Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Reflections

The Language of God

What language does God speak?" a man asked this question. He went to different different places to see what people thought would be the language of God.

"Ah, the language of God is that of power, like a king!" says a powerful politician. But the man was not contented.

He went to a military officer who said, "The language of God is that of strength, like a battalion!" But he was not contented with that either.

He continued to travel to different countries until he reached a poor village one, cold night. Only one bright star guided him towards a certain location, a stable. He went inside and behold, he saw a lady and a man beside her, and in front of them, a tiny baby wrapped in swaddling clothes.

The beautiful lady called the man by his first name who wondered, "How did you know my name?" The lady answered, "I know you even before and I know the question you seek to be answered. If you want to know the language of God. Then come closer."

The man, filled with awe and wonder, went closer till he stood before a tiny, helpless baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes. As he looked tenderly at the child, he felt warmth in his being and his heart was filled with joy.

The lady said,"Behold, how God speaks. He speaks the language of love."

photo: forums.catholic.com


Feast of the Holy Family

May our families imitate the Holy Family of Nazareth, which is

model-par- excellence. From them we can learn love, trust, respect, and growth.

The parents hold the key to forming their children's personalities. The constant threats of divorce, separation and abuses alienate our children from growing up with trust and strength. Mary and Joseph were always there for Jesus.

Children learn from their parents who have gone through a lot of trials to bring them up. Today, some children are more aggressive in disobeying and disrespecting their parents. Jesus respected his parents. And from this intense experience of parenthood, Jesus taught us to call God "our Father".

As children grow up, they take up the responsibility of their parents and serve society. Now, we see selfishness abound - children leaving their parents or childish irresponsible adults committing one immorality after another. Jesus' formation at home enabled him to do his Father's will and be the source of salvation for many.

Take the Holy Family as the model of our families.


photo: Immaculate Conception Parishes and Schools


Solemnity of Mary, the mother of God

We celebrate New Year with Mary as mother of God.

We don't just make New year resolutions. In the eyes of faith, we are provided that direction of becoming better, of growing up and maturing in our faith, that as the years go by, we would see how deeper we are living out our Christian life and how the Lord becomes real for us.

Mary played a big role in bringing hope and meaning to mankind's history. By bringing Jesus into the world, the world became sanctified. That is why we recognize her as the mother of God. But we also recognize Mary's role as the mother of the Church. She gathers her children and teaches us the way to her Son.

Let us rid ourselves of any doubt as to Mary's role or downgrade her position before God. For she will always be a mother to us to lead us back to her Son, Jesus.

Photo: Boston Catholic Journal


Epiphany

Epiphany commemorates the manifestation of the Lord. It is symbolized by the star in the night sky which was the guiding light of the magi in their journey toward Jesus. On the other hand, Herod wanted to kill the child Jesus, he also wanted to see him, but because of his foolishness he couldn't detect the sign.

Many people are now misled. They have chosen to live in darkness instead of the light. But they are badly mistaken. How long will it be before they realize the futility of going in the wrong direction, of living in darkness? As Christmas is formally ending with Epiphany, may the same feast be the beginning of our lives to see and love Christ, to nourish Him by makingour Christian commitments alive and growing.

Photo: Diocese of Springfield, Illinois

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas 2006

My dear family and friends

Year 2006 has given me so much blessings, I thank God for all He has given me.

First, I was amused with the snow in Milan and the community winter outing at Mentorella.


















Then, Holy Week was much rewarding for me as I got to see Lourdes together with the Christian community in Milan. So many people need healing and Mary is there to assist them.




Witnessing Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales' consistory becomes a once-in-lifetime experience for me. I was able to see the Holy Father up close and participated by giving communion together with my fellow priests here in the Collegio.






The grueling finish of the academic year was terrible, but it was worth it. I had to take a quick leave to Austria where Cholo and family accommodated me. Again, I could not imagine myself travelling to places such as this.






Summer was spent assisting at the Parish of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield New Jersey with Fr. Rich Kwiatkowski as parish priest.

I was also able to celebrate the Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz with the Multicultural Ministry leading the choir.


And while in the States, I was able to visit my sisters Annie and Eva in Chicago, my classmate Fr. Sammy Alvero and UST High School classmate Eric Sabinano in Florida, and the parishioners of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in California.

Of course, I would never leave watching Broadway musicals in New York!
















Back at the Collegio this October and now in my second year, I must say that my subject are not as hectic as last year, but they are equally challenging as well. I can’t say I’ve adjusted to the courses or to speaking in Italian, but now, I’m focusing on doing my tesina, hopefully to be of assistance to Philippine Church through mass media evangelization. Here in Collegio Filippino, I’ve been assigned as music coordinator and socials com, and recently, we just celebrated our Christmas party.

Continue to pray for me so I’ll be able to finish this course as scheduled. And meanwhile, let’s pray for each other that our Lord and our Blessed mother will take care of us and our family members, till we see each other again!

Fr. Lito Jopson

Friday, December 15, 2006

Joyful expectations


3RD Sunday of Advent
cycle C
Gospel: Lk. 3: 10-18

As the third candle of the advent wreath is lit, we are reminded of how close the Lord is to us and how joyful we would be in meeting Him.

John the Baptist was also filled with joy as he announced the coming of the Messiah. But his approach was different. He did not focus on himself, on how good his words were, and how he could deliver a message of hope.

Rather, he immediately translated hope into action: to demand for payment other than what is required, to give one's tunic, not to extort anyone ... all these are signs of hope, especially for those who think that life is filled with despair.

The greatest teaching of John was to introduce Jesus as the Messiah, the transmitter of the Holy Spirit. This self-oblation puts Jesus at the center of things and not John. This act makes more concrete the work of salvation.

Again, we pray to be like John the Baptist on the road to helping others on the road to salvation. The most wonderful experience of Christmas is when a people, submerged in poverty and sin, would start moving on the road to healing and salvation just because they pave the way for the coming of the Lord.

Photo courtesy of: http://www.pain-heartache-hope.com/

Saturday, December 09, 2006

One Voice


Second Week of Advent
Cycle C
Gospel: Luke 3: 1 - 6

You must have heard the song, "One voice"singing in the darkness; all it takes is one voice, singing so they'll what's on your mind and when you look around you'll find there's more than one voice ...

