Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blessings!

Cycle B, Solemnity of Mary, mother of God

Our readings today call us to recognize our blessings in the most profound ways possible.  "May the Lord bless you and keep you!"  The best expression of a blessing is that of Mary "who pondered all these things in her heart."

How do we express authentic thanks for all the blessings bestowed upon us by the Almighty?

"Blessing" has its roots in Hebrew "Brk" which means "to bend the knee" in worship and praise.  God is the source of all blessings; he bestows us His happiness that no one can ever take away.  We may bend our knees all the time to our loving Lord, knowing that He grants us every good gift.

It may also have its roots in the Greek word "eulogein" which means "to speak well of" or "to praise".  Perhaps we may think of the many persons who have touched our lives and filled us with love, for they are indeed God's gifts to us.

Mary reflected on the good news of angels as told by the shepherds.  May we also take time to ponder where the real gifts of God are - in the scarcity of life, the every essence of being comes out - that all of us rely totally on the mercy of God.  By the conduct of our lives, may we inspire others to make life an act of thanksgiving and total service to the Lord and others.

May this inspiring thought help us to face the New Year with gladness and be filled with hope and love.  Life is a blessing; everything is a blessing from the Almighty Lord!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Courtesy of turnbacktogod.com

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday, I invited us to sing, "O come all ye faithful" because Christ in the Liturgy prepares us to be the prophets of the Most High like St. John the Baptist and await the coming of Jesus.

Now, I invite us to sing "Silent Night" as our way of contemplating the presence of the Child now born in our midst.  "Round yon virgin mother and child Holy infant so tender and mild sleep in heavenly peace."

As we know, Jesus was born in this world without a dwelling place.  But surely, he must have a dwelling place - right in the center of our hearts.  To help us prepare ourselves to be the dwelling place of the Lord, let us reflect on the many time we have received our Lord in the Most Holy Communion.  We pray that we may rid our hearts of any impure intentions and wrong notions of the Eucharist that drown our knowledge and appreciation of it.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us the contemplative encounter in the Lord in the same we encounter Him in the Eucharist.

First, "we gather up: our hearts, recollect our being, and allow ourselves to become his dwelling place which we are."  Here, we make an inventory of where we have been, what happened to us, what wounds we have inflicted by ourselves through sin, and we ask to be forgiven.  We also become aware that God is present in others, that is why together, we make an honest admittance to allow Him to touch our lives.

As the mass progresses, our faith is slowly awakened.  We are confronted with who we are and are encouraged to remove all defenses and masks.  As we try to cover up, the Lord invites us to be who we really are - in need of Him.  Because the more we come to know ourselves, the more he reveals his love to us.

We now come to the best part.  Eventually, we are quietly immersed into the sea of His love that we find ourselves offering who we are and what we have.  We allow ourselves to be the living offerings of Jesus to His loving Father and meanwhile, we allow Him to continue purifying us and transforming us until we are born now in God.

This is what Jesus wants, with this new birth of ours, we can fully sing "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" and that we may rejoice fully with the angels as heaven unites with earth through the presence of Jesus.

May we enjoy our union with Jesus and utilize this strength to touch people's lives with His loving presence.  Please greet one another with the love of Jesus!

Friday, December 23, 2011

O come all ye faithful!

9th day, simbang gabi

Though it may seem tiring to even imagine getting up early in the morning to witness the Misa de Gallo, we shall miss these grace-filled days that lead to the birth of Christ.  Through them, we experienced a livelier, renewed faith.  It is not only Christ who was born; we are reborn in him.

The canticle of Zechariah exemplifies this renewed faith.  He tongue was loosened that he could reveal God's truth, not his own.  Unlike before when he was doubtful and discouraged, now he gives witness to God's will and His promise of salvation through Jesus Christ.

His prophesy to his son John may also apply to us, the new heralds of the good news.  We shall become the prophets of the Most high.  And that entails the loosening of our tongues; that our lives would be a living testimony of God's will to prepare others to meet him; and that we would commit our entire lives to instruct others so they would be able to enjoy God's presence eternally.

All of these will be like the dawn breaking, God's light will be shining upon us, and we will be walking along the way of peace.

