1st Sunday of Advent – November 27, 2022

1st Sunday of Advent – November 27, 2022

Adv1A22.    Isaiah 2:1-5.   For Isaiah the God of the universe made his home in this universe in Jerusalem.  “All nations shall stream toward it.”  “He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples.”  Under the leadership of the God of all peoples he will turn the instruments of war that take life away into instruments of agriculture that give life.  “Let us walk in the light of the Lord” and no longer in the darkness of destruction.

Matthew 24:37-44.  Most people live as if life is just an ordinary everyday flow of activities that only deal with ‘the here and now’, “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.”  Jesus requires us to live our ‘now’ as a preparation for the ‘then’, when we will be swept away into the endless forever world.  “So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”  Live each day as though we are already in an endless forever, because as a matter of fact, we are already in ‘the endless forever’.

Psalm 122: “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”

Romans 13:11-14.    Paul uses the earthly imagery of being asleep in the darkness of the night to portray a spiritual state of being caught up in “the desires of the flesh.”  He contrasts it to the spiritual state of living awake in the daylight of conducting ourselves properly in Christ.  Life ought to be Christ and not this world and our body.

1st Sunday of Advent – 2019

Adv1A19.   Isaiah 2:1-5.   At the beginning of book of Isaiah, Isaiah condemns his people for not having walked in God’s ways. In our passage Isaiah pictures for God’s people, who have wandered astray, the glorious joy it is to truly live obeying God’s will.  It is as if heaven were here on earth, when we walk in the light of God’s path on earth.

Matthew 24:37-44. In the verse before our reading starts (Matthew 24:36), Jesus says: “But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”  Jesus is speaking out of his humanity and not out of his divinity, since as the Son of God he must know.  The emphasis that Jesus wishes to bring out is that we do not know when Jesus will come to call us out of this world, whether it is his Second Coming at the end of the universe or our own individual death.  Be prepared to be called at any moment and do not be mesmerized by daily routine left unable to see much beyond one’s surrounding everyday world.

Romans 13:11-14.  “Brother and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.”  The theme of gospel is repeated.  “Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”  Darkness is to live daily as if there is no other reality other than what see and can put our hands on.  The light is to live in a faith that sees the fullness of the truth that is even more genuine than the one we live in now because it is forever and this earthly one is not.  “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” Paul makes this overstatement to bring out the necessity to be primarily a spiritual people because that will protect us from hell and enable us to reach heaven.

1st Sunday of Advent – 2016

Adv 1A          11/23/16

Isaiah 2:1-5.                  God will to establish his dominion over this earth.  All peoples will come to him to be instructed in his ways and walk in his paths.  No longer shall nations war against one another.  He shall rule over all the nations and all will be subject to him.

Matthew 24:37-44.               In Noah’s time people went about their daily routine, not knowing that some would suddenly be saved and some lost.  Likewise, one day unknown to anyone Jesus will come, taking his own to himself and leaving the rest behind.  Since we  know neither the hour nor the day when Jesus will come the second time, we must always be prepared for him.

Romans 13:11-14.                            The routine of this earthly world can put us to sleep to the things of the heavenly world.  “It is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.  For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” “Let us then throw off the works of darkness,” the improper “desires of the flesh” and “put on the armor of light” that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

34th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Nov. 20, 2022

34CKing22.     2 Samuel 5:1-3.  “And the Lord said to you (David), ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel and shall be commander of Israel.’”  The Lord anointed a human being to rule over and order Israel according to his Will.  And so he did later, anointing his Son made man to rule over and order all humanity forever and ever.

Luke 23:35-43.  In John 18:37, “Jesus answered, ‘You (Pilate) say I am a king.  For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’”  Truth is eternal reality.  Everything else that claims to be and appears for the moment to be reality or the truth terminates in earthly corruption or rot one day.  Jesus, God made man, submitted himself to the Father’s Will in offering himself up as a sacrificial redemption so that all human beings of all times might have access to heaven.  As a sign of the redemptive aspect of his self-sacrifice, Jesus said to the crucified criminal who recognized the goodness of Jesus, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Colossians 1:12-20.  Paul wrote, “He (Jesus) delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”  Only by submitting ourselves to his authority, his kingship, can we find and possess our redemption.   In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  It is only through him that we can serve and please the Father.  As God the Son, “All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.” (John 1:3a)   When we live with him as the king of our lives, we have everything and we have it forever. (Heaven) If we choose live under some authority other than Jesus, we have nothing and we have it forever. (Hell)

34th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2019

34CKing19.    2 Samuel 5:1-3.   Of David the Lord said, “You shall shepherd my people and shall be commander of Israel.”  Following God’s will the elders of Israel anointed David king of Israel.  In his Chosen People God establishes a precedent that God will name a King over his People.

