Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mary, Mother of God

Blessings!

Luke 2:16-21


In the Solemnity of the Mary, Mother of God, we look back at the past year, recognizing that times we have faith and we look at the future with a firmer resolve to do better.  We implore the blessed Mother and look at the future with renewed hearts.

I shall dwell for this year on "blessings", "May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord uncover his face to you and give you peace." (Numbers 6:22-27)

A blessing is a very consoling word.  A Christmas song even reveals it, "Count your blessings instead of sheep."

Another business author even stresses, "You have more than what you think you have."  Those are blessings!

Focus on blessings and we shall encounter face-to-face the author of blessings - the almighty God!

Three resolutions that go with blessings - thankfulness, humility, and commitment to salvation.

For every gift bestowed upon us, bless the Lord; be thankful. Always be thankful.

For the approval of favor, "I give you my blessings", our reaction is one of humility.

For causing the overall well-being of things, recall Jesus himself who is our greatest gift, our response is a deeper commitment to the work of salvation.

Contemplate on Mary, the vessel of all blessings.  She pondered all these things in her heart.  We can ponder as well and start moving to a better life as Christians!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas day

New world in Christ

John 1:1-18


It's a beautiful Christmas day and the message of the Lord is still unfolding.

The Messiah, the King, is now with us as he was before. He is at present consoling His people.  

I remember a film about Jesus when he was 12 years old and the Romans were persecuting the Jews, he witnessed a man crying out, "When o Lord will you come to save us?"  The man didn't know the Messiah was already in their midst.

Remember John the Baptist and his calling to prepare the way of the Lord.  It is not because he wants to be the messenger, but God has John at the palm of His hand to prepare for His coming, to make the way spotless and worthy for the King to enter.  John's vocation may also be our vocation to prepare the way of the Lord for others.

Know the entire salvation history of God fulfilling a promise that would end sin and usher in a new world.  Just as John had a great part in it, we too can join the bandwagon of God's plan of salvation by preparing the way for Jesus in our lives.  And to us who will accept him, we are privileged to called his children and family.

Through our daily experiences we are witnesses of God's saving love.  To us who are witnesses of the blessings of the Lord each day, we are alive in Christ!

Let us continue taking up this task to live in the new world God has for us where real life is celebrated and Jesus is at the center of our lives!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas midnight

Only through the poor man's heart

Luke 2:1-14


Merry Christmas!

In this very Christmas, Isaiah reiterates the role of the Son of David.  God promised David that his kingdom will not end and that His Son will correct all errors and make us all happy!

Isaiah added in the reading this night, "His name is Wonder Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."  All these titles attributed to Jesus, the Son of David, shall be used to put an end to sin and cause our salvation.

We are called to give witness to these titles of Jesus so he will be born in us.

As a Wonder Counselor, our role now becomes to help others, enlighten their minds, and lead them to the right track.

As Mighty God, He calls us to be single-hearted and love, serve, and adore Him and Him alone!

As Eternal Father, He calls us rely fully on Him as we do our fathers, with the assurance of a true father!

And as Prince of Peace, he calls to a life in total union with one another and with Him, causing this entire earth to live in peace and plenty.

But before we can accept all these, let us hearts be like the hearts of the shepherds, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph.

Only through the heart of a poor man can we be born.  Then we would fully realize that Christmas is not just about the birth of Jesus.  It also marks our birth in God!

Monday, December 23, 2013

24 December

God and us

Luke 1:67-79


As we come closest to the birthday of the Lord, events are challenging to be more than who we think we are and establish our close link with the Lord.

The reading is a continuation of yesterday's gospel.  But it establishes one thing - it revealed the power and the fulfillment of the promise of God.

In the Book of Samuel, it is God who favored David and made him king.  God's triumphant kingship is manifested in him.  God also renewed his promise that through his son, his kingdom will last forever.

In the gospel, the Benedictus revealed God fulfilling his promise that the Messiah would be born and his son John would prepare the way for him.

John's vocation "to prepare the way of the Lord" is God's will - that the messenger would preach the gospel of forgiveness.  He would do this until the great meeting between him and Jesus in the baptism at the river Jordan.

Who are we?  What is our role in this world?  If we know the height and depth of the grandeur of God, then we should also change our priorities and start serving him.  In this way, we share in John's vocation "to prepare the way of the Lord."  Let us prepare the way of the Lord to our children, so that they would prepare the way of the Lord to their children s children by preaching and living out the message of forgiveness.  Then will the Lord be upon us to bless us always!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

23 December, Day 8

"Prepare the way of the Lord!"

Luke 1:57-66

We may have two days to go in our preparations for Christmas, but let us do everything we can to nourish what was conceived in us until we can bring Jesus safely into the world.

Our preparations point out to John the Baptist, the one who will prepare the way of the Lord. 

Let us reflect on the very office of John, to be a messenger or a precursor.

Who exactly is John and what is his mission?  John the Baptist may not have known Jesus, but even in the womb, he already leaped for joy.  Still even before he was conceived he would prepare the way of the Lord.

His office as a messenger means to make smooth the path because the One passing by is higher than we can all imagine.  What are we actually thinking when we were raising children?  What are we actually doing when we decided to become priests or religious?  What are we thinking when we chose what course to take?  Just to survive on our own or to prepare this world for others?  The world may be in so much mess, but let us not lose hope.  Remain faithful to the Lord.

John preached a gospel of forgiveness.  But it is not mere outward forgiveness.  He reprimanded the pharisees for taking a short cut to forgiveness.  Let our forgiveness be authentic.  For the One coming into the world knows and will expose the hearts of many.

John baptized with water;  but we shall all be initiated in Jesus who will purify us and make our offerings definitely pleasing to the Lord and become true worshipers of the Lord.

Do we know who we are and what we are to do this Christmas?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

4th Sunday of Advent, A

"Emmanuel"

Matthew 1:18-24

This 4th week of Advent marks the completion of lighting of the 4 candles signifying the completeness of the light that shines the world; that the whole world is lit on Christmas day - that light is Jesus himself.

Today, we hear the name, "Emmanuel", which means "God-with-us."  Our hope and prayer is for us to experience the overwhelming presence of God not only on Christmas but everyday of our lives.

God revealed himself in the Old Testament as One who "hears the cry of the poor" (Ps 34).  He is God because he will free Israel from slavery of Egypt and will guide them into the promised land.

His name is "Yahweh" which means, "I am who am." (Ex 3:13-15) The two-fold meaning of eternal presence and the ability to save us is the constant theme of his very Godhead.

