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July 19-24 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 21 Wednesday (St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest, Doctor of the Church): Mt 13:1-9: 1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  9 He who has ears, let him hear.” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage gives us the parable of the sower, the seeds sown, and the yield depending upon the type of soil. It is the first parable of Jesus in the New Testament about the Kingdom of Heaven. It is also a parable Jesus personally interprets for the Apostles. This parable was intended as a warning to the hearers to be attentive and to the apostles to be hopeful receivers, living out Jesus’ teachings and ideas. The sower is God, while the Church, with the parents in their homes, are the teachers. The seed sown is the high-yielding word of God, which has a cutting edge like “a sharp sword” (Is 49:2), “two-edged sword” (Heb 4:12), and a purifying and strengthening power like “fire and hammer” (Jer 23:29).

Soil type & the yield: The hardened soil on the foot path represents people with minds closed because of laziness, pride, prejudice, or fear. The soil on flat rock pieces represents emotional types of people who go after novelties without sticking to anything and who are unwilling to “put down roots” surrendering their wills to God. The soil filled with weeds represents people addicted to evil habits and evil tendencies and those whose hearts are filled with hatred, jealousy, and greed. They are interested only in acquiring money by any means and in enjoying life in any way possible.  The good and fertile soil represents well-intentioned people with open minds and clean hearts, earnest in hearing the word and zealous in putting it into practice. Zacchaeus, the sinful woman, and the thief crucified on Jesus’ right side, St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Francis Xavier, among others, fall into this category of the good soil.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 12-17 weekday homilies

Kindly click on  for missed Sunday and weekday homilies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


July 5-10 weekday homilies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus’ instructions and travel tips. By his instructions, it is clear that Jesus meant his disciples to take no supplies for the road. They were simply to trust that God, the provider, would open the hearts of believers to take care of their needs. Jesus’ instructions also suggest that the apostles should not be like the acquisitive priests of the day, interested only in gaining riches.  They should be walking examples of God’s love and providence. The Jews supported their rabbis, and they judged doing so a privilege as well as an obligation, because hospitality was an important religious tradition in Palestine. The apostles are told they should choose temporary accommodation in a reputable household, should bless the residents with God’s peace, and should be satisfied with the food and accommodation they received, not search for better. They were to preach “’the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,’ heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons.”

Life messages: 1) We, too, have a witnessing mission:   Each Christian is called not only to be a disciple, but also to be an apostle. As apostles, we have to evangelize the world by sharing with others, not just words, or ideas, or doctrines, but our experience of God and His Son, Jesus. It is through our transparent Christian lives that we must show the love, mercy, and concern of Jesus to the people around us. 2)   We also have a liberating mission: There are many demons which can control the lives of people around us, making them helpless slaves —the demon of nicotine, the demon of alcohol, the demon of gambling, the demon of pornography, the demon of promiscuous sex, the demon of materialism, and the demon of consumerism. We need the help of Jesus to liberate ourselves and others from these things. (Fr. Tony) (

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Intercessory prayers

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


June 28- July 3 weekday homilies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 2 Friday: Mt 9:9-13: 9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.  10 And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.  11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  13 Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel episode of Matthew’s call to be Jesus’ apostle reminds us of God’s love and mercy for sinners and challenges us to practice this same love and mercy in our relations with others.

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

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

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

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

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

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


June 21-26 weekday homilies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 26 Saturday: Mt 8: 5-17: 5 As he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion answered him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, `Go,’ and he goes, and to another, `Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, `Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.  14 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever; 15 he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and served him. 16 That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.  17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.” USCCB video reflections:;

Context: Jesus’ healing of the centurion’s slave, described in today’s Gospel, shows us how God listens to our Faith-filled prayers and meets our needs. Centurions were brave, reliable commanding captains in charge of 100 soldiers. They were used to giving and receiving commands.  They were the backbone of Roman army.  According to Luke’s account (Lk 7:1-10), this centurion loved the Jews and respected their religious customs. He knew that Jews incurred ritual uncleanness on entering the house of a pagan, and he wanted to prevent this from happening by requesting Jesus not to go to his pagan house. Further, the Centurion loved his sick servant, trusted in Jesus’ power of healing, and was ready to face the ridicule of his fellow-centurions by pleading before a Jewish rabbi.

