“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” This statementfinds fulfillment in the birth of Jesus whose birth we await this season. One important fact to keep inmind is that this prophecy was made in a period of crisis in the Davidic kingdom, as enemy armiesthreatened to invade Jerusalem and remove King Ahaz from the throne. Ahaz, out of fear of the invading Syrian army, wanted to seek help from the Assyrians but Prophet Isaiah dissuades himfrom doing so, but rather encourages him to seek divine help and assistance. At last, Ahaz was victorious as prophet Isaiah had foretold and with the dynasty’s survival in question, Isaiah foretoldthat an heir would be a sign that the kingdom would not end with Ahaz but would continue underGod’s protection.READ MORE
Last week we read Matthew's account of Jesus' Baptism. Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?"
That was chapter 3 of Matthew. Today's Gospel is from chapter 11. John needs to know: "Are you the one?" Strange, isn't it? He knew him before. How can he now have doubts? What has changed is that John is now in prison! It would appear that this was not what he expected.READ MORE
The first three weeks of Advent reminds the faithful that the Lord will surely come at the end of time: it will be a triumphant event for him and his faithful followers. No one knows when this will happen: "regarding that Day and that Hour, no one knows when it will come, not even the Angels, not even the Son, but only the Father" (Mk. 13: 32). This prophecy of the coming Messiah speaks about Jesse, who was the father of David. The future Messiah would be filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah mentions six of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are received in Confirmation. These gifts help the recipient to live the supernatural virtues by enlightening the mind and moving the will to walk in the way of Christ.READ MORE
This Sunday begins the Advent season of preparation. This is the beginning of the Year of our Lord 2017. This year we will be following Jesus primarily in the Gospel of Matthew. Today, Jesus warns of the coming destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. An event which happened in 70AD. An event that shook the Jewish people to their foundation.READ MORE
I love to read about King David. Maybe it's because I grew up on a farm and could relate to David as a shepherd. I did chores daily, taking care of feeding chickens and pigs and calves. David, as a young shepherd, was anointed by the prophet Samuel. Through David's youth and early life he became a great warrior and was faithful to King Saul even though Saul became jealous and tried to kill David. David continued to be a great warrior king. In the end he was asked to be the king of both the northern and southern tribes of Israel. He accepted the responsibility of being king of Israel. David was a warrior king, successful in battle and leading the tribes of Israel. Unfortunately, like us, David had clay feet. He used his powerful roles to commit adultery with Bathsheba and ultimately murdered her husband Uriah. He needed to repent of his wickedness and did, calling on the mercy of God, which is perhaps reflected in Psalm 51.READ MORE
St. Paul teaches us that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:19). He also teaches that all of us together are the temple of the Holy Spirit (3:16-17). So, each of our bodies is a place set apart for the continuous praise and worship of God, and yet we are not temples in isolation from one another because we are all together being built into the One Temple of the Holy Spirit (1st Peter 2:5).READ MORE
Our First Reading of today is taken from the second book of the Maccabees and it is good to notethat one of the best known passages of the books of the Maccabees is the account of the martyrdom of a mother and her seven sons. The willingness to sacrifice one’s life rather than transgress the law and commandment of God. Despite the torture the entire family remained faithful and offered the supreme sacrifice of their love and fidelity. Their courage came from the confidence they have in God who they know is trustworthy and has promised eternal life to thosewho abide in him. Their courage to withstand such torture came from the hope they have in the resurrection. The first lesson we get from this, is that no matter how cruel the world is, no matterhow cruel the world treats us, no matter what we suffer for bearing the name of Christ and for ourfaith, we should always look to the future with hope and glory in the promise that lay ahead whichChrist has promised to all who remained steadfast till the end. As St Paul would say, “What no eyehas seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived what God has prepared for those who lovehim.” (1 Cor 2:9)READ MORE
Out of the 52 Sundays of the year, 34 are Sundays in Ordinary Time. When we reach these '34' weeks, we know that the Church's year is drawing to a close. During these final weeks, the Church focuses on what are called 'the Last Things': that is, those realities that we associate with the end of the world.
All that God has created is good. The first reading says that God loves all his creatures; otherwise he would not have made them. How then can we hate anything? The gospel brings before us a man who, according to the thinking of the time, was evil and despised.READ MORE
Last Sunday's liturgy presented us with the importance of prayer and the need to persevere in prayer. In today's gospel reading we are presented with the right attitude towards prayer and the nature our prayer should take. This is seen in the parable Jesus gave of two men, a Pharisee and a tax collector who went up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee prayed from his heart proudly listing out all the good he has been doing. His prayer was directed to himself and not God. The Pharisee did not really go to pray he went to inform God about how good and righteous he was. He was rather singing his own praises (2 Cor 10:18). He was almost demanding God to admire and approve of him. At the end his prayer he was rejected.READ MORE
The liturgy of today invites us to reflect on the enormous power in prayer to accomplish results and change events and situations that seem impossible. It emphasizes the need to persevere especially when it appears to be a delay in getting answers to our prayer. Therefore, to experience the power of prayer we must persevere in praying and never give up.READ MORE
Today's readings focus on God's ability to heal. In our first reading, we see God cleansing Naaman of leprosy. Because of this cleansing, Naaman comes to recognize the God of Abraham as the one true God and commits himself to God. In today's gospel, we see Jesus heal ten lepers, one of them returns to Jesus, to show him his thanks and devotion. So Jesus tells him "stand up and go, your faith has saved you". Then the psalm show us that God's healing power is not limited to physical ailments. God's healing power extends to his power to save us. Through God's actions, he makes salvation known to us and heals us by revealing to us, his justice, kindness and faithfulness. Our second reading speaks to us of his spiritual healing. As a living God his words and actions are not chained down; they are available to everyone. Timothy also tells us that if we persevere with Jesus, we will reign with him, and if we accept Jesus, but at times are unfaithful to him, he still remains faithful to us.READ MORE
The theme linking today’s three readings is faith. He dialogued and questioned God; Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife and clamorous discord.”(Hbk.1:2-3). The Lord tells the prophet to wait and to have faith (Hbk. 2:4). The faith which enables the righteous their confidence, believed in God’s justice and patience in awaiting their great reward. St. Paul quotes these words (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb. 10:38) to confirm his teaching that humanity receives justification and supernatural life through faith in Christ Jesus.READ MORE