DAILY MASS READINGS (December 15, 2018)

SATURDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF ADVENT (CYCLE C, Violet)

Reading 1 (SIRACH 48:1-4, 9-11)

A reading from the Book of Sirach

In those days,
like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah
whose words were as a flaming furnace.
Their staff of bread he shattered,
in his zeal he reduced them to straits;
By the Lord’s word he shut up the heavens
and three times brought down fire.
How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!
Whose glory is equal to yours?
You were taken aloft in a whirlwind of fire,
in a chariot with fiery horses.
You were destined, it is written, in time to come
to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD,
To turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons,
and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob.
Blessed is he who shall have seen you 
and who falls asleep in your friendship.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 80:2AC AND 3B, 15-16, 18-19)

R. (4) Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
Take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.


Alleluia (LUKE 3:4, 6)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
All flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel (MATTHEW 17:9A, 10-13)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

As they were coming down from the mountain,
the disciples asked Jesus,
“Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things;
but I tell you that Elijah has already come,
and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. 
So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.”
Then the disciples understood
that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: Elijah is one of the prophets in the Old Testament although there is no book like that listed. During his time, the Israelites turned away from God and worshiped others gods such as Baal, the Phoenician god. During those times, the Phoenicians came and conquered Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent. The two wicked leaders of Phoenicia are King Ahab and Queen Jezeebel. At Mount Carmel, Elijah won over them because God showed all of his power than Baal. At this the king and queen plotted to put him to death, but Elijah was in exile in Mount Horeb, but the angel of the Lord told him to get up, eat, and be strong again. He also helped the widow in Zarephath. When he died, he was taken up to heaven by a flaming chariot, and Elisha watched his ascension. The scribes believe that one of the signs of the Coming of the Messiah is the Coming of Elijah. This is what is depicted by the wise man Sirach in the First Reading today. The reading has a much different perspective than the scribes’. It depicts that this ‘Elijah’ will come in a normal way and teach the people the love of God, and this is the same with the Book of the Prophet Malachi during the 450 BC. In the Gospel (Matthew 17:9a, 10-13), Jesus has just been transfigured at Mount Tabor, and there Moses and Elijah appeared. The disciples asked him about the scribes’ perspective about the Coming of Elijah, but Jesus said that Elijah has already come, and the leaders have accused him. This is the parody of Saint John the Baptist. It was announced by the Lord to Zechariah that John will go in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare them for Christ. Brothers and sisters, we cannot not just believe in what people say. We have to think first whether what they’re saying is true or not. The Advent Season commemorates the Coming of the truth, Jesus Christ. As we journey down this road, let us first listen to the truth in our hearts for the truth will set us free.

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DAILY MASS READINGS (December 14, 2018)

MEMORIAL OF ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS, PRIEST AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH (YEAR C, White)

Reading 1 (ISAIAH 48:17-19)

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel:
I, the LORD, your God,
teach you what is for your good,
and lead you on the way you should go.
If you would hearken to my commandments,
your prosperity would be like a river,
and your vindication like the waves of the sea;
Your descendants would be like the sand,
and those born of your stock like its grains,
Their name never cut off
or blotted out from my presence.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6)

R. (see John 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.


Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord will come; go out to meet him!
He is the prince of peace.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel (MATTHEW 11:16-19)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare this generation? 
It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance,
we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ 
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said,
‘He is possessed by a demon.’ 
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 
But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: The Gospel Reading is a call for us this Advent Season to truly prepare ourselves for the Lord’s Coming. We will celebrate the Lord’s coming to the flesh that occurred more than 2000 years ago on Christmas such as the Novena Masses, which will begin tomorrow night at 8:00 P.M. (December 15) and the following day at Dawn (December 16). We are continuously awaiting the Lord’s return to be our Judge that will reckon us based on the love we have shown on earth. That is why there is the coming of our Lord in mystery and sign wherein we recognize his presence among us and other people. Isaiah prophesies about Jesus makes a stern reminder about the generation we are living in. Today there is more like a liberalistic approach on reality. Technology is advancing quickly that people tend to adapt to the trends around the world through the newly hightech gadgets. Some teenagers are already engaged to the people they love at such an early age, even though it is against the will of their parents. Most of us are into independence that we can make our own decisions in life. But Christ is also telling us that in the midst of our thoughts, words, and actions, we should always practice wisdom. Wisdom is different from knowledge and understanding because this gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to grasp the mind of the Lord and rely on his being aside from the material things in life. Even Jesus himself is the Wisdom of God able to see and know our personality. During his time he preached the Good News especially to sinners. It also happened similarly to the mission of his cousin Saint John the Baptist. However the people of Christ’s generation ridiculed him. Although it is not anymore a ridicule, in our generation today some people are not interested with regards to the Lord. They would rather spend their lives enjoying the goods of the earth without realizing the One who provides and blesses them with his grace. Isaiah tells us the importance of listening to the Lord and obeying his commandments. Every time we receive blessings, we always thank the givers for them. And in the eyes of God, to bear fruit and to be filled with prosperity shows our faithful and humble obedience to the divine will. May we always seek for the wisdom of God by doing good deeds and listening to the Lord in following his commandments.