Let us joyfully sing, "O come, all ye faithful!" with joy in our hearts.  "Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

the 8th day: The favor of God

Things are unfolding now that the kingdom of God is already here.  Jesus has started to unite us to the Father, probabaly even before the beginning of time.

At the time of John birth, note that Jesus was still there, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  He may be the one preparing John to be his great messenger.  He is also actively preparing us to meet him this Christmas.  As he prepares John through his presence and blessing, he may also have been preparing us even before were born - to be with him and for him.

Perhaps, the etymology of the John could also give us a hint on our vocation as heralds of the Gospel.  John came from the Hebrew word Ioannes which means "God has favored" or God has given freely and overwhelmingly.  "Pinagkalooban ng Diyos", it is God's free will to give us his grace.  Could we detect all the graces we received from the time of our conception till now?  Everything is God's grace.  Offer them back to the Lord is total thanksgiving now that we know that our lives are themselves products of the overwhelming grace of God.

Finally, God's graciousness extends to helping us respond to radiate his love.  This is totally manifest in John, who even at his mother's womb, leapt for joy at the coming of his successor or the one whom he would serve.  This unconditional response is a picture of the glory of God which has existed even before time began but was almost destroyed by sin.  Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ who sends precursors to prepare his way.


May we be inspired this Christmas season to totally unite ourselves with Christ who is the source of all goodness and graciousness and faithfully serve him now and always.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 7th day: When God sings

As we are getting closer to commemorating the day of Christ’s birth, we need to enter more deeply into a quiet contemplation with the events that are happening.

We now focus on Mary’s song of praise to God.  But notice it is not just a mere song of praise.  As Mary pours herself out to God, her whole being magnifies the Lord, her spirit is totally one with the Father.  Because of the Immaculate Conception, her song is actually the song of God giving life to her and to the rest of mankind.

This is Christmas: when we unite ourselves totally to Him without reserve.  Thus, we need to sing God's songs.

When God sings, we become holy in Him.  That is the union of God and man in Mary’s canticle.  The world of sin destroys that union, holiness seems to be pushed to the background.  Mary brings it back through the power of her Son in her womb.  Let us strive to lead holy lives inspired by the presence of God in us.

When God sings, every instrument is working in complete harmony with the others.  Let us recognize our roles in the orchestra of our Lord, now using our Spirit-given talents and abilities.  When the whole world works in harmony with one another, everyone begets life.  But if people find their own tunes and serve themselves, noise erupts.  Thus, God corrects those who are out of tune and who are not contributing to the harmony of music: he brings down the powerful, the well-fed, and the kings.

When God sings, the whole orchestra becomes one giant act of praise to Him.  Here, even the poor, hungry and the oppressed are lifted up and given the justice they deserve.

In the Magnificant, the lowly is exulted.  Mary’s name is revered by all generations.  May we fix our legacy to bringing Christ to the world this Christmas by sharing Him to others. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Passion of God

The sixth day of Simbang Gabi leads us to Mary hastening to see her cousin Elizabeth.  But it may in fact be Jesus who is hastening to meet his cousin John and vice versa.  May this meeting repair whatever coldness we feel in our relationship with God.


Let us then talk about the passion of God.

Passion is a powerful emotion, for example, an ardent love.  Its feeling is warm and embracing.  Passion reveals the very identity of a human person.  It also reveals who God is - pure Love.  His love enlivens us each day.  May we finally respond to Him in love.

Passion is also marked by a boundless enthusiasm.  The creative aspect of a passionate person is endless.  God has unlimited ways to bring us back to him, the best way being, the incarnation of his very own Son.  We should find ways to eradicate the boredom of our lives and respond equally to making our faith alive for the sake of our children.

Finally, passion is marked by the offering of one's life in martyrdom.  Passion becomes Jesus Christ as he hung dying on the cross for us.  It is also Mary's heart as she hastens to her cousin Elizabeth to serve her.

Pray for the strength to face where our faith would eventually lead us - toward the offering of our lives for the sake of the one we love, God himself.  May Christ finally come to our lives and change us forever!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Titles of Jesus

For this fifth day of our preparation for Jesus' coming, let us focus on the titles of Jesus, for we have heard two names from our readings: Immanuel and Jesus.  Pray to know more about our birthday celebrant, for He is the central character in our story of salvation.

