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August 2-7 (Weekday homilies)

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies. August 2-7: August 2 Monday (St Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop) ( , (St. Peter Julian Eymard, Priest)( :

Matthew 14:13-21: 13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 As he went ashore, he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Cfr also MK 6:30-44, LK  9: 10-17, JN 6: 1-14) USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ miraculous feeding of a great multitude. The story is told in all four Gospels and serves as Jesus’ way of introducing to those listening a merciful and providing God. This miraculous feeding was meant to remind people of God’s provision of manna in the wilderness and to foreshadow the true Heavenly Bread which Jesus would offer those who listened, believed, and chose to receive. Moses, Elijah, and Elisha had all fed people without the benefit of resources.  The present miracle resembles particularly the one performed by Elisha in 2 Kgs 4:42-44.

Jesus took pity on the growing physical hunger of his listeners as they listened and challenged the apostles to feed them. They brought him what they had — five loaves of bread and two dried fish. Jesus took these, said a prayer of blessing, broke them and asked the apostles to distribute them. Since it was mid-April, springtime in Israel, the people could sit comfortably on green grass in groups of hundreds and fifties as Jesus asked. After serving a sumptuous meal, which satisfied everyone’s hunger, the apostles collected twelve wicker baskets filled with leftover bread and fish pieces, a vivid demonstration of God’s generosity in giving.

Life message: 1) We may not be able to feed the hungry millions in the world, but today’s Gospel challenges us to do our humble share in alleviating hunger and poverty in our neighborhood. God will amplify our little contributions and reward our good will and generosity. Let us be thankful to Jesus for feeding us spiritually with the word of God and with the Holy Eucharist. ( L/21

Aug 3 Tuesday: Matthew 14:22-36: 22 Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately he spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” 28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; 30 but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32..36 USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: The event presented by today’s Gospel is the scene immediately following Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish.  Sensing the danger of having the people make him leader of a revolt, Jesus promptly instructed his apostles to leave the place by boat and, after dispersing the crowd, went alone to the mountain to pray.

A double miracle on the sea:  When the apostles in the boat were several furlongs away from the shore, they faced an unexpected storm on the sea caused by the hot wind of the desert rushing into the Sea of Galilee through the gaps in the Golan Heights. Recognizing the danger, Jesus walked on the stormy waters toward the boat. Jesus calmed the frightened disciples as He approached the boat, allowed Peter to do a trial walk on water, then saved the apostle from drowning when he panicked. As soon as Jesus brought Peter into the boat the storm ceased miraculously. The apostles recognized the presence of God in their midst and they all worshipped Jesus.

Life messages: 1) Let us approach Jesus with strong Faith in his ability and willing availability to calm the storms in our lives and in the life of the Church. Church History shows us how Jesus saved his Church from storms of persecution in the first three centuries, storms of heresies in the fifth and sixth centuries, storms of moral degradation and the Protestant reformation movement in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and storms of sex abuse scandals of the clergy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 2) Let us ask Jesus to protect us when we face storms of strong temptations, storms of doubts about our religious beliefs, and storms of fear, anxiety and worries about the future, as in the present Covid-19 pandemic, in our personal lives. 3) Experiencing Jesus’ presence in our lives, let us confess our Faith in him and call out for his help and protection.  ( L/21

Aug 4 Wednesday (St. John Vianney, Priest)( : Mt 15. 21-28:[21] And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. [22] And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” [23] But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and begged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying after us.” [24] He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” [25] But she came and knelt before Him, saying, “Lord, help me.” [26] And He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” [27] She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” [28] Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

Jesus withdrew to Tyre and Sidon to escape persecution from Herod and from the Jewish authorities and to concentrate on training His Apostles. Tyre and Sidon were Mediterranean coastal cities in Lebanon, outside the territory of Herod Antipas. Today’s Gospel episode speaks of the expansive and universal nature of the “Kingdom of God,” in contrast with the theory that salvation was offered first to the Jews and through them alone to the rest of the world. In fact, God included all nations in His plan for salvation and blessed all the families of the earth in Abraham (Gn 17:1-5). In today’s Gospel episode, Jesus demonstrates that salvation was meant for the Gentiles as well as for the Jews by healing the daughter of a Gentile woman as a reward for her strong, trusting  Faith, unwavering trust, perseverance, and humility. Thus, Jesus shows that God’s mercy and love are available to all who call out to Him in Faith.

Life messages: 1) We need to persist in prayer with trustful confidence.  Although the essential parts of prayer are adoration, thanksgiving, and contrition, the prayer of petition plays a big part in our daily lives. Christ Himself has told us to ask him for these needs: “Ask and you shall receive.” Asking with fervor and perseverance proves that we have the “great Faith” we need to receive what Christ wants to grant us in response to our requests. We must realize and remember that we do not always get exactly what we ask for. Rather, God gives us what He knows we really need, what He wants for us, and what is really best for us.  If our prayer is sincere and persevering, we will always get an answer — one which is better than what we asked for.

2) We need to pull down our walls of separation and share in the universality of God’s love: Very often we set up walls which separate us from God and from one another. Today’s Gospel reminds us that God’s love and mercy are extended to all who call on Him in Faith and trust, no matter who they are.  It is therefore fitting that we should pray and work sincerely so that the walls which our pride, intolerance, fear, and prejudice have raised may crumble. .  ( L/21

Aug 5 Thursday (The dedication of the Basilicas of St. Mary Major) ( : Mt 16: 13-23:13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth  shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. 21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.” USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel passage is the first of the three times when Jesus foretold His passion, death and Resurrection. The passage consists of two sections, the Messianic confession of Peter and Jesus’ prophecy of a swiftly approaching passion and death.

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 His suffering, death and Resurrection. 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 Jesus’ real identity, then the whole of the Messianic entire ministry, suffering and death would be useless. Hence, the Teacher decided to ask a question in two parts. 1) “What is the public opinion about Me?” 2) “What is your personal opinion?” Their answer to the first question was: “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Peter volunteered to answer the second question saying: “You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God.“ Jesus confirmed Peter’s insight as a special revelation from God. “No mere man has revealed this to you, but my Heavenly Father.”

Life message:1) Let us experience Jesus as our Lord and Savior and surrender our life to Him. We experience Jesus as personal Savior by listening to Him through the daily, meditative reading of the Bible, by talking to Him through daily, personal and family prayers, frequenting Holy Mass and offering Jesus our lives on the altar, being reconciled with Him every night, asking His pardon and forgiveness for our sins and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation whenever we are in mortal sin. )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.   ( L/21

Aug 6 Friday (The Transfiguration of the Lord) ( : Mk 9:2-10: 2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus. 9 ………….10 USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Today’s Gospel describes the Transfiguration of Jesus, an event which is celebrated as a Feast on August 6. The primary purpose of this Transfiguration was to enable Jesus to consult his Heavenly Father in order to ascertain His plan for His Son’s suffering, death and Resurrection.  The secondary aim was to make Jesus’ chosen disciples aware of Jesus’ Divine glory, that they might discard their worldly ambitions about a conquering political Messiah and that they might be strengthened in their time of trial.  

The scene: The Transfiguration took place probably on Mount Hermon in North Galilee, near Caesarea Philippi. While praying, Jesus was transfigured into a shining figure, full of Heavenly glory.  Moses and Elijah the representatives of the Law and the Prophets, appeared conversing with Jesus.  Peter, overwhelmed at the scene, exclaimed how good it was it was for them to be there. Then a Cloud covered them, and a Voice was heard speaking words from the Cloud: “This is My Son, the Beloved; with Him I am well pleased; listen to Him,”

Life messages: (1) The transubstantiation in the Holy Mass is the source of our transformation and strength: In each Holy Mass, the bread and wine we offer on the altar become, in reality, the Body and Blood of Jesus.  Hence, our Holy Communion with Jesus in the Eucharist should be the source of our daily “transfiguration,” transforming our minds and hearts to do more good by humble and selfless service to others.

(2) Each time we receive one of the Sacraments, we are transformed: For example, Baptism transforms us into sons and daughters of God and heirs of Heaven. Confirmation transforms us into temples of the Holy Spirit and warriors of God.  By the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God brings back the sinner to the path of holiness.

(3) in A message of encouragement and hope: In moments of doubt and during our dark moments of despair and hopelessness, the thought of our transformation in Heaven will help us to reach out to God and to listen to His consoling words: “This is My beloved son.”   ( L/21

Aug 7 Saturday (St. Sixtus II, Pope and Companions, Martyrs)(, St. Cajetan, Priest) ( : Mt 17: 14-20:  14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up (Matthew 17: 14-20): 14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and kneeling before him said, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; for often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will  be impossible to you.” USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: When Jesus came down from the mountain of the Transfiguration along with Peter, John, and James, the father of an epileptic son knelt before Jesus and asked Jesus to heal his son. The father’s complaint was that the other nine disciples of Jesus waiting for their master to come down from the mountain could not heal the boy.

The healing: After expressing impatience with the crowd for their lack of Faith, Jesus rebuked the demon and cast him out of the boy. Later when the apostles asked Jesus why they had been unable to do the same although they had been given the power of exorcism, Jesus pointed out their lack of Faith. Jesus said further that even a small amount of Faith would enable them to do great things. Faith, moving mountains was a Jewish phrase meaning that God can remove all difficulties for one who places trusting Faith in Him.

Life message: We will be able to solve our problems and many of the problems of our fellow-human beings if we place our trusting Faith in God’s power and goodness and ask for His strengthening in prayer.  ( L/21


July 26-31 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

July 26-31: July 26 Monday (St. Joachim & St. Ann, Parents of B.V.Mary): (Grandparents’ Day): Mt 13: 16-17: 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not  hear it. USCCB video reflections:;

The Bible does not say anything about the parents of Mary. The traditional belief that they were Joachim, a shepherd from the tribe of Judah and Ann from the tribe of Levi is taken from the legendary apocryphal source (Protoevangelium Jacobi) written more than a century after Jesus died. According to Protoevangelium Jacobi, Mary was born to her parents in their old age as a gift from God for their fervent and persistent prayer for a child. Mary’s parents offered her to the Temple, and as it was the custom, she was entrusted to the custody of pious widows who assisted the priests in the Temple worship. They taught Mary the prayers, hymns, psalms, and services in the Temple until she became a teenager. Her parents then gave her in marriage to St. Joseph, the carpenter. St. Joachim and St. Anne continued their lives of prayer until God called them home to Heaven. They transmitted to Mary and helped her develop all her good qualities, like trust in God’s providence, humility, love of the Word of God, and a spirit of committed and loving service. They faithfully performed their duties, practiced their Faith and established an atmosphere for the coming of the Messiah, but remained obscure. Veneration of Ann originated in the East in the 6th century as the patroness of childless women and miners. Devotion to Joachim began in the eighth century. France and Canada possess the principal sanctuaries of Saint Anne: in France, at Apt in Provence, and at Auray in Britany; in Canada at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in the Province of Québec.

Life message: Let us remember and pray for our grandparents on this feast of the grandparents of Jesus, gratefully acknowledging the lessons of Faith they taught us and the good religious training they imparted to us, directly or through our parents whom they trained. ( L/21

July 27 Tuesday: Mt 13:36-43: 36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel text is Jesus’ explanation of the parable of the wheat and weeds.  This parable teaches us that a very patient and compassionate God is hopeful that the so-called “weeds” among us will be converted, and that we should not be in a hurry to eliminate such elements from the Church, society, or the family, on the basis of unwarranted and hasty judgment.

Through the parable of the wheat and the weeds, Jesus assures us that we are the field of God.  We are the ground Jesus works as well as the seed Jesus plants, and the seedlings Jesus nurtures.  We are the people upon whom He rests His hopes, and the folk in whom He plants the seeds — the Word of God.  We are the congregation He anoints with the Holy Spirit.  In today’s parable, Jesus, presents a wise and patient God Who allows the good and the evil to coexist in the world, so that the ones who do evil may come to conversion before their time ends, and He must punish them.  “Let the seed and the darnel grow together till the harvest time.”  In other words, God awaits repentant sinners, giving them the strength to acknowledge their weakness.  “God’s delays are not God’s denial.” God calmly recognizes that there is evil in the world but sees that evil as no excuse for the good people who have God’s grace at their disposal not to do good.  Through the parable of the wheat and the weeds in today’s Gospel, Jesus calls us to be patient with those who fail to meet the high ethical standard expected of a Christian. If we don’t spend all our time wondering why there is so much evil in the world, we may have a little left over for wondering why there is so much good!