The remote healing: The centurion asked Jesus just to shout a command as he did with his soldiers, so that the illness might leave his servant by the power of that order.  Jesus was moved by, and so rewarded, the trusting Faith of this Gentile officer by telling him: “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.” 

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


June 14-19 weekday homilies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


May 31- June 5, 2021 weekday homilies

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

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

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

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

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

  •  Memorial Day (in the U.S.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus’ novel contribution: Jesus gave a straightforward answer, quoting directly from the Law itself and startling all with his profound simplicity and mastery of the Law of God and its purpose.  He combined the first sentence of the Jewish Shema prayer from Deuteronomy 6:5: … Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength” with its complementary law from Leviticus 19:18: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Thus, Jesus proclaims that true religion is to love God both directly and as living in our neighbor.  Jesus underlines the principle that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves because both of us bear God’s image. For, to honor God’s image is to honor both Him Who made it and Him Whom it resembles. Besides, our neighbors, too, are the children of God our Father, redeemed by the Blood of Jesus.  Love for our neighbor is a matter, not of feelings, but of deeds by which we share with others the unmerited love that God lavishes on us.  This is the agape love for neighbor that God commands in His Law. Jesus then uses the parable of the Good Samaritan, as reported in Luke’s Gospel, to show them what God means by “neighbor.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




May 24-29 (weekday homilies)

Visit for missed homilies. May 24-29: May 24 Monday (Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church) NC Register: ( Gen 3:9-15, 20; Acts 1:12-14; Jn 19:25-34):  One of the most recent architectural additions to Saint Peter’s Square is the mosaic of Mary “Mother of the Church,” with the inscription Totus Tuus, yet another sign of Pope St. John Paul II’s great love for Our Lady. On Saturday, March 3, 2018, Pope Francis declared that, thenceforward, the Monday after Pentecost Sunday would be celebrated as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. The Memorial was to be observed annually. It has been added to the General Roman Calendar, the Roman Missal, and the Liturgy of the Hours with the Holy Father’s wish that this new feast day foster Marian piety and the maternal sense of the Church. Pentecost was the birth of the Church – the Mystical Body of Christ. As Mother of Christ, the Head of the Church, Mary is also the Mother of the Church, for she was with the apostles for that great event. In Catholic Mariology, Mother of the Church (Mater Ecclesiae) is a title officially given to Mary at the closing of the Second Vatican Council, by   Pope St. Paul VI. The title was first used in the 4th century by Saint Ambrose of Milan.  The same title was used by Pope Benedict IV in 1748 and then by Pope Leo XIII in 1885. Pope St. Paul VI made the pronouncement of the title Mother of the Church during his speech upon the closing of the third session of the Second Vatican Council on November 21, 1964: “For the glory of the Virgin and our consolation, we proclaim Mary the Most Holy Mother of the Church, that is, the Mother of the whole People of God, both the faithful and the pastors.” Later, the title was used by Pope St. John Paul II, and is also found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states that Mary joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its Head.” (CCC #963). “At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church.” (CCC # 507).

Pope St. John Paul II used the encyclical “Redemptoris Mater” (March 25, 1987), to explain how Jesus gave his mother to the care of John the apostle and how she became the Mother of the whole Church. The Pope said, “in her new motherhood in the Spirit, Mary embraces each and every one in the Church, and embraces each and every one through the Church.” Pope Benedict XVI addressed the issue of the relationship between Roman Catholic Mariology and ecclesiology quoting the theologian Hugo Rahner, SJ [elder brother of Karl Rahner SJ]  that Mariology was originally ecclesiology. The Church is like Mary. The Church is virgin and mother, she is immaculate and carries the burdens of history. She suffers, and she is assumed into heaven. She is carrying the mystery of the Church. That is why in 2018 Pope Francis decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church be inserted into the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost and that it be celebrated every year. The decree was signed on 11 February 2018, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, at the 160th anniversary of the Lourdes apparitions. The decree was issued on 3 March 2018.

