Saturday, January 20, 2018

The way Jesus was reared

Feast of the Santo Niño 

Mark 10: 13 - 16

It's a joy for us to celebrate the Feast of the Santo Niño.  The entire history of the Catholic faith in the Philippines hinges on the offering of the image of the blessed Child by Magellan to Queen Juana as a gift during the baptism on April 14, 1521.

The images of the Santo Niño and Poong Nazareno really present to us profound insights on our country's adherence to Jesus, our Savior.  If we are serious in deepening our faith, let us adhere to Jesus the Child, the young man, respectable adult, and the loving Messiah.

On this blessed Sunday, we are all invited to enter into the childhood of Jesus and embed him in our hearts, minds, and lives, for we too once upon a time, became children.

First, on the hidden life of Jesus. The Church teaches us: "The hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary events of daily life" (CCC,
533).  How we were reared by our parents might be the same way Jesus was reared by Joseph and Mary.

Second, on obedience.  "Jesus' obedience to his mother and legal father fulfills the fourth commandment perfectly and was the temporal image of his filial obedience to his Father in heaven" (CCC, 532).  It gives us a rich insight on how Jesus effectively teaches us to love the Father; he's speaking from his own experience when he was a child and which we can also imitate.

Third, on doing the Father's will. "The finding of Jesus in the temple is the only event that breaks the silence of the Gospels about the hidden years of Jesus.226 Here Jesus lets us catch a glimpse of the mystery of his total consecration to a mission that flows from his divine sonship: "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work?" (CCC, 534).  How wonderful would it be if we hear these same words from our children, "I must be about my Father's work."

We are assured of the growth and development of our children when they are wholeheartedly doing the Father's affairs.  Then the Santo Niño has born fruit in our lives.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sensitivity to God's call

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 1:35-42

We are much appreciative of our parents and those who introduced to us the ways of the faith for through them, we have known and observed it.  Today, we are capable of knowing what is bad and good; the good, we live out; the evil, we cast away.  Our religious practices and devotions are manifestations on how we are living out our faith.

But perhaps, we can aim for something better in our faith.  It is not just a set of formulae;  rather, Someone is calling us for something much greater.

This is the mystery of the call which Samuel heard.  It's not just an ordinary call.  He was instructed to respond accordingly, "Here am I, Lord, your servant is listening."

We dread the moment when we couldn't hear Him who call us everyday.  We dread every moment when we think we're the only ones conducting our lives, when we can hear what the world is saying, but cannot hear what He's saying.  God is the voice within, calling us to serve him everyday and every moment. How do we become sensitive to God's call?

First, acknowledge people and event pointing the way to Jesus.  In the Gospel, John declared, "There is the Lamb of God."  We learn about the faith through our parents, school, and church.  Let the things we learned deepen our relationship with Him.

Second, Jesus responded to the invitation of the 2 men, "Come and see."  And they followed him.  It was 4 in the afternoon.  It was at this point they were called "disciples".  A disciple follows the Lord 24 hours and for the rest of his life.  The disciple is formed according to the heart and mind of the one he's following.  We may respond to the call to be transformed according to the heart and mind of Jesus.

Third, "You shall be Cephas."   Jesus called Simon "Cephas."  When we follow Jesus, he will reveal to us our true selves, the one God intended us to be.

May parents give the best gift to their children - not only financial security in the future, but more importantly, their vocation in God.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Light that destroys the world's darkness

The Epiphany of the Lord

Matthew 2:1-12

The story of the three wise men may come to us as a great post-Christmas story with the drama of deceit, revenge and treachery.  But underneath this drama is a revelation much greater than we can ever imagine.

What an irony; Christmas comes to us not in a grandeur fashion, but in an obscure way, with the sight of a humble child resting in the manger.  This feast should lead us to notice the grandeur in the obscure and the extraordinary in the ordinary.  Where does Epiphany lead us to?

First, the light.  That light is the brightest of all lights.  It leads us directly to God; his glory shining upon all of us.  Even at nighttime the light keeps shining.  Let us be aware of God's presence every moment of our lives, in our decisions and actions.

Second, the assembly of kings.  There are only two kinds of kings reacting to this fact: ones are like Herod, who was perturbed at the thought of this king.  For he rules with corruption.  He compromises with men but contradicts God.  The second ones fall to their knees to do God homage.   They should teach us a lesson that all power comes from God and that power should be practiced most humbly.