His promise is fulfilled in his Son Jesus who frees us from sin and leads us back to the Father.  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; He has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor... " (Lk 4:18-19)

And now, His presence is felt and experienced in his Church, the body of Christ.  The Church becomes the living sign of the saving presence of God.

Friday, December 20, 2013

21 December, Day 6

True happiness

Luke 1:39-45


The sixth day opens with Mary going in haste to assist her cousin Elizabeth who was with child.  This meeting turned out to be a joyous occasion not only for Mary and Elizabeth, but for the babies in their wombs, for the Redeemer and the redeemed.

This joy of union, also reflected in the Song of Songs, is what God wants of us in our relationship with Him.

Conceiving Jesus entails us to relish this joy that no money can buy or no earthly thing can give.  Only God can supply it for us.

Another word for that joy is "blessed."

We are definitely moving for exterior happiness to interior; and for me the, the words of the Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount gives us that light to being blessed even in the midst of sufferings and tribulations - simply because God is with us.

Learn to value the beatitudes:

1. they teach us the rightful place of this world's goods - meek and humble, being peacemakers
2. they teach us to value the things of heaven - justice and righteousness and being merciful
3. they teach us the real source of happiness is God alone - being comforted even in sorrow, purity of heart.

Grant that we may continue to choose God rather that this world's goods so that our happiness would be complete.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

20 December, Day 5

Uniting heaven and earth

Luke 1:26-38

This is the center of the immediate preparation for Christmas - the exact moment Jesus is conceived not only in Mary but in all of us; that solemn moment where heaven and earth meet, and the Word now becomes flesh and makes his dwelling in us.

I would also liken this to the exact moment of conception - not when a woman discovers that she's pregnant. It's even prior to that; and no one except God alone knows that exact time and space conception begins.  And the only way anti-life advocates can succeed is either way: when artificial means can hinder the egg from meeting the sperm, or when the united conceived human being is being aborted, "brutally killed" so to speak.

The union between heaven and earth is what we aspire.  And for those who have fallen out of faith, the only thing that matter is earth, though there are no signs of heaven anywhere except in the figments of their imagination.

But it is important to view heaven according only to God who made heaven and earth, both seen and unseen.

Thus, in order to appreciate the indwelling of Jesus, it is important that we rid ourselves of all negativities and preconceived notions and allow God to touch us and mold our thoughts and judgments.  "From then on I want to see the Church from from point of view of God and not how I view it."  Let this be our main theme.

How do we view this union between heaven and earth, between our own world and God's world?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us three things regarding the "word made flesh":

First, the Word became flesh "in order to save us by reconciling us with God".  Such is the intention of God and thus, He made it His initiative to work out the process of salvation.  The second reason has it - "so that thus, we might know God's love."

The third reason for the Word to become flesh "is to be our model of holiness."  The model for living is not how good we are in this world, but how Jesus lived among us.

The fourth reason for us to be "partakers of the divine nature."   There is no reason for us to remain in a worldly state.  Let us also strive to seek for the things of heaven, not of earth.  Finally, let us allow heaven to envelop earth and truly make it God's own world.

By now, we should have realized in the level of the heart that it is only Jesus who causes the union of heaven and earth.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

19 December. Day 4

Unwavering faith in God

Luke 1:5-25

The story of Christmas this day places us in the context of a humanly impossible situation - the barrenness and advanced age of Elizabeth.  But nothing is impossible with God; Elizabeth conceived.

But this story is also about the lack of faith of Zechariah.  He became mute because he was an unwilling witness of the action of the living God.

Jesus is being conceived in us.  But when was the last time we truly believed?  Or have we become mute because we have compromised our faith for trivial matters like wealth, fame, and popularity?

The issue here is our faith; even that is an important factor in the coming of Christmas.  A lively faith brings life to all; a barren faith leads us to death.

Let us take time to nourish this faith ... let us say slowly and convincingly, "I believe ... " though it may seemingly be impossible, let us still believe and solemnly confess with unwavering faith ...

"that God is God.  He exists and He wishes to make himself known to generations ... yes, there is a God...."

"And His name is 'Yahweh'" which means "I am who am", a manifestation of an eternal presence and a God who helps us always "I will be here for you and you alone."

Let us take a moment to relish these words so next time, we would know that our thoughts are God's thought; our words are God's words; and our actions are God's actions... all for the salvation of the world and for His glory.  Then we may see how life becomes fruitful for a person who believes.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

18 December, Day 3

God's home

Matthew 1:18-24 


After becoming familiar with the genealogy of Jesus, the work of salvation still cannot be possible unless Joseph agrees to take Mary into his home and give Jesus a name which comes from him.

Joseph is a reflection of the "God-of-integrity."  Remember the words of Jeremiah, the lost children of Israel shall not only recall their freedom from Egypt, they shall recall being gathered by God into his home.

At this point, are we really willing to allow Jesus into our home and give him a name?  We recall the many instances where families deny serving Jesus because of too much preoccupation with the world's affairs, or simply those families living together without the receiving the sacrament of marriage.

What makes home?  There are three things: the physical home, the rule of the head, and the warmth and security of home.

We begin our journey with God if we allow ourselves to be part of His kingdom and kingship. The Church is the family of God and every family is a domestic Church.

Second, we should allow God to be the head of the household.  "God-of-intergrity", we need to insure every member is living in the integrity of God.

Finally, the warmth and security of home is made possible only by the strength and grace of God that blesses the family.

Allow God to bless the family and true Christmas will come!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Simbang gabi, day 2

Jesus and God's fatherhood

Matthew 1:1-17


We begin the more immediate preparation for Christmas with the genealogy of Jesus.

Jesus' ancestry is a generation of fathers starting with the patriarch Abraham whom God has called to follow him.  Jesus is the sum total of all fathers; all father should have their roots in God the father himself.

Christmas is to root ourselves in the fatherhood of God, to consecrate our own fathers, and to be present day fathers to our children.

Every name mentioned in the gospel reflects the fatherhood of God.  And what does He exact from his children? Obedience.  Once we become disobedient, the line of fatherhood is cut off.

God's fatherhood is reflected in the line of Kings.  Every father's credibility is rooted in God; he leads with justice and mercy.  Every father is also a prophet, a living witness of God's fatherhood.  And every father reflects the priesthood of God to lead his children back to Him.

We are aware of the woundedness of fathers today.  As every father is distanced from his children because his main concern is the financial future of his family, let him be reminded that his primary role is the role of a just a merciful king, providing everything, and not not financial strength to his children.

As every father is endangered by vices and a lack of spirituality, let him be reminded that he is to be the spiritual strength of his family by being a worthy priest of God.

