9th Week: June 3-8:

 9th Week: June 3-8:

June 3 Monday (Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs):

The context: Today’s Gospel presents the last in a series of five healing stories. This one demonstrates the power of Faith, and in this particular case we learn what others can do for us if they are persons of Faith. As soon as Jesus got back to Capernaum after a preaching tour of Galilee, the crowds gathered in and around the house where he was staying, so that there was no room to get in or out. Four men, carrying their paralyzed friend, tried in vain to get to the house through the crowd. Here is the wonderful picture of a man who was saved by the Faith of his friends. His friends weremen who had trusting Faith in the healing power of Jesus, and they were men with initiative, tenacity, and creativity. So they carried their friend to the flat roof of the house and removed a number of roof tiles, opening a long wide area which allowed them to lower the man on his mat, and place him at Jesus’ feet. Luke tells us that there were in the crowd Pharisees and Doctors of the Law from Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem sent to check out Jesus, the new preacher, and to report back to the Sanhedrin.

The sick man’s paralysis was seen by the people around as a punishment for some serious sin in his own life or the lives of his parents. It was a common belief that no major sickness could be cured until sin was forgiven. For that reason, Jesus began the young man’s healing by audibly forgiving his sins, so that he might feel no longer estranged from God. Then the young man was able to receive the physical healing he and his friends desired for him. But the Pharisees judged that, in forgiving sin, Jesus had insulted God by blasphemy, because forgiving sin is the exclusive prerogative of God. Jesus insisted that if he healed the man, then his enemies must recognize his authority to forgive sin, and consequently his Divinity. He then healed the young man with a single command, but we do not know whether any of the objectors responded by believing in Jesus.

Life message: We are called to intercede for others and to bring them to Christ. 1) In the Old Testament, it is Moses who constantly begs God’s mercy and forgiveness for the Israelites’ sins. Later, we find the prophets interceding for the unfaithful Israelites. 2) In the New Testament, the dramatic role played by the friends of the paralyzed man in the healing story reminds us of the continuing need for, and power of, intercession for/by others. The text gives us encouragement to intercede for those who are ill or in special need. When we pray and invite God into the situation, healing takes place. 

Fr. Tony (

June 4 Tuesday:

The context: Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus ingeniously escaped from a trap set for him by the Pharisees. The tax issue: The Jews were forced to pay three separate taxes to the Roman emperor: the ground tax, the income tax, and the census tax. Here, the question concerned the census tax. If Jesus said that it was unlawful to pay the tax, the pro-Rome Herodians and their allies would report him to the Roman officials who would then arrest him as a revolutionary. If Jesus said that it was lawful to pay the tax, the insurgents and their supporters would turn against him, and he would be discredited in the eyes of the people who were against paying taxes to a pagan emperor on religious grounds.

The defense goes on the offensive. Jesus defeated their scheme by asking his challengers to show him “the coin of tribute” – the coin they would give to the tax-gatherer. Rather than answering their question directly, Jesus asked them a question, thus turning their trap inside out and upside down: “Whose image[eikon in Greek]and inscription are these?” “Caesar’s,” they said. Jesus then said, “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar — and to God what belongs to God.” In other words, we give to the emperor the coin because his image is on it, and we give to God our own selves because we are created in the image of God (Gn 1:26). By this answer Jesus reminds his questioners that if they are so concerned and careful about paying taxes to the state, they should be much more concerned and careful about their direct service of, and obligations to, God, their Creator and Lord.

Life messages: The episode teaches us the nature of our obligations to God and to our country, and it shows us how, with God’s help, we can be ideal citizens of both earth and Heaven. 1) Since everything is God’s, we must give ourselves to Him 100%, not just 10% on Sundays. 2) We should be generous in fulfilling our Sunday obligations and find time every day for prayer and worship in the family, for the reading of the Bible and the proper training of our children in Faith and morals. 3) As citizens of a country, it is the duty of Christians to pay for the services and the privileges that government provides, like paved roads, police and fire departments, banks, and other necessities. 4) Another way of giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s is to participate actively in the running of the government, electing the most suitable candidates and influencing them through frequent contacts. Fr. Tony ( 

June 5 Wednesday (Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr): The trap: Sadducees did not believe in resurrection of the dead because they claimed that Moses wrote nothing about it.  Hence, in their hypothetical question (which strongly recalls the Book of Tobit and the plight of the seven times widowed and still childless Sarah — the woman Tobias later married –), they asked Jesus to tell them who, in Heaven, would be the husband of the woman who, widowed and childless, had then been married, in succession, to her six brothers–in-law (levires), and had finally died childless.

