaching authority, enables the Church to have new visions, new ideas and new adaptations and to replace old ways of worship with new. So, we should have the generosity and good will to follow the teachings of the Church. 2) At the same time, we need the assistance of the Holy Spirit, Who works through the Church’s magisterium to interpret and apply Scripture – the Old Testament revelations and the New Testament teachings — and Sacred Tradition to our daily lives. ( L21

Sept 4 Saturday: Luke 6:1-5: 1 While he was going through a field of grain on a Sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those (who were) with him were hungry? (How) he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives Jesus’ teaching on the purpose of the Sabbath and on its proper observance. This was Jesus’ response to a criticism and a silly accusation made by some Pharisees against the apostles who, to satisfy their hunger on a Sabbath, had plucked ears of grain from a field for their snack, removed the husks by rubbing the grain between their palms and blowing away the chaff. The Pharisees accused them of violating Sabbath laws by performing three items of work forbidden on Sabbath, namely, harvesting, threshing and winnowing.

Counterarguments: Jesus gives three counterarguments from Holy Scripture defending the apostles. (1) Basic human needs, like hunger, take precedence over Divine worship and Sabbath observance. Jesus cites from Scripture the example of the hungry David and his selected soldiers. They approached Abimelech, the priest of Nob, who gave them for food the “offering bread” which only the priests were allowed to eat (Samuel 21:1-6). (2) No law can stand against Divine worship. That is why the priests are not considered as violating Sabbath laws, although they do the work of preparing two rams for sacrifice in the Temple (Numbers 28:9-10). (3) Jesus quotes the prophet Hosea to remind the accusers of God’s words: “I want mercy, not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6). Further augmenting the counterarguments, Jesus, as Son of Man (a Messianic title), claims Lordship over the Sabbath itself.

Life messages: Like the Jewish Sabbath, the Christian Sunday is to be 1) a day of rest and refreshment with members of the family; 2) a day for thanksgiving and the recharging of spiritual batteries, (through participation in the Eucharistic celebration, for Catholics); 3) a day for parents to teach religious Faith and the Bible to their children; 4) a day to do works of charity in the neighborhood and in the parish and  5) a day for socializing with family members, neighbors and fellow-parishioners. ( L/21


August 23-28 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

Aug 23-28: Aug 23 Monday (St. Rose of Lima, Virgin): Mt 23:13-22: 13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you  make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. 16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, `If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, `If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?20i One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it;21one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it;22one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: It is the third day of the original “Holy Week” in Jerusalem, a day of controversy and personal attacks.  The Master is under fire, and challenges the religious leaders of Israel, pronouncing the first three of the eight woes Jesus would levy levies against the religious leaders, calling them hypocrites and publicly humiliating them. The Judeo-Christians of Matthew’s early Christian community argued that the Gentile Christians should follow all Torah laws, oral laws and oral traditions. Matthew’s account reminds them of the criticism Jesus laid against the scribes and Pharisees in today’s Gospel passage.  Sins of the Scribes and Pharisees:  Matthew 23 gives us the Master’s scathing condemnation of the Jewish leadership, expressing the rolling thunder of Jesus’ anger and sorrow at the hypocrisy or double standard of the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus levels three accusations against the Pharisees: 1) they do not practice what they preach, 2) they adopt a very narrow and burdensome interpretation of the Torah, and 3) they seek public acknowledgment and glory for themselves rather than for God. Jesus calls them hypocrites because i) although they know that the essence of religion is loving one’s neighbors, seeing God in them, they teach that external observance of man-made laws alone is the real essence of religion; ii) although they are zealous missionaries in inviting converts to Judaism, they overburden the converts with man-made laws and regulations as the essence of Judaism; and iii) they try to bluff God by misinterpreting the Law and misleading the people. Jesus gives the example of swearing and accuses them of cleverly evading binding oaths and solemn promises by falsified interpretations.

Life message: 1) What Jesus wants is a pure heart, with no element of deceit. We should not follow the dog-in-the-manger policy of the Pharisees by not keeping God’s commandments ourselves and not allowing others to keep them. 2)  Let us avoid frivolous swearing and oaths and all forms of hypocrisy and superstition in our religious life. (Fr. Tony) (L/21)


Aug 24 Tuesday (St. Bartholomew, Apostle) Jn 1; 45-51: 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 Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael, 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 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” 48 Nathanael 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 Nathanael 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.” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: 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!” (RSV2 Catholic) Jesus’ comment, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you”(RSV 2 Catholic), is probably based on a Jewish figure of speech referring to studying the Torah because the rabbi used to give Bible classes for small groups under the shade of fig trees. Nathanael immediately recognizes Jesus as “the Son of God” and “the King of Israel.” Nathanael reappears at the end of John’s Gospel (John 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 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 messages: 1) Let us pray for the grace to love the word of God as Bartholomew did. 2) Let us also pray that we may accept the teaching of the Bible and the Church with open heart and open mind, without pride or prejudice. (Fr. Tony) (L/21)

Aug 25: Wednesday (St. Louis) , St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest ): Matthew 23:27-32: 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. 29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s passage, again taken from chapter 23 of Matthew’s Gospel, gives the seventh and eighth accusations made against the Pharisees on the third day of the original “Holy Week” in Jerusalem, as Jesus addressed them in the Temple precincts. Jesus told them plainly that they were whitewashed tombs containing rotten stuff inside.

Hypocrisy exposed:  Jesus compared the scribes and Pharisees to the tombs on the sides of the road leading to Jerusalem. In preparation for the three major Jewish feasts, the Scribes and Pharisees used to have these tombs whitewashed, so that the pilgrims would not be ritually defiled by unknowingly walking over one. In this seventh charge, Jesus accused the Pharisees of moral filth, of hiding injustice and immorality inside themselves and covering the corruption with “whitewash” — the pretenses of piety and religious fervor. In his eighth and final indictment, Jesus also criticized their false zeal in decorating the old monuments and rebuilding new monuments for the past prophets who had been persecuted and murdered by the forefathers of the Pharisees because these modern Pharisees had neither learned nor been changed by the messages of the now-dead prophets.

