Sunday, November 30, 2014

Homily for Today


"You also must be ready!" [Mt. 24:44] Ready for what? For the coming of the Lord Jesus. Today, we are celebrating the First Sunday of Advent. Did you know that the word "Advent" means "coming?" Because the First Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a time of prayer and fasting in preparation for the coming of the Lord, it is placed as the first Sunday of the Liturgical Calendar. Today marks the First Sunday of cycle A of the Liturgical Year.

What "coming" are we preparing ourselves for during the Advent Season? We are preparing ourselves for the coming of the Lord Jesus in three ways:

(1) First of all, we are preparing ourselves for the coming of the Lord as the Judge, either at death or at the end of this world, whichever may come first.

(2) Secondly, we are preparing ourselves to receive the physical presence of our Redeemer through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

(3) Thirdly, we are preparing ourselves for the coming of Christmas, the birthday anniversary of the Lord's coming into this world as God incarnate.

Today's First Reading from the Book of Isaiah [Is. 2:1-5] was a prophecy of the incarnation of the Lord God through Jesus Christ. Isaiah 2:2 states, "In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it."

The Jerome Biblical Commentary (page 268, 9.2) tells us that "the idea of the mountain of God as the goal of all nations is a very ancient one. The precise reference is to the northern part of the eastern hill of Jerusalem. This location was developed extensively during the reign of Solomon."

Isaiah 2:3 continues, "Many peoples shall come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."

The mountain of God as a place of worship is mentioned in the Gospel of John where the Samaritan woman said to Jesus, "Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem." [Jn. 4:20] Why Jerusalem? Because it is the city that Jesus triumphantly entered to be crowned as King. [Mt. 21:1-11; Mk. 11:1-11; Lk. 19:28-30; Jn. 12:12-19] It is where Jesus, the Word of God, [Jn. 1:15] spent His last days before He was crucified. It is where Jesus, until the day when He was taken up to Heaven, gave instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he Had chosen. [Acts 1:2] It is the city that Jesus ordered the apostles not to leave, but wait there for the promise of the Father. [Acts 1:4]

Jerusalem, the root of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, became the center of "instruction" for all the nations.

The reading from the Book of Isaiah continued, "He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." [Is. 1:4]

Through Jerusalem, salvation came to the world. Through Jerusalem came the meaning of true love. Through Jerusalem came the fulfillment of everlasting justice and peace of the Kingdom of God. Consequently, we can now truly say, "let us walk in the light of the Lord!" [Is. 2:5]

Today's Second Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans [Rom. 13:11-4] reminds us that salvation is nearer to us now. No matter how we look at it, each day is a day closer to the day when we will come face to face with the Lord Jesus. This encounter may involve the return of Christ to judge the world and to gather His elect for their final reward. Or it may involve the day when our souls will suddenly be called to depart from this world. As recent world events have shown us, be it New York, Washington or through anthrax, we never know when the Lord God will call us.

St. Paul reminds us of that fact through his words. "You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." [Rom. 13:11-4]

Yesterday, we were one day further from our face to face encounter with the Lord God. Last year, we were one year further from our face to face encounter with the Lord God. When we were baptized, we were quite a distance away from our face to face encounter with God. But now, the days are running short. Not knowing when we will come face to face with God, can we afford to live in sin and lose our souls? Certainly not! It is better to put on the armour of light and to walk in Christlikeness so we may inherit the Kingdom of God that awaits those who persevere in their living faith until the end.

As we heard during today's Gospel Reading, [Mt. 24:37-44] "Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming." [Mt. 24:42] In the midst of violence, suffering, injustice, persecution, indifference, Jesus, the messenger of peace, tells us to be vigilant.

The day on which the Son Man shall come, it shall be a day like in the days of Noah. [Mt. 24:37] The people will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the last minute. [Mt. 24:38] Nobody will know when the Lord shall return... for many it shall be too late. Acquaintances and families will be separated; some will be saved, others will be lost.

If all knew how close the day of the Lord is, surely, they would have all be living holy lives in fear of the punishment that awaits the unfaithful. But this is not the case. Look around! Can it be said that all are ready? Can it be said that all are in a state of grace? Can it be said that all have recently received the Sacrament of Confession? Can it be said that all obey the first precept of the Church and participate in the celebration of the Holy Mass on Sundays and holy days?