Life message:  1) We need to practice patience.  We need to be patient with ourselves and with others, especially those who annoy us and those who offend us. 2) Let us patiently and lovingly treat the “weeds” in our society as our brothers and sisters and do all in our power to put them back on the right road to Heaven, especially by our good example and our fervent prayer for their conversion. Fr. Tony ( L/21

July 28 Wednesday: Mt 13:44-46: 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives us twin parables with a common message. Both the pearl and the treasure represent the Kingdom of God, or God’s rule in human hearts, or our close relationship with God kept intact by our doing God’s will.

Treasure & pearl: Since Palestine was the most fought-over country in the world in the first century, people hid their valuables underground when they fled from invading armies. The owners did not always get a chance to return to their land. Some other farm workers occasionally found such treasures, and the rabbinic law gave the ownership of the treasure to the finder. In order to avoid any later legal problems, the intelligent treasure-finder bought the land containing the treasure, selling all his other possessions to do so, if he had to. Pearls were the most valuable of the treasures. A merchant who located a superior pearl would be wise to sell the rest of his stock and property to acquire it.

Acquiring a treasure or a pearl of great value means accepting the will of God in our lives and sacrificing everything to do God’s holy will — in other words, living as God wants us to live. That is God’s Kingship over us and within us in action. The Kingdom of God is also a group of people on earth who, with God’s grace, work to do the will of God as perfectly as it is done in Heaven. Hence, being in God’s Kingdom also means offering willing obedience to God.

Life message: 1) A right relationship with God, or a state of Sanctifying Grace, is the most valuable treasure in the Christian life because it gives us a close relationship with God during this life and a life of everlasting bliss with God after our death. The Holy Spirit, the Holy Bible and the Sacraments are the treasures in the Church which enable us to do the will of God and possess the Kingdom of God. Hence, we must be ready to make any sacrifice to use these treasures, to practice self-control and to offer to those we encounter generous loving service, mercy, and forgiveness, thus keeping a right relationship with God Fr. Tony ( L/21

July 29 Thursday (St. Martha, Mary & Lazarus) : Jn 11:19-27 (or Lk 10: 38-42): 19 many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.” USCCB Jn 11:19-27 (or Lk 10: 38-42video reflections:;

 July 29th was traditionally celebrated as the feast day of St. Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus.  But on February 2, 2021, Pope Francis expanded this memorial to include Martha’s sister and brother, Mary and Lazarus. They were close friends of Jesus. Since they lived in Bethany, less than two miles from Jerusalem, Jesus visited their home each time he with his disciples participated in a major feast in the Temple of Jerusalem and Martha prepared meals for them. It was during one of those meals that Jesus praised Mary for finding time to listen to him and lovingly scolded Martha for being too much anxious and busy in the kitchen.

Pope Francis decided in February, 2021 to include all these three siblings, Martha, Mary and Lazarus  for today’s feast. Martha is presented as a woman of great dynamism and action who despite her deep sorrow at her brother’s death, believed in Jesus as the Lord of life and death and proclaimed him by her strong profession of faith as the Messiah and God. Mary is included in the feast as a model of the keen listener of the word of God who was keen on applying the word she heard into her life. Correcting the unbiblical belief that Mary of Magdala and the sinner woman who anointed the feet of Jesus at the house of a pharisee was Mary the sister of Lazarus, the Pope approves the unanimous opinion of modern Bible scholars that all these three are distinct and different Marys. Lazarus is included in the feast because of his courageous and strong testimony of his resuscitation given by Jesus, despite the Pharisees’ threat to arrest him. When this memorial was established, the Congregation for Divine Worship said, “In the household of Bethany the Lord Jesus experienced the family spirit and friendship of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and for this reason the Gospel of John states that he loved them.”

Life messages: 1) Let us invite Jesus into our families by consecrating our families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and by allowing him to rule our lives. 2) We need both Marthas and Marys in the Church – women of action and women of contemplation.  How would the Church survive if not for the Marthas and Bills who sing in the choir, teach in the Sunday school, work with the youth, run the altar guild, work with the homeless, and build the Church? The same is true with the family.  We need responsible people to do the work in the house: to cook, to clean, to keep the house operating, to pay the bills, to keep the cars running, not to speak of rearing the children and loving the spouse.  Households can’t survive without Marthas and Bills.  Nor can offices, schools or businesses. 3) But we must find time to listen to God speaking to us through His word and time to talk to God.  Where would we all be without the cloistered monks and nuns who spend their lives praising God and praying for all of us? Jesus clearly said: be hearers and doers of the word.  Jesus never reversed that order. Fr. Tony ( L/21

July 30 Friday (St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop, Doctor of the Church) : Mt 13:54-58 54 He came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished* and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?” 55 Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? 56 Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” 5 8And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel describes how, on a Sabbath, standing before the fellow-townsmen in the synagogue of Nazareth, Jesus read and interpreted what Isaiah had prophesied about the Messiah and the Messianic mission. Jesus claimed to be the One sent “to bring glad tidings to the poor, liberation to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and freedom for the oppressed.” Declaring, to the great amazement and disbelief of fellow-townsmen, that Isaiah’s prophecy was being fulfilled at that very moment “in your hearing,” Jesus announced to them that the prophet was foretelling and describing Jesus’ mission and ministry. Luke reports that the initial reaction of the people was surprise at the power and eloquence of this son of their soil. They were amazed that one of their fellow villagers could speak with such grace and eloquence and with such authority. Luke says they were “amazed at the gracious words that came from [Jesus’] lips,” because they knew Jesus only as a carpenter from a poor family, with no formal training in Mosaic Law. But their amazement turned into displeasure when, during this “Inaugural Address” or “Mission Statement,” Jesus took on the identity of a prophet, different from the image of the miracle-worker that people wished to see.   Then their displeasure turned into anger when Jesus claimed that to be the promised Messiah of Isaiah’s prophecy.   They challenged his Messianic claim, asking, and “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”   They could not understand how a mere carpenter could be the Messiah who would liberate them from Roman rule and reestablish the Davidic kingdom.  Jesus explained their attitude by saying “No prophet is accepted in his native place.”

Life messages: 1) We need to face rejection with prophetic courage and optimism. Perhaps we have experienced the pain of rejection, betrayal, abandonment, violated trust, neglect, or abuse, even from friends and family members, when we reached out to them as God’s agents of healing and saving grace. Perhaps we ourselves are guilty of the same rejection of God in His agents. Perhaps we, too, have been guilty of ignoring or humiliating people with our arrogance and prejudice. Let us learn to correct our mistakes and to face rejection from others with courage. 2) Let us not, like the people in Jesus’ hometown, reject God in our lives. We reject God when we are unwilling to be helped by God, or by others.   Such unwillingness prevents us from recognizing God’s directions, help and support in our lives, through His words in the Bible, through the teaching of the Church, and through the advice and examples of others. Fr. Tony ( L/21

July 31 Saturday: (St. Ignatius of Loyola): Ignatius was born in a Spanish noble family. After his initial studies, he was sent to the royal court to serve as a page boy. As he grew up as a young Knight, he joined the royal army. At the battle of Pamplona, a cannon ball hit his leg, making him cripple. During his recovery at the Loyola Castle hospice, he was given only Life of Christ and Lives of Saints to read. As a result, he had a conversion experience. Ignatius asked himself the question, “These were men and women like me, so why can’t I do what they have done?” Then he had the vision of the Mother of Jesus, holding child Jesus in her hands, which prompted him to go on a pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine at Monserrat, near Barcelona where he remained making a retreat at nearby Manresa, staying sometimes with Dominicans and other times in a paupers’ hospice, spending most of his time praying in caves, while fighting against scruples by prayer, fasting, reception of the Sacraments and doing penance until peace returned to him. It was during this time at Manresa that Ignatius wrote down his “Spiritual Exercises.”

He then went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. But because of the hostility of the Muslims, he had to return to Spain. It was there that he planned to start a religious group of men to support the Pope in his ministry. As preparation, he decided to restart his studies, learning Latin grammar, by sitting in the class of young boys when he was thirty-three. Then he went for his college studies. At forty-three, he graduated from the University of Paris. At Montmartre, with six other student friends, Ignatius professed religious vows in 1534, founding a new religious order the “Company of Jesus” or the “Society of Jesus.” They were ordained priests after five years. Along with the triple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience they promised to work for God in whatever way the Holy Father thought best. The new Society of Jesus was approved by Paul III in 1540, and Ignatius was elected to serve as the first general. The spirituality of Ignatius is expressed in the Jesuit motto, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam— “for the greater glory of God.” Ignatius recommended this prayer to penitents: Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I return it. All is Thine; dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me. Ignatius Loyola []

Before Ignatius died, there were one thousand members of the Society of Jesus or “Jesuits.” Ignatius died in Rome, on July 31, 1556. Pope Gregory XV proclaimed him a saint in 1622.

Ignatius founded the Roman College, intended to be the model of all other colleges of the Society. The Jesuits became the greatest force in the Catholic Counter-Reformation.  They continue to have a tremendous influence on politics and education throughout the world.

Life messages: 1) Let us try to do everything AMDG, trying to do it better each time. 2) Let us consider ourselves as trustees of God, as St. Ignatius did, responsible to and accountable to Him as our Lord and Master. 3) Let us try to be men and women for others, caring for their material and spiritual welfare. Fr. Tony ( L/21

July 31 Saturday: Mt 14:1-12: 1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus; 2 and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist, he has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” 3 For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; 4 because John said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. 6 But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and pleased Herod, 7 so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” 9 And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; 10 he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, 11 and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came and took the body and buried it; and they went and told Jesus. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel presents the last scene of a tragic drama with three main characters, Herod, Herodias, and John the Baptist. Herod Antipas, (4 BC – AD 39), was a jealous and weak puppet-king with a guilty conscience. He feared the prophet John because John had publicly scolded him for divorcing his legal wife without adequate cause and for marrying his sister-in-law, Herodias, thus committing a double violation of Mosaic Law. Herodias was an immoral, greedy woman, stained by a triple guilt and publicly criticized by John. 1) She was an unfaithful woman of loose morals. 2) She was a greedy and vengeful woman. 3) She was an evil mother who used her teenage daughter for the wicked purposes of murder and revenge by encouraging her to dance in public in the royal palace against the royal etiquette of the day. John the Baptist was a fiery preacher and the herald of the Promised Messiah. He was also a Spirit-filled prophet with the courage of his convictions who criticized and scolded an Oriental monarch and his proud wife in public.

God’s punishment: After the martyrdom of John, Herod was defeated by Aretas, the father of Herod’s first wife. Later, both Herod and Herodias were sent into exile by Caligula, the Roman emperor.

Life messages: 1) As Christians we need to have the moral integrity and the courage of our convictions as John had. 2) Let us remember that sins of revenge and cruelty will never go unpunished. Fr. Tony ( L/21

Attached : “Samaritanus bonus” Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith document summarized in 20 points as pdf   

For the full document, visit


July 19-24 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

July 19-24: July 19 Monday: Mt 12:38-4238 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  41 The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the Wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Since there had been many false prophets and false messiahs in the past, and since the pride and prejudice of the scribes and the Pharisees did not permit them to see the Messiah in Jesus, a “carpenter-from-Nazareth-turned-wandering-preacher,” these Jewish religious leaders demanded that Jesus show some “Messianic” signs and miracles from their list.  They would not believe that Jesus’ numerous miraculous healings were the Messianic signs foretold by their prophets.

Jesus’ negative response: Calling them an apostate generation who refused to believe in their own prophets and who denied the hand of God in the miracles Jesus had worked, Jesus warned them that they would be condemned on the Day of Judgment by the people of Nineveh and by the Queen of Sheba from the South.  The pagan Ninevites had heard the voice of the Lord God in the prophet Jonah, had repented and had been spared.  The Queen of Sheba had recognized God’s wisdom in King Solomon and had traveled to Israel to receive more of it. Nevertheless, Jesus gave the scribes and Pharisees “the sign of Jonah,” who had spent three days and three nights in the belly of the giant fish, the undeniable Messianic sign of Jesus’ own Resurrection from the tomb on the third day after dying and being entombed.