Life messages: 1) We need to be men and women of integrity and character without any element of hypocrisy in our Christian life. 2) We should not make a show of holiness and religious fervor when we are not internally holy. Here is St. John Chrysostom’s (4th century) comment on the matter: “You have been counted worthy to become temples of God. But you have instead suddenly become more like sepulchers, having the same sort of foul smell. This is dreadful. It is extreme wretchedness that one in whom Christ dwells and in whom the Holy Spirit has worked such great works should turn out to be a sepulcher, a place for death, carrying a dead soul – a soul deadened by sins, a soul paralyzed – in a living body(Fr. Tony) (L/21)

Aug 26 Thursday: Matthew 24: 42-51: 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, `My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, 51 and will punish him, and put him with the hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: The central theme of today’s Gospel passage is the necessity for Faith and vigilant preparedness in the lives of Christ’s followers. The passage contains a pair of short parables in which the chief characters are a master (representing the risen Jesus), and his servants (Jesus’ followers, ourselves). Jesus warns the disciples that they must be prepared at all times because the Son of Man will come at an unexpected hour. According to the Fathers of the Church, Jesus’ words in this passage have two senses. In the narrower sense, the words refer to the Second Coming of Jesus, but in the broader sense they refer to the time of our own death, when God will call us to meet Him and to give Him an account of our life on earth. Jesus wants all of us to be ready at every moment to do God’s will by loving others through humble, sacrificial service.

Steadfast Faith and eternal vigilance: In the first part of this discourse, prior to today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches the disciples the need for constant vigilance, using the mini parable of the thief and the treasure. We should not lose our treasure of Divine grace or close relationship with Jesus, like the man who awoke one morning to discover that a thief had stolen his wealth in the night.  In the second part (today’s Gospel), Jesus exhorts the disciples to be steadfast in their Faith and ever vigilant. When he had to be away from home, a master would make a servant his steward and entrust to him the management of the household. A trusted steward was expected to run his master’s house well, to govern the master’s servants, and to administer the master’s estate. When his master was not at home, a wise and trustworthy steward was ever vigilant. He prepared himself for his master’s return at any time of the day or night by always doing his duties faithfully. Jesus illustrates the same point by using another mini parable of the foolish and wicked steward who got drunk and was caught red-handed by his master.

Life message: 1) These parables encouraging “wakefulness” and “preparedness” are addressed to all believers. Since the time of our death is quite uncertain, we, too, must be ever ready to meet our Lord at any moment. Our Master should find us carrying out our tasks of love, mercy and service, rather than leaving things undone or half-done or postponed. He should also find us at peace with God, ourselves and with our fellowmen (Eph 4:26) (Fr. Tony) (L/21)

Aug 27 Friday (St. Monica): Mt 25:1-13: 1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, `Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise replied, `Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 …13 USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s parable, taken from Matthew’s Gospel, brings the usual warnings about preparation for the end of our own world, the end of our own times, and our own passage to another world.  The parable tells us that a searching, watching, and growing heart is essential for a lively, dynamic Faith in God; it also asks us whether we are ready for these events and how we are preparing for them.

The parable: Since a wedding was a great occasion, the whole village would line up at the sides of the road to wish God’s blessings on the bride and groom in procession.  The invited ones would join the procession, which started from the bride’s house, and ended at the groom’s house to take part in the week-long celebration. Since the bridegroom might come to the bride’s house unexpectedly, the bridal party had to be ready at any time, with virgins carrying lighted torches and reserve oil in jars.  The five foolish virgins who could not welcome the groom’s party lost not only the opportunity of witnessing the marriage ceremony, but also of participating in the week-long celebration that followed.  The local meaning is that the foolish virgins represent the “Chosen People of God” who were waiting for the Messiah but were shut out from the Messianic banquet because they were unprepared.  The universal meaning is that the five foolish virgins represent those who fail to prepare for the end of their lives and for the Final Judgment. They do not put their Faith in Jesus and live it out by keeping Jesus’ Commandment to love others as Jesus Himself did.

Life messages:  1) We must be wise enough to remain ever prepared:  Wise Christians carefully make their daily choices for God. They are ready to put the commandment of love into practice by showing kindness and forgiveness.   2) Let us be sure that our lamps are ready for the end of our lives: Spiritual readiness, preparation and growth come as a result of intentional habits built into one’s life.  These include taking time for prayer and being alone with God; reading God’s Word; leading a Sacramental life; cooperating with God’s grace by offering acts of loving service to others; practicing moral faithfulness, and living always in loving obedience to Him(Fr. Tony) (L/21)

Aug 28 Saturday (St. Augustine, Bishop, Doctor of the Church) : Matthew 25:14-30 : 14 “For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. 17 So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, `Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I  have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the  joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, `Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the  joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, `Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and  gathering where you did not winnow; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, `You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’  USCCB video reflections:;

The context: The three parables in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew (The Wise and Foolish Virgins, The Talents, The Last Judgment) are about the end times, the end of the world, and the end of our lives. The parable of the talents is an invitation for each one of us to live in such a way that we make the best use of the talents God has given us. Then, at the hour of our death, God will say: “Well done, My good and faithful servant! Come and share the joy of your Master.” The parable challenges us to ask the questions: Are we using our talents and gifts primarily to serve God? Are we doing everything we can to carry out God’s will? The story: A very rich person, about to set off on a journey, entrusted very large sums of wealth (talents), to three of his slaves, each according to his personal ability:  five, two, and one. Through skillful trading and investing, the first and second slaves managed to double their master’s money. Afraid of taking risk and lazy by nature, the third slave buried his talent in the ground. On the day of accounting, the master rewarded the two clever slaves (“Come, share your master’s joy.”), but punished the third slave whom he calls “wicked and slothful” (v. 26). Life messages: 1) We need to trust God enough to make use of the gifts and abilities we have been given. Everyone is given different talents and blessings by God. So, we should ask ourselves how we are using our particular gifts in the service of our Christian community and the wider society. 2) We need to make use of our talents in our parish. We should be always willing to share our abilities in the liturgy, in Sunday school classes and in social outreach activities like feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, visiting the sick and the shut-ins. 3) We need to trade with our talent of Christian Faith: All of us in the Church today have received at least one talent. We have received the gift of Faith. Our responsibility as men and women of Faith is not just to preserve and “keep” the Faith but to live it out daily and pass it on faithfully to the next generation in our family and in our parish community. (Fr. Tony) (L/21)


