First Sunday of Advent
December 3, 2023 — Year B
Readings: Is 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7 / Ps 80 / 1 Cor 1:3-9 / Mk 13:33-37
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
Advent is a unique time in the liturgical calendar. It is a sacred time set aside for us to journey in faith with the Church as she prepares to celebrate the birth of Christ. In these weeks, as we look deeper into our hearts and into the heart of our Faith, we may experience a mixture of conflicting emotions: joy and sorrow; hope and fear; thanksgiving and remorse; anticipation and dread.
The readings on this Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, stir up many such thoughts and feelings. The gospel today gives us strong and somewhat alarming words from Jesus: “Be watchful. Be alert. You do not know when the time will come.”
We know that the Lord is coming, but we do not know the time. This can make us uncomfortable. We do not want to be caught off guard or unprepared for what we know is coming. We may even feel some anxiety about what we anticipate. On the other hand, we are also quite capable of putting things out of our minds. We know what will come, but we simply do not think about it. We get lulled into complacency, procrastination, or distraction. With His strong words Jesus jolts us out of our complacency by reminding us that He may come at any time, so we need to be constantly vigilant.
There is a story about a man named John, who was always waiting for something. He was waiting for the right time to start his business. He was waiting for the right person to marry. And he was waiting for the right moment to retire.
One day, John was talking to his friend, Anna, about his waiting. Anna listened patiently, and then she said, “You know, John, you’re always waiting for something, but what if you just started living your life now? What if you stopped waiting for the perfect moment and just started doing what you wanted to do?”
John thought about what Anna said, and he realized that she was right. He had been waiting for so long that he had forgotten what it was like to live in the present moment. John decided to start living his life now. He started his business; he married Anna; and he retired when he was ready. He was happy that he had finally stopped waiting and started living.
The lesson of this story is that we should not wait for the perfect moment to start living our lives. We should start living now, and we should enjoy the journey.
The gospel reading for this Sunday is Mark 13:33-37. In this passage, Jesus tells His disciples to be watchful and alert, because they do not know when the Son of Man will come. This is a reminder to us that we should always be prepared for the coming of the Lord. We should live our lives in such a way that we are ready to meet Him at any time. We should not wait for the perfect moment to start living our lives. We should start living now, and we should enjoy the journey. And we should always be prepared for the coming of the Lord.
Jesus entrusts us with His gifts and grace, and He expects us to be ready for action and prepared for the future. Our call is not only to believe, but to watch; not only to love, but to watch; not only to obey, but to watch.
What are we to watch for? The greatest event to come is the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of time, but the kind of watching Our Lord has in mind is not a passive or “wait and see what happens” approach to life. The Lord urges us to be vigilant and to pray actively. One way to be prepared for the coming of the Lord is to live our lives in a state of grace. This means that we should be free from sin and in a state of communion with God. We can achieve this by confessing our sins regularly and receiving the Eucharist.
Another way to be prepared for the coming of the Lord is to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him. This means that we should live according to His commandments and strive to do good in the world.
We should also be watchful and alert for the signs of the times. These signs include the increasing violence and hatred in the world; the environmental crisis; and the growing number of people who are suffering. When we see these signs, we should be reminded that the end times are near and that we should be prepared for the coming of the Lord.
We should not be afraid of the coming of the Lord. Instead, we should rejoice, for He is the one who will save us from sin and death.
While we wait, we have work to do. Like the man who put his servants in charge of his house, Jesus puts us in charge of His house, which is both the Church and the world. We all have something to do in preparation for His return, as He has left each with his own work. Jesus makes it clear that His message is not only for the apostles but for all of us. “What I say to you I say to all: Watch.”
St. Paul, in the second reading, reminds us that our readiness for the Lord is not something we accomplish, but a gift of grace that we are to welcome. We do not need to fear the Lord’s coming, for although we are sinners, we have been enriched in every way. Thus, we can rejoice in anticipation of the Lord’s return. As St. Paul says with great confidence, “You are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As we begin the holy season of Advent, we are not relying on our own human strength, but on His divine strength. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ Himself is the source of our hope and joy.
And so, as we continue to celebrate our Mass, let us pray that we will always be prepared for the coming of the Lord. May we live our lives in a state of grace in a way that is pleasing to Him, and watchful and alert for the signs of the times.
May Jesus Christ be praised.KEEP READING
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
November 26, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Ez 34:11-12, 15-17 / Ps 23 / 1 Cor 15:20-26, 28 / Mt 25:31-46
by Rev. Mr. Mark De La Hunt, Permanent Deacon
Here, on the doorstep of the season of Advent, we pause and meditate on the solemnity of “Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.” He has absolute sovereignty over all creation, for He created it. And yet, in four weeks we enter the mystery of His becoming man, born in a stable, no crib for a bed, His dad a blue-collar worker and His mom a teenage girl. From now until Christmas, we walk from today’s discomfort at the foot of His judgment seat to the joy and peace of His manger in Bethlehem. These are the poles of our spiritual journey and the religious road between them is called Advent.
I encourage you to make a resolution for Advent that will be your gift for Jesus at Christmas. Consider making a different holy resolution each day or week of Advent. One I recommend is to find a quiet time to listen to St. Mother Teresa’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech on YouTube and ponder it in prayer. Hearing the voice of a great saint is a precious gift.
I listened to her speech early one morning, and it cast a familiar Bible verse in a different light for me. In morning prayer that day, I read this beatitude: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God (Mt 5:8).” I always interpreted this as meaning something along the lines of, “If you live a holy life with Jesus, you will go to heaven and see God.” In her speech Mother Teresa shared stories of the poor in an intimate and tender way, and as I listened, that beatitude led me from the foot of Jesus’ judgment seat to the side of His manger. You might say I had an epiphany.
We will come back to Mother Teresa’s speech in a bit, but now let’s meditate on the scriptures. Just as there is a dichotomy between Christ King of the Universe and Christ in a manger, there is one between the Old Testament readings where Jesus is a good shepherd and the last two where He is a king and judge (Kreeft 778). How are they connected? As our shepherd, He leads us in how to live for the day we will be judged.