"Jesus" came from the Hebrew word "Joshua" meaning "God saves."  By this, Catechism reminds us of two basic realities about Jesus: who he is and what his mission is.  Give Jesus what is due to him as God.  Serve him and be one with him in his mission to save us.

Second, the title "Christ" came from "messiah" which means anointed.  As Jesus was anointed to bring glad tidings to the poor, let us not forget that we too were anointed during confirmation to bring hope to others and be the soldiers of Jesus.

Third, the title "Son of God" reminds us of the divine Sonship of Jesus Christ.  But it also reminds us of our divine link with God.  We partake in the divinity of Jesus by being the adopted sons and daughters of the Lord when we were baptised.  Let us increase in works that would bring holiness to others.

Last but not the least, the title "Lord" of course points to the Lordship of Jesus as king of heaven and earth.  Thus, we give the proper reverence due Him as servants of the Lord, like the Blessed Virgin Mary who is the maidservant of the Lord.  Let us be available to do the will of the King.


All these taken under consideration, Jesus becomes more real to us.  Celebrating his birth would signal the celebration of our new lives in the God who saves us.  Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Prayer and Christmas

The fourth day of Simbang Gabi takes us to Zechariah, who is supposed to be a faithful servant of the Lord.  Scripture says he was praying for a son but had not believed when it finally came true.

What killed Zechariah's faith?  His age and his wife's condition?  He was discouraged all along.  He prayed but lost hope.  We pray but our prayers do not lift up to God. What caused our disturbance in prayer and how can we counteract it?

Prayer in its simplest definition is devotion to God.  When we lose that devotion we cease the most basic gesture of reaching out to God.

Prayer is reflecting about God.  When we stop reflecting about God, we would be eaten by daily anxieties and not have the capacity to discern.

Prayer is communion with God.  If we lose this communion, we cease becoming His witnesses to the world.  We also would not be in communion with one another.

Prayer is the condition for experiencing the real meaning of Jesus' coming to our lives.  Christ would be born in people who have the zeal to pray.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The promise of God

As the third day of preparation for Christmas unfolds, we see the humble home of Mary, teeming with simplicity and poverty.  But in it the grandeur of heaven resides. The angel appears to her and gives her the promise of being the mother of the Savior.

Let's reflect on the definitive break between our old world of sin and the new world founded on Christ.  Let us dwell on the promise of God not only to David but for the rest of humankind, past, present, and future.

A promise is a solemn oath; a declaration or vow of fulfilling something.  God has not broken His promise.  Humankind shall live and enjoy prosperity but only because of him.  Let us convert this promise into faith the relies totally on God's promise of salvation.

Secondly, every promise is something favorable. It points to something very positive and fruitful.   To Mary, the angel said about Jesus, "He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his reign will be without end."  It is something to look forward to.  In this regard, we pray for the gift of hope that by releasing ourselves from our old way of life, we shall be redeemed by Him who is to come into our world and lead us back to the Father.

Thirdly, every promise has an indication of sure success.  "Know your kinswoman has conceived a son in her old age, for nothing is impossible with God."  After this, Mary said, "I am the maidservant of the Lord, let it be done to me as you say."  We also say, "Let your will be done.  Make our lives useful in you."  Let us pray that all our intentions may convert into genuine love that makes us submit ourselves to humble service to one another.

May Christmas finally come into our lives and change us forever!

Friday, December 16, 2011

2nd day of Simband gabi: Appreciating the family

The backdrop of the stage opens and what do we see in the second day of Simbang Gabi? The whole cast coming in from all sides to the stage and around it, encircling all of us - a throng of families from the old Testament from different generations from Abraham to the New Testament characters Joseph and Mary.  How do they relate with the Christmas story and the story of our salvation?

We have to realize that Christmas is not a simple family affair where families celebrate with gifts and food.  On the contrary, we have to open up to the reality of a greater family where even the poor are involved as well as persons from the past and the future.

Aside from the most common definition of a family as the smallest unit of society, a family consists of the descendants of a common progenitor.  Let us admit once and for that our progenitor is God himself from all goodness comes.  True, we came from the fallen Adam and Eve, but the whole humankind came from God who created us in his image and likeness.  Let us do everything to live up to that fact by living holy lives.