Luke 23:35-43.   As a ridicule, Jesus’ enemies call him king and messiah who cannot save himself, much less others.  As a people who have cut themselves off from God’s salvific work in Jesus, Jesus’ enemies have no idea that, by the very act of offering himself up on the cross, that infinitely loving act redeems us from our sins. Those who revile Jesus are unable to understand that in the very act of Jesus’ suffering and death, he acts as the King who conquers sin and death.  By accepting his sacrificial pain and suffering and death for our redemption, Jesus saves us.  The criminal, hanging on the cross next to Jesus, does understand the sublimity of Jesus’ action, saying “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Given every reason not to believe in Jesus as king, yet he believes and accepts Jesus as king. He is the one we traditionally call the Good Thief, the only one in the Scriptures whom Jesus names a saint who will be with him in Paradise.

Colossians 1:12-20.  He is not an earthly king.   In what way then is he king?  As David was shepherd and king, Jesus shepherds us out of the power of darkness, leading us by the infinite power of his light to his kingdom of holiness.  In Jesus’ humanness he makes visible the holiness that is not of this world.  All things were created through him and for him and in him.  God the Father created all things but God the Son brought all things to share in the divine holiness by “making peace by the blood of the cross.  Through his resurrection from the dead he is preeminent in leading all to eternal life.  He holds all things together with him at the center like gravitational force drawing all to live and be by binding us to the divinity of God. He is the head with the church as his body with him having total authority over the church. “All the fullness was pleased to dwell in him,” since he himself shares in the fullness of the Godhead.

34th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2016

34CKing16

2 Samuel 5:-3.  David the shepherd is anointed as King David, king of Israel.  He serves as an earthly image in time and space of the divine king of the universe Jesus Christ, who is beyond time and space.

Luke 23:35-43.  “The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself.”  If Jesus were to speak then, he would say, “I am here on the cross because I am saving you.  I do this by my own free will out of love for you.  I am the only One who can offer a truly appropriate sacrifice to my Father to redeem you from your sins because I am divine.  I am the only One equal to the task because I am God.”

During his life time Jesus had exercised miraculous powers.  There were no limits to what he could do.  However, he chose not to exercise those powers to his own benefit as he hung on the cross.  Jesus understood what he must do but those around him did not.  “Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ?  Save yourself and us.’”  The other criminal rebukes him, recognizing that they are justly condemned. In compassion for Jesus, he said then, “’but this man has done nothing criminal’.  Then he said, “’Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom’.  He replied to him, ‘Amen I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’”   That second criminal, although he himself was in great pain, since he too was in the process of being executed; and, despite the fact everyone else was jeering Jesus, he goes against the crowd to recognize that Jesus is king.  He puts his future in the hands of the crucified, dying king.  He is in essence saying that earthly death has no power over this king.  This king Jesus will triumph.  What a glorious act of faith!  He is rewarded for it with a future place in the kingdom of King Jesus, in Paradise.

Colossians 1:12-20.  God the Father” delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, forgiveness of sins.”  Jesus, as King, daily shepherds us through the narrow gate.  The Scripture scholars think that the last part of our second reading was probably a liturgical hymn.  This hymn announces the preeminence of Jesus, in part, by using the expressions: in him, through him and for him.  This hymn is also a prayer of adoration, recognizing Jesus royal supremacy.

In the Godhead there is one God, yet three persons.  God does everything as one God yet different tasks in relation to humanity are attributed to each person:  God the Father is the Creator; God the Son is the Redeemer; God the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. In the hymn of the second reading, the role of the Son is explained more fully to his glory and to the glory of the One God.

 

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Nov. 13, 2022

33C22.    Malachi 3:19-20a.  “Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble.”  “But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice.”  God comes to punish the evildoers and reward the good.  Await the day!

Luke 21: 5-19.  Jesus foretold that one day the great temple in Jerusalem would be torn down.  And much later in 70 AD the Romans did that because of the Jewish revolt against them.  Jesus predicted that terrible things would happen, especially to those who believed in him.  Even members of ones’ own family would put some of them to death.  “You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed” which is to say that nothing of any real value will be lost because by their own perseverance they will secure their soul, which is the only thing that has any real value.  What comes to an end in this world has results in the next world.  We must look passed the appearances in the present time to see what God has for us in the future.  Psalm 98 refrain: “The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.”

2 Thessalonians 3:7-12.   Paul saw that among the Thessalonians were those who were “conducting themselves” “in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others.”  Paul exhorts them to imitate him and those who followed his example, the model for living an orderly life and so enjoying the food of ones’ labors.  St. Francis DeSales wrote, “Do all ordinary things extraordinarily well.”  Ordinary daily life should be lived in a way that pleases the Lord.