Mass media like television and print and even public opinion are capable of projecting a message claiming that it is shared by all - that everyone buys this and that product, that people want charter change, that money, vice, luxury, and power are the most important things today.

Yet there are those who in the silence of their lives know it is not so, those whose lives reflect a committed faithfulness to God, to life, and to values. If only more of these people would be heard, then consumerist motives of mass media would be silenced, self-centered politicians included. Then we would know we are not alone in the quest of doing good and living in the truth.

All it takes is one voice - a single voice like John the Baptist to know that salvation has been here all along, that is it possible to be faithful, to live in values, and to heal wounds. We just need to hear more, and find others singing the same tune that gives light, life, and hope.

Volunteer to be that voice this coming Christmas. Be a catalyst; move against the flow; let the single voice of truth be heard. Don't worry; it's not our voice that is being heard; it's Gods. Especially if your words bring freedom and healing; surely, it would be like Jesus healing us all over again!

Photo courtesy of: melkite.org

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Put down those glasses!


1st Sunday of Advent
Cycle C
Gospel: Lk. 21: 25 - 28, 34 - 36

It's interesting how philosophy of science explains paradigm shifts and crises in science. The classic example would be the Copernican theory of the earth revolving around the sun and not vise-versa. Prior to that, everyone thought that the earth is at the center of the universe. But things are just so complicated. There is hardly anything coherent in mathematical systems and concepts. Not until the 16th century when Nicolaus Copernicus, a polish astronomer, changed this view. Then mathematical formulae became simpler.

There's a saying that we look at the world through a certain colored glasses. And if the color is red, that's what we see. But if others are saying that it is green, and others, colored, we might as well remove those glasses to be able to see things from another perspective.

Our gospel is about the destruction of the world. It may refer to the end times or significant events in history that simulated the end of the world. But it may also refer to the way we see things that need to be destroyed first before another one more beautiful than what we're desperately holding on to can be built.

Jesus invites us to a change of paradigm. Like the earth to the sun, he invites to destroy our orientation that it is us at the center of our own selfish universe and put on the new one that revolves entirely around Him. Like the glasses of our narrow-minded world, he invites us to remove them so we can put on Jesus and see things more clearly.

So far today, we see suffering and pain while others live luxuriously. See as Jesus sees and many people will live. This advent, prepare to put Christ at the center.

Photo courtesy of http://byzantinearts.com/

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Friday, November 24, 2006

My kingdom is not of this world


Feast of Christ the King
Cycle B
Gospel: Jn 18: 33- 37

"My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews."

Two things: that Jesus proclaimed that he is king, and thus, is judged as a traitor; second, that in his kingdom, his subjects would be doing the right thing and defend Jesus with their lives.

Two reflections: Jesus' kingship is one of radicality and not passivity as we know it. We can describe Jesus as "meek and mild", but in actuality, Jesus came to establish a "radical kingship", in sharp contrast with worldly values, one that transforms, converts, and re-creates the present situation. Theologians describe it as a "revolution of love", for with true love, there is a conscious decision to offer one's life. In the paradigm of Jesus' radical kingship, hearts are minds are changed according to his likeness.

Second, we are called to live out this radical kingship by concretely living it our in our lives and encouraging others to do the same. Heaven may be in the afterlife, but it can be very much real right now as we live out God's kingship in the concreteness of our lives - to love and serve Jesus, to live out his teachings, and to defend Him with our own lives.

Just notice the injustices and selfishness outside and realize how far we all are from the kingship of Christ. With this thought, there's so many things to be done for Jesus. Let's activate our Christian identity and join Jesus in establishing his kingship "on earth as it is in heaven."

Photo courtesy of: Roman Catholic Church, Luderitz, Namibia

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

The end times


33rd Sunday
cycle B

Throughout the scriptures and in salvation history, the Second Coming of the Lord is always the ultimate moment every Christian is waiting for. As St. Paul would describe it, all Christians would gather in the heavens and meet the Lord with great joy.

Unfortunately, for others, they dread this moment and fear its coming. Others just brush it aside because it's still far off. This is not in any way the spirit of the scripture texts and the reality of salvation. Perhaps people are so preoccupied with building mansions, kingdoms and legacies in this world as though it would last forever. But the kingdom of the Lord "on earth as it is in heaven" is pushed till that "last moment".

Kingdom of heaven is an "already but not yet"; right here and now in our midst but also something to yearn for; it is a kingdom of justice, peace, and joy. It is a world where we are all centered on Him and his blesses us and our work. It is much more than all the earthly kingdoms we've been building for ourselves and others. When it comes, we shall not desire for anything anymore.

Feel the excitement then of being with the Lord; desire to see Him; join Him in his work. Love him above all others. And when he comes, welcome Him with open arms. Give him a gift, not shame but love.

Photo courtesy of: http://www.qumran2.net/disegni/archivio/2753.jpg
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Sunday, November 12, 2006

The secret is in giving

32nd Sunday in ordinary time
Cycle B

It may sound really simplistic, but the key to life is not in receiving but in giving.

It's hard to accept this because we are more accustomed to receive rather than give. When we were children we knew couldn't live unless we receive food, clothing, shelter, and education from our parents. Though adulthood is a transition from receiving to giving, still we find it hard to change our paradigm. We work to earn; and we earn to sustain our families.

Today's readings invites us to practice radical giving. In the book of Kings, Elijah asks for the last piece of food from the widow and her son, and they ended up having food because they offered their last piece to God's work. God never ceases to bless those who are like him. He sacrificed His very own Son, Jesus Christ to be our daily bread in the Eucharist. The widow's mite in the new testament is a concrete picture of how God loves - till the very end.

Without God's generosity, we cannot imagine how we can still live today. The only thing that is keeping us alive right now are not the wonders of science and technology, neither riches or fame, nor our homes and our work, but God's generosity.

We too are called endlessly to a radical form of self-giving. Maybe in the past we have chosen a particular thing or person and sacrificed all others and even ourselves; maybe we have chosen to sacrifice our valuable time, talent and treasure in cause-oriented projects. If we have felt extreme joy in giving especially to those who cannot repay us back, then we know we have the gift of generosity.

