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The Faithful and Prudent Steward"


Sunday Mass Readings


Through the parable of the faithful and prudent steward, Jesus tells his followers that they must live prudent lives. Along with fortitude, justice and temperance, prudence is one of the cardinal virtues.

To Love God with All Our Heart, Soul and Strength"

Today's Mass Readings

In the last month or so, we have reflected on the origin and history of the people of Israel beginning with Abraham in the book of Genesis to the development of organized religion in the book Leviticus and Numbers. Today we reach the last book in this five book series – the book of Deuteronomy. The five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) together is called the “Pentateuch.” The book of Deuteronomy (meaning “second law”) is different from the other four books and contains important lessons for us.

"Whoever Loves His Life Loses it"

Today's Mass Readings

Today is the feast of St. Lawrence. He was one of the deacons and martyrs of the Roman Church of the third century. He was a victim of the persecution of Valerian in 258. Legend has it that he was burnt on the stakes. Immaterial of the manner of death, his martyrdom can be authenticated rather precisely.

One of the beliefs in the early Christian Church revolved around the “imitation of Christ.” Christians believed in the literal imitation of Christ. In other words, to die like Christ was the greatest privilege that they could ever have.

"Show Forth My Sanctity"

Today's Mass Readings

“Because you were not faithful to me
in showing forth my sanctity before the children of Israel,
you shall not lead this community into the land I will give them.”These were God’s words not to the stiff-necked people of Israel, but, to Moses and Aaron. After all these years of Moses’ leadership and fidelity, Moses is barred by God to lead the people into the Promised Land. And this because, in skepticism, Moses struck the rock twice instead of once to provide water to a protesting people. God’s complaint against Moses and Aaron is more specific than mere infidelity. God complaint was that the failed in “showing forth my (His) sanctity before the children of Israel.”



Today's Mass Readings

In religious studies, there is a concept called the “personification” of God. It can either mean that, the divine, imagined merely as a “supreme power,” is given human (personal) qualities, or in the biblical context, God, who is conceived of as interacting with his people in the same way that human being interact with each other. Thus God is shown as getting angry or being jealous or using human language and expressions to communicate. Thus, in today’s first reading, in utter frustration at the faithless of the Israelites, God makes the following declaration:
Here in the desert shall your dead bodies fall.
Forty days you spent in scouting the land;
forty years shall you suffer for your crimes:
one year for each day.
Thus you will realize what it means to oppose me.
I, the LORD, have sworn to do this
to all this wicked assembly that conspired against me:
here in the desert they shall die to the last man.” (Numbers 14:34-35).
In fact, none of the entire original people who departed from Egypt actually entered the promised land expect people like Joshua whose family remained faithful to God. Even Moses himself was barred by God from entering the promised land because he struck the rock twice at Merribah when God has asked him to strike it once. In these and other instances, (destruction of the world through the great flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, God is portrayed as a human person).

"O, You of Little Faith"

Today's Mass Readings

It is not uncommon for us and for those around us to sometimes feel insecure. Sometimes we feel insecure at other people’s talents, or that someone else will assume the role we play, or simply because we do assess our own capabilities positively. Is insecurity only a psychological abnormality or is it also a spiritual problem?

"This is my Beloved Son"


Today's Mass Readings


Today is the feast of the transfiguration of Jesus. While this event parallels the baptism of Jesus in some ways, its significance is unique for other reasons. Before we proceed toward a deeper reflection on the transfiguration, we might was to remind ourselves that Pope John Paul II included the transfiguration of Jesus in the luminous mysteries of the rosary.

Please see the homily for August 5, 2007 under "Sunday Homilies" for today's reflection.
Do not Deal Unfairly, But Stand in Fear of Your God
Today's Mass Readings

I am sure most of us remember the turn of the century. The then Pope, John Paul II had declared the year 2000 as a Jubilee Year. The concept of the Jubilee Year is taken from today’s first reading from the book of Leviticus. The purpose of the Jubilee Year is most relevant today at a time when world poverty is increasing, when the gap between the rich and the poor is increasing and when the world is paying the cost of years of environmental irresponsibility. Surprisingly, the ancient Israelite society provided a just way to addresses the needs of the poor, the landless, the animals and nature.

