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Ordinary Sundays of the year

THE SUNDAY LITURGY

  
 

29th  SUNDAYOF THE YEAR

ENTRANCE   ANTIPHON
I call upon you, God, for you will answer me; bend your ear and hear my prayer. Guard me as the pupil of your eye; hide me in the shade of your wings.

PENITENTIAL  RITE
Dear brothers and sisters, our almighty God holds power over all earthly rulers. While we are obliged to fulfil our duties to our families, our society and Country, we should have no compromise whatsoever to our love and service to God above all else. It is our obligation to bring the Gospel of Jesus to bear on every aspect of our daily life. We have neglected our duties to society, we have been lazy and slow in our work, and we have forgotten Christs teaching in our daily life. Earnestly and confidently let us ask the Lord for pardon and strength during this celebration of Christs love. (Pause)

I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault (all strike their breast)  in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary ever  Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers  and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Glory to God in the highest,/and peace to his people on earth./Lord God, heavenly King,/almighty God and Father,/we worship you,/we give you thanks,/we praise you for your glory./Lord Jesus Christ,/only Son of the Father,/Lord God, Lamb of God,/you take away the sin of the world:/have mercy on us;/you are seated at the right hand of the Father,/receive our prayer./For you alone are the Holy One,/you alone are the Lord,/you alone are the Most High,/Jesus Christ,/with the Holy Spirit,/in the glory of God the Father./ Amen.

OPENING  PRAYER
Let us pray. Almighty and ever-living God, our source of power and inspiration, give us strength and joy in serving you as followers of Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

FIRST  READING
(God uses unlikely people to carry out His plans. Such a one was Cyrus, King of Persia.)

A reading from the Book  of Isaiah (45:1, 4-6)
Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and ungird the loins of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name. I surname you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I gird you, though you do not know me, that men may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.
This is the Word of the Lord

PSALM  (95)
Response: Give the Lord glory and power.
O sing a new song to the Lord, sing to the Lord all the earth. Tell among the nations his glory and his wonders among all the peoples.  R.

The Lord is great and worthy of praise, to be feared above all gods, the gods of the heathens are naught. It was the Lord who made the heavens.   R.

Give the Lord, you families of peoples, give the Lord glory and power, give the Lord the glory of his name. Bring an offering and enter his courts.  R.

Worship the Lord in his temple. O earth, tremble before him. Proclaim to the nations: God is king. He will judge the peoples in fairness.   R.

SECOND   READING
(St Paul and his companions rejoiced at the lively Christian faith of the people of Thessalonica.)

A reading from the First Letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians (1:1-5)
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the Church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.
We give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you; for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.
This is the Word of the Lord

ACCLAMATION    (Jn 8:12)
Alleluia, alleluia! I am the light of the world, says the Lord; he who follows me will have the light of life. Alleluia!

GOSPEL
(The Pharisees set up a trap for Jesus, but the unexpected answer he gave emphasized the need of obeying the earthly authorities as well as obeying Gods Commandments.)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Matthew (22:15-21)
The Pharisees went and took counsel how to entangle Jesus in his talk. And they sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians saying, Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the money for the tax. And they brought him a coin. And Jesus said to them, Whose likeness and inscription is this? They said, Caesars. Then he said to them, Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are Gods.
This is the Gospel of the Lord

I believe in God,/the Father Almighty,/ Creator of heaven and earth./ I believe in Jesus Christ,/his only Son, our Lord./ He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit/ and born of the Virgin Mary./He suffered under Pontius Pilate,/was crucified, died, and was buried./He descended to the dead./On the third day he rose again./He ascended into Heaven,/and is seated at the right hand of the Father./He will come again to judge the living and the dead./I believe in the Holy Spirit,/the Holy Catholic Church,/the communion of saints,/the forgiveness of sins,/the resurrection of the body,/and the life everlasting./ Amen.

PRAYER  OF  THE  FAITHFUL
Dear brothers and sisters, God has placed us in this world as members of society. Let us ask Him to help us make our society truly God-centered reflecting His goodness and love by praying:

Response: Father, may your Holy Will be done on earth.
1. We pray for our Pope, Bishops, Priests and Religious that inspired by You, they may guide us on our way to You.  R.

2. We pray for all the civil authorities of our Country that they may be free from all corruption and be ready to dispense their duties with a sense of justice and charity towards all.  R.

3. We pray for the enlightenment of all those who are stubborn in their blind superstitions and their imposition of the same with violence on others.  R.

4. We pray for ourselves that we may accept willingly and humbly the rules and guidance of the Church and also those of the lawful civic authorities for your glory and for the welfare of all people. R.

5. We pray for all those who are sick and suffering physically and mentally.  R.

(Pray for personal/local needs)

Cel: Almighty and ever-living God our Father, teach us your children to show our love for one another by working to make this world a better place to live in and a help to our neighbours in their journey towards You. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

PRAYER  OVER  THE  GIFTS
Lord God, may the gifts we offer bring us your love and forgiveness and give us freedom to serve you with our lives.

PREFACE    (P 31)
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.
We see your infinite power in your loving plan of salvation. You came to our rescue by your power as God, but you wanted us to be saved by one like us. Man refused your friendship, but man himself was to restore it through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him the angels of heaven offer their prayer of adoration as they rejoice in your presence forever. May our voices be one with theirs in their triumphant hymn of praise:

Holy, holy, holy

COMMUNION  ANTIPHON
See how the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those who hope in his love; that he may rescue them from death and feed them in time of famine.

PRAYER  AFTER  COMMUNION
Lord, may this Eucharist help us to remain faithful. May it teach us the way to eternal life.