Now imagine what would happen all of us live to give, and in giving, live?

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Law of Love

31st Sunday in ordinary time
Cycle B

"Love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself."

Not only this law is for the Jewish, it's also for us Christians. But mainly, for every person of goodwill that the law of love applies.

It's a wonder how in the early days in the history of mankind the law that points out to love could be spelled out as clearly as could be. We shout have attained maturity in dealing with others by now. Nations should have regarded other nations by now. Secondly, the law points to the source of love who is God, and we the created are called to follow our Creator.

In this generation today, we see a deterioration of humanely acts and acts which spring out from authentic love. Wars, selfishness and greed - despite the advancement in technology, the world is going back to the age of barbarism.

Pray to follow the ways of the Lord in the path of true love. Follow the path that Jesus took, the one that leads us to salvation and grants us our hearts back. Pray to translate this law into the law of every land, and one that governs peoples and nations. A sign that poverty, violence and sin will decrease is when all are imbued with God's love and live it out concretely in our lives.

Photo taken from: http://perso.orange.fr/

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hoping against hope



29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle B
Gospel: Mark 10: 46 - 52

The very thing I admire about our religious conviction is that despite our sinfulness and fallenness, this God hopes against all hopes and puts his entire trust for us to take part in the work of salvation.

This is the very essence of this Sunday's readings. Jeremiah explains God as one who builds despite man's capacity to destroy; and Jesus being God's gift in the book of Hebrews.

In the case of the blind man Bartimaeus, Jesus didn't let his cries go to waste; he immediately went and brought back his sight. As God builds and heals, so we should also be the same in this world.

The only key is to recognize our own blindness. The affairs of this world has been run by people in conflicting ideas with one another and of a set of people swayed by one thought to another. Too much is placed on personal freedom that the greater good is sacrficed; in the end not only persons are in conflict with one another, but countries as well. Philosophies and ways of seeing things become too relative and hope becomes a long way off.

Let us hope that our Christian conviction would lead us to remove the blindness from our eyes. Pray too that this conviction would pour over to our children that they would be able to see what is fleeting and what lasts till eternity, not from this world but also from the heavens above, not what is for the self but would redound for the good of all and for the greater glory of God.

Let's hope as God hopes for all of us that one day, we will attain true freedom in Him.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Who is your idol?


29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle B
Reading: MARK 10 : 35 - 45


Language of Media tells us that the usual conventions and icons we see on TV and film have some correlation with the historical cntext of the place. In other words, the characters become social symbols and the storyline influences the psyche of a particular community or country.

Whether a particular character is a worthy person or not, his media exposure causes an influence on the attitudes and values of a person.

If the main character is a drunkard or a criminal and further sensationalized by media, he becomes the icon of the people.

That is why we have to be careful in choosing our icons.

In the world of faith, our Icon, main character is waiting for us constnatly. He is Jesus.

We should emulate him in every way and not the false icons. Only Jesus influences us for good. Only Jesus can lead us to the Father. Only Jesus can make our commitment strong enough so we can withstand all difficulties.

If there is somebody whom we should emulate, it is Jesus.

Photo courtesy of: unf.edu

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Getting Back on the path to God



Dear Father,

I think you website is very nice. I'll be back often to read some of your writings.I finally woke up to find out that I have been living without God for so long.When I was younger I used to go to mass and enjoyed receiving God in my life and I want and need to teach this to my family. If you could give me some ideas or help in how I should approach it, please feel free to tell me. I know that I need to get on back on my path to the Lord and soon.

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your letter. It inspires me to move on and continue this ministry of proclaiming the Good news through the internet. I hope it can help other families and individuals also.

To answer your request, I believe that there are lots of spiritual readings available and written by very credible people such as blessed Mother Teresa and even the late Pope John Paul II. I am glad that our bookstores are filled with materials to inspire us in our journey toward the good life and to God.

However, may you also find this helpful – that to realize that we’ve been without God for so long is already grace indeed and it already solves more than a half of the problem. To yearn for the Lord and to live in Him is the first step in the journey. The rest follows – the desire for personal growth and to involve others especially family members.

I would ask you to really be resolved once and for all to take this path in contrast with the other one, a life which may be filled with comforts and material things but nevertheless meaningless. Our life just can’t be summarized between living a life of sin and grace; it has to be the decision to something good and something even better. Then the exciting journey toward real life begins.

Being equipped for the journey is the second step. Like in the film “The Lord of the Rings” the Hobbits equipped themselves with that bread that could last throughout their perilous journey, so too realize that it is ONLY the Holy Eucharist that is sustaining us in the life. For the bread of life is the Lord Himself whom we commit to journey with in our entire life. But how can we love somebody whom we do not know? That’s why to compliment the Eucharist, we also have to enrich ourselves with knowledge of His word, empowered by His sacraments, and live out by His grace.

Third, we need to discern God’s presence in our daily lives. Discernment is a gift; it is a desire to please Him, love Him and serve Him. It is to see Him in the events of daily life. Discernment always ends in action born out of a wise decision to follow His most holy will.

Finally, share Him to others. Don’t be ashamed to talk about God to your friends, to you wife and children. Serve Him, especially in the poor and always tell them that you see God in them. Join your local church as well and make a portion of your time, talent, and treasure available for God’s work.

How long do these things take? The whole our lifetime. But it’s worth the effort. Don’t worry. You are not alone in these. Many Christians, including yours truly, are struggling to know, love, and serve the Lord. In due time, we will see him, and our happiness will be complete.


Fr. Lito

photo courtesy of: picturesofjesus4u.com

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Family is Under Attack


27th Sunday in ordinary time
Cycle B
Gospel: Mark 10, 2-16

Even without the aid of statistics, I believe that most will agree of a startling fact - that the family is under attack!

That's why a brother priest organized the so called "SAFE" program or "Subtle Attacks against the Family Explained", to empower people about the various aspects from without that threaten the sanctity and unity of the family within.

The gospel reveals Jesus' heart for the sacredness of marital and family life. I believe that the love that exists between husbands and wives and parents and children is the closest way to understand God's eternal love, for "God is love." Any means to belittle this relationship degrades the basic dignity of human persons to mere signatures and other legalities. But in an authentic relationship, love is sealed by God himself, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And his love is most powerful force that makes us created beings breathe life.

