As Christians we have been given Jesus’ mission to continue

Posted in homily by frtonys on January 3, 2022

In today’s Gospel jesus begins his mission of preaching and healing in Galilee, an ideal spot because it was the most fertile land in Palestine and well-populated with 204 villages around the Sea of Galilee housing Jews and Gentiles. Here the people were open to new ideas because they had been exposed to various religious beliefs and the culture of traders from all over the known world.

Jesus started preaching about God the Father and about God’s Kingdom. Since it was God the King’s message, it carried God’s authority and certainty; it was “Good News” because Jesus introduced the hearers to God His Father as a loving, merciful, providing, and forgiving Father

A Father who wanted to save everyone from the bondage of sin. The message also explained the Kingdom of God or the rule of God in human lives. Like John Jesus, also invited the hearers to repentance and the renewal of their lives so that God might start ruling their lives. Matthew identified Jesus’ preaching and healing ministry in Galilee as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah — Light to people living in darkness.

As Christians we have been given Jesus’ mission to continue. By, our exemplary, transparent lives we must show the light of Christ’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and spirit of humble and committed service.

We can remove or lessen the darkness of the evil around us by being, if not like stars, at least like candles, radiating Jesus’ love

Posted in homily by frtonys on January 2, 2022

The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates Jesus’ first manifestation to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi, while in the Eastern Church, the Feast commemorates the baptism of Christ, when the Father and the Holy Spirit gave combined testimony to Jesus’ identity as Son of God. Later, at Cana Jesus revealed His Divinity by transforming water into wine. These multiple revelations are all suggested by the Feast of the Epiphany.

We celebrate three wondrous events on this holy day: Today the star leads the Magi to the stable, today Christ is baptized by John in the Jordan for our salvation, today the water is changed into wine at the wedding feast at Cana, because of their common theme of manifestation (in Greek “epiphania”). In these events Jesus progressively reveals what he is in reality, the Messiah and savior.

God reveals himself to people differently. To simple shepherds he sends an angel; to the wise who scrutinize the courses of the heavenly bodies he sends a star; to the Jews attached to signs, he gives a sign, that is, a miracle: He changes water into wine.

With what signs does Christ reveal himself to us in our time? When Jesus spoke of the “signs of the times,” he meant above all the messianic signs: “The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news preached to them”

Are there such signs today? Certainly there are! The blind receive the light of faith and hope through contact with the word of our Lord and Savior, the spiritually lame get up and walk; those who are prisoners in themselves, are freed from their chains; in sum, people are converted and live through the power of Christ and his Spirit.

We can remove or lessen the darkness of the evil around us by being, if not like stars, at least like candles, radiating Jesus’ love by selfless service, unconditional forgiveness, and compassionate care.

The best way to honor Mary is to strive to be pure and holy like our Heavenly Mother.

Posted in homily by frtonys on January 1, 2022

My homilies usually concentrate on the Gospel reading, today let me start with the second reading from Galatians were Paul reminds us that God’s Son has become one of us through Mary, and that it is through Jesus that we have become the children of God.

Today’s Gospel describes how the shepherds spread to all their neighbors the Good News surrounding the birth of Jesus which the angel had revealed to them, and how Mary treasured “all these things” in her heart. The Gospel also tells us that on this day, the eighth day after His Birth, the Child was circumcised and received the name Jesus that had been chosen by God Himself.

Just as the shepherds did today we honor Mary primarily because God honored her by choosing her to become the mother of Jesus, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Who remained God, when He took on human flesh and became Man.

The best way to honor Mary is to strive to be pure and holy like our Heavenly Mother. Let us practice her virtues of trusting Faith, obedience to the word of God, purity, and humble, selfless, committed service. Let us make the New Year meaningful by finding something good to do, and someone to love, the first person being Jesus. Let us sanctify every day of the New Year: by offering every morning, all the activities of the day to God for His glory, transforming them into prayers, let us ask the Holy Spirit for the strength to do good to others and to avoid evil.

Time is a very precious gift from God.