Life messages: 1) Let us recognize the God-given signs in our lives: Let us examine our conscience and see if we are able to see God’s presence in ourselves and in others, His hand behind the small and big events of our lives, and His provident care in our lives. 2) Let us open our ears to hear God’s message given to us through others and through nature.  We should be able read God’s message in the Bible and adjust our lives accordingly.

3) Let us try our best to open our hearts to God and be receptive to His Spirit through our active participation in the liturgy, instead of looking for signs in weeping Madonnas, bleeding crucifixes, and visionaries. Fr. Tony (

July 20 Tuesday (St. Apollinaris, Bishop, Martyr): Mt 12:46-50: 46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: As Jesus became a strong critic of the Jewish religious authorities, family members brough Jesus’ Mother with them when they came to take Jesus to Nazareth by force, perhaps because they feared that he was “out of His mind,” and would be arrested and put to death and so would they. Jesus’ plain statement: Today’s Gospel episode seems to suggest that Jesus ignored the request of the family and Jesus’ Jesus’ Mother, who had traveled such a long distance. But everyone in the audience knew how Jesus had always loved and, working as a carpenter, had taken care of Mary. Besides, Jesus’ plain answer, “My mother and My brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it,” was indeed a compliment to Mary who had always listened to the word of God and obeyed it. Jesus was declaring “Blessed are those who have heard and kept the word of God, as she is faithfully doing” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 58).  Jesus was also using the occasion to teach the congregation a new lesson in their relationship with God. Being a disciple of Jesus, a Christian, means, first and foremost, being in a relationship – a relationship of love and unity with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and with all who belong to God as His children.  Jesus changes the order of relationships and shows us that true kinship is not just a matter of flesh and blood.  God’s gracious gift to us is His adoption of us as His sons and daughters.  This gift enables us to recognize all those who belong to Christ as our brothers and sisters.  Our adoption as sons and daughters of God transforms all our relationships and requires a new order of loyalty to God and to His kingdom.  Everyone who does the will of the Father, that is to say, who obeys Him, is a brother or sister of Christ, because he is like Jesus who fulfilled the will of His Father. [Brothers and sisters of Jesus: The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus did not have blood brothers and sisters. In the Hebrew and Aramaic languages, no special words existed for cousin, nephew, half-brother, or stepbrother; so, they used the word brother in all these cases. The Greek translation of the Hebrew texts used the word adelphos in these cases. In addition, other Gospel passages clarify these relationships between James, Joses, Judas, and Simon. James the Less and Joses were the sons of Mary the wife of Clopas (Tradition holds him to be brother of Joseph) (Mk 15:40, Jn 19:25), and James the Less was also identified as “the son of Alphaeus” (Lk 6:15), a synonym of “Clopas.” James the Greater and John were the sons of Zebedee with a mother other than our Blessed Mother Mary (Mt 20:20ff). After the birth of our Lord, although the Gospels do not give us many details of His childhood, no mention is made of Mary and Joseph ever having other children. Never does it refer to the “sons of Mary” or “a son of Mary,” but only the son of Mary. By this time, St. Joseph has died. Since Jesus, the first born, had no “blood brother,” He entrusted Mary from the cross to the care of St. John, the Beloved Disciple.]

Life messages: 1) Let us be aware of our status and responsibility:  By Baptism we become the children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus and members of the Heavenly family of the Triune God. Hence, we have the obligation to treat others with love and respect and to share our love with them by corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  2) Let us also be hearers as well as doers of the word of God as Mary was. Fr. Tony (

July 21 Wednesday (St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest, Doctor of the Church): Mt 13:1-9: 1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  9 He who has ears, let him hear.” 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 Jesus personally interprets for the Apostles. This parable was intended as a warning to the hearers to be attentive and to the apostles to be hopeful receivers, living out Jesus’ teachings and ideas. The sower is God, while the Church, with the parents in their homes, are the teachers. The seed sown is the high-yielding word of God, which has a cutting edge like “a sharp sword” (Is 49:2), “two-edged sword” (Heb 4:12), and a purifying and strengthening power like “fire and hammer” (Jer 23:29).

Soil type & the yield: The hardened soil on the foot path 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 who are unwilling to “put down roots” surrendering their wills to God. The soil filled with weeds represents people addicted to evil habits and evil tendencies and those whose hearts are filled with hatred, jealousy, and greed. They are 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 crucified 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 yields 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. ( L/21

July 22 Thursday (St. Mary Magdalene): Jn 20:1-2, 11-18: 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they  have laid him.” 14 Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but “…18 Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. USCCB video reflections:;

 The context: Today’s Gospel presents the great recognition scene in the New Testament when Mary Magdalene, at the tomb early in the morning, was not able to recognize the Risen Jesus until Jesus called her by name. Gradual recognition, or misunderstanding, as a stage on the path to belief and understanding occurs frequently in the narratives of John’s Gospel. [See, for example, the conversations Jesus had with Nicodemus (ch. 3), and the Samaritan woman (ch. 4).]  In today’s passage, we find it once again: Mary thought at first that Jesus was the gardener.

Mary Magdalene failed to recognize Jesus because of her false assumption that Jesus’ dead body had been taken away from the tomb. Her attention was concentrated on the now-empty tomb. Her tears of intense grief could also have blurred her vision. Once Mary had recognized Jesus, exclaiming “Rabboni!” Jesus told her, “… go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My  Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary did so at once, her introduction being, “I have seen the Lord,” with Jesus’ message following. This became the basis and essence of the later preaching of the apostles and of all Christian witness-bearing. St Thomas Aquinas said that one old lady (una vetera), might have more Faith than a host of learned theologians.

Life messages: 1) We need to be open in mind and heart to experience the presence of the Risen Lord in our lives through our prayer, our Sacramental life, and our meditative reading of the Bible. These all enable us to bear witness to the Risen Lord in our daily lives. 2) It is our powerful conviction of the Real Presence of the Risen Lord, both in the Eucharist and in our lives, which gives us the strength to fight temptations and to serve our brothers and sisters in corporal and spiritual works of mercy. (Fr. Tony) ( L/21

July 23 Friday (St. Bridget, Religious): Mt 13:18-23: 18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is  what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately  he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives us Jesus’ interpretation of the parable of the sower, seeds sown, and the yield depending upon the type of soil. 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’ teachings and ideas. The sower is God Who sows His word through the Church, parents, friends, and teachers. The seed sown is the high-yielding word of God which is “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 and those whose hearts are filled with hatred, 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, 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 yields 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 (

July 24 Saturday (St. Sharbel Makhluf, Priest): Mt 13:24-30: 24 Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?’ 28 He said to them, `An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, `Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, `No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s readings give us the warning that we should not be in a hurry to eliminate the “weeds” or so called “bad people” from the parish or society or the family on the basis of unwarranted or hasty judgment, because our compassionate God patiently waits for them to be converted into good people. The parable of the wheat and the weeds: The weeds among the wheat in the parable are a variety of tares known as “bearded darnel.”  They resemble wheat plants so closely that it is impossible to distinguish the one from the other except when the heads of seed appear. By that time, their roots are so intertwined that the tares cannot be weeded out without plucking the wheat out with them.  At the end of the harvest, tares and wheat must be separated by hand, through examining the color difference between darnel and wheat grains. The darnel grains must be removed, not only because they are not wheat, but because they are slightly poisonous.

Why we should be tolerant and patient instead of treating “weeds” as lost cases: The parable tells us why we should not treat others as “weeds,” i.e. evil or wicked. 1) Each one of us is a combination of wheat and weeds; as the saying goes, “There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to find fault with the rest of us.[James Truslow Adams from website: www.brainyquotes. com] Since it is impossible for us to judge people as evil or good, we must learn to be kind to them relying on the power of God to convert them. 2) Many people who do evil are converted at a certain time in their lives because of the grace of God. Our God awaits repentant sinners, giving them the strength to acknowledge their weakness and come to for Mercy. . 3) Since the good example and the fervent, ongoing prayers and penances of practicing Christians can influence and occasion the conversion of people who do evil, it is the duty and the joy of all Christians to live exemplary lives and to treat them with love, compassion, and the spirit of forgiveness. Hence, let us grow up as healthy wheat in God’s field, leaving the weeds for Jesus to take care of. 4) There will be a separation of weeds and wheat, good and bad fish (13:47-50), sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46). But this separation will take place at the end of the world, on God’s timetable not ours. Hence, let us leave the judgment to God. ( L/21

July 12-17 weekday homilies

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July 12-17: July 12 Monday: Mt 10:34–11:1: 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. 37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple–amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.” When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns. USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Jesus declares, “I have not come to bring peace but the sword,” meaning the Messianic ministry will divide family member and the society as a whole between those who accept the ideas and ideals preached and the Master who preaches them, from those who oppose both. Jesus then concludes this great “missionary discourse” with an instruction to the twelve Apostles on the cost and the reward found in the commitment to discipleship. The first half of these sayings of Jesus is about the behavior expected from the apostles and disciples, and the second half is about the behavior of others towards them. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword: Jesus clarifies that Hen Messianic mission offers people lasting, rather than the temporary, worldly peace, of the simple absence of war and freedom from all conflicts in the family and society instead of the transformation of all in that True Peace. Our role is to keep fighting against our evil habits and addictions using the spiritual sword of the word of God which is “lively and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). “Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy ofM….” : What Jesus means is that all loyalties must give place to loyalty to God.  In other words, we cannot condone immoral practices even in members of our family, let alone in ourselves. Jesus is not speaking against the family, but rather reminding us that we are part of the larger family of our fellow-Christians and, hence, we have more responsibilities. We must be ready to lose our lives for Christ: By “losing one’s life” Jesus means that we must stop living for ourselves alone.  Instead, we must spend our lives for others and care for those who are sick and hungry.  We are to give hospitality to strangers in Jesus’ name. (“offering a cup of cold water”): There are four main links in the chain of salvation: i) God who has sent Jesus with His message, ii) Jesus who has preached the “Good News,” iii) the human messenger who preaches Jesus’ message through his words and life, and iv) the believer who welcomes the messengers and then lives out the message. Hence, giving hospitality to a preacher or a believer is the same as welcoming Jesus, the messenger’s Master. The basis of all hospitality is that we all belong to God’s family, and that every person is our brother or sister.

Life message: 1) We need to be hospitable and generous: Hospitality allows us to encounter the presence of God in others, usually in those in whom we least expect to find Him, and to share our love with them. We become fully alive as Christians through the generous giving of ourselves to others. ( L/21

July 13 Tuesday (St. Henry): Mt 11:20-24: 20 Then he began to upbraid the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: Jesus reminds these cities that they deserve God’s punishment because they have forgotten the responsibilities which their numerous meetings with the Messiah in their midst have laid upon them. They should have listened to the Master’s message, put it into practice, and borne witness to the miracles Jesus had worked for them.

 Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum: Nothing is mentioned in any of the Gospels about the “wonders” Jesus worked in these cities. Bethsaida was a fishing village on the west bank of Jordan at the northern end of the lake. Chorazin was a town one hour’s walking distance north of Capernaum. Jesus expresses holy anger and sorrowful pity from a broken heart at the irresponsible disregard and indifference these three ungrateful cities have shown to the Good News. Jesus warns them, “it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for Tyre and Sidon .. [and] the land of Sodom” than for them, because Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom were not fortunate enough to hear Jesus and to receive the opportunitoes for conversion given to Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum.

Life Messages: Privileges always carry responsibilities: 1) We are privileged to have the holy Bible, so we have the responsibility of making use of it. 2) We have the Eucharistic celebration every day in our Churches, so we have the responsibility of participating in it when we are able to do so. 3) We have the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so we have the responsibility of using it to be reconciled with Jesus and his Church. 4) We are blessed with having the Holy Spirit to guide the teaching authority in the Church, so we have the responsibility of studying and following the Church’s directives and teachings. 5) We have Mary, the mother of Jesus, and numerous saints as our role models, so we have the responsibility of following Jesus in their footsteps. ( L/21

July 14 Wednesday (St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin, U. S. A.) : Mt 11: 25-27: 25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; 26 yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. 27 All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: After rebuking the cities which did not respond to his good news message, Jesus praises God his Father for blessing ordinary people with large and sensitive hearts and open  minds who wholeheartedly accepted his message. Unlike the proud intellectuals like the Scribes and the Pharisees, the simple people accepted  the “Good News” he preached. Such people would inherit Heaven rather than the learned and the wise who prided themselves on   their intellectual achievements. Hence, in the first part of today’s Gospel Jesus prays loudly, thanking God his Father and praising Him for revealing Himself to the simple-hearted, thus condemning intellectual pride. A person who is full of self-centeredness fails to perceive supernatural things.