We do not know what will come first. Will it be Christmas Day to commemorate the coming of God through the incarnation of Jesus Christ? Will some of us die tonight in our sleep? Or will Jesus return tomorrow, that day being the last day of the world? Not knowing, "therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour." [Mt. 24:44]

First Sunday of Advent Lectionary: 2

Reading 1IS 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7

You, LORD, are our father,
our redeemer you are named forever.
Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways,
and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your heritage.
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
with the mountains quaking before you,
while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for,
such as they had not heard of from of old.
No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you
doing such deeds for those who wait for him.
Would that you might meet us doing right,
that we were mindful of you in our ways!
Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful;
all of us have become like unclean people,
all our good deeds are like polluted rags;
we have all withered like leaves,
and our guilt carries us away like the wind.
There is none who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to cling to you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and have delivered us up to our guilt.
Yet, O LORD, you are our father;
we are the clay and you the potter:
we are all the work of your hands.

Responsorial Psalm PS 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19

R/ (4) Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
from your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power,
and come to save us.
R/ Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R/ Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
R/ Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

Reading 21 COR 1:3-9

Brothers and sisters:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always on your account
for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus,
that in him you were enriched in every way,
with all discourse and all knowledge,
as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will keep you firm to the end,
irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful,
and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

AlleluiaPS 85:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Show us Lord, your love;
and grant us your salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore;
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

Prayers for Today

"Lord Jesus, awaken my heart and mind to receive your word and to prepare for your coming again. Free me from complacency, from the grip of sin and worldliness, and from attachments to things which pass away. May I always be eager to receive your word and be ready to meet you when you came again."


Lord Jesus, I all too easily forget that you deserve the first spot in my life. In this moment, though, I recognize you as my King and Master. I know you are present with me now and that you wish to fill me with your grace. Thank you for your friendship; I offer my weak love in return. I love you, Lord, and wish you to reign in my life.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Homily for Today


"God highly exalted Him and gave Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bend, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." [Phil. 2:9-11]

Welcome everyone to today's celebration of the Holy Mass. Today, by the grace of the heavenly Father and the power of the Holy Spirit, we have been called and moved to celebrate the very special Feast of Christ the King. Although Christ has always been recognized by the Holy, Catholic and apostolic Church as the King of kings, the Feast of "Christ the King" did not receive its official recognition until its institution in 1925 by Pope Pius XI.

Reviewing the kingship of the Lord, the title of King goes back quite far in biblical history. The first mention of a king in the Holy Bible is in the Book of Genesis. About 1,500 B.C., King Bela, the son of Beor, reigned in the city of Dinhabah, the capital of Edom. He was one of the many kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king ever reigned over God's chosen people, the Israelites. [Gen. 36:31]

Biblical history tells us that God chose a people to be His own, starting with Abraham, and going down through his many generations. Unofficially, God was the King of the Israelites, although the word King was not used early in time.

Then came the days of Samuel when his sons were appointed as judges over Israel. They did not follow the ways of their father, turning aside after gain, taking bribes and perverting justice. [1 Sam. 8:3] Because of this, the elders of the Isrealite people, God's chosen nation, approached Samuel, asking him to appoint a king over them. [1 Sam. 8:5]

God was very offended by this. In His own words, He said, "Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them." [1 Sam. 8:7] This is where we first learn that our One and true God is the Supreme King over all the people.

When the elders asked for a king of their own, God gave a message to Samuel regarding the consequences of having a worldly king. When Samuel related God's message to the people, [1 Sam. 8:10-7] the elders persisted that they should have a king over them like the other surrounding nations [1 Sam. 8:20] that were not of God's people.

Consequently, God informed Samuel to proceed and give the Isrealite people their first king. As commanded by God, Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of God's chosen people. [1 Sam. 10:1]

The reign of kings for God's people continued for about one thousand years until such time as the Israelites were taken into captivity. During their suffering, the Israelites never gave up hope that one day, God's promise would be fulfilled - He would give them a King who would rule over them for eternity.

During today's First Reading from the Book of Ezekiel, [Ezek. 34:11-12, 15-17] we heard of God's promise that He Himself would come as the Shepherd of His sheep to seek them out and rescue them from where they have been scattered. In this passage, we perceive the unforgotten love of a King who takes care of His subjects.

God said, "I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed my sheep with justice." [Ezek. 34:16] Here, we see the justice of the Eternal King who had yet to be proclaimed as the King of kings.

The Book of Zechariah prepared the closing of the age of the Old Testament. God said, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king come to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." [Zech. 9:9]

The last Book of the Old Testament, the Book of Melachi states, "See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple." [Mal. 3:1]

As Biblical history tells us, John the Baptist was sent as the messenger of God to prepare the way for the Lord. A week before His crucifixion, Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem at which time He was proclaimed as the promised King. [Mt. 21:1-11; Mk. 11:1-11; Lk. 19:28-40; Jn. 12:12-9] Jerusalem is the City of the Great King. [Mt. 5:35]

To fulfill God the Father's promises that are found in the Old Testament, Jesus, in who all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell bodily, [Col. 1:19, 2:9] was sent by the Heavenly Father and was proclaimed in Jerusalem as the eternal King.