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 31, 2021

In today’s Gospel we see that John the evangelist is time conscious. In chapter one of his Gospel read today, he recounts what happened in the beginning. In his last book, the book of Revelation, he writes about visions of what will happen at the end of time. He reveals one of the signs of the last hour, which is the emergence of many antichrists, who are ravenous wolves in sheep clothing. In the last days of each year, these antichrists come with misleading prophecies, and many gullible people, will fall into their traps. We must use our time well to grow in the knowledge of our faith so that we are not easily deceived.

We have all heard the statement I’m just here killing time.” Time is too precious to be killed recklessly. Time is a very precious gift from God. We thank God for all the blessings and experiences of the last twelve months from January to December and we hope for the best in the coming New Year. Can we all agree to invest our time wisely?

The Holy Spirit uses ordinary men and women with simple Faith as His instruments to bear witness to Christ.

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 30, 2021

In today’s Gospel we see Anna, an elder Jewish woman, who has been in the Temple day after day for many years.  She is a woman of faith, a woman who has a close relationship with God.  Because of this special bond with God, she is able to sense that the Little One, Who is brought by Mary and Joseph, is blessed by God.

Anna was an eighty-four-year-old widow who spent her days in the Temple in fasting and prayer, waiting for the promised Messiah. She was rewarded with the joy of seeing her Redeemer as a Baby. In her excitement she praised God and introduced the Infant to others around her as the expected Messiah.

The Holy Spirit uses ordinary men and women with simple Faith as His instruments to bear witness to Christ. Anna’s prophetic life tells us that we each must live our lives in constant preparation for meeting our Divine Lord in the Temple of Heaven, remaining alert, as Anna did, to recognize, love, and serve Jesus hidden in the people we encounter. Like Anna, we must all foster an interior life of ongoing prayer and penance, and we must direct all our actions in life to the praise and glory of God and the salvation of our souls. Anna’s life is a symbolic prophecy of every vocation.

We must strive to perceive the presence of the Savior all around us and rejoice with Simeon’s joy.

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 29, 2021

In today’s Gospel we hear the prophecy of Simeon.  This holy man was promised by God that he would actually see, with his own eyes, the Savior of the World.  Throughout his life he anticipated this moment.  He longed for it and hoped for it.  And then, one day the moment came. The moment that Mary and Joseph brought their newborn Child into the temple, Simeon knew in his heart that this Child was the promised Savior.

His words are powerful.  He says, “Lord, now You can let Your servant go in peace…for my eyes have seen the salvation You have prepared…”  In other words, Simeon realized that his life was now complete.  He was ready to die because he had now been privileged to actually see the Christ.  He held Jesus in his arms and gave glory to the Father for this moment.

We should strive to learn from Simeon, because like Simeon we are privileged to see the Christ each day in numerous ways.  The Child Simeon held was God, but He was God under the veil of the flesh of a little Child.  Simeon, nonetheless, saw Him for who He was and rejoiced.

We must strive to perceive the presence of the Savior all around us and rejoice with Simeon’s joy. Reflect, today, on that scene of Simeon taking the Child into his hands and seeing the Savior under the veil of the flesh and bones of this Infant. Seek out Christ in the same way that Simeon did and see the many ways that He is present to You. Know that He is near and that He wants to fill your life with His peace.

We too behave like Herod when we become power drunk and allow our ego to control us

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 28, 2021

In today’s gospel we see that Herod the king was afraid when he heard about the birth of Jesus and was told about the potentials of this new born child. When he could not find the child Jesus, he ordered the killing of all male children born within two years and below. Historical records have different estimates about the number of children killed. Whatever the number is, the death of even a single child or person brings so much distress to a family or community, and violent deaths are even more painful. Today the Church remembers these ‘Holy Innocents’ killed by Herod.

We too behave like Herod when we become power drunk and allow our ego to control us; the Herod in us appears when we try to dominate others and do all in our powers to eliminate competition and opposition. None of us will ever act like Herod, but none of us can afford to be complacent either; we can all be prone to dominate in one way or another. We have to be alert to the ways we can fail to take that path of humble, self-emptying, service of others which is the way of Jesus, the way of God.