Third, the assembly of nations.  "Lift up your eyes and look round: all are assembling and coming towards you, your sons from far away and your daughters being tenderly carried."  This is the image of the Church that serves as light to the world, teaching all children the truths of faith.  Only the Church shall walk towards the Lord.  The true Church shall see the star that leads to Jesus.  Only the Church would be able to offer the gifts fit for a king.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Mary, our torchbearer for 2018

Mary, Mother of God

Year B, Luke 2:16-21

Happy New Year!

The Church totally unites herself to God for another year of his presence and glory.  The Blessed Mother, the Mother of God is our torchbearer for 2018 and the next years to come.  She carries for us the following:

The light to shine and direct our steps and guide our decisions in life. She is the "morning star" as mentioned in the Litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Her state of Immaculate Conception is that of a bright light that illumines our minds, hearts, souls, and being and orients our lives to God.

Second, the ability to see the wonders of God.   There are two characters in the story of Christmas that describes this "seeing".  First, the shepherds who were endowed with the gift to see the majesty of God through the humble appearance of the Child in the stable.  The second one is in Mary's heart as she pondered all these things.  Pray that we may see the Lord in the daily events of our lives.

Third, incorporation into God's family.  Jesus was incorporated to the Jewish family through the circumcision.  But now, we make sure to be incorporated in God's family by active and conscious participation in being "Church", the family of God.  With the our support and service to one another, the future of families will remain bright, because all are servants and disciples of the Lord.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Orient to become God's family

The Holy Family

Luke 2:22-40

We look up to the Holy Family through which Jesus was raised to be the perfect Messiah that he truly is - grown to maturity, filled with wisdom, and God's favor was with him.

God wishes us to celebrate Christmas by incorporating us into his family through the Holy Family.  What are the signs of God's family?

First, God's family is rooted in his commandment: Honor thy father and mother.  Honoring our parents is honoring God who is is first and foremost, our Father.  Our parents are the transmitters of the faith to the children.

Second, God's family is equipped with a vision: "You may now let your servant go in peace, because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all nations to see".  Eventually every family efforts should lead us to a deeper knowledge, relationship, and awareness of Jesus' presence in our world - like seeing him in every man and woman.

Third, God's family is committed to perfection each day: "Jesus grew in maturity; he was filled with wisdom; and God's favor was with him."  Growing in maturity and in God's favor is a life-long commitment that needs to be realized in a day-to-day bas
is.  Perfection is not a goal; it is the way.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas: a world of justice, love, and peace

Christmas Day

Midnight mass

Luke 2:1-14

Words cannot express the profound effect of this humble night, unknown to the powerful, but revealed to the lowly shepherds; on how the whole world that was supposed to tremble on the coming of God, silence and peace overpowered it, with the Child born in the vilest of all places - a manger reserved only for animals; a place only the shepherds know what it is for.

But let us learn from the story of the humble birth of the Son of God and what it means to us who wish to be one with him:

First, he wishes to save his suffering people, not inflict judgment on them.  He is the Wonder-Counselor Isaiah was talking about in the First Reading; the source of peace that comes from good counsel.  He truly touches our hearts and enlightens our minds by his loving presence.

Second, his path is abject poverty, not wealth or power.  Why?  Simply because we have placed our brothers and sisters in a state of abject poverty caused by our selfishness and greed.  We thought power and wealth could make us live, but we contribute to to death and suffering.  Christ chose to stay with the lowliest of his people, so we may find ourselves devoting our lives to help, assist, comfort, and free them.  This becomes our vocation or calling in this life.

Third, he chooses the path of peace to change the world.  The option to take the path of active non-violence is so compelling that we are led to it to reach out to others, to uphold justice and speak against death and corruption, to turn weapons of violence into tools for farming and abundance; and to change the hearts of our children towards God.

It is probably ineffable at this point to actually describe the depth of Christmas; nevertheless, stay close to the manger where the poor Child lays, and the new world will open - a world of justice, love, and peace.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Fulfilling the promise of Christmas

4th Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:26-38

As we approach the blessed moment of redemption which is very imminent, our readings contain the fulfillment of the promise made to David and until now is being fulfilled in our hearing.