As every father is in danger of immorality is lack of integrity, he is to be a role model of integrity to his children, providing them with a legacy that no money can buy by being a prophet of God.

Jesus is the sum total of all these.  Cling on to Jesus and we shall become good fathers.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Simbang Gabi, day 1 in the Philippines

Are you ready to receive Christ?

John 5, 33 - 36


In the Philippines, our longing for Christmas starts this very day as we are excited to go to the Misa de Gallo so very early in the morning.  This is a sure sign that the Christmas spirit is well in us.

The readings also reflect a more intense preparation for Christmas with St. John the Baptist as a model.  Jesus commended John for being a model; thus, we are asked to do the same.

How do we actually prepare for Christ?

First, check on every external observance of Christmas.  Is there a change in the way we conduct our lives; on how we live out the ideals of Christian faith?  Grant that we may reflect Jesus.

Second, check on our hearts.  Are they free from profanation as was mentioned in the first reading?  Are our hearts ready for Christ?  Are we ready to love as he loves?

Third, check on the offerings of our lives.  They should be like water flowing from Jesus to us to our neighbors who badly need them.  Our offerings should reflect Jesus' offering in total humility just to grant us salvation.

Christmas is just around the corner.  But as men and women of faith, we know Christmas is already here within us and around us.  With Christ in us, celebrate Christmas!

Simbang gabi, day 1

Choose God

Matthew 21:23-27


The first day of Simbang Gabi brings to a fruitful closure the long-term preparations for Advent and opens us to a more immediate encounter with the birthday celebrant, Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament describes the Messiah as "the star of Jacob ... a scepter arises from Israel." (Numbers 24, 17).

In the New Testament, the Jews question Jesus' authority, "By whose power do you do these things?" 

By this time we should really be considering God's authority to rule over us.  In a time when we claim we are free to do everything we want, even not to follow God, could we start using our freedom once and for all and choose God?

Jesus' authority frees us from all evils, even the evils in ourselves.

Jesus' authority is just, caring and compassionate, most specially to the poor and lowly.  If we follow God, myriads of the poor will be helped.

Jesus' authority leads us to true happiness.  If we just remain in our own concept of happiness, would the world experience true heaven on earth?

Choose God in Jesus to rule over us; let's not choose ourselves over God.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

3rd Sunday of Advent, A

Time to change!

Matthew 11:2-11


In this third Sunday of Advent, called the Gaudete Sunday, we are challenged to shift from "old" to "new".  "It's time to clean the room"; to remove the clutters, to give it a fresh look, to open the windows and the let the fresh air come in.

History shifts from the promises of old till its realization in Jesus through whom "the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor."  There are three shifts I would propose in our preparations for Christmas:

First, Jesus really brings sweeping changes in our lives more that we can change on our own.  Shift from self to Jesus.

Second, the more others can change, the more change will be felt.  Shift from self to others.

Third, the change can be as beautiful as heaven itself.  If God truly dwells in our hearts, then it is heaven.  This is Christmas!  Shift from earth to heaven.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

2nd Sunday of Advent, A

Integrity

Matthew 3:1-12

The second week of Advent challenges us to be men and women of integrity like St. John the Baptist.

As the dictionary defines it, a man or woman of integrity is one who is honest and fair. St. John was point blank honest, a sure sign that he was faithful to the teachings of God.

Integrity is also defined as "a state of wholeness."  God, being whole and entire, wants us to be complete, whole, and not unbalanced.  St. John did not compromise his completeness unlike the pharisees who compromised their faith.

Most of all, men and women of integrity focus their entire lives on following Jesus and showing others the path to Jesus.  John sacrificed everything to lead people to Jesus.  The parents' legacy is non other than this - to bring their children closer to Jesus each day.

Follow the same path is receive the Lord completely this Christmas!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

1st Sunday of Advent, A

Preparations for Christmas
Matthew 24:37-44 

The first week of Advent opens with a bang, "The mountain of the Temple of the Lord, shall tower above the mountains and be lifted higher than the hills." (Isaiah 2:1)

What is going to happen is higher than our usual preparations for Christmas.  It is even higher than our lives. I would like to dwell on the usual preparations we are doing this Christmas and transcend on them since I will dwell on what is higher than all our expectations:

1. Noche Buena - represents our capacity to place food on the table.  Christmas event is definitely higher than our need for bonuses. It will change our lives forever.  From a people, doomed for punishment, we now are geared toward salvation.  Let us celebrate for our salvation is near at hand.

2. Christmas gifts - represent our capacity to give gifts first to our family members, then to the poor.  Give love on Christmas day.  But there is one who definitely gave more of himself.  May the children be spared from equating Christmas with materialism and consumerism.  Think of the poor this Christmas.  Because the poor have a capacity to give.  Jesus was poor.  But Jesus is our gift above all other gifts.  Give Jesus as a gift to the children, not the pomp or luxury of modern Christmas gifts.  Focus on Jesus.

3. Holiday - usually, no work brings more beer on the table, Karaoke, and merry making.  But the gospel instructs us to stay awake and as early as now, to prepare our future life with the Lord when the Lord will hold us by the hand and we allow ourselves to be guided, together with that of our families; towards a renewed Church.  Don't celebrate simply because it is a holiday.  Celebrate because from now on, we shall be obedient to God.

So these three things we should consider as our very preparation for Christmas - our salvation, our lives of self-giving like Jesus, and our total obedience to God.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christ the King, cycle C

"Rule over us!"

Luke 23:35-43

Today, the question lingers when every Catholic desires for this day when he and the King of Kings meet.  After all liturgies and expressions of faith, could we honestly admit our intimacy with Jesus, the King?

In the first reading, the Israelites admit, "You led Israel in the land of exploits... you are the man who shall be shepherd of my people, Israel."

The King is a loving shepherd; entrust ourselves and our families to the care of the great Shepherd.

In the gospel, the King is a redeemer who saves his people from their sins.  In our state of unfreedom, do we turn to the divine Master to rid us of our personal sins especially, greed and pride?

Finally, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Jesus as resurrected becomes the King with "a name above any other name."  He is ruler of Heaven and earth.  Do we see the world and ourselves already resurrected and this world freed or in our actions it would seem what we have already compromised good for evil or laxity?  Our mission calls us to always rise from this world's wounds and sins because Jesus already triumphed over death and sin.

Let our every thought, word and action reflect the resurrection of Jesus.




Saturday, November 02, 2013

All Souls Day

Holy Gifts, Holy People

Luke 7:11-17


"God's holy gifts for God's holy people!" is the theme of the communion of Saints.