We have to remind ourselves to follow the Lord and to devote ourselves to Him.

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 27, 2021

In todays Gospel we hear Mary Magdalene running to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they put him. Todays Gospel does not mention him by name but we know that St.John was one of the Lord’s closest disciples

St. John the Apostle was the only one of the twelve who remained by the Lord’s side and kept following Him even up to the moments of His Passion, suffering and death on the Cross. He accompanied Mary, the Lord’s own mother as she came to the foot of the Cross, seeing her own Son being crucified and died before her. It was to St. John that the Lord entrusted Mary to, and similarly, St. John to Mary as well. St. John therefore was really important in his role in the early Church, as one of the Apostles and close collaborators of the Lord.

St. John gave his whole life and did everything he could to glorify the Lord by his life and actions. He spent many decades in spreading the truth of God all over the known world, St. John also wrote several Epistles and letters in addition to his well-known work on one of the four canonical or officially endorsed Gospels.

He encouraged many of the faithful back then who were going through many persecutions, and through his accounts in the Book of Revelations, he encouraged the faithful not to give up on their faith in God no matter what, in the end, God will come and claim those who remain faithful to Him and they will receive the promise of eternal life with Him.

Today let us all realise that just as St. John was called to follow the Lord and be His disciple, all of us have also received the same calling as Christians.

We have to remind ourselves to follow the Lord and to devote ourselves to Him. As we continue to celebrate the joy and hope of Christmas., we have to remember that we are the witnesses of His truth and love, of the Love of God incarnate in the flesh, in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. It is through our genuine faith and sincere commitment to the path that God has shown us that we can inspire so many others to come to believe in the Lord as well.

Let us be filled with the Holy Spirit by asking for His daily anointing and strengthening, and let us prophecy as Zachariah did,

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 24, 2021

In today’s Gospel we here Zechariah speaking once his tongue is loosed after exclaiming his faith in the birth of his son John. Zechariah gives glory to God as he manifests not only his faith. Zechariah speaks truths that could only be known by him through the gift of faith. There is no doubt that after being struck mute by the Angel Gabriel, resulted in him seeking, hearing and understanding the mystery that was before him.

He came to realize that his little child was the one who would prepare the immediate way for the Lord. He came to understand this baby’s singular prophetic role in the salvation of the world. He saw his son as the the one who was to announce the coming of the Christ.

So much happened to Zechariah in his months of suffering. The Lord worked on him and enabled him to offer this prayer of praise that is sung daily by priests and religious throughout the world. Zechariah truly fulfilled his mission by getting back up on his feet after his fall. He could have easily lost hope and felt abandoned by God. But he didn’t. He waited on the fidelity of God and, when his time came, he spoke this beautiful and faith-filled song of praise.

The same must happen to us let us be filled with the Holy Spirit by asking for His daily anointing and strengthening, and let us prophecy as Zachariah did, by conveying to others the reason for our Christmas celebration as rebirth of Jesus into our lives.

It is this new and wonderful moment in God’s dealings with humanity that we celebrate at Christmas, and it should never cease to fill us with excitement and gratitude.

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 23, 2021

The naming of a child can often be a source of tension in a family. Different people will have different ideas about a good name for the child; at the end of the day, of course, it is the choice of the parents. The gospel says relatives and neighbors expected Zechariah and Elizabeth to follow convention by calling their new-born child Zechariah, after his father. However, Zechariah and Elizabeth knew that this was not the name that God wanted the child to have. Elizabeth insisted that the child should be named John, the name given him by the Archangel Gabriel when he spoke to Zechariah. The mute Zechariah approved that name by writing, “His name is John.”

At this particular moment in history, God was not following convention, but was about to do something new. Zechariah and Elizabeth’s child would be different to other children. The relatives and neighbors were right to ask the question, “What will this child turn out to be?”

This child’s calling was to prepare people for the coming of someone who would be even greater than himself, someone whose name would be Emmanuel, God-with-us. God was working in a new way; God was in the process of making a new covenant with his people and with all of humanity.