DAILY MASS READINGS (December 13, 2018)

MEMORIAL OF ST. LUCY, VIRGIN AND MOTHER (YEAR C, Red)

Reading 1 (ISAIAH 41:13-20)

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

I am the LORD, your God,
who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I will help you.”
Fear not, O worm Jacob,
O maggot Israel;
I will help you, says the LORD;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
I will make of you a threshing sledge,
sharp, new, and double-edged,
To thresh the mountains and crush them,
to make the hills like chaff.
When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off
and the storm shall scatter them.
But you shall rejoice in the LORD,
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain,
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the LORD, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will open up rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the broad valleys;
I will turn the desert into a marshland,
and the dry ground into springs of water.
I will plant in the desert the cedar,
acacia, myrtle, and olive;
I will set in the wasteland the cypress,
together with the plane tree and the pine,
That all may see and know,
observe and understand,
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 145:1 AND 9, 10-11, 12-13AB)

R. (8) The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let them make known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.


Alleluia (SEE ISAIAH 45:8)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the clouds rain down the Just One,
and the earth bring forth a Savior.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel (MATTHEW 11:11-15)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 
From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence,
and the violent are taking it by force. 
All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. 
And if you are willing to accept it,
he is Elijah, the one who is to come. 
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: One of the prominent figures during the Advent Season is Saint John the Baptist, the cousin of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many years ago, people have being longing with expectation for the Coming of the Messiah. Many prophets have prophesied about the promised Savior from God, the One who has come to save his people from the ancient slavery of sin. But before all these things took place, God chose a certain prophet who would declare to the people to repent and be ready for the way of the Lord. And this is the mission Saint John the Baptist fulfilled at his time, when he was baptizing at the Jordan River, telling the people to prepare for the Lord’s coming. Yet he was persecuted by the Jewish leaders, King Herod Antipas, Queen Herodias, and many others. These are the people who refuse to listen to the call of the Baptist to conversion. No wonder they had John beheaded, and even Herod thought he was innocent, but he chose to listen to his adulterous wife. Nevertheless, many did accept his message, and it is being carried out even until now. That is why Jesus describes him as the greatest prophet before him. My dear brothers and sisters, Advent is the time to prepare ourselves for the Threefold Coming of Christ, as we celebrate his Incarnation on Christmas, await his Second Coming at the Last Day, and recognize his presence and manifestation in our daily lives and the signs of the times such as the Sacraments. As we journey down this Advent road, let us heed the call of Saint John the Baptist, and prepare for the Lord’s Coming by becoming his faithful sons and daughters.

DAILY MASS READINGS (December 12, 2018)

MEMORIAL OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE, SECONDARY PATRONESS OF THE PHILIPPINES (CYCLE, White)

Reading 1 (ZECHARIAH 2:14-17)

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Zechariah

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! 
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!
For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.


Or (REVELATION 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB)

A reading from the Book of Revelation

God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.
Then another sign appeared in the sky;
it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns,
and on its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky
and hurled them down to the earth.
Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth,
to devour her child when she gave birth. 
She gave birth to a son, a male child,
destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.
Her child was caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.”

– The word of the Lord.

Or (ISAIAH 40:25-31)

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

To whom can you liken me as an equal?
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these things:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!
Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know
or have you not heard?
The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (JUDITH 13:18BCDE, 19)

R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.
Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God, 
the creator of heaven and earth.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.
Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.