With this ever faithful love, we become united with one another and with God, the source of all love.

Pray for the sanctity of relationships. Pray to be rooted in God. Learn to discern how institutions like governments and mass media are contributing to the destruction of family through the passing of divorce laws, abortion, and excessive consumerism. Pray most specially for families that are struggling with all their might to keep the family together.

Photo taken from: cloudking.com

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

On Positions and Titles



25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle B
Gospel: Mark 9: 30 - 37

A man went inside the office of an ambitious politician who always wants to impress himself on others. He caught him talking on the phone, "Yes, Mr. President, what? Oh yes, yes, I'll do it. Goodbye Mr. President." Then he put down the phone and said to the man, "Oh well, we don't know whom we will talk to next. Even the President needs me." And he proceeded, "What can I do for you?"

The man answered, "I'm called by your secretary to fix and connect your telephone. Is it working?"

Sometimes, names, titles, functions can get into our heads and start corrupting us. We want to be above others and to earn a name for ourselves. But what does it really mean to be on top? Does it also mean a change of ways, of culture, that is way above others as well?

No matter what our positions are, the Lord looks on us equally because all of us share in the same dignity as human beings and as adopted sons and daughters of the Lord. Moreover, he planted his spirit in each and everyone of us and filled us with love. We are in no position that we are above or below anybody else.

Let's then involve ourselves in greater things rather than becoming conscious of accomplishments, positions, or worldly successes. If we want to be rich, let's learn from the poor ones and develop a poverty of spirit that depends on God alone. Let's take the Lord as our model of a real leader who took the path of suffering and death just to gain our redemption. Let's choose to be poor in wordly cares so that we can be rich in love.

Photo courtesy of: biblia.com

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Benedict XVI Apologizes for Muslim Offense

Makes Invitation to Dialogue

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 17, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI said that he is "deeply sorry" for the harsh reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, and invited Muslims to open and honest dialogue.

In the Pope's first public address since his trip to Bavaria, he said today: "I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims."

"These in fact were a quotation from a Medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought," the Holy Father said from the balcony of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo to the crowds gathered in the rain to pray the Angelus.

In his address on Tuesday in Regensburg, the Bishop of Rome quoted a dialogue on Christianity and Islam between Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and a Persian, which took place in Ankara around 1391.

The Pontiff quoted what the emperor said regarding the question of the jihad (Holy War): "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

Clarification

Today Benedict XVI pointed to the statement released Saturday by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone "in which he explained the true meaning of my words."

"I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect," the Pope said.

In his statement, Cardinal Bertone explained that "the Holy Father did not mean, nor does he mean, to make that opinion his own in any way.

"He simply used it as a means to undertake -- in an academic context, and as evident from a complete and attentive reading of the text -- certain reflections on the theme of the relationship between religion and violence in general, and to conclude with a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence, from whatever side it may come."

The Arab television channel Al-Jazeera transmitted live the Pope's words during the Angelus.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The more we know



Gospel: Mark 8: 27 - 35
24th Sunday in ordinary time
Cycle B

Take it from Socrates when he said, "The more I know, the more I don't know. I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance."

This statement takes a humble stand on how we can view things. But it also invites us to continue to cherish as we know more about something or someone.

When Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do the people say that I am?" he was inviting them to enter into the mystery of his very self, to get to know him more, "But you, who do you say that I am?" The disciples had been with Jesus more than anybody in the crowd.

Till now the Lord is asking all of us, "Who do you say that I am?" Grant that we may acknowledge that inspite of all our knowledge on things and concepts and of people like family members and friends, we know very little of God and devote little time to really get to know him.

Each day that the Lord gives us is always a day of knowing the One who loves us and gives us life each day. Is it really asking too much if we allow more time and dedication for him and his work?

Photo taken from http://www.enlightenedbeings.com/pix/jesus.jpg
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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Removing the blindness from our eyes and deafness from our ears

Gospel: Mark 7: 31 - 37
Cycle B
23rd Sunday in ordinary time

If there's something really worth venturing into, it's in seeing the world as God sees them.

There's also another saying, "If you want to see the future, look through the eyes of a child."

We all fall short of being able to see and hear things. We may have eyes and ears, but we have not gone beyond what we normally see and hear. That's why many people fall short of living a full life by seeing only the lure of physical wealth and not being able to see beyond it.

In spiritual life, we also fall miserably short of seeing God and his real beauty. We limit our spirituality to asking him for blessings and thanking him if we receive them. We limit Christian life to just doing good and avoiding evil. But we are afraid to give ourselves totally to him thinking that we would lose the comforts that we have. But just look at the sad situation of greed and poverty around us and would know the results of our own shortsightedness.

We need to see beyond things. We need to see and hear as God does. We need to recognize that we have been blind and deaf and mute despite our having one. We need to acknowledge the Lord's good intentions and the power of his will to transform our lives completely. And most of all, we need to move and do things as God does them, so that more of his children would live and not just ourselves. I tell you, they’re worth much more than anything in the world if we give ourselves totally in service to him.

Photo taken from: ghbraille.com

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Copyright (c) 2006 Joselito Jopson

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Heart that belongs only to God

Gospel: Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 3, 2006

Split-level Christianity is how we describe the level of faith that is oriented to both God and the world.

It is like a scene from Godfather I, in which a baby is being carried by Don Corleone (Al Pacino) to be baptized in a church. While the priest solemnly baptizes the child, in another scene and juxtaposed to it, Corleone's men is killing his family's enemies.

We may be saying, "I am a Catholic and I am practicing my faith," but eventually the conduct of our lives will prove whether we really are for the Lord or not.

The ultimate test is what is eventually our hearts' desires, and the Lord can see through this.

Pray then for a proper orientation towards doing God's will instead our own. Ask for a heart that is real and a heart that reaches out to others and to God. Ask for strength to remain faithful to Lord despite the lures of this world.

Ask for a heart that belongs only to God, to love, and to life.

Photo from: fpcstore

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Our New Mass mail at GOOGLE GROUPS

To our friends:

I'm changing our subscribers' mail to googlegroups at http://groups.google.com/group/Goodnewsters.