Jesus’ unique claim of God’s perfect reflection: No one really knows the Father except the Son, and him to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27). The second part gives Jesus’ claim that he alone can reveal God to men. It  forms the center of the Christian Faith. John records Jesus’ claim in different words which He spoke at the Last Supper: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). What Jesus says is this: “If you want to see what God is like, if you want to see the mind of God, the heart of God, the nature of God, if you want to see God’s whole attitude to men–look at Me!”

Life message: 1) We need to know and love God better by studying Jesus’ revelation about God his Father. We do this by daily reading the Holy Bible, especially the Gospels, by meditating on the passages read and by applying them to our lives. The more we study the Bible, the more we learn about the Triune God, and especially about Jesus our Savior. This knowledge will help us to love Jesus more, experience Jesus’ presence in our daily lives, see Jesus’  face in everyone around us, and surrender our lives to Jesus by rendering humble service to everyone around us.  ( L/21

July 15 Thursday (St. Bonaventure, Bishop, Doctor of the Church): Mt 11: 28-30: 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: In today’s Gospel, Jesus offers rest to those who labor and are burdened, if they are ready to accept Christ’s easy yoke and light burden. For the Orthodox Jew, religion was a matter of burdens, namely, 613 Mosaic laws and thousands of oral interpretations, which dictated every aspect of life. Christ invites the overburdened Israel, and us, to take Jesus’ yoke upon our shoulders. In Palestine, ox-yokes were made of wood and were carved to fit the ox comfortably. The yoke of Christ can be seen as the sum of our Christian responsibilities and duties. Jesus’ yoke is light because it is given with love. It is the commandment to love others as Jesus did. Besides, the yoke of Christ is not just a yoke from Christ but also a yoke with Jesus. So, we are not yoked alone to pull the plow by our own unaided power. We are yoked together with Christ to work with Christ using Christ’s strength. Jesus is inviting each one of us to be yoked this way , to unite our life, our will, and our heart with the Life, ,Will, and Heart of Christ. By saying that this “yoke is easy,” Jesus means that whatever God sends us is made to fit our needs and our abilities exactly.

The second part of Jesus’ claim is: “My burden is light.”  Jesus does not mean that this burden is easy to carry, but that it is laid on us in love. This burden is meant to be carried in love, and love makes even the heaviest burden light.  By following Jesus, one will find peace, rest, and real refreshment. We are burdened with many things: business, concerns about jobs, marriage, money, health, children, security, old age, and a thousand other things. Jesus is asking us to give all these burdens and take on the yoke offered here.. By telling us, “Take my yoke . . . and you will find rest,” Christ is asking us to do things the Christian way. When we are centered in God, when we follow God’s commandments, we have no heavy burdens.

Life messages:  1) We need to be freed from unnecessary burdens: Jesus is interested in lifting off our backs the burdens that drain us and suck the life out of us, so that Christ can place around our necks Jesus’ own yoke and Jesus’ burden, that bring to us, and to others through us, new life, new energy, and new joy.

2) We need to unload our burdens before the Lord. One of the functions of worship for many of us is that it gives us a time for rest and refreshment, when we let the overheated radiators of our hectic lives cool down before the Lord. This is especially true when we unload the burdens of our sins and worries and evil addictions on the altar and offer them to God during the Holy Mass. (Fr. Kadavil) ( L/21

July 16 Friday (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) : Mt 12: 1-8: Mount Carmel is a mountain in northern Palestine about twenty miles from Nazareth and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, it lies three miles south of Haifa in modern Israel. 1 Kgs 18 describes how the prophet Elijah’s prayer on Mount Carmel for rain was answered and how he defeated the 450 pagan priests of Baal on the same mountain. He challenged them to bring fire from Heaven to burn the sacrificed bulls placed on the altar, and he proved that only Yahweh was the true God. According to the most ancient Carmelite chronicles, the Order had its origins with the disciples of the prophets Elijah and Eliseus on Mount Carmel. They lived very ascetic lives in caves on Mount Carmel honoring the “Holy Virgin” of the Messianic prophecies who would give birth to the promised Messiah. When the Apostles started preaching Jesus, the pious ascetics of Carmel accepted the Christian Faith. In the 13th century, a group of pilgrims who followed the Crusaders was impressed by the lifestyle of the disciples of Elijah. Hence, they set up a religious community on the western slopes of Mount Carmel and started living very ascetic lives. This was the beginning of the modern Carmelite Order, whose members started leading a contemplative life under the patronage of Mary, honoring her as the Mother of God and  Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The people began to call them Friars of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. Pope Honorius III approved the order’s rule in 1232 (or 1236?) . Since the Turks had started conquering Palestine by 1235, the hermits decided to go back to Europe, where they built monasteries in Cyprus, Italy, France, and England. St. Simon Stock, an English Carmelite, became the superior of all the Carmelites in 1247. He helped the order expand and adapt to the times, patterning the order on the Dominicans and Franciscans. The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was instituted first for the Carmelites in 1332 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the approval of the rule of the Carmelite Order. The Order of Discalced Carmelites of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (OCD) resulted from 16th century reforms of the Carmelites by St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, and the order Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) still later in Kerala state of India.  Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Brown scapular: According a popular legend, Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock on July 16, 1251, and gave him the Brown Scapular with the following words: “This will be for you and for all Carmelites the privilege, that he who dies in this will not suffer eternal fire.” Mary promised her protection to all those who would wear the blessed habit and lead a life of prayer and sacrifice. Pope St. Pius X (1903 -1914) declared that that the common people could have the same blessings if they would wear the metallic scapular medal carrying the picture of Our Lady of the Scapular on one side and the Sacred Heart on the other. The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel challenges us both to imitate the simple and ascetic life of the Blessed Virgin Mary with her trusting Faith in God and her humility, and to seek her guidance and maternal protection in our Christian lives. (Fr. Tony) L/21 USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

July 17 Saturday: Mt 12:14-21 14 The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. 15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all, 16 and ordered them not to make him known. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: 18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.  I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.  19 He will not wrangle or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; 20 he will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick, till he brings justice to victory; 21 and in his name will the Gentiles hope.” USCCB video reflections:; Tony ( L/21

The context: The confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees reached its climax with Jesus’ “blasphemous” statement: “The Sabbath is made for man and not man for the Sabbath. The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus realized that there was more work of preaching and healing that needed to be done. So, withdrawing to  a less-known place to avoid a premature arrest, Jesus asked people not to give publicity to their miraculous healings. Further,   Jesus wanted to avoid being labelled a false messiah or revolt-inducer against the Roman empire, allegations  the hostile religious and political leaders of Israel longed to make and substantiate. Matthew interprets this temporary withdrawal of Jesus from the crowd as a fulfilment of Isiah’s Messianic prophecy  about the   “Suffering Servant” (Isaiah 42:1-4).  It teaches the apostles and the people that the Messiah’s role is not using crushing power to subdue people but offering sacrificial service to uplift them. Isaiah 42:1-4 directly refers to the conquering Persian king Cyrus (whom God used as His instrument to discipline His people), but indirectly and in its full meaning, it refers to the promised Messiah, Jesus. The prophecy also teaches that 1) the Messiah will be anointed with God’s Spirit; 2) the Messiah will teach justice to the Gentiles in showing  them how to give to God what is due to Him and to men what is due them; 3) the Messiah will preach gentle and forgiving love; 4) the Messiah will bring God’s healing love of hope and encouragement to the Gentiles,  even though their Faith and witnessing  may be weak as a reed or feeble as a flickering lamp.

Life messages: 1) Let us have the courage of our Christian convictions in the face of opposition to our practice of the Faith. 2) Let us keep hoping in God and trusting in His mercy and justice in the pains and suffering inflicted on us by others. ( L/21

Life messages: 1) Let us have the courage of our Christian convictions in the face of opposition to our practice of the Faith. 2) Let us keep hoping in God and trusting in His mercy and justice in thepains and suffering inflicted on us by others. ( L/21


July 5-10 weekday homilies

July 5-10: July 5 Monday (St. Anthony Zaccaria, Priest) ( ; St. Elizabeth of Portugal (U.S.A.) : Mt 9:18-26: 18 While he was thus speaking to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your  hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment; 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I shall be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.  23 And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players, and the crowd making a tumult, 24 he said, “Depart; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.  26 And the report of this went through all that district. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel is a beautiful presentation of two miracles, a healing and a revival-and-restoration-of-life. These miracles were worked by Jesus as reward for the trusting Faith of a synagogue ruler and of a woman with a hemorrhage. Though the ruler trusted Jesus out of desperation and the woman’s Faith may have been a bit superstitious, even their defective faith was amply rewarded.

The ruler and the woman: The ruler of the synagogue supported Jewish orthodoxy, and he could have despised Jesus who befriended sinners. But he bravely approached Jesus as a last resort when all the doctors had failed, and his daughter was dying. Since the Jews believed that one was not actually dead until three days had passed, when word came that the child had died, the ruler showed courage and Faith in staying with Jesus, ignoring the ridicule of fellow-Jews. In the same way, the woman with the bleeding disease was ritually unclean, and she was not supposed to appear in public. She had the courage and Faith to ignore a social and religious taboo in order to approach and touch the garment of Jesus from behind. Both the ruler’s daughter and the sick woman were brought back to life and to the community.

 Life messages: 1) Jesus accepts us as we are. Hence, we need not wait until we have the correct motive and strong Faith to bring our problems before Jesus. Let us bring our bodily and spiritual wounds to Jesus asking for the Lord’s healing touch.

2) We do our share in Christ’s healing mission by visiting the sick, by praying for their healing, by boosting their morale through our loving presence, words of encouragement, and inspiration. (Fr. Tony) (

July 6 Tuesday (St. Maria Goretti, Virgin, Martyr) : Mt 9: 32-38: 32 As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to him.33 And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” 35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every  disease and every infirmity.  36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;  38 pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel describes the healing of a mute man by an exorcism Jesus performed during one preaching and healing journey. It also mentions the false accusation by Pharisees about Jesus’ exorcism and expresses Jesus’ sympathy for the leaderless people.

Jesus had a double mission, of preaching the Good News of God’s love and salvation and of liberating people from the power of sin, illnesses and evil spirits. The first part of today’s Gospel describes the misinterpretation of Jesus’ liberating mission by the Pharisees when Jesus healed a mute man by exorcism. In the second part, Jesus expresses true compassion for the shepherdless sheep of Israel because their shepherds were more interested in the external observance of the Law and its sacrifices than in giving people God’s words and promoting the practice of love, mercy and justice. That is why Jesus reminds the listeners to pray for genuine shepherds to feed them and lead them.

 Life messages: We need to share Christ’s preaching and liberating mission. Let us remember the words of St. Teresa of Avila: “Now Jesus has no other mouths, eyes, ears, hands and feet than ours.” Jesus places a preaching and healing mission in our care and helps us to continue it. The most effective way of preaching Christ is by leading a transparent Christian life, radiating Jesus’ love, mercy and forgiveness. But we cannot liberate others as long as we are in chains. Hence, let us first receive Jesus’ liberation of us from the chains which bind us. ( L/21

July 7 Wednesday: Mt 10:1-7: 1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and  every infirmity. 2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives a short account of the call and mission of the apostles The first missionary was sent to this world when God the Father dispatched His only-begotten Son, Incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth into Flesh and time with the “Good News” that God is a loving, merciful, and forgiving Father Who wants to save everyone through His Son Jesus. Today’s Gospel describes how this first missionary selects and empowers twelve future missionaries as apostles, sending them to the Jewish towns and villages as heralds, announcing the Good News that God was keeping His promises.

Special features: Jesus selected very ordinary people, most of them hard-working fishermen with no social status, learning, or political influence, because the Master was sure that they would be very effective instruments in God’s hands. It was a strange mixture of people. Matthew was a hated tax collector for a foreign power, while Simon the Cananaean was a Zealot — a fanatical nationalist 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 their admiration and love for Jesus that united them. Jesus selected them after a night of prayer and gave them a share in Divine powers of healing and exorcism with the mission of announcing the coming of preaching the “kingdom of God by “the One Who is to come”

Life messages:  1) As Christians, we have the same mission that Jesus entrusted to the apostles. 2) We fulfill this mission by proclaiming the word of God, primarily by our living out of Jesus’ teachings, and by promoting and helping world-wide missionary activities of the Church with prayer, moral support, and financial aid. (Fr. Tony) (

July 8 Thursday: Mt 10:7-15: 7 And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay. 9 Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, salute it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.  14 And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town USCCB video reflections:;

 The context: Today’s Gospel describes the commissioning of the twelve apostles for the apostolic work of preparing the towns and villages for Jesus’ coming visit to them. Sent out in pairs to preach the coming of the Kingdom of God, repentance, forgiveness of sins, and liberation, they were to follow Jesus’ detailed action-plan and bear witness to Jesus by their simple lifestyle.

