2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 2017

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 2017

2A                         Is. 49:3, 5-6.  Israel was first chosen to be God’s people and they alone, as the text says, “You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory.”  However, through Isaiah God later expands the call to other peoples, telling Isaiah, “I will make you a light to the nations that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” and not just to the tribes of Jacob.

John 1:29-34.  John presents Jesus as the sacrificial offering who will redeem us from our sins, when he says, “Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”   John gives testimony that Jesus is the Son of God.   Also he contrasts his baptism as being merely of water but Jesus’ baptism as being infinitely superior because he baptizes with the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor. 1:1-3.  Paul addresses “the church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”  This is Paul’s way of saying that not just Jews but all people, who recognize Jesus as their Lord, are God’s people.  We who belong to Jesus are made holy in him.  The blessing at the end says that we as God’s people can bring God’s blessing to one another.


Baptism of The Lord – January 12, 2020

BaptA20.  Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7. “Thus says the Lord: Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit.”  God chooses and sends one at various times to serve his Will putting his divine pleasure and spirit in him.  It is God himself working in and through his servant.  Jesus said in Matthew 10:40,   “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” “I formed you,” as “a light for the nations,” for “those who live in darkness.” We have celebrated the Epiphany in which the light that is the star leads the magi to the light of the world Jesus our Savior.  We understand this first reading as a prophecy of the coming of Jesus.

Matthew 3:13-17. “After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”  Jesus, by having John the Baptist baptize him, was declaring that now he was taking over the role of John in leading the people to God.   However more importantly, God the Father’s announcement and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus was the heavenly declaration that God in the person of Jesus had come into our midst as a man just like us.  Jesus has now been formally presented to this world as the Christ, the Messiah.

Acts of the Apostles 10:34-38.   From the Hebrew perspective just the Hebrews belonged to God likewise God belonged only to the Hebrews and so could not belong to any other peoples.  The Hebrews viewed the gentiles as worthless, polluted, foul trash who had many ridiculous sham pseudo gods. They viewed themselves as a people, pure, clean, set apart from the debased and defiled. The Hebrews believed that they had the one and only true God.  There was none other and he was theirs and theirs alone.  From the Jews point of view Peter, a Jew, defiles himself by entering the home of a gentile.  Peter’s response was, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”  He is not Lord of just the Jews but the Lord of all.  God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power” to bring God’s goodness to all.  “God shows no partiality.”  This was a truly momentous time in the development of Christianity because there were many who saw Christians as just another Jewish sect.  Now Christianity, though rooted in Judaism, was to be taken as something entirely new, based in a God that is Trinitarian, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which was never a Jewish belief.

Epiphany Sunday – January 5, 2020

EpiphA20.  Isaiah 60:1-6.  “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come.” “Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your brilliance.” “All shall come bearing gold and frankincense and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.”  Isaiah the prophet of God prophesies the coming of all nations to recognize Immanuel, the God of all peoples among us.  He is the light of the eternal truth that had not been seen before among the nations. Before, the nations of the earth other than Israel, had been wondering in the darkness of ignorance. Now no longer!

Matthew 2:1-2.  Herod stands as an extreme example of the darkness, shutting any possibility that there is a God to whom he must be subject.  He attempts to make himself his own god and god of all that is around him.  John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  After the magi had left the darkness that was the presence of Herod, the star shown again, “and stopped over the place where the child was.” “They prostrated themselves and did him homage.  Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”  They were open to seeing the light of the divinity in the helpless baby in the manger.  Despite the fact that they were pagans, they had let the light of God shine into their hearts and minds in their past lives that enabled them to immediately recognize the light of God in the baby Jesus.  People of the darkness deny there is any such thing as the light because they let the darkness blind them.

Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6.  God enlightens those who are open to give themselves over to him, taking God as the Lord of their lives.  Paul was enlightened by God so to bring all to see Jesus as Lord of all.  The mystery that had not been revealed to past generations was the lordship of our messiah and savior Jesus.  Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:18: “May the eyes of [your] hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones.” He, who is the God of all, calls all people to be his own.

Epiphany Sunday – January 2017


“Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance.  Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar.”  All nations come to worship Yahweh, not just a select Chosen People, the Jews.  All peoples are God’s peoples.

Matthew 2:1-12.  The magi come following the star that leads to the “newborn king of the Jews.”  The star is the light that leads to Jesus.  It shines for all peoples. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has no overcome it” (John 1: 5).  King Herod was the darkness who wanted to extinguish the light but was destined to fail because the source of the light (God) is infinitely more powerful than the source of darkness (the devil).  See how diabolic Herod is when he sends the magi to seek Jesus and says, “When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”  The darkness that is so deep seeks to devour the light that is the Christ.  The non-Jews, the magi, “prostrated themselves and did him homage.  They opened their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”  The star was God’s way of inviting in the Gentiles to take Jesus as their Messiah.  They followed the light sent by God to lead them to eternal life.  The Holy Spirit does that for us daily.  “What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race” (John 1: 3c-4).