During His ministry on earth, Jesus preached that the Kingdom of God was at hand. [Mt. 4:17] He said that His Kingdom was not of this world. [Jn. 18:36] "Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God was coming, and He answered, 'The Kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is! For, in fact, the Kingdom of God is among you.'" [Lk. 17:20-1]

On another ocassion, Jesus said, "If it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the Kingdom of God has come to you." [Lk. 11:20; Mt. 12:28] Speaking to the crowd and His disciples, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come with power." [Mk. 9:1]

All these Bible passages tell us that the Kingdom of God is now here, having arrived on earth. It is not a physical Kingdom, but rather a spiritual Kingdom that is manifested visibly through the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

During today's Second Reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians, [1 Cor. 15:20-26, 28] we heard that Christ was raised from the dead as the first fruits of those who have died. One day, all those who have walked their living faith in Christ will resurrect from the dead to receive their salvation and to be glorified in Christ.

To walk one's living faith means to believe in Jesus Christ as one's Saviour, to be baptized, to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the remission of sins and to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the Living Bread, as one's assurance of salvation. All of these are necessary during our sanctification by the grace of God the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit in the Most Holy Name of Jesus, Christ the King.

At present, Christ is reigning as our King, gradually destroying every ruler, authority and power of Satan that has overtaken this world through the sin of Adam. He will reign until such time until He has put all His enemies under His foot, destroying every last one to death.

By this, it is meant that the number of those who are born again [Jn. 3:3, 5, 7; 1 Jn. 4:7, 5:1, 4] in Christ as new creations [1 Jn. 3:9, 5:18] shall increase tremendously. The believers will all have received their gift of the promised new heart and human spirit, [Ezek. 11:19-20; 18:31] over and above the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. [Ezek. 36:26-7] The number of the born again Christians, God's chosen people who form the invisible Kingdom of God on earth, the Mystical Body of Christ that is made visible through the Holy Catholic Church, shall increase to such an extent that the number of Satan's followers will have become minimal, they being destroyed.

This is the spiritual work that Christ, our King, the King of kings, is presently doing on earth by the grace of God the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit. All this is being done so that in the end, Christ the King shall hand over the Kingdom to God the Father, all being subjected to God so that God may be all in all.

Today's Reading from the Gospel of Matthew [Mt. 25:31-46] discloses to us what will happen just before all of this is accomplished. Jesus will come in His glory with all the angels. He will sit on the Throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate the sheep from the goats, the sheep at His right and the goats at His left.

To the sheep, those who have persevered in their living faith until the end, Jesus will say, come, you that are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For when I was hungry, you gave Me food. When I was thirsty, you gave Me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed Me. When I was naked, you gave Me clothing. When I was sick, you took care of Me. When I was in prison, you visited Me. For as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to Me.

To the goats on His left, He will say, you that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire 0prepared for the devil and his angels. When I was hungry, you did not feed Me. When I was thirsty, you gave Me nothing to drink. Etc...

Today's Gospel echoes the eternal Divine love and justice of our beloved King. He will show His eternal love to those who have shown love in this world. He will show His eternal justice against those who have failed to live a righteous life. Divine justice shall favour those who have been persecuted because of their living faith in Christ.

As we reflect on all the goodness of God that we have received by the grace of God the Father through Christ the King, our calling, our living faith, our Baptism, our new heart and human spirit, the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Holy Church Sacraments, the fruit of the Spirit that shine through us, let us give thanks to Christ the King for showing us the way to His eternal Kingdom. For without the abundant blessings of our most generous King, we could never attain salvation on our own. Praise be Christ the King!

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe Lectionary: 160

Reading 1EZ 34:11-12, 15-17

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep. 
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark. 
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD. 
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.

As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD,
I will judge between one sheep and another,
between rams and goats.

Responsorial Psalm PS 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6

R/ (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name's sake.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Reading 21 COR 15:20-26, 28

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power. 
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
When everything is subjected to him,
then the Son himself will also be subjected
to the one who subjected everything to him,
so that God may be all in all.

Gospel MT 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him. 
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. 
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink? 
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you? 
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
'Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life."

