Liturgy

Monsignor’s Homily

Sunday, March 21, 2021: In today’s Gospel we encounter Jesus in Jerusalem. He knows that his hour is at hand, when he will will drive out the the devil. Jesus knows he is about to die and he knows how it’s going to happen as he refers to being lifted up. “I will draw everyone to myself“, he says. It is a fitting reminder that he does not give his life only for the sins of a few, but so that all may be forgiven and redeemed.

Jesus chose to become that grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies that it may produce the fruit of salvation for all who believe. He tells us that if we are to serve him, then we must follow him taking up our crosses and joining him at Calvary- that one day we all may share in his victory. In our baptism, we too, are like a grain of wheat: dying to sin, that we may come alive in Christ Jesus.

Jesus held nothing back in obtaining salvation for us by defeating our greatest enemies of sin, Satan, and death. We are called to make an investment in our salvation, to be willing to work for it and suffer for it, just as he did.

On the cross Jesus fulfils the new covenant called for by Jeremiah in today’s first reading. God’s law is written on the human heart with the blood of Jesus. Jeremiah prophesizes a new beginning and a fresh start for God’s people: “I will forgive their evil doing and remember their sin no more”. As God is so willing to freely and frequently overlook the wrongs we have done, so are we commanded to do the same.

As our Lenten journey inches closer to the events of Palm Sunday and Holy Week, we turn our focus to Jesus as he approaches his “hour” on the lonesome road to Calvary. As Jesus offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears for us and for our salvation, so too, we join our pains and sufferings with his. We bring him our fears, faults, and failings, even our lack of forgiveness, that all might be washed away by the Holy water and blood that flows from his side on the cross.

 

Sunday, March 7, 2021: Each of us longs to know and love God better and need the grace of God on our lives. Today’s readings teach us about receiving grace and instruction from God. First he must cleanse us and make room in our hearts so he can fill us with his grace.

In today’s first reading, God had to get the Israelites out of Egypt. He had to free them so they could be free to love and serve him. In today’s Gospel, Jesus cleanses the temple making a whip out of cords and overturning tables. But then he teaches and prophesizes his glorious Resurrection.

What obstacles to grace and instruction from God may be in our lives? Because we have free will God doesn’t force his grace upon us, we have to cooperate. So we ask ourselves: “What do we need to cleanse in order to make room for God’s abundant grace? What false idols might we rank higher than God, even unconsciously?” We can trust that God , who raised Jesus from the dead can also cleanse and breath new life into our hearts.

God in his infinite wisdom gave his son- crucified as a criminal- so that humankind could be saved; and so we proclaim with joy: “Christ had died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again.” 

As we approach the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, let our simple prayer be: “Jesus, I want to cleanse my heart to make more room for you.”

 

Sunday, February 14, 2021: God wants to be in a relationship with us. We were made for love and a relationship. So many things separate us and limit the love of which we were created. The first reading reminds us that physical illness can separate us from one another. There are many physical forms of separation such as a job that takes a loved one far away, an emotional wound that demands physical distance, and of course death itself.

The spiritual separation also owns up. Just as leprosy can be passed from one person to another, so also can sin infect those around us. We can see how gossip influences others. Selfishness of greed hurts those most vulnerable. The damage of sin is infectious just as physical illness is contagious. This is the brokenness into which Jesus enters with his mercy. The Gospel says “If you wish, you can make me clean”. The leper’s faith can lead us also to his confidence. Jesus the eternal word of God moves with physics, draws near to us.

He reaches out to us in a particular way through his sacramental presence in the Eucharist. In this Eucharist because he wants to heal every separation within us either physical, emotional, or spiritual. He does will to make us clean. What wounds can we bring to him today? What broken relationship, separation, or sins need his healing presence? This is why Christ invites us here. This is why he draws near and reaches out to us. He tells us “I do will it”, he makes clean.

 

Sunday, January 24, 2021: In the days of Jonah and Nineveh – the people of Nineveh repented for their wrong doings and God repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them. We are called to repent, and we repent to be members of the Kingdom of God. The person who opened that kingdom is our Lord Jesus Christ. To be repentant is to be a follower of Jesus and to be converted. 

There was a conversion in the calling of the first disciples (apostles) who were fishermen. They left everything and followed Jesus. Turned from the east to go west, west being with Jesus; from simpleness to righteousness. When we fail to be converted, we fail to be people of Christ. God sees this and takes opportunity to bring some form of punishment, disease, virus, or a form of arrogance. 

As we repent, we are running from the devil; we are planning to walk towards the kingdom. Jesus is to us through the word of the scriptures of which he inspires those on the road; “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts”.

 

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