Here, you can still send me your responses and they will not reach anybody else's mails except mine. So we can correspond better. And for now, we won't have to worry about spywares or viruses. If you want, you may write me at Goodnewsters@googlegroups.com.

God bless!

Fr. Lito Jopson

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Faith-filled Life


21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: John 6: 60 - 69
Cycle B

After giving a long and turbulent discourse on the bread of life, Jesus was met with more opposition. A great majority left him. But all he did was to speak the truth about himself and that he is the way to the Father.

What is our faith really like? How far will it go? We are the ones who limit Jesus’ power to heal and save. Our lives do not reflect our total dependence on God. The acid is test is the faith of our children today - what do they actually believe in nowadays? Do their lives reflect what we have toiled and sacrificed all our lives - God himself?

But not all left Jesus. The apostles stayed on. They said, "Lord, where do we go? You have the words of eternal life." Then they went on further, "We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." Their faith becomes as concrete as ever.

Three things compliment with faith - knowledge, memory, and action. We desire to know the workings and dynamics of faith through a lively Catechesis. This is not just kids' affair. Everyone needs an on-going understanding of faith as long as life itself.

Secondly, faith needs to be rekindled, constantly celebrated and remembered. It needs to make itself present through a lively celebration of liturgy, more particularly the Eucharist. In the liturgy, we and our families should be experiencing total communion with other families and with God. Teach your children that mass in not mere obligation or attendance. Teach them rather that everything of our lives begin and end with the mass.

Finally, faith is concretized in action and in life. Pray for a faith that yields a fruitful harvest - of love, of generosity, of transparency, responsibility, of unity and solidarity, of healing, of development and progress, of transformation, of Gospel values. Otherwise, all accomplishments, all efforts are empty and a wasteful usage of time, talent, and treasure. Life dedicated to these things and service to the poor becomes meaningful and worthwhile.

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Copyright (c) 2006, Fr. Joselito Jopson

Friday, August 18, 2006

Live the Eucharist!

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle B
Gospel: John 6: 51 - 58

As the world has become accustomed to living a life that is far from the spirit of the Lord, it is invited to return and be immersed once more in an on-going, consistent day-to-day spiritual life which is centered on the Eucharist, the only authentic, highest form of spirituality offered to us.

We might also have developed that routinely, meaningless attendance of the Eucharist arising from mere obligation. Some even have skewed practices of being habitually late at mass, of leaving early, or not being disposed properly to attend it. Definitely the Eucharist is much more than all these if we know who is really at work and how we are benefiting from the experience each week.

The Eucharist is the source and apex of Christian life. Everything that we do should start and end with the Eucharist. It is the culmination of all our good intentions, efforts and sacrifices.

Eucharist is the on-going sacrifice of Christ. Do we realize that Christ still suffers for all of us even today? Do we thank Him that soley because of this sacrifice, we and our families continue to live?

The Eucharist is the foretaste of heaven. We should be able to see in the Eucharist the glimpse of all the meanings of our lives. Do we see precisely this in our participation in the Holy Eucharist?

Last but not the least, the Church makes the Eucharist and Eucharist makes the Church. Mass doesn’t become mere attendance but a true experience of the unity of Christians in Christ. We in turn are molded to perfection by the action of Christ in the Eucharist. In the length of time that mankind has existed, our children should have experienced a more intense show of faith passed on by the parents and not experiences of sadness, crimes, and violence because of selfishness and greed.

Love and live the Eucharist.

Photo taken from: http://www.warwickcatholic.com
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Solemnity of the Assumption, Becoming New Creation

Gospel: Luke 1: 39 - 56

August 15, 2006 - the Church not only rejoices with Assumption of Mary but is invited to reflect on its own process of journeying into heaven.

The dogma, officially proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950 (Munificentissimus Deus), states that Mary, concieved without original sin, did not suffer the effect of sin which is death; rather, she was assumed into heaven, both body and soul.

Our readings underscore Mary's particular and very important role in the the history of salvation as the Mother of Jesus our Savior. As Saint Paul expounds of the reality of the Jesus as the First fruit of creation, the New Adam; Mary is the first recipient of this wonderful grace to be "the new creation" resulting from the resurrection of Jesus.

We too are invited to realize our being the "new creation" in Jesus Christ. Since our baptism, the Lord never ceased sanctifying us and freeing us from any stain of sin and recovering us for himself.

Our task is to be more aware of our identity as authentic Christians with Mary showing us the way. That is why the Church holds this feast very solemnly, so that we may not forget who we are and where we are going.

Finally, as Mary placed herself at the service of Elizabeth, may we also know our mission of being in this world; this is a decision that can define our very existence why God created us and our daily actions aside from the routinary things that we are already doing and convert each moment as a time of being the new creation of the Lord together with our family members and the whole community of the Lord!

Photo courtesy of http://www.abcgallery.com/M/murillo/murillo19.html

Saturday, August 12, 2006

EUCHARISTIC SPIRITUALITY


19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle B

Gospel Reading: John 6: 41 - 51

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." (51)

In these times today, people are encouraged to bring out their spirituality. But what is it exactly? When we are at work, do we make efforts to manifest our spirituality like a light before others? Are we also inspired when we see the spirituality in others?

Spirituality is our access to God's world made concrete in our own. It is to take pride in God working in daily life and letting Him be known to others. It is let God's word and life take fruit in life. It is to reflect Jesus in daily life.

I would recommend spirituality for daily life. It is called the Eucharistic spirituality. It is a spirituality based on the dynamics of the Holy Eucharist that is celebrated each day for seven days, each hour for 24 hours, and each year until eternal life.

It is to understand that we are always in the presence of the Lord and that God is with us like in the beginning of the mass when the priest says, "The Lord be with you" and the people respond, "And also with you."

It is to recognize that the work we do each day can be sanctified by the Lord and offered to the Father only if we allow Him. Our work each day can be opportunities for salvation more than it is an opportunity for a better future in this world. All our experiences, both positive and negative, become gifts that the Lord sanctifies. We remember that when we go to the mass, our experiences are our stories together with Jesus.