Hebrews 1:1-6.  “The mystery was made known to me by revelation.  It was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body.”  The revelation is the light that takes away the darkness.  Jesus is the revelation that he is the Messiah, Savior of all peoples.  We who daily follow the light, the Holy Spirit,

shall be people of eternal life.  “Then you shall be radiant at what you see.” (from the first reading)

Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph – December 29, 2019

FamA19.   Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14.   To have a family that is based in God, i.e., his way of thinking and of ordering, each person’s position in the family must be respected.  God rewards the children who honor their parents’ authority: atonement for sins; having God give special attention to one’s prayers; a long life.  Happiness on earth requires of us to live according to God’s Will, God’s order or sense of organization.

Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23.   An important task of an angel was to speak God’s message to the ones he had chosen to hear it.  The prophets also did the same thing.  We also are chosen by God at times to deliver his message, as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, priests, religious or by anyone else as God chooses make known to others what God wants them to hear.  God not only listens to our prayer requests but also daily speaks to us, often through others around us.  The Holy Spirit aids us daily in our spiritual growth to be able to sense or discern the Voice of God.  To live a life of faith in God means to be always in the loving presence of our God, who is not passive but active in our lives.  The science of zoology, which is a part of biology, lists human beings as an animal of this earth.  The Holy Spirit builds the supernatural on the natural.  By our baptism God is our Father and we are his children with the right to have our inheritance in heaven.  That means we must live as his children now on earth.  The Holy Spirit enables us to live the spiritual life while we are here on earth.  On our own without the Holy Spirit we, as animals of this earth, cannot live spiritually.  In our gospel God seems to be quite comfortable communicating with Joseph through the angel.  He, as God, is quite comfortable communicating with us also but only in a way that a person of faith can discern, since God does not speak out loud or audibly.  A loving God is not a silent God.  Life in this world is a life that has many difficulties and challenges, as it did for Joseph, Mary and Jesus in the womb.  As Emmanuel, God is with us in our ups and downs.  As a loving parent, God cannot be but with us to help us by being endlessly engaged in our lives to bring us as his beloved children to our home with him in heaven.  God is our daily bread, not only in Holy Communion, but by nourishing our spiritual life every moment of our lives.  God is family now by living with us, loving us every moment of our lives.

Colossians 3:12-21.    Paul begins with the words, “Put on,” as though we are clothing our earthly bodies with heavenly clothes. “And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts.”  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”  Not only are we to be clothed in Christ on the outside but also filled with Christ on the inside. “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Paul calls upon us to thoroughly be a heavenly people while still here on earth.  With God as our Father here and now we should grow as his children spiritually in holiness.  Not only should heaven be the household of God but also this world.  Family is a relationship in which we not only grow physically but also mature spiritually, caring for one another, nurturing one another through the presence of Jesus within us individually and in our midst as a community.

4th Sunday of Advent – December 22, 2019

Adv4C19.   Isaiah 7:10-14.  Through Isaiah God tells Ahaz to ask for a miraculous sign from the heavens but Ahaz refuses to obey God’s Will.  This upsets Isaiah who nonetheless promises a future sign from God.  “The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”

Matthew 1:18-24.  God chooses to become a creature of this earth without losing his divinity to one day redeem us from our sins.  The Creator creates the Redeemer to give us sinners a path to heaven.  In the Incarnation and Nativity God begins his act of salvation of humanity despite the great cost to him but because of his great love for us.  This is the plan of God the Father to whom Jesus is obedient.

Romans 1:1-7.   At the beginning of his letter to the Romans, Paul identifies himself by his relationship to Jesus.  Once again obedience to God’s love for us is central to the person Paul has chosen to be.  He passes on that same call to the gentiles who likewise “are called to belong to Jesus Christ.”  Salvation belongs to all who belong to and are obedient to the Will of God.


4th Sunday of Advent – December 12, 2016

4advA   12/12/16

Isaiah 7:10-14.   God is so much in love with us that he came to be with us (Emmanuel) in the flesh.

Matthew 1:18-24.  This text relates to us how the Son of God became man without losing his divinity.  The Holy Spirit conceived the child Jesus (Savior) in Mary.  God is with us.  Joseph was obedient to God, as was Mary and as was Paul to his calling in the second reading





Romans 1:1-7.   “Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle” to the Gentiles.  In turn, the Gentiles “are called to belong to Jesus Christ;” “to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.”  The proper response to a calling is to be obedient.

Paul brings the good news of Jesus, the Messiah, to the Gentiles.  Jesus descended from David according to the flesh yet at the same time “established in power according to the Spirit of holiness” (divinity).  As the Spirit brought divinity into flesh, so also the Spirit daily brings humanity into holiness/divinity.