LITURGY  AND  LIFE
In the First Reading of today we see how God uses unlikely persons to carry out His plans. He directs Cyrus, the pagan King of Persia, to liberate the repentant Israelites, the chosen people of God, from their Babylonian captivity. This is typical example of how the Sovereign God asserts His power over all earthly rulers. His laws and decrees are unquestionably just and right. He is the supreme Lord to be praised and worshipped above all things. God is a loving Father who comes to the help of all those who call upon Him in faith and hope. Cyrus was a pre-figure of Christ who liberated the entire human race from the captivity of sin and death. It is by heeding the Gospel message of Jesus we attain our eternal liberation.
In the Second Reading we see how St Paul rejoices at the lively Christian faith, hope and charity of the Christians who were converted by him. The theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are the essence of human response to the Gospel, the fruits of which are action, work and perseverance. Today the heaven should rejoice at the liveliness of our Christian faith, hope and charity by discharging our duties towards God and society.
In todays Gospel we hear Jesus telling to the Pharisees to pay to Caesar what is due to him and to God what is due to God. It is his message to us that we should be responsible citizens and at the same time honour God above all else. The test of a good Christian is how good a citizen he or she is. If our world is to be won for Christ, it is not sufficient that we give back to God what belongs to God. We must also give back to society what belongs to society. But the experience of our own days shows the fatal results of abdicating our responsibilities and leaving the society to the enemies of God. When those enemies take over, is it not the sins of omission of Gods friends?
St Paul says: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Rom 13:1). About Authority, the Catechism of the Catholic Church  explains:
Those in authority should exercise their authority as a service. They must bear in mind that they have no authority to command or establish what is contrary to the dignity of persons and the natural law. Political authorities are obliged to respect the fundamental rights of human persons. It is their bounden duty to dispense justice humanely by respecting the rights of everyone, especially of families and the disadvantaged.
As for the duties of citizens, the CCC states: It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with civil authorities to the good of the society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity and freedom. The love and service of ones Country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authority and service of the common good require citizens to fulfil their roles in the life of the political community. Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend ones Country. The citizens, however, are obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel.
Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. Render, therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesars and to God the things that are Gods. We must obey God rather than men, admonishes St Peter. (Acts 5:29).

(Br Carmel Kizhakel)
 
 

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31st SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

ENTRANCE   ANTIPHON
Do not abandon me, Lord. My God, do not go away from me! Hurry to help me, Lord, my Saviour.

PENITENTIAL  RITE
Dear friends, Jesus reminds us in todays gospel that living our faith is far more than  religious practices. It is not a blind observance of the law that will bring us to salvation as thought by scribes and pharisees. What will bring us to eternal life is living the values of the kingdom in a radical and dynamic way as Jesus himself has shown us. Hence, let us pause to reflect on how well we have lived the kingdom values and faith in our day-to-day lives. Let us ask our loving Father to open our hearts to hear the word and to strengthen us. (Pause)

I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault (all strike their breast)  in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary ever  Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers  and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Glory to God in the highest,/and peace to his people on earth./Lord God, heavenly King,/almighty God and Father,/we worship you,/we give you thanks,/we praise you for your glory./Lord Jesus Christ,/only Son of the Father,/Lord God, Lamb of God,/you take away the sin of the world:/have mercy on us;/you are seated at the right hand of the Father,/receive our prayer./For you alone are the Holy One,/you alone are the Lord,/you alone are the Most High,/Jesus Christ,/with the Holy Spirit,/in the glory of God the Father./ Amen.

OPENING   PRAYER
Let us pray. God of power and mercy, only with your help can we offer you fitting service and praise. May we live the faith we profess and trust your promise of eternal life.

FIRST   READING
(God intends to humble and punish the proud priests because of their empty piety, for straying from the true path and for spreading false doctrines.)

A reading from the Book of Malachi      (1:142: 2.8-10)
And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not lay it to heart to give glory to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you. You have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you have not kept my ways but have shown partiality in your instruction. Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?
This is the Word of the Lord

PSALM (130)
Response: Guard my soul in peace before you, O Lord.

O Lord, my heart is not proud nor haughty my eyes. I have not gone after things too great nor marvels beyond me. R

Truly I have set my soul in silence and peace. A weaned child on its mothers breast, even so is my soul. R

O Israel, hope in the Lord both now and for ever. R

SECOND   READING
(St Paul tells the Thessalonians how much he loved them and how hard he worked to bring the Good News to them.)

A reading from the First Letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians    (2:7-9, 13)
We were gentle among you, like a nurse taking care of her children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.  For you remember our labour and toil, brethren; we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you, while we preached to you the gospel of God. We also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
This is the Word of the Lord

ACCLAMATION      (Jn 15:15)
Alleluia, alleluia! I have called you friends, says the Lord, because all I have heard from my Father, I have made known to you. Alleluia!

GOSPEL
(Jesus makes a scathing attack on the Pharisees, the religious leaders, for their deceptivity and show of piety, which was in fact empty. Authority is given not to dominate others but to serve them.)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Matthew       (23:1-12)
Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on mens shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honour at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
This is the Gospel of the Lord

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,  God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from  heaven. By the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died and was buried.On the third day he rose again, in fulfilment of the  Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through  the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic  Church. We  acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We  look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

PRAYER   OF   THE   FAITHFUL
Cel: My dear friends, let us sincerely pray to God our loving Creator that we may always be enabled to live our faith, practice what we preach, keep Gods covenant and love God by serving one another.

