2nd Sunday of Lent – 2020

2nd Sunday of Lent – 2020

2LA20.   Genesis 12:1-4a.   To Abram God says, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you.”  In last week’s reading Adam and Eve had the potential of being the parents of a paradise world but they sinned and brought the great struggle against sin to all of us to be able to regain the paradise of heaven.    From Abram God promised a great nation who will be enabled to lead the world out of sin.  And in later times all peoples would find a great blessing in the Hebrew peoples that God established through Abram.

Matthew 17:1-9.  On top of the high mountain close to God, Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John.  Moses representing the Law and Elijah, the prophets, were there conversing with Jesus.  Peter wished to give high honors to them. Then God the Father spoke from a bright cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  The word ‘listen’ here means, ‘Hear what he has to say, then go and do it.’   The authority of God himself spoke through the cloud.  God was to form a new people from Jesus who is still leading his followers, called Christians, though this world to heaven.  The great power of this mighty event left the apostles prostrate and fearful.  Jesus, who is the essence of peace, said, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”  This vision was probably given to these three apostles to prepare them for the resurrection to come.

Romans 5:1-2, 5-8.   “God saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus.”  We have been given salvation which  we struggle to hold on to every day in Christ because the forces of this world seek to tear it out of our hands.   Jesus calls us to a life that is not of this world.  A life that is without death, eternally filled with the brilliance that is his presence.

2nd Sunday of Lent – 2017

L2A.  Genesis 12:1-4a.  The Lord said to Abram, “I will make of you a great nation.”   “All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you.”  The Hebrew nation is to stand as the only people of God in the midst of all the peoples of the world that truly has God’s blessing on them.  Through them God makes known what a great God he is.  It is through him, and only through him, that blessings flow on to the earth.  He is only true God through whom any real good can come to people on earth.

Matthew 17:1-9.  “And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.”  These Apostles had always seen Jesus as just another human being.  They were locked in, so to speak, to the ways all humans thought and felt.  This experience of Jesus, as resurrected in the glory of his divinity, was to help shock them out of earthly, human thinking and feeling, so to see far beyond anything they could have imagined to get a glimpse into God’s world.  Just as Jesus real death plunged them into the depths of darkness, Jesus’ resurrection would explode them into the sublime magnificence of his divinity.  They were to be totally astounded and awestruck and so should we be!

In Exodus 34:27-35, God speaks to Moses,   “Write down these words, for in accordance with them I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”  “Moses did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the Lord.”  The radiance of Moses‘ face came from his direct meeting with God but Jesus’ radiance came from within because he himself is God.

Moses and Elijah appear speaking to Jesus.  In the first reading from Genesis, what God the Father began through his People and his Prophets, in the New Testament, Jesus was bringing to culmination, since Jesus now is the prime revelation of divinity to humanity.  God the Father attests to this, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well please; listen to him.”  Jesus is the Father’s presence and voice.  God the Father is saying that his words are coming now through God his Son.  In the Old Testament God foretells his intention to raise up the Servant of Lord when he says, “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am well pleased.”(Isaiah 42:1a).

The three Apostles did not understand the significance of what happened on the high mountain; where divinity had come down to communicate with humanity, but later they would get a chance through the work of the Spirit to understand. “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son Man has been raised from the dead.”

2 Timothy1:8b-10.  “He has saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and grace bestowed on us.”  By his grace and according to his plan/Will, he has called us to his holy people, a great nation, a great blessing to all the peoples of the world to bring them likewise to be all God’s holy people, all the people of the world to be his kingdom, his great nation.  There is and continues to be great resistance to our calling but he assures us saying, “Bear your share of hardship for the gospel (the good news that I give to you) with the strength that comes from God.”

Our salvation comes to us through “our savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” of the Cross and Resurrection.  We come to salvation by our daily embrace of the holy life, a life of listening to him and obeying him day after day.  H

e is the God of us, of our lives.


1st Sunday of Lent – Feb. 26, 2023

1LA23.     Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7.    In those times, “In the near East the serpent represented the deity who controls male and female fecundity.  Many women, in Israel and neighboring nations, turned to serpent-cult in order to ensure a fruitful marriage.”  “Hebrew prophecy objected to such sexual practices, claiming that Yahweh alone was the true source of fruitfulness.”  (Guide for the Christian Assembly, III, p. 9)  Consequently, in ancient Judaism, the serpent was not seen as achieving anything good but as the provocateur of evil.  In Genesis 1 everything that God made was good.  Genesis 3 reveals that the source of evil is man’s disobedience to God’s Will when he ate from the tree of which God had forbidden him to eat. (Genesis 3:17)  Before eating of the forbidden fruit, “the man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25)  After eating of the forbidden fruit, “then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked.” (Genesis 3:7a)  At first they lived in total innocence; later in the guilt of their disobedience and no longer having God’s protective presence, they knew shame.