As St. Augustine once said: “Mary is more blessed because she embraces Faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.” As St. Ambrose taught, “The Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of Faith, Charity, and the perfect union with Christ.” She serves as the ultimate role model for all Christians in her willingness to cooperate with God’s will. So, while we rightfully acknowledge her as the Mother of God, the Theotokos, we also acknowledge her sanctity and her willingness to do God’s will. This is why another ancient name attributed to her will officially appear on the Church’s calendar for the first time this year. “The Cross, the Eucharist, and the Mother of God   are three mysteries that God gave to the world in order to structure, fructify, and sanctify our interior life and lead us to Jesus.” (Robert, Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; retired February 20, 2021). Let us honor Mary the Mother of the Church by imitating her virtues of faith, humility ant total surrender. Fr. Tony( L/21; USCCB video:

May 25 Tuesday (St Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church) , St. Gregory VII, Pope ( , St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, Virgin ( Mk 10:28-31: 28 Peter began to say to him, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many that are first will be last, and the last first.” USCCB video reflections:;

The context: A rich young man approached Jesus asking how to gain eternal life. Jesus asked him to sell his possessions share the money with the poor and then become his disciple. But the rich man went away refusing Jesus’ terms and conditions. Watching this scene, Peter declares that he and his fellow Apostles, all Jesus’ followers, have left everything and followed Jesus, and he asks what their reward will be.

Jesus’ warning and promise: Jesus wants every Christian to embrace the virtue of poverty of spirit by practicing real and effective austerity in the possession and use of material things.  But those who are specially called to Christian ministry, particularly the Apostles and their successors in priestly and religious ministry, should practice absolute detachment from property, time, family, etc. so that they can be fully available to everyone, imitating Jesus himself. Such detachment gives them lordship over all things. They are no longer the slaves of things and the burden things involve. They will be able to share St. Paul’s attitude and live, “As having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Cor 6:10).  Jesus also considers persecutions and troubles as rewards because they help us to give powerful witness to the Good News and opportunities to grow in maturity and responsibility. Jesus assures Peter and the Apostles (and us), that anyone who has generously left behind his possessions will be rewarded a hundred times over in this life and will have eternal bliss in the next life. By shedding their selfishness in this way, they will acquire charity, and, having charity, they will gain everything. In place of material wealth, Jesus promises all his disciples the blessing and joy of rich fellowship with the community of believers. These words of our Lord particularly apply to those who by Divine vocation embrace celibacy, giving up their right to form a family.  They will become members of every family, and they will have many brothers, sisters and spiritual children.

Life message: Let us try to become true disciples of Jesus by sacrificially sharing our blessings with those around us, thereby inheriting additional blessings from a generous God. Fr. Tony ( L/21

May 26 Wednesday: St. Philip Neri, Priest ( : Mk 10:32-45: 32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 45 USCCB video reflections:;

The context: For the third time, (Mk 8:31, 9:31, 10:32), Jesus predicts his own death.  In spite of Jesus’ two previous predictions, James and John, still sharing the Jewish belief that the Messiah would be a political king sitting on David’s throne and ruling over a re-united Israel, consider Jesus to be a revolutionary freedom-fighter. They are sure that Jesus’ final trip to Jerusalem is being made to overthrow the Roman rulers.  Hence, James and John want an assurance from Jesus that he will make them his first and second in command in the Messianic Kingdom of God.

The request and the reaction: James and John are mistaken in their understanding of leadership roles in Christ’s Church as positions of power and prestige. Hence, Jesus challenges them asking,   “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” Jesus uses the images of the cup and baptism to describe the price to be paid. Jesus insists that his disciples must drink from his cup of suffering if they want to reign with him in his kingdom. Without fully understanding what Jesus means, James and John quickly affirm that they can share in their master’s cup and baptism.  They have no understanding of the personal cost that lies behind these two images. [History tells us that James was beheaded by Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:2), and that John suffered deeply when he heard regularly for years, of the persecution of his fellow Christians, saw the rise of heretics in the Churches, suffered exile himself, and saw the deaths of the rest of the Twelve, leaving him alive, the oldest survivor among them, faithful to the end, dying in his bed at nearly 100 years old.]

A challenge to achieve greatness through humble, sacrificial service: Jesus tells his disciples plainly what his mission is, how he is going to accomplish it and what the criterion for greatness among his disciples should be. He summarizes his mission in one sentence:  “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”(Jn 10:45)  Jesus also explains that he is going to accomplish his mission by undergoing crucifixion, offering himself as a sacrifice to save people from their sins.  Hence, Jesus challenges his apostles to share not only his power, but his service, by sacrificing themselves for others as he would do.  According to Jesus, greatness consists, not in what we have, or in what we can get from others, but in what we give to others.