Response:Loving Father hear our prayer.
1.That our Pope John Paul II, Bishops, Priests and Religious strive whole heartedly to live what they preach and may make your presence felt through their action and service. We pray to the Lord. R

2. That teachers of falsehood and religious leaders who mislead others may see God as the one teacher and center their lives on God rather than on themselves. Let us pray to the Lord. R

3. That all of us love God by serving one another and by faithfully keeping the covenant that we have made with God. Let us pray to the Lord.   R

4. That all of us may be enabled to accept Jesus as our only master and teacher who taught us the love of the Father.  Let us pray to the Lord. R
(Pray for personal/ local needs)

Cel: Loving God, you alone are the one we love and serve: hear our prayers that we may live faithfully our baptismal covenant with you, serve you in one another, practice what we preach, and so come to eternal life. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

PRAYER  OVER  THE  GIFTS
God of mercy, may we offer a pure sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.

PREFACE     (P 33)
Father, all-powerful and ever living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.
All things are of your making, all times and seasons obey your laws, but you chose to create man in your own image, setting him over the whole world in all its wonder.
You made man the steward of creation, to praise you day by day  for the marvels of your wisdom and power, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We praise you, Lord, with all the angels in their song of Joy:

Holy, holy, holy...

COMMUNION ANTIPHON
Lord, you will show me the path of life and fill me with joy in your presence.

PRAYER  AFTER  COMMUNION
Lord, you give us new hope in this Eucharist. May the power of your love continue its saving work among us and bring us to the joy you promise.

LITURGY AND LIFE
People in every walk of life, more than ever, look out for role models in their lives. There is an unprecedented and increased tendency to imitate and follow these models and to achieve what they have achieved in their lives. The people, especially the youth, are willing to do almost everything possible, at times even going beyond, to translate either positively or negatively, the feat these Successful people have realized in their lives. In our modern society we find people even ready and willing to die for their role models.
This Sunday presents us with a vivid contrast between the haughty behaviour of the religious leaders in the first reading and gospel. Jesus, in the gospel, is not against the models insofar as the deeds and words of a person correspond. The law, according to him is not a means to victimize, persecute and kill but a means to live a harmonious and integrated life. Law is a means and not an end in itself.
Todays gospel presents to us the most perfect role model, the most worthy one to be followed and imitated, and the one who perfected the law by transforming it - by giving it a new, life-giving and comforting interpretation and that model is Jesus Christ himself. He did not accept law for its own sake but as a means to realize a higher and better value. As he has imitated and lived his father, we too are invited, called and exhorted to accept, live and proclaim God as our Father and Jesus as our only teacher and master who came among us to teach us the love of the  Father.
Jesus becomes one among us to perfect the law shows us how to become a disciple, a child and a follower. Jesus taught us a way of complete love, not by imposing laws, regulations and dictatorial orders, nor by exalting himself as a powerful, dynamic and efficient commander-in-chief but by becoming a humble and obedient servant, loving us all without sparing anything for himself, even to the extent of giving us the last drop of his blood.
Jesus way meant accepting all, including the enemies. He did not look for prominent places in the society, nor did he try for name and fame for himself. Unlike the scribes and pharisees, Jesus transformed the law as a medium that enhanced, opened up and nurtured new and dynamic avenues of life. Following Jesus definitely will lead us to the cross and persecution. In our unconditional and dynamic following of Jesus, we are not guaranteed of anything except Jesus himself.
A Christian committed to follow Christ cannot be deterred through circumstances. If we love God with all our hearts, soul and being-if we live our lives for the sake of his honour and for the kingdom of God, then we too can say like Paul, who said,Be imitators of me as I am of Christ.
Jesus is challenging us today to rise above the laws, customs, traditions that do not help us to experience life in its totality as envisaged by God himself. The law, as understood and interpreted by Scribes and Pharisees took the people away from themselves, others and God. God our loving Father brings home the message to each one of us through the prophet Malachi and through his Divine Son Jesus that there is only one God (one father, one teacher, one master) and all our direction comes from keeping God as the center. Keeping our focus on God does not allow us to seek honours and recognition but allows us to serve God in one another.
The authentic discipleship springs from being a servant. The Scribes and Pharisees emphasized on  doing for the sake of mere observance of the  law. Jesus, on the other hand, transforms the law, by inviting us  to be with him to enjoy his presence and love that will lead us to eternal salvation. Though Jesus considered the teaching of the law by Scribes and Pharisees, their practice of it was surely lacking. Hence Jesus is challenging each one of us to practice what one preaches and that is what Jesus did in his life.
(Fr Johnson Vattakunnel)

 


 

 32nd SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

ENTRANCE   ANTIPHON
Let my prayer come before you, Lord; listen, and answer me.

Penitential   Rite
Dear sisters and brothers, Our Christian destiny is to enjoy eternal life with the Lord who has called us. Without the wisdom from above it will be impossible for us to understand the true purpose of our Christian life. We need to have great foresight, we need to be reflective and prayerful, and always ready to meet the Lord when He comes. Or are we like the foolish virgins who slept and did not arrange for the oil to light their lamps? (Pause)

I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault (all strike their breast)  in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary ever  Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers  and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Glory to God in the highest,/and peace to his people on earth./Lord God, heavenly King,/almighty God and Father,/we worship you,/we give you thanks,/we praise you for your glory./Lord Jesus Christ,/only Son of the Father,/Lord God, Lamb of God,/you take away the sin of the world:/have mercy on us;/you are seated at the right hand of the Father,/receive our prayer./For you alone are the Holy One,/you alone are the Lord,/you alone are the Most High,/Jesus Christ,/with the Holy Spirit,/in the glory of God the Father./ Amen.

OPENING  PRAYER
Let us pray. God of power and mercy, protect us from all harm. Give us freedom of spirit and health in mind and body to do your work on earth.

First   Reading
(In this reading wisdom is personified and praised. Wisdom is discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her.)