Jesus’ instructions and travel tips. By his instructions, it is clear that Jesus meant his 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 apostles should not be like the acquisitive priests of the day, interested only in gaining riches.  They should be walking examples of God’s love and providence. The Jews supported their rabbis, and they judged doing so a privilege as well as an obligation, because hospitality was an important religious tradition in Palestine. The apostles are told they should choose temporary accommodation in a reputable household, should bless the residents with God’s peace, and should be satisfied with the food and accommodation they received, not search for better. They were to preach “’the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,’ heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons.”

Life messages: 1) We, too, have a witnessing mission:   Each Christian is called not only to be a disciple, but also to be an apostle. As apostles, we have to evangelize the world by sharing with others, not just words, or ideas, or doctrines, but our experience of God and His Son, Jesus. It is through our transparent Christian lives that we must 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, the demon of promiscuous sex, the demon of materialism, and the demon of consumerism. We need the help of Jesus to liberate ourselves and others from these things. (Fr. Tony) (

July 9 Friday (St. Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest and companions, Martyrs) : Mt 10:16-23: 16 Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.17 Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Matthew’s Judeo-Christian community had experienced much persecution.  Jesus’ prophetic words, “You will be dragged before governors and kings” and “brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise and have them put to death,” were beginning to be fulfilled. The Apostle James had been martyred by King Herod, and the lives of other apostles were also in danger.  Hence, by repeating Jesus’ warning to the apostles, Matthew encouraged his Judeo-Christians to rely on Jesus’ promise of the protective power of a providing God as they persevered in Faith and its practice.

Persecutions, past and present: Jesus gave his frank warning to the apostles that their lives and their future followers’ lives were not going to be beds of roses. Jesus foretold three types of persecution awaiting Christians: by the Roman government, by the local Jewish synagogues, and by their Jewish or pagan family members. The main accusations against the first-century Christians were that they were cannibals, atheists, and incendiaries, that they practiced immorality during worship services, that they caused their families to split, and that they considered slaves as equals –in an empire with 60 million slaves!

Life messages: 1) Although we have freedom to practice the religion of our choice, the extreme interpretation of the “separation of Church and state” policy eliminates the religious instruction and moral training of children in public schools, allowing youngsters who are not given this training at home to grow up as pagans. 2) The secular media, run by atheists and agnostics, ridicule all religious beliefs and practices, inflicting a type of “white martyrdom” on believers and “brain-washing the unwary and children. 2) Hence, the duty of parents to see that their children receive religious and moral instruction from their parishes and families becomes more important daily. (Fr. Tony) (

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

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

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

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


Independence Day (U. S. A.) July 4, 2021 Homily synopsis

July 4: U. S. Independence Day: Synopsis of Independence Day Homily-2021

  1. This is a day to thank God for the political and religious freedom we enjoy and to pray for God’s special blessings on the rulers and the people of our country.
  2. It is a day to remember with gratitude the founding fathers of our democratic republic, especially, Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, who believed that all power, including political power, came from God and was given to the people who entrusted this power to their elected leaders.
  3. It is a day to remember and pray for all our brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice of their lives to keep this country a safe and a free country, and for those who are now engaged in the fight against terrorism in other countries.
  4. It is day to remember the basic principle underlined in the constitution, that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
  5. It is day to remind ourselves that we have a duty to protect these God-given rights by voting into power leaders who believe in God and who have character, integrity, experience, and strong belief in inalienable human rights.
  6. It is day to pray and fight for the fundamental right to life denied to pre-born children to grow and develop in their mothers’ wombs and to the sick and the elderly to die gracefully without fearing euthanasia.
  7. It is day to pray for and work for liberation for all those who are still slaves in our free country – slaves to evil habits and addictions to nicotine, alcohol, drugs, pornography, promiscuity, and sexual aberrations.
  8. It is a day to take a pledge to become recommitted to doing something about our own growth in Christ, and to living as Americans who contribute something to our religion, Church, country, and the lives of others.
  9. It is a day to remember Whose we are, where we came from, what we stand for, and the sacrifices that thousands of our countrymen have made on our behalf.
  10. It is a day to raise our voice of protest against liberal, agnostic, and atheistic political leaders, media bosses, and activist, liberal judges who deny religious moral education to our young citizens, and to pray for their ongoing conversion, as well as for our own.
  11. It is a day to offer our country and all its citizens on the altar of God, asking for our ongoing conversion and for His special providential care, protection and blessings.

Intercessory prayers

For the people of the United States, that we may be united in building a society in which everyone can have the opportunity to live with dignity and hope, we pray to the Lord. . . .

For the Church, that we may bear witness to Christ’s love by practicing charity and promoting justice and peace throughout the world, we pray to the Lord. . .


For Catholics throughout our nation, that the values of our Faith may guide us as we exercise our responsibility as voters, we pray to the Lord. . . .

For the members of this community, that we may find ways to help build a world of greater respect for human life and human dignity, we pray to the Lord. . .


For those who serve in elected office, that they may lead with courage and wisdom, reflecting the Church’s teaching that the moral test of our society is how the weak, the poor, and the vulnerable are faring, we pray to the Lord. . . .

For all citizens of the United States, that our participation in the upcoming elections may lead to a world of greater respect for life and commitment to justice and peace, we pray to the Lord. . . .

For those who are suffering from poverty and injustice, that our decisions in the elections this year may lead to policies and programs that help them live in dignity, we pray to the Lord. . . .

For parishioners who have been elected to public office, that they may use their offices to protect the unborn and promote the dignity of the poor and vulnerable, we pray to the Lord. . . .

For the earth, that our nation’s leaders will be inspired by God’s Spirit to protect all of His creation, we pray to the Lord. . . .

For workers around the world, especially children who work long hours for little pay, that we might all seek ways to promote fairness, justice, and dignity in their lives, we pray to the Lord. . . .

For leaders around world, that they may seek and find ways to bring an end to war and violence, and promote peace and development for all nations, we pray to the Lord. . . . (L/21)


June 28- July 3 weekday homilies

June 28 – July 3: June 28 Monday (St. Irenaeus, Bishop, Martyr)( : Mt 8:18-22: 18 Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side.  19 And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”  20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” 21 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage explains the cost of Christian discipleship and the total commitment, wholehearted constancy, and sacrificial ministry that the Christian mission requires.

It was quite unexpected for a learned scribe to volunteer to become Jesus’ disciple. But Jesus offered him no false promises, telling him,  “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has not whereon to lay his head.” Jesus was simply being honest about the demands and the cost of a commitment the scribe might make too lightly and an arduous journey he might be undertaking too easily. Being a Christian is not an easy or comfortable affair.  It calls for a lot of self-control and self-denial, putting God before everything else. Jesus’ response to another would-be disciple who asked for more time before becoming a disciple sounds harsh:   “Let the dead bury their dead.” But this man’s father was not dead or sick. The man had simply asked to stay with his father until the father’s death. Jesus knew that later he would find another reason to delay answering the call.

Life messages: 1) We need to honor our commitments: Today, more than ever, people make marriage commitments too easily and then break them.  The problem today is that the couples do not have the courage to make the commitment of marriage. We all know there is a tremendous shortage of priests and religious. Our young people are unwilling to make commitments to God by committing themselves to life-long celibacy, obedience to a Bishop or religious superior or to the vowed life of a religious community. 2) We need to pray for strength to honor our commitments. We are here this morning because, in one way or another, we have said to Jesus, “I will follow You.” Sometimes we have been faithful to Jesus, and other times we have not. Hence, we need to pray for strength to honor our commitments, we need to ask for forgiveness when we fail, and we need to renew our determination to walk with Jesus by being loyal to our spouse and family, earning our living honestly, and living not only peacefully, but lovingly, with our neighbors. Tony ( L/21

June 29 Tuesday (Saints Peter & Paul, Apostles): Saints Peter & Paul the Apostles): Mt 16: 13-19: 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth  shall be loosed in heaven.” USCCB video reflections:;

Peter and Paul are the principal pillars of the Church. Today we celebrate the feast of their martyrdom. Peter was son of Jona and brother of Andrew. He was a professional fisherman from Bethsaida, a fishing town on the Lake of Galilee or Gennesaret. He might have been a follower of John the Baptist. It was his brother, Andrew, who introduced him to Jesus, and Jesus who changed his name from Simon to Cephas or Peter. Jesus made Peter the leader of the apostles. At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus promised to make Peter the head of the Church, and the risen Jesus confirmed Peter’s precedence. It was the Holy Spirit through Whose Presence and Power, Peter’s speech on the day of the Pentecost, inaugurated the active life of the Church. Peter made missionary journeys to Lydda, Joppa and Caesarea He also offered the decisive argument settling the question of Gentile converts and the Jewish Law at the first Council in Jerusalem. He wrote two epistles to the whole Church, and he was martyred in Rome by crucifixion under the emperor Nero.

Paul, the “Apostle to the Gentiles” and the greatest apostolic missionary, was a Roman citizen by birth, as he had been born in the Roman colony of Tarsus. His original name was Saul. As a Pharisee, he was sent to Jerusalem by his parents to study the Mosaic Law under the great rabbi Gamaliel. As a student, he learned the trade of tent-making. He was present at the stoning of Stephen and “consented to” this deed (Acts 8:1). But he was miraculously converted on his way to Damascus to arrest the Christians. He made several missionary journeys, converted hundreds of Jews and Gentiles and established Church communities. Paul wrote 14 epistles. He was arrested and kept in prison for two years in Caesarea and lived under house arrest for two more years in Rome. Finally, he was martyred by beheading at Tre Fontane in Rome.

Life Messages: 1) Just as Peter and the other apostles did, we must open our eyes, ears, and hearts wide to see, hear and experience the Risen Lord coming into our life in various disguises, circumstances, and events, reminding us of our mission to proclaim the Good News in deed and in word. 2) We need to love, obey, and pray for Pope Francis and the bishops and priests who are the successors of Peter and the Apostles as they continue the work of the Risen Lord with and for us. ( L/21

June 30 Wednesday (The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church) ( : Mt 8:28-34 28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way.  29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine.”  32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters.  33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs.  34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel episode demonstrates Jesus’ power over the devil in a Gentile town called Gadara (Matthew) or Gerasa (Mark and Luke) of Decapolis, east of the Jordan. Two (in Mark and Luke, one), possessed men came out of a tomb-filled desolate place. The possessing demons, recognizing Jesus as the Son of God, begged that Jesus send them into a herd of swine. In Mark’s and Luke’s version of the incident, the possessed man’s demons named themselves Legion (6000), indicating their number. Jesus did as the evil spirits requested, the then-possessed swine ran down the slope, and they drowned in the sea. The frightened people of the city asked Jesus to leave their city. The people considered their swine more precious than the possessed men, and the liberation given to these men from evil spirits did not matter to them. If we have a selfish or materialistic outlook, we fail to appreciate the value of Divine things and push God out of our lives, begging Him to go away as these people did.

Life messages: Come out of your tombs: 1) Jesus is calling us to come out of the tombs. Our tombs are the closed-in, sealed-off areas of our hearts where Life in the Spirit of God has died because we have not allowed Jesus to minister to us through others. When we are sealed off from God, we are lonely. We try to satisfy our inner emptiness by filling our lives with money, promiscuity, addictions, or workaholism. 2) Jesus, the liberator, is ready to free us from the tombs of our evil addictions and habits. Let us go to him and receive his love, that we may experience the joy and freedom of the children of God. Tony ( L/21

July 1 Thursday (St. Junipero Serra, Priest (USA) ( : Mt 9:1-8: 1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2 And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”  3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?  5 For which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, `Rise and walk’?  6 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he then said to the paralytic — “Rise, take up your bed  and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Beyond exercising Divine authority over temptation, over the lives of men, over nature, over demons, and over sickness, Jesus, as we see in today’s Gospel demonstrates a new form of authority – the Divine authority to forgive sins. Jesus miraculously restores a paralyzed man to health as a sign of having this Divine authority. The healing episode presents Jesus as God Incarnate was sent to save us, restore us, and make us new. So, we have to look beyond the boundaries of our limited religious experience to appreciate the healing and forgiving operation of our God in newer and newer ways.