Matthew 4:1-11.  “At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.”  When the devil saw that Jesus was vulnerable because of his hunger after forty days in the desert, the devil took the opportunity to tempt Jesus.  Jesus had recently come from being baptized when the voice that came from the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son.” (Matthew 3:17)  So the devil began his temptation by saying, “If you are the Son of God.” The Holy Spirit was having Jesus baptized now with fire of the devil.  In his humanity the only source of strength Jesus could go to was the Holy Spirit himself who, in fact, gave him the resources he needed to fend off the devil with great effectiveness and grace.  “Then the devil left him and behold, angels came and ministered to him.”  Although the scripture text does not expound on how deeply this experience left Jesus, yet the indications are that it had a terribly wrenching effect on him.  The only other occasion that I can find in which God sent an angel to console and strengthen Jesus in his humanity was in the Agony in the Garden. (Luke 22:43-44)

Romans 5:12-19.  “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous.”  The challenge for us is to join ourselves to the obedience of Jesus and to reject the disobedience of Adam.

1st Sunday of Lent – 2020

1LA20. Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7.   In Genesis One, the first story of creation says: “Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”  Genesis 1:27b & c says: In the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.” The second story of creation says in Genesis 2:7: “The Lord formed man out of the clay of the earth and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.”  After man’s creation, Genesis 2:22 says: “The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man.”  Genesis 1 & 2 relates that what God had made was good.  If everything was good, where did evil come from?  Genesis 3 relates that evil came from the first human beings that God had created, our first parents.  While they were still yet innocent and had not yet disobeyed God, Genesis 2:25 goes on to say: “The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.” After they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, they lost their innocence and “they realized that they were naked.”  While they were innocent, they had no knowledge of evil.  Evil was not available for them to choose. Genesis 3:22 relates: “Then the Lord God said: ‘See! The man has become like one of us, knowing what is good and what is bad’”.  Our innocence was lost.  Now we must struggle to choose between what is truly good and the evil that the devil makes seem more desirable than what is truly good.

Matthew 4:1-11.  Adam was conquered by temptation but Jesus was victorious over temptation.  “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.”  Jesus was both God and man.  As a man he was vulnerable to temptation but in his humanity he had built up such a powerful relationship and union with God the Father through prayer, he became indestructible.  As with any human being, in his humanity he not only grew physically, yet even more importantly, spiritually.  As such Jesus in his humanity is the ideal, perfect model for what our spiritual growth should be.  Jesus taught us to pray: “Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”  He wants us to be fearful of the power of the devil and so live every moment under the protection of our loving Father God. If encountered with a spiritual desire to advance in holiness, temptations force us more and more to live our lives growing every day in God’s grace.

Jesus had just gone through a terrible trial under the strain of forty days in the desert and the temptations.  God the Father recognized that Jesus needed to recover from all that he gone through.  So he sent the angels to minister to him.

Romans 5:12-19.  “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous.” “For if by the transgression of the one, the many died how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.”  Let us all claim our sinfulness so that we may claim Jesus Christ as the one who saves us from our sinfulness.








1st Sunday of Lent – 2017

L1A.  Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7.  The devil wins this round over humanity.  In Adam & Eve, humanity was given a choice by God to be obedient or disobedient to him: the tree of life to remain in a childlike faith & innocence, totally dependent on an all-loving & caring God the Father OR the tree of the knowledge of good and evil so as to live independent of God as a little god dependent on oneself, able to choose good or evil, opening the door to self-destruction and death.

“Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the Lord God had made.” The problem here is that the serpent advocates disobedience to the will of God to Adam & Eve, yet everything  that God made was good.  How did the serpent, though cunning, become evil?”  “It is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.’” “But the serpent said to the woman:  ‘You certainly will not die.’” We think of the serpent as being the devil, as the angel Lucifer who tried to overthrow God and become God himself.  This Scripture does not say that.  Nevertheless, the serpent gets Adam & Eve to acquiesce to the temptation and so they were expelled from the garden in Eden, which God had planted for them.

Matthew 4:1-11.  The devil loses this round against Jesus . “At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.”  This may be why Jesus’ Our Father  Prayer says, “And lead us not into temptation.”  I think that God requires  that we do not remain static in our spiritual life; but demands that, by responding to the challenges of temptation and other difficulties, we are forced to depend more and more on him and to grow to be more fully the holy people he wants us to be.  Jesus is tempted by the devil, after he fasted 40 days and 40 nights, basically to be separated from God and even to reject God as the God over him.  At the end of this Gospel, it says, “Angels came and ministered to him.”  I have wondered if that may meant they gave Jesus the meal he needed to be relieved of his hunger.