A reading from the book of Wisdom  (6: 12-16)
Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her. He who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for he will find her sitting at his gates. To fix ones thought on her is perfect understanding, and he who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care, because she goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought.
This is the Word of the Lord

PSALM   (62)
Response: For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God.
O God, you are my God, for you I long: for you my soul is thirsting. My body pines for you like a dry, weary land without water.R

So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory. For your love is better than life, my lips will speak your praise R

So I will bless you all my life, in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul shall be filled, as with a banquet, my mouth shall praise you with joy R

On my bed I remember you. On you I muse through the night for you have been my help; in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.  R

Second  Reading
(Christs second coming will be sudden. Only those who have been eagerly waiting for him and preparing themselves to meet him, will be able to enter his presence.)

A reading from the First Letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians    (4:13-18)
We would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangels call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
This is the Word of the Lord

ACCLAMATION   (Mt 24:44)
Alleluia, alleluia! Watch and be ready, for the Son of  Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Alleluia!

Gospel
(Like the five prudent virgins we must be always prepared for the second coming of Christ.)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Matthew        (25:1-13)
Jesus said to his disciples, The kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise, for when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him. Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. But the wise replied, Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, Lord, lord, open to us. But he replied, Truly, I say to you, I do not know you. Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
This is the Gospel of the Lord

I believe in God,/the Father Almighty,/ Creator of heaven and earth./ I believe in Jesus Christ,/his only Son, our Lord./ He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit/ and born of the Virgin Mary./He suffered under Pontius Pilate,/was crucified, died, and was buried./He descended to the dead./On the third day he rose again./He ascended into Heaven,/and is seated at the right hand of the Father./He will come again to judge the living and the dead./I believe in the Holy Spirit,/the Holy Catholic Church,/the communion of saints,/the forgiveness of sins,/the resurrection of the body,/and the life everlasting./ Amen.

Prayer of the faithful
Cel: Dear sisters and brothers, let us ask God our Father to give us the spirit of openness and courage so that we will be able to amend our ways and also the ways of the world.
Response: Lord, may Your Spirit guide us.

1. For the Pope, bishops, priests, religious and those specially anointed and appointed to lead the faithful, that they may use their talents to bring about  spiritual growth in the Church.R

2. For lay people that forgetting their petty differences they may work hard together with others for the renewal of the Church. R

3. For our parishioners that they may use their abilities for the betterment of their parish and may strive to foster, unity and love among its people.  R

4. For our national leaders that keeping aside all personal disire for power they may work for the welfare of the Country by uplifting the lot of the poor and the downtrodden.  R

(Pray for personal/local needs)

Cel: God almighty, listen to the prayers of your faithful people and grant us what we ask from you in deep faith and trust. We ask this

PRAYER  OVER  THE  GIFTS
God of mercy, in this eucharist we proclaim the death of the Lord. Accept the gifts we present and help us follow him with love, for he is Lord for ever and ever.

PREFACE   (P 34)
Father, all-powerful and ever -living  God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.
In you we live and move and have our being. Each day you show us a Fathers love; your Holy Spirit, dwelling within us, gives on earth the hope of unending joy.
Your gift of the Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is the foretaste and promise of the paschal feast of heaven. With thankful praise, in company with the angels, we glorify the wonders of your power:

Holy, holy, holy

COMMUNION   ANTIPHON
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. In green pastures he gives me rest, he leads me beside the waters of peace.

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
Lord, we thank you for the nourishment you give us through your holy gift. Pour out your Spirit upon us and in the strength of this food from heaven keep us single-minded in your service.

LITURGY AND LIFE
A story is told of a man who was chased by a wild animal. He fell into a deep well. Luckily for him there were small strong plants growing on the side of the well. He caught hold on  one of them. While he was in this position, he looked down and saw that the well was deep. If he fell, sure death! He looked up. The wild animal was there on top  ready to pounce on him. To make matters worse he saw that some rats were there at the root of the plants. They may gnaw at the roots and the plants may break off at any time. But the man seemed to be unmindful of the danger. He saw some drops of honey on the leaves of the plant and he began to enjoy them.
If we do not wait patiently in expectation for Christs coming in glory, we will start wandering around, going from one little sensation to another. Our lives are bound to be stuffed with a lot of rubbish, with newspaper items, television stories, gossip, etc. Then our minds lose the discipline of discerning between what leads us closer to God and what doesnt, and our hearts gradually lose their sensitivity.
If we do not wait eagerly for the second coming of Christ, we will  stagnate and become tempted to indulge in whatever gives us a moment of pleasure. Paul while asking us to wake from sleep says; Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires. (Rom 13:11-14).
 Emphasising the need to have great foresight Vima Dasan SJ says: Foresight looks ahead and if we do not look ahead, we will find ourselves behind. A Christian who uses foresight avoids evil by anticipating it, and makes his roof before it rains. We need this foresight in order always to be ready to meet the Lord when he comes. While his final call in death seems crucial, we must also be ready for his daily calls. A Christian who uses foresight will be reflective. Being reflective is being prayerful, without allowing oneself to be burnt out by the frantic pursuit of earthly things.
A reflective Christian always keeps asking, Do I have the extra oil of good works to nourish my lamp of faith? The five wise virgins in todays parable thought and reflected before they left and took an extra flask of oil. That few minutes of reflection paid off, for the bridegroom arrived late and they had enough oil (Mt 25:4). Foresight never does desperate things at the last moment. Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time. Hence a foresighted Christian, while waiting for the Lord keeps always awake, so that he or she may sleep in his peace and awake in his glory.
 


  
 

 

   

33rd SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
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ENTRANCE   ANTIPHON
The Lord says: my plans for you are peace and not disaster; when you call to me, I will listen to you, and  I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.

