May we be like Matthew who answered His call and followed Him.

Posted in homily by frtonys on September 21, 2021

Matthew was a tax collector, a profession looked down upon by the Israelites not only as corrupt but unpatriotic because they serve the Roman oppressors. Being despised in society, the tax collectors must have low self-esteem.

So Imagine the surprise and the joy in Matthew’s face when Jesus, with a growing popularity as a respected Rabbi called him to be His follower. Without any second thought, he got up and followed Jesus.

While the Pharisees’ rebuked Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners, He explained that He indeed came to heal our physical as well as emotional and spiritual illnesses. He came to give back our dignity and make us whole.

Everyone is called to follow Jesus. It doesn’t matter what our background is. We may have been a great sinner but our past does not define us. It doesn’t even matter what people think of us. What is important is our response to His call. It is our decision today and our plan for the future that God looks upon with His merciful eyes

Do we have time to listen to Jesus? Does He have a space in our heart? May we be like Matthew who answered His call and followed Him. In this way, he allowed himself to be transformed by God’s power

The light of our faith needs to shine through how we live

Posted in homily by frtonys on September 20, 2021

The image about lighting a lamp refers to an oil-amp with a wick that could be lit. Many such ancient oil lamps have been found in the Mediterranean area. Such lamps would light up a house when darkness came. As Jesus says, no one who lit such a lamp would hide it under a bowl or a bed, for that would make no sense.

If the lamp of faith is lit in a human life, it is not meant to be covered or hidden; rather it should shed light. The light of our faith needs to shine through how we live, what we do and how we do it. To nurture the light of faith we listen to the Lord’s word. Jesus says, “Take care how you hear, for anyone who has will be given more.” After listening to his word, we let that light of faith shine out, through our words and our lifestyle.

Every day we have to resist the temptation to selfishness, the temptation to put ourselves before others.

Posted in homily by frtonys on September 19, 2021

Who would be the top dog?  Who would be the greatest one on the Mountain? Would it be James or John, Peter or Andrew?  Jesus called them aside.  They didn’t know what greatness was.

They would learn though Jesus he would show them greatness from a cross. That was the message that Jesus was trying to get across to his disciples after he heard them arguing about who should be first in the Kingdom of God. He said that the first shall be last and servant to all.  He put his arms around a child as an example of work, child care, that might seem to be beneath the dignity of the great men they thought they would become.  For Jesus to be great was to serve.

 Jesus calls us to be his disciples.  He calls us to set aside our own desires for the sake of others.  He calls us to seek the greatness of humble generosity, to “rank first” by taking on the spirit and role of being their servant. “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be last of all and the servant of all.” 

We are all called to do this, continually.  Every day, every moment of the day you and I are called to consider others over ourselves.  The needs of the children, the sick, the poor and the elderly call us away from ourselves and call us into Jesus. 

Every day we have to resist the temptation to selfishness, the temptation to put ourselves before others. Every day we are called to greatness by conquering a mountain much more difficult than Everest. We have to conquer ourselves. Every day we are called to be the Presence of Jesus for others.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is a woman no different from other mothers except that she suffered next to the greatest suffering ever known to mankind.

Posted in homily by frtonys on September 15, 2021

Lk 2:33-35

Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;

and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,

“Behold, this child is destined

for the fall and rise of many in Israel,

and to be a sign that will be contradicted

and you yourself a sword will pierce

so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed

Today’s gospel according to Luke, reminds us of our own mother who sacrificed a lot for us. Let us imagined how many sleepless nights did our mother spent to care for us when we were babies. Let us be reminded how she taught us how to walk and talk. Do we ever have any idea how much sacrifice she has given for own good? We owe a lot to other mother so we praise and thank the Lord for her.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is a woman no different from other mothers except that she suffered next to the greatest suffering ever known to mankind. From the unusual birth of Jesus in a manger to the flight to Egypt, from the taunting of people who called His Son crazy to the inhuman torture and crucifixion, Mary kept her cool and suffered in silence. Jesus suffered for us and His mother suffered with Him. No wonder, her cousin Elizabeth called her blessed among all women.

When I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself. We simply have to let ourselves be drawn by him

Posted in homily by frtonys on September 14, 2021

In the time of Jesus no one would have considered crucifixion a triumph or a win of any sort. It may have been considered a triumph for those who were doing the crucifying; it certainly would never have been considered a triumph for the person crucified. Yet, that is what we are celebrating . Jesus, in being crucified It was a triumph of love over hatred.