The communion of Saints is a two-fold communion of holy things coming from the Lord Jesus and the communion of persons that make up the People of God.

And who are God's people? The Communion of Saints refers to the entire Church which is not in any way interrupted by death, "in the union of wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the church, this union is reinforced by the exchange of spiritual goods." (CCC 494)

Who comprise God's people?

First, we recall to mind those in heaven, our communion with the saints. "Our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as form its foundation and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself." (498)

Second, we reinforce our communion with the dead.  "Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective." (500)

Third, our communion with one another.  "For if we continue to love one another and to join in praising the Most Holy Trinity - all of us who are sons of God and form one family in Christ - we will be faithful to the deepest vocation of the Church." (501)

Grant that we may see the values of these two days, All Saints Day and All Souls Day as days of not of fear or death, but life, holiness and communion.

31st Sunday, C

God's mercy and our conversion

Luke 19:1-10

Perhaps, we have not felt it enough, but everything is a product of God's mercy.  From the creation of the world to the recesses of people's hearts, could we now feel our intimacy with God?

Remember the words of Psalm 8: "What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?  You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor."

Only with such intimacy could we experience our true conversion and serve the Lord with all our lives.

Reflect on Zechariah in today's gospel.   From a corrupt infidel, he changed his ways when Jesus visited his home.  He promised to give half of his belongings to the poor.  Such conversion could only be a product of deep experience of intimacy with the Almighty.

Continue reflecting on God's mercy.  First, remember that the whole of creation is filled with his loving presence.  Second, remember how much he loves us by creating us.  We ourselves are products of God's love.  Third, let maximize all opportunities for conversion because He is most willing to give us a chance to be like Him.

May everything that we see, touch, and hear be signs of God's loving mercy.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

30th Sunday, C

God's love and ours

Luke 18:9-14


It is undeniable that the Lord is the lover of the poor and comes to the rescue of the oppressed.

But it is also quite remarkable that he expects from his creatures the same way he treats them.  He leads with justice, he also expects us to treat others with justice.

The best picture of this intimate relationship between God and man is Jesus Christ who gave us a command: "Love one another as I have loved you."

How does he love?  He loves in an everlasting way.  Reflect on all the good things in and around ourselves.  Then we will know much God loves us - absolutely!

How then should we love Him and others?  The same He loves us!  I would like to expound on this love in 2 levels - on the level of justice and the other on mercy.

First, treat others with justice!  Treat the poor with justice!  It is not enough that we give a little portion of ourselves.  Imagine being in their state and start working how we can help them.  That is justice.

Second, treat others with the mercy of Christ!  If need be, let us offer our lives on the cross - all for the salvation of others.

All these cannot be possible without humility.  The proud man causes others to fall.  But the humble exults others and shall be exulted.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

28th Sunday of the year, C

Be thankful
Luke 17:11-19

Be thankful.

Even in the smallest things, be thankful.

For every little thing, be thankful.

For every person we meet in life, especially our loved ones, be thankful.

To show that we are thankful, utilize all gifts to the fullest before they are gone.

To show that we are thankful, use the gifts to serve others.

To show that we are thankful, offer everything to God and be generous to Him, for He is the source of every good gift.

A sign that we are indeed thankful is when we are living out our faith.  For our lives are acts of thanksgiving to God.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

27th Sunday, C

On Faith and faithfulness

Luke 17:5-10

In the first reading, Habakkuk gives a discourse that all of humankind can identify with, "Where is God."  But he also gives a wealth of insight for the searching man: "Remain faithful and you shall see."

For this Sunday, let us reflect on the world of faith.  The gospel says, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, and say to the mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted', it would obey you."

Faith is an intense gift that opens our world to the Divine Master whom as of now we cannot see.

Three things in the world of faith I would like to address so we can better appreciate it:

First, faith in tagalog is also known as "pananalig" which means "I place my whole trust in You."  It represents the Filipinos' total and undivided love for God.

Second, faith is related with being "faithful" which is reflected in the first reading.  The real test of faith is when in our whole lifetime, we have remained "faithful" to the Lord.

Third, faithfulness has its fruits in genuine service to God and man.  It is reflected in my action and way of life.  Faith changes the whole of my being from living alone to pleasing the Master.

Have faith; be faithful; and faithfully serve.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

25th Sunday in Ordinary time, C

Trustworthy


The Book of Amos is a prophetic book. Death and punishment come naturally to people who inflict pain and injustice on another.

The worse effect of injustice is one of social consequence.  The pork barrel scam has inflicted a wound on every Filipino, making him accept things just as they are.  How can we correct this malady?

The gospel speaks about being trustworthy in little things. Perhaps we can start with that. "If we can't be trusted with little things, how can we be trusted with greater ones?" says the gospel for today

Let us focus on every little gift.  If we can be trusted with this, then we can also be trusted with the greater ones.

Let us think of our children?  How can we show them trustworthiness than by leading them with example.



the Lord has given us:

1. the family
2. the church
3. and the world

Let us make these pictures of heaven by the little things we can do for them.

26th Sunday, year C

Crumbs
Luke 16:19-31

What is the real issue of the Lord Jesus against the rich or the moneyed?

Perhaps the story of the rich man and Lazarus will give a hint as regards the anger of God.

You see, the story of Lazarus is more significant here than the rich man.  And it all depends on that small things that fall from the master's table.  We call it "the crumbs".

The crumbs are longed by Lazarus.  He shall be given real food and plenty in heaven.

The same crumbs are denied by the rich man.  That is what made him poor in God's eyes.  He had crumbs but he dared not give Lazarus.  He shall be hungry in the next life.

Hunger for crumbs like Lazarus.  What crumbs can we hunger for?

First, the crumbs represent Jesus.  Starting from the Holy Eucharist, we can immediately detect Jesus as the Lord of heaven and earth.

Second, the crumbs represent our faith.  Learn the words, "Faith can move mountains."

Third, the crumbs are pictures of heaven; it is not just a scenario in the afterlife.  Think of heaven in today's world as we struggle to bring about real change from people's lives starting with their hearts.

The ones we reject may be the ones the could give us life.  But if we even do not share them to others, we risk not sharing Jesus, faith, and heaven itself.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

23rd Sunday of the year, C

Wisdom

 Luke 14:25-33


What is wisdom?

perhaps, the second reading can give us a hint on what wisdom means.