It is this new and wonderful moment in God’s dealings with humanity that we celebrate at Christmas, and it should never cease to fill us with excitement and gratitude. We should cherish this wonderful moment , and become heralds of Christ as the Baptist was, by our transparent Christian lives.

We approach the feast of Christmas hungry for God’s gift of his Son, the bread of life

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 22, 2021

In today’s Gospel we hear Mary’s joyful prayer. In the Magnificat Mary acknowledges the great things that God has done for her. At Christmas we acknowledge the great things that God has done for us by sending his Son into the world. Today the feast of Christmas is fully of many festive traditions that have nothing to do with the heart of the feast the acknowledgment of the gift that God has given us in his Son.

Christmas is the celebration of God’s greatness and generosity. Mary’s prayer suggests that it is above all the lowly and the hungry who are will experience God’s greatness and generosity. It is the lowly who are exalted and the hungry who are filled.

We approach the feast of Christmas hungry for God’s gift of his Son, the bread of life; knowing our need to be filled with God’s presence and God’s coming. Mary herself was one of the lowly, one of the poor in spirit who hungered for what only God could give. In these difficult days darkened by the pandemic, let us approach this feast of Christmas in a spirit of poverty and humility, trusting in the great things that God can do for all of us.

Let us also glorify God every day through our works of charity for the gift of our particular vocation in life, and for the opportunities God gives us every day for doing good to others.

We can make a real difference in the lives of others today by carrying Jesus to them.

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 21, 2021

Here we are again as we were in Sunday’s readings in the Visitation narrative we sense the mutual spiritual friendship bonding between Mary and Elizabeth, as they ponder how God has blessed both of them, and through them so many others who would come will live lives more fully because of John the Baptist and of Jesus

Mary and Elizabeth felt the saving grace of God flowing through their lives — and were not afraid to encourage each other by saying so. We should convey Jesus to others as Mary carried Jesus to Elizabeth. We can make a real difference in the lives of others today by carrying Jesus to them. For that, we must be filled with the spirit of Christ, allowing His rebirth within us. Then Jesus will enable us to share His love with all whom we encounter, by offering them humble and committed service, unconditional forgiveness, and compassionate caring

We need to be like Mary humble instruments in the hand of God, trusting in His power and goodness.

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 20, 2021

Today’s account of the annunciation concludes with Mary’s total response of acceptance, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me.” Greatly favoured, she responds generously, with her whole life, to the grace she has received. Mary is not simply the mother of Jesus; she is the perfect disciple of Jesus. Like him, she gives herself over to God’s purpose for her life.

Today’s gospel also suggests that she struggled to discern and come to terms with God’s purpose for her life. She was disturbed by the words of Gabriel and had many questions; at the birth of Jesus she would ponder as well as treasure the words of the shepherds.

When Jesus was twelve years old she would puzzle over and treasure his words to herself and Joseph. She pondered and reflected, to discern what God was asking of her. We are all trying to be disciples, inspired by the example of Mary. Like her we struggle at times to know what God wants for us in the here and now; we try to give ourselves as generously as Mary did, even in the midst of our many questions. She shows how one can be faithful without fully understanding what God is doing in our own lives and in the lives of others.

We need to be like Mary humble instruments in the hand of God, trusting in His power and goodness. let us cooperate in the fulfillment of God’s plan for us with Mary’s trusting Faith and humility. Like Mary who brought God to us as Jesus our Savior, it is our duty to carry Jesus everywhere and bring Jesus to the lives of others around us through love, mercy, forgiveness and service.

God works His wonders in those who trust in Him.

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 19, 2021

Today’s gospel speaks of Mary and Elizabeth. Mary, is a young girl, perhaps around 16. Elizabeth, is an older lady, perhaps in her fifties. Both are pregnant. The first, Mary, has the Son of God within her. The second, Elizabeth, carries John the Baptist, the last of the Old Testament prophets and the first of the New Testament prophets. When they meet, Elizabeth feels the baby within her stirring. Some of the spiritual writers feel that this is the first time that John pointed to Jesus. Thirty years later, John the Baptist would point to Jesus and say, “Behold the Lamb of God.”