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2019

33C19.   Malachi 3:19-20a.    God prophesies that the day is coming when the heat will be like an oven that burns up the proud and the evildoers into nothing but stubble. That statement was in stark contrast to those who give God the honor that is due him, for whom the heat of the sun will gently give healing.

Luke 21:5-15.  As the Sundays of this liturgical year draw to a close, the readings invite us to think of the days when this world is about to end. Jesus predicts, “All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left stone upon another stone.”  And that was to happen roughly forty years later, when the Romans counterattacked against the Jewish revolution and destroyed the temple in 70 AD.  Since then wars, revolutions and terribly destructive things have happened, still the end has not come.  False saviors have come and gone, persecutions and horrors have been rained down against God’s good people but we survive on.  Although they destroy our bodies as they did the Maccabees, our life in the Lord helps us to persevere on to secure our eternal salvation.  God is faithful to those who are faithful to him.  He walks with us and is our spiritual life within our flesh.  Christ, our life within us, enables us to live to the fullest the life that God has given us.  Those who kill our physical life do not kill our spiritual life.   In our reading Jesus says, “You are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.”  This is but one way that shows he is our only source of strength that will enable us to gain eternal victory.  Our adversaries can put to death a body that was only going to die anyhow.  Their evil actions achieve nothing of value for them but only serve to compel us to seek out Christ even more urgently.  Jesus says, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

2 Thessalonians 3:7-12.   When Paul was ministering to the Thessalonians he did not live off of their donations to him but he continued to work for his own daily bread.  Paul did that, he says, because “we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us.”  As we pass through this world on our way to heaven, Paul is insisting that we do so in an orderly way serving as a model to one another and not as a distraction or disruption.  In Paul’s time there were those who were disorderly, “by not keeping busy but minding the business of others.”  God the Father wishes that his children work daily for the salvation of souls both here on earth and later in heaven.  God constructed this universe in an orderly way as an example of how we are to live in his world.

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2016

33c   11/7/16

Malachi 3:19-20a    God says that there will be a terrible day of reckoning.   The evildoers will be completely consumed by fire but those who truly respect the Lord will receive the warmth of God’s goodness.  (1 Corinthians 5:10)  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.”  Our behavior has its consequences.  The Lord God alone is the judge of what we do.

Luke 21:5-19     Some people were speaking of the splendor of the temple in Jerusalem but Jesus said that at some time in the future it would all be destroyed.  When would that all happen? Be careful because some people will come who will say that they know from God when the end of the world will come.   Don’t believe them.  Many terrible things will happen but that is still not the end.

Before those signs come about, the followers of Jesus will be persecuted.  The leaders of the government will be seated before you and judge you.  Jesus promises to give us a verbal defense so that there will be no need to prepare one for ourselves. (Luke 12:11-12  When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say.   For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.)  Even people close to us will betray us to the authorities.  No matter what they do to your body; your soul will be safe and sound.  All created things of this world will come to an end.   All those who to make themselves like little gods, going against the one and only true God, will be vanquished.  Only He will be victorious.

2 Thessalonians 3:7-12     Between now and the end time, we must act in an orderly way as we have been taught by the saints of our Church.  “If anyone is unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.” Mind your own business and not that of others.

1 Thessalonians 1:5-7    “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with] much conviction.  You know what sort of people we were [among] you for your sake.  And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit, so that you became a model for all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.”

We have the responsibility to be a good example to others.  As followers of Jesus we become collaborators in the work of God: to help bring everyone to heaven.

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Nov. 6, 2022

32C22.   2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14.   A foreign force that taken control over Jerusalem demanded of Maccabee family that they worship in their religion or be tortured and killed.  The Maccabee family had such a profoundly deep faith in their God that they were willing to accept martyrdom rather than be unfaithful.  Only our God gives the life that is eternal resurrection; everything else is death.

Luke 20:27-38.  The Pharisees believed in life after death; whereas the Sadducees rejected it.  The Sadducees attempted to prove to Jesus that life after death was impossible.  Jesus responded that life in heaven is totally different than life on earth.  In heaven God, since he is the only true life-giving force, is so overwhelmingly dominant that all other relationships are subsumed into and under our relationship with God.  “Those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead”  “can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God.”  Because sin rejects God, the only source of the life is joyful, sin created the death that is the termination of the goodness of life because without God there is no resurrection, no eternal life.  Without God a person can only continue on in the hopeless eternal emptiness that is hell, forced to live on, drifting aimlessly in nothingness and feeling utter desolation.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5.  “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.”  “He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”  To remain faithful to our loving God we must daily strive to live in his love; otherwise, alone we will succumb to this world’s challenges to our faith.