David was blessed by God because of his faithfulness, and God's kingdom shall be established in him.

In the gospel, the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive a son and name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.

What are we looking for this Christmas? Let us not be lost in the petty concerns of Christmas; rather, let us focus on the One who is to come into our lives, reflecting on these three things:

First, "He shall be called Son of the Most High" - As we are familiar with Jesus as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, we remember that part of the restoration of God is that fathers would be reunited with their children.  Jesus becomes the fulfillment of that reunion between God and man.  We turn to him to be reunited to our Father for all eternity.

Second, "He will be a descendant of David and will rule over the house of Jacob" - We are also familiar with King David and how he ruled Israel in justice and mercy, and God's favor was upon him.  We now remember that part of the real meaning of Christmas is to acknowledge that God established his kingdom, not only through David and his descendants, but through the living Church established by Jesus to be His living body here on earth.  Let us renew what it means to be a living Church and we shall experience the real meaning of Christmas.

Third, "His kingdom will have no end" - This phrase gives us the glimpse of what is to come - the establishment of the reign of God in all eternity.  We only need to reignite our faith in Jesus, be active in the Church, and be the Lord's disciples for all eternity.

Let the real Christmas be upon us, Jesus' eternal reign in our lives.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The poor celebrate Christmas

3rd Sunday of Advent, C

John 1:6-8,19-28

Every time Christmas comes, a parish calls its members to include the poor in their Christmas list.  This gives a powerful message that Christmas is not just about merry-making, eating good food, and exchanging gifts.  The only gift worth exchanging is us when we become God's gifts to others, especially the poor, the least, last, and lost.

The words of Isaiah regarding the one anointed by the Lord to bring glad tidings to the poor are the exact words Jesus read when he began his public ministry.  Coming from mouth of Jesus, the world is transformed to one where the poor are not ostracized; rather, they become recipients of God's overly abundant graces.

What does it mean to be God's living gifts of Good News to the poor?

First, the Word. The Word itself is Good News!  We need to be immersed more in God's word as it serves as light to our lives, molding our decisions and moving us into action.  Allot significant time to be immersed in God's word to transform our lives for good.

Second, the Light.  John the Baptist is not the light.  But he speaks for the light.  He gives witness to the light.  When we are absorbed in the Word, it lights our lives.  We see the world in a different light, God's light.  Even the poor is seen in a different light.  When we diagnose the cause of poverty in greed and selfish, otherwise known as the darkness of life, we do well to start giving of ourselves to help them.

Third, Jesus.  He is the one whom John the Baptist is referring to; the one whose sandal-strap he is not worthy to undo.  This is the very message of Christmas; Jesus is the One we are waiting for all this time.  If we only know the real meaning of the Church as the Body of Christ, then we would know how to be the living gifts or Good News to the poor.  Knowing that God is with us, "Emmanuel", his saving actions would now be possible through us men and women of the time.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Real preparation for Christmas

2nd Sunday of Advent, B

Mark 1:1-8 

How are we preparing for Christmas?

The Christmas rush is now creeping to our bones.  Such panic is exhibited to meet the deadline lead to the blessed day as well as the much-need vacation for the family.

The readings cry out "Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths."   How do we prepare for the Lord's coming?

First, remember the God who cares.  We can't place our security in material things.  Only God is our good shepherd.  Only he can straighten crooked paths.  Do we feel confident in knowing who God is and what he can do to our lives?

Second, conversion.  All John's teachings lead to a process of conversion, from sin to grace and from self to others and God.  Everything leads to conversion.  Reflect: do our actions lead to a change of heart and life?

Third, walk the talk.  John lived in total poverty and simplicity.  Obviously, God is the one taking care of him, imbibing him with the power that comes from the Holy Spirit.  All thoughts and words manifest in our actions.  Only then can we realize if our actions are leading us to God.

Real preparation comes when it is not us who live but Christ who lives in us.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Just Share!

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25:14-30

Described in first reading is the image of a pious, perfect wife, excelling in virtues and good works.  She truly becomes the joy of her husband.

Today's gospel, the parable of the talents, calls us to be the same for our Lord, who is our bridegroom.  He gives us ample time till his second coming for us to maximize the use of our gifts at his pleasure and for the good of others.