A Prayer for Today

Dear Lord Jesus, I have specific requests that may only partially fill the infinite needs and desires that are in my heart. I ask that You answer me not only for those requests but also for a greater reliance on You to satisfy the needs and desires that You have given me. 

Please grant the prayers of all those who prayed this novena with me. Bless them with Your love and make them holy!

May I seek You with a sincere heart knowing that it will profit me nothing if I gain the whole world yet lose my soul. 

So, help me to see Your good and gracious purpose in all my trials. Help me to see Your blessings in every day and help me to love You more. 

Thank You for everything, Lord Jesus! 

Amen.

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King of the Universe

Presence of God– O Jesus, Prince of Ages, King of Nations, be the sole Ruler of my mind and heart.
MEDITATION
The liturgy today is truly a triumphant hymn celebrating the Kingship of Christ. From the First Vespers of the Feast, the figure of Jesus is majestically portrayed, seated on a royal throne and dominating the entire world; “His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and all kings shall serve and obey Him…. He shall sit and rule and shall speak peace unto the nations.”
The Mass opens with the apocalyptic vision of this extraordinary King whose majesty is intimately linked to His immolation for the salvation of souls…. “The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honor. To Him belong glory and power forever and ever” (Introit).
In the Epistle (Col 1:12-20) St. Paul enumerates the titles which make Christ King of all kings: He is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature; for in Him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.” These titles belong to Jesus Christ inasmuch as He is God, perfect image of the Father, exemplary cause of all earthly and heavenly creatures and, at the same time, Creator, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, of all that exists, for nothing has existence without Him, but “all things were created by Him and in Him … by Him all things consist.”
Then come His titles to Kingship as Man: “He is the Head of the Mystical Body, the Church…. Through Him [God] … reconciled all things unto Himself, making peace through the Blood of His Cross.” He, who is already our King by reason of His divinity, is also King through His Incarnation, which has constituted Him the Head of all humanity, and through His Passion, by which at the price of His Blood He has regained our souls, which already belonged to Him as His creatures.
Jesus is our King in the full sense of the word: He has created us, redeemed us, vivified us by His grace, He nourishes us with His Flesh and Blood, He governs us with love, and by love He draws us to Himself. In the face of such considerations, the cry of St. Paul rises spontaneously from our heart: “Giving thanks to God the Father … who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption … the remission of sins.”
COLLOQUY
“You, my God, are an eternal King, and Yours is no borrowed kingdom…. When the Credo says: ‘of Your Kingdom there shall be no end’ this phrase nearly always makes me feel particularly happy. Yes, I praise You, Lord, and bless You, for Your Kingdom will endure forever” (Teresa of JesusWay of Perfection, 22).
ChristTheKing“O divine King, most amiable Jesus, my Redeemer, my Savior, my Spouse, my Master and model, I renew today the total consecration of my being to You, begging You to take absolute dominion over me. Be my Sovereign, my Ruler, my Guide. Direct and govern me entirely, so that everything may turn to Your greater glory. Be King of my memory, of my intellect, of my will, of my emotions; I wish all to be completely subject to You and I invite You to reign in me.
“Your Kingdom is a kingdom of Truth, of Love, of Justice and of Peace.
“Grant that Your reign of Truth may be established in my mind, destroying all error, deceit and illusion. Enlighten me by Your divine Wisdom.
“Grant that Your reign of Love may be completely established in my will, to move it, draw it, and direct it always, so that I may no longer be moved by self-love, or by creatures but by Your Holy Spirit alone. Make this weak, mean, rebellious will of mine strong, generous, constant; make it grow stronger by the persevering exercise of virtue, and by the gifts of Your Spirit.
“Grant that Your reign of Justice may be established in all my actions, so that all I do, having this characteristic, may be a work of holiness, accomplished with purity of intention and with the greatest fidelity in order to give You pleasure and accomplish Your holy will.
“Grant that Your reign of Peace may be established, not only in my soul but also in my sensibility, so that, in harmony with the superior part of my soul, it may give You glory and neither retard me nor be an obstacle to union with You” (Sr. Carmela of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.).


Read more: http://spiritualdirection.com/2014/11/23/solemnity-our-lord-jesus-christ-the-king-of-universe#ixzz3Jt22x64X

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Example – not words – transmits faith to youth, Pope Francis says

By Ann Schneible
 
.- Addressing the children who filled the chapel at the Santa Marta residence on Nov. 14, Pope Francis said that – in an age dominated by images and cellphones – the faithful must rely on example, rather than words, to transmit the faith to young ones.

As he looked out onto the young congregation comprised predominantly of children from a Roman parish, Pope said it was as though he was looking at “a promise,” and at “the world that will be.” With this in mind, he asked: “what do we leave” these children, who are our future?

