Saturday, January 16, 2010

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 17, 2010 - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Comments on the Readings

The reading from the book of Isaiah is pregnant with the themes planted in the rest of the readings.

Isaiah tells us that "Nations shall behold Jerusalem’s vindication" What is vindication? That is a ten dollar word. When someone is vindicated, it means that their name has been cleared of charges against them. It means that someone has been proved to be blameless. Now, what does Isaiah mean when he says, "Nations shall behold Jerusalem’s vindication"? He points forward to a time when the blood of Christ will cleanse all those who belong to the heavenly Jerusalem, and she and her citizens will be counted blameless. We can only be counted blameless if we are associated with the ONE who is blameless, namely Jesus. How do we get to be associated with him?

Continuing on with Isaiah, who goes on to say, "No more shall people call you "Forsaken, "or your land "Desolate, " but you shall be called "My Delight, " and your land "Espoused." For the LORD delights in you and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you."

When does this happen, when does God marry us? At the cross. At the cross, we see the New Adam; Jesus, who has been put into the sleep of death. And what comes from His side, but water and blood. Representing Baptism and the Eucharistic blood that WE will receive here in a moment. What do Baptism and the Eucharist make us when we receive them - His Bride! We are the Bride of Christ, the Church is the Bride of Christ. He calls us - My Delight - Espoused. At the Cross, our Lord purchased you with his own blood. Purchased you from sin and death, from this world of corruption and decay, to make you into a new city, an everlasting city - The Heavenly Jerusalem.

Only on the cross does Jesus give to us His body, blood, soul and divinity. Look at what St. John says - John 19:30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished"; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

He gave up His Spirit. Who was the first to receive the Spirit of God? Was it not Adam, when God formed him out of the dust of the earth and breathed into him the spirit of life? That spirit of life was lost when the first Adam sinned against the Lord, and now the New Adam has come to restore that Spirit.

St. Paul tells us about that Spirit in in his letter to the Corinthians. Read it again, it is not a Spirit of Death, but of Life! Do you feel drained from this weary world? If you do Ask God to enliven in you these spiritual gifts. Jesus died to bring these gifts to you. Imagine that a friend of your's went to great lengths so that you could have a fantastic Christmas, and even exhausted their life filling your Christmas tree with gifts. So your friend died to bring you all of these gifts. Are you going to unwrap them? Maybe just return them to the store?

No way! You would open each one with care and cherish each gift. You would tell people about what your friend did, and each time you used one of those gifts you would remember your friend and their sacrifice for you.

Now Christ has died so that you could once again receive the Holy Spirit - the third person of the Trinity. And now what? Are you going to unwrap the gifts that we read about or not?

Finally, in the Gospel we see a wedding, and look at what Jesus says to His mother when she tells Him that they have no more wine. He says, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." What hour is that? If you continue reading the Gospel of John there is a running theme about Christ’s hour. It is the hour of His suffering and death.

Jesus in a sense is saying, "Mother, there is time when I will give the people wine, but it isn’t yet." That hour is at the Cross when Christ gives us His blood. That hour is NOW when Christ gives us His blood, under the appearance of wine. It is no coincidence that Christ performs His first miracle at a wedding, where no bridegroom is mentioned. Why is the bridegroom not mentioned by name? Because Jesus is the Bridegroom that gives the wedding guests the best wine - Himself.

This is how we are able to sing the New Song spoken of in the Psalm today.


The Cross is where Jesus married us, and it is at every Mass that the covenant of the Cross is renewed. Our Marriage with Christ is renewed. In a marriage, there is a profession of vows and then later the marriage is consummated. The vows that we will speak here is the creed, where we attach ourselves to the truth of Christ and His Church. Later, we recalculate our Love for Christ by receiving communion. First, we say that we are one with Him, then we show it by receiving Him in the Eucharist.


This is why we can't receive communion, unless first we have confessed our sins. We can’t be professing our love to someone we just offended. We must first seek forgiveness. If you have committed a mortal sin, you need to first confess your sins (say confession times, maybe even have confession after that Mass). Once grace is restored, then come to be one with Jesus. Until then, unite yourself in prayer that you might turn away from sin and once again serve the Lord.

In Christ’s death, He marries us who are doomed to die, but in His resurrection we are raised with Him to a New Life in the Spirit. Let us ask God to again bless us, to make us Holy, that we might become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Jan - 10, 2010 Baptism of our Lord

Reflections on Sundays Readings

Link to Readings -

Comments on the Readings

The running theme through this Sunday’s readings can be summarized in one line –

We have Peace and Freedom by receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming a Righteous Child of God.


Let us first look at Peace and what the word of God tells us about peace in these verses.

Isaiah proclaims - Here is my servant whom I uphold…not making his voice heard in the street. a bruised reed he shall not break,

In the responsorial psalm we hear, "The Lord will bless his people with peace."

St. Peter tells us in Acts - You know the word that he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

So Christ has come to bring us Peace.


Now, let us turn to a second theme in these readings – Freedom

Isaiah says - I have grasped you by the hand…to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

St. Peter tells us in Acts - God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him."

So Christ has come to free us from the Devil and sin.


Finally, the third theme in these readings is that We have Peace and Freedom by being a Righteous Child of God.

To give some background - Now we know that God has a Son – Jesus Christ, yet these readings take us all the way back to Genesis – if you have Biblical ears to hear. When God made Adam and Eve, he made them after his Image and likeness. How are we in His image and likeness? Because we have His Spirit. When God made Adam it says that God breathed into Adam the breath of life. That breath that God gave to our first parents is God’s Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that makes us children of God. Now it is God’s Spirit that Adam and Eve lost when they sinned in the garden, but as we will hear God has promised to restore His Holy Spirit through His Son.

Isaiah says…Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit

In the psalms we hear - Give to the LORD, you sons of God, give to the LORD glory and praise

We hear St. Peter say - God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.

In the Gospel St. Luke tell us - John said… "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." …After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

So once again these readings can be summarized in one sentence - We have Peace and Freedom by receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming a Righteous Child of God.


When Jesus is baptized, He is instituting the way back to the Father which was lost from our first parents and which we all inherit through Original Sin. What was lost when they sinned was the Divine Life living inside of them through the Holy Spirit. They also became slaves of sin, and children no longer belonging to our Heavenly Father, but to the father of lies, the Devil. Yet God did not abandon them because of his great love for them and for us. God sent his only Son to atone for sin and reestablish our relationship once and for all with God the Father. We are once again God's children - Listen to what St. John tells us:

NAB 1 John 3:1 See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.

We aren't merely called children of God - this is a reality that we can stand on! Now keep in mind the theme of todays readings are "We have Peace and Freedom by receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming a Righteous Child of God."

With this in mind, listen to St. Paul in the 8th chapter of Romans:

Romans 8:2, 6, 13-17 For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death...The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, "Abba, Father!" The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.


Now today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. Jesus went down into the water sinless and came back up sinless. But he did this to identify himself with sinful humanity. What happened when he came up out of the water? Heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." This is exactly what happened when each and every one of you were Baptized. Now you are a child of God and are able to call him Abba - Daddy - Father, help me to carry my cross, die to sin, and live this life for our heavenly home.

Children, we need to live in the peace that only the Holy Spirit can give through prayer, fasting and giving alms. We have been freed from sin so that we could come here today to worship God. Now that we are a Child of God, we need to act like it and reject the ways of sin, and if we are in sin, God has provided a way back to him through the sacrament of Confession (mention confession times here).

Don't waste the sacrifice that Christ has made for you. Live a New life in Christ and remember We have Peace and Freedom by receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming a Righteous Child of God.