Saturday, August 30, 2014

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time


Ready to follow him?

Matthew 16:21-27

Photo courtesy of catholic.org

Can we actually say "no" to the Lord?

We may, but actually we can't.  Can we claim that our plans are better than God's plans?  Can we claim that we have connected heaven and earth when we follow our own plans or or just made the gap between them wider by our rejection to be available to God?

The readings for today simply says that there is a power greater than ourselves. This is Jeremiah's experience. God's ways are far greater than our ways.  And we cannot but follow him.

What does it mean to follow him?

First, the reason why we don't follow him is because we haven't understood him or his logic.  Carrying the cross doesn't make sense unless we enter in to the mystery of Christ's love for us.

If Christ he hadn't carried that cross because he wanted to be comfortable, we wouldn't be in this situation of comfort today. What Jesus did was to take up our wounded nature to be with us till death so that he may raise us up to life.  Remember that we are living in grace and blessings simply because Jesus suffered to save us.

Secondly, we still say "no" to following Jesus despite the first point, but be warned of Jesus' words, "He who saves his life will lose it."  Admit it, but the more we save ourselves, the less time we have for others.  Isn't this is what is happening when we find more and more people think about themselves and fewer people volunteer to serve God and His Church?

Finally, we may follow him if after a long struggle with ourselves, we are fully convinced that even if we gain the whole world, we suffer the loss of our lives and when God finally comes, he shall reward us according our behaviors.

Ask: Are our lives reflections of what God wants?  Let's make a tough but worthy choice to follow him and be his disciples.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, A

Be trustworthy

Matthew 16:13-20

How could God make us his faithful stewards after all the unfaithfulness that we have done against Him? God can simply because some people can be trusted.

Such is Eliakim in the first reading.  He was given almost absolute power by God to open and close as symbolized by key of the House of David.

Peter was also entrusted with the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.  What makes Eliakim and Peter trustworthy before God?  What will make us trustworthy before Him?  Do we want to be God's trustworthy stewards?

First, we have to decide to be trustworthy stewards.  All saints in heaven were trustworthy when they were on earth.  Aim less than this and we shall finally decide our place in the afterlife, and it will not be heaven.

Second, we have learn the life of being trustworthy by replacing a sinful lifestyle with virtues.  For example, if we know for a fact that selfishness leads to death, why do we still live selfish lifestyles?  Why do we hold on to selfishness and greed?  Now, let us be convinced that humility, selflessness, and oblation are sure heavenly virtues.  Let us observe them by living them out.

Third, us monitor the rewards of trustworthiness.  Humility, selflessness, and oblation bring out the best in God.  The more we live them out, the more God will be glorified.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A

Are we residents or foreigners?
Matthew 15:21-28

Generally, being a foreigner is alien to a Filipino because you see Filipinos all over the globe.  Whenever you see a Filipino, you feel at home even in an alien country.

Of course, this changes when the Filipino residing in another country tends to feel that he / she is above Filipinos in stature simply because he/ she changes his nationality.  He/ she starts alienating himself / herself from the rest of the Filipinos.

The issue in today's reading is about being an alien and being at home.

A more important question is: When have we been at home with God and when have we alienated from God?

There are three important things that we need to find our true home in God.

The first is Catechesis.  A continuing education in faith will make us be oriented to God's ways.  Ignorance of the faith alienates us from Him. 

Liturgical participation, especially in the Eucharist, enables us to actively participate in the abode of the Lord.  Non-participation implies we are interested in heaven.

Thirdly, concrete acts of mercy help us to make others feel at home in us and in God.  Our strategies for self-survival alienates us from the rest of humanity.

Can we now see the point?  Sin through selfishness, greed and pride are the ultimate strategies for alienating ourselves while lives of pure grace connect us to God.

May we find our true home in God!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A

Faith life

Matthew 14:22-33


We don't know where it is coming from, but there are people who believe that the moment they become active in the world of faith, their world would be filled with sufferings.  Therefore, they don't get active in serving the Lord until they are truly ready to accept trials.

But isn't it more terrifying not to live in the presence of the Lord each day and each moment of our lives?

Life can truly be enjoyed if there is faith.  Faith enables us to see the glory of God each day.  Otherwise, we wallow constantly in doubt and skepticism.

There are three decisions we have to make.

First, we have to make a decision to live in faith.  Baptism initiates us into the world of faith, and so do confirmation and the Eucharist.  The faith witnessing of our parents becomes our teachers in the world of faith.  We need to make a decision to be initiated into the world of faith. 

Second, we have to make a decision to nourish our faith.  Faith is not automatic.  We need to take care of it and see it grow in our lives until we increase our sensitivity to faith.  Be open to formation programs.  

Third, we have to make a decision to make faith real each day.  We need to walk on the waters like Peter to experience Jesus.  Participate in the world of faith in the mass and outside the mass and see the change in people's lives. 

Let our lives be lives of faith.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A

Offer, bless, break, give

Matthew 14:13-21


All readings reflect the fullness of life even in situations of scarcity.

Only Jesus can can convert a situation of life even from a just five loaves and two fish.

I cannot figure it out how He did it, but this I can figure - I am the cause of the fallenness of people.  I am the cause why people are suffering.  I am the cause why the world is slowly dying of hunger.  I am the cause why the young people are in danger of moral decay. I am the cause of what is happening in the world.  If I can just align myself with God's world ever since I was conceived, I would be experiencing such death in the world.

How can we pave the way for such fruitfulness?

First, we need to offer back every little thing we have.  Just five loaves and two fish from a child is enough to have food for thousands of people.  How dare we give so little to God and expect a lot of things from Him.  Why?  What have we given?  If we haven't given, what have we really received?

Second, we need to bless every gift we receive and give; to sanctify, to make holy, and to use it for a holy purpose.  How many of the parents are actually praying for the sanctification of their children?  Only a person with a holy and noble intention can convert a gift into something great.

Third, we need to break our gifts free from ourselves.  Once free, the more exciting thing starts - the sharing of gifts.  It is not true that the world is dying.  If it is, it's coming from people who don't want to let go of their possessions and share them.

Fourth, we need to give our gifts.  In every gift that is given, another gift is received.  Life is experienced.  Love triumphs.

God does not wish for us to die.  He wishes that all receive the fullness of life by creating that one gift beyond compare - us.