Or (PSALM 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 AND 10)

R. (1) O bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits. 
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, deserving of all praise;
from you rose the sun of justice, Christ our God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Or 

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (LUKE 1:26-38)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Or (LUKE 1:39-47)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Or (MATTHEW 11:28-30)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves. 
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: Jesus gives us a promise of consolation in the midst of our problems. We undergo a lot of trials of everyday, that the burdens of life become part of us especially when we work. But Isaiah in the First Reading makes a prophecy that those who faithfully hope in the Lord for his consolation will renew their strength soar like wings on eagles. Indeed Jesus offers us a yoke that as we carry it, we shall receive his light. His yoke has a deep meaning in Jewish society, that it refers to obedience to fulfill a vow before God the Father. In fact, the yoke of Christ is to always be obedient to the divine will. If we endure problems in life, the best way is not to escape them, but to face them with that mindset that there is a Lord guiding us and enabling us to persevere. Today, we celebrate the Memorial of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego in 1531 at the Tepeyac Hill in Mexico shows us a vivid image of the Blessed Mother being the Mother of all the living. In fact when Juan Diego has undergone many trials especially that his tribal ancestries are being wiped away by the Spaniards, the Virgin Mary said to him, “Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the Fountain of Life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?” This young man obeyed every message of the Blessed Mother, especially when the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was imprinted on his cloak, so that the Bishop was convinced that indeed a Marian apparition has occurred, for a Basilica stands at the site of such beautiful apparition. Moreover this feast day teaches us about the importance of obedience, like the Blessed Mother when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her and told her that she would be the Mother of the Savior. Although troubled at first especially with her engagement to St. Joseph, St. Gabriel told her that nothing will be impossible for God. And there Mary proclaimed her fiat that she is faithfully, humbly, and obediently willing to obey the will of God. So may we follow the example of Our Lady of Guadalupe who showed her total obedience to the divine will. And if we also do what the Lord wants, then we shall continuously receive his consolation after every trial we bear in our lives.

MGA PAGBASANG PANG-ARAW-ARAW (Disyembre 11, 2018)

MARTES SA IKA-2 LINGGO NG ADBIYENTO (TAON K, Lila)

UNANG PAGBASA (Isaias 40, 1-11)

Pagbasa mula sa aklat ni propeta Isaias

“Aliwin ninyo ang aking bayan.” Sabi ng Diyos.
“Aliwin ninyo sila.”
Inyong ibalita sa bayang Jerusalem,
na hinango ko na sila sa pagkaalipin’
pagkat nagbayad na sila nang ibayo
sa pagkakasalang ginawa sa akin.
May tinig na sumisigaw:
“Ipaghanda ang Panginoon ng daan sa ilang;
isang patag at matuwid na lansangan para sa ating Diyos.
Tambakan ang mga lambak,
patagin ang mga burol at bundok
at pantayin ang mga baku-bakong daan.
Mahahayag ang kaningningan ng Panginoon
at makikita ng lahat.
siya mismo ang nagsabi nito.”
“Magpahayag ka,” ang sabi ng tinig.
“Ano ang ipahahayag ko?” tanong ko.
Sumagot siya, “Ipahayag mong ang tao ay tulad ng damo,
ang kanyang buhay ay tulad lamang ng bulaklak sa parang.
Nalalanta ang damo
at ang bulaklak ay kumukupas,
kung sila’y mahipan ng hangin.
Ang tao nga ay tulad lamang ng damo.
Oo, ang damo’y nalalanta,
at kumukupas ang mga bulaklak,
ngunit ang salita ng Diyos ay hindi lilipas.”
At ikaw, O Jerusalem,
Mabuting Balita ay iyong ihayag,
ikaw, Sion,
umakyat ka sa tuktok ng bundok.
ikaw ay sumigaw, huwag kang masisindak,
Sabihin sa Juda,
“Narito ang iyong Diyos!”
Dumarating ang Panginoon na Makapangyarihan
taglay ang gantimpala sa mga hinirang;
at tulad ng pastol,
yaong kawan niya ay kakalingain,
sa sariling bisig
yaong mga tupa’y kanyang titipunin;
sa kanyang kandungan ay pagyayamanin,
at papatnubayan ang tupang may supling.

– Ang Salita ng Diyos.

SALMONG TUGUNAN (Salmo 95, 1-2. 3 at 10ak. 11-12. 13)

Tugon: Ang ating D’yos ay darating upang tayo ay tubusin.

Purihin ang Panginoon, awitan ng bagong awit;
Panginoo’y papurihan nitong lahat sa daigdig!
Awitan ang Panginoon, ngalan niya ay purihin;
araw-araw ang ginawang pagliligtas ay banggitin.

Tugon: Ang ating D’yos ay darating upang tayo ay tubusin.

Kahit saa’y ipahayag na ang Poon ay dakila,
sa madla ay ipahayag ang dakila niyang gawa.
“Panginoo’y siyang hari,” sa daigdig ay sabihin,
“sa paghatol sa nilikha, lahat pantay sa paningin.”

Tugon: Ang ating D’yos ay darating upang tayo ay tubusin.