As John the evangelist says in today’s gospel, ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.’ Jesus revealed God’s love in all that he said and did, but he revealed God’s love most fully on the cross. John the evangelist would say that on the cross Jesus revealed God’s glory. That is why in John’s gospel Jesus speaks of his coming crucifixion as the hour when he is glorified.

Authentic love is always life-giving and that is uniquely so of God’s love. As well as being the triumph of love over hatred, the cross of Jesus is the triumph of life over death. Jesus was put to death in the most cruel way but through his death he passed over into a new life and that life was offered to us all.

The blood and water flowing from the side of Jesus in John’s gospel speaks to us of the life that flows through the death of Jesus. The cross has been celebrated in art as the tree of life. The triumph of the cross, which is the triumph of God and of Jesus over all the forces of evil and death, is a triumph in which we all share.

From the cross Jesus draws all of us into the love and life of God. As he says in John’s gospel, when I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself. We simply have to let ourselves be drawn by him

We need to grow to the level of the Faith of the centurion

Posted in homily by frtonys on September 13, 2021

In today’s Gospel, we will read of a centurion’s response of faith in Jesus. The emphasis in the miracle is given to the power of Jesus’ word. The centurion sends first a delegation of elders who would have been leaders of the synagogue. They vouch for the merit of his request. As Jesus starts for the centurion’s house, a second delegation is sent.

This time it is the friends of the centurion. The centurion’s words, “I am not worthy” contrast sharply with the tribute paid to him by the Jewish elders, who testified, “He is worthy”. The effect is to place the centurion in an even better light. The centurion’s words may also convey that he was aware that the Pharisees’ regarded a Gentile’s house as unclean and that a Jew would be defiled by entering his home.

He is also confident that Jesus could heal at a distance. Just as he acts by commanding his subordinates, he expects no more than that Jesus would do the same. The point of the story is Jesus’ affirmation of the centurion’s faith and not the report of the healing that concludes the story. What is important is Jesus’ surprise at the Gentile’s faith, and his approval as well. Where Jesus would have expected to find faith in an Israelite, here he finds it in a Gentile.

We need to grow to the level of the Faith of the centurion by knowing and personally experiencing Jesus in our lives. We do so by daily meditative, by our daily personal prayers and by frequenting the Sacraments, especially the Eucharistic celebration.

Do this and the the Holy Spirit will bring us is the complete surrender of our whole being and life to Jesus whom we have experienced, by rendering loving service to others seeing Jesus in them.

We need to render humble and loving service to others with the strong conviction that Jesus is present in every person.

Posted in homily by frtonys on September 12, 2021

Today’s gospel demonstrates Christ’s unrestricted love for us was. He would do anything for us.  He would make any sacrifice for us. Peter couldn’t understand.  He protested because he wanted to put a limit on the Lord’s sacrifice, and t on his love. He thought in the way of the world.  It would take time for Peter to learn the demands of Christianity, the demands of true love.  He would be among the first of many martyrs who would be witnesses to love.

None of us want to suffer.  If we did there would be something wrong with us.  But if we really love, then we are willing to accept suffering, and deny ourselves so that our love might grow deeper.  Acknowledging that this is completely opposed to the mindset of a self-centered society, we ask God to give us all the ability to love and love well.  We ask our Lord to give us the courage to live with sacrificial love, to help us courageously live the Gospel.

We need to the surrender of our lives to Jesus Whose love we have experienced by rendering humble and loving service to others with the strong conviction that Jesus is present in every person. We also need to praise and thank God in all the events of our lives, good and bad, realizing that God’s love shapes every event of our lives.

The Lord who touches us in the Eucharist sends us forth to touch the lives of others in life-giving ways.

Posted in homily by frtonys on September 7, 2021

Today’s gospel begins with Jesus praying over his selection of the twelve disciples to be named Apostles. This part of the gospel is like a news letter no great revelation here. What is most important is the last line in this gospel, “everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all”

People wanted to touch this man through whom God was working so powerfully. It wasn’t just enough to hear him or to see him; they needed to touch him. Touching the Lord is a more intimate, a more personal, form of communication with him than hearing or seeing. The sense of touch remains important in the faith life of us all. We too want to touch the Lord, and to be touched by him.

Today It is through the Sacraments that we touch the Lord and allow him to touch our lives. In the Eucharist, for example, we take the bread in our hands or on our tongue and eat it; we take the chalice in our hands and drink from it. The sense of touch is very real there. When we take the bread and take the cup, as we touch the that moment the Lord takes us; he touches our lives. Like the people in the gospel, we too can experience the healing and renewing power that comes from him. The Lord who touches us in the Eucharist sends us forth to touch the lives of others in life-giving ways.

