Thursday, December 31, 2015

Mary, Mother of God, C

What lies in Mary's heart?

Luke 2:16-21

photo: Immaculate Conception Cathedral Belen 2015

Today as we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, we ponder what lies in Mary's heart, like the heart of a Mother who's starting her journey towards taking care of her baby.

What lies in her heart is blessing.  Motherhood is a blessing.  It is treasuring all things in her heart - the witnessing of the shepherds and seeing baby Jesus before her and how she is a witness to all these.

First, what lies in Mary's heart is God greatness!  Even in the baby Jesus, she can see the splendor of God.  He is the source of every good gift.    This is what should lie in our hearts - thanksgiving to God, thanksgiving to life, and thanksgiving to the son / daughter before us.

Second, what lies in Mary's heart is pure mercy.  She is the primary witness of the overwhelming mercy of God that favors everyone and not a chosen few.  His actions of mercy redound to the salvation of humankind.  To be a mother, God's heart and the mother's heart are filled with mercy.  Every child should be reared in pure mercy.

Third, what lies in Mary's heart is pure and eternal joy for carrying out God's plan for humanity.  Eternity and time are connected.  Heaven and earth unite in one act of adoration.  Mary thus is Mother who leads her sons and daughters to their final destination - to be with God in heaven.

Let us pray that we may possess the same heart as Mary's heart - adoration for God, mercy for humankind, and joy in uniting humankind with God.  Then we will face the New Year with joy!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Holy Family, C

Doing the Father's Affairs

Luke 2:41-52

It is quite interesting  a woman who asked God for a son would actually make real her promise to offer him as the Lord's servant.

In the Gospel, Jesus' answer when his parents questioned him about not following them: "Did you not know I must be busy with my Father's affairs?

The very task of the family in line with the readings seem to point to the task of every parent to see to it that the children are doing God's work here on earth.  This same task of Joseph and Mary produced the Messiah in Jesus Christ.  How can we rear the children to be open to God's will?

First, every family needs to consciously root themselves in God and His Church.  The Church is a community of families called to serve God at the outset.

Second, every member needs to know his/her role in the work of evangelization.  PCP 2 of the Philippine Church lays down the roles as follows:  the father is the image of the Holy Father and example to his children and beyond the family circle; the mother learns from Mary’s role as virgin and mother in the history of salvation; and the children are the present and future of the Church.

We should all be busy doing the Father's affairs.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Midnight Mass before Christmas day, C

Christmas and the Mercy of God

Luke 2:1-14

There was a man who looked and acted like a Scrooge, never understand what Christmas meant and why Christ had to become human.

One snowy night, when he was comfortably reading a book by the fireplace, he heard a disturbing noise outside.  He peeked through the window and saw a flock of birds, looking helpless in the snow, trying to look for a secured place so they can rest.

The man immediately decided, "They need help.  I have a barn, I can place them there."

He immediately went to his barn and opened it.  But the birds did not come in.  He decided to put crumbs near the entrance so the birds can be enticed to enter but they didn't.  He made gestures and signals, but the more they scattered.

He said to himself, "They don't trust me.  If I were a bird, they would have understood what I meant."  Just then he heard the bells ring for the Christmas midnight mass and suddenly he thought, "Now I understand what Christmas means and why Jesus had to be human."  (Author unknown)

In this year declared by the Holy Father Pope Francis as the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, he said, "Jesus is the face of the Father's mercy...  Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him. The Father, “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4), after having revealed his name to Moses as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex 34:6), has never ceased to show, in various ways throughout history, his divine nature. In the “fullness of time” (Gal 4:4), when everything had been arranged according to his plan of salvation, he sent his only Son into the world, born of the Virgin Mary, to reveal his love for us in a definitive way. Whoever sees Jesus sees the Father (cf. Jn 14:9). Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person[1] reveals the mercy of God." (Miserecordiae Vultus, no. 1)

I shall base my Christmas reflections on Miserecodiae Vultus no. 2: "We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness."

A wellspring of joy, serenity and peace ...  When have we felt truly joyful, serene, and peaceful?  True joy and peace are not as the world offers them, but as God does.  True joy and peace reach eternal happiness in heaven.

The very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity ...  does my life here on earth reflect the unity and diversity of the Most Holy Trinity?  Do I treat the Church as the living image of the Most Holy Trinity?

A supreme act ... When have we participated in the sufferings of Jesus for the salvation of our brothers and sisters and of the entire world?

The fundamental law dwelling in the heart of every person ...  What lies within my heart?  Unconditional love for others or an exclusive one?  As Jesus loves us, it is time for us to truly love one another without conditions.

The bridge that connects God and man ... When all of our actions and motivations lead to connecting people with God and God to us.

Mercy has become incarnate in the the vulnerable body of the Baby Jesus.  Let us also incarnate and live out mercy in our bodies and souls as well.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Day 9, Simbang Gabi: 24 December

Blessed be the Lord!