He then asked if children are taught “to walk in love and in truth,” or if we merely “teach them with words,” while “our lives take another direction?”

“It is our responsibility to look out for children!” the Pope said, stressing that these “little plants” cannot be ignored.

Pope Francis challenged the faithful as to their attitude toward children. He asked if it is like that of a sibling or parent, which helps them grow, or if it is “detached”: “They grow, I have my own life.”

“We all have a responsibility to give the best that we have” to children, “and the best that we have is the faith,” the Pope said. However, this transmission of the faith must be accompanied by example. “In this world of images” and cell phones, he said, words are not enough. Rather: “Example! Example! What do I give them?”

Pope Francis then engaged the young people in the congregation in a question and answer session, in which he asked them about the Sacraments they had received.

“In these Sacraments – I ask you – is prayer a Sacrament?” After receiving an enthusiastic “no!” the Pope said “That is correct, no! Prayer is not a Sacrament, but we must pray... pray to the Lord, pray to Jesus, Pray to Our Lady, because they help us in this journey of truth and love.”

Reminding the children as to why they came to Mass, he said: “You have come to see me... It is true. But also to see Jesus. Right? Or do we leave Jesus out?”

“Now, Jesus comes upon the Altar, and we will all see Him! It is Jesus!” He reminded the children – and invited them to repeat the prayer – to ask Jesus to teach them “to walk in truth and love.”

Homily


Unto us it is given so we may blossom in Jesus! Good morning to everyone and welcome to our guests who have found their way to our humble Church so that they may share their living faith with us. It is always a joy to all of us to see new faces in our parish community.

Today's readings echo a wise message of spiritual investments. The good Lord Jesus invested in us, His chosen children. He expects to reap something in return. Anyone who is involved in business knows that money management stresses the importance of getting something in return from your original investment. If the business cannot show a profit, it is a loser. And losers are dumped in favour of better business opportunities that promise profits.

The First Reading from the Book of Proverbs [Prov. 31:10-13, 16-18, 20, 26, 28-31] spoke of a very productive wife that bears fruit in all things. She never sits idle, using every opportunity presented to her to increase the family wealth. Because of her qualities, she is far more precious than jewels.

This capable wife is trustworthy. The husband can count on her to be faithful and productive for the betterment of the home. She is not afraid to learn how to sew and make clothing for the members of the family in order to save money.

From the money that she managed to save, she invests in land. There, she plants a garden in hope of selling the fruits of the seeds that she plants. Not counting the hours that come and go, night and day, she works long hours.

While tending to the worldly needs of the family, she also tends to her spiritual needs and the needs of others. She gives generously to those in need. To those seeking comfort, she speaks gentle words, only wisdom coming from her mouth. She is never idle, having no time for foolishness and gossip.

Her children, well raised in values and the ways of the Lord, show appreciation, thanking her and praising her for being such a happy and wonderful mother. Even her husband recognizes the treasure that he has in his possession, the best of the best.

From each of the characters in this reading, there is something for us to learn. In a way, this wonderful woman is a picture of what we should be, always being fruitful in our ways. The children and the husband are also pictures to us, telling us that we should be thankful to the Lord for all that He has provided for us, praising Him in all things. As the woman is more precious than jewels in the eyes of her family, we are called to be more precious than jewels in the eyes of the Lord.

The Second Reading from the Letter to the Thessalonians [1 Thess. 5:1-6] tells us that since we are children of the light and children of the day, we should not worry about when the Lord shall return. It is sufficient for us to know that when the Lord does suddenly come as a thief in the night, either through His Second and final Coming on Judgment Day or when we are individually called to appear before Him at death, which ever comes first, we will be ready.

According to the promise that we have made when we have received the Sacrament of Baptism, we strive to walk in our living faith. We strive to be like the wife that was just described during the First Reading.

Today's Reading from the Gospel of Matthew [Mt. 24:36, 25:14-30] involved two stories. The first reminded us of the necessity to be watchful at all time. The second, the Parable of the Talents, informed us as to why we must persevere in our living faith, why we must be fruitful in all our thoughts, our words and our actions.

The man who was going on a journey and who summoned his slaves is a picture of Jesus. As the man entrusted his slaves with some talents, the Lord Jesus also entrusted us with spiritual gifts that have been bestowed upon us through the Holy Spirit. Through the Blood of Christ, we received the opportunity to become children of God. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we became new creations, having received a new heart. To protect and strengthen our new creation, we received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Catholic Church that has been entrusted with the apostolic authority, we received the Sacrament of Reconciliation to maintain our souls in an ongoing state of grace. Through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we receive the Living Bread that gives life to our souls. All of these are necessary for our salvation.

