Sunday, March 13, 2016

Homily for Today

My brothers and sisters, welcome to today's celebration of the Holy Mass on the Fifth Sunday of Lent. During the past month, our spiritual journey has been one of repentance so we may all, by the grace of God the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit, experience a transformation to become in the likeness of Christ. Today's spiritual message from Our Lord Jesus for the last Sunday of Lent is, "From now on, do not sin again." [Jn. 8:11]

During today's First Reading, we heard the prophetic Words of the Lord God speaking to the prophet Isaiah. Yahweh began by identifying Himself. He said that it was He who created Israel. It was He who led the Exodus of His people under the leadership of Moses. It was He who divided the Red Sea and who destroyed the great army of the Pharaoh of Egypt. It was He who quenched the life out of the enemies of His people.

In view of all these remarkable deeds, the Lord God said, "Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old." [Is. 43:18] Why does God say not to remember the former things? It is because He was warning His people against glorifying the past. The Exodus of the Old Testament was but a reflection of what was to come. The greatest Exodus of all is the new Exodus of Redemption through the Blood of Christ. What should be remembered is the ongoing redemptive plan of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

God said, "I am about to do a new thing." [Is. 43:19] What was this new thing that God was about to do? Further in the Book of Isaiah, the Lord God said, "For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; and former things shall not be remembered or come to mind." [Is. 65:17]

Indeed, God was about to create new heavens and a new earth. [Mt. 24:35; Rev. 21:1-2] He was about to create the Mystical Body of Christ, the arrival of the invisible Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven. Through the Mystical Body of Christ, God was about to join the saints in Heaven to the baptized members of the Church. This promise was fulfilled when through the Sacred Blood of Jesus on the Holy Cross, Christ took possession of the Heavenly Kingdom as the rightful King of kings. When the fullness of time had arrived, through the redemptive plan of Christ, the great red dragon was thrown out of Heaven. [Mt. 24:29; Lk. 10:18; Rev. 12:3-4, 10-2]

The revelation that was given to Isaiah around 750 B.C. was the beginning of many promises that God the Father would make, all of these being fulfilled through Jesus Christ. Around 626 B.C., in the days of the prophet Jeremiah and around 592 B.C., in the day of the prophet Ezekiel, God made more promises that served to clarify the meaning of His previous promises.

God the Father promised to make a new and everlasting Covenant. [Jer. 31:31] He promised to live with His people. [Jer. 31:33] He promised to give His children a new heart and a new spirit. [Ezek. 11:19-20; 18:31] He promised the indwelling of His Spirit within His children so that they would remain good and obey His Holy ways. [Ezek. 36:26-7]

All these things have been fulfilled. During the last Supper, Jesus instituted the New and everlasting Covenant. [Lk. 22:20] Through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, God physically dwells with His people. During the Sacrament of Baptism, the believers are given a new heart and a new spirit. As Jesus said to Nicodemus, "What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit." [Jn. 3:6] "No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water (baptism) and Spirit." [Jn. 3:5]

Through the gift of a new creation, the newly created human spirit that we received during the Sacrament of Baptism, we are called to take part in the building up of the Mystical Body and Kingdom of God on earth. Through the same Sacrament of Baptism, we have received the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit as our assurance of knowing what is right from what is wrong. As such, if we choose to sin, we are without excuse.

During the First Reading, we also heard God promising to make a way in the wilderness, to put rivers in the desert and that the wild animals would honour Him. Here, God was speaking symbolically. Allow me to explain. When God was speaking of making a way in the wilderness for the wild animals to honour Him, this was a symbolic prophecy of the Light of Christ coming to the Gentiles who were lost in their ways. These lost souls lived as wild animals. The worldly pleasures of the flesh guided their ways of life. To save these souls that lacked a spiritual mind, God promised to make rivers in the desert. In other words, He promised the gift of the Holy Spirit (rivers) to those who were spiritual dry (desert).

To summarize what has already been said in context with the entire Holy Bible, prior to the coming of Jesus Christ on earth, the Kingdom of God was non-existent. Through the Blood of Christ, the eternal Kingdom was established in Heaven and on earth. That is why Jesus said, "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 within you." [Lk. 17:20- 1] The Kingdom of God in invisible, being spiritual in nature.