Luke 1:67-79

In this last day before we commemorate the birth of the Lord Jesus, we remind ourselves that we are Christmas gifts being prepared by the Lord to be given to others.  We hope to inculcate the various qualities that are important in the formation of that gift - integrity, offering, obedience, love, mission, etc.  The last quality I would like us to reflect is blessing.

Blessing or "berakhah" means to acknowledge God as the source of blessings.  David in the first reading desires to give a house to the Lord as a sign of thanksgiving.  But it is the Lord who blessed David and renews an oath with him.

In the Gospel, Zechariah prays the Benedictus, "Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel for he has visited his people."  "He has raised up for us a Mighty Savior" and "He has come set his people free."

Let our lives be an expression of utmost thanksgiving because of God's blessings instead of asking and asking from the Lord as if we haven't received any.  The Lord has given us so much that He gave us even His own Son.  Let us acknowledge all gifts of the Lord.

Second, blessing carries with it a wish for good fortune. "Blessed art thou, and it shall be well with thee" (Ps. cxxvii, 2)  It carries every good intention one has for the other.

Third, it signifies the sanctification or dedication of a person or thing to some sacred purpose; "Christ took bread and blessed, and broke" (Matthew 26:26)   Pray that everything we do may be sanctified and consecrated - our family, our work, the whole universe.  Let every heart be consecrated to the Lord.

We may now be ready to enjoy the real Christmas - Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Day 8, Simbang gabi: 23 December

Being God's messengers

Luke 1:57-66

Christmas is truly getting nearer; Christ is coming!  Are we truly ready to meet him?  As Christmas gifts, what qualities do we possess that please the Lord?

Let us continue to learn from the readings for today.  From the Book of Malachi, God said, "Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare the way before me."

For course the prophecy may refer to John the Baptist in the gospel; but for a moment, we can also reflect on ourselves and say, "Can I be God's messenger? What would it take for me to be a messenger?"

A messenger is a prophet like St. John the Baptist.  It may be likened to parents who prepare the way of the Lord to their children.  What then would be the qualities of messengers?

There is an intimate relationship between the source of message and the messenger; he should be the exact replica of the Communicator, John mirrors Jesus though they haven't seen each other.  Do we know Jesus most intimately?

Second, he should also possess the heart of the Communicator - "He shall turn the hearts of fathers to their children."  (cf. first reading)  What lies in our hearts for our brothers and sisters - love or apathy?

Third, the messenger speaks the truth about God.  Zechariah was freed from being deaf and mute.  He gives witness to to the glory of God.  Those who don't attest to God's presence remain mute in this world.  They live in the darkness; but people of the Lord live in the light and give witness to the Light.

Let us be God's messengers, attesting to the glory of Jesus to others.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Day 7 Simbang Gabi: 22 December

Generous Givers

Luke 1:46-56

We are generous offerings of the Lord to proclaim the mercy of God that shows his power for the hungry and the lowly.

As we come closer to Jesus, our real Christmas gift, this is the best time to consider ourselves as Christmas gifts of Christ to others.  And a compelling quality by which we are molded to be worthy Christmas gifts is to be imbued with the gift of generous giving.

As Jesus is the overly generous giver who causes our salvation, must we still say no to generosity?  Our lives are pure gifts; so are all our blessings.  A way to witness the saving mercy of God is to be generous with our time, talent, and treasure, which all came from God.  In generosity we have received, in generosity we also give.

Our second model is Mary, who also gave herself totally at the service of God.  Her Fiat opened our salvation.  Her Magnificat contains the generosity of God in her life; first, he chose a lowly woman to be the mother of God.  Second, God's generosity is shown in how he cares for the hungry and the lowly, while the powerful and the rich he leaves with nothing.

If we start being generous to God, He cannot be outdone in generosity.  Let us start offering even a tithe of our time, talent and treasure to do His work here on earth.  Remember, those who have will be given more, while those who have not, even the little they have will be taken away from them.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Day 6, Simbang Gabi: 21 December

Put love in that gift!

Luke 1:39-45

If we are are to be molded as God's Christmas gifts to others, then we better put a dash of love in that gift.  And real love can only be possible if a person has a firm and unconditional love for Jesus himself.

This is the very heart of Christianity.  And Jesus says, "Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." (Matt. 10, 37)

The reason we have not love Jesus enough is because we treat him only as a functional God; a God who fits our needs.

The readings help point out that a relationship with God would be more that of lovers. There is excitement in being with the beloved.  There is unconditional acceptance of the beloved; not one who should fit our picture.  When we expect that the other should fit our requirements before we can love them, that is not true love.  The person simply becomes an image of our distorted ego.

Loving also is like Mary, setting out in haste to cater to her cousin Elizabeth.  To love, one should totally lose oneself to serve the other.  In loving, you don't get to choose whom to love.  The best sign of love is loving the last, the least, and the lost.

Finally, is like Elizabeth, always quick to recognize the hand of the Lord at work.  A loving person is a thankful person.