Paul intercedes for Philemon on behalf of Onesimus, Philemon's servant.  For reasons we do not know, Onesimus left him because of something that displeased his master.  But Paul reminds Philemon to forgive Onesimus because of the following reasons: Philemon owes Paul his salvation; he owes God his very self; second, Paul reminds Philemon of the new relationship: not of an owner to a slave, but that of a friend; and third, Paul asks him to forgive as Jesus did for all of us.  All these constitutes wisdom.

Wisdom is to recognize who we are before God, we owe God everything.  Humility is the beginning of wisdom.  Secondly, wisdom enables us to value others; communion is the word, not biased or lording it over others.  Third, wisdom points to our mission on earth - cause this world to be more human through the forgiveness of sins.

Wisdom is planning the world's salvation in Jesus Christ.  Anything apart from this is foolishness.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

22nd Sunday of the year, C

The proud vs. the lowly

Luke 14:1,7-14

The language of the world is that of power, wealth, and pride.  But the language of the Lord is that of humility.  Why is it so?

First, those who are humble acknowledge God as lording over them; the proud will always strive to be above anybody else, including God whom they do not recognize.

Second, those who are humble acknowledge that this world is not theirs; rather, it is only entrusted to them from above from them to take care of so that the gifts given them would multiply. The proud on the other hand, will want to claim everything for themselves, their wants and desires are insatiable.

Third, those who are humble will always place themselves at the service of others.  The proud will have no time for others; they will even let others die and still do not care.

The humble will receive the crown of everlasting life while the proud will be wailing and grinding their teeth; they shall never be happy neither in this life nor the next.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

21st Sunday of the year, C

The gathering

Luke 13:22-30


A reading filled with consolation, Isaiah speaks of a time upon the coming of the Messiah that not only the children of Israel will be gathered, but also from nations unheard of will also join in the gathering  and everyone will be bringing fitting offerings for the Lord; there will be priests and levites formed by the Lord.

Gathering - remember that the etymology of the word church is "qahal Yaheh" a people called by God.  Our being Church calls us to be gathered in the Lord, called by the Lord, and destined to receive life in Him.  How much do we enjoy "being church"?  There are many wrong notions of Church that we need to change.

First, in order to be gathered correctly, we need to be invited.  God invites us.  We don't invite ourselves.  We were invited ever since we were born. We don't imagine that God is indebted to us because we fulfill a Sunday obligation.  We attend the Eucharist because we owe a huge lot of our lives and simply because God invited us to the gathering.

Second, we respond according to the One who invited us. God invited us; we adjust to what He wants.  We don't complain.  We enjoy everything He gives.  He wants us to be purified and made holy.  We will be just that.  We don't just go to church simply because it is beautiful or luxurious.  We accept everything in church, even it's uncomfortable to do so.

Third, we enjoy most of all the company of the One who invited us.  This gathering is a gathering of all saints.  Saints become saints because they are close to the Host.  We need to inculcate in our souls and bodies the very presence of Jesus.  The very essence of a Church is in the involvement of the members, using their whole bodies and souls, constantly formed by the Divine Master.  Otherwise, it is easy for the host to say, "I don't know you. Depart from me, you evil doers!"

Remember how it is to being church - the invitation, the one who invited us, and our participation in the invitation.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

20th Sunday of the year, C

Who is the modern day prophet?

Luke 12:49-53


The Catechism of the Catholic Church sufficiently describes the prophetic office of the Church "when it unfailingly adheres to this faith ... and when it deepens its understanding and becomes Christ's witness in the midst of this world." (CCC no. 785)

The first point in a prophet implies an ontological reality: we are the faithful followers of Christ before anything else.

The second point implies what we should be doing as prophets in process - we should be deepening our understanding of the faith.

The third connotes every action we should be doing in this world: to be Christ's witnesses in the midst of this world.  Let us stand up to the truth of Christ and be his instruments of salvation for others.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Our solace in this life's journey

Luke 1:39-56

The Book of Revelations is truly an interesting one, attributed to St. John.  It contained a series of author's visions of the Church's destination in heaven.

The image of the Lady who is about to give birth to a Child who will rule triumphantly is clearly the image of Blessed Mother triumphantly bringing her Son Jesus into the world.  Only he can defeat the evil one while the lady is somewhere "where God had made a place of safety ready, for her to be looked after in the twelve hundred and sixty days."

In the Feast of the Assumption, we hold dear in our hearts that Mary was triumphantly assumed into heaven, body and soul, where eventually she received the crown as Queen of Heaven and earth.  Now, she is "solace and consolation for the pilgrim people of God."

I would like to dwell then on the Magnificat as hint to inspire us pilgrims to take the road Mary took on this journey through life.

First, let nothing exult our lives except to serve God alone, "my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord." Let our soul sing out only for God who saves us.

Second, let our lives be "blessed", made holy, consecrated, by truly giving witness tot he glory of God.  We are blessed not because of the things we have, but because God is with us.

Third, let our lives serve as living images of Jesus Christ, his justice, love, and peace.  Let us always remember that we are to generate Christ's mercy for the salvation of the world.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

18th Sunday of the year, C

Vanity of vanities!

Luke 12:13-21

"Vanity of vanities!" so goes the first reading.

The text is short, yet, this saying seemed like an endless mantra to remind us of what? Let's see.

For a man who toiled for everything, yet he must leave what is his own to someone who has not toiled at all; this is vanity.

What has he actually gained for all his laborious days, his cares of office, his restless nights?  This too is vanity.

On the other hand, there really is wisdom in this.  I am reminded of Mark 8, 36: "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul?"  Vanity of vanities!

What makes things vain?  Let us pray to expose vanities before it's too late, before they consume our lives.   If we embrace worldly values and not consider eternal life beyond, this is vanity.  If we remain in the narrow confines of our own world and not reach out to others, this is vanity. If eventually, the meaning of this world is us alone and not God, then it is vanity.  But embracing what is opposite: eternal life, good of others, and God, accounts for real meaning in life.

19th Sunday of the year, C

The solemn Oath

Luke 12:32-48

The closest reality of an oath between us and God is the covenant between man and woman. But in these times, the marriage covenant is definitely corrupted because of the phenomena of live-in relationships and wedding bonds via civil marriages.

A Catholic marriage holds that marriage bond, properly contracted, is indissoluble.  It represents God's eternal covenant with his people.  An oath is an oath because the give of the oath is trustworthy; the promise of the oath is worthy; and the covenant is sealed in a bond of lasting relationship between two parties.

All these God can do for us. But how about our share in this oath?

As two parties bond, so too we are transformed according to the image and likeness of God.

