TIME AFTER PENTECOST : We know very well that the holy seasons of Advent and Lent, and Christmastide and Eastertide look at very specific, and hallmark, events in the life of Our Lord. The time after Pentecost has its own focus : the three years of Christ's ministry. It is, as it were, the time in between the BEGINNING (Christmas) and the END (Easter and Ascension).
THIRD SUNDAY : How did Christ spend His three years of ministry, in between the BEGINNING and the END? Today's Mass has part of the answer : by LOOKING for the LOST. The theme for today's Mass is : JESUS THE SEEKER
INTROIT : If Christ has come for sinners, not the righteous; for the sick, not the well; for the lost, not the safe and sound; then we better find ourselves in that category - of people needing Christ as their Savior. The Introit does just this. "I am alone and poor!" "Forgive me all my sins!" "In Thee, my God, I put my trust!"
COLLECT : Do things that pass really matter? Only what never passes truly matters. Earthly suffering, if it leads to eternal salvation, can be accepted. Earthly joys, if they lead to eternal damnation, can be rejected - if our focus is on eternity.
EPISTLE : There is a difference between SUFFERING and being DESTROYED, LOST, DAMNED. We are often more concerned about the former and not the latter. As St Peter tells us in this Epistle, suffering in this life is temporary and is the common lot of all believers, which God allows in order to humble us. Our present sufferings are meant to increase our merit and future glory. We should rather be concerned about the devil who can, but only if we let him, devour our souls.
GRADUAL : Let our burdens lead us to God who cares for us.
ALLELUIA : Although God often allows troubles in our life to be a corrective punishment, He does so only with our final end in mind (salvation). He bends over backwards to save us. He does not hate us.
GOSPEL : The evil of the Pharisees and Scribes is revealed as a corrupt form of self-love. They were interested only in their own righteousness without understanding what righteousness is, in its complete form and in its essence. Their religious observance was merely external, with no inner virtue; lacking especially that virtue which best describes God - Charity. Their pride and self-satisfaction swelled because of their corrupt practice of external religion. They did not love God as He ought to be loved; they did not love their neighbor either but were instead offended that their sinful neighbors were finding spiritual renewal in Christ. Truly, theirs was a self-serving religion - no religion at all, properly understood.
OFFERTORY : Trust in God's goodness and concern for His people is a key theme today. It flows from the main idea of the Gospel : God, through God the Son, actively seeks the lost. The lost do not look for God, as much as God looks for the lost.
SECRET : We do not take for granted that our offerings are pleasing to God. We offer them humbly, asking God to be pleased with them, because our meager offerings are done with Christ and in obedience to His command to do this in His memory.
COMMUNION : One sinner, many angels. Have you ever considered why your one, singular and ordinary soul should make ALL the angels rejoice over your salvation? Why is your soul - one among so many - so important? Because God made it, and God loves what He created. God the Son died for what He created. Others value our souls more than we ourselves sometimes.
POST-COMMUNION : Food gives life, energy. We are not spiritually dead (only those in mortal sin are, and cannot receive holy communion until they are absolved), but we are not yet all we could be. The grace of holy communion is to quicken us; to move us forward, closer to the saints God wants us to be.