PENITENTIAL   RITE
My dear friends, Gods generosity with us is immeasurable. Gods life given to us is of inestimable worth. We have received graces from the gracious Lord according to our capacity and in proportion to the mission that he has entrusted to us. He has not created us useless or unwanted. In so far as our failure to recognize, acknowledge and appreciate the graces he has given us, we have become useless, unwilling to grow and unfold. Hence, let us pause for a while to sincerely ask ourselves whether we are willing to acknowledge ourselves as Gods children endowed with manifold graces, strengths and possibilities. (Pause)

I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault (all strike their breast)  in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary ever  Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers  and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Glory to God in the highest,/and peace to his people on earth./Lord God, heavenly King,/almighty God and Father,/we worship you,/we give you thanks,/we praise you for your glory./Lord Jesus Christ,/only Son of the Father,/Lord God, Lamb of God,/you take away the sin of the world:/have mercy on us;/you are seated at the right hand of the Father,/receive our prayer./For you alone are the Holy One,/you alone are the Lord,/you alone are the Most High,/Jesus Christ,/with the Holy Spirit,/in the glory of God the Father./ Amen.

OPENING   PRAYER
Let us pray. Father of all that is good, keep us faithful in serving you, for to serve you is our lasting joy.

FIRST   READING
(The Book of proverbs, in praise of true wisdom, ends with this praise of the ideal wife. She is praised for her hard work, charity and religious spirit.)

A reading from the Book of Proverbs     (31: 10-13,19-20, 30-31)
A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
This is the Word of the Lord

PSALM          (127)
Response: O blessed are those who fear the Lord!
O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways! By the labour of your hands you shall eat. You will be happy and prosper.  R.

Your wife like a fruitful vine in the heart of your house; your children like shoots of the olive, around your table. R.

Indeed thus shall be blessed the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion in a happy Jerusalem all the days of your life.   R.

SECOND   READING
(As children of God we have to be always ready and watchful for the second coming of our Master.)

A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians     (5:1- 6)
As to the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When people say, There is peace and security. then sudden destruction will come upon them as travail comes upon a woman with child, and there will be no escape. But you are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
This is the Word of the Lord

ACCLAMATION   (Lk 21:36)
Alleluia, alleluia! Watch at all times, praying that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of man. Alleluia!

GOSPEL
(God has given us his gifts. If we trade with them prudently they will  be multiplied; if not, there is a chance that we lose them altogether.)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to St Matthew    (25: 14-30)
Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples, The kingdom of heaven will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more.  But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his masters money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more. His master said to him Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master. And he also who had two talents came forward, saying, Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more. His master said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master. He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours. But his master answered him, You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.
This is the Gospel of the Lord

I believe in God,/the Father Almighty,/ Creator of heaven and earth./ I believe in Jesus Christ,/his only Son, our Lord./ He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit/ and born of the Virgin Mary./He suffered under Pontius Pilate,/was crucified, died, and was buried./He descended to the dead./On the third day he rose again./He ascended into Heaven,/and is seated at the right hand of the Father./He will come again to judge the living and the dead./I believe in the Holy Spirit,/the Holy Catholic Church,/the communion of saints,/the forgiveness of sins,/the resurrection of the body,/and the life everlasting./ Amen.

Prayer  of the  faithful
Cel: My dear friends in Christ, God our loving Father acts so generously on our behalf. He has bestowed on us his abundant goodness, grace, life and love. He wants us to use them to grow as human persons and ultimately  become members of his kingdom. Let us sincerely pray that we may come to acknowledge and appreciate the graces he has endowed us with and may make a sincere effort to grow in his love and presence.
Response: Lord, we thank you for you made us your children.

1.That our Pope John Paul II, Bishops, Priests and Religious may strive to multiply the graces that you have lavished on them, so that they may really become channels of your love, radiating your goodness and generosity.   R.

2. That all nations manage their wealth responsibily for the good of all. R.

3. That all of us may accept and recognize the God-given talents and capacities and make every effort to grow in them. R.

4. That all of us share generously with others as God has shared generously and abundantly with us.   R.

(Pray for personal/local needs)

Cel: Generous and loving God, you lavish your goodness upon us. Make us realize them and enable us to grow and become part of your joy and kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

PRAYER OVER THE  GIFTS
Lord God, may the gifts we offer increase our love for you and bring us to eternal life.

PREFACE            (P 29)
Father, all -powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through his cross and resurrection he freed us from sin and death and called us to the glory that has made us a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart. Everywhere we proclaim your mighty works for you have called us out of darkness into your own wonderful light.
And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven we proclaim your glory and join in their unending hymn of praise:

Holy, holy, holy...

COMMUNION   ANTIPHON
It is good for me to be with the Lord and to put my hope in him.

PRAYER   AFTER COMMUNION
Father, may we grow in love by the Eucharist we have celebrated in memory of the Lord Jesus, who is Lord forever and ever.

