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Baptism of the Lord

What can I do this week to put myself selflessly at the service of others?

The Baptism of the Lord is the great event because it is the occasion of the first public revelation of all the Three Persons in the Holy Trinity, and the official revelation of Jesus as the Son of God to the world by God the Father. Hence, it is described by all four Gospels. It marks the beginning of Jesus' public ministry.

The turning point:

Jesus baptism by John was a very important event in the Messianic mission.

First it was a moment of identification with us sinners. Sinless, Jesus received the baptism of repentance to identify Himself with His people who realized for the first time that they were sinners. (As given in the anecdotes, St. Damien, Blessed Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and Mandela identified with the people whom they served).

Second, it was a moment of conviction about Jesus’ identity and mission: that He is the Son of God and His mission was to preach the Good News of God’s love and salvation and to atone for our sins by becoming the “suffering servant.” God the Father’s words, “This is My beloved Son," (Psalm 2:17), confirmed Jesus’ identity as Incarnate Son of God, and the words "with Whom I am well pleased,” (Isaiah 42:1), referring to the "suffering servant"), pointed to Jesus' mission of atoning for the sins of the world by suffering and dying on the cross.

Third, it was a moment of equipment. The Holy Spirit, descending and resting upon Jesus in the form of a dove, bestowed on Jesus the power to preach and heal.

Fourth, receiving the approval of God, His Heavenly Father, as His Beloved Son presented Jesus with a moment of decision -- to begin public ministry at the most opportune time.

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Baptism of the Lord

What can I do this week to put myself selflessly at the service of others?

The Baptism of the Lord is the great event because it is the occasion of the first public revelation of all the Three Persons in the Holy Trinity, and the official revelation of Jesus as the Son of God to the world by God the Father. Hence, it is described by all four Gospels. It marks the beginning of Jesus' public ministry.

The turning point:

Jesus baptism by John was a very important event in the Messianic mission.

First it was a moment of identification with us sinners. Sinless, Jesus received the baptism of repentance to identify Himself with His people who realized for the first time that they were sinners. (As given in the anecdotes, St. Damien, Blessed Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and Mandela identified with the people whom they served).

Second, it was a moment of conviction about Jesus’ identity and mission: that He is the Son of God and His mission was to preach the Good News of God’s love and salvation and to atone for our sins by becoming the “suffering servant.” God the Father’s words, “This is My beloved Son," (Psalm 2:17), confirmed Jesus’ identity as Incarnate Son of God, and the words "with Whom I am well pleased,” (Isaiah 42:1), referring to the "suffering servant"), pointed to Jesus' mission of atoning for the sins of the world by suffering and dying on the cross.

Third, it was a moment of equipment. The Holy Spirit, descending and resting upon Jesus in the form of a dove, bestowed on Jesus the power to preach and heal.

Fourth, receiving the approval of God, His Heavenly Father, as His Beloved Son presented Jesus with a moment of decision -- to begin public ministry at the most opportune time.

From the Pastor's Desk

What can I do this week to put myself selflessly at the service of others?

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Today’s Scripture readings describe leadership as the sacrificial service done for others and offer Jesus as the best example. They also explain the servant leadership of Jesus, pinpointing service and sacrifice as the criteria of greatness in Christ’s Kingdom.

The first reading is a Messianic prophecy taken from the Fourth Servant Song in the second part of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. It tells how the promised Messiah will save mankind by dying in atonement for our sins. Jesus has done this out of love for us, becoming the Suffering Servant crucified as an offering for sin, interceding for us and taking our punishment on Himself.

The second reading, taken from the letter to the Hebrews, tells us that, as God-man and Mediator-High Priest, Jesus has offered a fitting sacrifice to God to ransom us, liberating us from enslavement to sin. In the time of Jesus, ransom was the price paid to free someone from slavery. Sometimes the ransomer offered himself as a substitute for the slave, as Jesus did. The reading also speaks of a High Priest who is able to sympathize with us in our weakness because Jesus has been tested in every way, though sinless, and so we can “confidently” hope for God’s mercy.

Today’s Gospel explains how Jesus has accomplished the Messianic mission of saving mankind from the slavery of sin by becoming the “Suffering Servant.” In the context of the selfish request made by James and John for key positions in the Messianic political kingdom Jesus would establish after overthrowing the Roman rule, Jesus challenged his followers to become great by serving others with sacrificial agape love: “Whoever wishes to be great must be a servant." Jesus commands us to give ourselves to others in loving and humble service, and so to liberat

From the Pastor's Desk

What am I willing to leave behind in order to follow Jesus more fully?

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Today’s readings remind us that we do not possess anything in our life that we refuse to surrender to the Lord. We are only stewards of our gifts, time and talents.

The first reading advises us to use the Godgiven virtue of prudence and to seek true wisdom in preference to vanishing realities like riches or political and social influence. Solomon chose Wisdom before everything else. But when he accepted Wisdom, he received everything else along with her. Since Jesus is Wisdom Incarnate, when we put following Jesus ahead of everything else, we receive everything else along with Jesus.

In the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 90), we beg God to teach us how to make proper judgments and choices in our lives that we may live with Him forever.

The second reading warns us that we are accountable before God as to how we use our blessings, and that the “living and effective word of God” must be our guide in evaluating the use of our blessings.