In Ezekiel 34, God says, “I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep…I will seek the lost, bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak (Ez 34:16).” Jesus is judge, but He does not sit back and wait for us to succeed or to fail, relishing the day He will judge us. On the contrary, in Psalm 23 He says He will “lead [us] in paths of righteousness (3).” Why? In the verse before that He says He desires to “lead [us] beside still waters, [to] restore [our] soul (Ps 23:2).” One could say that He leads us in how to do good things that restore our soul for our day of judgment, but how is that related to still waters?
Ever look at a pond or lake in the stillness of the early morning, when the water is perfectly flat? It acts as a mirror, reflecting the trees and the sky, and somehow that reflection is more beautiful to us than if we simply looked directly at the trees and sky. So it is when He “restores our soul.” When we take up our cross and follow Him, loving our neighbor, we are at peace, and He restores our soul. It is then that our restored soul becomes like still waters, reflecting Jesus’ love. Others can read about His love directly, but it is more impactful when they see it reflected in us.
Leaving the comfort of the first reading and psalm, we move to the discomfort of the second reading: “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power…until He has put all His enemies under His feet (1 Cor 15:24-25).” Who is under His feet? His enemies, yes, but in today’s gospel we are; everyone is.
In the gospel He is sitting up high on His throne which is also the judgment seat (Mt 25:31-32). He moves one hand and many are moved to His left. He moves His other hand and some are moved to His right (Mt 15:33). Those on the right to eternal life in the kingdom prepared for them and those on the left to eternal punishment (Mt 15:34, 46).
How will He judge us? If there is a judge, then there must be a law to judge by. Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment; love one another (Jn 13:34).” May God have mercy on those who say we do not need works to get into heaven and then cherry pick verses, out of context, to support their wishful thinking. St. Paul called Jesus’ new commandment a law writing “…love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law (Rom 13:8).” Jesus gives us the consequences of breaking that law. In Matthew 7 He said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven (21-23).”
Those words made some uncomfortable, so they tried to negotiate with the King of the Universe. Here is how that went. “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name? Did we not drive out demons in Your name? Did we not do mighty deeds (miracles) in Your name?” Jesus responded, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers (Mt 7:22-23).” Prophecies, exorcisms, and miracles are all good things, and God allows even sinners to perform them, for they are good for His people. But if one does those things without love for their neighbor, then doing those things does not fulfill the law.
That leads us to today’s gospel, which is the conclusion of several Sundays of warnings from Jesus about the end of time. The last two weeks we heard about the virgins running out oil for their lamps and being locked out of the wedding banquet. And about the servant who did not give his master a return on his talents and so was cast out into darkness weeping (Mt 25:1-30). Jesus saved the most disturbing warning for last. Disturbing, because He spells it out for us today. He clarifies what the symbolism was for the oil in the virgins’ lamps and the servants’ talents. He points out those ever so serious sins that lie hidden in our conscience like a copperhead snake amidst some leaves.
The sins I speak of lead us to another good Advent resolution. Examine our conscience for sins of omission, those acts of love we failed to do. Jesus gives us an examination of conscience in today’s gospel. “When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you (Mt 25:38-39)?” And the King of the Universe replied, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me (40).”
A good examination of conscience is free of excuses. Excuses did not work well for the miracle workers who were without love. Here are some questions you can turn into Advent resolutions. Have I introduced myself to a new parishioner or to a new neighbor and welcomed them? Have I gathered up the extra coats, shoes, and clothes in my home and given them away? Have I helped feed the hungry? Is prison ministry on my heart, and if so, how can I act on it? Could you bring your children or a friend to visit a nursing home? Is there someone who is sick that you can go and pray with or help with their chores that are going undone?
If you are still feeling comfortable because judgment day sounds so far off, then listen to these somber words from the Church.
“The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in His second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul—a destiny which can be different for some and for others (CCC 1021).”
“Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ [King of the Universe]: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven — through a purification or immediately — or immediate and everlasting damnation (CCC 1022).”
So when will you die? I have been surprised at how many of my high school classmates I have outlived. They were so much healthier than me. Our particular judgment can come at any time. In the first verse of the gospel next week, Jesus says, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come (Mk 13:33).”
Now we are in the proper frame of mind to turn to Mother Teresa for guidance and hope. In her Nobel prize acceptance speech, her stories of seeing extraordinary goodness in the poor shed new light on Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” What does “pure of heart” mean? St. Angela Merci kept the answer simple, “Charity does not sin.” When, with love, I welcome the stranger and visit the sick, my heart is pure in that moment. It is free of sin.
My epiphany while listening to Mother Teresa’s stories of the poor was that, when I am lovingly caring for the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned, I am pure of heart and I…see…God. I see the person, but in them the King of the Universe is looking back at me. And in that sacred moment, I travel the Advent road from Jesus’ judgment seat in heaven to the manger in Bethlehem where our King joins us in all our suffering.
Have mercy on us, oh King of the Universe, and send us Your Spirit to lead us from the fear of Your judgment seat to the hope of Your manger. Amen.
Kreeft, Peter. “Food for the Soul; Reflections on the Mass Readings, Cycle A.” Word on Fire 2022.
Mother Teresa. Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech. YouTube.
Catholic Church. “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” 2nd ed., Our Sunday Visitor, 2000.KEEP READING
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 19, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Prv 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 / Ps 128 / 1 Thes 5:1-6 / Mt 25:14-30
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
There was a story of a Chinese boy who came from a very poor family in Hong Kong and never dreamed that he would go far. His parents left him behind to do some housekeeping and construction in Australia. Gifted with talents and skills for doing stunts and acrobatics, he developed and cashed in on this until he rose to become a famous movie actor, multimillionaire, and Asian superstar, that is Jackie Chan.
Brothers and sisters, we are given different talents by the Lord. For example, some of us are good at singing, dancing, and talking. Some are good at the arts, mathematics, sciences, and others. And sometimes our talents are very unique. All of us have talent. We cannot say, “I don’t have talent. I don’t know how to sing. I don’t know how to dance,” and so on and so forth.