The useless one who buried the talent to the ground symbolizes a person who despite God's gifts is not interested in sharing and even investing it for the future.  Thinking that the talent is mainly to benefit himself, he will not do anything to benefit others, thus, hiding the talent on the ground.

As in the readings, what then constitutes a fruitful life?

First, a life that is focused on pleasing the beloved

Remember the industrious wife and her relationship to her husband.  How true it is when a man and woman becomes one; when his visions and goals coincides with her, and as one body, they journey together.  Such is us and God if it is clear to us that our life's mission is to give joy to the Master instead of pleasing ourselves.

Second, a life that utilizes its own free will to please the beloved

The ample time of the master's absence did not deter the industrious stewards to fulfill their mission.  Self-motivated, their lives are abundant in blessings.  Such is also our lives here on earth, fruitful in spite of the Lord's seeming "absence" that we still utilize all gifts only for him.

Third, a life that shares itself to others

"Come share in your master's joy" is the utterance of the master as he expresses his satisfaction over the fruitful servant.  "Sharing" is truly a magical word.  When joy is shared, two persons and more are affected by that joy.  How much more when we share our gifts to the poor and help them get up.  We shall fulfill the Lord's remarks are we enter into heaven, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me" (Mat 25: 40).

We still can share our time, talents, and treasures for God and others.

Reflect: What have I shared lately to others for the greater glory of God?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Got enough light in your life?

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25:1-13 

Wisdom is personified.  It makes an appeal for us to cherish it, learn from it and live it.

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins further explains what wisdom is.  Wisdom focuses on three points, according to a homily of St. Agustine:

1.  Both of them have lamps that symbolize their good works.  But the good works of the foolish are only for the esteem of men and women.  They don't reach heaven.

2. "The bridegroom is late in coming" symbolizes ample time for repentance and conversion.  But the foolish delay conversion till the last minute, even totally abandoning it till Christ, the groom, would come.

3.  The cry - symbolizes the end of the world where the loudest sounds of heaven would be heard.  The wise virgins have ample oil to light the bride as she meets the bride groom; while the foolish ones have to go back to the empty esteem of men and women, hoping that their good actions may merit heaven.

Would our actions lead to heaven?  Let's hope so.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Charity: the greatest commandment

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 22:34-40

The readings reveal the practical, even the most basic aspect of the faith as revealed during the time of Moses till Jesus: love of God and neighbor.  God loves the poor that usurers would be punished severely.  God will retaliate; he will come to the aid of the poor.

In the New Testament, Jesus summarized the Law into two: "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also."

These laws are summarized in one theological virtue: charity.

First, Jesus puts it most aptly in his law of love: "Love one another as I have loved you."  This implies that love for God and neighbor are not two distinct realities.  Our love for God should result in an unconditional regard for others; our love for others should transcend to its deepest meaning in love for God.

Second, charity results in an unconditional adherence to God's commandments.  Jesus said,"Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love" (Jn 15: 10).

Third, watch for the fruits of love: "joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest" (CCC 1829).

Heed St. Paul's words: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love" ( 1 Cor 13: 13).

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Come to the banquet of the Lord!

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 22:1-10

Isaiah describes fully the Kingdom of God where there is a state of fullness, happiness, and life.  It's a perfect state of being that no one else can provide except Him alone.  It is a picture of heaven.

But it is not a heaven in the afterlife.  Rather, it is now, right here in the world where God reigns.  The problem why we don't see this picture is that we don't realize him in our lives.

The gospel also portrayed the kingdom of God as a banquet of rich food in the context of a wedding.  But this time, people are not prepared for the feast.  They're already far away from the king.

Times today have caused us to be preoccupied with a lot of things, leaving our hearts and minds filled up and not having enough space to accommodate God.  What results is a life lived in disarray and a community life which is wanting.  If only we can declutter our lives, then we shall see more of God and less of ourselves.

First, bring to mind God's perfect world.  How much do we really desire God and heaven?  Only then can we start organizing our lives according to God's will.

Second, follow Jesus.  God is not a formula or a set of rules.  Christ talks to us every moment.  Even at the beginning of our lives Christ communicates to us.  Are our lives reflections of what Jesus wants of us or we to ourselves?