To populate His invisible Kingdom on earth, the Lord God instituted the Sacrament of Baptism. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we experienced the first death and resurrection that was spiritual in nature. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we received our new creation, our new spiritual mind, our new human spirit and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Through the free gift of the newly created human spirit, when we receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist during the celebration of the Holy Mass, we are now partaking in a great spiritual Feast with the Lord Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, all the saints and angels of Heaven. In fulfilment of the promise of Jesus, finally, we as children of God, have become true worshippers who worship the Father in (human) spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in (human) spirit and truth. [Jn. 4:23-4] The new creation is everything! [Gal. 6:15]

This is the same message that St. Paul gave us today during the Second Reading from the Letter to the Philippians. We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that we may proclaim the mighty acts of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light." [1 Pet. 2:9] Once we were not a people, but now we are God's people; once we had not received mercy, but now we have received mercy." [1 Pet. 2:10] Because of these marvellous blessings that we have received from God, St. Paul urges us to act as aliens and exiles, to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. We should conduct ourselves honourably among the non-believers, so that, though they malign us as evildoers, they may see our honourable deeds and glorify God when He comes to judge. [1 Pet. 2:11-2]

In view of all the spiritual gifts that we have freely received from the Lord God, everything else of this world is unimportant. St. Paul calls them rubbish. To know Christ as we should know Him far surpasses an intellectual knowledge. It involves a personal daily relationship between Jesus and ourselves that far surpasses all the worldly pleasures and wealth that can be gained in a lifetime.

The door to salvation that comes to us through the love and mercy of Jesus Christ is by faith alone. No works of any kind that are performed prior to the Sacrament of Baptism can save anyone. As a Pharisee, Paul enjoyed a perfect observance of the 613 prescribed Mosaic Laws. Yet, none of these works saved him. His salvation solely depended on his living faith in Christ.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual works that we perform after our baptism, these are signs of our living faith in Christ. For "faith without works is dead." [Jas. 2:26] These spiritual works include our reception of the Church Sacraments which give life to the soul.

St. Paul viewed his heavenly call in Christ Jesus as a race that still had to be run. That was his goal, to win the race. While all the runners compete in a race, only one receives the prize. All should run in such a way that they may win the race. All should persevere in their living faith to ensure the reservation of their crown of righteousness that the Lord will give on that day to all those who long for His appearing. [Phil. 2:16; 1 Cor. 9:24; 2 Tim. 4:7]

During today's Gospel Reading, Jesus gave us a basic command that helps us to identify if we are on our way to completing our race, if we are persevering in our living faith. Jesus said, "Go your way, and from now on do not sin again." You see my brothers and sisters, faith alone cannot save anyone. If you have faith and continue to live in mortal sin, you will not enter the Kingdom of God.

One's faith must be a living faith, pure and holy in nature. It must be continuous. It must include the Sacrament of Baptism that admits us into the Mystical Body of Christ. It must include the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit for the purpose of sanctifying our souls in the likeness of Christ. It must include the Sacrament of Confession for the remission of our sins. It must include the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the Living Bread that gives life to our souls. It must include spiritual works as a sign that we are children of God who are persevering in their living faith.

While all this may appear to be so complicated, it all comes naturally when we place our trust in the Spirit of Jesus who teaches and guides those who place their living faith in Christ.

This week, in view of our in-depth spiritual perception of what has been freely given to us through the infinite love and mercy of God, let us show our gratitude to God by having a change of heart, by not sinning again. Let us refrain from judging others. Let us strive towards our need of sanctification before we concern ourselves with the needs of others. For it is when we have successfully walked in the love of Christ that others will learn from us how they should walk in the love of Christ.

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Reading 1IS 43:16-21

Thus says the LORD,
who opens a way in the sea
and a path in the mighty waters,
who leads out chariots and horsemen,
a powerful army,
till they lie prostrate together, never to rise,
snuffed out and quenched like a wick.
Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the desert I make a way,
in the wasteland, rivers.
Wild beasts honor me,
jackals and ostriches,
for I put water in the desert
and rivers in the wasteland
for my chosen people to drink,
the people whom I formed for myself,
that they might announce my praise.