For a person who loves, like those who believe, no explanation is necessary; but for a person who does not love, no explanation is possible.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Day 5: 4th Sunday of Advent, C

Obedience, the mark of a true Christian

Luke 1:39-44

The readings now seems to point us directly to Christmas - a Savior from Bethlehem to rule the world with justice and peace and a woman who is honored among all women because of the fruit in her womb.  And what is our response?

I will take it from the second reading.  We are molded to be obedient to erase the disobedience of our first parents.

It is not in the number of times we attend our masses or prayed our novenas; nor the number of times we went on processions or decorated images make us true Christians.  If we are not ready to obey God's will, all these religious practices come to naught.  The true mark of Christianity lies in our willingness to let go of all our desires to heed what God wants us to do in this world.

The models of obedience are Mary, Jesus, and Elizabeth.

Obedience is Mary uttering to the angel, "I am the handmaid of the Lord.  Let it be done to me as you say."  Mary also went in haste to assist her cousin Elizabeth.  Now the fruits of obedience are unfolding.

Obedience is Jesus demonstrating God's will.  He is the Good Shepherd who feeds his flock.  He rules the world with justice and peace.

Obedience is Elizabeth and John in her womb recognizing the presence of God and acknowledging his saving work.  Obedience is joy felt in being sensitive to the presence of Jesus.  Our lives are filled with true joy that can only be attained in following God's will.

Thus, obedience is uttering our first unconditional yes, living out God's will, and enjoying the fruits of obedience - justice, peace, and joy.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Day 4 of Simbang Gabi: 19 December

Sense of mission

Luke 1:5-25

In the fourth day of our preparation for the coming of Christ in our lives, we are being prepared for a life-long mission which needs our total and unwavering commitment.

Like Samson and John, all of us have a mission here on earth.  Let us imagine our guardian angels talking to our parents, "You shall bear a son / daughter. He/ she shall be great in the sight of God and filled with the Holy Spirit.  He / she has a mission to fulfill."

The sense of mission actually makes us a persons.  We are meant for a particular mission.  Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Rosales said, "A priest without a mission is a traitor."  That is what touched my heart.  I have to fulfill a mission; this is the very reason why God made me.  Our mission defines who we are.

I know of a couple whose relationship turned sour the moment the husband lost his job and their comforts in life.  The reason why the husband lost direction is that he thought that success and money define him as a person.  He thought his wife doesn't love him.  That is not our ultimate reason.

Take it from Samson.  His mission is to redeem / save Israel from the Philistines.  Whatever our mission is, it should lead to saving people from sin.

Take it from John the Baptist.  His mission is to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, the disobedient back to wisdom, and to prepare for the way of the Lord.  Our mission should lead people to know the true and living God in Jesus Christ.

Third, take it from the disbelief of Zechariah.  Disbelief turns us into mute people, unable to give witness to God simply because we are not attached to him.  All we see is ourselves.  To pursue the Lord is my primary mission on earth.

Like all missionaries, may we be Spirit-filled; everything should come from the Holy Spirit.  The fruits of the Holy Spirit are peace, joy, goodness among all others.  This is the fruit of doing a life-long mission on earth.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Day 3: 18 December

Integrity

Matthew 1:18-24

For our reflection on the third day, let us aim that as God's Christmas gifts for mankind, that we may be men and women of integrity just as for this year, the Lord would like us to be people of mercy, possessing both integrity and the mercy of God.

That is the first reflection.  How often do we distance ourselves from God's attributes that eventually, we justify even sin and malice?  No, there is a one-to-one correspondence between the Creator and the created.  We are all created in the God's loving image.  And God continues to create us.  Let us be molded to be persons of integrity.

To be a person of integrity means to be an a person of honor and credibility, God-fearing like St. Joseph. This is not built-in in Joseph.  Rather, each day is a day of being formed according to God's image.

Second, to be a person of integrity means to be dedicated to do the mission entrusted by God, no matter what the consequences are.  So, if Jesus' mission was to save, then he did it till the last drop of his blood.

Third, to be a person of integrity means to live out "Emmanuel", God-is-with-us; to mirror God living among his people and the people enjoying the immensity of God's presence.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Day 2: Simbang Gabi

Family truly blessed

Matthew 1:1-17

We all have our family lineage.  But what makes Jesus' lineage so special?  Although we can think of a million reasons, the greatest being, that the lineage is being prepared to bring forth the Messiah, God's son, we are praying that our family lineage in God be consecrated as well.  This includes all members of our family in all generations.

As we come from a lineage marred with sinfulness and woundedness, God invites us to cut off that lineage and embrace a new one, a renewed lineage that even the ones before us can be redeemed as well.  This can only be possible if once and for all, we acknowledge Jesus as the root and end of all lineages.

Let us also pray that as a renewed family, we may embrace three qualities of successful lineages.  First, from Abraham to Jessie, we can inculcate the value of TOTAL obedience and entrustment of our lives to God.