The Church continues to reflect about the end of the world and the end of our lives. Last Sunday we were asked to reflect on the ten virgins, five wise and five foolish, and we were taught to be ready to meet the Lord. Next Sunday, we will celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, which opens the last week of the liturgical year of the Church. Today’s gospel points out through the parable of the talents the difference between being ready and being unready when the Lord returns to settle accounts with us.
Jesus gives us a parable that the Kingdom of God is like a man traveling to a faraway land and calling his three servants to take care of some of his possessions. One servant has great ability, and so he gives this servant five talents. The second has average ability and he is given two talents, while the third has little ability because he was just given one talent. The first two servants immediately made their talents work and doubled the number of talents the master gave them, but the servant who received only one talent buried it because of the fear that he may lose it.
When the master returned, the first two servants who made their talents work reported what they did with the money, and the master was very happy with them, and he gave what the two servants earned to them. But when the last servant told him that he was afraid to lose the money and buried it, the master became angry. He gave the one talent to the servant who earned ten talents.
Brothers and sisters, most of us think of a talent as some kind of special ability, gift, or skill. In Jesus’ time a talent was a measure of money. We can understand the talents in today’s gospel as symbols of any of the gifts God has given to us, especially our faith, and we use these gifts to build His Kingdom.
Everyone has received something from God. Life itself is a talent. Time is a talent. Treasure is a talent. They are all talents we have to invest. Knowing that Jesus was describing servants being given huge amount of cash to invest helps us to understand just how generous the master was being and the opportunity each servant was given. The greatest gift God has given to us is the gift of Himself. The talents represent more than just the monetary resources God gives us.
Remember, this is a parable and all of Jesus’ parables are about a bit more than they seem. This parable is paired with the parable of the ten virgins who made the mistake of not having enough oil when the bridegroom arrives. It is also preceded by a story about a servant not using his position well while the master is away. All three stories are about being given something which must be used well and the consequences of neglecting or abusing it. In short, the talents represent what God has given us; our monetary resources, our callings to positions within the Church that can be found in Ephesians 4:11-16, our natural gifts. Each of these things and many others are given by God to use in ways that glorify Him and draw others toward Him.
There is a famous saying in the movie Chariots of Fire, where future Olympian Eric Liddell feels a tension between his chance to be an Olympic runner and his calling be a missionary in China. Eventually he tells his sister he will go to the Olympics and then to the mission field because both honor God. “God made me for a purpose, for China,” Liddell says, “but He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure. To give that up would be to hold Him in contempt.” In the end all talents are given by God to glorify Him.
The Bible makes it clear, there is no sacred versus secular world in the way we often think. Yes, there are official positions for certain church tasks; preaching, evangelizing, teaching, etc., and Christians should not be molded by worldly standards. However, all creation was made very good, and we must do all things to God’s glory. So, whatever we are doing, provided it is not a sinful activity, we serve God well by doing it well. As Dorothy Sayers put it in her essay, Why You Work: “If we follow God properly, all the work will be Christian work, whether it is Church embroidery or sewage farming.”
The Bible makes it clear that we don’t really own our gifts. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by God according to plans He laid out before we were born to glorify Him forever. The fact that the master owns the money he gave the servants, and he gets the results of their investments highlights who is in control.
We naturally want to believe we can use our gifts as we please. If we grew up in cultures where the individual is primary, we also tend to think we can live as we please. However, if we all want to be little gods of our own lives, serving ourselves, we miss our true place in life. We find our true joy and place in life when we serve God with our gifts. Jesus uses the parable of the talents to help us understand our calling as Christians and our responsibility to use what God has given us to bring Him glory and honor.
We have the most valuable gift of all, the Word of God and the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. This gift is for us to share with others through our words and actions. It is a great responsibility with great reward, as described in the parable of the talents. The parable of the talents should encourage us and challenge us to take what God has given us and invest in the Kingdom of God. There is a great reward waiting for those who steward well with what the Lord has given them. May Jesus Christ be praised.KEEP READING
Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 12, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Wis 6:12-16 / Ps 63 / 1 Thes 4:13-18 / Mt 25:1-13
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
Today’s holy gospel is taken from a discourse about the end of the world and the final judgement. The point of today’s gospel story is that we should always be prepared for the end of our lives. None of us knows the day or the hour when we will appear in judgement before the Lord.
There was a story about a sparrow who overheard from a squirrel up a tree that the sky was falling. Greatly disturbed by that news, the sparrow flew from its comfortable nest to spread the news. The cow, the dogs, the cats, and all the members of the animal kingdom were simply doubtful. They dismissed the sparrow’s tale as purely hearsay and therefore untrue. Finally, dejected and frustrated, and convinced that the animals would not cooperate, the sparrow lay on its back and started to raise its legs up toward the sky.
A wise man happened to be passing by and, seeing the creature in an unusual stance, inquired, “My little friend, what’s wrong with you?”
The sparrow replied, “Oh, dear sir, haven’t you heard that the sky is falling? I am here to support the weight of the sky, should it fall.”
The wise man could not help but smile and say, “But with your frail body, how could you possibly support the sky?”
“We do what we can. We do what we can,” said the sparrow.
Most of the time, we are like the dog, the cow, the cat, and the rest of the animals in the story, who are doubtful and do not want to respond to the needs and the signs of the times. When somebody tells us, “Let us go to Mass,” we would respond, “I don’t have any sin. Just go there and pray for me.” We don’t want to be disturbed. We want to be on our own. We are unconcerned and unresponsive when somebody needs our help. Today’s first reading and the gospel both teach that we must have wisdom and prudence to be prepared for the Lord’s coming at the end of our lives.
As we get close to the end of the Church’s liturgical year, we concentrate on the end of things. That is why we consider if we are ready for the end of our lives, the end of the world, and the final judgement. Nature itself reminds us of the end of things. During the fall season, we see leaves fall from the trees, and it teaches us that someday we, too, will have an end to our life. The grass dies off and the flowers no longer bloom as nature teaches us a great lesson each fall. Someday we too shall die.