August 22 Sunday: Holy Mass- structure, history, theology

History, theology and structure of the Holy Mass

(Since the same theme of the Holy Eucharist is repeated for four Sundays, a homily on the Holy Mass- the Holy Eucharist as a sacrifice, is added to O. T. XXI homily) Fr. Tony


Homily starter anecdote # 1: “I would like to say Mass.” Dominic Tang, the courageous Chinese archbishop, was imprisoned for twenty-one years for nothing more than his loyalty to Christ and Christ’s one, true Church. After he had spent five years of solitary confinement in a windowless, damp cell, he was told by his jailers that he could leave it for a few hours to do whatever he wanted. Five years of solitary confinement and he had a couple of hours to do what he wanted! What would it be? A hot shower? A change of clothes? Certainly, a long walk outside? A chance to call or write to family? What would it be, the jailer asked him. “I would like to say Mass,” replied Archbishop Tang. [Msgr. Timothy M. Dolan, Priests of the Third Millennium (2000), p. 216]. The Vietnamese Jesuit, Joseph Nguyen-Cong Doan, who spent nine years in labor camps in Vietnam, relates how he was finally able to say Mass when a fellow priest-prisoner shared some of his own smuggled supplies. “That night, when the other prisoners were asleep, lying on the floor of my cell, I celebrated Mass with tears of joy. My altar was my blanket, my prison clothes my vestments. But I felt myself at the heart of humanity and of the whole of creation.” (Ibid., p. 224). As we are gathered together to “observe the Lord’s Day holy” by participating in the Holy Mass which is a double commemoration of Christ’s last Supper and his death and resurrection, we should know the aims and basic structure of the Holy Mass.

The objectives of the Holy Mass: The faith community gathers for the public celebration of the Eucharist in order to praise and worship God, ask His forgiveness for sins, thank Him for all the blessings received, and listen to His words in Scripture.  We also present our needs and petitions, offer our lives to God, and gain spiritual nourishment and recharge our weakened spiritual batteries by sacramentally sharing the Body and Blood of Jesus our Savior. The structure of the Eucharistic celebration is organized to achieve all these goals.

The parts of the Holy Mass.   The Eucharistic celebration consists of two parts: A) the liturgy of the Word, which prepares our mind and hearts for worthy celebration, and:   B) the liturgy of the Eucharist, which transforms our offering of bread and wine into Jesus’ body and blood.


1) The Penitential Rite:  in which we ask forgiveness for our sins.
2) Readings from Sacred Scriptures:  the first, usually from the Old Testament, and the second and the third from the New Testament.
3) Prayers with responses from the faith community (Responsorial psalms).
4)A Homily (Sermon) which enlarges on some part of the day’s scripture readings and is an exhortation to accept the Word of God and put it into practice
5) The Creed:  in which we publicly profess our faith.
6)  The General Intercessions:  in which we pray for the Church and all people according to the Apostle’s words: “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings, and all who are in high positions” (CCC-1349).

(B) THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST   It includes:  1) Preparation of the Gifts.  The priest receives the bread and wine and prays over each, offering thanks to God.  The presentation of the offerings at the altar repeats the gesture of Melchizedek and commits the Creator’s gifts into the hands of Christ who, by his sacrifice, brings to perfection all human attempts to offer sacrifices.  From earliest times, Christians have also offered material gifts, along with the bread and wine, to be shared with those in need.  This custom, termed “the collection,” is inspired by the example of Christ, who became poor to make us rich (Catechism of the Catholic Church -1350-51).

2) The anaphora: With the Eucharistic Prayer — the prayer of thanksgiving and consecration — we reach the heart and summit of the celebration.  (There are presently four standard Eucharistic Prayers, or Canons, in general use by the Western Rite.  The first is the old Roman Canon.  The second, the briefest, is based on the third-century Canon of St. Hippolytus.  It is the oldest fixed Canon, originally written in Greek, when Greek was the language of the Mass.  Eucharistic Prayer III is an entirely new Canon, which stresses the work of the Holy Spirit, both in the Mass and in the worshipping community.  Anaphora IV is a finely executed verbal painting of the whole of salvation history, accenting the various covenants God has made with mankind.)
In the Preface, the Church gives thanks to the Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit, for all his works: creation, redemption, and sanctification.  Thus, the entire community joins in the unending praise that the Church in heaven sings to the thrice-holy God (CCC-1352).  In the epiclesis, the Church asks the Father to send his Holy Spirit (or the power of his blessing) on the bread and wine, so that they may become the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and so that those who take part in the Eucharist may be one body and one spirit.  (It is to be noted that some liturgical traditions put the epiclesis after the anamnesis).
In the institution narrative, the words and actions of Christ, as well as the power of the Holy Spirit, make Christ’s body and blood sacramentally present under the species of bread and wine.  This is a re-enactment of His sacrifice, offered once for all, on the cross (CCC-1353).  In the anamnesis that follows, the Church calls to mind the Passion, resurrection, and glorious return of Christ Jesus, and presents to the Father the offering of his Son which reconciles us with Him.  In the intercessions, the Church indicates that the Eucharist is celebrated in communion with the whole Church in heaven and on earth:  the living and the dead, the pastors, the Pope, the diocesan bishop, his presbyterium and his deacons, and all the bishops of the world together with their Churches (CCC-1354).

3) The Breaking of the Bread:  This is a sign of our unity in Christ.  “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one Body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17).

4) The   distribution of Communion:  In the communion, preceded by the Lord’s prayer and the breaking of the bread, the faithful receive “the bread of heaven” and “the cup of salvation,” the body and blood of Christ who offered himself “for the life of the world.”   Since this bread and wine have been made Eucharist (“eucharisted,” according to an ancient expression), “we call this food Eucharist.  No one may partake of it unless he believes what the Church teaches is true, has received baptism for the forgiveness of sins – a new birth, and unless he lives in keeping with what Christ taught” (CCC-1355).  In receiving Communion, we share in the Body of Christ so totally that He becomes our food and we become united with the risen Savior and with the whole faith community.