Life Messages: 1) We are challenged to give our lives in loving service to others. The best place to begin the process of “self-giving,” is in our own homes, classrooms, parishes, and in workplaces.   2) We are taught that suffering and service go hand in hand. In today’s Gospel, Jesus connects service with suffering.  First, service always involves suffering because we can’t help another without some sacrifice on our part.  Second, God always invites those who suffer to put their suffering at the service of others by uniting it with the suffering of Jesus.  Third, we must learn to be sensitive to the suffering of those around us. Fr. Tony ( L/21

May 27 Thursday: St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop ( ) Mk 10: 46-52: 46 And they came to Jericho; and as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; rise, he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Master, let me receive my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Jesus was on his way to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem along with a band of pilgrims. It was customary for rabbis to teach the pilgrims on the way. The pilgrims were generous in giving alms to the beggars on the roadside. Bartimaeus was one of the blind beggars lined up on the road begging for alms. When he heard people speaking about the approach of Jesus, the miracle worker from Nazareth, he started shouting for mercy. He believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the son of David who could give him eyesight, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah, “The eyes of the blind will see” (Is 29:18).

Bartimaeus encounters Jesus: People walking in front of Jesus listening to his teaching tried, in vain, to silence Bartimaeus, but finally he got the attention of Jesus. Jesus was impressed by Bartimaeus’ declaration of Faith in the healing power of the Messiah and asked him what he wanted. Bartimaeus replied, “Master, let me receive my sight.” Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your Faith has made you well.” Immediately he received his sight, and he promptly followed Jesus to Jerusalem as His disciple.

Life messages: 1) We are very often blinded by our pride and prejudice and the innate tendency to be judgmental. Hence, we are badly in need of healing from our spiritual blindness. But we require trusting Faith in the power and mercy of God and the humility to pray persistently, as Bartimaeus did, to receive healing from God. Let us pray for this grace during the Mass today. Fr. Tony ( L/21

May 28 Friday: Mk 11:11-26: 11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked round at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. 12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. 15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold pigeons; 16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he taught, and said to them, “Is it not written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”  18-26 USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel gives us the dramatic account of Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem after symbolically drying out a fruitless fig tree, which represented the sterility of Israel and its infidelity to God. He drove out the merchants and money-changers with moral indignation at their unjust commercialization of God’s House of Prayer and at their exploitation of poor pilgrims in the name of religion. The merchants sold animals for sacrifices at exorbitant prices, and the money-changers charged unjust commissions for the required exchange of pagan coins for Temple coins. The Temple Jesus cleansed was the Temple in Jerusalem, originally built by Solomon in 966 BC, rebuilt by Zerubbabel in 515 BC after the Babylonians had destroyed it, and finally renovated by King Herod the Great starting in 20 BC. The abuses which infuriated Jesus were 1) the conversion of God’s place of prayer to a noisy marketplace, and 2) the unjust business practices of animal merchants and money-changers encouraged by the Temple authorities. Hence, Jesus made a whip of cords and drove away the animals and the money-changers, and, as He did so, quotied the prophet Jeremiah, commanding, “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace”(Jer 7: 11).

Life messages: 1) We need to avoid the business mentality of loss and profit in Divine worship. Our relationship with God must be that of a child to his parent, with no thought of loss or gain, but only of mutual love, respect and the common good. 2) We need to remember that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit. Hence, we have no right to desecrate God’s temple by impurity, injustice, pride, hatred or jealousy. 3) We need to love our parish Church and use it. Our Church is the place where we come together as a community to praise and worship God, to thank Him for His blessings, to ask pardon and forgiveness for our sins and to offer our lives and petitions on the altar. Let us make our Church an even more holy place by adding our prayers and songs to community worship and by offering our time and talents in the various ministries of our parish. Fr. Tony ( L/21

May 29 Saturday: St. Paul VI, Pope ( : Mk 11:27-33 27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, 28 and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you a question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men? Answer me.” 31 And they argued with one another, “If we say, `From heaven,’ he will say, `Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, `From men’?” — they were afraid of the people, for all held that John was a real prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Mk 11: 27-33). USCCB video reflections:;

The context: After casting out animal merchants and money- changers from the Temple immediately after the Palm Sunday procession, Jesus started teaching in the Temple courts. Hence, the chief priests and elders of the people approached Jesus questioning his authority for entering the city in a triumphal procession, for allowing the children to acclaim him, for curing the sick, for casting out merchants and moneychangers, and for teaching in the Temple area. This was a trap. If Jesus claimed that his authority was Divine as the Messiah, they would arrest him as a blasphemer. If he claimed that his authority was human, he would be arrested as a mad zealot damaging the people’s simple Faith in the Temple and what it stood for. Since Jesus did not want to risk his life and mission a few days ahead of time, he silenced them by asking a challenging counter-question about John the Baptist and his message – was this from God or man? Was this Divine or human?