Responsorial PsalmPS 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6

R. (3) The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Reading 2PHIL 3:8-14

Brothers and sisters:
I consider everything as a loss 
because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things 
and I consider them so much rubbish, 
that I may gain Christ and be found in him, 
not having any righteousness of my own based on the law 
but that which comes through faith in Christ, 
the righteousness from God, 
depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection 
and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death, 
if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

It is not that I have already taken hold of it 
or have already attained perfect maturity, 
but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, 
since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, I for my part 
do not consider myself to have taken possession.
Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind 
but straining forward to what lies ahead, 
I continue my pursuit toward the goal, 
the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.

Verse Before The GospelJL 2:12-13

Even now, says the Lord,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful.

GospelJN 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, 
and all the people started coming to him, 
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman 
who had been caught in adultery 
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught 
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin 
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

Prayers for Today

"God our Father, we find it difficult to come to you, because our knowledge of you is imperfect. In our ignorance we have imagined you to be our enemy; we have wrongly thought that you take pleasure in punishing our sins; and we have foolishly conceived you to be a tyrant over human life. But since Jesus came among us, he has shown that you are loving, that you are on our side against all that stunts life, and that our resentment against you was groundless. So we come to you, asking you to forgive our past ignorance, and wanting to know more and more of you and your forgiving love, through Jesus Christ our Lord."(Prayer of Saint Augustine)

 Lord God, I adore and thank you for this opportunity to be with you. I am ready to hear and embrace your word. I believe in you and in your goodness. I hope in your mercy. I love you and long to love you with a purer heart. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

10 Things To Do If Your Lent Plans Fail

From Catholic Exchange;

10 Things To Do If Your Lent Plans Fail

Lent is not simple. It’s not meant to be. And it’s not “Catholic guilt” that makes it seem so arduous, either. We shouldn’t discourage any sense of guilt that stems from the very heart of this season, which is penance and repentance. Nor should we give up if Lent was more than we planned. That sense of guilt and acknowledging our shortcomings are exactly what enables us to becoming closer to God in this time, which is the real goal in the end.
What do you do then, when you’ve utterly failed at Lent? Here are ten suggestions to help you to make the most out of your Lenten journey.

0. Accept what’s happened (or hasn’t)

Yes, we begin at zero because, before you begin to work on the solution, you need to accept the problem. Failure is often very subjective because of the standards we set out for ourselves. Perhaps this Lent you’ve failed to make it to Stations of the Cross, but you’re still saying your daily novena. Perhaps you’ve mistakenly eaten meat on a Friday. Or, perhaps you willingly ate meat on a Friday. See the difference? Accepting your shortcomings—what you’ve done or failed to do—is your first step to overcoming.

1. Go to Confession

Yes, you must go to Confession. This is the first for a reason. Even if you have not committed a mortal sin, you’re seeking healing from what you’ve done and haven’t done. Make a thorough and thoughtful examination of conscience, check out to see when the next opportunity for confession is, and  then make your act of contrition. Congratulations, you’re a new person! Now let’s make sure you don’t fail again.

2. Get back up

Remember, you only fail if you quit trying. God demands that we seek perfection (Matthew 5:43-48), but He knows we will have trouble. Like a child who falls when learning to walk, you just get back up and try again. Determination and perseverance go a long way.

3. Figure out what went wrong

In confession, there is a priest who always says the same thing to me: don’t take the first step. If it’s something you did or didn’t do, you need to find the pattern that led you to that action (or inaction). Maybe you’ve looked at pornography, or have given in to the thing you gave up for Lent. Think and ponder on the series of events that led you that point, and find what needs to be avoided or modified in order to overcome the temptation. Solutions might be: Drive a different way to work. Avoid staring at something. Keep yourself busy and distracted with good and productive activity. If all else fails, hit the panic button and pray the Rosary until the temptation goes away. Which brings my 4th suggestion.

4. Pray

This might seem obvious, but it’s not. When we fail we often convince ourselves that the solution is to work harder. Eventually, rather than just tire out, you’ll exhaust altogether. Prayer is what revives your soul and places you back on the right track with God’s perfect will. Remember, in prayer, to listen first and talk second.