Our Blessed Savior wants us to get to heaven, so He’s instructing us today to be vigilant, to be ready, to be wise, and be prudent. In today’s gospel story, the task of the bridesmaids was to lead the way with light through the narrow and dark streets of the city. There were no street lamps in those days, and it was pitch dark at night. We may presume that the bridesmaids prepared for the wedding over a significant period of time. They probably made new dresses, new shoes, had their hair done, and so forth. The foolish bridesmaids failed in the one task for which they were required. The foolish virgins were not prepared to light the way for the groom.
We do not know too much about ancient marriages, but according to Joachim Jeremiah, in his book entitled The Parables of Jesus, published in 1972, one thing seems to be sure: The highlight of the marriage is the nocturnal entry of the bridegroom into the paternal house where the marriage takes place, followed by the festival banquet. The task of the bridegroom was to fetch the bride in her home, and then the procession would go to the house of the father of the groom. The task of the bridesmaids is to carry torches and light the way, and to give everything and everybody a very festive mood.
So now the question is: What is our task in this life? Did not God create us to know Him, to love Him, and to be happy with Him in this life and the next? Are we attending to the purpose for which we were created? Are we prepared for the task at hand? Or are we like the foolish virgins? Now is the time for us to make necessary changes to our lives. Now is our one chance, perhaps, to obtain sufficient oil for the lamps of our souls, so that we will be able to complete the task that God has given us in our life.
When we were baptized, we received a baptismal candle. The celebrant, priest, or deacon, said to us, “Receive the light of Christ, parents and godparents. This light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. These children of yours have been enlightened by Christ. They are to walk always as children of the light. May they keep the flame of faith alive in their hearts. When the Lord comes, may they go out to meet Him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.”
Are we ready to go out to meet Jesus at the end of our lives?
Now that we are responsible adults, is Jesus the light of the world through us? The light of Christ that we receive in Baptism is to shine before others by the way we live our daily lives. To accomplish all the things that God wants of us, it is necessary for us to worship at Mass every week. The Mass is the most perfect and most powerful prayer that there is. In every Mass, Jesus offers Himself through us to the Father. By attending Mass regularly, we will grow and be holy. Each time we have the privilege of receiving Holy Communion, something awesome takes place in our soul. We become what we eat. We become more like Christ. Jesus living in us will continue to shed His gentle light to those among whom we live. We will come to know and love Him more deeply.
Sometimes we ask, is Matthew’s message to his fellow Christians still relevant to the Christians of our time? Very much so. As we draw close to the end of the Liturgical Year, the Church, through the Gospel, invites us to contemplate the end: the end of our lives, and the end of the world. The way to prepare for the end is not to live in fear and anxiety, or to go after prophets and visionaries that claim to have access to God’s secret calendar of how and when the world will end. Jesus told us that the Son of Man would come back on the last day to judge the living and the dead. How and when will that be? We do not know for sure.
How then is the wise Christian to prepare for the end times? Today’s parable gives us the answer. The best way to prepare for the end is to follow the example of those wise virgins; the wise virgins who took oil to keep their lamps burning. In the same way, we should engage and persevere in good works to keep our faith alive. That is the best way to make ourselves ready and prepared for the Lord, no matter when the Lord chooses to come.
So, in this holy Mass, let us beg Jesus to help us change our lives, so that we, too, will radiate the light of Christ in our world and be prepared for His coming.KEEP READING
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 15, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Is 25:6-10a / Ps 23 / Phil 4:12-14, 19-20 / Mt 22:1-14
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
The world is full of opportunities knocking on our doors, just waiting for us to open them. It is full of opportunities for us to live life to the fullest. However, they are not always present. We must seize the opportunity while we still have the time and the opportunity, or else we will end up blaming ourselves, not others.
An invitation is an example of an opportunity knocking on our door, waiting to be opened. But rather than getting up to open the door, we sometimes whine about the noise.
There was a story of a young man who went away to other places in search of fortune. A few years later, he returned to his home with trucks loaded with riches. “Now I’m going to play a trick on my relatives and friends,” he said to himself. He donned some ragged clothes and went to see his cousin Mike first. “I’m your long lost cousin,” he said. “I’m back home after several years in other places. Just look at me, how miserable I am. May I stay with you for a while?” he said. Mike said, “I’m sorry, but there’s no room here for you.”
The man visited some more of his relatives and friends, but he was not accepted by any of them. So he decided to return to where he had left his riches, dressed himself in luxurious clothes, rode through this place with a large entourage of servants, purchased all the businesses about to close down, and began to build a majestic mansion. After only a few days, the news of his riches had spread all over the place.
“Who could have imagined it?” asked one of the relatives and friends who had rejected him. “If we had only known, we would have acted differently. But it is too late now; we’ve missed the riches.”
The readings today show us what joy there is in accepting God’s invitation and what sorrow there is in refusing. The word of God challenges us to examine our own response to His call. God extends to us the greatest invitation we will ever receive: Come to the feast. Come to the banquet of eternal life. Sooner or later, each of us has to give Him an answer. Our RSVP can either be “Yes, I’m coming,” or “No, I will not come.” The choice is ours and it has eternal consequences.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable directed to the chief priest and the elders. A king arranges a wedding banquet for his son, and sends out his servants to call the guests. Strangely, the invited guests flatly refuse to come. When the king tries again, those being invited treat the servants shamefully, even violently.
When we first read this, it may sound absurd. People simply don’t act that way when they are invited to a royal feast. Why would anyone respond so negatively when being invited to something so wonderful? But the parable is not about an earthly wedding feast. It is about the Kingdom of God. Jesus is exposing the disgraceful ways in which we respond to Him. Like the invited guests, sometimes we simply refuse for no logical reason. We do not want to be bothered. When we hear God’s call, His words, His commandments, His prompting in the heart, we reject it, without even considering it. Other times, we consider other things more important right now: our farm or business, or any number of high priority matters. God’s will is simply not that important to us.