5. The Concluding Rites: by giving ourselves to Christ at Mass, we are better able to give selflessly to others.  The Mass ends when the priest blesses the faith community (reminding it of its mission) and says, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”

Life messages:  1) We have a mission to love and serve the Lord.  Each Eucharistic celebration invites us to establish a deeper relationship with God and with our neighbor.  Since love of God and love of neighbor are inseparable, we demonstrate our love for God by our interaction with our neighbor.  Hence each Holy Mass urges us to remember “the least among us,” protect human life and dignity, preserve the common good and promote human rights.  At every Mass, Christ calls us to love others, and sends us forth to be heralds of this love (“Let us go in peace to love and serve others”).

2) A source of strength for fellowship, witness and service.  It is by this assembling for the Eucharistic celebration that the Christian achieves the strength and courage to go forth and live the three dimensions of the Church’s “life-style:” fellowship, witness and service.  It is from the Eucharist that the Christian derives fresh enthusiasm for announcing the Good News of God’s Incarnate Son in the world in which he lives.  Hence this celebration requires sincere participation by the worshipper.  He must listen carefully to the Bible Readings, respond meaningfully to the various acclamations, join heartily in the priestly and Eucharistic Prayers, sing the hymns devoutly, and receive Communion with deliberate faith, hope and love.  In this way, the Holy Mass can transform us.

The origin of the Eucharistic celebration:

The Jews thanked God for two blessings, namely, the gift of time and the gift of riches.  They thanked God for His gift of time by observing the last day of the week as Sabbath, a day of rest, worship and good works.  They thanked God for the gift of riches by offering tithes to the temple.  The early Christians did the same by observing Sunday to participate in the “Lord’s Supper” and by sharing what they had with the less fortunate ones in their faith community.  The Eucharistic Celebration has its roots in the ancient Jewish Passover Meal. Passover was celebrated both as a memorial feast and as a thanksgiving meal commemorating the liberation of the Chosen People from their slavery in Egypt.  It was at such a Passover (or the Last Supper as we call it), that Jesus instituted the Eucharist.  The three synoptic Gospels and St. Paul have handed on to us the account of the institution of this Last Supper or the Eucharist.   By celebrating this meal with his apostles, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning:  his passage to the Father by death and resurrection.  Jesus followed the ancient tradition of blessing the bread and wine.  Then, he gave a whole new meaning to the Passover feast when He “took bread, and blessed, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My Body’” (Matthew 26:26).  After this, he took a cup of wine, gave thanks, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant of my blood” (Luke 22:20).  Thus, the Last Supper was both a farewell meal and a sacrifice.  Jesus Himself was the sacrifice because He offered His Body and Blood to God in sacrifice for all people.

Jesus’ command and its practice in the Church:  The command of Jesus (“Do this in memory of me“) obliges us to repeat his actions and words “until he comes.”   It also directs his apostles and their successors to carry out a liturgical celebration of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and intercession [CCC.165].  From the beginning, the Church has been faithful to the Lord’s command.  It was on “the first day of the week,” or Sunday, the day of Jesus’ resurrection, that the Christians met “to break bread.”  Of the early Church in Jerusalem it is written in the Acts: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers….  Day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts.”  As early as the second century, we have the witness of St. Justin, martyr, regarding the basic order of the Eucharistic celebration.  Around the year 155, St. Justin wrote to the pagan emperor Antoninus Pius explaining to him the meaning of the Christian Eucharistic celebration.  Down through the centuries, the Church has been careful to preserve the basic structure of the Mass in all liturgical families, both in the East and in the West.

Theology of the Eucharistic celebration:

The Eucharist is one of the seven sacraments, i.e., signs, made sacred by Christ to show His presence in the world and help us to reach a closer union with God. It is a sacrament as well as a sacrifice. As a sacrifice, the Holy Eucharist is also known as the ” Holy Mass” or Eucharistic celebration. It is a double commemoration of Jesus’ Last Supper and his death and resurrection. It recalls the Last Supper because it is a holy meal that provides spiritual food for Christians, and it recalls Chris’s redemptive sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.  The Eucharist is the heart and center of Catholic life.  Hence, active participation in the Holy Mass is the best way to obey God’s commandment “Observe the Lord’s Day holy,” to express our faith and to share in the saving grace of Christ.  The more we understand the meaning of the Eucharist, the more perfectly and fruitfully we can offer this Eucharistic sacrifice and receive spiritual nourishment from this sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. .

The central act of Catholic worship: No doctrine in our Catholic Faith has been more misunderstood by non-Catholics than that of the Holy Mass.   The Mass is the central act of Catholic worship.  In the Mass, Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary is perpetuated by the priest, who offers it anew to the Father.  It is not a new sacrifice, but rather the same sacrifice that Jesus offered on the cross 2,000 years ago.  The difference, however, is that Jesus no longer dies at each Mass, but is simply re-offered to the Father.  It is a “bloody” sacrifice only in the sense that it contains the Body and Blood of Christ.  But it is “unbloody” in the sense that it is offered only in a sacramental fashion under the appearance of bread and wine.  In the Mass, we re-present — or mystically renew — the Sacrifice of Calvary.  This means that, once again, we offer Christ to the Father, saying: “Father, look upon the Lamb that was slain for our sake.  Through this holy and perfect Sacrifice, pardon our sins, and be appeased by the pleasing odor of this unblemished Lamb.”  By the words of consecration, Christ is made present again through the “transubstantiation” of the bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood.