Second, from David to Jeconiah, we can learn about the value of being favored, or being favorable in the eyes of the Lord as David was.  This can only be possible if we maintain a life favored by God.

Third, from Jeconiah to Joseph, we can learn about the value of humility at all times; humbling ourselves before God and being totally available to serve him.  Only then can we truly claim that our family is blessed!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Day 1: Simbang Gabi

The image of the Lord in us

Luke 7:19-23


Look at the concrete hand of the God in the Gospel, "Tell John what you have seen and heard,the blind see again, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, the Good News is proclaimed to the poor and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me." (Lk. 7, 23)

Let's focus on being concrete.  It's not justifiable that we who receive constantly the Holy Eucharist be men and women whose hearts are so far away from Jesus.  So, let's focus on allowing Jesus to be concrete: first, in our thoughts, by exposing ourselves to the teachings of Church and in constant discernment; second, in hearts, by feeling as God feels - mercy.

Third, by our lives. We can only focus on the quality of our words and actions if indeed they are synchronous with Jesus' words and actions.

Only then can we fully experience that power of the Lord to save.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

2nd Sunday of Advent, C

God's majesty

Luke 3:1-6 

Whenever we think of majesty, we think of pomp, and extravagance.  God's majesty is in his beauty and splendor and how he rules the world with justice and mercy.  John the Baptist also reflected the majesty of the Lord in terms of the conversion, baptism of repentance, and preparing the way of the Lord.

I recall in the orientation of prayer of St. Ignatius, we hope that all our efforts will tend to serve and glorify his divine majesty.  What does it mean for us?

First, to serve and glorify his divine majesty is to accept his kingship over the whole world and our lives as well.  Let us pray that we may entrust everything to his care.

Second, to serve and glorify his divine majesty is to place ourselves under his feet; only Him shall we adore, love, and serve.  Let us pray to be his disciples.

Third, to serve and glorify his divine majesty is to align all our work and efforts in this world to manifest his kingship in the world most especially in serving the poor and in the forgiveness of sins.  Compassion and mercy are the very basis of every action; all these should lead to everyone living a life of love, service, and forgiveness.

Let us reflect the majesty of the Lord!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

1st Sunday of Advent, C

God of Integrity

Luke 21:25-28,34-36 

Let us reflect on the first reading when the city of Jerusalem would be known as "God-our-integrity".

It is quite unusual that a city be called "God".  Could our cities and all its people be regarded the same way?  Is the whole city Godly?

As we enter into the new liturgical season, this time calls us to renewal of faith and to be persons of integrity.  What is integrity?

Integrity connotes a state of wholeness, of undefilement, of moral soundness, of a pure heart.  It is contrasted with a compromising heart in the face of sin, that it's normal to be evil because people are evil.  It is natural to be "evil".

Definitely, it's not natural to be evil.  We all come from God.  No matter how seemingly evil a person is, we know that God created us in his image and likeness.  Let us take it as a challenge then to be formed in the image and likeness of God.

Holiness. God wants us to be holy and blameless like him.  We may not be perfect outright, but we can devote each moment for formation, and allow God to form us each day. The gauge is willingness. Are we willing to be formed  to be blameless and holy?

Third, we are made clean by the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  And the only way toward a life of integrity is to follow Jesus, to suffer with him, to die with him, so we can be raised in him.  Heed St. Paul's statement of renewed Christians, "It is not I who live but Christ who lives in me."  And if Jesus is merciful, so too we are to be merciful to one another, especially the poor.

We can only be persons of integrity if we possess God in our lives.  Let us also pray that our city may be a Holy City where God dwells.


Sunday, November 08, 2015

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Gift of self

Mark 12:38-44


The readings today say a lot about total and wholehearted generosity.   The widow in the book of Kings followed Elijah even though she and her child would prepare for their deaths because of the lack of food.  But she trusted and thus, the "jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil was emptied."

In the gospel, Jesus condemned the scribes but commended the poor widow who put in two coins in the treasury; why? because "she put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on."

Jesus gave the whole of himself, body, soul, divinity, to be the Father's gift to us and cause our salvation.

We are invited to be God's gift to others.  Salvation of the world cannot be possible unless we become totally available to God.  Let's start even with tithes which represent 10 percent of our time, talents, and treasure and insure that we have enough resources to do what God wants.

On the other hand, it is not only 10 percent that God desires of us, but 100 percent.  When the time comes for us to go to heaven, we shall implore the Lord, "Lord, take my life.  Take the whole of me."  Let's not wait until the last moment of offering ourselves to the Lord.  Let's start now.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Solemnity of All Saints

What makes a saint?

Matthew 5:1-12 

The most common notion is that saints are those who lived lived of grace here on earth and are now enjoying the bliss of heaven.

But from the readings, it is evident that saints are not just saints because they're already in heaven.  Sainthood marks our whole lives here on earth.  We are already saints-in-process.