Romans 5:12-19.  St. Paul writes, “In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so, through one righteous act, acquittal and life came to all.”  Jesus undid what Adam did.  The obedience of Jesus negates the disobedience of Adam.  Now we have the grace of God to journey passed our sins and consequent death to eternal life as one of the holy ones in heaven.  All we need now is to take advantage of the “gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ” to gain heaven.






7th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Feb. 19, 2023

7A23.   Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18.   “You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.” “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  The Hebrew Law or Torah was concerned with fraternal love so that one does not hurt one’s kin.  However that love was not commanded for everyone but only those who were somehow related or connected to you.

Matthew 5:38-48.   Again Jesus changes the Old Testament Law or Torah as he says, “But I say to you.”  Now Jesus calls upon us to love everyone, just as God loves everyone for whom “he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”  In the Old Testament God gave just Ten Commandments.  Now God commands us to do and obey everything he wants of us.  “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  This means we are to be in his image and likeness as God created us to be, holy as he is holy, love as he is love.  (Genesis1:26-27)  God the Father wants his child to the person he created us to be, what he had in mind for us when he first thought of us.  God the Father wants to be proud of how well, with his aid, we have turned out when we stand before him at the end of our life before the pearly gates.

1 Corinthians 3:16-23.  “You are the temple of God” because “the Spirit of God dwells within you.”  By our Baptism, the Holy Spirit dwells within us.  The God who died on the cross for us because he loved us so deeply and dearly loves us so very much that he lives within us.  Let us embrace the God who embraces us.  Let us belong to the God who wishes to belong to us, if we but open ourselves to him.  This world endlessly and at times overwhelmingly tempts us to belong to it.  The immediacy and strength of the physical presence of this world often dominates us so that we can lose sight of the God who is the foundation of goodness and eternal love.  However, everything that is not of God is worthless, if not, in the end, destructive.


7th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2020

7A20.    Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18.  The Lord commands Moses to tell the whole Israelite community: “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.”  Clearly God is telling his people to be as he is, holy and pure; not living as just another animal of this world but as a people close and dear to God, as his own.  In Genesis 1:26, “Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our own likeness.  Let them have dominion over” all the animals of this earth.  We are to live in his image and not in the image of the other creatures of this earth.  God in his holiness bears no hatred, grudge, nor revenge.  We must do as God does, because we have been made in his image and likeness.

Matthew 5:38-48.   God never says, “Do evil to those who do you evil.”  God never does anything evil; we do it to one another or the devil does it. In Genesis in its narrative of the creation, after God has done his work of creation we read: “God saw how good it was.”  In chapter 3 & 4 of Genesis we read that evil came into this world by what was done by Adam & Eve and then by Cain.

Jesus said, “Offer no resistance to one who is evil.” However, Jesus clearly resisted the temptations of the devil in the desert.  At Nazareth when the people became infuriated with him and brought him “to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him headlong, he passed through the midst of them and went away.” (Mark 4:29b-30)  Again Jesus resisted their evil intent.  My understanding of what Jesus meant by “offer no resistance” is that there are occasions when things work out better when one offers no resistance and so we do not offer resistance.  The best example of that is when Jesus did not resist his arrest by the band of soldiers and guards that Judas brought into the garden of Gethsemane because he (Jesus) had been brought into this world to offer himself up as a sacrifice for the redemption of our sins.  Jesus said, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  God is infinitely perfect.  In our humanness we have a limited capacity to accomplish what is good.  If we are called to our judgment when we are on the life’s road doing our best in God’s eyes, all will go well.  The measure of the goodness to which we are called is God and God alone.  God’s love embraces us to be holy as he is holy.

1 Corinthians 3:16-23.    “Brothers and Sisters: Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.”  By our baptism the Holy Spirit dwells in us and works with us to create that truly holy person that is to be a child of God made in his image and likeness. The Holy Spirit enables us to share in God’s holiness.  Remember that only saints are permitted in heaven.  It is our life’s work and goal to become saints by achieving holiness through uniting our life to the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2017

7A   Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18.  “Be holy, for I, Lord your God, am holy.”  What does that mean for us?  Later God says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Who is it that commands this of us?  “I am the Lord,” your God who is master over you.  What does it mean to love.  “You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.”  “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge.”