Finally, Eucharistic spirituality enables us to take the call of the Jesus and proclaim His love before others. After the mass ends we go forth and do God's will - we repair relationships, we build systems of charity, and we lead others, including ourselves to God.

The Eucharistic then begins to breathe life from the Lord down to us. And our lives become pleasing offerings to the Father.

Photo taken from: understandthetimes.org

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Goodnewsatyourfingertips.com

Thursday, August 03, 2006

To See the Divine


Feast of the Transfiguration
Cycle B
Gospel: Mark 9:2-10

In the midst of a chaotic world, one just needs to be more sensitive and see how God is present and working in the world today.

The Gospel today is about the transfiguration of Jesus that reveals his radiant glory. The apostles are witnesses to this, but Jesus silenced them until all these, his death and resurrection, had to take place.

The gospel also revealed the voice of God who said, "This is my beloved Son, listen to Him." The event took place in Mt. Tabor, symbolically, a meeting place between God and man.

The gospel has a powerful message for the people of today, most especially to those who are totally absorbed with the worldliness around them.

This is a time to evaluate if in the midst of the material world, we still images of the divine actively working in the world today.

There are a lot of disvalues everywhere. It’s as if there is a choice between materialism and spirituality and that they are equally at par with each other. It’s also time to be more visible is manifesting one’s spirituality and letting others know God’s true place in people’s hearts.

In a family, every child’s faith would come alive only through the visible action of the parents.

The transfiguration hints us to see the divine in ordinary things and how we can be instruments in bringing it out in our daily lives.

Photo Courtesy of: www.stainedglassphotography.com

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Food to Last till the Next Life



17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Gospel: John 6: 1 – 15

Do you know the good news for today? Not only can you have enough to eat and live, you can also have more than enough to give to others! Moreover, the food we eat will last a lifetime till eternal life!

The food is Jesus. The multiplication of the loaves is the Eucharist. And the recipients of this food are the men and women of every generation, now our own. The promise is grace and blessing. The fruit is everlasting life. The gift is service and offering. The promises of this Sunday gospel are endless.

This is the promise of our faith, that as we receive our Eucharist, our daily bread from heaven, we are made strong and are sustained until we reach heaven. And we are saved by the body and blood of the Lord.

But the world continues to suffer, slowly dying of hunger and pain. There is a lack of compassion everywhere. Greed rules the world. Pray then for a multiplication of the loaves. Pray to do as Jesus did that multiplied the loaves and fish.

Pray to give ourselves as gifts. If we don’t offer ourselves, Jesus will not bless anything.

Pray to offer to God as Jesus did. Let us lift everything to the Lord to sanctify our daily offerings and let him take over and convert our daily gifts of sacrifices into his own.

Be strong to break the bread. Let’s be ready to break lives, not preserve them for ourselves. Remember, preserve yourself and only you live. But be broken and let life flow to others and both you and others live.

Finally, share. This is the secret of life for all. All people share, both rich and poor. We are not so poor as to have nothing to give, and so rich as to have nothing to receive. It is in sharing that we see life abound. This is what Jesus did. Let us multiply what he did through our lives! Remember, we only have one life to live so use it for others.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Work for Social Transformation!


Work for Social Transformation
July 23, 2006

16 th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mark 6: 30 - 34
Cycle B

An old mother in a hospice, an alcoholic struggling alone, a young boy being pressured by his peers, a wife left by her husband, a nation beget with poverty, countries at war – the list of sadness could go on and on unless these are broken by some proactive force.

The gospel today reveals Jesus' compassion for the "lost sheep" of Israel that he spent time being with them and healing them of their illnesses. After two thousand years, the world still lives in torment, loneliness, and sin.

Jesus is still alive and he needs all of us to perform the same exact deeds he did two thousand years ago. If only people would rid themselves of other concerns like their own security and start attending to the needs of the others, we would not be in the same sad state that we have now.

Each is called to a renewal of outlook - not each to his own, but a kind of renewal that is capable of changing social life as well. It is possible if only people would realize the social implications of all actions – that is how culture is born. So if the renewal is on a social level, social change would still be possible.

The social renewal should be focused on the greater good and not just on the self, not just on one’s family, but on the greater family. And more importantly, social transformation toward life should affect the entire nation, and nation to another – working toward peace, justice, equality, life for all, and toward the eradication of poverty. This is what the Lord would have wanted.

We need people who would be examples to their children and prepare them for the future roles in social transformation. Only then can we see how God is working concretely in our lives.

FILIPINISM

A Prophesy of Hope for the Filipinos

JULY 12, 2006 - We Filipinos find ourselves in a whirlwind of troubles – political, social, moral, and economic, seemingly without a ray of hope in front of us and our people. There may still be a tinge of hope left.

ON MEDIATALK

SUPERMAN revived the old comic superhero as well as the relived the memory of the late Christopher Reeve, but he also might revive the sagging America's superhero image in today's times.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, a film two hours and a half tries to be at par with the box office epic films, but somehow fails to transcend its usual trite entertainment, adventure, and comic formula.

INSPIRING STORIES

"Inspiring Stories" are reflections from my experiences or stories shared by the readers which can be used as anecdotes for homilies. If you want to contribute a story, click here.

DEAR FATHER

Those offering prayers and seeking counsel are welcome here. Please subscribe to josephdream yahoogroups.

Image taken from: www.unilab.com.ph

Saturday, June 10, 2006

In the Name of ...

Gospel: Matthew 28, 16-20
Cycle B
Trinity Sunday

The quickest, the simplest, and the most intimate way to have access to God is through the sign of the cross, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

In the name… to start the day "in the name ...", to eat with the family and receive food "in the name ...", to start work, study, and test " ... in the name..." It’s funny how those short words can have the strongest effects and that a day cannot pass by without God in our lives.

... "of the Father" ... as he continues to create the world, he is also creating us still, for he softens our hardened hearts; he molds us "according to His image and likeness". Creation continues as we cooperate with Him in building lives, giving hope to people, creating structures to assist all people, especially the poor, live better lives. With Him on our side, how else could poverty exist?

... "and of the Son"... each moment is a moment of salvation, the moment the Son was incarnated and the world continues to be saved. It is because each day, as the Eucharist is offered, we remember that salvation is possible only because Jesus gave his life for us. The key to life is not receiving it, but in giving it away. We are to die each day for the sake of others and for Him whom we serve.