If they answered that it was Divine, the questioners would be asked to explain why they did not accept John’s message and his witness-bearing that Jesus was the Messiah. If they answered that it was human, they would have to face the anger of the crowd who had accepted John as a prophet. Hence, they kept silent opting for a shameful self-humiliation.

Life messages: 1) In religious matters we should not ask whether our stand is safe or useful. Instead, we need to stand for Truth with the courage of our Christian convictions even if it costs our life. Fr. Tony ( L/21


May 17-22 weekday homilies

Visit for missed homilies.

May 17-22: May 17 Monday: John 16: 29-33: His disciples said, “Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. 30 Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.”* 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? 32 Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered* to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 3I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” USCCB video reflections:;

Context: Jesus is speaking to his apostles after the Last Supper. 

Scripture lessons: In this Last Supper discourse, Jesus explains his Divine origin and his relationship to God his Father in clear terms without using any metaphors. The apostles acknowledge that they understand the Divinity of Jesus. But Jesus prophesies that they will soon desert him and seek their own safety, while he will be arrested, brought to trial and crucified. Our Faith is tested every day when we live in a world filled with agnostics, atheists, and pleasure-seekers who see true believers as superstitious people and hate them. That is why Jesus gave his apostles and all his future disciples the assurance of the anointing of the Holy Spirit Who would strengthen them and guide them.  The Second Vatican Council teaches in connection with this passage: “The Lord Jesus who said `Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33), did not by these words promise complete victory to his Church in this world.  This sacred Council rejoices that the earth which has been sown with the seed of the Gospel is now bringing forth fruit in many places under the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord, who is filling the world” (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 22).

Life messages: 1) Our Faith is firmly rooted in the Divinity of Jesus demonstrated by his Messianic miracles, most of which were foretold by the prophets. The Resurrection of Jesus is the Miracle of miracles proving Jesus’ Divinity beyond doubt. 2) We need to get our daily infusion of spiritual strength by recognizing the presence of God – the Father, the Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit — living within us wherever we are and by communicating with our indwelling God in prayer. Fr. Tony ( L/21

May 18 Tuesday (St. John I, Pope, Martyr) : Jn 17:1-11a 1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, 2 since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. 4 I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gave me to do; 5 USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage is taken from the “High Priestly Prayer” Jesus offered to the Father for himself, the apostles and all future believers. He offers this prayer at the end of his long Last Supper discourse. It is called the High Priestly Prayer because it is as the High Priest of the New Covenant that Jesus offers to God, his Father, the imminent sacrifice of his passion and death, his apostles and their mission and all future believers.

Glory in crucifixion: In the first part of the prayer, Jesus asks for the glorification of his human nature and the acceptance of his sacrifice on the cross by his Father.  Jesus considered his crucifixion as his glorification — just as the martyrs would later do.  The cross was the glory of Jesus because it was the completion of his double work of saving mankind and of demonstrating to us how much God loves us. Further, it was his death on the cross that led to his Resurrection in glory.   Jesus glorified God 1) by accepting death on the cross in perfect obedience to God, to complete His eternal plan of salvation; 2) by revealing God to men as a loving, forgiving and saving Father; and 3) by giving believers Eternal Life in making them his disciples and teaching them to obey his new commandment of love.

The essence of Eternal Life: According to the New Testament, Eternal Life is: “to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent(John 17:3).  To know God in the Gospel sense is to have a deep, personal experience of God Who is working in one’s life.  It involves a close, intimate relationship which matures eventually into mutual love and trust.  Christian Faith is essentially a “believing in”- a total surrender.  It is the way we come to “know” Christ closely, to experience Him intimately, and to love Him personally.