LITURGY AND LIFE
In todays Gospel, we encounter four personalities who teach us life-giving and challenging lessons. First of the four is a rich man who had many servants at his beck and call. The three others in the story are his servants who are trusted by the rich man to the extent of entrusting to each of them a considerable amount of money each according to each ones capacity. After distributing the money to each of them he goes away on a  long trip to a distant place.
After many days, the rich man is back and he summons the three servants to whom he had entrusted the money. The first one did extremely well with the money entrusted as he had invested the money in business. He succeeded to double the amount and the rich man was very happy and applauded him for what he had achieved with the money. He was promised greater involvement in the affairs of the master. The second one also came forward and submitted the account of the sum entrusted to him. He too was shrewd and industrious and doubled the money that was entrusted to him. He too was appreciated by the rich man and promised to give him more.
Now comes the third servant, who is the focus of the story, with his account. His burying the money in the ground was considered by rabbianic law to be the safest way to protect money against theft and one who did so was freed from the liability. When called to give an account he blames the master for his own failure to produce.The master judges him, not as cautious, but as lazy and useless, worthy of condemnation.
This parable undoubtedly points toward the trust and generosity of God toward his children. For him each one of us is so significant and unique that he constantly and continuously lavishes on us his graces and above all, we are allowed and made worthy to participate in the joy of the master. All we need to  do is be  faithful in small mattes. The wealth of God has no limits; neither are there limits to what he shares with us.
Once it was asked of Mother Teresa: Dont you get discouraged? All your efforts. And there is still so much poverty and misery. Mother Teresa answered: What God asks of us  is not success but faithfulness in trying. God does not ask us to perform super-human activities, or perform miracles or achieve extra ordinary feats in our lives but what he asks of us is that we use the given talents and possibilities for the glory of God and benefit of the other. In using our talents, we give ourselves; and in giving ourselves, we love.
God does not expect the same from everyone, but he expects everyone to use the capacities and strengths he has bestowed us with. The mistake is to live like the person in the Gospel who received a talent  but buried it in the ground. He protested that he was afraid of his master. Fear should have induced him to do something in order to placate the one whom he thought of a harsh master. The master, we may surmise, would have been tolerant of failure, but he could not countenance the fact that the servant made no effort at all.
Masters interest was not money. Neither did he suggest how the money might be used, nor did he give equal amount to all. St Paul tells us  Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us let us use them (Rm:12:6). He also tells us that  there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varities of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of  working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone  (1Cor 12:4-6). God knows each one of us and he treats us personally.
The servant in the parable was not a sinner, nor of a bad character, nor did he squander the wealth of his master. He did not behave like the crafty steward (Lk 16:1-8) nor he got away with his share like the prodigal son (Lk 15:11ff), nor did he treat some one like the ungrateful servant who incurred a great debt  to his master (Mt18:21-35), but what he did was that he did not make an attempt to grow, realize, unfold with the grace that was given to him by God. He did not believe in himself nor in God and above all he had a distorted idea of God. While God gives freely and generously, gifts are not to be hidden (Mt 25:15). Whether it is doing simple domestic chores (first reading ) or investing great sums of money (Gospel) the call of discipleship is the same: fidelity in all matters.
God gives us grace with a specific and unique purpose. His grace cannot remain hidden or static for it is meant for growth, transformation and perfection. He lavishes his divine life on each of us. Gods life is a relationship that can never be exhausted. He does not ask us to be successful or super-human beings, but wants us to use his graces, and if we sincerely use them, he will bless us with success and he will make us partners in his joy and we will become members of his vineyard.
(Fr Johnson Vattakunnel)
 

34th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

 
ENTRANCE   ANTIPHON
The Lamb who was slain is worthy to receive strength and divinity, wisdom and power and honor: to him be glory and power for ever.

PENITENTIAL   RITE
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as shepherd, Jesus Christ looks after his flock, tending each one with love and concern, even laying down his life for them. As king, he brings his flock safely into the glorious kingdom of God who is his Father and ours. We must all be judged by him, and his solemn judgment will depend on what good we have done to our marginalized brothers and sisters around us. Our failures in seeing and serving Jesus in our suffering brethren are many. Let us honestly purify our hearts at the beginning of this holy Mass and ask our Lord to change our lives so that we need not have to fear his judgment. (Pause)

I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault (all strike their breast)  in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary ever  Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers  and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Glory to God in the highest,/and peace to his people on earth./Lord God, heavenly King,/almighty God and Father,/we worship you,/we give you thanks,/we praise you for your glory./Lord Jesus Christ,/only Son of the Father,/Lord God, Lamb of God,/you take away the sin of the world:/have mercy on us;/you are seated at the right hand of the Father,/receive our prayer./For you alone are the Holy One,/you alone are the Lord,/you alone are the Most High,/Jesus Christ,/with the Holy Spirit,/in the glory of God the Father./ Amen.

OPENING   PRAYER
Let us pray. Almighty and merciful God, you break the power of evil and make all things new in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe. May all in heaven and earth acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.

FIRST  READING
(God speaking to Himself as the Shepherd who cares for the safety and health of His sheep, will not spare to judge them between sheep and sheep.)

A reading from the Book of Ezekiel (34:11-12:15-17)
Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.  As a shepherd seeks out his flock when some of his sheep have been scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will watch over; I will feed them in justice.
As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, rams and he-goats.
This is the Word of the Lord

PSALM    (22)
Response: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose.R.

Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit, He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name. R.

You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing.  R.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Lords own house shall I dwell for ever and ever. R.

SECOND  READING
(This reading tells us of the establishment of Christs Kingship by his own resurrection. Ultimately he will hand over the Kingship to his Father so that God may be all in all.)

A reading from the First Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians  (15:20-26,28)
In fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order; Christ the first fruit, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one.
This is the Word of the Lord

ACCLAMATION   (Mk 11:9-10)
Alleluia, alleluia! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David! Alleluia!

GOSPEL
(Jesus gives us a graphic picture of the solemn and ominous last judgment of the human race. The criterion of his judgment will depend upon what we do to the poor and oppressed, our love and concern for others for his sake.)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Matthew (25:31-46)
Jesus said to his disciples, When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee? And the King will answer them, Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me. Then he will say to those at his left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer, Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to thee? Then he will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
This is the Gospel of the Lord

I believe in God...

PRAYER  OF THE  FAITHFUL
Dear brothers and sisters, Christ, our eternal high priest, shepherd and king, is at the right hand of his Father from where he continues to love. Let us now unite our prayers with his for the renewal of the whole world by praying:
Response: Heavenly Father, help us to live as your worthy children.