As the man expected his slaves to invest the talents that he had entrusted them with in order to be fruitful, the Lord Jesus also expects us to be fruitful. He expects us to appreciate all of the gifts that have just been aforementioned, not only appreciate them but also use them to their greatest potential.

Having received the Holy Spirit, we are expected to grow in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We are expected to shine as lights in the world, to shine in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. [Gal. 5:22-3] These are the fruit that the capable wife displayed in the First Reading.

> We are expected to love God first with our whole being, above everyone and everything, even above our parents, our spouse and our children. Then, we are expected to love others as we love ourselves. Through these fruit of the Spirit, we become productive, giving in return to the Lord. Our personal efforts and growth to mature spiritually in Christ are the end result that the Lord seeks from us.

To those who persevere in their living faith, when the moment comes for them to appear before the Lord, He will say, "Well done, good and trustworthy child; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master."

To those who are wicked and lazy, having neglected their salvation, the Lord will say, "Take away from them the gifts that they have received. Throw them into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

The wicked and the lazy, they will be stripped of their new creations, their new hearts that have became dull and their talents that they have not nourished in order for them to blossom. They will not be stripped of the Holy Spirit because He will have already departed from them. For the Holy Spirit does not dwell within those who live in sin.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, let us consider ourselves very privileged by the grace of God to be aware of the danger that befalls those who neglect their gifts. Let us always be thankful to the Lord for the gift of the Holy Scriptures that remind us from time to time of the reward that awaits those who persevere in their living faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. For it is through Christ that we have our assurance that we will not be counted among those who have failed to acknowledge the spiritual gifts that they have received through the goodness of the Almighty Lord God.

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 prv 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

When one finds a worthy wife,
her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,
has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,
all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax
and works with loving hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;
the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Responsorial Psalm ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5

R/ (cf. 1a) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R/ Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.
R/ Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R/ Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Reading 2 1 thes 5:1-6

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters,
you have no need for anything to be written to you.
For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come
like a thief at night.
When people are saying, "Peace and security, "
then sudden disaster comes upon them,
like labor pains upon a pregnant woman,
and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness,
for that day to overtake you like a thief.
For all of you are children of the light
and children of the day.
We are not of the night or of darkness.
Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do,
but let us stay alert and sober.

Gospel mt 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master's money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
'Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
'Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.'
His master said to him in reply, 'You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'"

or mt 25:14-15, 19-21

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master's joy.'"

Some Prayers for This Morning

"Lord Jesus, be the ruler of my heart and thoughts, be the king of my home and relationships, and be the master of my work and service. Help me to make good use of the gifts, talents, time, and resources you give me for your glory and your kingdom."

 

Lord Jesus, I know that you don’t want me to live my life in fear. Only one type of fear is legitimate: the fear of losing you. Because I know you will never leave me, I am not afraid of this either. I know that I can lose you only if I leave you. Jesus, I place my hope in you and offer you all my love.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Homily for Today

Welcome friends of Jesus to today's celebration of the Holy Mass that commemorates the Dedication of Saint John Lateran. What is the Dedication of St. John Lateran? This Feast commemorates the oldest and principal Cathedral in the Diocese of Rome. The St John Lateran Cathedral ranks first among the four great "patriarchal" Basilicas of Rome.

In ancient times, the land on which the Cathedral now stands was occupied by the palace of the family of the Laterani. A member of this family, P. Sextius Lateranus, was the first plebian to attain the rank of consul. In the time of Nero, another member of the family, Plautius Lateranus, at the time consul designatus was accused of conspiracy against the emperor, and his goods were confiscated. The writer Juvenal mentions the palace, and speaks of it as being of some magnificence, "regiæ ædes Lateranorum". A few remains of the original buildings may still be traced in the city walls outside the Gate of St. John, and a large hall decorated with paintings was uncovered in the eighteenth century within the Basilica itself, behind the Lancellotti Chapel. A few traces of older buildings also came to light during the excavations made in 1880, when the work of extending the apse was in progress, but nothing was then discovered of real value or importance. The palace came eventually into the hands of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, through his wife Fausta, and it is from her that it derived the name by which it was then sometimes called, "Domus Faustæ". Constantine must have given it to the Church in the time of Miltiades, not later than about 311, for we find a council against the Donatists meeting within its walls as early as 313. From that time onwards it was always the centre of Christian life within the city; the residence of the popes and the Cathedral of Rome. The latter distinction it still holds, though it has long lost the former. Hence the proud title which may be read upon its walls, that it is "Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater, et caput".

