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GOSPEL POWER 2020 [Scripture quotations are] from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Š 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Copyright Š 2019 by the Daughters of St. Paul Published and distributed by Paulines Publishing House 2650 F. B. Harrison Street 1302 Pasay City, Philippines E-mail: Website: Cover and layout design: Ann Marie Nemenzo, FSP Illustrations: Rexie San Luis All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the publisher. 1st Printing 2019 ISSN 2350-7217

at the service of the Gospel and culture

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God





1st Reading: Nm 6:22-27 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them, 24The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; 26the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. 27So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them. 22

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 67 – May God bless us in his mercy. 2nd Reading: Gal 4:4-7 Brothers and sisters: 4When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Gospel: Lk 2:16-21 The shepherds went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. 21After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 16


ur experiences are like threads with which God weaves our life, creating patterns and designs that are not immediately obvious to our untrained eyes. Time, silence and focused attention are necessary to perceive something of what God’s creative mind is up to in our life. This is what Mary teaches us at the threshold of the new civil year. While the others react with amazement at hearing the shepherds’ report, Mary silently keeps the things she witnessed and heard to reflect on them further in her heart. A reaction is usually based on a personal conclusion about an event, and very much colored by one’s perception of it. But Mary knows that every event is open-ended, a mystery to be handled with reverence rather than met with an instinctual reaction. May this lesson from Mary help us to live fruitfully the year 2020.

Lord Jesus, grant us the grace to have a contemplative gaze on everything. Amen.

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time





1st Reading: Is 58:7-10 [Is not this the fast that I choose]: 7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? 8Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, 10if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 112 – The just man is a light in darkness to the upright. 2nd Reading: 1 Cor 2:1-5 1 When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Gospel: Mt 5:13-16 Jesus said to his disciples, 13“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”


any desire and strive to be in the limelight to get the world’s attention. But exterior light simply dazzles the eyes. Today’s Gospel makes it clear that the only light that illumines the darkness is the one that shines from within a person… a light ignited by one’s relationship with the divine. The responsorial psalm identifies such light-bearer as the just person, and the first reading from Isaiah interprets the meaning of “being just” as selflessly engaging in the corporal works of mercy and avoiding whatever would harm one’s neighbor. Saint Paul, in the second reading, gives a more specific interpretation of this for Christians, reflecting on his example as a light-bearer to the Corinthians by being a Christ-bearer whose person and proclamation is fundamentally shaped by Christ’s self-sacrificing life.


ord Jesus, shine in our hearts and in our lives and banish the darkness in the world. Amen




3rd Sunday of Lent

sunday 1st Reading: Ex 17:3-7

3 The people thirsted there for water; and they complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” 4So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarrelled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 95 – If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 2nd Reading: Rom 5:1-2, 5-8 1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God... 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

Gospel: Jn 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42 (or Jn 4:5-42) 5 Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. 7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8(His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” . . . 19The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.” . . . 39Many Samaritans from that city believed in him. . . 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. 41And many more believed because of his

word. 42They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”


od does not require us to change before giving us his gifts; rather, by giving us his gifts, he enables us to change. God takes us in our brokenness and loves us into wholeness. This is the common thread that runs through the three liturgical readings. In the first reading, God does not tell the Israelites to cease complaining and they will receive water. Rather, in the midst of their impatient grumbling, God tells Moses to give them water to drink. Jesus, in the Gospel, does not tell the Samaritan woman to abandon first her promiscuous cohabiting with a man who is not her husband before announcing the Good News to her. Instead, then and there he announces the Good News and enables her to see the truth in her irregular life-situation. St. Paul tells us in the second reading that God’s love set no prior condition before saving us. We were not told to stop sinning so that Jesus might offer his life for us. Rather, Jesus died for us, sinners, to empower us to be free from sin’s enslavement.


ord Jesus, thank you for accepting us in our brokenness and loving us into wholeness. Amen.





Solemnity of Our Lord’s Birth Mass during the Day

1st Reading: Is 52:7-10 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” 8Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion. 9Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 98 – All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God. nd 2 Reading: Heb 1:1-6 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3 He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? 6And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” 1

Gospel: Jn 1:1-18 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of 1

all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.


he evangelist carefully chose the verb to describe the Word’s coming to dwell in the world as one of us. The Greek eskênôse literally means “he pitched a tent,” thus evoking the combined senses of a journey, of transience and of moving on. The Word of God is here to journey with us, not as someone alien to our nature, but as one who knows both the perils and temptations of being on a journey. He gently gives us a push when we are tempted to settle down and establish a secure dwelling in this world, which is not our true home. He boosts our strength and keeps us moving forward when the journey wearies us. He does not only lead us, but is himself our Way to our final destination and true home, where he dwells with the Father from the beginning.


ord Jesus, faithful companion in our journey, never allow us to lose sight of the paternal home that awaits us at the end of our journey together. Amen.

Profile for Paulines Publishing House


Saint Paul declares that, “the Gospel is God’s power for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16). Whenever the announcement of th...


Saint Paul declares that, “the Gospel is God’s power for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16). Whenever the announcement of th...