By giving us the Mass, our Lord ensured for us a means of applying to all generations the graces merited on His Holy Cross.  As James Cardinal Gibbons noted, “In the Sacrifice of the Mass, I apply to myself the merits of the sacrifice of the Cross, from which the Mass derives its entire efficacy” [The Faith of Our Fathers, p.258].  The Church also teaches that the “chief fruit of the Eucharist is an intrinsic union of the recipient with Christ” (Ludwig Ott in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 394).
Additional life messages: 1) Be a Eucharist Person:  In simple terms this means imitating Jesus in our thoughts, words and actions.  The Eucharist is Body-broken and Blood-poured-out for others. Accordingly, we will participate fully in the benefits of the Eucharist only to the extent that we imitate, in all aspects of our lives, the generosity and unselfishness that we see in the life and death of Jesus himself. The Eucharist will certainly help us to be more thoughtful and compassionate and forgiving Eucharistic persons. But this cannot happen without our own serious commitment to love and serve others. Just as Jesus brought the good news of God’s love, salvation and healing to the world, so must we.  This means that we must care for others, feed them, forgive them, accept them and help them to become children of God.  In these ways, we may truly become Eucharistic persons.

2) Live a Eucharistic life by extending the celebration of the Paschal Mystery into our daily lives.  This means that, “as faithful followers of Jesus, our praise, sufferings, prayer and work, must be united with His total offering.  In this way our actions acquire a new value” (CCC 1368).  In the light of the Eucharistic Mystery, no life is without meaning or worth. Where there appears to be no meaning or worth, the Eucharist brings hope and inspiration.

3) Receive Jesus in Holy Communion with proper preparation: The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us of two requisites for receiving Communion. First, our conscience must be free from mortal sin.  “To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment.  St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: ‘Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.  Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment upon himself.’ Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before taking Holy Communion” (CCC #1385).  The frequent use of confession is an indication that the person’s spiritual life is in good shape and that he is struggling to overcome sins and weaknesses.  Secondly, we must fast one hour before we receive Holy Communion.  “To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1387).

St. Padre Pio’s prayer of thanksgiving after Mass.

“Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You.  You know how easily I abandon You.

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.

Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.

Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You.

Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much, and always be in Your company.

Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.

Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.

Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approach. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way–for that, I need You.  It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows.  O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!

Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all it’s dangers.  I need You.

Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion  will be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.

Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by communion, at least by grace and love.

Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but the gift of Your Presence.  Oh yes, I ask this of You!

Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.

With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen”

JOKE OF THE WEEK: “Dictionary of Catholic Humor” on the Holy Mass.
AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.

BULLETIN: 1. Parish information, read mostly during the homily.  2. Catholic fan.  3. Your receipt for attending Mass.

CHOIR: A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the congregation to lip-sync.

HYMN: A song of praise, usually sung in a key three octaves higher than that of the congregation’s range.

RECESSIONAL HYMN: The last song at Mass, often sung a little more quietly, since most of the people have already left.

PROCESSION: The ceremonial formation at the beginning of Mass, consisting of altar servers, the celebrant, and late parishioners looking for seats.

RECESSIONAL: The ceremonial procession at the conclusion of Mass – led by parishioners trying to beat the crowd to the parking lot.

USHERS: The only people in the parish who don’t know the seating capacity of a pew.

“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle B (No 47-b) by Fr. Tony: L-21

Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604.


August 16-21 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

Aug 16-21: Aug 16 Monday: Mt 19:16-22: 16 And behold, one came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel reminds us that we do not possess anything in our life that we refuse to surrender to the Lord.  Rather, it often possesses us, and we become the prisoner of our possessions, violating the First Commandment, which demands that we give unconditional priority to God. Jesus reminds the rich young man of the Commandments that deal with his relationships with other people and challenges him to sell what he has and give it to the poor.  Jesus’ challenge exposed what was missing in the young man’s life: a sense of compassion for the poor and the willingness to share his blessings with the needy.

The incident of the rich, young ruler: The rich young man who came to Jesus in search of eternal life really wanted to be accepted by Jesus as a disciple. The young man claimed that from childhood he had observed all the Commandments Jesus mentioned.  His tragedy, however, was that he loved “things” more than people, and his possessions “possessed him.”  Jesus told him that keeping the Commandments, while enough for salvation, was not enough for perfection and challenged him to share his riches with the poor.  “There is one thing lacking.  Sell all you have and give to the poor, and then you will have real treasure. After that, come and be with me.” Jesus asked him to break his selfish attachment to wealth by sharing it. But “when the young man heard this, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.” (This young man has become a symbol of the kind of Christian whose mediocrity and shortsightedness prevent him from turning his life into a generous, fruitful self-giving to the service of God and neighbor.(Navarre Bible commentary).

Life messages: 1) Jesus makes the same challenge to each of us today.  Our following of Jesus has to be totally and absolutely unconditional.  Our attachment may not be to money or material goods, but to another person, a job, one’s health, or one’s reputation.  We must be ready to cut off any such attachment in order to become true Christian disciples, sharing our blessings with others. 2) To follow Jesus, we must have generous hearts and the willingness to share our blessings with others to show our generosity. St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) puts it in her own style: “Do SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL for God. Do it with your life. Do it every day. Do it in your own way. But do it!” ( L/21

Aug 17 Tuesday: Mt 19:23-30: 23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And ever one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 But many that are first will be last, and the last first. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Jesus told a rich, young man who had expressed his desire to follow Jesus as a disciple that he had to share his possessions with the less fortunate as a condition for becoming a perfect disciple. But when the young man heard this, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. It was then that Jesus made the comment given in today’s Gospel. Jesus uses a vivid hyperbole or “word cartoon” to show how riches bar people from Heaven.  The camel was the largest animal the Jews knew, and the eye of a needle the smallest hole.  The needle’s eye is variously interpreted.  Most probably Jesus used it literally: a) The little, low and narrow gate on the outer wall of the city of Jerusalem through which even a man could hardly pass erect was called, “The Needle’s Eye” in Jesus’ time.  b) The Greek word used in the passage for camel is kamelos, which can also mean a ship’s thick cable or hawser rope.  In either case, Jesus is saying that it is not impossible, by the grace of God, for a wealthy person to keep his spiritual integrity, but it is extremely difficult and uncommon. Why do riches prevent one from reaching God?  First, the rich think that they can buy their way out of sorrow and into happiness, so they don’t need God.  Second, riches shackle one to this earth (Mt 6:21).    Third, riches tend to make one selfish. The Bible doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil; it says that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Jesus also challenges the Jewish belief that material wealth and prosperity are signs of God’s blessings, and poverty is the sign of His punishment. Jesus condemns a value system that makes “things” more valuable than people.