Jesus goes on the offensive as defense: First, Jesus provided positive Biblical proof for the reality of resurrected existence. Jesus is presuming that Yahweh’s burning bush statement about being the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was in the present tense. This would prove these three patriarchs were still alive at the time of Moses, 600 years after their deaths. Thus, Jesus uses the Sadducees’ sacred text of the Torah to refute their anti-resurrection belief.  Since God declared Himself to be God of the patriarchs, He must somehow still be sustaining the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, thereby granting them resurrection and eternal life. Thus, Jesus proved the resurrection of the body from the Torah itself. Second, Jesus explained that the afterlife would not be just an eternal replay of this life. Things would be different after death. Normal human relations, including marriage, would be transformed. Then Jesus told the Sadducees that those to whom God granted resurrection and Heavenly life with Him would be immortal, like the angels and, hence, “children of God.”

Life message: 1) We need to live the lives of resurrection people:  That is, we are not to lie buried in the tomb of our sins and evil habits. Instead, we are to live joyful and peaceful lives, constantly experiencing the real presence of the Risen Lord Who gives us the assurance that our bodies also will be raised. The salutary thought of our own resurrection and eternal glory should also inspire us to honor our bodies, keeping them holy, pure, and free from evil habits and to respect those with whom we come in contact, rendering them loving and humble service. Tony (

June 6 Thursday: [Saint Norbert, Bishop]: The context: A scribe who believed in both the written Law and the oral tradition was pleased to see how Jesus had defeated the Sadducee who had tried to humiliate him with the hypothetical case of a woman who had married and been widowed by seven husbands in succession.  Out of admiration, the scribe challenged Jesus to summarize the most important of the Mosaic Laws in one sentence.  In the Judaism of Jesus’ day, there was a double tendency: to expand the Mosaic Law into hundreds of rules and regulations and to condense the 613 precepts of the Torah into a single sentence or few sentences.

Jesus’ novel contribution: Jesus gave a straightforward answer, quoting directly from the Law itself and startling all with his profound simplicity and mastery of the Law of God and its purpose.  He combined the first sentence of the Jewish Shema prayer from Deuteronomy 6:5: … Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength” with its complementary law from Leviticus 19:18: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Thus, Jesus proclaims that true religion is to love God both directly and as living in our neighbor.  Jesus underlines the principle that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves because both of us bear God’s image. For, to honor God’s image is to honor both Him Who made it and Him Whom it resembles. Besides, our neighbors, too, are the children of God our Father, redeemed by the Blood of Jesus.  Love for our neighbor is a matter, not of feelings, but of deeds by which we share with others the unmerited love that God lavishes on us.  This is the agape love for neighbor that God commands in His Law. Jesus then uses the parable of the Good Samaritan, as reported in Luke’s Gospel, to show them what God means by “neighbor.”

Life Messages: 1) We need to love God whole-heartedly: Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, means that we should place God’s will ahead of our own, seek the Lord’s will in all things, and make it paramount in our lives. It also means that we must find time to adore Him, to present our needs before Him, and to ask His pardon and forgiveness for our sins. 2) God’s will is that we should love everyone, seeing Him in our neighbor.  This means we have to help, support, encourage, forgive, and pray for everyone without regard to color, race, gender, age wealth, social status, intelligence, education, or charm.