It seems probable, in spite of the tradition that Constantine helped in the work of building with his own hands, that there was not a new Basilica erected at the Lateran, but that the work carried out at this period was limited to the adaptation, which perhaps involved the enlargement, of the already existing basilica or great hall of the palace. The words of St. Jerome "basilica quondam Laterani" (Ep. lxxiii, P.L., XXII, col. 692) seem to point in this direction, and it is also probable on other grounds. This original church was probably not of very large dimensions, but we have no reliable information on the subject. It was dedicated to the Saviour, "Basilica Salvatoris", the dedication to St. John being of later date, and due to a Benedictine monastery of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist which adjoined the basilica and where members were charged at one period with the duty of maintaining the services in the church. This later dedication to St. John has now in popular usage altogether superseded the original one. A great many donations from the popes and other benefactors to the Basilica are recorded in the "Liber Pontificalis", and its splendour at an early period was such that it became known as the "Basilica Aurea", or Golden Church. This splendour drew upon it the attack of the Vandals, who stripped it of all its treasures. St. Leo the Great restored it about 460, and it was again restored by Hadrian I, but in 896 it was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake ("ab altari usque ad portas cecidit"). The damage was so extensive that it was difficult to trace in every case the lines of the old building, but these were in the main respected and the new building was of the same dimensions as the old. This second church lasted for four hundred years and was then burnt down. It was rebuilt by Clement V and John XXII, only to be burnt down once more in 1360, but again rebuilt by Urban V. (Source: Catholic Encyclopedia) Such is a brief history of today's celebration.

Today's First Reading from the Book of Ezekiel [Ez. 47:1-2, 8-9, 12] in the Old Testament spoke of the stream of life giving water. Its messages was, "I saw water flowing from the temple and all to whom that water came were saved."

The prophetic nature of the stream of life giving water is found in other Biblical passage. For example, in the Book of Joel, we read, "In that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, the hills shall flow with milk, and all the stream beds of Judah shall flow with water; a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the Wadi Shittim. ("Valley of Shittim.") [Joel 3:18]. In the Book of Zechariah, we read, "On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea; it shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will become king over all the earth; on that day the Lord will be one and His name one." [Zech. 14:8-9]

In Psalm thirty-six, we read, "They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light." [Ps. 36:8-9] Finally, in the Book of Revelation, we read, "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb." [Rev. 22:1]

First of all, the flowing water suggests the streams of life that once came out of the Garden of Eden [Gen. 2:10-14]. As a consequence of Adam's disobedience and sin entering the world, the flow of this water stopped.

Secondly, the flowing water suggests the life saving water that flowed from the rock in twelve streams [Exo. 15:27] during the Exodus. As you may recall, after three days in the wilderness, the Jewish people were without water. [Exo. 15:22]

Finally, the flowing water suggests the living water that has been received through the glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus, beginning in Jerusalem.

We heard that the angel said to Ezekiel, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the sea, the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh. Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes." The Arabah is the deep geological rift that forms the Dead Sea and continues southward. The life-giving effect of the waters is apparent from the freshening of the salt waters and the abundance of fish.

According to the prophetic disclosure of the last verse during the First Reading, the life-giving water will flow eternally, ("every month") originating from the Divine Presence of Yahweh ("from the sanctuary"). Those ("all kinds of trees") who drink the living water shall continuously bear fruits ("fresh fruit every month"). By the grace of the Heavenly Father and the power of the Holy Spirit, in the Most Holy Name of Jesus, the faithful shall produce fruits, first for the growth of the Body of Christ, secondly for personal spiritual growth.

The Second Reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians [1 Cor. 3:9-11, 16-17] reminds us that we are God's Temple. The first verse of this reading said, "You are God's building." What does that mean, being God's building? Does it mean that we are God's fellow labourers, working together in God's interests? No! It means that we are cooperating with the Lord God who acts in and through His apostles. We are God's instruments, servants, ambassadors, humbly submitting ourselves to the way that the Spirit of Jesus guides us for the good of the Church. (See: Eph. 2:20-1; 1 Tim. 3:5)

Saint Paul informs us in this Letter that we are God's building. By the grace of God given to him, Saint Paul laid a foundation so others, including ourselves, may come afterwards to continue his spiritual work as guided by the Holy Spirit. He instructs us to be careful as to how we build on the foundation that he laid. No one, be it a preacher or a lay person, can lay another foundation other than the one that has been laid, that foundation being Jesus Christ. No one can lay another foundation for another Church in the Name of Jesus. For there is only one Church that was instituted by the Lord, only one Faith, only one Baptism.