Thus, reflect on the gospel for today as a consequence of committing oneself to the covenant: the capacity to sell everything (be totally disinterested in the self to being selfless and generous), servanthood (realizing that we are servants of the Lord), and stewards of His creation.

Live out all of these and we shall keep our share of the solemn oath.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

17th Sunday of the year, C

What God can do for us

Luke 11:1-13


The literary style of "repetitio" used in the story of Abraham and the Lord simply tells one thing: the Lord's benevolence, mercy, compassion, etc. is unquestionably magnanimous.  But how has His love affected us?  Did it make us more human and humane or have abused the generosity of God?

In the gospel for today, Jesus taught us how to pray.  But at the end part, he mentioned that if evil men know what good things they can give to their children, "how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Thus, let us explore the Our Father.  We might have prayed this a million times.  We hope that each time we pray this, we may have a glimpse of the generosity and love of God.

The first process is to clarify who God is for us.  He is our Father.  The second is know what we should do for our Lord, who is ruler of heaven and earth.  He surely deserves all our adoration.

Only in the third part of the prayer can we have a glimpse of our utmost intentions: to give us our daily bread; then to repair our relationships with one another.  But remember, it is He who provides for all these things: food and love, not us.

Finally, we ask to be delivered from the evil one ONLY through the power of God to deliver us from all evil.

Yes, our Lord can do all these things for us.  Men and money cannot do what God can.  And what can He do?  He can breathe life and love to all of us.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

16th Sunday of the year, C

Serving or busy to serve?

Luke 10:38-42

Abraham and Martha both served the Lord.  But where did Abraham succeed and where did Martha fail to serve?

Abraham desired to please the Masters, the three angels visiting him.

Martha was preoccupied by the work.

Desiring to please the Master is one thing; being preoccupied is another.

Do we still desire to please the Master?  The curse of secularism is that it has not time to serve the Master.  Instead of secularism, let us opt for secularity by recognizing that good the world can give and its capacity to serve God.

Secondly, who is serving whom?  Is Martha really serving Jesus or is she ordering Jesus for her sister to serve her?  Let us break down the shackles of idolatry by referring everything to God who is our Lord and Master.

Third, what results from all our services? If our services alienate us from God, then we are just too busy serving ourselves.  But if our service leads us to adore his divine majesty and leads other to him, then our lives become acts of sharing and generosity which greatly pleases the Lord.

Serving or busy to serve?  Whatever Jesus chose, and he chose to serve unconditionally, be our choice as well.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

14th Sunday of the year, C

Be a source of blessings for others

Luke 10:1-12,17-20


A nation like Jerusalem must be blessed so deeply as to have loved and chosen by the Lord for his very own.  We wish it would be the same with our country, chosen by the Lord to be the beacon of light in Asia.

What makes Jerusalem special in the reading is like God who provides for all things, Jerusalem shall be a source of blessings for the whole humankind, like a mother to her children.  Such is also the beauty of our faith.

But alas, it is not so for us who continue to be immature in our faith.  We need to change our outlook and convert our faith into a dynamic (not passive), fruitful (not barren), and holy (not corrupted) one. 

This is the simplest resolution we can ever offer our Lord as we embark on "being sent" like the disciples.  We promise to bring to life the faith.  We promise to multiply that faith.  We promise to be a source of holiness for others.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Birth of John the Baptist

The greatest of the sons of men

Gospel:  Luke 1:5-17, Luke 1:57-66,80


Why do we celebrate in a special way the birth of John the Baptist?

As stated in Catholic Encyclopedia, "Apart from Mary and Joseph, John the Baptist is the only saint in the calendar who has two feasts to himself. One, in August, celebrates his death, and one, in June, celebrates his birth. And this is as it should be, for as Christ himself said, John was the greatest of the sons of men."

In the first reading from the book of Jeremiah it was written: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;before you came to birth I consecrated you; I have appointed you as prophet to the nations."

Perhaps, this could give us a clue on the life of St. John and his vocation.  But it could be a guide for all of us why God created us and how just as "John was the greatest of the sons of men" we too are called the same way.

First, it was already fashioned that John would be the precursor, "the one who would go before the Lord to prepare his way."  God already knew us and what we can contribute to His creation and how best we can serve him.

Second, each of us is consecrated to God.  Every mode of being is already affected even before we were born.  St. John was exactly that.  He lived simply.  He was faithful to his calling precisely by the life he lived.  We are called to live the same way - as consecrated men and women in the Lord.

Third, we are to fulfill what we are called to do in this life.  John was a mighty prophet, having no fear of men.  But he fulfilled his mission - to prepare the way of the Lord.  And he did just that.  Are we living out the life we are called to do?  Be missionaries of the Lord.

All of us are called to touch each other' lives with the spirit of Jesus.  All of us are meant to save one another and not lead each other to sin.  Let us do just that!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

12th Sunday of the year, cycle C

Give like Jesus

 Luke 9:18-24


The history of Israel has been marked by so much destruction; but is also marked by so much hope and consolation.

The world may opt to destroy it; but Someone else is building it up, filling it with kindness and love.  He promises unity and salvation for the people of Israel.

Now, this verse in Zechariah caught my attention, "They will look on the one whom they have pierced; they will mourn for him as for an only son, and weep for him as people weep for a first-born child."  Surely it is a prophecy attributed to what is to come - Jesus Christ and through him, "a fountain will be opened for the House of David and the citizens of Jerusalem, for sin and impurity." (Zechariah 12:10-11,13:1)

Grant us to know the real blessing we have just received!  While people are thinking of money, fame, or reputation, the Son of God definitively killed evil with the power of Sacrifice and offerings!  If we only know who Jesus and what he continues to do for us and our families, we would never be continuing what we have been doing today.

People who fail to know Jesus end up failing to know themselves.  That is why some Catholics are no better off than corrupt people.  Despite all their wealth, they could not lead another to salvation.

Let not our being Church be corrupted to the level only of prayer without any commitment to change the world.  Like Jesus, let us carry our crosses and follow him.  As he offered himself all for our sake, let us also offer ourselves for the sake of the salvation of others.  This is the secret of true life, in the way we offer ourselves for the sake of others.

So, what can we offer?
1.  Let us give what we have.  We always have a sufficient amount of time, talent, and treasure.  Don't look with envy at the backyard of our rich neighbor.  We have more than what we think we have.  And if we believe that what we have comes from God, then everything becomes a gift and life becomes an act of thanksgiving.
2. Let us give what is valuable to us.  It is easy to give what is excess, what is to be thrown away.  When we give to God and for his work, make sure we are giving the best gifts that are valuable to us simply because God deserves it.  Give our lives; give our children to the Lord.
3.  Give in advance.  There is such a thing as planned giving.  Give before we own it for ourselves.  Remember, it is not ours in the first place.