Another definition of family is a group of persons closely related by blood.   Some groups perform a formal act of being one by a blood compact. Others offer their lives for the ones they love.  Being family needs a certain act of commitment by offering one's life for others.  Can we do that to the person next to us?

Finally, Jesus challenges us, "Who is my family?  Those that do the will of my Father is mother and sister and brother to me."

Thus, the opening salvo of people in all generations celebrating life is a picture of real joy because all these people did God's will.  So will we as the new family of God.  In our midst Christ will be born.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 1 Simbang gabi: the story of our salvation unfolds

The analogy of a play would help us properly dispose ourselves to the Simbang gabi masses leading to Christmas night.

In a play, after all the practices and all preparations, everything is ready for the event.  The announcements are made and everyone is informed.

Three things make up a successful play: our presence, our participation, and our witnessing to the play.   A play is a play when we are present and are properly disposed to attend it.  Secondly, a play is a play when we participate; we are "in the play itself."  Thirdly, we give witness to the play because of its profound effect in our lives.

The story of Christmas is the story of our salvation.  It is God's story for us. But God said in the first reading that those who receive the gift are those who are properly disposed to receive it.  Either we are absent from God or we are present.

Secondly, we participate by uniting ourselves in Christ who became one of us. We are affected fully by his words, actions, and being.  We become like him.  Finally, we give witness to Jesus by the conduct of our own lives.  Jesus said, "My works testify that the Father has sent me."  Only the conduct of our lives would give witness to Jesus if like him, we follow God's will. 

Christmas may be the story of Jesus' birth.  But it is the story of our rebirth as well.  It is the story of our salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

What Immaculate Conception means for us

In the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Pius IX in 1854: "The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin."

But how does Mary's reality appeal to our own wounded human nature?

I would like to dwell on the simple words "immaculate" and "conception" to understand that the Mary's message is indeed for us Christians on the pilgrim way to heaven.

"Immaculate" means to be free from any stain, a sure quality possessed by God Himself.  What is consoling is that our condition as fallen human beings is not really that hopeless.  Immaculate Conception connotes our condition with God before the Fall and that we are meant to be complete again only in God.  Mary and Jesus, the true Eve and Adam, broke every chain of dirt caused by sin to make God's words real, "Let us make man unto our image."  And there is no other image except that of being "immaculate".  As God is holy, so we are meant to be holy in God.

The second word is "conception".  From the simple dictionary, this word connotes a process of life itself as well as the birthing of an idea or concept.

Either of these definitions infer what Mary stood for as she shares in the conceiving power of God.  God is a God of life!  He is meant to multiply and regulate life.  Nobody in this world is born without having been blessed by God.  This of course is a manner of attitude for us to share in the procreative faculties of God; not the killers of his procreative powers as proposed in the RH bill.  The whole of creation is in the process of giving birth.  Of course the opposite of this is death and murder.  God intends that we be conceived as His new children, sharing in His love and life.

May we take Mary as the source and fulfillment of Christian life. To share in the Immaculate Conception means to share in the work of salvation, to make efforts to be the new Adams and new Eves in Christ our Lord.  Mary, may you continue to the hope and consolation for the pilgrim people of God.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Know what you want this Advent

Advent, week 1
Cycle B

Now that we are entering into another year of the liturgical season, starting with Advent, and into another year of life here on earth, it might be good to ask ourselves whether we need a Redeemer or not.

A redeemer is one who pays the ransom due to to another.  How much do we owe God for all the things He has given us?  How much sorrow have we caused Him?  We need a Redeemer, the Son of God to serve as ransom for all debts we owe to the Master.  Only Jesus can do that for us.

A redeemer is one who rescues another from sure death.  We die each day due to sin.  We breathe sin.  Who will rescue us from this darkness?  Only Jesus is the light of our lives.

A redeemer restores the honor or reputation another has lost.  We have lost our dignity of being sons and daughters of the Lord.  Look how we lived - as if He doesn't exist.  Has it brought peace and fullness to the world?  Do we wish to be restored to grace?

This Advent, know what you want.  We want Jesus to redeem us once and for all!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Choose God's kingdom

28th Sunday in ordinary time, cycle A

With the promises written in Isaiah, what more can we ask for from the Lord?  Abundance of food, happiness, and life eternal - must we let these all pass in lieu of fleeting wealth and happiness?