Following Jesus’ example we should “Just Do It!”

Posted in homily by frtonys on September 6, 2021

Jesus in today’s Gospel passage is faced those who had turned the meaning of religion inside out.  Jesus in this passage heals the man with the withered hand, and the response of the scribes and Pharisees is to become enraged.

It is unlikely that Our Lord meant to stir up a quarrel in the synagogue that sabbath day. But he sensed a trap by his enemies to put him in a negative light. A disabled man was being used to make Jesus look like a law-breaker, using the man’s handicap to get at the volatile preacher from Nazareth.

There is a common tendency to corral the love of God within limits, that would limit or exclude individuals or whole groups from his help. But the power of Jesus cannot be bound by rigid traditions. Simple reasons can be advanced for not doing the right thing. “It’s the wrong day of the week to come looking for help; come next Saturday.” Or we may fear criticism if we speak up on behalf of the unemployed or disabled. Or we dare not even mildly correct an influential person, for obvious wrongdoing. People even see reasons why God should not act generously. But following Jesus’ example we should “Just Do It!”

In Jesus’ view of the Sabbath, anything that serves the basic needs of others may be done, and is part of keeping holy the sabbath day.

Posted in homily by frtonys on September 4, 2021

In today’s Gospel Jesus was challenged about why his hungry disciples were “harvesting” on the sabbath He gave a simple common-sense answer. They were just plucking ears of grain and eating them to satisfy their hunger, a anyone might do while walking through a cornfield. He strengthens his reply by appealing to another time when David and his men were allowed eat what normally was reserved for priests. Proper observance of the Law allowed for exceptions, in order to serve the poor and the needy.

What people should do or not do on the Sabbath was disputed between Jesus and the Pharisees. According to the Pharisees, simply plucking ears of corn and eating them while walking in the fields constituted “manual labor” and so was forbidden on the Sabbath.

For Jesus, it was perfectly right to satisfy one’s hunger on the Sabbath, especially for people like his disciples who were never sure where their next meal would come from. The Sabbath law as interpreted by the Pharisees could be safely ignored.

Jesus calls himself Lord of the Sabbath. Sunday is now the Christian Sabbath. In Jesus’ view of the Sabbath, anything that serves the basic needs of others may be done, and is part of keeping holy the sabbath day.

Like the people of Nazareth us, we too reject many messengers of God because of our biases and prejudices.

Posted in homily by frtonys on August 30, 2021

In today’s Gospel, Jesus returns to his native Nazareth and the people he knew. He knew many of them heard about the miracles He performed in Capernaum and other neighboring towns. They waited for His return expecting that He will also do mighty deeds for their eyes to see. They were disappointed because Jesus did not perform many miracles there not only because of their lack of faith but also because they rejected Him. Jesus Himself observed that no prophet is accepted in his own native place.

Jesus made clear His mission was to bring glad tidings to the poor; proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind; freedom to the oppressed and to unite back the people to His Father. Yet even as Jesus speaks, the people were raising their eyebrows and began to murmur. Where and how did an ordinary carpenter get His wisdom? Let Him show us His power! Jesus knew the people were sneering at Him so he told them the truth about their lack of honor for Him. So they got furious and tried to drive Him down the precipice.

What this means for us today; If we acknowledge that in some ways, we are poor, captive, blind, and oppressed, then the mission of Jesus is for us. We need Him to liberate us from all that separates us from our Father in Heaven. It is important therefore that we LISTEN to Him.

Like the people of Nazareth us, we too reject many messengers of God because of our biases and prejudices. More often than not, we tend to listen to a person we do not know than a person familiar to us. It does not occur to us that anyone can be used by God to give us the Good News of salvation.

We need to be men and women of integrity and character without any element of hypocrisy in our Christian life.

Posted in homily by frtonys on August 25, 2021

Today’s Gospel is a continuation, of Monday’s Gospel reading taken from Matthew chapter 23. It describes the seventh and eighth accusations made against the Pharisees as Jesus addressed them in the Temple. Jesus told them plainly that they were whitewashed tombs containing rotten stuff inside.

