Poor and happy?

 Readings: Zeph 2,3; 3,12-13; Ps 146, 6-10; 1 Cor 1, 26-31; Mt 5, 1-12a

This Sunday [January 29th] we are celebrating the 4th Sunday of the Ordinary time year A. What does it mean to be happy? To be fortunate? Blessed? We tend to think of those with money. We think of those who can afford a nice home, a nice car. We think of the beautiful, those who are so attractive. We also think of the powerful. Those who have access to privilege and status. Are these the things that bring lasting, eternal, happiness? And most importantly, are these the things that Jesus regards as the true marks of happiness? The Gospel from St. Matthew [5:1-12] we hear one of the most familiar texts: the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount. St. Matthew writes:  "Jesus went up the mountain." This is most certainly a symbolic statement, implying that He and the crowds would meet God there, as Moses did in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Read more: 4th Sunday in ordinary time Year A

Readings: Isaiah 8:23-9:3, Psalm 27:1,4, 13-14, 1Corinthians 1:10-13.17, Mathew 4:1223

Christ, the light that restores our hope

Dear friends, today we celebrate the third Sunday in ordinary time, it is also for us our parish youth day. So we remember the youth, and we pray with them and for them during this day. The life of a youth is full of dreams, full of energy and full of enthusiasm. However, without Christ the light, their dreams, energy and enthusiasm may lead to destructive rather than constructive tendencies. We thus dedicate this day to pray for the youth that they may have the courage to follow Christ and to entrust their lives to him, that Christ may be present in their energies and dreams.

Read more: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Readings: Isaiah 60:1-6, Psalm 72:1-2.7-8.10-11.12-13, Ephesians 3:2-3.5-6, Mathew 2:1-12

The Savior is revealed to us

Today mother Church celebrates the feast of the Epiphany. It's also called the feast of light. Light has the quality of revealing, making us see what is hidden. It illumines what is unclear to our perception. The star guided the three wise men to where the baby Jesus lay. They followed its light and never doubted the strangeness of the place in which they found him lying. The feast of the Epiphany, therefore, brings to light the Christ who has been born by revealing to us his identity. He the light of the world casts away darkness and makes us walk in clear paths as we walk only in him.

Read more: Epiphany of the Lord Solemnity, Year A

Readings: Is 49:3.5-6 Ps 40:2,4.7-8,8-9.10 1Cor 1:1-3 John 1:29-34

Our vocation: Showing Christ to others

The Gospel of this Sunday presents John the Baptist as a witness of the Lamb of God, the one who recognizes Jesus as sent by the Father and on whom the Holy Spirit rests. John's point of view is fascinating. It is the way of those who focus on what really matters, that is, the essential. John the Baptist proposes an encounter with Christ for his disciples. He detaches from them in order that they may be attached to Christ. He does this through an invitation to gaze at Jesus, Behold the lamb of God. It is a call to turn our attention to him from whom we have our sins forgiven. He who is the sacrifice offered by the father for the expiation of our sins.

Read more: Second Sunday in ordinary time, Year A

Blessed to be a blessing on a new adventure

Readings: Num 6, 22-27; Ps 67, 2-8; Gal 4,4-7; Lk 2, 16-21

The first day of the year offers us a beautiful opportunity to let ourselves be blessed by God for the journey ahead of us. It is important to note that the new year is God`s gift of grace to us (we have not merited it). Even if we are uncertain about what the year holds for us, we have the certainty God is in charge. Celebrating the solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, we ask God to bless us, especially with peace. Let us be open to receive God`s blessing!

The first reading from the Book of Numbers uses the Hebrew expression: “to let one`s face shine upon you” which means “smiling”. At the beginning of the year, we have the opportunity of encountering God smiling at us. He does this because He loves us. What we call blessing is traced back to the very origin of creation. The first creation account in Gen 1 recounts how God looked at what He had created and saw that it was good. After creating the human being as male and female, God saw that it was very good (Gen 1, 31). He blessed them and gave them a mandate of being fruitful. The human being was blessed in order to be a blessing to the rest of creation. Even when God`s original blessing seemed to be lost through the crack of sin, God chose some human beings through whom He could continue blessing others. God told Abram: “I will bless you…so that you will be a blessing…All the families of the earth will find blessing in you.” (Gen 12, 2-3). The priestly blessing that Aaron imparts is a way of presenting God`s love to the people. God is blessing us with the assurance that He will sustain us and that we shall experience His generosity in giving us what we need in order to live in joy and peace. As recipients of this blessing, we are called to be channels of the same blessing. Our blessing may be in form of a good and encouraging word, a simple act of charity, quality time to listen to a lonely person and readiness to forgive. Let us allow God to smile at us so that we may be a cause of the smile on someone else`s face!

St. Paul writing to the Galatians (second reading) speaks about the great gift of Christ`s coming into the world. This is a gift which should make us all smile. Christ`s coming brings us a sense of relief. We do not have to carry the burden of our sins anymore. We are told to remember that we are no longer slaves of our past; we have the chance to look forward to a future (new year) that comes out of God`s hand. We are children of the promise and we know that God is faithful to His promises (not like many powerful men and women who make empty promises and never fulfil them). We are all heirs to the graces that God wants to give us in our being followers of His Son Jesus Christ. Apart from being our own brother, He is our journey companion. Let us not be stuck in our past but also not in the fears and anxieties of the future. God is in charge. Are there wounds and bruises from the past year? Let us allow God`s face to shine on them so as to enter into the new year as healed persons!

The Gospel presents to us Mary the Mother of the Saviour who treasured everything in her heart. Mary is indeed blessed among all human beings because she carried the treasure (Christ the Son of God) in her immaculate womb. She was favoured so that God`s favour may come upon us all. There were indeed many events for Mary to reflect on in her heart. At the beginning of the year, we also have memories to be treasured and reflected upon. These should make us aware of God`s gracious presence in the journey that we have ended. We are invited to treasure the good and holy things in our past (perhaps they are God`s footprints on our journey) and find ways of sharing our treasure with those around us. It is a time to count our blessings and be thankful to God the source of all blessings and each other as the channels of blessings. Only God knows what this year has in store for us. Our faith in God is inviting us to stand as empty vessels ready to receive everything from His hand. He will certainly continue smiling at us and if there will be moments when we shall have to weep; He will certainly wipe away our tears. We stand on promises that cannot fail because they are made by our faithful God. Rooted in the love of God, let us venture on with faith and hope!

A blessing-filled year to you all!

 

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