Life message: 1) Let us center our Christian life on prayer and the glorification of God.  Prayer means getting into contact with God — listening to Him and talking to Him.  If we are convinced of the presence of God within us, we can talk to Him even while we are driving, waiting in a queue or doing routine work in the kitchen or yard. Our talk with God can include adoration, praise, thanksgiving, pleas for forgiveness for ourselves and for those who injure us and/or others, and prayer for the needs of others and of ourselves. A few minutes spent in reading the Bible is the best way of listening to God. Fr. Tony ( L/21

May 19 Wednesday: John 17:11-19: 11 And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you did send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth. USCCB video reflections:;

In today’s Gospel passage, taken from Jesus’ high-priestly prayer, Jesus prays in particular, for those disciples who are sharing the meal with him. Jesus prayed for the victory, unity, protection, and consecration of his disciples.  (i) Jesus prayed that they might find victory by living out their Christianity in the rough-and-tumble of life.  The disciples must win the world for Christ by living out their Christianity within the world. They must bear witness to Christ through their transparent Christian lives, reflecting Christ’s love, mercy, forgiveness and spirit of humble service.  (ii) Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples.  The world cannot be evangelized by competing Churches, and that is why Jesus prayed that his disciples might be as fully one as He and the Father are One. Christian unity is determined by whether and how well we love one another, and whether we reflect the love of God in Christ for the world. (Eph­esians 4:4–6: one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call; d5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; e6one God and Father of us all, Who is above all and through all and in all). (iii) Jesus prayed for His Father’s protection for his disciples from the attacks of the Evil One.  If the disciples of Christ fall, it is because they try to meet life on their own strength alone, and do not remember the presence of their protecting God and seek His help.  (iv) Jesus prayed that his disciples might be consecrated in the truth.  (a) ‘Consecrate’ means to set apart for a special task (Jer 1:5; Ex 28:41).  (b) ‘Consecrate’ also means to equip a man with the qualities of mind, heart, and character which are necessary for that task.  God has chosen us and dedicated us for His special service of loving and obeying Him ourselves and bringing others to do the same.  He has not left us to carry out that great task with only our own strength, but by His grace He fits us for our task, if we place our lives in His hands.

Life message: #1: We need to understand, appreciate, cooperate with, and pray with and for each other: The denominations are a reality.  There is no use in our blaming each other for the historical events which caused these divisions in Christ’s Body.  What we can do is to learn sympathetically about the doctrinal similarities and differences among the members of our Christian community and learn to love each one and cooperate with the members of all denominations in all ways possible. 2)  Let us pray fervently that God may show us how to proceed in building true and lasting Christian unity without sacrificing the basic Christian principles and teachings. Fr. Tony ( L/21

May 20 Thursday (St. Bernadine of Siena, Priest) Jn 17:20-26 20 “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that  thou hast sent me. 22 The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as  thou hast loved me. 24 …26 USCCB video reflections:;

The context: Today’s Gospel passage is the concluding part of Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” in his Last Supper discourse. Here, Jesus prays for true unity among his followers who accept him as their Lord and Savior.

Divisions in Christianity: The first major division in Christianity, which took place in the fifth century, was the schism caused when the Eastern Orthodox Churches under the patriarchs separated themselves from the Western Church under the Pope.  Next, the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century separated its followers from unity with the Church centered in Rome and freed them from her Authority. This separation resulted in the formation of more than 30,000 Protestant denominations during the following five centuries. According to Pope St. Paul VI [canonized October 14, 2018 by Pope Francis] “the Church founded by Jesus Christ and for which he prayed is indefectibly one in Faith, in worship and in the bond of hierarchical communion” (Creed of the People of God, 21).

Jesus’ prayer for unity:  In his prayer for unity among his disciples, Jesus mentions that the basis and criterion of unity must be the Unity of God in His Three Divine Persons among Whom there is eternal, mutual love and Self-giving.  The unity of Jesus and his Father is a unity of love and obedience and a unity of personal relationship. Another reason for Christian unity is the union of the faithful with Jesus Christ in His Mystical Body by Baptism, and through Him with the Father (verse 23). This means that the fullness of Unity is attained through the supernatural grace, which comes to us from the Father through Christ (cf. Jn 15:5). Jesus mentions that unity among the believers is essential if the world is to acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior, because the disunity among Christians acts as the biggest block for evangelization, as it offers living, constant counter-witness to the Good News of Redemption.