But truthfully, why does mankind let these all pass?  He lets these all pass because he is concerned only with his own food, happiness, and life.  But man's kingdom is nothing as compared with the kingdom of God.  And if we are not aware of these, chances are that we contribute not fullness but hunger, not happiness but tears, and not life but death.

Submit to God as early as today, for the message of the gospel is not for those who have died; rather, it is addressed to us who are exposed to the dying and suffering world - to work so that all may receive food and dignity, fullness and not emptiness; and life eternal, not death.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Restoring things in their proper state

27th Sunday in ordinary time, cycle A

Isaiah's text is filled with mystery; his book reveals the destruction of Israel, but he also gives the promise of salvation not only to Israel but to the rest of the world.

When things don't happen as we plan them to be, we always ask, "What happened?"  We take time to analyze so we may learn from the error we have committed.

In Isaiah, God also evaluates, "Why isn't mankind reaping sweet fruits?"  It is time for us to analyze how we can cause God's work to remain fruitless as we see sufferings around us.

In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus also gives a parable of the useless servants.  Probably we can also see someone like that in ourselves.  The degree of violence just gets worse.  The final act of violence is murder not only with mankind but with God's own Son.

God is fully in control.  He will restore things to their proper state.  But he will use people whom He can trust.  Pray that we may be one of them.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

God's ways and our ways

25th Sunday in ordinary time, cycle A
Matthew 20:1-16
The gospel for today invites us to focus our attention on the master of the household and not on the workers.  It also invites us to yield to God's designs, not our own.

God's ways extends from left to right; being able to bring life to all people.  Our ways extend only as far as we are able to help those closest to us.

God's ways extends from earth till heaven; connecting the whole world with His holiness.  Our ways extend only as high as we could jump with all of our ambitions.

God's ways extends from here to eternity.  Our ways extend only as long as we can stay here on earth.

God's love is eternal.  Ours is temporary unless we heed His command and live according to His ways.  Then we shall extend our hands to all, lift all to God, and experience eternal happiness.

May we prioritize already whose will we shall follow: only God's.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

God's forgiveness

24th Sunday in ordinary time, cycle A
Matthew 18:21-35
Ecclesiastes is a book of wisdom; it clearly teaches about compassion and forgiveness rather than hatred and vengeance. "He who exacts vengeance will experience the vengeance of the Lord" and "if a man nurses hatred against another, can he demand compassion from the Lord?"

The clear path to life is forgiveness.  If we embrace hatred, half of the population will die each day.  If we forgive, we keep the human race and we keep it running till the next generations.

Second, vengeance inflicts pain; forgiveness heals it.

Third, human forgiveness mirrors God's forgiveness.  Without his forgiveness we cease to exist, nor can we experience his graces.  We don't deserve to live after all that we have done against Him; still He forgives us.

May we mirror God's forgiveness then.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Extending ourselves

 23rd Sunday in ordinary time, cycle A
Matthew 18:15-20
Among us Filipinos, we are so aware of "extended family ties."  But I wonder how far that extension really goes?

In the first reading, God warns Ezekiel against not saying his judgment to the people of Israel: "if the person dies in his sin, I will hold you accountable."  The opposite applies as well, "If the person repents, you will save your life."

I couldn't imagine that we are that connected.  If I will leave you to your death, I too will die.  That is why the Filipino translation of "brother" says it all, "kapatid", "Ikaw ang kaputol ng aking buhay."

Every man and woman is an extension of ourselves.  The widening gap between the rich and the poor, the literate and the illiterate is hurting us all.  Disconnect ourselves from others and we die.  Connect ourselves with the rest of mankind and we live.

We are also extensions of the Lord.  We are not extensions of our own money or folly.  It is this social responsibility to others that marks us as children of one God and Father.  "Whatever you do to the least of your brothers, you do it to me."

So what does this extension imply to us?  It means that looking at our brothers and sisters we look at ourselves.  We see a sad picture of humankind and we see our greed, laziness, non-commitment and folly.

Second, let us extend that helping hand; let us extend ourselves.  Helping others means helping ourselves live.

Third, extend to God and God extends back to us.  Help one another and God smiles back at us.  We are God's extensions.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Serve God alone

22nd Sunday in ordinary time, set A

The prophet Jeremiah aptly puts every sentiment of an active follower of the Lord, "If I don't proclaim your word, there is something burning in my heart."

