Saturday, October 27, 2007
Gospel: Lk. 18, 9 - 14
'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'
The parable of the rich man and poor man's prayer reveals a lot about the meaning of prayer. First, prayer does not rely on our effectiveness to pray. Rather, it's simply grace. The very act of prayer is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. We would not be able to call God 'Abba' or Father had it not been for the Holy Spirit.
Second, prayer connects us with our loving God and makes communication possible. Prayer is a dialog between us and the Lord. Dialog becomes possible when one listens and shares. Prayer is not authentic when we talk more but listen less. Thus, thus fruit of authentic prayer is the ability to see the Lord and the capacity to know who we are in relation to Him. Prayer is a dialog between the lover and the beloved.
Third, prayer is God present in the world through the concrete manifestation of prayer and life. Our prayer comes true not only because God hears our prayers, but also, he uses us so we can prayers answered when we serve others and entrust all of our actions to God.
Do you have a special prayer? Pray as the poor man prays: totally dependent on God, totally recognizing God as God, and totally entrusting oneself to God.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Gospel: Lk. 18; 1-8
This may seem a paradox, but the more we're making new inventions to make life easier, the more life is getting complicated. Compare the concerns of people of yesteryears with our time today. Despite the advancements in technology, we never seem to be happy.
Probably we forget that the secret to enjoyment is not in the end result, but in the act of doing it. This is the joy of every painter, that in the act of brushing and combining colors, truth and beauty would slowly come out.
Same is true with life, that the process may just be as important as the end result.
We cannot short-circuit the way we bring up our children. They and us will have to experience the pains of growth and the art of bringing them up and our presence in their journey through life.
The secret to life is not in making things easier (buying a car, having high-tech gadgets at home), but in making sense of life and the time given to us.
We need patience to change ourselves, to forgive ourselves, and to help ourselves grow through the painful things that happen in our lives. We need patience in others too who are undergoing the same process as we are going through.
We need patience to know God, to understand his ways, and make our love for Him perfect while we undergo the trials of daily life. And know that from the very start, it is God who has been patient with us all along.
Finally, we need to grow patiently as a Church and as a people. When sin corrupts people, a whole generation is affected. We can work on promoting virtues for the next generation by living them out. We need to promote a community that is oriented to living out God's will toward genuine social transformation.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Gospel: Lk 17, 11-19
There's a story of two women who died and were at the waiting room before they go straight to heaven. The first was a learned, educated woman, the other, a poor one.
The rich woman told the other, "I heard that to enter heaven you need to present St. Peter the books you produced on earth that benefited others. So I studied and studied and produced books on education. Have you produced a series of books?"
"No, except this small one," the poor woman replied shamefully.
Then St. Peter came in asked them to submit their books. "Give me time to review them," he said, and went out of the waiting room. "I'll surely get to heaven now," said the rich woman.
Moments later, St. Peter came back. "I've reviewed your books. Some will go straight to heaven, the others, remain here at the waiting room." So he called the names of those who passed, among them was the poor woman.
The rich woman, not on the list, complained to St. Peter, "I've produced a library of books in my lifetime while this woman just made a small one. How come she goes to heaven and I don't?"
St. Peter answered, "My dearest, I know you made a thousand books, but this woman produced a book that contained the word, "Thank you." Every time she received kindness from another, she would write "Thank you"'; and every time a person would thank her, she would also write it down. So, she is entitled to enter heaven because her books contains a thousand "thanks" for the people in her life."
And the woman said, "Oh no, I wrote the wrong books."
Much have been said about thanks, sometimes, they come in cheaply, but most often, they come straight from the heart.
Saying thanks opens our worlds and let grace flow in others and in ourselves. Moreover, the greatest act of thanksgiving is a life transformed to goodness and glory of God.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Gospel: Lk. 17: 5 - 10
Photo courtesy of: Northern Dispatch Weekly
The gospel may sound uncharitable because the owner commands the servants to serve him first before themselves. But on second thought, it's probably right to be so because that's the main task of a servant, to do the will of the master, nothing more, nothing less.
The main challenge is: do we see ourselves as servants before the Lord or is the Lord our servant? When we go to the Church we remind Him to bless us and to hear our prayers. But we do little for Him. When he hears our prayers, we just ask the next one.
The picture of a servant is not new to us. Jesus is the main Servant in the whole work of salvation. "He emptied himself and took the form of a slave." And it is through this that salvation is possible. But do we see ourselves as servants?
I know how important it is for God to hear our prayers. But let's listen to Him first. If we do His will, we won't be praying for material prosperity, for health, for the safety of our family, for the upbringing of our children. If we do His will we won't be worried on how to get the next meal. If all people do His will first, poverty level will drastically go down and there will be an abundance of blessings, of food and life, simply because of an outpouring of generosity. Many will have jobs, the streets would be clean, and young people would grow up abhorring vices and wrong doing.
If we just fulfill our role as servants and not as masters, people would serve one another and would give glory to God.