What makes a saint here on earth?  First, we become saints because we are washed by the blood of the Lamb, not because we did good deeds on earth but by our intimate knowledge and relationship with Jesus.  It is he who cleanses us each day and washes away our sins through the offering of his life.  Life is getting to know Jesus each day.

Second, we don't delay being saints in the afterlife.  Notice the gospel: every action has a consequence.  The gospel talks about being poor in spirit, of being merciful, of being peacemakers and persecuted, and so on.  These are not the actions in heaven but here on earth.  Now, Imagine the consequence of our every action if it runs counter to the beatitudes - the times when we wallow in our riches and power, every time we evade our sorrows, when we are more preoccupied with our comforts and reputation, or when we compromise our God's values.  Dread every moment when we forget to live life with Jesus.

But if we are conscious of every moment we do things because we rely totally on God, when God becomes our only joy, and we suffer persecution because of him, think what God will do to us in this life till the next.

Remember, saints are saints not just because they are in heaven.  Sainthood already becomes of us while we are on earth.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Removing blindness through faith

Mark 10:46-52

The account from the book of the prophet Jeremiah talks about a people going back to fold of God.  They shall experience once again how God comforts them and provides for them.

But how can we experience this when our focus is not on God?  We need to pray for faith to enable us to see again God who loves us and whom we love.

How do we experience the life of faith?  Know that it is God who opens us to the world of faith.  He planted it in our hearts.  Faith opens our world to God's world.  We might be blind, but there are still many avenues where God can communicate to us: through hearing, speaking ... all through others.  Even through people God can communicate to us.  Can we see God in them?

Second, faith enables us to engage in a loving dialogue with God.  "What do you want me to do for you ... I would like to see again..."  Through faith, our hearts meet.

Third, faith enables us to experience again God's consoling presence.  This is indeed Good News for the poor, the blind, the lame, the pregnant women.   Have we extended our love for them?

The essence of life is seeing God in this world through us and others.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The servant

Mark 10:35-45


What is servanthood?  The image of a servant is Jesus himself who embraced suffering to save us and offer us back to the Father.

There are three marks of servant as reflected it the first reading:

First, a servant is God-sent if he uses his servanthood for the atonement of sins.  We too can offer each moment of sacrifice for the same intention.

A servant also does the master's will.  Our lives should be a reflection of what the Lord wants, nothing more or less.

Third, the servant's is always fruitful in good works.

Servanthood happens in this life when we plant the seeds of the Good News and nourish it.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

24th Sunday in Ordinary time, B

A life of sacrifice

Mark 8, 27 - 35

It is hard to live a life of sacrifice because the body is conditioned to live in comfort, not in pain.  But do we actually know that our parents are living a life of sacrifice just to send their children to school and insure their future?

Jesus lived a life of sacrifice just to attain our salvation.  There is no other path to salvation except through sacrifice.

How do we live a life of sacrifice then?

First, "offer our bodies as living sacrifices" according to St. Paul.  Sacrifice is related with offering.

Second, love.  It means to put others before you. Put God before you.

Third, heaven is connected to a life of sacrifice on earth.  Heaven is for those who have sacrificed their lives for God.




Saturday, September 19, 2015

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Servanthood

Mark 9:30-37

The evil men in the first reading would want to ambush the just man whom God favors.  Such is what is in their hearts.  All our actions are determined by what is in our hearts.  If it is not the Lord in our hearts, it shall bear evil deeds.

Meanwhile, let us emulate the very heart of Jesus. Let us also be his disciples and his servants.  Jesus said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’

We shall know the servant in three ways:

1. His appearance - he is without majesty vs. our obsession on external beauty.  Jesus' beauty is found in the nobility of his heart.

2. his personality - gentle but firm in his resolve to free us from sin; he will bring justice to the nations.

3. his ministry to proclaim the good news is based on his total obedience to the Father, "Not my will but yours be done."

Be molded according to the image of the Servant of the Lord.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

The law

Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

Moses and the people of Israel exclaimed, "There are no other laws that could match the law of this great nation."  God himself is the maker of the law.

But what happened during the time of Jesus?  There is so much observance on externalities.  The Pharisees have forgotten the spirit of every law, centering on themselves and not on God himself.

Jesus is not only the word made flesh, he is also the incarnation of the law itself.  He lived it through words and actions.

How do we apply following the law in daily life?

First, following laws are imperative to facilitate social order and development.  When we follow, we are contributing to the common good.

Second, every law is a reflection of the divine law, the law of God.  Even our bodies follow the natural law.  If it is not linked with divine law, the law has no basis and there is no need to follow it.

Third, the law of our lives reach their perfection in God's law of love.  The minimum requirement of love is justice.  But the perfection of justice is found in love.

Let Jesus' love and justice be the guiding stars of our lives as we follow God.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Choosing God

John 6:60-69


The context of the gospel is the people's desire for food that will last forever.

But Jesus is inviting them to taste the real food and drink: the body and blood of Jesus himself.  They could not accept these words.  They left him.