Life messages: 1) An invitation to generosity. Jesus’ Infinitely generous Self-gift to us has the crucifix as “Exhibit A,”  and in the Eucharist Jesus actually becomes our spiritual Food and Drink. To follow Jesus, we must have a generous, self-giving heart, and we should be willing to use it by sharing our blessings with others. 2) God does not ask us to give up our riches, but He does ask us to use them wisely in His service. How do we use our talents?  What about time – do we use it for God?  We each get 168 hours every week.  How do we use our time?  Are we too busy to pray each day?  ( L/21

Aug 18 Wednesday: Mt 20:1-16: 1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4 and to them he said, `You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So, they went. 5 Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, `Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, `Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, `You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, `Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, 12 saying, `These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: The parable described in today’s Gospel is known as the “Parable of Workers in the Vineyard” or the “Parable of the Generous Landlord.”  This remarkable and rather startling parable is found only in Matthew.  There is Gospel, or “Good News,” in this parable because it is the story of the landlord’s love and generosity, representing God’s love and generosity.  The question in God’s mind is not, “How much do these people deserve?” but rather, “How can I help them?  How can I save them before they perish?”  It’s all about grace and blessings. God is presented in the parable as a loving mother who cares about each of her children equally. The parable in a nutshell: The Kingdom of Heaven, says Jesus, is like a landowner who goes out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.  He rounds up a group at 6 AM, agrees to pay them the usual daily wage and then puts them into action.  At 9 AM, he rounds up another group.  At noon, he recruits a third team, and then at 3 PM, a fourth.  Finally, at 5 PM, he finds still more laborers who are willing and able to work.  He sends them into the vineyard to do what they can before sundown.  As the day ends, the landowner instructs his manager to pay each of the workers one denarius, the daily living wage, and to begin with those who started at 5 PM.

Life messages: (1) We need to follow God’s example and show grace to our neighbor.  When someone else is more successful than we are, let us assume he needs the success.  When someone who does wrong fails to get caught, let us remember the many times we have done wrong and gotten off free.  We mustn’t wish pain on people for the sake of “fairness.”  We become envious of others because of our lack of generosity of heart. 2) We need to express our gratitude to God in our daily lives.  God personally calls each of us to a particular ministry. He shows his care by giving us His grace and eternal salvation.  All our talents and blessings are freely given us by God, so we should thank Him by avoiding sins, by rendering loving service to others, and by listening and talking to Him. ( L/21

Aug 19 Thursday (St. John Eudes, Priest): Mt 22: 1-14: Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.” ‘Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment? ‘But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.” .” USCCB video reflections: ;

The parable and its meaning: This is one of the three parables of judgment or “rejection parables” that Jesus told in the Temple of Jerusalem during the week ending the public life, addressing the “chief priests and elders of the people”, i.e., their religious and civic leaders. By telling this allegoric parable of judgment in the Temple of Jerusalem two days before his arrest, Jesus accuses the Jewish religious and civil leaders of rejecting God’s invitation, offered by Jesus, to the Heavenly banquet given through Him, God’s Son. They have rejected the invitation by not listening to the Good News preached by Jesus and by not reforming their lives. This invitation was repeatedly extended to Israel through the prophets, including John the Baptist. But the leadership contemporary with Jesus rejected the reality that Jesus was the fulfillment of all prophecy, has refused to accept God’s invitation to righteous living (given first through John the Baptist, then through Jesus), and is now planning to kill God’s own Son, Jesus. Hence, God is inviting the sinners and Gentiles for His banquet, and that is why Jesus is keeping the company of sinners.

Life messages: 1) We need to keep wearing the wedding garment of holiness and righteousness, the state of grace, all the time and appreciate and make use of the provision for God’s graces in the Church: a) We received the “wedding garment” of sanctifying grace in Baptism, and we receive additional graces to retain it through the other Sacraments. b) Our participation in the Eucharistic celebration and in personal and family prayers helps us to recharge our spiritual batteries and enables us to lead Spirit-filled lives. c) Jesus nourishes us in the Church through the proclamation of word of God and through His own Body and Blood in the Holy Communion. 2) We need to participate in the Eucharistic banquet with proper preparation by repenting of our sins and by actively participating in the prayers and singing during the Holy Mass. Participating in Holy Mass is the best preparation and source of power for our future participation in the Heavenly banquet. ( L/21

Aug 20 Friday (St. Bernard, Abbot, Doctor of the Church): Matthew 22:34-40: 34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” .” USCCB video reflections: ;

The context: The Pharisees, who believed in both the written Law and the oral tradition, were pleased to see how Jesus defeated the Sadducee who had tried to humiliate him with the hypothetical case of a woman who married seven husbands in succession. So, a lawyer challenged Jesus to summarize the most important of the Mosaic Laws into one sentence. Jesus’ answer teaches us that the most important Commandment is to love God in loving others and to love others in loving God. In other words, we are to love God and express our love by loving our neighbor who is a son or daughter of God in whom God lives.

Jesus’ novel contribution: Jesus gives a straightforward answer, quoting directly from the Law itself and startling his listeners with his profound simplicity and mastery of the law of God and its purpose. He cites the first sentence of the Jewish Shema prayer (Deuteronomy 6:5): “Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.”  Then He adds its complementary law (Leviticus 19:18):You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus combines the originally separate commandments and presents them as the essence of true religion. We are to love our neighbor as our self because this is a way to love God: God gives us our neighbors to love so that we may learn to love Him.