Then there are times when we have an outrageous reaction to God’s invitation. We do not literally kill the messenger, but the word of truth can make us hostile and defensive. When we are called to repentance, we get angry. We act as if we have been imposed upon, or insulted, or threatened. Interiorly, we fight, complain, ridicule, resist. What at first seems to be a rather absurd reaction by some strange people in a parable becomes, upon closer inspection, a disconcerting reflection of our own hearts.
God truly is like a king who wants to fill His banquet hall with guests. The blessings He has in mind for us are symbolized by the glorious feast so beautifully described in the first reading. The prophet Isaiah foretells a feast of rich foods and choice wines, which the Lord of Hosts will provide for all peoples.
There is more to this feast than good food. This is a prophecy of eternal life. God promises that He will destroy death forever. The veil of mourning that enshrouds all peoples and nations, the tears that are shed by every generation, the wave of death that ensnares every person will be destroyed.
What God is inviting us to is a victory celebration: a feast of everlasting rejoicing, a life without tears, or mourning, or death; everything we mean by the word Heaven.
In our Lord’s time, wedding invitations went out well in advance, and were accepted definitively. The final call just before the event occurred was a mere formality. It would be an unspeakable insult to decline when the final call arrived. They had already accepted and had made their firm commitment. And so the master in the parable sends out messengers to the highways and byways, that is, to everyone, respectable or not. All are invited. From now on the invitation is being made, not to a select and exclusive minority of privileged people, but to the wider public forum, to all people. All who respond are welcome. There is no special preference anymore. Sinners, outcasts, gentiles—and you—are all invited.
Those accepting the invitation are not any better than those who declined. It’s just that the poor and the outcasts, not having any other options and seeing what a rare gift this was, accepted and attended. Again, it reminds us not to be complacent or superior, as all of us are truly blessed to be invited.
This parable reminds us that this invitation is for all of us. But the invitation can be refused. The kingdom is open to all, but guaranteed to none. We don’t earn the kingdom, but we sadly can decline it, which would be madness.
One final thought: The waifs and strays enter the banquet, but then one gets kicked out for not wearing a wedding garment. It seems unfair at first glance. Consider, however, that although the invitation is for all, acceptance means a change of standards and values. These are symbolized by being clothed in the garment that resembles and represents the baptismal garment of goodness and Christ-like living. We must wear this robe with devotion and humility, keeping the Gospel values of Christ in our hearts, very central and very safe.KEEP READING
Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
August 6, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Dn 7:9-10, 13-14 / Ps 97 / 2 Pt 1:16-19 / Mt 17:1-9
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
There is a story of a young man who thought he was a worm. He would hide under the bed whenever he saw a chicken, because chickens eat worms. One day he was hiding under the bed, because he saw a chicken roaming around. His best friend decided to help him overcome his problem. He went under the bed with him and told him to repeat after him, “I am a man, not a worm.” After a few repetitions, his best friend urged him to come out and prove himself a man. He came out and walked around confidently until he saw a chicken and then immediately hid under the bed again. His best friend went under the bed and asked him, “Why don’t you believe you are a man, not a worm?” The young man replied, “I do believe I am a man, not a worm, but does the chicken believe that?”
Jesus believed that He was the beloved Son of the Father. Even in His most painful and despairing moments, He believed that. The disciples also believed that Jesus was the Son of God, but the moment the trials and persecutions came along, they ran and hid under the bed. Later on, however, they truly believed and laid down their lives for Jesus.
The Feast of the Transfiguration reminds us of who Jesus is and also reminds us of who we are. Today we are celebrating this feast. The word, transfiguration, is derived from the Latin word, transfigurare, or the Greek word, metamorphosis, which means change in form or appearance. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John, a special trio in the twelve, up the high mountain of Tabor where the glory of His destiny is revealed to them. This glory belongs to Him as God’s beloved Son. Transfiguration is the foretaste of heaven. This is signified by His dazzling white clothes.
Peter wants to preserve this moment by erecting tents. He’s overwhelmed and terrified by the experience, and yet he doesn’t want it to end. Moses and Elijah are seen talking to Jesus about His death which He is to suffer in Jerusalem. This is seen by the three apostles. The three are wondrously delighted with this vision and Peter calls out to Christ, “Lord it is good for us to be here. Let us make three tents, one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Then they hear the voice of the Father saying, “This is My Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.”
This moment, not a permanent state of bliss, is given to them to help them realize the true identity of Jesus, that Jesus is the true Messiah, the Son of the living God. This conversation of Jesus with Elijah and Moses shows us that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. (Moses represents the law, and Elijah represents the prophets.) His mission is not to destroy the ways in which the Father has already revealed Himself, but to bring this revelation to completion.
The vision that we are given today on this great Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord shows us that we are called to something far beyond anything we could have imagined.
Our first reading from the book of Daniel gives us a tiny glimpse into the awesome glory of Heaven, where the Father reigns with His Son. We get the sense that Daniel can barely find the words to describe the wonder of what he has seen. Everything is bright white, glowing as if on fire, seemingly blinding in its brilliance. Myriads of people from every nation are worshipping God. This vision already fills us with great hope. We want to be invited into this place where we can experience the glory of God and be counted among those who are privileged to stand before Him and worship Him.
The gospel, however, encourages us to hope for still more. Peter, James, and John are shown the same glory of God shining out through the very humanity of Jesus. They begin to understand that God is not content merely to have us join Him in heaven so that we can witness His glory. He wants to transform us so that we shine with that very same glory. The Transfiguration shows us more deeply who Jesus is. It also shows us who we are called to be in God’s plan.
St. Peter assures us, in the second reading, that this is not just some cleverly devised story. He himself was an eyewitness to the Transfiguration. He speaks of what he saw and heard. He declares that this promise of God is altogether reliable and exhorts us to be attentive to it.
Another possible reason for this display was that Jesus wanted to strengthen these three apostles for the trials of faith that they would have to face and endure at Mount Calvary when Jesus would not be on Mount Tabor, the mountain of the Transfiguration, but on Mount Calvary, the mountain of the cross.
