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Sept 20-25 weekday homilies

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

The context: Today’s Gospel passage is taken from Luke’s version of Jesus’ teachings after telling the parable of the sower.  It reminds us that we are the light of the world and that our duty is to receive and radiate around us Christ’s light of love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.  The image of light and lamp: Lamps help people to see, move and work in the dark, and their light prevents our stumbling and falling down. For the Jews, light represented the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. God’s light illumines our lives with light, celestial joy, and everlasting peace. The glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds at Bethlehem (Lk 2:9). Paul experienced the presence of God in a blinding light (Acts 9:3; 22:6); God “dwells in inaccessible light” (1 Tim 6:16). That is why Jesus claims to be the light of the world. When the light of Christ shines in our hearts, we will be able to recognize who we are, who our neighbors are and who God is and to see clearly how we are related to God and our neighbors. When we live in Christ’s light, we will not foolishly try to hide truths about ourselves from ourselves, from our neighbors, or from God. Christ’s light will also remind us of the consequences of our loving the darkness of sinful ways and bad habits.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


September 13-18 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


September 6-11 weekday homilies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


August 30 to September 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Life story (Animation):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


August 23-28 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

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

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

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


Aug 24 Tuesday (St. Bartholomew, Apostle) Jn 1; 45-51: 43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: In today’s Gospel of John (John 1:43-51), Nathanael, also called Bartholomew or “son of Tholomay,” is introduced as a friend of Philip. He is described as initially being skeptical about the Messiah coming from Nazareth, saying: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” But he accepts Philip’s invitation to meet Jesus. Jesus welcomes him saying, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” (RSV2 Catholic) Jesus’ comment, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you”(RSV 2 Catholic), is probably based on a Jewish figure of speech referring to studying the Torah because the rabbi used to give Bible classes for small groups under the shade of fig trees. Nathanael immediately recognizes Jesus as “the Son of God” and “the King of Israel.” Nathanael reappears at the end of John’s Gospel (John 21:2), as one of the disciples to whom Jesus appeared at the Sea of Tiberius after his Resurrection from the tomb. The Gospels thus present Bartholomew as a man with no malice and lover of Torah with openness to truth and readiness to accept the truth. Nathanael was the first Apostle to make an explicit confession of Faith in Jesus as the Messiah and as the Son of God.

Life messages: 1) Let us pray for the grace to love the word of God as Bartholomew did. 2) Let us also pray that we may accept the teaching of the Bible and the Church with open heart and open mind, without pride or prejudice. (Fr. Tony) (L/21)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

History, theology and structure of the Holy Mass

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The origin of the Eucharistic celebration:

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

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

Theology of the Eucharistic celebration:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


August 16-21 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


August 9-14 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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   

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