5. Fast

The advantages of fasting are numerous. But for this purpose, fasting enables us to utterly dominate our flesh, which is what we need when we fail at Lent. In fact, it’s the exact reason we have the Lenten rules we do. You’ve heard the colloquialism, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” well… that’s fasting in a nutshell. Fasting is like steroids for prayer and getting things done. Here’s how some saints put it:
“I chastise my body and bring it into submission; lest perhaps when I have preached to others, I should myself become a cast away.”
-1. Corinthians 9:27
“Fasting is most useful in preparing the soul for prayer, and the contemplation of divine things.”
-St. Robert Bellarmine
“Fasting is the support of our soul, it gives us wings to ascend on high.”
-St. John Chrysostom

6. Give alms

Lent is the perfect time to work on “me” and part of doing that right is the mission of blessing others. When we give alms, we do ourselves and others a great thing. Alms enable us to receive justifying grace, which is exactly what our soul needs when we fail. Scripture tells us,
“By mercy and faith, sins are purged away”
-Proverbs 16:6
The Lord heard from Zaccheus, “Behold, Lord, the halk of my goods I have to the poor: and is I have wronged any man, he is restored four-fold.”
-Luke 19:8
“He that gives to the poor shall not want.”
-Proverbs 28:27
“Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms resist sins.”
-Sirach 3:30

7. Listen

You’ve done everything you can to win up to this point, but you’re not winning, yet. Chances are, you’ve been given some advice that you didn’t follow. You thought you knew better. It’s time to go back and try what that person suggested.

8. Focus

If you’re failing at one area that’s very important to you, like your Lenten obligations, you should narrow down what you do during the week and focus on accomplishing what you set out to do. Cut out the things that don’t matter, and focus on what does. You can do this!

9. Ask for help

This can take many forms, but it’s no joke. If you can’t help yourself, there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes life really demands a lot out of us and we need to lean on our friends, our priests, our mentors, and our family. Be sure, also, if anyone offers help, that you take it immediately. When did help ever hurt anyone?

Homily for Today

My brothers and sisters, from one of today's readings, I call to your attention a very special Bible verse, "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; everything has become new!" [2 Cor. 5:17] This one passage summarizes God's Divine Plan for man. Having its origin in the prophesies of the Old Testament, being fulfilled through Jesus Christ, it explains how we have become today's new creations of God.

I have come to the conclusion that very few Christians truly knows and understands what it means that if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation. I am not denying that in faith, most Christians accept this as a doctrinal truth. What I am saying is that few understand what really happens through the Sacrament of Baptism during the process of our having died with Christ, our having been buried with Christ and our having risen as a new creation with Christ. [Rom. 6:4]

Allow me to explain myself. In the beginning, "the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being." [Gen. 2:7] In other words, God created a physical body, gave it a "human spirit" [Job 32:8; Prov. 18:14, 20:27; Ecc. 3:21; Eze. 11:19, 36:26; Zech. 12:1; Mal. 2:15; Mt. 26:41; Lk. 8:55; Jn. 3:6; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 2:11] and it became a living soul. [Lk. 1:46-7; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 4:12] God created man with a soul, his self-consciousness, a physical body and a human spirit to sustain the life of the body. For a body without a (human) spirit is dead. [Jas. 2:26] As Jesus said, "It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless." [Jn. 6:63]

From the Book of Genesis, we also learn that God created man holy in nature in His likeness. [Gen. 1:26; 5:1] And God saw that all what He had made was good. [Gen. 1:31]

After God completed the creation of all things, He placed Adam in the Garden of Eden [Gen. 2:15] and commanded, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die." [Gen. 2:16-7]

As we all know, Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating of the tree of knowledge and sin entered the world. At that moment, Satan became the "prince of the world" [Jn. 12:31] Adam and Eve lost their original nature of holiness in the likeness of God. In punishment for disobeying, God removed Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden [Gen. 3:23] and said, "You shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return." [Gen. 3:19]

Here is where we begin to discover the mystery of man's creation. When God said that man is dust and he shall return to dust, God meant that all the descendants of Adam would experience spiritual death, being deprived of the eternal beatific vision of God in His eternal Kingdom."

According to the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, "In virtue of its specific nature, the intellectual soul does not possess the body as a part of itself, but has only an aptitude for union with the body." (Extracted from: "The first part of 'Light Of Faith: The Compendium Of Theology' by St. Thomas Aquinas"; # 85. Unity of the possible intellect.)

