Welcome back to the Sunday Mass notes for 4-3-2016. This week we open with a reading from the earliest history about the church, the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, relating their ministry in the very first weeks of the newly created Church after Pentecost and the Holy Spirit’s descent upon those earliest believers. The second reading is from the very latest book of the New Testament, the Revelation of Jesus as given to the last of the apostles, John. John records the vision he received of the Lord Jesus, which serves both as a warning to the Church of Jesus Christ and as an introduction to the revelation of the final events in earthly history and into eternity. The Gospel reading, interestingly enough, is from the same author who recorded the Revelation. The chapter in this week’s assignment includes the miraculous appearance of Jesus and significant teaching about faith and believing in Him.
Welcome back to the Sunday Mass notes for 11-22-2015. This week we will see the rulership of Jesus from three different angles in the readings from the Mass. The first reading is an Old Testament prophecy about His dominion and kingdom being an everlasting establishment. The second reading, from the book of Revelation in the New Testament, confirms the eternal dominion and power that Jesus has, but also adds a sense of personal tenderness towards us who believe in Him. The last reading, from the Gospel of John, chronicles the self-revelation of Jesus as King, recognizing that His kingdom was not of this world. Although his kingship was misunderstood and missed by many in His first advent, it will not be misunderstood at His second advent.
Welcome back to the Sunday Mass notes for 11-1-2015. This week we open with a reading from the mysterious Book of Revelation where we will explain in detail some of the background and context to bring out the meaning of the text. Then we move to another reading written by John from the Book of First John. Then we close with the Gospel lesson from Saint Matthew from the section called the Beatitudes. I remember reading those passages many years ago in Mass and feeling that I needed to be a better person and to try harder to please God. Find out what God’s Word says about my feelings and what would have been a more biblical response to them.
I know someone that has been a Christian for a very long time while a certain uncle of hers was resistant to believing in Jesus Christ right up until near the end of his life. As he grew older, he steadfastly refused to bow his knee to Jesus Christ although almost everyone around him were followers of Jesus including his niece who told me the story, and her husband was a pastor. One night he went to bed expecting to awaken the next morning just like every other day. However, God had a different plan for him. As I was a new believer in Jesus Christ myself when I heard this story I remember how it profoundly impacted me as I listened with baited breath about what was going to happen next. The next morning when the man arose and looked at himself in the mirror, he found a depression in the bone of his forehead in the shape of a cross. He instantly recognized this as a miracle as a seal of God calling him to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ which he quickly obeyed. As others encountered him throughout the last years of his life, he testified of God’s grace in marking him in this unique way such that he could no longer deny the one and only Savior Jesus Christ. This marking remained on his forehead for the rest of his life as a seal or marking of him as a follower of Jesus Christ. This week we will read about how God will in some future day “seal” a group of Jews in order to protect them from the wrath of the Antichrist who like many others before him will persecute God’s chosen people.
Welcome back to the Sunday Mass notes for 5-18-2014. This week we open with a reading from Acts and then return to our study on First Peter. Then we conclude with a Gospel lesson from John 14. As I write this, I am preparing to travel to France with a group of students to experience the culture there for the next two weeks. From there I am visiting an aunt and uncle in Belgium, the uncle that has spent his life researching the Church and as a professor at the American University of Leuven.
Welcome back to the Sunday Mass notes for 4-13-2014 – Palm Sunday. This week we open with the first reading, which is the procession of the palms. Then we move to the Old Testament reading that gives us a glimpse of the Suffering Servant, the Messiah. The New Testament reading shows the humility of Jesus, who came to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah having to suffer. Finally, we conclude with the Gospel account of Jesus’ passion, our Messiah, Who paid the penalty for our sin.