Life messages: 1) How do we love God? There are several means by which we can express our love for God: a) by thanking God daily for His blessings and expressing our gratitude by obeying His Commandments; b) by being reconciled with God daily, confessing our sins, and asking His forgiveness; c) by acknowledging our total dependence on God, presenting our needs before Him with trusting Faith; d) by keeping friendship with God, daily talking to Him in prayer and listening to Him in reading the Bible; and e) by recharging our spiritual batteries through participating in Sunday Mass, receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, and through leading a Sacramental life.  2) How do we love our neighbor? Since every human being is the child of God and the dwelling place of the Spirit of God, created in the “image and likeness of God” and saved by the precious Blood of Christ, we are actually giving expression to our love of God by loving our neighbor as Jesus loves him, and by loving Jesus in our neighbor. This means we need to help, support, encourage, forgive, and pray for every one of God’s children without discrimination based on color, race, creed, gender, age wealth or social status. ( L/21

Aug 21 Saturday (St. Pius X, Pope):

Mt 23:1-12: 1Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, 2saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. 3Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. 4They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. 5All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. 6They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, 7greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ 8As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. 10Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. 11The greatest among you must be your servant. 12Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” USCCB video reflections: ;

The context: For Jesus, it was the third day of the very first “Holy Week” in Jerusalem, a day of controversy and personal attacks.  Jesus was under fire by the religious leaders of Israel and challenged them, pronouncing eight woes against the religious leaders, calling them hypocrites and publicly chastening them because they were more concerned about self-promotion than serving others and shepherding God’s Chosen People.

Three sins of the Scribes and Pharisees:  Jesus raises three objections to the Pharisees: (1) “They do not practice what they teach” (v 3). They lack integrity of life and fail to practice what they preach, namely, justice, mercy and charity.  (2) They overburden the ordinary people (v 4). The scribes and the Pharisees, in their excessive zeal for God’s laws, split the 613 laws of the Torah into thousands of rules and regulations affecting every movement of the people, thus making God’s laws a heavy burden. (3) “They do all their deeds to be seen by others” (v. 5). Jesus accuses the scribes and Pharisees of seeking the glory that rightly belongs to God.  They express their love of honor in several ways, thereby converting Judaism into a religion of ostentation: (a) “They make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long” (v. 5).  b) They “love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues” (v 6).  (c) They “love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to have people call them rabbi” (v 7). .

Life messages: 1) We need servant-leaders in a serving community:  The Church is a servant-community in which those who hunger, and thirst are to be satisfied; the ignorant are to be taught; the homeless are to receive shelter; the sick are to be cared for; the distressed are to be consoled; and the oppressed are to be set free.  Hence, leaders should have a spirit of humble service in thought, word and deed.  2) We need to live the Faith we profess. Our Faith tells us that we are all brothers and sisters, children of the same Heavenly Father.    Hence, we should always pray for each other. Instead of judging the poor, we should be serving them both directly and through our efforts on behalf of economic justice.  Instead of criticizing those of other races, we should be serving them both directly and through our efforts on behalf of racial justice. Instead of ignoring the homeless, we should be serving them through efforts to supply them with adequate housing. 3) We need to accept the responsibilities which go with our titles. Titles and polite forms exist to remind each of us of our specific responsibilities in society.  Hence, let us use everything we are and have in a way that brings glory to God, by serving His children. ( L/21


August 9-14 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

Aug 9 Monday (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Virgin, Martyr) : Matthew 17:22-27: 22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. 24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from others?” 26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.” (nil in other gospels) USCCB video reflections:;

The context: The first part of today’s Gospel gives Jesus’ second prediction of His sufferings, death and Resurrection. The second part is Jesus’ explanation of why He pays the Temple tax. Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus’ disciples were “distressed” by their master’s repeated reminders of a coming shameful death as a heretic and lawbreaker. They were distressed because the reminders shattered their dream of ruling Israel after Jesus had conquered the Romans and reestablished the Davidic kingdom. They did not understand that their master would be dying to liberate the whole of mankind from the bondage of sin. In the second part of today’s Gospel, Peter assures the Temple tax officials that the Master, Jesus, is a devout Jew and, hence, pays the Temple tax.  All Jewish males 20 years old or older had to pay a half-shekel (roughly equivalent to two days’ wages), as Temple tax for the upkeep of the Temple and its sacrifices. When they reached Peter’s home, Jesus instructed Peter to go fishing, open the mouth of the first fish he caught and, with the coin he would find there, pay both Peter’s and his own tax. Jesus’ reason was that they were to give good example to others, even though, as the Son of God, Jesus was legally exempted from paying any type of tax to anyone. The Gospel passage foreshadows a dilemma that would be experienced by the first century Jewish Christians as to whether they should continue to pay the Temple tax meant for the Jews.

Life messages: 1) Let us express our gratitude to Jesus our Savior for the price of suffering and death He paid for our sins. We can do this by avoiding all occasions of sins, by offering our pains and sufferings as atonement for our sins, and by helping others sacrificially. 2) We should obey the laws of the Church and of our country as loyal Christians and loyal citizens and contribute to the needs of the Church and its mission by our tithing, while we help the government by paying our taxes. ( L/21

Aug 10 Tuesday (St. Lawrence, Deacon, Martyr) : Jn 12: 24-26: 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  25  He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Jesus tells us a short parable followed by two amazing paradoxes. The parable is that of a grain of wheat sown into the muddy field, growing up and yielding a good crop.The parable followed by the paradoxes teaches us three lessons for Christian life. The first lesson is that life comes only through death. Only when the grain of wheat dies in the muddy soil of the field does it become a seedling. In the same way, the Church would grow up and flourish in the death of its martyrs: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” When we die to our personal ambitions and desires, we are born as useful instruments in the hands of God. The second lesson is that only by spending life we can retain it. The world owes a lot to saintly people like St. Don Bosco, St. Vincent De Paul, St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), St. Jeanne Jugan, and St. Damien, among others, who spent their energy for service of the poor and the down-trodden and gave themselves to God. The third lesson is that greatness comes through selfless and committed service. This explains why the world still honors and cherishes the memory of great souls mentioned above.

Life message: Let us surrender our lives to God in the service of others with agápe love in all humility, seeing the face of Jesus in each of them. ( L/21

Aug 11 Wednesday (St. Clare, Virgin) : Mt 18: 15-20: 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” USCCB video reflections:;

 The context: The first part of today’s portion of Matthew’s Gospel is one of the passages many have found difficult to interpret. Many Bible commentators think that Jesus never said these things, that probably they were a later addition by the Church because 1) there was no organized Church at that time, 2) Jesus never considered a sinner as a hopeless case, and 3) Jesus loved Gentiles and tax collectors.