Are we really sure that those who have not followed the Lord are indeed fulfilled?  And do you think that those whose service to the Lord is found wanting is living the fullest life? 

Ever since we were born, we are meant to serve the Lord.  Our birth itself is a living proof that God allowed us to live for a particular, exclusive reason: so that we may know who created us, and that in knowing, we may love and serve Him.

Jesus in today's gospel eventually leads us to the very heart of service: renouncing oneself, taking up one's cross, and following him.  By renouncing oneself, others' and God world will open up to us.  By taking up our cross, Jesus' life will flow to us.  By following Jesus, life will flow to others also. 

Simply put: serve God alone and we shall live.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The power to bind and loose

21st Sunday, cycle A


From the first reading, we learned that Shebna, a king who was found displeasing to God, would be replaced by Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah.  He would have the great powers of a just king.

We may not know it, but the world of politics mirrors the justice of God to bring life and order to the world.  And if power is corrupted, God has the power to judge and rule and bring order to mankind.

God assigns people to do the job.  Unfortunately, sometimes, people who are not attuned to God end up bringing corruption to people.  Again, God would exhibit his power.

The call therefore for all us is to heed God's commands, have the courage to stay close to him, and proclaim his love and mercy to all people.

The Church in this regard has the power to bind and loose as Jesus has.  Believe in the the Church that he built for all of us.  It is up to us to release the potentials of a Church that has the power to bring life to all for the greater glory of God.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The scraps that fall from the table


20th Sunday in Ordinary time
cycle A


I would assume that in this day and age of attractions to material things, wealth, and technologies, man still opts for eternal salvation.  Unfortunately, salvation is translated to life after death.  Meanwhile, the world is dying because of corruption and greed; and people are suffering because of the sins of others.

It is imperative therefore that salvation begins now, here in our world and in the world to come; and salvation comes in relying totally on God to change us and lead us to him.

Faith in and knowledge of God gradually molds us to be givers and servants, causing goodness to overflow in this world by rendering what is due to others.  Thus, this world would consequently become a better place to live in because the inhabitants of this earth have the heart of God.

Finally, as the scraps the fall from the master's table are enough to give life to the Canaanite woman, so too the scraps of our lives could be rendered useful in giving life to others.  Anything large or small, if offered to God becomes a source of life for others.  The Pondo ng Pinoy and the Segunda Mana of Caritas Manila are examples of scraps turned things of useful value for others.  We are also the scraps turned useful by our Lord to save others.  Salvation begins now.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The kingdom of God

17th Sunday in Ordinary time, cycle C

Tell me, what is your understanding of a kingdom?  Is our understanding of a human kingdom be the same as with God's kingdom?

If we know what is in store for us in God's kingdom, we would not be in the story state we are in.

The kingdom of God taken all together, could be the very vision of our lives.  Now, there are no more thoughts of getting rich or getting even.  The kingdom of God is our world with God.  Here God reigns.

If that is our sole desire, God's kingdom, could this affect the way we handle our lives?  The sorry state of man is seeing himself, alone, seemingly alive, while the rest suffers in darkness and poverty.  The kingdom of god enables us to reach out and extend God's loving hands to others.

Finally, God's kingdom enables us to see the whole picture of the essence of it all, and how the rest of humanity are related to us.  God's kingdom becomes our path to lead us with each passing day to the Father and to our real home.

Thus, the Kingdom of God is our vision, our present, and our way to the future.  Choose the Kingdom of God above all things.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Fruitfulness

15th Sunday in ordinary time, cycle A

It cannot be denied that all of us want to be fruitful in this life.  This is further affirmed by our unity with God who created us in His image and likeness.  Our desire for fruitfulness must come from him.

But despite the progress, development, or whatever we call it, why is the world like a barren desert?  Why are people sleeping on the sidewalk?  Why are we opting to kill the world through the RH bill?  What exactly is happening?

We are going to exorcise anything that makes us barren.  "You have more than you think you have." 

Make an evaluation of your assets, both external and internal, and realize all these can be used as gifts.  The barren person sees these things as waste.  The fruitful person sees them as opportunities for growth.