God sometimes gives us moments of consolation and joy. We want such moments to never end, but that is not our lot here on earth. Before enjoying glory, we must first undergo suffering. These moments of consolation will help us to go on, to persevere in spite of difficulties. God invites us to see the many little transfiguration experiences that we have in our daily lives, such as changes of nature, the gradual opening of a flower, the blooming of trees, transformation of people, the growing of children, the cycle of birth and death, the realization that God is there.
Through the eyes of faith, we realize that it is a continuous process of seeing, not the flower, but the blooming, not the people but their talents, not the sun but its rising, not the miracle but God.
Every time that we gather for the celebration of the Eucharist, we also experience a moment of transfiguration where our Lord Jesus Christ is transfigured before our very own eyes. The bread and wine are transfigured and become His body and blood, thus our spiritual food for life in our journey toward eternal life. May we slowly come out of our fears, weaknesses, and sinfulness, and show others what we really believe in and who we are called to be—the people of God.KEEP READING
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 30, 2023 — Year A
Readings: 1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12 / Ps 119 / Rom 8:28-30 / Mt 13:44-52
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
A while ago, I read an article about a college athlete who was training to make the school’s football team. He got up every morning at five a.m. to train. He would run and lift weights for two hours straight. Then he would go back to the dorm, shower, eat breakfast, and go off to his classes. After his classes, he would go back to the athletic facility and work for three more hours with his teammates, learning the playbook, running plays, more weights, etc. The next morning at five a.m., he started the same routine all over again.
Obviously, he had very little, if any, social life. When a reporter asked him why he followed such a difficult schedule, the young man said, “My only goal right now is to be the best football player I can be and to help my team win a championship. If going to parties or anything else, for that matter, prevents me from accomplishing my goal, then why go? The more I train, the better. You see, sacrifice is the thing.”
Brothers and sisters, I was wondering, if Jesus was living now instead of two thousand years ago, if in today’s gospel, He might have used a different story or two. Rather than speak about a pearl merchant who sacrificed everything to buy his dream pearl, or a tenant farmer who sold everything he owned to buy a field with a treasure in it, Jesus may have spoken about a young man who sacrificed a lot to be the best football player that he could be.
What’s the connection between a pearl merchant, a treasure hunter, and this young football player? What do they have in common? What they have in common is this: They have a total commitment to their dream. All of them are willing to sacrifice everything for the goal they have set for themselves. In one case, it is to own the perfect pearl. In the second case, it’s to obtain a great treasure. In the third case, it is to help make his team into a champion.
That’s precisely Jesus’ point in today’s gospel: To be a true follower of God requires total commitment on our part. Citizenship in God’s kingdom requires us to give one hundred percent all of the time, not just when we feel like it. God’s kingdom must be the top priority of our life. We cannot be a true follower of Jesus only part of the time, sort of like a hobby. We cannot be only admirers of Him.
Being a true disciple of Jesus is like being a pearl merchant. Being a true disciple of Jesus is like being a treasure seeker. Being a true disciple of Jesus is like being a football player. It involves total dedication and commitment.
But there is one difference – a big difference between a true disciple of Jesus and our pearl merchant, treasure hunter, and football player. You see, those three people are striving for rewards that will not last, rewards that are transitory. Earthly rewards, while a follower of Jesus is striving for eternal, permanent rewards.
When the pearl merchant dies, his pearl will no longer be of any value to him. When the treasure seeker dies, his treasure will be as useless to him as snowshoes are to somebody in July. When the football player dies, his trophies will be just another keepsake for his family.
But when a true disciple of Jesus dies, a true Christian, the whole kingdom of God rejoices, because it will now shine brighter and brighter. All of God’s people will be edified eternally when a Christian dies.
Money and influence, in and of themselves, are neutral. Money is good when it is used to help others, not when it is only spent on ourselves. Influence and power can be great, even holy, when used to lift up those who have been beaten down by life’s brutality.
At the moment just before our death, I doubt very much if any of us will look back on our lives and wish we spent more hours at the office or made more money or played another round of golf. I do think, however, that we will look back on our lives and wish that we had spent more time with our families and loved ones. More time helping other people and doing good.
You see, then, on our deathbeds we will realize that there is only one thing in life that really counts, and it’s not whether in life we acquired a prize pearl or a rare treasure or won a sport championship. The only thing that will truly matter is what we have become, what we are in God’s eyes while we traveled our paths through life.
Think about this: If our pearl merchant and treasure seeker and football player were willing to sacrifice so much for a prize that will never last, how much more should we be willing to sacrifice for a prize that will last forever? Earthly prizes can be good and even satisfying for a time, but eternal prizes are the best, the very best. So don’t bet on the wrong horse, as they say.
If we are given the choice, what do we prefer: gold, glory, or God? It is easy to say that we prefer God in our lives, but sadly, this is not what we see in people’s priorities today. Often the desire for wealth and honor would push people to spend their precious time for work and business only. The prevailing culture suggests that, to be happy, one must have more and achieve more.
Hence, people are willing to sacrifice their time with the family in order to earn more money. Many are also ready to surrender their Christian principles and values just to keep their fame and glory.
The well-known story of Solomon in our first reading should inspire us all. In a dream, God offered to give him one thing that he wanted. Being young, Solomon could have asked for wealth or glory or long life. But realizing the great task ahead of him, Solomon thought that what he really needed was the wisdom to rule his people well in the ways of God.
Wisdom, or God’s inspiration, is what Solomon asked for, and God was so pleased with Solomon, that He promised him more than the gift of wisdom, including riches, glory, and long life. That’s why the song that we sang several weeks ago is right: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all good things shall be added unto you.”
Mother Teresa of Kolkata and John Paul II both died leaving no property, for they had not accumulated treasures on earth. They found their treasure in a life given totally to the service of God and of the Church.
The parables are true. Those who discover the treasure of the Kingdom will be happy to let go of everything to follow and be close to Jesus.
May Jesus Christ be praised.