The real meaning: What Jesus actually meant was, “Do whatever you can to make the guilty person realize and confess his fault, thus helping him to repair the damage he or she has done to his or her personal and communal relationships.” Jesus seems to suggest the following steps to repair a broken personal relationship: 1) One-on-one encounter: If you are sure that somebody has wronged you, tell him lovingly and politely that he has hurt you. 2) The group encounter: If the first step does not work, meet him again in the company of two or three wise and honorable persons and try to make the culprit realize what he has done wrong. 3) Parish encounter: If steps one and two do not work, bring his case to the pastor or to the parish council or the Christian fellowship. 4) Leave him to Lord’s mercy: If the culprit remains stubborn, like a Gentile or proud tax collector, continue to pray for him and leave him to God’s mercy.

Life messages: 1) Let us have the good will and generosity to accept our mistakes and ask pardon and forgiveness from the offended victim. 2) Let us also learn to forgive and forget the offenses done against us ( L/21

Aug 12 Thursday: (St. Frances de Chantal, Religious) : Matthew 18: 21-19: 1: 21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; 25 and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, `Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 …35 USCCB video reflections:;

The lessons taught by the parable: (1) We must forgive so that we may be forgiven. Jesus explains this truth after teaching the prayer, “Our Father.” He warns us, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mt 6:14-15). As James states it later, “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy” (Jas 2:13). Clearly, Divine and human forgiveness work together.

(2) We represent the greater debtor in the parable; that is, we owe God the ten thousand talents of the parable. We commit sins every day and, hence, we need God’s forgiveness every day. The sum total of all the offenses which our brothers and sisters commit against us is equivalent to the small debt of the second debtor in the parable, namely 100 denarii. Yet, shockingly and sadly, we are merciless towards our fellow human beings. The moral of Jesus’ story is that, as members of a community, we must treat one another as God has treated each of us. Here is a Divine call to throw away the calculator when it comes to forgiveness.  We must choose the more honorable path and forgive one another “from the heart.” We have been forgiven a debt beyond all human paying – the sin of man which God forgave through the willing, sacrificial death of His own Son, Incarnate in human flesh. Since that is so, we must forgive others as God has forgiven us. Otherwise, we cannot hope to receive any mercy ourselves.

Life messages: 1) We need to forgive: Having experienced forgiveness at the hands of God and God’s people, we are then called to make it possible for others to experience the same forgiveness. Let us forgive the person who has wronged us before hatred eats away at our ability to forgive.

2) Forgiveness will not be easy, but God is there to help us. We can call on God’s help by offering that individual to God, not by sitting in judgment, but simply by saying, “Help so-and-so and mend our relationship.” We may never forget the hurt we have experienced, but we can choose to forgive.

3) We need to remind ourselves that with God’s grace we have already forgiven the one that hurt us. As life goes on, we may remember the incident or occasion that was hurtful. Then let us offer the offender to God’s mercy and pray for God’s blessings on him or her. ( L/21

Aug 13 Friday (Saints Pontian, Pope and Hippolytus, Martyr) : Mt 19:3-12: 3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” 8 He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9.” 10.. 12 USCCB video reflections:;

Jesus’ explanation of a Mosaic sanction: Jesus explains that Moses’ permission for divorce was only a temporary concession which was meant to control the growing rate of divorce in Moses’ own time by introducing a law governing divorce.  Jesus adds that it was because of the hard-heartedness of the Jewish men that Moses allowed such a concession.  By denying the man’s right to divorce, Jesus places the husband and wife on an equal footing in marriage and teaches that no Mosaic regulation dealing with a temporary situation can alter the permanence and unity of marriage.

Jesus’ clear teaching on divorce: Jesus reminds us that His doctrine goes back to the original intention of God.  Citing the book of Genesis, Jesus says that God made us male and female and commanded that “the two shall become one flesh.”  He then draws the conclusion that “they are no longer two, but one body” – partners with equal rightsand he declares that no man is allowed to separate what God has joined together (Mt 19:6).

Catholic teaching: Based on the NT teachings given in Mk 10:1-12, Mt 5:31-32; Mt 19:3-9; Lk 16:18; and 1 Cor 7:10-11, the Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a Sacrament involving both a sacred and legal contract between a man and a woman and, at the same time, a special Covenant with the Lord.  “Divorce is also a grave offense against the natural law.  Besides, it claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death……  Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society” (CCC #2384, #2385).

Life messages: 1) Let us keep all the families of our parish in our daily prayers, that the spouses may have a mutual understanding and appreciation of each other, the willingness to ask pardon and give pardon, the generosity to forgive and forget, and the good will to serve each other, because all these virtues help to make a marriage permanent. 2) Let us also pray for all the divorced in the parish and welcome them as active members of the parish, both those who have remained single and those who have remarried without annulment. ( L/21

Aug 14 Saturday (St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest, Martyr) : Mt 19:13-15: 13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; 14 but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage describes one of the loveliest incidents in the Gospel story.  Jewish mothers used to bring their children to great rabbis to have them pray over the little ones, especially on their first birthday.  Naturally, mothers wanted the healing touch and blessing of the most popular rabbi, Jesus.  In an attempt to protect their master from the crowd of mothers and noisy children, the apostles started rebuking them.  The passage describes Jesus’ reaction and teaching.

Childlike qualities for entrance into Heaven:  By showing his displeasure at the rough reaction of his apostles, Jesus made it clear that everyone is equally important to him as a child of God.  The mothers came to Jesus because he was welcoming, warm, and approachable.  Jesus decided to use the occasion as a teachable moment.  He taught his disciples that entry into Heaven demands the childlike qualities of humility, innocence, obedience, simplicity, openness, teachability, freedom from prejudice, readiness for change and adaptation, total trust in a loving and providing God, confidence in the essential goodness of people and  the readiness to forgive and forget. Only such people are ready to hear the message of the Gospel in its fullness and accept it.

Life messages: 1) Let us live in the awareness that we are the children of a loving and providing Heavenly Father and that, by Baptism, we are members of God’s family.  Hence, we are expected to behave well every day, as worthy children of a Holy Father.

2) Let us pray for all the children in our families and for all our young parishioners and let us find time to cooperate in the parish ministries meant for children and young people. ( L/21