Secondly, realize, that God is a God of life and not of death. Even his death gives life to many. Give yourself enough time, talent, and treasure to get to know God.  The barren person has no time for God, nor does he have time to serve others.  "He who saves his life will lose it."  The fruitful person is always in search of God's will to reach out to many.

Thirdly, realize the value of suffering.  The barren person sees suffering as a curse.   The fruitful person sees suffering as a way of giving oneself so that others may live.

The fruitful person enjoys the blessings of life and love.  The barren person lives alone.  Choose life.  Choose to be fruitful.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Knowing God

14th Sunday in ordinary time, Cycle A

"The more I know, the more I do not know."  These words came from the famous philosopher Socrates. Wisdom arises from taking a different view of things, from a stale or static view to a refreshed and creative view.

There's another thing worth pondering I would like to share: do you know that every time we look at a painting, we always look at it in a different way?  Paintings speak to us in myriads of ways.

In both of these examples, we need to have a heart of a child who has an endless capacity to enjoy things.  I hope the same is true in our knowledge of God in Jesus.  I hope it is still the same with our dedication to the Eucharist.

People who stopped attending masses because they feel they are doing it mechanically are also prone to closing their doors to Christ.

So what does it mean to know God?

Rise beyond the box of knowledge of God.  Enter into his reality.  Align ourselves with His will.  For he gives life; there is no other.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Transubstantiation

Feast of Corpus Christi, cycle A

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has underscored the unbreakable link between our celebration of Corpus Christi and Holy Thursday when Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist.  In that Holy day, Christ transformed the whole world to himself from death to life, from condemnation to redemption, making us pleasing offerings to the Father.

In the celebration of Corpus Christ, the same transformation is happening: mystery of the transubstantiation or the changing of the substance of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.  The mystery of this change connotes three things:

First, that Jesus transforms the darkness of this whole world into his marvelous light.  Because of this redemption, the mystery we celebrate is rightfully called “thanksgiving” for we have so much to thank for; salvation is right before us.

Second, the changing of bread into his body applies to us when we eat the bread and drink the cup – we are assimilated in him.  In normal eating, food is assimilated in us; but in the Eucharist we are assimilated in Him.  We possess the same love Jesus has. We become instruments of Jesus in today’s world.

Thirdly, “in receiving communion” we allow ourselves to enter into the deepest act of unity possible – we become one with God and with one another.  This is the reality of being “Church”, and Pope Benedict reminds us to constantly lift the lives of our suffering brothers and sisters in order to fully realize the true meaning of “being Church” – totally one with the Most Holy Trinity and one with humankind as it is transformed according to the image of the Lord who said, "I will be with you until the end of time!"

May we adore the Lord in His Body and Blood in every mass that we celebrate!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Come, Holy Spirit!

Solemnity of the Pentecost, cycle A


It may be significant to know that when we talk about the Holy Spirit, we are not talking about a ghost but a Concrete God, a Paraclete, One that fills the Church with God’s goodness and power.  He fills us and makes us concrete manifestations of His presence.

The three concrete manifestations of the Spirit are:
1.     Breath or strong wind – wind that can be heard, but this is not a destructive wind but rather, a breath that gives and sustains life. The opposite one does not give breath; it kills.  We breathe God and are breathed upon by the Lord.  If far from God, we cease breathing life to others.  We die and bring others to death.  This anti-life mentality is ruining the core of our very relationship with God, the breath of life.
2.     Tongues of fire – the Holy Spirit rested on the apostles, distributing His presence among them.  Note that this fire doesn’t burn; not like the fires of destruction.  In purification, it brings out the truer part of man and his vocation to truth and love.  Never be afraid with this fire.  Be touched with the fire of Jesus’ everlasting love.
3.     Speaking in different languages – as God self-communicates, he produces unity far beyond we can imaging.  If a person distances himself away from others, he also distances away from the Spirit.   As Pope Benedict says in his message last year, "This Spirit manifests in the plurality of understanding, just as the Church is both one and multiple in nature.  The Holy Spirit involves all people and overcomes all walls and barriers."

How right is this prayer rooted in the very prayer of Jesus, “Come Holy Spirit; kindle us by the fire of your love.”  This prayer of Jesus continues this very moment to transcend space and time, to reach eternity in heaven.  Let us be one this Pentecost and for the rest of our lives.