Third Sunday of Lent
March 12, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Ex 17:3-7 / Ps 95 / Rom 5:1-2, 5-8 / Jn 4:5-42
by Rev. Mr. Barry Welch, Guest Homilist
For a few moments I’d like for you to put yourself in the place of the woman at the well in today’s story. Imagine you’re her and you’re there. It’s dusty and it’s hot, even in the shade. The dust and the wind are hot, and they’re sticking to you because you’re sweaty. You’re a long walk from the village. You’re alone. The jars are heavy even when empty.
I am the woman at the well, and I swim in dirty waters. I exist and I swim in the waters of this world, this culture. It can be a cesspool really. The world doesn’t love me; it doesn’t care about me. Society, the culture, they wish for my power as their own. I’m worth what I produce for it. My dignity is ambiguous, my morality is ambiguous, dependent on what others might see in me or gain from me, so I behave the same. This culture that corrupts me by bombarding me with its messages: consume, it’s your truth, love whomever you’d like, if it feels good do it, the baby is not a person, the old man is a burden. This culture that has shaped me is the same that will condemn me, shun me, ignore me, separate me whenever it seems helpful to it. Governments, business, academics, art, media, these can’t save me. I am the woman at the well, and I swim in dirty waters.
I am the woman at the well, and I am a cast away, rejected, shunned, alone with my sin and my pain. There’s a reason I’m at the well far outside of town, alone with the sun at its peak and the heat. I am a cast away. That’s because no one will be there, no one carries heavy containers of water in the heat of the day; they go in the early morning or the late evening when it’s cool. But me, I go when no one will be there, no one to deride me, no one to judge me, no one to make me feel worse about myself than I already do. No one can help me, no one cares, no one loves me. Do I even deserve love anyway? I just need to exist. I just need to get by. I am the woman at the well and I am a cast away.
I am the woman at the well and I doubt Him. Why talk to me? Why care about me? I am a woman, I am from Samaria, I’m a pagan. You don’t know me; You can’t know me. Everything about me is the antithesis of what someone like You would value. I float in sin. I doubt You can help me. You don’t even have a vessel, a container for the water, and my darkness is deep, too deep for You to reach. How could You sustain me for even a few moments, let alone eternally? No, this doesn’t make sense, this must be some trick. You must want something from me or wish to gain something by this encounter. I am the woman at the well and I doubt Him.
I am the woman at the well and I accept Him. Wait, He does know me. He really, truly, knows me. He knows my heart, hardened and despairing as it is. I’ve never met Him, and yet He softly identifies everything about my darkness. He dips deeply into my well of shame and loathing and somehow accepts it, accepts me. He accepts who I am. His grace is bigger than my past, much bigger. He’s met me in the dark and barren places of my heart where I am and offered me His love without requiring anything. And yet, I feel I want to return to Him somehow. I want to acknowledge this immense gift. I welcome His gift. It’s what I’ve unknowingly been seeking. He has risen me to pure living water. I’m unsinkable. I live. I am the woman at the well and I accept Him.
I am the woman at the well and I know Him. I’m not even going to haul the water back or the containers. I’m lighter than air now. I’m restored. My burdens lifted. My guilt and shame washed away. I’m floating. But what about the others? They don’t know, they can’t know. They swim in dirty waters. They are castaways. They doubt love. If they knew Him, they might be light. I must share. I must let them know, because even me, and all my darkness and brokenness and doubt, even me He loves and wants to save. You’ve got to meet Him. There’s nothing greater, nothing more important, nothing more beautiful. He is the living water, salvation, the Christ. I am the woman at the well and I want you to know Him.KEEP READING
Second Sunday of Lent
March 5, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Gn 12:1-4a / Ps 33 / 2 Tm 1:8b-10 / Mt 17:1-9
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
Our gospel today talks about the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor, or Mount Hebron. Since the fifth century, every August 6 is the Feast of the Transfiguration, and the Second Sunday of Lent each year is also called Transfiguration Sunday.
Because the gospel talks about this great event in the life of Jesus Christ, and His three disciples, Peter, James, and John, were witnesses to it, we can say the main purpose of Christ’s Transfiguration was to prepare the apostles for the events of Holy Week, when Jesus Christ sacrificed, died, and was nailed on the cross because of His great love for each one of us. In other words, He prepared them for His upcoming suffering.
On the mountain, Peter, James and John saw that there was more to Jesus than met the eye. During the Transfiguration, they get a glimpse of the future glory of Jesus’ resurrection.
And like them, we, too, get glimpses of the presence of God in our lives. We get glimpses of God in the love we receive from other people. We get glimpses of God when badly needed help suddenly comes to us from out of nowhere. We get glimpses of God when we look back over our lives, and what we couldn’t understand in the past makes sense now. We see glimpses of God in the beauty of a fine day, a nice beach, a beautiful sunrise or sunset. We see glimpses of God when a passage from the Bible or a homily strikes a chord in our hearts. We get a glimpse of God when we spend time in prayer and experience the loving presence of God in our lives. We get more than just a glimpse of God when we receive the body of Jesus in Holy Communion. The Transfiguration, coming early in Lent, encourages us to continue our Lenten penances, because it reminds us of the glory of Jesus risen from the dead.
When Jesus and the disciples came down the mountain, Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone about the Transfiguration until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. Of course, they didn’t know what He meant. Unknown to them was that the glory of Jesus’ Transfiguration was preparing them to accept the scandal of the cross. They would understand this only afterwards when looking back.
Brothers and Sisters, the good times take us through the bad times. So, when our cross is heavy, or we are tempted to despair about the meaning of life, let us look beyond the pain of the present moment and remember those times when we got glimpses of God, those times when God sent us His consolation. Let us look beyond the pain of life and see the presence of God in our world and the offer of life that God wants to make to each of us. Let us look beyond the illusion of happiness that this life offers to the real happiness that God offers us. Let us look beyond this world to eternal life with God.