... "and of the Holy Spirit"... that we know deep in our hearts that all our efforts have not been in vain; that it is not foolish to live simple lives and offer oneself for others; and that our lives will have fullest meaning in love and life, not only with our families, but especially for those whom we do not know; until we realize that all people, whether rich or poor, all of us are one family of God, united in the most Holy Trinity!

Live the life of the Trinity then!

Photo taken from: Monastery of the Holy Trinity

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copyright (c) 2006
Fr. Joselito Jopson
All rights reserved.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Happy Birthday, Church!


Pentecost Sunday,
Jn. 20: 19-23

Theologians and faithful alike are saying that the birthday of the Church is on Pentecost Sunday, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and consequently, the whole Church. Others say that the birth of the Church starts at the Institution of the Eucharist, others say that it is throughout the life of the Lord that the Church was born because the Lord called Simon "Rock" and on this rock, He will build his Church.

No matter when the birthday of the Church would be, it still means one thing: we came from the Lord, the Lord beget us. Our lives, our beating hearts, our whole being is an offshoot of the tremendous love of the Lord who wants to share this same love with us. This beautiful God who has no beginning started the whole cycle of sharing His love by creating us. But because of our selfishness we didn't give this same love back to him. Though He punishes, he doesn't condemn. Instead, he sent prophets in time to remind us, until He send His very own Son to redeem us and to take us back to Him. Now, he sends us His beloved Spirit so that we can still see Him and live Him, and breathe Him. Need we ask what life means, who God means for us? This very breath is His life to us, our very own strength that we use to please ourselves came from Him. Need we ask where God is?

Happy Birthday, Church. But I hope we realize the real implications of celebrating this wonderful birthday - that from now on it is not us who live, but it is Christ, God, and His Spirit who lives in us and in others.

Photo: Pentecost - Duccio di Buoninsegna (1308) Tempera on wood
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena

Copyright (c) 2006
Joselito Jopson
All rights reserved.

Dear Father ...



When the workplace is filled with intrigues, gossips, and backbiting …

I am a member of a Catholic movement of married couples. Attending meetings once a week with other couples, I feel truly inspired and motivated to do my best at home and at work. However, I find difficulty living my spirituality at work where the air is filled with intrigues, gossips and backbiting. Do you think I can live spirituality at work amidst this kind of environment? Can you suggest some techniques so I don’t go down from the spiritual heights I experience during meetings?

Dear friend,

Recalling Jesus’ words before he went up to heaven, he said, “Make disciples of all nations; teach them everything I have commanded you,” that is precisely our mission – to proclaim the good news and to make disciples even in the smallest circle we find ourselves in – in our homes, in school, in the workplace, in the community, in the country, etc.

Apparently this is easier said than done. As we try our best to evangelize people, still our acts of kindness are repaid by hurts, retaliation, and envy. The danger is that we fall into discouragement, worse, we end up doing the things we hate doing to others. How do we go about being Christians in an unchristian workplace? I suggest the following:

First, no matter what, do not forget who you are – a light shining in the darkness. Resolve to live in a Christian way, no more, no less. Remember the words “Do not counter evil with evil, but counter evil with good.” The depth of our Christian faith is tested only in times of trials and not when we feel good in prayer meetings.

Second, arm yourself with practical skills to counteract crises resulting from intrigues and backbiting. Learn psychology, sociology, human resources management, etc. Understand what kind of persons would do such things and the best way to deal with them. Learn from the Lord as he said, “be gentle as doves but cunning as snakes”; this simply means to use the resources available and use them. Act according to the level of wrongdoing enough to correct it and for it not to escalate into something big.

Third, focus on any proactive activity each day. Initiate social activities that harness teamwork and respect for fellow employees. Be an inspiring presence to others. Remember, every small deed we do each day account for something great tomorrow. We reap what we sow.

Fourth, if in case it is really hard to adjust in a negative environment and you sense that you not fulfilled with you job and it is not helping you grow mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually, you might opt to look for another job. But answer this question before you decide to leave the workplace: “What have I learned in this ordeal? How can I end up becoming a better person?” Because no matter how you move from one workplace to the other, you shall always be encountering bickering, envious, selfish people. Remember the parable of the weed and the wheat. But be sure you are a wheat that matures and bear fruit in due season.

Finally, pray. Only God can change people’s hearts in his own time. Also, pray to be a better person in the workplace. It is not because the environment is perfect as we dream it would be; rather, it is because of our very presence as Christian that transforms the environment into something better.


photo taken from:

http://www.westchestergov.com

copyright(c)2006
Fr. Joselito Jopson

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Happy Commissioning

Happy Commissioning
Ascension Sunday
Mk. 16: 15 - 20

Speaking before the graduating class of '99 in Loyola Marymount University, Fr. Thomas O'Malley, SJ made one simple statement that gave tremendous consolation to the graduates. He said, "You are now empowered to make a change in the world through your chosen profession."

Not that we are thinking about money and getting rich all the time, which is sometimes the main reason why we went to school, the good university president gave us a new perspective, a new way of seeing education - asempowerment, to make a change, to bring healing, and to bring life to a set of people living in darkness, in selfishness, and sin.

Today is the feast of the Ascension, a great time when Jesus ascended to heaven, body and soul to the awe and wonderment of many. and Jesus said these beautiful words, "All power in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Is he talking only to the disciples, to the Twelve, and to the Blessed Mother? Is he talking only to the present-day priests and bishops, and even the pope to teach and preach the gospel at masses and to ask for endless donations why the people of God sit and let the hour pass so they can do want they want after the mass? For whom are the words of empowerment addressed to?

"The disciple" is a generic term to any who has heard, seen, and believed in Jesus as the Son of God. It is directed to each of us to "make a change" to a wounded society by living out the gospel. Now, it is the Christian who is molded by the matierialistic society; he is molded for the worse. Be renewed by the message of the Ascension. Jesus is talking to all of us, to you and me. Live out and preach the gospel. Share them to your children so that they can share them to their children. Let ours be a generation coming closer to the Ascension, walking towards God!