Mary and Elizabeth were women of courage and women of faith. It took tremendous courage for Mary to allow the will of God to take place within her. She had to hope that Joseph would still accept her as his wife and care for her and the baby. Elizabeth also had to be a woman of courage. To become pregnant at her age was a wonderful surprise, but would she survive childbirth?

There is no fear in our gospel reading only excitement. Mary and Elizabeth were bursting with excitement. After all, there was a miraculous element to both pregnancies. Only Mary and Elizabeth could understand what is was like to be chosen by God for his mission. Only Mary and Elizabeth could understand what joy they had within themselves, two special children. They needed to share their joy with each other. They needed each other’s care and support.

That is why we come to Church every Sunday. That is why we receive communion. We need to be united spiritually and physically to our faith community. We need each other’s support. The Lord was with Mary and the Lord is with us. We need to call upon Mary to help protect and nurture the Presence of Christ within us.

Todays Gospel message is that those who have been chosen to make the Lord present in the world must, like Mary, say yes to God’s plans. For God works His wonders in those who trust in Him.

Like Joseph, we need to trust in God,

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 18, 2021

Today’s Gospel focuses on the story of the Virgin Birth, which is at the heart of our Christmas celebrations. It focuses also on the person and role of St. Joseph. Christ, will be born as a descendant of David. In order for Jesus to fulfill this promise, Joseph had to, accept Jesus as his son, making Jesus a descendant of David because Joseph was a descendant of David. The Gospel makes it clear that Jesus was not the biological child of Joseph. But because Joseph would be the husband of Mary at the time Jesus was born, Jesus was legally the son of Joseph and, a descendant of David.

For all this to come to pass joseph has to agree to marry Mary. So in a dream an angel commands Joseph to take Mary as his wife. Mary’s role is to bear a son, and Joseph’s role is to name him. By naming him, Joseph makes Jesus his son and brings him into the House of David. Joseph’s obedience is prompt, and simple. Joseph’s obedience allows Jesus to be adopted as a true Son of David; it is Mary’s free consent to the will of God that allows Jesus to be born Son of God.

In the end, Joseph takes Mary as his wife, in spite of his fears, and he claims her son as his own by naming him. In spite of his earlier decision to divorce this woman quietly, Joseph nurtured and protected and watched over and loved both Mary and her child.

Like Joseph, we need to trust in God, listen to Him and be faithful. Like Joseph and Mary, we are called to be faithful, to trust in God as we do His will. Let us try to imitate Joseph and Mary, the greatest-ever believers in God’s goodness and mercy, and welcome Jesus into our hearts and lives not only at Christmas but all year long.

May the Lord continue to guide us, and help us as we continue to journey through this season of Advent

Posted in homily by frtonys on December 17, 2021

In today’s Gospel we hear about the identity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, born into this world as the Son and Heir of Adam, Abraham and David, the Gospel contains the entire genealogy of our Lord Himself from the very first days of mankind in Adam and through to his descendants, and to Abraham, the father of nations, and then through Israel and to David, to whom the Lord had promised that his kingdom and house would last forever.

The Lord Jesus was born into the House of David, as His long promised Heir, born into the family of Joseph, the foster-father of the Lord. It is through the Lord Jesus, that God has revealed fully His intentions to us, His everlasting and enduring love for each and every one of us. God gave us His only begotten Son that through Him and His actions, His perfect obedience and the ultimate loving sacrifice that He would make on the Cross, God would be reconciled with us and we shall see His glory and receive true joy from Him.

As we enter the final week of the Advent season, we are all called to spend the time to reflect carefully on how we have been preparing ourselves to welcome the Lord at Christmas. Christmas is not just a celebration of the Lord’s historical coming into this world, even more importantly, is the celebration of the Light and Hope that He has brought to every one of us, bearing His love so that we may see and come to know of God’s love for us.

May the Lord continue to guide us, and help us as we continue to journey through this season of Advent, that we may come to celebrate His Nativity with great joy and true understanding of how much He has loved us and how by His coming to us at Christmas, He has shown us a new Hope and Light, to dispel the darkness and despair of our lives. May God bless us always, now and forever .