Life messages: 1) Since Jesus Christ himself left us his final wish for unity through his prayer to the Father: “that they may all be one; even as You, Father are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me” (Jn 17:21), it is our duty to pray and work for meaningful unity among Christians

2) Let us learn to appreciate each other’s common beliefs and enter into genuine dialogue and cooperation with members of other Christian denominations, instead of accusing each other of heresy. We need to remember that the present non-Catholic Christians are not responsible for the historical events and actions from which the various denominations originated in the past. Fr. Tony ( L/21

May 21 Friday (St. Christopher Magallanus, Priest and companions Martyrs) : John 21:15-19: 15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would;..19 (USCCB video reflections:;

The context: This is a post-Resurrection apparition scene. After miraculously providing breakfast for his apostles who had been fishing all night, Jesus conferred on Peter the Primacy in the Church, which he had promised as a reward for Peter’s profession of Faith (Mt 16:16-19).

The triple question: As if to give him a triple chance to atone for his triple denial, Jesus asks Peter, three times, “Simon, son of John, do you love me (agápe love) more than these?” Jesus asks Peter if he loves Jesus more than he loves his boat and fishing equipment, occupation, family, and friends. Jesus is also asking whether Peter loves him more than the other Apostles do. Instead of boasting of his own fidelity, strength, and greater love, as he had done before his triple denial of the Master, Peter humbly puts everything in Christ’s hands. “Lord, You know well that I love (philia love=love of a friend) You.”

The dual reward: 1) Primacy of jurisdiction over the Church was formally defined by the First Vatican Council (Vatican I) in the First Dogmatic Constitution On the Church of Christ, (Pastor Aeternus, Chapter 1) declaring, “We therefore teach and declare that, according to the testimony of the Gospel, the primacy of jurisdiction over the universal Church of God was immediately and directly promised and given to Blessed Peter the Apostle by Christ our Lord. […] And it was upon Simon Peter alone, that Jesus, after his Resurrection, bestowed the jurisdiction of chief pastor and ruler over all his fold in the words: ‘Feed My lambs; feed My sheep (Jn 21:15-17).’” 2) Peter was also given the promise of a martyr’s death because real love involves responsibility as well as sacrifice. According to Tradition, St. Peter followed his Master to the point of dying by crucifixion — head downwards, because he felt unworthy to die as Jesus had done. This happened during Nero’s persecution of the Christians, which took place between the years 64 and 68 in Rome.

Life messages: 1) We need to pray for the Pope, the successor of Peter, and for the bishops, the successors of the Apostles, and to support them in their ministry. 2) Jesus is a God of second chances Who gives chance after chance to sinners to return to his love, as is made clear by Jesus’ conferring primacy in his Church on Peter. Fr. Tony ( L/21

May 22 Saturday (St. Rita of Cascia, Religious) : Jn 21:20-25: 20 Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, “Lord, who  is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” 23 The saying spread abroad among the brethren that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If  it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. 25 But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. USCCB video reflections:;

Context: Today’s Gospel passage describes the role of Peter as the chief shepherd of Christ’s people and John as a long-lived witness to Christ in the early Church. The last part of the passage was intended to correct the false notion in the early Church that John would not die until the much-expected, imminent “second coming” of Jesus.

Jesus’ reply: Jesus’ response implies that what is important is not to be curious about what the future will bring but to serve the Lord faithfully each day, keeping to the way He has marked out for one.

John’s testimony about his Gospel: The passage concludes with John’s testimony about the truth of the content of his Gospel. It also explains the purpose of John’s Gospel: to strengthen our Faith in what Jesus did and taught. In addition, it tells us that the written Gospels contain only a fraction of what Jesus taught and did, implying that we have to depend upon the Sacred Tradition of the early Church handed down to us by the early Fathers of the Church to complete the truth of the written testimony.

Life messages: 1) Just as Peter and John each had his unique role in Christ’s Church, so each believer, as a member of this Mystical Body of Christ, each of us with our different talents, strengths, weaknesses, and limits, has his or her own particular work to do in bringing the task of the Body – to bring the world to Christ and Christ to the world – to its completion. Hence it is our duty to bear witness to Christ by surrendering our lives to Christ on the altar of service for the people of God and by offering ourselves as humble instruments in the hands of Christ. Fr. Tony ( L/21