Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Blessings

Luke 2:16-21


"We solemnly ask for your blessing," the fiancees tell their parents.

What does it mean to live a life of blessings?

We are indeed imploring the Lord to bless our entire year.  For the opposite of blessing is a curse.  When we confess, we somehow acknowledge that our blessings disappeared and what resulted is a life of curse.  We don't want curses to greet us this New Year 2015.

How do we go about living a life of blessings?

First, recognize the Lord as the source of all blessings.  Remember "Bless us o Lord and these Thy gifts..." before we eat our food?  Reflect how everything is a blessing that comes from the Almighty.  For He does not wish us to die or to suffer.

Second, to be blessed means "to find favor with God."  Mary was chosen because she enjoys God's favor.  When we feel that God is away, we do not enjoy His favor.  Thus, to find favor is a sign to total intimacy with God.

Third, pray to bless others.  We invoke Mary to bless us.  The mandate of the priest is to bless people and things in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  The whole world in turn becomes blessed, offered to God and favored by God.

May we live a life of blessings all year round!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Day 5, Simbang Gabi

Saying "Yes" to God

Luke 1:26-38


I would like to use the analogy of the a woman saying "yes" to a man to be his wife for the rest of his life.

The best basis for saying "yes" is pure love; love not in terms of need but only for love's sake.  When a woman detects love not in terms of need, then her "yes" will have a meaning of a lifetime.

When we see our relationship with God as a need or a function, then we don't love God enough.  That's why we can't commit ourselves to Him for life; instead we commit ourselves only when we are in need.

We need to know enough about God to commit ourselves to Him unlike Mary who knew, loved, adored, and served God.  That's another reason we say "no", we don't know him enough.  But if we do, then our journey with God really begins.

Knowing leads to dialogue and dialogue leads to shared vision.  This leads to communion, of being one heart and one mind.  The beloved becomes to resemble the lover.  We become like God who loves us.  And if God is "mercy and compassion", we too become "mercy and compassion".

Finally, Mary's fiat yields the fruit of love - the incarnation of the Son of God.  Let our love bear fruit - Jesus Christ, in our children, neighbors and communities.  That is the real fruit of saying "yes" to God - the birth of Jesus, leading to the transformation of the whole world in love.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day 3, Simbang Gabi 2014

A life of integrity

Matthew 1:18-24


Could a life of integrity still be possible?

The dictionary defines integrity according to two connotations: honesty and wholeness.

When we say a person is honest, he hasn't compromised his values.  When a person is in a state of wholeness, he is not fragmented - he is wholistically sound in mind, body, and spirit.

Such is the disposition of Joseph when, despite of Mary's scandal in the eyes of the world, he decides to take her in.  Consequently, he lets Jesus inside his home and his lineage.

How do we live a life of integrity?  First, let us confront our fundamental option.  What are we in this world for, really?  We have to make it clear that we are for God, no more, no less.

Second, life of integrity entails getting to the source of things - God himself.  How much do we know about God?

Third, a life of integrity, which should be habit forming, should be reflected in one's decision and way of life.  To put it simply, it is a life lived in God, with God, through God, and for God.

How many times have we made wrong decisions not to beget Jesus in the world.  Start living a life of integrity.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Simbang gabi day 2, Dec. 17

Wholeness and Holiness

Matthew 1:1-17


As we contemplate on the lineage of Judah, a feeling of awe and wonder are produced as the end product of the generations lead to Jesus.  The family must have been so blessed!

As we think of our journey to celebrate Christmas, let us also think that the Lord Jesus would come from our own lineage, that we shall be begetting him in our own homes, and that he is a member of our family.  Are we ready to allow the lineage of Jesus to touch our household?

I would like to reflect on the state of wholeness of our family and its congruent reality "holiness".  To be whole means to be well, to be integrated, in a state of being complete. To be holy on the other hand, means to be sanctified, which means both consecrated and blessed by God.

If our families have not been like that we ask for forgiveness.  We also ask for the healing of generations.  We want to have a fresh start.

We would like to cling on to the Holy One from now on.  We cannot continue clinging on to materialism and greed and still come out clean.  Just know where we are placing our roots.

Finally, like Pope Francis as the bridge-builder between God and man, let us dare to connect our children to our proper future - God himself.

This Christmas let us dare to do something different - be uprooted from a sinful past, cling on to Jesus, and start connect the entire future to him.  And that future starts today.