In our first reading, we heard Abram being called by God to leave his present place and go to a new country. He was seventy-five when called to leave his old country but had to wait another twenty-five years for the promised son, Isaac, to be born, so that the promise of future descendants could be fulfilled. That was a long wait. It was a long time for him to be continually looking beyond the present to the promise of God. With faith, we can see what we cannot see with our eyes.
On the mountain, Peter, James and John looked beyond the appearance of Jesus and saw His future risen glory. Let us look beyond and see that God is really with us. God has not left us on our own. God is with us.
The Transfiguration of Jesus in our gospel was not just about Jesus. It was a vision of the glorious future to which we are all called. We encounter problems and negativities, and we get hurt going through life. Then we have the choice either to say negative things, or we can choose to remember who we really are: brothers and sisters of Jesus, sons and daughters of God since Baptism, and that the glory of the Transfigured Jesus awaits each of us.
We can choose to think in negative ways, or to remember the encouragement we receive in sacred scripture. In his first letter, John writes, “We are already children of God, but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed. All we know is that, when it is revealed, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He really is. We shall be like Him.”
The glory of the Transfigured Jesus is awaiting each of us, thanks to our Baptism. So then for one who believes, there is no room for negative thinking. We will be tempted to think negatively because of the events that occur to us, but let us not forget our dignity, no matter what happens, and no matter what others think of us or say to us.
The second reading today also gives us an insight into what God has destined for us. It says, “He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to His own design, and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began.…” God’s grace was granted to us before the beginning of time. Imagine: Since the beginning of time, God had you in His plan and had His grace planned for you. Since the beginning of time, God planned to transform us through His son, Jesus.
The disciples who experienced Jesus’ Transfiguration had to come down the mountain and return to normality, but they remembered the Transfiguration. Like them, we live in normality, but we believe, and know, that God has destined great things for us. We say the Transfiguration prepared the disciples for the scandal of the cross. Celebrating Jesus’ Transfiguration early in Lent reminds us of what comes after the cross, because it reminds us of the glory of Jesus risen from the dead. In our worst moments of pain, may we not think negatively, but remember the encouragement we receive in sacred scripture, and that God has destined the glory of the Transfiguration for each of us in the next life.KEEP READING
First Sunday of Advent
November 27, 2022 — Year A
Readings: Is 2:1-5 / Ps 122 / Rom 13:11-14 / Mt 24:37-44
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
According to Tryon Edwards, an American theologian, “Death has nothing terrible that life has not made so. A faithful Christian life in this world is the best preparation for life in the next.” This statement of Mr. Edwards has something to do with preparation for our death. It also has to do with the coming of Jesus Christ into our lives, especially now that we are in the season of Advent.
During the first Sunday of Advent, which begins the new liturgical year in the Church, there is an invitation for Christians to stay spiritually awake and to prepare for the Lord’s coming. Advent, which means, “coming,” is a time of preparation for Christmas, but it is more than that. Today’s gospel speaks of the coming of the Son of Man at the end of the age. In this sense, Advent then also points to the unknown time that will mark the end of human history.
According to Father R. H. Lesser, an English priest and author, in his book entitled Like Honey in the Rock, Jesus Christ has six comings. We have to get ready for Him by decorating our house, preparing sweets, and perhaps buying a new dress. The first coming of Jesus happened in a village in a remote province of the Roman Empire. In this sense, God is kind and merciful, since He sent us a savior, His son, to give us salvation. This mercy of God cannot be stopped even by man’s stupidity and malice. He saves us because He loves us.
The second coming, as I already mentioned is the mercy and kindness of God. The third coming, referred to by the fathers of the Church as the parousia, will be a different matter. As Saint Matthew said, “When the Son of Man comes as king, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His royal throne and the people of all nations will be gathered before Him, and He will proceed to judgment.” Our main sins, most of them least remembered in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, are sins of omission, especially disobeying the positive commandment of the New Testament, the commandment to love.
The fourth coming of Jesus is in the sacraments. The Lord comes in four different ways in the Eucharist: through the meeting of the people of God, through the priest who in a special way represents Christ, through the Word of God, and through the Eucharistic species. His real presence in the Eucharist is a real coming. Of this Eucharistic presence, most people are aware. We tend to neglect and forget the fact that He comes really and truly in every other Sacrament as well. For example, we can really and intimately meet Him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as a forgiving God. Why not take advantage of this Sacrament?
The fifth coming is through the wind, the cries of children, the song of the birds, the rain. The problem is that our eyes are not open to see Him. Our ears are not alert to hear Him.
The sixth coming is an even more intimate one, mentioned by the Lord Himself when He said, “If you love Me, you will obey My commandments. My Father will love you, and we will come and make our permanent home within you.” Most of us know something about this internal coming, but do we actually experience it? If we have to prepare for the glorious coming of the Lord, then we must live our life in the spirit of the Lord, to actively involve ourselves in human interactions, to see in the face of everyone the face of a loving God, to believe that God is Emmanuel, God is with us, a God who is a father, friend, and companion. This is what it means to be spiritually awake.
As we begin today a new cycle of the Church year of grace, let us resolve to shun doomsday paranoia, on the one hand, and reckless complacency on the other. Let us resolve to be always awake in the Spirit by living a life of faith and love in service to the Lord, so that whenever He comes, we shall be ready to follow Him into the glory of eternity.
Christ continues to be present in the Church and in the world. His presence will remain until the end of time, but His presence is not fully manifested. There are still many people in the world who have not heard the Gospel message and have not met Jesus Christ. The world has not been fully reconciled with the Father yet. It is true that everything has been reconciled in Christ, but the grace of reconciliation has not been received by everyone. It is important for us to have this longing for the Lord’s return, but in His fullness. Therefore, we continue to pray constantly saying, “Your kingdom come.”
Not only at Christmastime, but in every celebration of this Eucharistic banquet, the joyful mystery of the coming and presence of Christ among us is made visible. This is the reason to repeat and insist over and over the need to experience Jesus’ coming. It is through this persistent waiting and continuous experience year after year that this image of God in which we were created by love in Jesus Christ will come to full maturity. He comes in so many ways to meet us. Let us go to meet Him.KEEP READING