3rd Sunday of Advent – December 15, 2019

Adv3A19.  Isaiah 7:10-14.  The book of Isaiah describes the prediction of the Lord that, despite the present destruction and disaster that was enveloping Israel, God would make things well once again.  God will save all those who have sinned against him.  All will be joyful and give glory to God who will make all whole and holy in him.

Matthew 11:2-11.  John 4:12 states: “When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.”  John 4:17 goes on to say: “From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, ’Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Once John is no longer able to practice his ministry, Jesus takes it up but in much deeper way, since Jesus is the Messiah. John from prison questions Jesus if he is the Messiah or not.  Jesus responds that he doing the miraculous works of the Messiah.  Jesus concludes, “And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me,” which I think means that blessed is the one who finds no short coming in me.  The footnote in the New American Bible for John 11:3 states, “The question probably expresses a doubt of the Baptist that Jesus is the one who is to come(cf. Mal 3,1) because his mission has not been one of fiery judgment as John had expected (3,2).”  Jesus goes on to say that John is more important than a prophet because he has the unique task in all of Bible history to prepare for the way of the Messiah.  Nevertheless, John, while he is on this earth and still himself a sinner, subject to the limitations that being a resident of this world puts on us, is not greater than any saint who is already in heaven.

Romans 1:1-7.  This is the beginning of Paul’s letter to the Romans.  He identifies himself as “a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle” to bring the Gospel and “the obedience of faith” to “all the Gentiles.”  He tells the Romans to whom he is writing this letter that they “are called to belong to Jesus Christ,” which is to say “called to be holy.” Jesus enters this world to bring all who accept him to live with him in heaven.

2nd Sunday of Advent – December 8, 2019

Adv2A19.   Isaiah 11:1-10.  The chapter before this in Isaiah describes the destruction and conquest wrought by the Assyrian army over a substantial part of Israel.  God used Assyria to punish his sinful people.  Chapter 11 looks forward to a future time when God will restore his just rule by raising up a ruler from the line of Jesse, David’s father.  The new ruler shall have the spirit of Lord so to make of Israel a new creation, the sinful Israel having been annihilated by the invaders and even the new ruler himself.  Faithful to the Lord, he will be just and gracious as the Lord is just and gracious.  “There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for all the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water cover the sea.” “For his dwelling shall be (so) glorious” that “the Gentiles shall seek (it) out.”

Matthew 3:1-12.   In fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy, “A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths,” “John the Baptist appeared to make the people ready for Jesus.  John said of Jesus, “He will baptize you with Holy Spirit and fire; whereas “I am baptizing you with water” only.  John’ water cleanses whereas Jesus’ fire purifies and refines like gold in a furnace.  As “wheat is gathered into the barn”, he will gather those who are truly repentant of their sins in heaven.  Also as the chaff is burned, in his “coming wrath” so too “he will burn with an unquenchable fire” those who do not repent.  In effect he is telling us also, “Bear good fruit (or we) will be cut down and thrown into the fire” that gets rid of all who are worthless because of sin.

Romans 15:4-9.  Paul commends to his readers the strength and resolution of spirit to face the difficulties of bringing Christ to a world that is so self-centered, materialistic and in denial of eternal truth so to live just for the day and the moment. The Scriptures help us to build that endurance and courage that give us hope that the final victory belongs to those who belong to Christ. To give glory to Jesus and his salvific work requires his followers to think in harmony and be of one accord so to speak with one, unified voice.  What was promised to the patriarchs belongs to all, even the Gentiles.  Jews and Gentiles unite in the Messiah himself.

2nd Sunday of Advent – November 30, 2016

Adv2A  11/30/16

Isaiah 11:1-10   “On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse and from his roots a bud shall blossom, it says in our first reading this Sunday.  The last line reads, “On that day, the root of Jesse set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.” Jesse is David’s father and so represents the Davidic dynasty, which was decimated with the Babylonian Captivity.  However there still remained a stump from which came to be Jesus, the promise of an eternal peace and joy.

Matthew 3:1-12   “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” In other words, get ready to meet Maker and Judge.  You will be judged according to the “good fruit” of God working within you.  John makes it clear that they will not be judged righteous just because they were born Jewish (or us, Catholic).  “Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and throw into the fire.”

“The one who is coming is mightier than I.”  “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance.”  He will baptize you with Holy Spirit and fire,” the fire of an intensity of life in the Lord.

He “will gather wheat into his barn(heaven), but the chaff (those who do not repent) he will burn with unquenchable fire.”(hell)

Romans 15:4-9.   The Scriptures Paul speaks about here are the Old Testament readings which we can interpret to have references to the future Messiah, Jesus.  That is the way, I believe, the first reading is to be understood.  “Think in harmony with one another”   A church that operates harmoniously will be a wonderful symbol of Jesus presence on earth.  Paul writes “Christ became a minister of the circumcised (the Jews) to show God’s truthfulness, to confirm the promises of the patriarchs, but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.”  Jesus is Messiah/Savior of all peoples to the glory of God.