The first reading talks about Joshua asking the people, "Choose the god you want to serve; as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." The people responded, "We will serve the Lord for he is our God."

If we are also asked this question, two answers should come to mind - first, whether we would choose to serve the Lord or not; and secondly, what is the quality of our response.

First, our capacity to choose comes from our being created in the image and likeness of God.  God is full freedom.  And God wants us to choose in full freedom to be his children or not.  We choose in full freedom.

Second, choosing God is not like a commodity that if we don't choose the product, we lose nothing.  On the contrary, in not choosing God, we choose to die.  We choose to live in selfishness and greed.

Third, if we eventually choose God, we are confronted with the quality of our response.  Could we still say we choose God but we don't serve him?  We choose God but our faith is as cold as ice.  We don't even travel through the path of sacrifice that Jesus took in order to save us.  So, it's also tantamount to saying "no".

Our choice eventually boils down to choosing between life or death.  If we see sufferings and sin around us, it means that we simply are not serving God the way He wants to be served.  But if we start working for peace, forgiveness, selflessness, building of communities, we are on the road to building life from here on earth to eternal life.

What is your choice?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom and the Bread of life

John 6:51-58



Wisdom teaches:  "Walk this way!"  It is a positive message even for the ignorant to walk through the way of knowledge.

How much do we know about life?  In spite of the many errors of humankind, the next generation always risks committing the same mistakes as the past.  This is because of the hardheadedness of the future to learn from the past.

And now, Jesus teaches us, "I am the bread of life; anyone who eats this bread will live forever."  But the Jews couldn't get the message, "How can this man give his flesh to eat?"  The issue is between ignorance and wisdom.  People who are wise would succumb to Jesus as the key to life.

The first context of "flesh" is Jesus himself, flesh and blood, to teach us the way of life in words and actions.  He himself is the way to the Father.  His path is where we should go.

The second context of "flesh" is the flesh is the state of the worldly as St. John the evangelist defines it.  This implies a state of sinfulness.  But with Jesus, we become new creations; Our flesh becomes becomes Jesus' flesh, not the world's.

The third context of "flesh" is "reality".  "My flesh is real food, and my blood, real drink."  Many claim reality as relative.  But those who are "real" are those coming from God and going towards God.

Walk through the path of wisdom by accepting Jesus, flesh and spirit.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Model of our lives

Luke 1:39-56


Last Nov. 1, 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII solemnly declared the Dogma of the Assumption as "the Virgin Mary "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory".

May all Christians be inspired with Mary's examply and aim for the resurrection of their own lives.  Let Mary be our model from birth till eternal life.

First, let us be concerned with the vocation God wishes us to take. St. John's vision is that of a woman giving birth to the Son who will rule all nations and be taken straight up to God and to his throne.  Let our vocation be to bring Jesus into the world.

Before that, John saw a vision of that woman adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head for a crown.  This is an obvious picture of Mary as queen of heaven and earth.  Let our vision be that of who we really are as members of the our eternal family in heaven and let that vision guide us on earth.

In the gospel, we see a humble woman, a virgin who has just seen an angel announced to her that she would be the mother of God and that she responded with an unconditional "yes" to be the handmaid of the Lord.  But she also went in haste to attend to her cousin Elizabeth, an obvious picture of a woman who thinks not of herself but of others.  Let us also go in haste to serve God and our neighbor even letting go of what we desire.

Yes, Mary is a model from beginning to end, from birth to resurrection.  But let us follow her and the path she took in order that we may be humble disciples of the Lord:

Saturday, August 08, 2015

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Bread from heaven

John 6:41-51


We have been reflecting on the bread that came down from heaven.  Man who eats this bread will live forever.  What does the bread of life affect our lives?

Let us learn about this bread that affects our participation in the Eucharist and in life itself.

First, this bread enables us to learn about the Father.  He's in Jesus himself, body and spirit. Eating this bread will make us one with the source of life, God himself.

Second, this bread will give us the strength to journey through life on a day-to-day basis.  Like food that we need to receive each day, this bread, makes our pilgrimage in this world totally meaningful.

This, this bread enables us to reach our final destination: life everlasting in heaven.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Life's blessings

John 6:24-35 

In the first reading, in spite of the complaints of the people, the Lord still gives them bread from heaven.

In the gospel, Jesus invites us to focus our attention on the physical food to the food that lasts forever.  These are the following:

1. Jesus - Jesus is our source of life; all his teachings and accounts inspire us to life.

2. Love - a love that transcends to the presence of God who is pure love.

3. Opportunities to life - instead of wasting our time away focusing on the negatives, let us use all opportunities of life to multiply life in us, in others, and most especially, in our relationship to God.

Then we shall know that life is not a curse, but a blessing.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Multiplication of the loaves!

John 6:1-15


The multiplication of the loaves is already prefigured even in the Old Testament from the Book of Kings.  Definitely it is a miracle from God that fed his people.