Third, live Jesus.   St. James declares, "Faith without works is dead" (James 2: 26).  The acid of an authentic Christian life is through actions reflecting God's will.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Christian maturity

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 21:28-32 

The readings this Sunday appear progressive.  From integrity of following the law in the Book of Ezekiel to doing God's will in the gospel of Matthew, the message speaks a lot about our growth in Christian life.

St. Teresa of Avila even wrote a book on her experience of communion of God in prayer titled "Interior Castle".  In this this castle, there are seven mansions, each going a level deeper and more intense in one's encounter with God.  The castle is the state of the soul in one's search for God within.

Christian life begins with level one:  doing good and avoiding evil based on the covenant with God,
the Ten Commandments.  If we're really intent on following God, we should heed every one of his commands.

The second level to Christian maturity is utmost humility.  "Jesus did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, (Phil. 2: 7).  Only the humble of heart is open to following God's commands and not simply follow the law.

The third level is in the gospel, "The one who did his father's will."  Actually, Elizabeth Scalia enumerated three "dangerous" prayers which may symbolize our deepest relationship with God.  These are:

1. "Let your will be done." - It is also the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani; it depicts a prayer of total submission to the Father's will;

2.  "Ruin my life, Lord." - This prayer runs counter to what we usually pray:  "Please don’t wreck my life!”  But there's another prayer by Sir Francis Drake that best describes this sentiment:  "Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore..."

3.  "May my life yours." - This prayer is similar to St. Ignatius' prayer of generosity, "Take and receive of Lord my liberty, my will, my mind, my memory..."

If we live out these prayers, only then can God work wonders in our lives.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Peter, the Rock, and us

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 16:13-20

We may know so little about Shebna, except that he was the master of the palace who was so irresponsible that he was dismissed from office and Eliakim took his place.  This happened during the reign of Hezekiah of Judah.

Authority or power reflects the very power of God who brings order in his creation.  He also exercises power based on justice and love that brings order to people's lives.

In the Gospel, Jesus gives power to Peter and calls him Rock on which he will build his Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  What made him give this authority to Peter?

First, Peter recognized Jesus as Messiah - the main message here is how much do we know about Jesus? Enough to leave everything behind, sell all riches and give them to the poor, and come follow him?  If we truly know who Jesus is, it would be very easy for us to follow him and be active in his Church.  For Jesus is the very strength of the Church.  The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Second, Peter was entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven itself!  This is a great privilege indeed!  But the key represents the power of the Church to loose and to bind; to forgive or not.  Remember on the power of Jesus to save or to redeem.  Now, remember our power to bring people to salvation.  But are we using our power to save?

It's an invitation for all of us to deepen our relationship with Jesus.  Then we shall know every nook and corner of our personhood and the authority given to us, the power to redeem people in Jesus Christ.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Citizens of Heaven

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 15:21-28

The key to the healing of the daughter of the Canaanite woman was her total submission to God.  Jesus just didn't see this in any of the Jews who felt that they were the chosen ones; thus, they felt they were above everybody.

In the first reading, we pose this question:  "Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?"  The Lord will accept in his holy mountain the following:

1. those who have submitted themselves totally totally at the service of God (pagtalima) - no one is exempt from this, especially those who are busy with family affairs and work.  Without any conditions, let us place all our cares and concerns under the Lord's feet and orient everyone in the family to serve the Lord;

2. Integrity and upright of heart (kabuuan) - they are single-hearted for God; not those who are fragmented, overwhelmed with other concerns which are all inferior to God; those who don't sell themselves to the world, but yield totally to God; these are the people whose integrity remains intact because God owns them; and

3. faithful to the covenant till the end (tapat) - at the end of the day, it all redounds to this: Do we really love the Lord?  Then we shall remain faithful to him and love others, especially the poor, because it is God who loves us first.

These people shall climb the mountain of Lord.  They will receive the crown of everlasting life in heaven.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Can you see Jesus?

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A

Matthew 14:22-33

We may not dare to ask where Jesus is simply because we knew him in an invisible way.  Our faith tells us the Jesus is here with us.  On the negative side, however, some commit sin as freely as they want to, after all, Jesus cannot be seen.

In the first reading God appeared, not in wind, earthquake, and fire, but in a gentle breeze.  In the Gospel, Jesus is seen walking above the waters.  Where can we find Jesus?