The soul, formless in nature, needs a body, either physical or spiritual, to manifest itself. Both, the physical body of man, and his human spirit that gives life to the physical body, were stained by the original sin of Adam. As such, they were called to experience physical and spiritual death. Without a spiritual body that is free of sin, as defined by the Council of Trent, (C.C.C.) the soul of man is called to experience "the death of the soul" in the absence of the eternal beatific vision of God.

Now, when God saw the magnitude of what Satan had done by introducing sin into the world, immediately, God had another plan in motion. God did not desire to let man experience spiritual death in the absence of His eternal love and presence.

Beginning in the days of Jeremiah, followed by the days of Ezekiel, God promised to give man a new heart which is synonym to a new spiritual nature (or mind). Then, God promised to give man a new human spirit. Finally, God promised to place His Spirit within man to dwell within him. [Ezek. 11:19-20, 18:31, 36:26; Jer. 24:7, 31:33; Heb. 10:16] Finally, God promised to "sprinkle clean water upon us, and we shall be clean from all our uncleannesses." [Ezek. 36:25]

Now notice what I am saying here because this is very important. The soul of man cannot enjoy the eternal beatific vision as long as it possesses its spirit that has been stained by the original sin. In view of this, God promised to give man a new human spirit. Why? For the soul to continue to manifest itself in a new spiritual form after the death of the physical body. That is what the Sacrament of Baptism is all about. Unless we are born again, we have no life in us. "No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." [Jn. 3:5] "What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is (human) spirit." [Jn. 3:5] In the Most Holy Name of Jesus, by the grace of the Heavenly Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit, during the Sacrament of Baptism, we received a newly created human spirit from the Holy Spirit.

Speaking of this marvellous gift of the human spirit, today's Second Reading from the Second Letter to the Corinthians says, "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!" [2 Cor. 5:17] Indeed, everything has become new because in Christ, over and above having received the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have received a new spiritual nature, a new human spirit for the soul, now free of original sin, to qualify in the inheritance of the Kingdom of God after physical death. "All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us." [2 Cor. 5:18-9]

My brothers and sisters, "our new creation is everything!" [Gal. 6:15; 2 Cor. 5:17] Our new human spirit, free of original sin through the Sacrament of Baptism, is a gift of God of the godly seed. [1 Jn. 3:9] As Jesus said in the Parable of the Weeds, [Mt. 13:24-30, 36-43] "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the Kingdom." [Mt. 13:37-8] "You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring Word of God." [1 Pet. 1:23] "This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God..." [Rom. 9:8]

Knowing this, you now understand why we are ambassadors for Christ. On behalf of Christ, God is making His appeal through us, to urge all to be reconciled to God. For our sake God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Christ we might become the righteousness of God.

My brothers and sisters, this week, as we reflect upon the Word of God that we have heard today, we should remind ourselves of the urgency for all to receive the Sacrament of Baptism so that they too may be reconciled with God. We should ask ourselves, "Do I know someone who is not baptized because of neglect?" If we do, as ambassadors for Christ, we have an obligation to spread the good news and to convince those around us, our loved ones, our friends, our co-workers, that it is urgent for them to be baptized. It is urgent that they receive the free gifts of God. It is urgent because should they die today or tomorrow without their new creation, their souls will be deprived of the eternal beatific vision of God in communion with all the angels and saints.

Throughout the centuries, Christians have worried about what happens to the babies who die without being baptized. Today, knowing that we are all entitled to a new creation, we should worry about what will happen to all the children and adults who die without having been baptized. May the grace of God touch them before it is too late!

March 6, 2016 - Fourth Sunday of Lent

Reading 1 Jos 5:9a, 10-12

The LORD said to Joshua,
“Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you.”

While the Israelites were encamped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho,
they celebrated the Passover
on the evening of the fourteenth of the month.
On the day after the Passover,
they ate of the produce of the land
in the form of unleavened cakes and parched grain.
On that same day after the Passover,
on which they ate of the produce of the land, the manna ceased.
No longer was there manna for the Israelites,
who that year ate of the yield of the land of Canaan.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 2 Cor 5:17-21

Brothers and sisters:
Whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.
And all this is from God,
who has reconciled us to himself through Christ
and given us the ministry of reconciliation,
namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting their trespasses against them
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
So we are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Verse Before the Gospel Lk 15:18

I will get up and go to my Father and shall say to him:
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

Gospel Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable:
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”