There are other miracles behind it if we also want to witness the multiplication of the loaves in our world today.  It is found in the gospel.

The first is the miracle of giving.  The apostles were thinking in practical terms.  But it takes a boy to generously give his share.  We will not witness the multiplication unless we give a portion of ourselves to the Lord.

Second, the miracle of sanctification.  The bread is made holy.  Sanctification is offering our lives to Christ.  Sanctification is offering our children to God if we truly love them and we want them to live.  How they grow in the love of God is miracle indeed!

Third, the miracle of distributing the blessed loaves.  Not only are loaves distributed, but the very presence of Jesus is distributed in us.  Now, we become the body of Christ meant to be shared to others.  Nobody should be hungry anymore because all serve the Lord to give food to others.

Can you see the miracle of the presence of Jesus in the world today?  Everyone should be fed!  Let's start with ourselves.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

To be a prophet

Mark 6:1-6


"Whether they listen or not, there is a prophet among them." So goes the first reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel.  Can we detect the prophet among us?

 It also goes the same way with Jesus who said, "No prophet is welcome in his own place."

How can we detect the modern-day prophet?  Can we be prophets?

First, a prophet is fully human in touch with the world and not just a soothsayer.  He hears the cry of the poor.

Second, a prophet is faithful to God and speaks His word and not his own.  Whose message are we transmitting?

Third, a prophet's capacity to see the future springs from his knowledge of God's will.  From there he can see the consequence of his words and actions, whether for salvation or for doom.

It doesn't matter whether others will accept or reject us, as long as we are prophets of the Lord we are safe and sound in God's arms.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Instruments of life

Mark 5:21-43


Let it be clear that God's pure intention is to bring life to man.  It is Evil's intention to destroy or kill what God has created.

In the gospel, there are two stories, but both subjects in the story were brought back to life: the sick girl and the woman who was suffering from hemorrhage for more than 12 years.

Let us reflect on the other characters and events that were also present but were instruments of death for us to learn from and eventually, that we may be instruments of life, not of death to others.

First, the crowd.  Ever wonder why of all the people who pressing against Jesus, none of them were cured while the woman who touched the tassel of his cloak was healed instantly?  A person who doesn't have a personal encounter and relationship with Jesus belongs to the crowd totally unknown to him.

Second, a hemorrhage haunted the woman for twelve years.  All the things she was doing accounted for nothing except to come closer to Jesus.  Analyze our daily actions everyday that accounts for nothing except if we resolve to dedicate our whole being to adoring, loving, and serving Jesus.

Third, the crowd at the dead girl's funeral who laughed at Jesus.  Jesus had to cast them aside not only for their lack of faith, but for their aggressive to insult God's power.

God will manifest his glory, but three things are important for us to experience true life: let us not be strangers to God; let our daily actions find their meaning in God, and let us totally obey and adore God.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Calming the storm

Mark 4:35-41


God reprimanded Job by defending His actions, "Who pent up the sea behind closed doors when it leapt tumultuous out of the womb... do not come any farther, here your waves shall break." 


It shows that God is fully in control of things.

Jesus showed the same power when he calmed the waves of the sea.  Let us allow him to calm our tumultuous lives as well.

There are three storms in our lives and how would trust God to calm:

First, the storm that we cause due to our own sinfulness; let God heal it through the forgiveness of Jesus.

Second, the storm caused by others due to social sin.  That sin is embedded in the social level and it takes our unity to heal it.  Let us be united with the Lord and with one another to heal the social ills that haunts us and the next generation.

Third, there is indeed evil that seeks to destroy everything the Lord created.  Our solution for this is a steadfast faith and total obedience to Him as Jesus did for us when he followed His Father's will.

The whole world will be redeemed by the power of the Lord.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

In search of true life

Mark 4:26-34


We all have concepts of life and abundance; some of it just turned into pure greed or materialism.

How do we detect life as God defines it?

First, it should connect us with God through forgiveness and humility.  The only reason for our existence is to reclaim that divine relationship destroyed by sin.  Life should be new in the sense that only God can make us truly live.

Second, it should be in total compliance with God's plan of salvation for all humankind and not just a chosen few.  All actions in this world should gear towards giving life to all people.

Third, all things should give glory to the Lord of heaven and earth and not our own.

What is true life? A life reconciled to God, a life that gives life to all people, and a life that glorifies God.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Corpus Christi, B

Eucharist and the covenant

Mark 14:12-16,22-26 


As we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, let us rekindle the covenant we have with God.  He keeps his covenant faithfully, sealing it with the blood of Jesus His Son.

We need to keep our share of the covenant.  As God is faithful, let us also be faithful to Him.  Let us love him and allow ourselves to be transformed into His likeness. 

The blood symbolizes our unity like blood relations in a family. 

The meal symbolizes our solidarity with one another and our ability to be transformed according to His likeness.  Let the whole Church be transformed into the body of Christ!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Most Holy Trinity, B

God's name

Matthew 28:16-20 

The very mark of a Christian is defined by one's solemn confession of the Most Holy Trinity.  That's why in all things that we do, we start and end "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

What does it mean to speak "In the name of" the Most Holy Trinity?