Many kinds of sickness, like the paralysis of the man in the story, were seen by the Jews as punishment for the personal sins of the sufferer or of the sufferer’s parents.   It was also a common belief that no sickness could be cured until sin was forgiven. For that reason, Jesus had first to convince the paralyzed man that his sins had been forgiven. Once Jesus had granted the paralytic the forgiveness of God, the man knew that God was no longer his enemy, and he was ready to receive the cure which followed. It was the manner of the cure which scandalized the Scribes.   By forgiving sin Himself, Jesus had, they thought, blasphemed, insulted God, because forgiving sin is the exclusive prerogative of God. This healing demonstrates two facts: that we can never be right physically until we are right spiritually, and that health in body and peace with God go hand in hand.

Life messages: 1) We need God’s forgiveness to live wholesome lives. The heart of the Christian Faith is the “forgiveness of sins.” In the Creed we say, “I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” While we have the power to forgive others, we need to be forgiven ourselves by the One who has the authority to forgive. In Jesus, we see this authority, the same authority He gave to his Church. Today’s Gospel gives us an invitation to open ourselves to God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to hear from the priest’s mouth the words of Jesus to the paralytic being spoken to us: “Your sins are forgiven.”

2) The Gospel also instructs us to forgive others their sins against us and to ask God’s forgiveness for our daily sins every day of our lives. Tony ( L/21

July 2 Friday: 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:;

The context: Today’s Gospel episode of Matthew’s call to be 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 post to invite Matthew to become his disciple. Since tax-collectors worked for a foreign power and extorted more tax money from the people than they owed, the Jewish people hated and despised them as traitors. They were also considered public sinners and ostracized by the Pharisees.   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 promised 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. Jesus’ dining with outcasts in the house of a “traitor” scandalized the Pharisees, for whom ritual purity and table fellowship were important religious practices. Hence, they asked the disciples, “Why does your Master eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  Answering that question and stressing Jesus’ ministry as healer, the Master said, “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.’”  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 Matthew 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 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 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 preach Christ through our lives by reaching out to the unwanted and the marginalized in society with Christ’s love, mercy and compassion. Tony ( L/21

July 3 Saturday (St. Thomas, Apostle) ( : Friday Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle: Jn 20:24-29: 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came  and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21….USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today we celebrate the feast of St. Thomas, the Apostle. Today’s Gospel passage (Jn 20:24-29) presents the fearless apostle St. Thomas, in his uncompromising honesty, demanding a personal vision of, and physical contact with, the risen Jesus as a condition for his belief.   Thomas had not been with the disciples when Jesus first appeared to them in the Upper Room. As a result, he refused to believe. The following week, Jesus appeared to the apostles and Thomas in the still-locked Upper Room and said: “Blessed are those who have not seen but have believed.”  Thomas was able to overcome his doubts by seeing the risen Jesus.

The unique profession of Faith: Thomas, the “doubting apostle,” made the great profession of Faith, “My Lord and My God.” This declaration by the “doubting apostle” in today’s Gospel is highly significant for two reasons. 1) It is the foundation of our Christian Faith.  Our Faith is based on the Divinity of Jesus as demonstrated by Divine miracles, especially by the supreme miracle of the Resurrection from the dead.  Thomas’ profession of Faith is the strongest evidence we have for the Resurrection of Jesus.  2) Thomas’ Faith culminated in his self-surrender to Jesus, his heroic missionary expedition to India in A.D. 52, his fearless preaching, and the powerful testimony given by his martyrdom in A.D. 72.

Life messages: 1) Faith culminating in self-surrender to God leads us to the service of our fellow-human beings.   Living Faith enables us to see the risen Lord in everyone and gives us the willingness to render each one loving service: “Faith without good works is dead” (Jas 2:17). Mother Teresa presents it this way: “If we pray, we will believe; if we believe, we will love; if we love, we will serve. Only then we put our love of God into action.”   It was his Faith in the Lord and obedience to Jesus’ missionary command that prompted St. Thomas to travel to India to preach the Gospel among the Hindus, to establish seven Christian communities (known later as “St. Thomas Christians”), and eventually to endure martyrdom. 2) We need to grow in the living and dynamic Faith of St. Thomas using the following means prescribed by the Spiritual Fathers: a) We come to know and experience Jesus personally and intimately by the daily and meditative reading of the Bible.  b) We strengthen our Faith by the power of the Holy Spirit through personal and community prayer.  c) We share in the Divine Life of Jesus by frequenting the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. d) We are reconciled with God on a daily basis by repenting of our sins and asking God’s forgiveness and by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation whenever we fall into a grave sin.  Tony ( L/21


June 21-26 weekday homilies

June 21-26: June 21 Monday (St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious)( : Mt 7:1-5: Judge not, that you be not judged.  2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.  3 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?  4 Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  5 You hypocrite first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: In today’s passage, taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus condemns our careless, malicious, and rash judgments about others’ feelings, motives, behavior or actions.

Reasons why we should not judge others:  1) No one, except God, is good enough, and only He has the right and authority, to judge us, because only He sees the whole truth and only He can read the human heart. 2) We do not see all the facts or circumstances, nor the power of the temptation, behind a person’s evil deed. 3) We have no right to judge others because we have the same faults as the ones we are judging and often in a higher degree (remember Jesus’ funny example of a man with a wooden beam in his eye trying to remove the dust particle from another’s eye?) St. Philip Neri commented, watching the misbehavior of a drunkard: “There goes Philip but for the grace of God.”  4) We are often prejudiced in our judgment of others, and total fairness cannot be expected from us.

 Life messages: 1) Let us leave the judgment to God and refrain from being critical and judgmental. 2) Let us remember the advice of saints: “When you point one finger of accusation at another, three of your fingers point at you. Let us heed the Jewish rabbi’s advice: “He who judges others favorably will be judged favorably by God.” ( L/21

June 22 Tuesday (St. Paulinus of Nola, Bishop; St. John Fisher, Bishop & St. Thomas More, Martyrs)(;; ; Mt 7: 6, 12-14: Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. 12 So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. 13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage, taken from the Sermon on the Mount, speaks about the proper use of holy things, the Golden Rule we have to obey, and the less-traveled narrow way we have to take in our Christian lives.

1) Jesus advises his listeners to use holy things in a holy manner.  The Jews had a statement in their Scriptures (“Do not put a golden ring in the nose of a pig or on the ears of a dog” Prv 11:22), parallel to Jesus’ statement, “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine”(Mt 7:12) The Jews understood the injunction to mean the exclusiveness of their religion, which meant that they should not teach the Law to the Gentiles.  The early Church interpreted Jesus’ statement in its earliest catechism, the Didache, to mean that only the baptized should approach the Eucharistic table.  This view is reflected in the canons of the Oriental Churches, introducing a command in the text of the Mass before Eucharistic prayer, “Let the catechumens, hearers and unbelievers quit,” and a serious warning before Holy Communion, “Holy things are for holy people.”  2) The statement of the Golden Rule, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them(Mt 7:12), is Jesus’ positive contribution to ancient and negative Jewish principles, meaning that real Christianity consists in doing good to others by loving service and works of mercy.

3) Enter by the narrow gate: Supplementing the instructions given by Moses (Dt 30:15-20), Joshua (Dt 24:15), and Jeremiah (21:8), Jesus challenges his followers to “enter by the narrow gate and take the hard way that leads to life.”

Life message: 1) Let us learn to reverence and respect holy things in a holy manner. 2) Let us do to others what we wish them to do to us. 3) Let us choose Jesus’ narrow way of sacrificial love and humble service. ( L/21

June 23 Wednesday: Mt 7:15-20: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?  17 So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit.  18 A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  20 Thus you will know them by their fruits. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: In today’s Gospel passage, taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives his Church a warning against false prophets and their false doctrines. Jesus compares them to wolves in sheep’s clothing and tells us we can recognize them by observing the lives they lead and the doctrines they teach.

False and true prophets: The Old Testament speaks of false prophets and how they mislead God’s people. Jeremiah 23:9-40 is a classic example. The prophet condemns the false prophets of Baal. The Old Testament gives three signs of true prophets: a) they honor God and promote the worship of the one true God; b) they care for the poor; c) they fight for justice. Modern false prophets in the Church try to remove the cross from Christianity, dilute sin, and avoid teaching about God’s judgment while teaching that morality is relative, which God abhors: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who change darkness into light and light into darkness(Is 5:20). They try to separate the people of God from the Magisterium of the Church. But modern true prophets lead exemplary and righteous lives, obey God’s laws and the Church laws and demonstrate the virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance. In addition, they produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). The pre -Vatican II Baltimore Catechism expanded this passage from Galatians to Twelve Fruits: “Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity [Kindness], Goodness, Long-suffering [Patience] Mildness [Gentleness], Modesty, Continency, Chastity [three effects of Self-Control].

Life message: 1) As Christians, we participate in the prophetic role of Christ. Hence, we have the duty of leading others to Christ by our exemplary Christian lives. ( L/21

June 24 Thursday (The Nativity of St. John the Baptist) Luke 1:57-66: 57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. 58 And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel describes the birth and naming of St. John the Baptist, the last Old Testament prophet.  He was given the mission of heralding the promised Messiah and of preparing the Chosen People to welcome that Messiah by preaching to them repentance and the renewal of life.  John was born to the priest, Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth in their old age.  Today’s Gospel passage describes John’s birth, Circumcision and Naming ceremony.

A miraculous birth and an event of double joy: His elderly parents rejoiced in John’s birth, as he was a gift from God in their old age.  Since the child was a boy, all their neighbors rejoiced with them, and the village musicians celebrated the birth by playing their joyful music.  The Naming followed the baby’s Circumcision, and Elizabeth insisted that the child should be named John (which means “the Lord is gracious”), the name given him by the Archangel Gabriel when he spoke to Zechariah.  The mute Zechariah approved that name by writing, “His name is John.” At that action of obedient surrender to the Lord God, the priest’s speech was restored, and he loudly proclaimed the praises of God for blessing him with a son and Israel with her Deliverer, Whose herald his son would be.

Life messages:  1) We need to pray for our parents and be thankful to them for the gift of life, the training and discipline they have given us, and the love and affection they have lavished on us.  Let us ask God’s pardon if we are, or were, ungrateful to them, do/did not take proper care of them in their illness or old age or ever inflicted pain on them.  2) We need to remember and pray for our godparents who sponsored us in Baptism, which made us children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, heirs of Heaven and members of the Church.  3) We should have the courage of our Christian convictions as John the Baptist did, and we should become heralds of Christ as John was, by our transparent Christian lives. Tony ( L/21

June 25 Friday: Mt 8: 1-4: 1 When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; 2 and behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”  3 And he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel describes Jesus healing a leper as soon as he had finished his Sermon on the Mount and come down the mountain.  In those days, all skin diseases were considered leprosy, and leprosy was known to be highly contagious.  Hence “lepers” were separated from their families and society and considered ritually unclean.  In addition, they were treated as sinners who had been punished by God with a contagious disease.  The punishment given to Miriam, the complaining sister of Moses (Nm 12:9-10), to Gehazi the greedy servant of the prophet Elisha (II Kgs 5: 27) and to the proud king Uzziah (Chr 26:19) supported this Jewish belief.  As a general rule, when a Jewish leper was healed (from any of the skin diseases considered as leprosy), he had to go to the local priest to have him confirm that the healed one was now clean and was permitted to mix with the general public.

Jesus rewards the trusting Faith of a humble leper: It is such a leper who has the courage to approach Jesus in public with trusting Faith in Jesus’ power to heal him.  In all humility he kneels down and says to Jesus, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”  Jesus violates the social taboo against touching a leper, and He heals the leper by a single command, “I will; be clean.”

