Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saints in heaven

4th Sunday of Easter, cycle C
Gospel: John 10:27-30

Can we do a bit of visualizing?  We have been immersed with the things we see in this world that we tend to be blind with what is to come.  The danger is that we might not be part of the story. 

Read Apocalypse 7:9,14-17, what are the highlights of this story?
1. Myriads of people dressed in white robes and holding palms for the Lord: are we part of these people?
2. Their robes are washed with the blood of the Lamb: have we given Jesus' sacrifices any merit in our lives?  Have we made our sacrifices for love of Him.
3. They shall never be hungry because the shepherd will lead them to the springs of living water: are we willing to be lead by the Lord in our lives?  Are we willing to be instruments of life to others?

Give Jesus' world a thought in our lives.  It is a lot lot better than the world we have created for ourselves.  Here, the Lord's presence is supreme.  In His world, all people live.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The cliches of being a Catholic and what we can do to change them

3rd Sunday of Easter, cycle C
Gospel: John 21:1-19

Have you ever limited your definition of being a Catholic?  Do you have cliche concepts of Catholicism such that it does add anything to your life?  Let us dismantle any of these cliches because our faith is far greater than anything we can imagine:

"The nominal Catholics" - or Catholics simply by name.  I am a Catholic because my parents are Catholics.  Today Jesus is calling us to a world of intimacy.  He knows each of us by name.  He knows us through and through.  Do we know Jesus most clearly?

"Sunday Catholics" - these Catholics activate their faith one hour every week.  In order to know the Beloved you need to spend more time being with him, to "waste" more time knowing what is in his heart.  How can we love someone whom we do not know?  Love the Lord most dearly.

"The split - level Catholics" - these Catholics are not living out their faith in an integral way, but only by compartments, more often in conflict with one another.  But with Jesus, everything is connected.  Just when Peter said, "I love you Lord", Jesus would say to him, "Feed my sheep."  How many of us would see the hand of the Lord in all areas of our lives?  How many of us have responded to following him unreservedly?  How many of us have seen him in our families, in our life's journey, and in our commitment to serve the least, the last, and the lost?  How many of us are actually convinced that our lives are fleeting, and it is only God would remains?  Follow Jesus most nearly.

Let our love for the Lord be sincere.  And sincerity means to risk everything for God.  Only then will we understand what being Catholic truly means.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In search for lasting peace

2nd Sunday of Easter
Cycle C
Gospel: John 20:19-31

Jesus repeated these words to impart the power of the resurrection to his apostles, "Peace be with you."  What does "peace" mean?

Peace is not the absence of war.  Unrest complicates things and brings havoc to one's life.  It is truth that will lead one to freedom, learning from the words, "The truth shall set us free."  If need be, let us confront and not repress unfreedom.  Only then can we also help others to gain real peace.

Second, peace is equated with life itself.  Peace is attained only in a world filled with justice and love.  It is tantamount to seeing heaven here on earth.  If it is life itself, then we need to take part in it and invest time, talent, and treasure to make peace work for others, for ourselves, and for God.

Finally, we need a huge dosage of faith to realize peace.  Only a life oriented in the Lord can earn true peace.  The others are all a sham.

Pray for true peace!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The power of the resurrection

Easter vigil
Gospel: Luke 24:1-12

Taken from an ancient homily given last Holy Saturday, it says that Jesus descended to the dead, now to fetch Adam and Eve and the rest who were waiting for their Redeemer.  At the sight of him Adam, the first man God had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

Now, our love story is complete; we who have been loved by the Lord; we both living and dead.  There is not a moment, a space, or a lull in our entire reality that Christ hasn't entered.  Now, he is bringing us to Himself and to His Father, to our real home and His kingdom.  We shall be like Him forever.

Let us praise God then for this wonderful gift.  Do we deserve this? No! Not one minute or one ounce.  It is Jesus who decided for all of us.  Now it is our time to respond.

Let us respond by making His word alive in our hearts and minds from now on.  Let us celebrate every Eucharist with joy.  and finally, let us renew the promises we made during baptism - that we will radiate Christ's light to others, no more, no less.  Then the power of the resurrection will be upon us.  It is Christ who decided for us!  Praise be Jesus forever!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The washing of the feet, the paschal offering, and Jesus

Holy Thursday, Cycle C
Washing of the feet
Gospel: John 13:1-15

As we are commemorating the washing of the apostles' feet by our Lord, we are reminded of three symbols that are deeply connected with Jesus in his desire to prove his total love for us.  These things also mark the very essence of our being Christians, both you as laity and I as a priest:

1. slavery - the washing of the feet; to get things done we have to do the work ourselves; there is no room for delegation, for management or even planning.  Only the slave can cleanse a dirty feet.  Only someone who knows how to bend can easily toil the land.  Only a man who humbles himself can cause another to live.  Let us then serve one another from now on!

2. the paschal lamb - sacrifical offering; there are two sides to the paschal lamb; the meat to enable the household to live and the blood for the angel of death to pass while the first born of the Egyptians were killed.  Jesus is the paschal lamb; only through his self-offering we are healed.  We are reminded that for the sake of love we are to place our lives at the line.  If only to make others live, I would offer everything I have - time, talent and treasure for the sake of the others.


3. the bread of life - the unleavened bread, hastily done, brings temporary relief to the family on their way to attaining freedom.  Jesus is the bread of life who feeds the hungry.  When we minister to one another, we need not delay, nor plan how it would go; rather, we need to do it now.  Our hunger for life needs to be fulfilled today.  Our ministry to proclaim the word has to be done now.

These three symbols, the Lord Jesus asks us to do in his memorial.  It is the new covenant sealed in His body and blood.  Let us appreciate the real essence of Christianity by living these symbols today.