1. May our Pope and all his subordinate authorities in the Church be holy and find joy and happiness in exhorting and guiding us in the spirit of Christ.   R.

2. Open the eyes of our political and civil authorities to see and remedy the miseries of the poor and marginalized people of our Country.    R..

3. Give us a compassionate heart towards all those people who are miserable, suffering and deprived of essential living conditions. Help us to help them in all possible ways seeing the suffering Christ in each of them especially those who are nearer to us.  R.

4. As Christians, may our charity towards others be motivated by our love of God and for the edification and conversion of others. Give perseverance in faith and endurance to all who are persecuted for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus. Make us worthy to share Your eternal Kingdom.  R.

(Pray for personal/local needs)

Cel: Heavenly Father, You so loved
the world and each one of us that You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us. Help us to stand ready for his coming so that we may enjoy forever the happiness of heaven. We ask this through the same Christ, our
Lord. Amen.

PRAYER  OVER  THE  GIFTS
Lord, we offer you the sacrifice by which your Son reconciles mankind. May it bring unity and peace to the world.

PREFACE     (P 51)
Father, all- powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks. You anointed Jesus Christ, your only son, with the oil of gladness, as the eternal priest and universal king. As priest he offered his life on the altar of the cross and redeemed the human race by this one perfect sacrifice of peace.
As King he claims dominion over all creation, that he may present to you, his almighty Father, an eternal and universal kingdom: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love, and peace. And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven we proclaim your glory and join in their unending hymn of praise:

Holy, holy, holy.

COMMUNION   ANTIPHON
The Lord will reign forever and will give his people the gift of peace.

PRAYER  AFTER  COMMUNION
Lord, you give us Christ, the King of all creation, as food for everlasting life. Help us to live by his gospel and bring us to the joy of his kingdom, where he lives and reigns forever and ever.

LITURGY AND LIFE
Todays Gospel powerfully brings home that Christ is Lord and King of the Universe. To him, as the redeemer of the world, belongs full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of every human being. He acquired this right by his cross. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son. And has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. (Jn 5:22,27)
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Who is this Son of Man? He is Jesus Christ himself who preferred to call himself as such since he had led his earthly life during which his glory was concealed in humiliation and suffering. Accompanied by all the angels he will sit on his glorious throne. The Father has given him authority to execute judgment because he is the Son of Man (Jn 5:27). He is Lord of lords and King of kings.
In the Gospels we see Jesus, in the course of his preaching, refers frequently to the judgment on the last day. On that day each human being must give an account of his/her life as described in todays Gospel. A severe condemnation awaits the hypocrites (Mk 12:40). On the day of judgment many will say to him Lord, Lord and then he will declare to them, I never know you; depart from me, you evildoers (Mt 7:21-23). The unbelieving generation which was not converted at the preaching of Jesus (Mt 12:39-42) and the cities that will not receive his representatives (Mt  10:14f) will be condemned. The judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah will be nothing in comparison with theirs; they will suffer the judgment of Gehenna (Mt 23:33). These threats set in relief the main motive of Gods judgment, namely, the attitude of people towards the Gospel. A persons attitude towards his/her neighbour will count just as much.
Every murderer, according to the Mosaic Law, was subject to human judgment while according to the law of the gospel, one can be guilty of far less than murder and still be in danger of hell  (Mt.5:21f)! Every slanderous word must be accounted for (Mt 12:34-38). Everyone will be judged according to the way he/she has judged his/her neighbour.
The description of the solemn sessions in which the Son of Man is the dispenser of justice, shows people welcomed into the kingdom or cast out to eternal punishment according to the love or indifference which they have shown for one another. (Mt 25:31-46).
As for the life of each one of us on earth, Jesus warns: Take heed to yourself lest your heart be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day comes upon you suddenly like a snare; for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth; but watch at all times praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place and to stand before the Son of Man (Lk 21:34-36). Christ will recognize us as his friends or fail to recognize us because we remained as strangers.
It is up to each person to accept or rejct Christs words. The words of Christ have the power of light. As the rays of the sun light up a room showing up every speck of dust and every little stain for all to see, in the same way, Christs words show up what is in an individual. Our acceptance of Christs words means salvation. But if we attempt to draw the curtain to shut out the light that is Christ, the rejection means judgment.
In brief, Christ is the Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men and women belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He acquired this right by his cross. The Father has given all judgment to the Son. Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself. By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges himself/herself, receives according to ones works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Sprit of love.
(Br Carmel Kizhakel)
 
 

30th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
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ENTRANCE   ANTIPHON
Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord. Seek the Lord and his strength, seek always the face of the Lord.

PENITENTIAL   RITE
Dear friends, todays liturgy invites us to meditate on the theme of  fraternal charity. Given the present situation in our Country, it is good to ask ourselves are we just and kind to our neighbours, of whatever race, religion or colour they may be? Do we see the image of God in the other and help him/her as much as we could? Is our love of God strengthened by our love of neighbour? (Pause)

I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault (all strike their breast)  in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary ever  Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers  and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Glory to God in the highest,/and peace to his people on earth./Lord God, heavenly King,/almighty God and Father,/we worship you,/we give you thanks,/we praise you for your glory./Lord Jesus Christ,/only Son of the Father,/Lord God, Lamb of God,/you take away the sin of the world:/have mercy on us;/you are seated at the right hand of the Father,/receive our prayer./For you alone are the Holy One,/you alone are the Lord,/you alone are the Most High,/Jesus Christ,/with the Holy Spirit,/in the glory of God the Father./ Amen.