Life message: 1) We all need healing from our spiritual leprosy.  Although we may not suffer from physical leprosy, we all suffer from the “spiritual leprosy” of sins.  It is sin that we carry with us that keeps us unclean.  Jesus, our Savior, wants to heal us.  Since Jesus is not afraid to touch our deepest impurities, and knows all of them better than we do, let us not try to hide them, nor fear to confess them in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Just as the lepers cried out to Jesus for healing, let us also ask Jesus to heal us every night before we go to sleep from the spiritual leprosy of sins, and let us approach Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation whenever we are in grave sin.  ( L/21

June 26 Saturday: Mt 8: 5-17: 5 As he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion answered him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I am a man 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.” 10 When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.  14 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever; 15 he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and served him. 16 That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.  17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.” 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 brave, reliable commanding captains in charge of 100 soldiers. They were used to giving and receiving commands.  They were the backbone of Roman army.  According to Luke’s account (Lk 7:1-10), this centurion loved the Jews and respected their religious customs. He knew that Jews incurred ritual uncleanness on entering the house of a pagan, and he wanted to prevent this from happening by requesting Jesus not to go to his pagan house. Further, the Centurion 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 just to shout a command as he did with his soldiers, so that the illness might leave his servant by the power of that order.  Jesus was moved by, and so rewarded, the trusting Faith of this Gentile officer by telling him: “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.” 

Life messages: 1) We need to grow to the level of Faith of the centurion by knowing and personally experiencing Jesus in our lives.  2) We do so by our meditative daily reading of the Bible, our daily personal and family prayers, our frequenting of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharistic celebration, and by surrendering our lives to Jesus in rendering loving service to others in all humility. ( L/21


June 14-19 weekday homilies

Visit for missed homilies. June 14-19: June 14 Monday: Mt 5:38-42: “You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; 40 and if anyone would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; 41 and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: During their captivity in Egypt, the Jews became familiar with the crude tribal law of retaliation called Lex Talionis (=Tit-for-Tat) given by the ancient lawmaker Hammurabi during the period 2285-2242 BC. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus rejects even the concession of milder retaliation allowed by Moses. In its place, Jesus gives a new law of love and grace — and no retaliation.

“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Moses instructed the Israelites to follow tit-for-tat retaliation, rather than to wreak total destruction upon their enemies. That is, instead of mutilating or murdering all the members of the offender’s family or tribe, they should discover, then punish by an equal mutilation or harm, only the offender. Later, a milder version of this law was substituted. It demanded monetary compensation, as decided by a judge, in place of physical punishment. Moses also gave the Israelites several laws commanding merciful treatment for the enemy if he also was a Jew (e.g., Lv 19:18).

The true Christian reaction: For Jesus, retaliation, or even limited vengeance, has no place in the Christian life. Jesus illustrates the Christian approach by giving three examples:

  1. Turn to him the other cheek:  Striking someone on the right cheek (with the right hand), requires striking with the back of one’s hand, and, according to Jewish concepts, the blow inflicts more insult than pain. Jesus instructs his followers to forgive the insult gracefully and convert the offender. 2) “Let him have your cloak as well.” Jesus instructs his followers that they should show more responsibility and a greater sense of duty than to fight over possessions. 3) Go with him two miles. A Christian has the duty of responding, even to seemingly unjust demands by helping or serving gracefully not grudgingly. Tony ( L/21

June 15 Tuesday: Mt 5:43-48: “You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage is perhaps the central and the most famous section of the Sermon on the Mount.  It gives us the Christian ethic of personal relationship: love one’s neighbors and forgive one’s enemies. Above all, it tells us that what makes Christians different is the grace with which they interact with others, treating them with loving kindness and mercy, especially when those others seemingly don’t deserve it. The Old Law never said to hate enemies, but that was the way some Jews understood it.  Jesus commands that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us in order to demonstrate that we are children of a merciful Heavenly Father. From the cross, Jesus prayed for Mercy to God His Father for all of those who were responsible for the Crucifixion – which includes all fallen humankind, and so ourselves — saying, ‘Father forgive them; they know not what they do.’” (Lk 23:34). A Christian has no personal enemies.  If we only love our friends, we are no different from pagans or atheists.

We need to love our neighbors and our enemies, too: The Greek word used for loving enemies is not storge (affection or natural love towards family members), or philia = friendship (love of close friends), or eros (=romance) (passionate love between a young man and woman), but agápe =unconditional love which is the invincible benevolence, or good will, for another’s highest good. Since agápe, or unconditional love, is not natural, practicing it is possible only with God’s help. Agápe love is a choice more than a feeling. We choose to love them because Jesus loved them enough to die for them, and they, too, are the children of our God.  We have in the Acts of the Apostles the example of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, who, like Jesus on the cross, prayed for those who were putting him to death.

Life Messages: We are to try to be perfect, to be like God:  1) We become perfect when we fulfill God’s purpose in creating us: with His help, to become God-like. 2) We become perfect when, with His ongoing help, we try to love as God loves, to forgive as God forgives and to show unconditional good will and universal benevolence as God does. Fr. Tony ( L/21

June 16 Wednesday: Mt 6:1-6, 16-18: “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 16 “And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: In today’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes three cardinal works of religious life in Judaism, namely, almsgiving, fasting, and prayer, and instructs the apostles, the crowd of disciples, and us on the principles underlying these acts of personal piety.

Life Messages: 1) Almsgiving becomes a noble and meritorious religious act when we give to bring glory to God. a) We are to help the poor as an expression of our sharing love, in thanksgiving for the blessings we have received from God. b) But Almsgiving becomes an act of self-glorification when we do it as the Pharisees did, to demonstrate our generosity in public and to get popular acclaim.

2) Fasting becomes a noble act pleasing to God when we do it: a) to experience what the real hunger of the poor is, b) to help the poor better by giving the price of what we do not eat to feed them, c) to discipline ourselves in eating and drinking and d) to appreciate better God’s blessings of good health, good appetite and generous provisions. e) Fasting for show, as the Pharisees did, is wrong and sinful.

3) Prayer: Prayer is opening our connection to God by talking to Him and listening to Him, convinced of His all-pervading holy presence within us and all around us. a) By prayer we acknowledge our total dependence on God, draw from Him our daily spiritual strength and recharge our spiritual batteries from God’s infinite power. b) Long, noisy, repetitious prayer performed in public for show as the Pharisees did is no prayer at all. It is hypocrisy. Tony ( L/21

June 17 Thursday: Mt 6: 7-15: 7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their 10many words. 8 “So do not be like them; for 11your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. 9 “12Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 ’13Your kingdom come. 14Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 ’15Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And 16forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but 17deliver us from 18evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] 14 “19For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But 20if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: In today’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs the crowd that they should not pray like the Gentiles, repeating empty phrases. He means that true prayer is not so much a matter of the number of words as of the frequency and the love with which the Christian turns towards God, raising his or her mind to God. So, Jesus teaches them a model prayer.  Jesus’ prayer, “Our Father,” consists of two parts. In the first part, we praise and worship God, addressing Him as our loving, caring, and providing Heavenly Father and promising Him that we will do His holy will in our lives, thus remaining in His kingdom. In the second part, we present our petitions before the Triune God. First, we ask God for our present needs, food clothing and shelter, (“give us this day our daily bread”), then for our past needs, especially for forgiveness of our sins (“forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”), and finally, for our future needs, protection against the tempter and his temptations (“and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”). In this part, we also bring the Trinitarian God into our lives. We bring in: 1) God the Father, the Provider, by asking for daily bread; 2) God the Son, our Savior, by asking forgiveness for our sins; and 3) God the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, Who is our Guide, Advocate, Comforter and Illuminator, by asking for protection and deliverance from evil. Special stress on the spirit of forgiveness: We are told to ask for forgiveness from others for our offenses against them, and to offer unconditional forgiveness to others for their offenses against us as a condition for receiving God’s forgiveness. Jesus further clarifies, “If you forgive others their wrongs, your Father in Heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you either” (Mt 6:14-15).

“For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, now and forever. Amen.” The manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew do not contain this phrase, nor do any of the Catholic translations. Martin Luther added this doxology to Our Father in his translation of Matthew’s Gospel, and the King James editions of the Bible keep it.  The doxology is actually taken from the Divine Liturgy or Catholic Mass.  Known as the final doxology, it takes up the first three petitions to our Father. By the final “Amen,” which means, “So be it”, we ratify what is contained in the prayer that God has taught us. Tony ( L/21

June 18 Friday: Mt 6:19-23: 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage from the Sermon on the Mount instructs us to amass secure and lasting treasures in Heaven by a life of righteousness on earth, doing the will of God and sharing our blessings with the needy. Jesus uses two metaphors, one explaining the folly of keeping perishable treasures on earth and the other of loving the darkness caused by pride and prejudice.

The image of earthly & heavenly treasures: Man’s heart yearns for a treasure which will give him security and lasting happiness. But treasure in the form of riches very often gives him constant worry because riches can be lost, destroyed or stolen, or his life may be terminated abruptly.   The only treasure which will last beyond this life is treasure stored in Heaven. Obtaining and keeping such a treasure is possible only by lovingly and sacrificially sharing God’s blessings with others and leading an upright life doing the will of God with His grace.

The image of sound eye and clear vision:  Jesus compares the human eye to a lamp which provides the body with light. St. Thomas Aquinas in his commentary on Mathew gives the following explanation: “The eye refers to motive.  When a person wants to do something, he first forms an intention: thus, if your intention is sound – simple and clear—that is to say, if it is directed towards God, your whole body (that is, all your actions), will be sound, sincerely directed towards good.” Bad eyesight is also a Biblical metaphor for stupidity and spiritual blindness. Such blindness is caused by pride, prejudice, jealousy, hatred, etc., which would destroy our fair judgment.

Life message: 1) Let us spend our lives here on earth doing good for others without being blinded by pride and prejudice. In this way, we will store up everlasting treasures in Heaven. Tony ( L/21

June 19 Saturday: Mt 6. 24-34: the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon. 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more  value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O  men of little  faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. ! USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount instructs us to serve God alone as our Master and to avoid worries and anxiety by placing our trusting Faith in the providence and care of a loving God and by living one day at a time in God’s presence, doing His will and praying for and deriving strength from Him.

Impossibility of serving two opposing masters:  Man’s ultimate goal and Master is God and not material possessions. We cannot serve both at the same time. Material possessions should not replace God and become gods.  They are given to us to be used as means to reach our ultimate goal, especially by sharing them with the needy.

Jesus’ arguments against unnecessary worries: 1) Unnecessary worries and anxiety cause spiritual, physical, and mental damages. a) Worries and anxiety cause the spiritual disease of sin by not trusting in the goodness and providential care of a loving heavenly Father as the pagans and atheists do. b) They cause physical diseases like hypertension, heart problems, respiratory diseases, insomnia, and rheumatic diseases. c) They cause  mental diseases like depression, phobias, obsessive- compulsive disorders and so many others.  2) In nature, other creatures (like birds), work hard for their daily food, but they do not worry about tomorrow’s food. 3) Worry is useless because we cannot increase even an inch of our height or a day o four lives by hours of worrying.

Life Messages: How to avoid worry: 1) Trust in the providence of a loving God. 2) Acquire the art of living one day at a time without worrying over the dead past, the living present or the unknown future. 3) Seek God’s kingdom by doing His will every day and live a righteous life obeying God’s law. Tony ( L/21


May 31- June 5, 2021 weekday homilies

May 31- June 5: May 3 Monday: Visitation of Blessed Virgin Mary Lk 1:39-56: Visitation: 39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, …45USCCB video reflections:;

The context: The mystery of the Incarnation comes to ordinary people living ordinary lives, who have the willingness to respond to God’s call and the openness and generosity to do God’s will. Luke, in today’s Gospel, tells us how two seemingly insignificant women met to celebrate the kindness and fidelity of God.    In the Gospel, one definition of discipleship is to listen to God’s word and then carry it out. Mary did both, to become the most perfect disciple.   The incident also shows us how sensitive Mary was to the needs of Elizabeth, her older cousin, who had miraculously become pregnant in her old age.

Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. There is a saying, “He (she) who is on fire cannot sit on a chair.”  Mary, carrying Jesus and filled with the fire and empowering of the Holy Spirit, hurried to the mountain country where Elizabeth lived, thereby conveying the Holy Spirit to her cousin and her child.  Like all good Jews, Mary was prompted in everything she did by her commitment to God’s word in her life.

The paradox of blessedness.  Blessedness confers on a person both the greatest joy and the greatest task in the world.  Nowhere can we see the paradox better illustrated than in Mary’s life.   Mary was granted the blessedness and privilege of being the mother of the Son of God.  Yet, that very blessedness was to be a sword to pierce her heart:  one day she would see her Son hanging on a cross.  So, to be chosen by God is often both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow.  God does not choose us to give us a life of ease and comfort, but in order to use us for His purposes.