In today’s Gospel selection (Mark 10:17-30), we find three sections: a narrative about Jesus’ encounter with a rich man, Jesus’ sayings about wealth as a possible obstacle to following him and Jesus’ promise of reward for those who share their material possessions with the needy. Jesus reminded the rich man of the commandments that deal with relationships with other people and challenged him to sell what he had and to give the money to the poor. Jesus shocked his disciples with this challenge to the Jewish belief that material wealth and prosperity were signs of God's blessings. Instead, he declared that true religion consisted in one’s sharing his blessings with others rather than hoarding them and getting inordinately attached to them.

From the Pastor's Desk

What aspect of my selfhood leads me to sin? What must I do to remove that aspect?

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Today’s Scripture readings give us a strong warning against jealousy, intolerance and giving scandal.

In the first reading, we find jealousy, in its destructive form of envy, raising its ugly head in Moses’ assistant and successor, Joshua. Moses and seventy future helpers were called by the Lord God to the Tent of Meeting for the Spirit-giving Ordination ceremony. But two of the invitees were absent, and Joshua could not tolerate these absent men prophesying in the camp without receiving God’s Spirit in the Tent of Meeting. Moses had to instruct Joshua to be tolerant. This selection is intended to provide a Biblical background for Jesus’ response to the same kind of jealousy apparent in the apostles.

The Refrain for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 19), “The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart,” reminds us that obedience to the spirit of the Law will draw us closer to God and so give us lasting joy.

In the second reading, James warns the rich against giving scandal by their denial of social justice to their workers in refusing to give them a living wage, by ignoring the needs of others, and by condemning and murdering the innocent and the righteous. Withholding a day-laborer's wage was a terrible act of injustice, tantamount to murder in the agricultural economy of the ancient Middle East. Baptism commits every Christian to work for social justice through peaceable, rather than violent, means.

In the Gospel, we find intolerance among the apostles of Christ. John complains to Jesus that a man outside their group of selected disciples has been exorcising demons in Jesus’ Name, despite their attempt to prevent him from doing so. Jesus responds by giving the Apostles lessons in Jesus’ own kind of tolerance and in the reward to be given to outsiders for good deeds they have done for the apostles because they are the disciples of Jesus. We also hear the strong warning of Jesus against giving scandal, especially to innocent children, to vulnerable members of the community, and to beginners in the Faith. Jesus instructs the Apostles, and us, that, just as a doctor might remove by surgery a limb or some part of the body to preserve the life of the whole body, so we must be ready to part with anything that causes us or others to sin and which leads to spiritual death.

From the Pastor's Desk

What can I do to be received into the kingdom with open arms?

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Today’s Gospel explains the basis of our Faith as our acceptance of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God and our Lord and Savior. It also tells us that Christ Jesus suffered, died and rose again to become our Savior. Finally, it outlines the three conditions of Christian discipleship, namely, denying oneself, taking up one’s cross, and following Jesus.

Jesus saw aspects of His own life and mission foreshadowed in Isaiah’s Servant Songs. Hence, a large portion of the Third Song of the Suffering Servant is presented as the first reading today, while in the Gospel, Jesus foretells the passion, death and Resurrection for the first time, in response to Peter’s profession of Faith in him as God’s Messiah and Savior. Like the servant described in today’s first reading, Jesus’ lived a life of radical obedience and conformity to God’s will. Thus, the Servant passage provides background for the revelation of Jesus as the suffering Messiah.

In today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 116), the Psalmist invites us to turn to the Lord for help amidst the trials of this world. It is in God that we will find deliverance from trouble and relief from our afflictions. (Ps 116).

Today’s second reading, taken from the Letter of James to the Church, reminds us that suffering is not only something to be accepted but also something to be alleviated. James explains how our Faith in Jesus, the Messiah, should help us to alleviate the sufferings of others by our works of mercy, both corporal and spiritual.

In the Gospel, in response to Peter’s profession of Faith in Jesus as God’s Messiah and Savior, Jesus foretells for the first of three times the passion, death and Resurrection which lie ahead. Today’s Gospel consists of two sections: 1) the Messianic confession of Peter, who acknowledged Jesus as “the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God.” and 2) Jesus’ prediction of the passion, death and Resurrection, followed by Jesus clear teaching on the three conditions of Christian discipleship: “Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.”

From the Pastor's Desk

What will I do this week to put God’s word into action? Has God’s word truly penetrated

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Today’s readings offer two challenges: 1) Become humble instruments of healing in Jesus’ hands by giving voice to the voiceless and caring love to the needy and the marginalized in our society.

2) Open your ears to hear the word of God, open your eyes to see God’s presence in everyone, and loosen your tongue to praise and worship God loudly and to convey the Good News of God’s love and salvation to others. (Anecdote of the “little monk” who opened blind eyes & deaf ears).

In the first reading (Is 35:4-7), the prophet Isiah reminds us that God's eyes are constantly focused on the helpless. “He comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.”

Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 146) sings of a God who gives sight to the blind, raises up those who are bowed down and welcomes strangers.

That is why, in today’s second reading (Jas 2:1-5), the apostle gives us some basic and challenging principles of social justice. He exhorts Christians to show no partiality based on external appearance and to practice God’s “preferential option” for the poor. He warns the faithful against scorning or shaming the poor while showing special consideration to the rich.

Today’s Gospel describes how Jesus, by healing a deaf man with speech impediment, fulfilled Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy, "The eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped." The ailments listed by Isaiah are symbolic of our interior illnesses: blindness to the needs of our neighbor, unwillingness to hear God’s voice and the inability to speak words of praise, apology, forgiveness, and gratitude. Through this miracle story, Mark also reminds us that no one can be a follower of the Lord without reaching out to the helpless (“preferential option for the poor”)

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Christ the Kings Church
20 W. Wakea Ave
Kahului, HI 96732

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