Lupa’t langit ay magsaya, umugong ang kalaliman,
lahat kayo na nilikhang nasa tubig ay magdiwang.
Ang bukirin at ang lahat ng naroon ay sumigaw,
pati mga punong kahoy sa galak ay mag-awitan.

Tugon: Ang ating D’yos ay darating upang tayo ay tubusin.

Ang Poon ay pupurihin, pagkat siya ay daratal,
paririto sa daigdig, upang lahat ay hatulan.
Tapat siya kung humatol at lahat ay pantay-pantay.

Tugon: Ang ating D’yos ay darating upang tayo ay tubusin.

ALELUYA

Aleluya! Aleluya!
Narito ang araw ng D’yos
darating upang matubos
tayong kanyang kinukupkop.
Aleluya! Aleluya!

MABUTING BALITA (Mateo 18, 12-14)

Ang Mabuting Balita ng Panginoon ayon kay San Mateo

Noong panahong iyon, sinabi ni Hesus sa kanyang mga alagad: “Ano sa akala ninyo ang gagawin ng isang taong may sandaang tupa kung maligaw ang isa sa mga iyon? Hindi kaya niya iiwan ang siyamnapu’t siyam na nanginginain sa kaburulan upang hanapin ang naligaw? Sinasabi ko sa inyo: kapag nasumpungan niya ito, higit niyang ikinagagalak ang isang ito kaysa siyamnapu’t siya na hindi naligaw. Gayun din naman, hindi kalooban ng inyong Amang nsa langit na mapahamak ang isa sa maliliit na ito.”

– Ang Mabuting Balita ng Panginoon.

Pagninilay: Ang Ebanghelyo ay tungkol sa misyon ng Simbahan na iakay ang tao tungo sa kaligtasan ng Diyos. Ang Talinghaga tungkol sa Nawawalang tupa ay patunay na ang Diyos ay maawaain sa kabila ng ating pagsusuway sa kanya. Kung ang isang pastol ay gumagamit ng tungkod upang ipukpok ang isang tupa para madisiplina, ang disiplina naman ng Panginoon para sa mga nagkasala ay awa at habag. Siya ang dakilang pastol na lalabas mula sa 99 tupa upang hanapin ang nawawalang tupa. At kapag ito’y natagpuan niya, magagalak siya at iimbitahan ang mga kaibigan na magsaya dahil nahanap niya ang nawawala. Kaya nga ngayong Panahon ng Adbiyento, inihahanda natin ang ating sarili para sa pagdating ng Panginoon. Ang Unang Pagbasa ay isang propesiya ni Isaias tungkol sa darating na aliw para sa bayang Israel na nagdurusa sa panahon ng pagkatapon sa Babilonia. At makikita dito ang isang pahayag tungkol sa misyon ni San Juan Bautista, na siyang mismong magpapahayag ng pagbibinyag, pagpapanumbalik-loob at paggawa ng kabutihan bilang paghahanda sa pagdating ng Panginoon. Kaya patuloy tayong minamahal ng Diyos sa kabila ng ating mga pagkukulang at pagkakasala. Ngunit tayo ay inaanyayahan lalung-lalo na ngayong Adbiyento na magbalik-loob sa kanya at mamuhay nang marangal sa paggawa ng tama at mabuti. At ganyan rin ang gawin natin sa ating kapwa lalung-lalo na sa mga matagal nang sumuway sa Diyos na ipadama natin sa kanila na patuloy nagmamahal ang Diyos sa kanila upang sila rin ay bumalik sa kanya at gumawa ng katuwiran at kabutihan.

DAILY MASS READINGS (December 11, 2018)

TUESDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF ADVENT (CYCLE C, Violet)

Reading 1 (ISAIAH 40:1-11)

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
The rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

A voice says, “Cry out!”
I answer, “What shall I cry out?”
“All flesh is grass,
and all their glory like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower wilts,
when the breath of the LORD blows upon it.
So then, the people is the grass.
Though the grass withers and the flower wilts,
the word of our God stands forever.”

Go up onto a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
Cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
Here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
Carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 96:1-2, 3 AND 10AC, 11-12, 13)

R. (see Isaiah 40:10ab) The Lord our God comes with power.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.
They shall exult before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord our God comes with power.


Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The day of the Lord is near:
Behold, he comes to save us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel (MATTHEW 18:12-14)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus said to his disciples:
“What is your opinion? 
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray? 
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. 
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: The Gospel presents to us the Parable of the Lost Sheep. It is a paradoxical image of the infinite mercy of God/Divine Mercy. Two years ago, we have just concluded the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, and the Holy Doors of Mercy in the designated Jubilee churches have been sealed, but the divine door located in the heart of God is forever open. It means that his mercy is always open and wide to all who return to him. And the Church is the missionary vessel of his mercy because she is the fold of the Lord that brings the lost sheep back to the one Being whom we profess as the merciful “I Am Who Am” (YaHWeH). The mercy of God was revealed to us through the mercy of God-Incarnate, Jesus Christ, when he came into our very existence full of corruption and sin, but he himself remained unblemished, so that he may bear witness to the message of divine love, reconcile us to the Father and one another, and make us worthy to be called the Lord’s adopted children. And Jesus is the Good Shepherd because he acts our Mediator to help us fix our broken relationship with God, which was dismantled and unbridged by the waywardness of our sins and vices. That is what Advent and Christmas is all about: how the mercy of God was prepared in ages and generations past, how was it revealed to us through the light of humility and simplicity, and how do we recognize it in the different events and signs of our present times, especially in the teachings and actions of our Holy Mother Church through her shepherds, pastors, clergy, and lay faithful. Isaiah in the First Reading would speak of the great promise and invitation of the Lord: preparing for his coming by making straight crooked paths, levelling the mountains and hills, and filling the valleys. For God will grant his mercy to those who await for him everyday by acknowledging his presence among us and making the concrete response. This prophecy echoes Saint John the Baptist proclaiming in the wilderness by the Jordan River the same words. He also demonstrates this by baptizing people, but he speaks of a Mightier Being who will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire. This means that we have been endowed by the gifts of the same Spirit during our Baptism and Confirmation, and so it is right that we respond to the call of proclaiming the Good News of Mercy. So as we journey down this road, may we always come to approach the Divine Mercy through repentance and inner conversion; thus bearing with us the mission of proclaiming and giving witness to that mercy in our everyday lives.

DAILY MASS READINGS (December 10, 2018)

MONDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF ADVENT (YEAR C, Violet)

Reading 1 (ISAIAH 35:1-10)

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
They will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
With divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
Then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.

Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water;
The abode where jackals lurk
will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.
A highway will be there,
called the holy way;
No one unclean may pass over it,
nor fools go astray on it.
No lion will be there,
nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it.
It is for those with a journey to make,
and on it the redeemed will walk.
Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
They will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 85:9AB AND 10, 11-12, 13-14)

R. (Isaiah 35:4f) Our God will come to save us!
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD –for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Our God will come to save us!
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Our God will come to save us!
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. Our God will come to save us!


Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold the king will come, the Lord of the earth,
and he himself will lift the yoke of our capacity.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel (LUKE 5:17-26)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

One day as Jesus was teaching,
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. 
And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. 
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus. 
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.” 

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves,
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies? 
Who but God alone can forgive sins?” 
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,
“What are you thinking in your hearts? 
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” 

He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God. 
Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
“We have seen incredible things today.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: Isaiah in our First Reading foretells this beautiful prophecy about the desert, parched land, and steppe. They will exult and rejoice into song, while the flowers bloom. These landforms actually represent the void emptiness of human life, wherein there is no hope and the burdens overwhelm you. But here, God makes them fruitful because it is what he will bring to the world. And Isaiah speaks of the hope of the afflicted to receive what they have longed for, which is what the Lord will give: the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the mute speaking, and the lame walking. There is also the vision of the new Zion (Jerusalem), wherein it is adorned with beauty and everlasting joy, and what is found here are joy and gladness, while there is no more sorrow and mourning. The Messianic prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, to whom the hope of all creation is made through him and will be given to by acceptance and faith. And Jesus in the Gospel heals a paralytic carried by four men and brought down from the top of the roof inside a house in Capernaum. Despite the large crowd, the faith of the four men enabled their paralysed friend to believe that the healing will be done. That is how Christ was moved to perform such miracle. Of course there are the contradicting scribes Pharisees, who claim that he is blaspheming (claiming himself higher than YaHWeH). But Jesus is Man because he knows how to be capable of humanity’s afflictions, pains, joys, and comforts. At the same time he is God because he has the authority to forgive sins. In this case, he showed his human and divine nature to bring healing to the paralytic: making him walk physically and forgiving all his past sins (which is not the cause of such disability). That is the greatness of our God. And the Season of Advent invites us to recognize and hope for the coming of the Lord into our lives. This by means of seeing the realities of this world, going beyond our comprehension in understanding different situations around us, and having this faith that we can be able to surrender our problems and others’ problems to God, who will in turn grant what each individual needs in his time and according to his will. So as we journey down this Advent road, may we have faith and hope in the Lord that will enable us to experience and cultivate the harvest of his great mercy.