Life messages:   1) We should recognize the real presence of Emmanuel (God Is with Us) and say “yes” to Him:  The Visitation of Mary reminds us that, through his holy ministry, Christ continues to be present among his people.  Let us recognize and appreciate the truth that the same Christ “dwells among us” in the Bible, in the Sacraments, in the praying community, and in our souls. 2) We should convey Jesus to others as Mary did to Elizabeth.  We can make a real difference in the lives of others today by carrying Jesus to them.   For that, we must be filled with the spirit of Christ, allowing his rebirth within us.  Then Jesus will enable us to share his love with all whom we encounter, by offering them humble and committed service, unconditional forgiveness, and compassionate caring Tony ( L/21

  •  Memorial Day (in the U.S.)

    Memorial Day is a United States Federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 25th in 2020), honoring those who gave their lives in the Armed Services. Formerly it was known as Decoration Day from the custom of decorating the tombs and gravesites of thousands of men who died in the Civil War and of one’s own family members.  Today we remember with pride and gratitude all the U.S. men and women who died while in the military service.

  • Memorial Day was first established to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War.  Later, after World War I, it was expanded to include American casualties of any war or military action. Many people observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m., Eastern Time. Another tradition is to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers often place American flags on each gravesite at National Cemeteries. Many Americans also use Memorial Day to honor other people who have died after fighting their life’s battle and gone for their eternal reward. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (II Timothy 4: 7).
  • Memorial Day is a day to remember the promises made and kept by our national heroes. They promised to keep the unity and integrity of our nation and freedom of other nations. They kept their promise by their blood. They believed in Jesus who praised the willingness to lay down one’s life for others as the quintessence of true love: “No one has greater love than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
  • Every Holy Mass is a Memorial Day Mass because  at consecration, the priest repeats Jesus’ command, “Do this in memory of me” (1 Cor 11:24), remembering the sacrifice he did for us. So, at this Holy Mass, we pay tribute to all those who fought in the wars of this country & gave their lives for the freedom of friends they would never meet and pray for the eternal repose of their souls. We also believe in Jesus ‘promise at the tomb of Lazarus: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will live even though he dies” We pray that Jesus may grant eternal rest and heavenly reward for all our fallen heroes. But we don’t just memorialize & remember, we also hope and pray for a better world where no human sacrifice need be made for the fundamental dignity that God wishes for all of us. (Fr. Tony) L/20

June 1 Tuesday: St. Justin, Martyr: Mk 12: 13-17: 13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to entrap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15 …17 USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus ingeniously escaped from a trap set for him by the Pharisees. The tax issue: The Jews were forced to pay three separate taxes to the Roman emperor: the ground tax, the income tax and the census tax. Here, the question concerned the census tax.  If Jesus said that it was unlawful to pay the tax, the pro-Rome Herodians and their allies would report him to the Roman officials who would then arrest him as a revolutionary.  If Jesus said that it was lawful to pay the tax, the insurgents and their supporters would turn against him, and he would be discredited in the eyes of the people who were against paying taxes to a pagan emperor on religious grounds.

The defense goes on the offensive. Jesus defeated their scheme by asking his challengers to show him “the coin of tribute” – the coin they would give to the tax-gatherer. Rather than answering their question directly, Jesus asked them a question, thus turning their trap inside out and upside down: “Whose image [eikon in Greek] and inscription are these?” “Caesar’s,” they said.  Jesus then said, “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar — and to God what belongs to God.”  In other words, we give to the emperor the coin because his image is on it, and we give to God our own selves because we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). By this answer Jesus reminds his questioners that if they are so concerned and careful about paying taxes to the state, they should be much more concerned and careful about their direct service of, and obligations to, God, their Creator and Lord.

Life messages: The episode teaches us the nature of our obligations to God and to our country, and it shows us how, with God’s help, we can be ideal citizens of both earth and Heaven. 1) Since everything is God’s, we must give ourselves to Him 100%, not just 10% on Sundays.  2) We should be generous in fulfilling our Sunday obligations and find time every day for prayer and worship in the family, for the reading of the Bible and the proper training of our children in Faith and morals. 3) As citizens of a country, it is the duty of Christians to pay for the services and the privileges that government provides, like paved roads, police and fire departments, banks and other necessities. 4) Another way of giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s is to participate actively in the running of the government, electing the most suitable candidates and influencing them through frequent contacts. Tony ( L/21

June 2 Wednesday: Saints Marcellinus and Peter: Mark 12:18-27: USCCB video reflections:; The context: Jesus reached Jerusalem for his final Passover feast. As part of a well-planned plot to trap Jesus, the chief priests, the scribes and the Pharisees met him with controversial questions. When Jesus ingeniously escaped from the first two traps, the Sadducees asked a question concerning the marital state after the resurrection. The challenge to Jesus was clear: do you believe in the written Torah which is silent on the resurrection or do you side with the Pharisees, accepting their belief in the resurrection, based on oral traditions and interpretations, and thus subjecting Moses to ridicule?

The trap: Sadducees did not believe in resurrection of the dead because they claimed that Moses wrote nothing about it. Hence, in their hypothetical question (which strongly recalls the Book of Tobit and the plight of Sarah the woman Tobias later married — seven times widowed and still childless), they asked Jesus to tell them who, in Heaven, would be the husband of the woman who, widowed and childless, had then been married, in succession, to her six brothers–in-law (levires), and had finally died childless.

Jesus goes on the offensive as defense: First, Jesus provided positive Biblical proof for the reality of resurrected existence. Jesus is presuming that Yahweh’s burning bush statement about being the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was in the present tense. This would prove these three patriarchs were still alive at the time of Moses, 600 years after their deaths. Thus, Jesus uses the Sadducees’ sacred text of the Torah to refute their anti-resurrection belief. Since God declared Himself to be God of the patriarchs, He must somehow still be sustaining the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, thereby granting them resurrection and eternal life. Thus, Jesus proved the resurrection of the body from the Torah itself. Second, Jesus explained that the afterlife would not be just an eternal replay of this life. Things would be different after death. Normal human relations, including marriage, would be transformed. Then Jesus told the Sadducees that those to whom God granted resurrection and Heavenly life with Him would be immortal, like the angels and, hence, “children of God.”

Life messages: 1) We need to live the lives of resurrection people:  That is, we are not to lie buried in the tomb of our sins and evil habits. Instead, we are to live joyful and peaceful lives, constantly experiencing the real presence of the Risen Lord Who gives us the assurance that our bodies also will be raised. 2)  The salutary thought of our own resurrection and eternal glory should also inspire us to honor our bodies, keeping them holy, pure and free from evil habits and to respect those with whom we come in contact, rendering them loving and humble service. Tony ( L/21

June 3 Thursday: St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs: Mk 12:28-34: Another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?”  29 Jesus answered, “The first is, `Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he; 33 34 … USCCB reflections:;

The context: A scribe who believed in both the written Law and the oral tradition was pleased to see how Jesus had defeated the Sadducee who had tried to humiliate him with the hypothetical case of a woman who had married and been widowed by seven husbands in succession.  Out of admiration, the scribe challenged Jesus to summarize the most important of the Mosaic Laws in one sentence.  In the Judaism of Jesus’ day, there was a double tendency: to expand the Mosaic Law into hundreds of rules and regulations and to condense the 613 precepts of the Torah into a single sentence or few sentences.

Jesus’ novel contribution: Jesus gave a straightforward answer, quoting directly from the Law itself and startling all with his profound simplicity and mastery of the Law of God and its purpose.  He combined the first sentence of the Jewish Shema prayer from 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” with its complementary law from Leviticus 19:18: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Thus, Jesus proclaims that true religion is to love God both directly and as living in our neighbor.  Jesus underlines the principle that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves because both of us bear God’s image. For, to honor God’s image is to honor both Him Who made it and Him Whom it resembles. Besides, our neighbors, too, are the children of God our Father, redeemed by the Blood of Jesus.  Love for our neighbor is a matter, not of feelings, but of deeds by which we share with others the unmerited love that God lavishes on us.  This is the agape love for neighbor that God commands in His Law. Jesus then uses the parable of the Good Samaritan, as reported in Luke’s Gospel, to show them what God means by “neighbor.”

Life Messages: 1) We need to love God whole-heartedly: Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, means that we should place God’s will ahead of our own, seek the Lord’s will in all things, and make it paramount in our lives. It also means that we must find time to adore Him, to present our needs before Him, and to ask His pardon and forgiveness for our sins. 2) God’s will is that we should love everyone, seeing Him in our neighbor.  This means we have to help, support, encourage, forgive, and pray for everyone without regard to color, race, gender, age wealth, social status, intelligence, education or charm. Fr. Tony ( L/21

June 4 Friday: Mark 12: 35-37: 35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declared, `The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet.’ 37 David himself calls him Lord; so how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly. USCCB reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus catches the Pharisees in their own rabbinic reasoning by quoting David’s Psalm 110 in which the psalmist has David call the Messiah his “Lord.”

How can Christ be the son of David and his Lord? Based on Samuel 7:13 (“I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever”), the Jews believed that the Messiah would be a descendent of King David. Since children were supposed to be less than their father, especially if the father was somebody like the great King David, Jesus asks the scholars, “How is it possible that David would call his descendant “Lord?”  In other words, how could King David proclaim that his future heir would be both Messiah (Christ), and his Lord? How is the Messiah, the Son of David, greater than David?

The answer: Jesus was known as being of the line of King David. Joseph was of the house of David. So, too, probably, was Mary because people often married within their own tribe. Hence, Jesus was son of David by the flesh, but Lord of David by his divinity, just as Jesus is both son of Mary and Son of God, her Lord. That is why at the Annunciation, Mary received this message: “And the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:32-33). Paul notes that Jesus is, “His Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power” (Rom 1:3-4).

Life messages: 1) We need to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior in our daily lives. How? a) We have to invite him to be the king of our heart and the ruler of our thoughts, relationships, and actions. b) Then we should give Jesus free rein in every area of our lives. c) Finally, we should surrender our lives to him serving others humbly, lovingly and selflessly. Fr. Tony ( L/21

June 5 Saturday: St. Boniface, Bishop, Martyr: Mk 12:38-44: 28 In the course of His teaching, Jesus said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes … 44 her whole livelihood). USCCB reflections:;

Jesus here confronts the Temple authorities and challenges the abuses in the “organized religion” of his time. After engaging in debate with the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Scribes, and the Herodians, Jesus contrasts the external signs of honor sought by the scribes with the humble, sacrificial offering of a poor widow and declares that she has found true honor in God’s eyes because of her total commitment to God’s service with a humble and generous heart.

The attack on pride and hypocrisy: The scribes of Jesus’ day were experts in the Law of Moses, scholars to whom people turned for a proper understanding of God’s will as revealed in Scripture. But in today’s Gospel, Jesus moves from the scribes’ erroneous theology to their bankrupt ethics, reflected in their craving for pre-eminence both in the synagogues and in the market places and banquet halls. The scribes considered that the respect given to them by the common people in public places was their right because of their learning in the Law, and this made them arrogant and proud. So Jesus publicly criticizes their behavior as a ceaseless grasping for honor. Jesus also accuses the scribes of offering long prayers to God as a means of asserting their superior piety. Jesus denounces the shameless profiteering of the scribes at the expense of widows. They often acted as trustees for the estates of wealthy widows and diverted the Temple fund intended for the support of poor widows to buy expensive robes and temple decorations.

The widow’s mite: While watching how rich people put their offerings for the support of Temple worship and the poor in the Court of Women, Jesus publicly expressed his admiration for a poor widow who put in her tiny gift of two leptons as her offering. While the rich put in much, and the moderately well-off put in a decent amount, this poor widow offered to God everything she had. In other words, she gave herself totally into God’s hands with the sure conviction that He would give her the support she needed.

Life messages: 1) We need to appreciate, support and encourage the widows of our parish because they are often active participants in all the liturgical celebrations and parish organizations, and volunteers in visiting and serving the sick and the shut-ins. 2) While we judge people by what they possess, Jesus measures us on the basis of our inner motives and the intentions hidden behind our actions. He evaluates us on the basis of the sacrifices we make for others and on the degree of our surrender to His holy will, gifts that cost us more than just opening our purses. Fr. Tony ( L/21