Jesus compared the scribes and Pharisees to the tombs on the sides of the road leading to Jerusalem. In preparation for the three major Jewish feasts, the Scribes and Pharisees used to have these tombs whitewashed, so that the pilgrims would not be ritually defiled by unknowingly walking over one. In this seventh charge, Jesus accused the Pharisees of moral filth, of hiding injustice and immorality inside themselves and covering the corruption with “whitewash”

In his eighth and final indictment, Jesus also criticized their false zeal in decorating the old monuments and rebuilding new monuments for the past prophets who had been persecuted and murdered by the forefathers of the Pharisees because these modern Pharisees had neither learned nor been changed by the messages of the now-dead prophets.

The challenge of today to each one of us is to bother less about what we ought to do and think more about what we ought to be, because if our being were good then our works would shine forth brightly. How will you ensure that your being is good today so that your works too might be good? We need to be men and women of integrity and character without any element of hypocrisy in our Christian life. We should not make a show of holiness and religious fervor when we are not internally holy.

Little words can do a lot for God’s great glory.

Posted in homily by frtonys on August 24, 2021

When Philip points out Jesus as the promised Messiah, We can almost see Nathaniel shrugging his shoulders as he says, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”  In this one sentence, he insults both Jesus and Jesus’ hometown.  Clearly, he does not have faith at this point.

But we see that Nathaniel is like Peter:  a slow learner, but someone who, once he realizes what’s going on, is completely “in”.  When Nathaniel hears Jesus call him, he realizes who Jesus is, and confesses this truth, declaring:  “Teacher, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” 

So if any of us are slow to learn, we should remember that Jesus does not give up on us.  Jesus will still call each of us to live out our vocation each day, and give us whatever is needed to carry it out. We should also note something else in this “vocation story”:  that is, the role of Philip.  When God calls a young person to be a priest, He usually calls him or her through other people.  We need not only to encourage vocations:  we need also to encourage those “other people” like Philip to encourage vocations.

After all, Philip said just three words: “Come and see.” But if Philip had not said these three simple words, Nathaniel (called Bartholomew) might never have met Jesus, and the Church would not have been built up by this holy apostle. Little words can do a lot for God’s great glory.

Daily Mass

Posted in homily by revmtheogene on August 23, 2021

Jesus is asking us to focus not so much on law but on love, not so much on self but on God.

Posted in homily by frtonys on August 23, 2021

Todays gospel contains the first three of the seven Woes that Jesus pronounces against the Pharisees of his time, because they gave more importance to human laws, rules and regulations than to the law of God, which was the Law of Love.

1) they do not practice what they preach, 2) they adopt a very narrow and burdensome interpretation of the Torah, and 3) they seek public acknowledgment and glory for themselves rather than for God. Jesus calls them hypocrites because although they know that the essence of religion is loving one’s neighbors, seeing God in them, they teach that external observance of man-made laws alone is the real essence of religion. They are zealous missionaries in inviting converts to Judaism, they overburden the converts with man-made laws and regulations. They try to bluff God by misinterpreting the Law and misleading the people. Jesus gives the example of swearing and accuses them of cleverly evading binding oaths and solemn promises by falsified interpretations.

What Jesus wants is a pure heart, with no element of deceit. We should not follow the policy of the Pharisees by not keeping God’s commandments ourselves and not allowing others to keep them. Let us avoid frivolous swearing and oaths and all forms of hypocrisy and superstition in our religious life. Jesus is asking us to focus not so much on law but on love, not so much on self but on God.

I will not leave you Lord. You alone have the words of eternal life.”

Posted in homily by frtonys on August 22, 2021

He told them that He was the Bread of Life.  He told them that they needed to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood for them to have eternal life. For some of the disciples, this was too hard to accept.  They left the island of trust.  They were convinced that the spiritual would not make such outlandish demands on their senses.  They left Jesus and returned to their previous lives.

It is quite normal for us to go through periods of doubting the teachings of the Lord.  It is normal for us to ask; “How can this bread and wine, material objects before the Mass, now be the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ?”  It is quite normal for us to want to stand on the material world of our senses and ignore the new world of the spiritual. 

Sure, we are tempted to trust only our senses.  We are tempted to stand on the material.  We are tempted to limit ourselves to the here and now. When these types of doubts come to our mind, be they flashing through, or lingering and challenging us, we need to stop and consider the Gifts of the Lord.  We need to reflect on our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We reflect on the wonders He provides that are beyond our imagination.

We are human. But we are also spiritual. And deep within us, deep within every single one of us there is the Voice of Faith prodding us to exclaim with Peter, “I will not leave you Lord. You alone have the words of eternal life.”