"We are One Body, the Body of Christ"

Today's Mass Readings

Today’s reading from the book of Leviticus (The priest of the Israelites came from the tribe of Levi of which Aaron was one, thus, the name of the book, Leviticus), takes us further into the religious life of the Israelites. Unlike the society of our times, the Israelite society revolved around the Temple and certain feasts. A summary of the feasts is given in today's first reading. The Passover was the most important of feasts. Connected the Passover was the Feast of the Unleavened Bread (related with the Passover, when the Israelites in slavery eat unleavened bread), the Feast of the First Fruits (harvest festival at the beginning of harvest where the first of the seasons fruits are offered to the Lord), the Day of the Atonement or Yom Kipur (where the entire nation repented for their sins) and the Feast of the Booths/Tabernacles (celebrated in remembrance of the forefathers who dwelt in booth in the wilderness and in thanksgiving for the permanent abode given in the Promised Land).

"How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place, O Lord, Mighty God!"

Today's Mass Readings

The “Ark of the Covenant” is an important theme in both the Old Testament and in New Testament and later Christian theology. Today’s first reading describes the events that leads to the establishment of the Ark of the Covenant as the sign of the real presence of God among his chosen people. Even though God in the Old Testament is the totally other, the totally transcendent, the one who could not be named, paradoxically, the Lord dwells among his people. It was not just an abstract spiritual presence, but rather a real concrete presence. The two tablets of the Ten Commandments would be placed in the ark and it would become for the people a sign of the real presence of God in their midst.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Treasure Buried in a Field "

Today's Mass Readings

Most of Chapter 13 of the gospel of Matthew is a collection of parables of the Kingdom of God – the parable of the sower, the parable of the weeds, the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the yeast, and today Jesus preaches the parable of the treasure. This parable is related to another saying in the sixth chapter of Matthew, where Jesus says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything will be yours as well” (Matt 6:33). Let us explore both these messages of Jesus.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Mustard Seed"

Today's Mass Readings

How is religion different from faith and spirituality? Faith is the human belief in God, spirituality is the private expression of it and religion is the organized expression of human faith in God. Today’s readings give us an indication of the beginnings of the first organization of Israel’s faith in God.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Mustard Seed"

Today's Mass Readings

We can approach today’s readings from multiple perspectives – from that of Moses, from that of the people, from that of Aaron, and from the perspective of the Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed. Let us lay each of these out in brief.

"Our Father"

Today's Mass Readings

Today’s gospel reading provides us the only prayer that Jesus taught his disciples. Together with the first reading in which Abraham intercedes with God for forgiveness for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, these two readings provide us with important points for our own prayer life.

“This is the Blood of the Covenant
the LORD has Made with You"


Today's Mass Readings

Today’s first reading describes the most central and defining event of the entire Old Testament – God’s Covenant with the people of Israel. Thus far, God had made covenants only with individuals – with Noah, Abraham, Jacob. But now, he has made a Covenant with an entire people.

"Lord, You have the Words of Everlasting Life"

Today's Mass Readings

Indeed, the Old Testament readings of this week have been the most important of the entire weeks in the liturgical year. Today, we have another significant episode of our salvation history being revealed – the Ten Commandments. These commandment form the core of the Covenant that God made with the people of Israel (tomorrow’s reading).

"Blessed is Your Holy and Glorious Name, O Lord God!"

Today's Mass Readings

As human beings, how much can we know God? Opinions differ on this matter. Some would claim that God is so beyond human categories that any knowledge about is both insufficient and impossible. As Christians we believe that Jesus was the Son of God and in his incarnation we do know some things about God for certain. Thomas Aquinas suggested that one can know but not in His totality of being. He also said that what we do know about God is by analogy i.e., God is not really father in the same way that we have human fathers. Rather, God is ‘like’ a father. In any case, the human capacity for the knowledge of God is the main theme for today’s reflections.

"We Hold this Treasure in Earthen Vessels"

Today's Mass Readings Today is the feast of the apostle James. James was the brother of John (possibly the Evangelist). He is known as James the Great to distinguish him from James the Less, or James the brother of the Lord, who became a pillar of the Jerusalem community, and is thought to have been the first bishop of Jerusalem (Galatians 1, 19 and 2, 9). With Peter and John, James was clearly one of Jesus' closest friends during his ministry. James was martyred at the hands of Herod Agrippa I about 41-44 A.D.

"Whoever Does the Will of My Heavenly Father is My Brother, and Sister, and Mother.”


Today's Mass Readings

The passage from the book of Exodus that we have as our first reading is one not only one of the most decisive moments in Israel’s struggle for freedom, it is also a passage that has implications for Christian living. On the one hand, this passage describes the final destruction of the Egyptian military power. On the other hand, this passage is read at every Easter vigil because of the waters of the Red Sea is a symbol of the “new life” that every Christian every experiences at Baptism.