Paul asked, "Do you not know that you are God's Temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's Temple, God will destroy that person. For God's Temple is holy, and you are that temple."

As God's Temple, we are living stones, Jesus being the cornerstone [Eph. 2:20]. We are branches feeding on the tree, Jesus being the Tree of Life. In the Book of Isaiah, we read a prophecy regarding the cornerstone, "Therefore, thus says the Lord God, 'See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation.'" [Is. 28:16] In the Book of Psalms, we read, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone." [Ps. 118.22]

When speaking of the Temple of God, discernment should be applied to determine which Temple is referred to. As the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is the Temple of God, each Diocese being a living stone to it, equally, each Diocese is a Temple of God, each Parish being a living stone that belongs to it. And equally, each Parish is a Temple of God, each member of the Church being a living stone that belongs to it. Finally, each baptized person is a Temple of God because the Divine Spirit dwells in him. It should be noted that the Temple of God within the individual is secondary. Why secondary? Because the Holy Spirit comes into the community and gives Himself to individuals through the community.

Each living stone, the Church, the Diocese, the Parish and the individuals are absolutely necessary for the productive growth of the Body of Christ. If one weakens, the entire building is affected. An example of this is the scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church during the past year. While the scandals were limited to certain geographical areas, the entire Church has suffered from it.

During today's Reading from the Gospel of John, [Jn. 2:13-22], Jesus was speaking about the Temple of His Body. He was speaking about the new Temple, the Resurrected Christ.

We heard that when Jesus visited the Temple in Jerusalem, He found some people selling cattle, sheep and doves. Different kinds of sacrificial animals were being sold at the Temple so that the pilgrims would not have the added expense of bringing them from far away. When Jesus drove them out of the Temple with a whip, assuming there was a large number of sellers, He must have enlisted the assistance of His disciples. The reference to the whip during the Gospel Reading may have been symbolic, serving the purpose of emphasizing the authority of Jesus as the Lord versus being used as a physical goad.

During the aforementioned action, the disciples who were knowledgeable of the Holy Scriptures and who awaited the coming of the promised Messiah surely had two specific passages on their minds. These are, "It is zeal for your house that has consumed me; the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." [Ps. 69:9] "And every cooking pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be sacred to the Lord of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and use them to boil the flesh of the sacrifice. And there shall no longer be traders in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day." [Zech. 14:21]

Because of Jesus's action, those who were indifferent to the Laws of Moses and who lacked respect for the Temple, asked Jesus for a sign to prove that He had the authority to do what He had just done. As we all know from previous reading, the demand for a sign was continuously made upon Jesus. Such was not provided because signs are for the well-disposed, to evoke or to confirm their faith. A sign bears no fruit among the hypocrites, the unrepentant, the proud, the greedy, etc...

Jesus said, "Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up." What Temple was Jesus referring to? He was speaking of two Temples. While He foretold the destruction of the physical Temple in Jerusalem, however, here, His emphasis was a reference to His death and Resurrection, the one sign that should be sufficient for all believers of all times. It was only after His glorious Resurrection that the disciples discerned the profound meaning of Christ's words and deeds.

These words of Jesus, "Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up" are the exact words that the Jewish persecutors used against Jesus at His mockery trial. They took Jesus' words literally, such power implying some kind of sorcery.

Those who were present indicated that the Temple, not yet completed in Jesus' time, had been under construction for 46 years. How could Jesus possibly rebuild it in 3 days? According to the writings of Josephus, construction of the Temple of Herod began in the eighteen year, about 20/19 B.C. It was completed in A.D. 63/64, shortly before its destruction by the Romans. It took a total of about 83/84 years to build it.

Today's three readings teach us that through the glorious Resurrection of the life giving Temple of Christ, we become living stones that feed on the ever flowing Divine graces that are bestowed upon us as a gift of God's love and mercy for His sinful creations. This week, let us be thankful to the Lord God for His tremendous sacrifice as the Lamb of God, a sacrifice that is undeserved and unearned. May His Most Holy Name be praised forever!

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

Reading 1 ez 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

The angel brought me
back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the southern side.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

Responsorial Psalm ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

R. (5) The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!

Reading 2 1 cor 3:9c-11, 16-17

Brothers and sisters:
You are God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me,
like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.

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.

Gospel jn 2:13-22

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.

Prayer

Lord God, I come from dust and to dust I shall return. You, however, existed before all time, and every creature takes its being from you. ...