Matthew 5:38-48.  No longer “an eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth,” “offer no resistance to one who is evil.” Not only that but indulge and cooperate with the one strikes you, or wants your tunic or your service or to borrow from you.  Should we understand all this in strict sense?  In the Gospel for Monday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time (Mark 8:11-13), the Pharisees demand a sign (miracle) from heaven from Jesus.  He responds, “No sign will be given to this generation.”  The next day’s Book of Genesis reading (6:5-8, 7:1-5, 10) says, “When the Lord saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth,” God sends the flood to destroy those evil people, except for Noah who is not evil.  Obviously, Jesus’ words should not be taken literally but as examples of how far God’s love is willing to go, given the proper and appropriate situation and circumstance.  This gospel ends with, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  This means that God is perfect according to his capacity to be perfect which is infinite and we are to perfect according to our capacity to be perfect which is, in contrast, finite.  As God is, so should we be.  His is our Father; we are his children, maturing more and more each day to grow in his image and likeness as we were first made to be (Genesis 1:26-27).


1 Corinthians 3:16-23.  Paul writes, “Brothers and Sisters (in Christ): Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells within you?”  We are no longer simply human but God lives in us and raises us above what is merely human by his power.  Do not think you are wise, if you belong to what is of this world.  “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.”  Everything that is good and wise belongs to God and to those who belong to God.  “All belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God.” In the Parable of the Lost or Prodigal Son, the father says to the elder (older) son, “Everything I have is yours.” (Luke 15:31b)  This is what Our Father says to us.  Since we have it all because we are temples of God, it makes no sense to seek anything from a world that has nothing.

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Feb. 12, 2023

6A23.    Sirach 15:15-20.     “Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him.”  Every day is given us the opportunity to come closer to our loving God who loves us dearly, or to go our own way.  “If you trust in God, you too shall live.”  If we trust in anything or anyone else, we shall destroy our hope for the future.

Matthew 5:17-37.  Jesus said, “I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”  Jesus said in Mark 1:15, “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent and believe in the gospel.”  God gave the Law or Torah to the Hebrew People to give them a share in his divine life.  What was initiated in the Old Testament times is brought to fulfillment or to the establishment of the spiritual kingdom of God in this world in which we accept God as the God of our lives and so come to possess the life that only God can give us.  In this Sunday’s gospel Jesus goes on to enlarge upon, amplify, and further develop certain prescriptions in the Torah or Law of Moses.  He claims the divine authority to enhance the Torah, which originally came through divine inspiration, when he says four times, “But I say to you.”  What is in common with the four enlargements Jesus makes on the Torah is that he demands that, not only what we do externally but who we are internally, is in accord with the mind of God.  As God is love, Jesus commands that we likewise be love in the fullness of our being.

1 Corinthians 2:6-10.   “We speak God’s wisdom,” “not a wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away.”  This wisdom “God has revealed to us through the Spirit.”   When Peter said to Jesus, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God, Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.”  (Matthew 16:16-17)  Knowledge or understanding of spiritual things comes to us from God and not from human sources.  Jesus, God made man, revealed to us and continues to reveal to us through the Holy Spirit how God thinks so that we may truly be children of God, our Father.

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2020

6A20.   Sirach 15:15-20.   Life is at once a spectacular gift and a threatening challenge.  Choose well and live an unimaginably wonderful eternal life; choose poorly and experience a hell beyond any words or nightmares. “Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him.”  God “is mighty in power, and all-seeing.”  “He understands man’s every deed.” God is love.  If we reject God, we reject love and shall live forever an existence that is utterly loveless.

Matthew 5:17-37.   Matthew’s chapter 5 is written to contrast the Mosaic law-filled covenant of the Old Testament with the Christ-filled covenant of the New Testament.  What the Torah or Law commanded is surpassed and fulfilled by the requirements of a life in the Holy Spirit.  Matthew’s chapter 5 finishes with the new command that summarizes the whole chapter: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  In Matthew 5:17b-18, Jesus says, “I have not come to abolish but to fulfill.  Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.”  Through his crucifixion, resurrection and kingship in heaven, all things have taken place and the purpose of the former law to make us holy has been fulfilled.  We read in Hebrews 5:7a, 8-9, “In the days when he was in the flesh, Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”  The law of the Old Testament is rendered useless because now all salvation comes through Jesus and no longer through the law.  Jesus said in Matthew 28:18b, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”

1 Corinthians 2:6-10.   The all-knowing God has a wisdom that is beyond anything that this world can fathom.  God uses his wisdom to work together with his love for us so that we will one day be brought to share in his divine glory.  From Isaiah 64:3 Paul takes: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,” that what “this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.”  So great is God’s love that he wished to share it with those who would freely choose to love him more than anything else and despite the fact that we had other seductive choices.  To love God and his will with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and all our strength (Mark 12:30) is to embrace God’s eternal love for us.