First, Jesus resides in our hearts.  Peter doubted so he fell.  He lost his sight of Jesus.  Let's not lose sight of Jesus in word, sacrament, and life.

Second, Jesus resides in the world.  We just experienced a powerful earthquake.  There are news about nuclear wars.  Wherever this whole world is going, God still resides in his creation.  As long as life is produced, as long as hearts are still beating, as long as nights turn to days and back, God resides in his creation as Jesus walks over the waters to help regulate creation.  We just need to cooperate with his grace.

Third, Jesus resides in our neighbor.  Don't go about looking for God in the neighbor.  Help him / her instead.  As long as there is love, there is God.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Our transfiguration in Christ

The transfiguration

Matthew 17:1-9

On this blessed day, Jesus was transfigured before the eyes of the the apostles. His glory shone and the Father was well-pleased.

When this vision was over, Jesus was in his usual form and he ordered them not to tell anyone about the vision till the Son of Man has risen from the dead.

What can we learn from the Transfiguration:

First, even his humanity, Jesus' divinity is revealed.  

Could we also see the divine side of people or have succumbed to seeing humanity in his fallen state?  Let's put our faith in people for being created in the image and likeness of God.

Second, God's favor is upon him.  

Jesus is the image of his Father.  What makes us god-like is our adherence to the Father and our willingness, ability, and readiness to do God's will.

Third, the Transfiguration is connected with the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  

It also defines our lives here on earth not in terms of comfort, material prosperity, and power but in offering our lives and carrying our crosses for the sake of the salvation of others.

We can experience our own transfiguration by allowing ourselves to be the disciples of Jesus.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Choosing the real treasure

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A

Matthew 13:44-52

Christian life is ultimately choosing the real treasure, like choosing the better part as Mary, sister of Lazarus did.  She chose Jesus.

To choose the better part or to make a decision based on what is of true value is known as wisdom.   In the first reading, instead of power or wealth, Solomon chose wisdom.  In the gospel, the kingdom of God is aptly visualized and explained.  Do we choose God's kingship over earthly lures?  Are we all choosing the better part?

The parables of the kingdom enable us to open our minds and hearts to its values, benefits, and advantages among all others.

First, wisdom helps us to let go of everything to follow the kingdom

The most common hindrance to God's kingdom is the kingdom that we have created for ourselves and our families.  We practically own everything in our lives with no space for God.  When the time of trials come, only then do we realize our kingdoms collapse.  But God's kingdom will not collapse.  And in God's kingdom, we truly live.

Second, wisdom helps us to know what is useful and useless

What is useful we keep; what is not, we throw away.  But what is useful according to our standards?  Where are our standards based?  On our own lives?  We are not the kings of our lives.  We are useless servants.  God has no need of us.  But our total need for God enables us to detect what is useful and what is useless.  How do we spend our time, talent and treasure? On useless things or in Godly works?

Third, wisdom helps us to use our talents for all

The wise person knows how to use his talents, both old and new and use it accordingly, all for God's greater glory.  If in the past we have this orientation to use everything for our luxury, now, use it all for God!  Then our wisdom would convert to glimpses of the kingdom of heaven!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Images of God's kingdom

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 13:24-43

The gospel exposes us to various images of the kingdom of God.  There is already a light into this.  The kingdom is not just an end reality.  It has a process - a beginning, a middle with complications, and an end (fruitfulness).  Every process involves the participation of the person in the kingship of God.

From the book of Wisdom, it tells about virtuous man who knows about the justice of God and how he is to be kindly with his fellowman.  This is the kingdom of God unfolding in the person himself / herself.

How do we let the kingdom of God blossom in our lives?

First, the kingdom starts with acknowledging God as king of our lives.  

Recall when we started to know the consciousness of power of God, who taught God to us, and how we can learn from him.  That is planting the seed of faith in our hearts.

Second, the kingdom of God is nourished in our lives.  

The book of Wisdom precisely tells us of the many opportunities by which we can be virtuous, filled with compassion for our neighbors and profound love for God.  I'm sure our lives would change radically if we have God in our hearts, with virtues nourished to perfection in us.

Third, the kingdom of God reaches its fullness in our lives.  

Fullness and perfection are states of God reigning in heart of every person, regarding himself / herself as a son / daughter of the Lord.