Photo taken from: http://www.scborromeo.org/images/ascend.jpg

Copyright (c) 2006
Fr. Joselito Jopson

Saturday, May 20, 2006

CAN "DA VINCI CODE" DO ANOTHER "PASSION OF THE CHRIST?"

MediaTalk

by Fr. Lito Jopson

In globeandmail.com, Michael Valpy reported how Sony would setup a website for expert theologians to give their comments on the film “Da Vinci Code” and lure the faithful to watch the movie in the its first days.

“ Hollywood's growth industry these days involves rounding up Christians and herding them into movie theatres -- road-tested with The Passion of the Christ, born again with The Chronicles of Narnia and now squarely aimed at delivering big bucks for The Da Vinci Code.”

My commentary is this:

I think that we should stop comparing the Da Vinci Code with the Passion of the Christ. For one thing, Mel Gibson is a staunch Catholic who wanted to present the sufferings of Jesus Christ according to traditional stations of the Cross. Secondly, Mel Gibson wanted to show how gruesome and brutal Jesus' murder was because that is really what happened; there's nothing too elegant about the Cross, a sign abhorred by many but for the believer, a sign of salvation and hope for all.

On the other hand, there may be no other motive for the Da Vinci Code except pure opportunism. Dan Brown got an ancient apocryphal document rejected in the Canon of books not only because the 4 gospels are sufficient but also the book contained false teachings. It's like the times today when anybody is free to write news and ideas; but someone has to decide which is faithful to what actually happened.

Finally, all news items I've read point to only one thing - Sony pictures, Dan Brown and all others involved with the pictures are desperately trying to save their faces on a movie that’s a flop and elicits no new ideas except to play around with the nature of Jesus who is respected and adored by many through all ages. Even their releases show nothing else except create a media hype and lure the "curious" to the theater, nothing more, nothing less.

As Mel Gibson may have done the film to rekindle the Holy Week practices of Catholics for centuries, Dan Brown and Sony Pictures do not have any motive except to get their money back on something that is just a figment of the imagination at the expense of religion and faith.

Updating the Good News Website

Good News at your Fingertips

I am updating our main webpage "Good News at your Fingertips". Additions to the site are feature articles on "Filipinism" and "Photo Album". Coming soon are "MediaTalk", "Inspiring Stories", and "Dear Father".
This website has been on since 1996, so later on, we'll see a complete list of Gospel reflections for the entire 3 cycles and some other interesting articles compiled throughout the years.


God bless!

Fr. Lito

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

MY APOLOGIES ON JOSEPHDREAM

I am still testing this Feed "Good News at your Fingertips" as it gets into your email. I'm truly sorry if you received more than one message. I'm sure, it will not happen again!

Meanwhile, thank you for your kind understanding!

Fr. Lito Jopson


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Love One Another


6th Sunday of Easter
Cycle B
Jn. 15:9-17

"Alter Christus" is not just for priests or religious; it is for all of us. We are "alter Christus" only when we have love our in our hearts that is concretely lived out.

As we tend to distinguish human from divine love, remember that human love can only be possible if founded on God who is love. And much of the sufferings and poverty in this world are brought about by a skewed image of love. In the Acts of the Apostles, in the Christian communities, "nobody is found wanting". Pope Benedict in his encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" mentions real love: "It is possible to give without loving; but it is impossible to love without giving." A natural consequence of real love is generosity. Other than this, it becomes purely selfish and self-seeking.

Heed Jesus' commandment to love, "Love one another as I have loved you." Then he says further on, "You are my friends if you do what I command you."

Photo by: Chiesa express online
Copyright (c) 2006
Joselito Jopson
All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Our Generous God


Cycle B
5th Sunday of Easter
Jn. 15: 1 - 8

Isn't God a loving Father? Through his Son, he assures us, "Do not let your hearts be troubled; have faith in God; have faith also in me." In the first reading, when the Christian church was expanding, there was a need to minister to widows, marking the institution of deacons which means "servants". Because God is a loving and merciful Father, caring for us and bringing us life. This is made manifest through the offering of Jesus on the cross for us. Because he loves us.

Then why are we selfish? Altough we do not intend that such would happen, we are becoming too preoccupied with our own survival. Our family comes first before others. Sometimes, we use our family to further enhance our selfishness. Corrupt politicians have their families also. To each his own.

As adopted sons and daughters of the Lord, if we have experienced the overwhelming mercy of God, we don't have any reason to live selfish lives. "The joy of God is man fully alive." Being alive is not reserved only for the few and the priviledged. Survival is not the theme of life. Life is given to all.

Instead of thinking about one's life, why not think about the others for a change. We all belong to one community. All of us have borrowed lives. Our children do not even belong to us. The ones we see begging on the streets are our friends. It may be a long journey but we have to think about how to help them live decent lives. Then we will be able to see how generous God is. But we have to start from ourselves.

Copyright (c) 2006
Fr. Joselito Jopson
All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Gate and the Gate Keeper



4th Sunday of Easter, cycle B

Jn. 10: 11 - 18
Cycle B

It's quite remarkable that in the Philippines, after the Plenary Council of the Philippines in 1991, the priest came to be known as the "servant-leader"; that he is to serve God's people by leading, and he is to lead the people by serving and offering his life.

Our gospel for today is about Jesus being the "gatekeeper" and the "gate" for the sheep - two realities of the world of "shepherding" the flock. The shepherd knows each of his sheep "by name"; secondly he is willing to risk his life for his sheep, against wolves and thieves.

Peter, after receiving the Holy Spirit was empowered to do God's work. by his preaching, he was able to add 3000 to the number of believers, all these through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus' spirit was totally in him.

We in today's generation are called to heed the voice of the shepherd. What bothers us is that we heed too much of this world's voice that God's voice was drowned to the background. All we hear is the voice of materialism, consumerism, power, luxury and fame. God's voice is curtailed in the background. We have to be aware of this and do something before things get worse.

Secondly, we are called to become His servants, by taking upon ourselves to do his work maybe as "servant-leaders" in our own way, bringing our children and our friends towards the Lord, to bring authentic life to others, life that will last forever.

We will never be exempt from these two basic realities as we strive to make our faith dynamic.

Copyright (c) 2006
Joselito Jopson
All rights reserved.