Let our giving reflect the giving of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To save us, he had to offer everything.  And so we do the same.  Imagine a community of givers!  Nobody is found wanting!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

10th Sunday of the year, C

A matter of life or death

 Luke 7:11-17


It is remarkable that events of the Old Testament have their parallels in the New Testament.  This is to verify that Jesus is indeed the fulfillment of Old Testament as the Messiah, the Son of God.

But the story does not end there.  The Apostles too have their parallel stories after Jesus ascended to heaven.  The miracles of the Apostles give testimony to the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised us.  Indeed, his words "I shall be with you until the end of time" remain true till today.

This is the mark of our Christianity.  We are called to do what Jesus has started.  And if Jesus was able to raise the dead to life, pray that we may also do the same.

The main question is: Do the lives of modern-day Catholics mirror that of Jesus?  Or are they busy with the affairs of this world such that the miracles are no more; instead, they regard their money as their miracles?

Let all Christians aim to reflect Jesus to others.  Let us aim to bring life to others and not death.  We can do so by being modest in everything we say and do, always bearing in mind whether our words and actions give testimony to God or we scandalize others, specially the children.

Second, let us start discerning whether all our words and actions are in conformity with God's plan. Prudence and right judgment are our guides.

Third, let us be aware that we are all called to serve God.  We have a mission to do in this world.  I would attest to the reality of vocation as a sure sign that we are giving life to others because the life that we project is simply a response to God's call for us to be His instruments instead of just being good while we are not following the Lord.

Friday, June 07, 2013

National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The grace of Mary, grace to the world
Gospel: Lk 2: 41 - 51

As we celebrate the memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I am reminded of the main message of the readings - grace.

Isaiah talks about the unfolding of the world of grace because God has blessed his people.  Notice also the wide scope of the power of grace.

In the New Testament, Jesus himself is the grace that unites us to the Father.

As we are about to offer the entire nation to the Immaculate Heart, recognize the grace that comes from God and that has wrapped us up in the secure arms of the Father.

"We wish to do this as truly one people, “from Aparri to Jolo”:  formally re-affirming that our country is indeed“pueblo amante de Maria” – bayang sumisinta kay Maria:  a people truly loving Mary the Mother of Jesus the Lord, a people in a true sense “made one” by this love and devotion which we bear, by God’s great gift, to the Mother of God."(CBCP Pastoral Exhortation on the Celebration of the National Consecration).

Secondly, we believe that this consecration will help us free ourselves from the shackles of sin and danger: "freely and firmly offered, would bring grace for conversion from sin and of sinners, protection from the “menace of evil and war; from sins against life and the dignity of God’s children; from every kind of injustice and trampling of God’s commandments; from “the sin of the world, sin in all its manifestations …” (John Paul II’s prayer, 1984)

Thirdly, there is a need for us to reflect on the spiritual growth of Filipinos' faith: "Deeper than all the foregoing, a genuine “return to God and turning truly to the Gospel” and the more authentic living of our faith, these call us and challenge us, in pursuing our vocation to be truly God’s People, to be Christ’s Body in our land."

Our love for the Blessed Mother inspires us to respond to the call of the New Evangelization and renewed faith among our people.  The CBCP urges us to to do the following to complement the Act of  Consecration:  "As part of our Consecration to the Immaculate Heart, there are also the adjoint practices of (1) the Mass and Communion of Reparation on the First Saturday of each month, and (2) Prayer and Penance, in our daily lives offered also by us, in union with Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.  As much as possible, the daily recitation of the Rosary will be the ongoing-practice of prayer asked of us.  We are reminded that the Fatima message teaches the “immense power of the Rosary” for faith-life in the world of grace."

May Jesus be our guide in this endeavor!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus


"Worship of the Eucharist and its sacredness"

Cycle C

Reading: Lk. 9: 11b - 17


In the first reading, after bringing out the bread and wine and Melchizedek blessing him, Abram "gave tenth of everything."  (Gen 14, 20)  Now I am fully convinced that giving "tenth of everything" is equated with life itself and unless we do that, we haven't lived at all.

Today, as we celebrate the Body and Blood of Jesus, in last year's homily of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, he verified this truth that The Eucharist is intimately linked with life itself, like the tithe. "Lest we recognize Christ in the Eucharist, we risk removing His presence from the rest of time and space," the Holy Father said.

The theme he gave last year was: "Worship of the sacrament and its sacredness" which I shall also use in my reflections.

First, worship - celebration and adoration are linked with the life of the Church: "The worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament is the spiritual “environment” in which the community can celebrate the Eucharist well and in truth."

Second, Sacredness - is none other than Jesus himself: "He did not abolish the sacred, but brought it to fulfillment, inaugurating a new worship, which is, yes, fully spiritual but which however, so long as we are journeying in time, makes use again of signs and rites, of which there will be no need only at the end, in the heavenly Jerusalem, where there will no longer be a temple." (cf. Revelation 21:22)

Sacredness is also linked to being church: "The experience of being church – listening to the Word of God, singing, approaching together the table of the Bread of life. Communion and contemplation cannot be separated, they go together."

Thus, adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and living out his will give life to us individually and communally.  The result is communion, our intimate union with him and with one another, the true picture of heaven on earth.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

The Most Holy Trinity and us

 Gospel: John 16:12-15

 From the first reading, when in Proverbs, it was written, "The Lord created me when his purpose first unfolded,  before the oldest of his works.  From everlasting I was firmly set,  from the beginning, before earth came into being." (Proverbs 8, 22), we, God's creatures must be very special in God's eyes, because all of us were created not by consequence, but by an intended purpose "from the very beginning."

Today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Most Powerful of All, the Most Holy Trinity, by whom we are unworthy servants, it consoles me to think that ever since the beginning of things, we are with Him!  We must all be very special creatures!

I would also like to see the whole of creation as if it were an orchestra of musical players whose instruments are guided by a Musical Conductor.  Such is the situation of world if we only treat our Lord as the world's Master Conductor.  But alas!  It is not so, unless we change; unless we become his instruments, the world will continue to be in disarray.

We need to reflect the Divine Creator in our lives.  We need to pattern our lives after the Lord whom we serve.  And the Lord we serve is a Triune God who revealed Himself as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in one harmonious unity based on bond of total love.

Let us unite ourselves with the Father, the Creator, and who constantly creates every good thing.  Let the world be "good", bringing all, and not just a chosen few of creation, to goodness.