OPENING   PRAYER
Let us pray. Almighty and ever-living God, strengthen our faith, hope, and love. May we do with loving hearts what you ask of us and come to share the life you promise.

FIRST   READING
(God gives Isralites various practical applications of the law of charity  they are to follow in their dealings with their neighbours.)

A reading from the Book of Exodus  (22: 21-27)
Thus says the Lord, You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you do afflict them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry; and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.
If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be to him as a creditor, and you shall not exact interest from him. If ever you take your neighbours garment in pledge, you shall restore it to him before the sun goes down; for that is his only covering, it is his mantle for his body; in what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.
This is the Word of the Lord

PSALM    (17)
Response: I love you, Lord, my strength.
I love you, Lord, my strength, my rock, my fortress, my Saviour. My God is the rock where I take refuge; my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold.  The Lord is worthy of all praise: when I call I am saved from my foes. R

Long life to the Lord my rock! Praised be the God who saves me. He has given great victories to his king and shown his love for his anointed. R

SECOND   READING:
A reading from the First Letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians      (1: 5-10)

(St Paul praises the Thessalonians for accepting the faith in difficult circumstances and for their wonderful example of Christian life.)

You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit; so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia  and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us what a welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
This is the word of the Lord

ACCLAMATION      (Jn 1:14)
Alleluia, alleluia! The Word became flesh and dwelt among us; to all who received him, he gave power to become children of God. Alleluia!

GOSPEL
(The two commandments love of God and love of neighbour are the essence of the Old Testament and the basis for the New Testament. Further, this is a rule of life for all of us for all times.)

A reading from the Holy Gospel According to St  Matthew   (22: 34-40)
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.
This is the Gospel of the Lord

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,  God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from  heaven. By the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died and was buried.On the third day he rose again, in fulfilment of the  Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through  the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic  Church. We  acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We  look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

PRAYER  OF  THE   FAITHFUL
Cel: Dear brothers and sisters, let us pray to our heavenly Father for the graces we need to follow his Sons teaching to love him with all our heart and to love our neighbour as ourselves, saying,

Response: Father, help us to follow your Sons commandment of love.
1.Lord, fill our Holy Father, Bishops, Priests and all your consecrated people with your love that they may become shining examples of your love in the world. For this we pray to the Lord.  R

2.Lord, help all Christians that they may always remember that the true test of their love of God is in their love of their neighbour. For this let us pray. R

3.Lord, make all your people aware that they are your  children called to love, and may love and peace prevail over hatred and violence. For this let us pray.R

4.  Lord, you have brought us together to this sacrament of love. Enable all of us to form a community of love forgetting differences and forgiving one another. For this let us pray.R

(Pray for personal / local needs)

Cel: Loving Father, we trust in your love for us. Make us more and more worthy of your love by granting our petitions and thus enabling us to love you and our neighbour. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

PRAYER  OVER  THE  GIFTS
Lord God of power and might, receive the gifts we offer and let our service give you glory.

PREFACE                                         (P 32)
Father, all- powerful and ever-living  God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
By his birth we are reborn. In his suffering we are freed from sin. By his rising from the dead we rise to everlasting life. In his return to you in glory we enter in to your heavenly kingdom.
And so, we join the angels and the saints as they sing their unending hymn of praise:

Holy, holy, holy...

COMMUNION   ANTIPHON
We will rejoice at the victory of God and make our boast in his great name.

PRAYER  AFTER  COMMUNION
Lord, bring to perfection within us the communion we share in this sacrament. May our celebration have an effect in our lives.

LITURGY AND LIFE
Recent incidents of religious intolerance and violence in our Country make me ask, what is the basis of our love of God? Can our love of God justify violence on our neighbour?
Todays readings tell us our love of God is proved by our love of our neighbours. Christian living is founded on love. The greatest proof of Gods love for us is the gift of His only Son to us. Hence all of us, created in the image of God who is love, are made for love, to love God, with all our heart, all our mind and all our soul (Mt 22:37).
However, our love of God reaches its fulfillment only when we express it in our love for others. So Jesus says, love your neighbour as yourself (Mt 22:39). Thus there exists an inseparable connection between loving God and loving our neighbours. God and human situations are clearly inter-woven as shown in Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man. If we fail to accept our neighbour as our brother, sister  we do not love God and accept Him as our Father. As St John clearly puts it, whoever loves God must love his brother also (1 Jn 4: 21).
Where we Christians often fail is in our love of neighbour. In todays world every one is on a rat race. We have hardly any time for others. Parents have no time to spare for their children because they are out to secure a good future for their children. On the other hand, children see their aged parents as a burden and care little about them. All of us are so busy that we hardly notice the other close to us. It is unfortunate that we often live for ourselves and are dead to others. Yet we profess and claim our love of God.
In the first reading we see once again the loving and merciful face of God. He legislates for those of his human creatures the strangers, orphans, widows, the poor who need help and protection. He cared for and protected Isralites when they were strangers, orphans, etc. Now he demands them to do the same for others.
God does not need any love or thanks from us. It is our necessity and obligation to love God. It is by loving and helping our neighbour that we can prove our love for God and our gratitude to Him for all He has given. As God has been compassionate and forgiving to us so we must be to others.
Today let us ask ourselves how seriously we take this law of fraternal charity and how faithfully we carry it out. People do not always expect material help from us. What they expect from us is a kind word, an encouraging word, a little affection, at least a smiling face. These are no impossible tasks. If we really love God, this is the minimum we can do to express that love. Are we ready for a conversion to bring a little solace to our needy neighbour? In doing so we too can become true servants of God like the Thessalonians and a great example to all believers(1Thes 1:7)
(Br Joby Manachirickkal)