Fr. Tony (

June 7 Friday: (THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS): Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the second most popular Catholic devotion among Catholics, the first being the Rosary. The infinite love and mercy of God is shown in many different metaphors and symbols like the Baby in the manger, the Good Shepherd, the Crucifix, the Sacred Heart, and the Divine Mercy Picture. The devotion to the Sacred Heart is based on the apparitions of Our Lord from 1673 to 1675 to  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a nun of the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial in France. The Gospel passage, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:35-37) is at the foundation of the whole tradition of devotion to the Divine Heart. The practices of the “Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” in the home and the “Consecration and Dedication of the Family to the Sacred Heart” were begun by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and later approved by the popes. Official and social recognition of the rule of Jesus over the Christian family is the purpose of the consecration of the family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The “Holy Hour,” the “Litany of the Sacred Heart,” “The Act of Consecration of the Family and the Human Race to the Sacred Heart,” the “Nine First Fridays” Devotion and the “Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus” are different forms of this devotion.

Life Messages1) An invitation for a “heart transplant”: Our hearts become stony and insensitive through our daily exposure to acts of cruelty, terrorism, injustice, greed, and impurity. Hence, God prescribes a change of heart through His prophet Ezekiel (Ez 11:19-20to make our hearts soft, elastic, large, and sensitive: ” I will give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the stony heart from their bodies and replace it with a natural heart.” The Sacred Heart of Jesus should be the ideal heart for this “medical” procedure because Jesus said, “Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” Let us have the heart of Jesus. 2)  An invitation to love. The Sacred Heart of Jesus challenges us to love others as Jesus loved: selflessly, unconditionally and sacrificially (agape love), and to express this love in humble and loving service done to others.

June 8 Saturday: (The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary): This feast commemorates the joys and sorrows of the Mother of God, her virtues and perfections, her love for God and her Divine Son and her compassionate love for mankind. … In 1969, Pope St. Paul VI moved the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Saturday, immediately after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a special form of devotion to the venerable person of Mary, similar to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Mary’s Immaculate Heart represents her interior life and the beauty of her soul.  Devotion to the Heart of Jesus is especially directed to the Divine Heart as overflowing with love for men. This devotion is an attempt to respond to Jesus’ love and to make reparation for the lack of love on the part of mankind.  In the devotion to the Heart of Mary, on the other hand, what seems to attract us above all else is the love of Mary’s Immaculate Heart for Jesus and for God.  The objective is to love God and Jesus better, by uniting ourselves to Mary for this purpose and by imitating her virtues. In this devotion, we think of the love, virtues, and sentiments of Mary’s interior life and try to put them into practice.

Scriptural basis of this devotion: It was mostly the love, humility, faith, and other virtues of the Heart of Mary that attracted early Christians to Mary, the mother of Jesus. They saw Mary’s heart in its true colors at the foot of the Cross.  Simeon’s prophecy furnished this devotion with its most popular representation: the heart pierced with a sword.  St. Augustine remarks: “At the foot of the cross, Mary cooperated with Jesus in the work of our redemption through charity.”  One Scriptural passage in support of this devotion is the twice repeated (Lk 2:19; 2:51) saying of St. Luke given in today’s Gospel, “Mary kept all the things [the saying and doings of Jesus] in her heart,” that she might ponder on them and live by them.  A few of the sayings of Mary recorded in the Gospel, particularly her Magnificat (Lk 1:46-55) disclose new features in Marian psychology. Elizabeth proclaims Mary blessed because she has believed the words of the angel. The Magnificat is also an expression of Mary’s humility.  The last words of Mary recorded in Scripture were spoken at the wedding feast in Cana when the wine ran out, and Mary approached Jesus, as usual, to tell them of this calamity. He had answered her that this was not His responsibility any longer, nor was it hers, for His Hour had not yet come. Mary understood that being the Messiah of God had changed Jesus’ position radically, and she humbly accepted this necessary change in their relationship as Mother and Son as God’s will for both of them, turning to the serving boys telling them, “Do whatever He tells you!” (Jn 2:5), the same instruction she gives all of us on every occasion!  Finally, answering the woman in the crowd who praised Jesus’ mother as blessed, Jesus commented, “Blessed rather are they that hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk 11:28).   It was Mary’s readiness to hear and do the will of God that endeared her to God and caused her to be selected as the Mother of Jesus.

 Life message: Let us take Mary as our role model and practice her virtues of trusting Faith, serving humility and readiness to do God’s will in our daily lives, thus becoming immaculate children of an Immaculate Heavenly Mother. Tony (