Let us unite our lives with Jesus from now on, and that every action "saves", forgives us, and brings us all to life, holiness, and goodness.

And let our union with the Holy Spirit manifest directly in our way of life.  The conduct of our lives is the direct manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

The best mirror of the Holy Spirit is the living Church which we can see one another, and we can love one another as perfect love binds the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pentecost

Jesus lives in us through the Holy Spirit

John 20:19-23

Now we understand: this day is when the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus all come to: our own resurrection and new life in Jesus.  Jesus may not be with us physically, but he resides in us, through us, and with us, all because of the Holy Spirit.

In the book of Romans, it says, "From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free..." (Romans 8:22)

The Holy Spirit has given birth to us as a Church.  Three things are born from the Holy Spirit that make up the Church:

1. Unity and not of division - One language, one voice, all of us understand each other ... this is the Holy Spirit, uniting us with one another and with God.

2. Humility and not pride - the language of men was born from the desire to reach God in the heavens in the Old Testament's story of Babel.  Now, taking a humble stand before God pleases Him above all else.

3. Total availability to God vs. serving self - The Holy Spirit makes us totally available to serve God without hindrances whatsoever.  This runs counter to people who have no time for God but have all the time for themselves.

Jesus continues to live in us.  As Jesus suffered, died, and rose again, we too shall die and live with Him.  Thanks be to the God the Holy Spirit!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Social networks: portals of truth and faith, new spaces for evangelization

Each year, on the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, we are celebrating the World Communication Day as declared by the Holy Father fifty years ago through the document Inter Mirifica.  The Holy Father shall deliver each year a message regarding the usage of the modern means of communications for proclaiming the Good News of Salvation.

This year, the topic has been set: "Social networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization".

First, the Holy Father and the Church recognize the new "agora" of communications: social networking.  Note that in forming networks, not only information is passed, "but ultimately, our very selves."

Second, in sharing our very selves, "a great degree of truth and values is at stake here" vs. the way people communicate via persuasion and sensationalism.  All of us are in search of the truth.

Third, the ultimate truth is still God who is the Author of Truth and who entrusted us to His Son Jesus, as the "way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14, 6).  It would be much better to use the "language of images and sound, imagination and affectivity to invite people to an encounter with the mystery of God's love." "Love, truth, meaning to life - are found only in Jesus ... and we are called to attentive discernment, quoting Elijah who saw the Lord, not in earthquake or fire, but in a still, small voice," the Holy Father Emeritus said.

Finally, a global community is born, a New Church come alive in Social Networking, "to help people to pray with closeness to those who share the faith to those who are distanced from it.  These are direct encounter, experiences of the community and even pilgrimages, until the ends of the earth," is the conclusion set by the Holy Father.

Use media for evangelization! 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

5th Sunday of Easter, C

Old or new?

John 13:31-33,34-35

 
As children of the resurrection, let us always hope to be new, not old.  We cannot stay old in this world.
 
Though our bodies are turning old, there is always something new to look forward to.
 
Same is true with faith; it cannot remain old.  A renewed faith leads us to new life with the Lord.  Now tell me, is your faith old or new?
 
These are the marks of the old faith: heaven is far off until we die.  In the renewed faith, heaven is right here and right now; but it is also in the process of becoming.  We cannot delay heaven in the afterlife. 
 
Second, religion cannot be a personal private affair.  Rather, everything that we do affects others.  Either we cause the salvation or downfall of others.  But we cannot treat religion as a private affair.  God is not a private god but a God of all peoples!
 
Third, faith cannot simply be trimmed to "religious affairs".  Faith encompasses everything.  Imagine a politician without any soul.  But a person who possesses a lively faith would also be an honest leader.  Key word linked to this is "love".  A person who loves God above all else loves his neighbors.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

3rd Sunday of Easter

Do you love me?

  John 21:1-19


After all the resurrection accounts and the work of the apostles as fruits of the Holy Spirit, we now go back to our original experience to Jesus.  "Do you really love me?"

What do these words really mean?

"Minamahal mo ba ako?"

These words will continue impinging in our hearts, hitting us to the core, "Do you love me?"

When a person will confront us with these words, the most basic of all questions would be, "Have you really known me enough to love me?"

Being a Christian is not simply about doing good or avoiding evil.  Being a Christian will help us be confronted if in the first place we really know Christ more than we know ourselves.  Can we really claim that we know more about Jesus than we know our husbands or wives, our children, and even our very selves?  Know Christ and we shall know who we are.

Do you love me?  Do you love me more than all the others, even the people we love?  Loving is deeper than knowing.  Loving entails involving our very being, our deepest hopes, desires, and even the freest of our wills.  Is that space reserved only for Jesus?  Remember, loving Jesus means knowing that it was Jesus who loved me first and continues to love me more than other people can love me.  Now answer, Do you love Jesus more than all others?

Do you love me?  This third question will help us to love everyone and everything Jesus loves - the poor, life, sacrifice, self-giving.  "Do you love me?"  tells us to configure the love in our hearts according to his very own heart, causing our actions to be molded according to his actions.  This last phase entails the giving of the total self in conformity to the heart of the Lover.  And he wants us to feed his flock, his sheep.

Finally, go back and reflect on the words, "Obedience to God comes before obedience to men".  These words come from one who is committed to love, adore, and serve only Jesus.  That person is truly in love.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

2nd Sunday of Easter, C

Divine Mercy

John 20:19-31


There are two experiences of the resurrection, first, the empty tomb, and second, of Jesus' appearance to the disciples. His wants us to have a firsthand experience of the resurrection.


In the readings, the presence of the Lord is manifested in the works of mercy of the apostles. It is simply Jesus’ work for he is full of gentleness and compassion.  Hence, this Sunday is also known as the Divine Mercy Sunday.


What are the marks of the mercy of God? Jesus' revelation to Sis. Faustina goes as follows:


First, “Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy.” The condition of peace in the world is simply through the mercy of God, not in the absence of war.


Second, mercy starts in feeling with the other, most specially, the suffering, and the intense desire to bring life to them.  “I feel tremendous pain when I see the sufferings of my neighbours. All my neighbours’ sufferings reverberate in my own heart; I carry their anguish in my heart in such a way that it even physically destroys me. I would like all their sorrows to fall upon me, in order to relieve my neighbour.” 


Third, the mercy of God finds its fulfillment in relying totally on Jesus to resurrect us from our sufferings and death, “Jesus, I trust in you.”


These are the marks of true mercy; and only then can we attain true peace God wishes us to have.