To know the name of another means three things:

1. I've developed a sense of deep intimacy and familiarity with the other, "I know him by name";
2. I know his/ her attributes and come to respect them with my life;
3.  I give the other what is due - praise, respect, love.

When I start praying "In the name of ..." I should already have a deepening sense of intimacy, closeness or familiarity with God who reveals to me as "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

I should know His every attribute, the Father as Creator, the Son as Redeemer, and the Spirit as Advocate and what He means to me and my life.

Third, that I am moved to love, adore, and serve him with my whole life.

Every Christian that make up the Church should be the direct mirror of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pentecost

Life in the Spirit

John 20:19-23 


The Holy Spirit dwelt upon the Apostles like tongues of fire and they were able to speak as one.

The gospel speaks of Jesus sending the apostles to receive the Holy Spirit.

A life conscious of the Holy Spirit or the presence of God is the main focus of our reflection.  How do we know we are in the presence of the Holy Spirit?

The training we received from our parents become the springboard for know the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Pope Francis in his message to the 49th World Communication Day speaks of communication in the family: inside the womb and outside the womb and into the family: prayer, forgiveness, and teachings of parents.  They make us sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

Second, the formation of conscience helps us to be discern what is right and what is wrong.

Third, a knowledge of our mission and vocation helps us to be totally open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Fourth, unity is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, our total unity with God and with one another in life and mission.

Friday, May 08, 2015

6th Sunday of Easter, B

Love one another 

John 15:9-17 

Peter had not yet finished speaking when the Holy Spirit dwelt on gentile Cornelius and his household.

The Lord is also preparing us to receive the Holy Spirit after he ascends to heaven next week.

How do we prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit?

Jesus gave the greatest command, "Love one another as I have loved you."

The basis of all love is His love and how He loves.  When God loves, he loves unreservedly.

Jesus gives the image of a friend as basis for that sublime love.  "There is no love greater than this, to lay down one's life for ones friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you to do."  A friend is capable of offering his every own life for his friend.

Thirdly, Jesus sends us so we may bear much fruit.  What is the fruit of our love?  What mission have we done for Christ?

These will prepare us to receive the Holy Spirit - love, friendship, mission.

When was the last time we felt this love in our hearts?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

3rd Sunday of Easter

Forgiveness is the heart of Easter

Luke 24:35-48 

The forgiving life is not at all common to us.  The only way we can enter into forgiveness is only when we start hurting others.  Otherwise there is nothing to forgive.

But we must realize that before we can do our daily routines,God has already forgiven us through Jesus Christ.  We can only enjoy the gifts of daily life, knowing that Jesus suffered, died, and was raised to life for love of us.

Realize then that the life we are living is already the forgiven life.  Whether believers or non-believers, the world should realize it is living out the forgiveness of God.  Thus, let us not demand so much; rather, thank the Lord because despite our sinfulness, God still pours us his blessing through the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Secondly, the only way to preach forgiveness to the world is to journey through the path of forgiveness.  Forgiveness doesn't simply declare, "I forgive you."  For it to be authentic, hatred should turn into mercy and compassion.  Forgiveness entails healing the wounds caused by sin.

Finally, forgiveness is to enter into the very heart of the mystery of heaven: God himself.  To make every family a picture of heaven entails that every moment we live out forgiveness.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter)

Divine Mercy and Peace

John 20:19-31 


Sunday Sunday of Easter is dedicated to the Divine Mercy and reflections of the Divine Mercy.

Jesus greeted his apostles with "Peace be with you!"  Peace is a mark of Jesus himself.  But peace is simply not the absence of war.  For peace to be attained we have to enter into the very heart of Jesus, a heart so filled with compassion and mercy as a way to attain peace.

Pacem in Terris of St. Pope John Paul II enunciated the four paths to peace.  They are as follows:

1. Peace should be grounded on truth - and the truth being, we all possess the dignity of being human persons and not simply objects; that we are all children of God;
2. Peace is built according to justice - and justice is attained if we consider the common good and not personal goods;
3. Peace is integrated by charity.  This is the very heart of the process of peace - love for neighbor.  Reflect on the first reading when the Christian community is "one heart and one mind".
4.  It is concretely put into practice in freedom - the key is the concrete implementation of peace in effective stewardship, especially those who have the power to implement peace, all for the freedom of being sons and daughters of the Lord.

thus, for peace to flourish, the following conditions should be present: truth, justice, love, freedom.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Easter Sunday, B

Signs of Easter

John 20:1-9


As we contemplate Easter Sunday, the Salubong this morning is complimented with the apostles giving witness to Jesus and until now, the Church gives witness to the risen Jesus.

How do we give witness to Jesus each day?

Witnessing is personal.  The Lord talks to us, transforms us, and molds us.

The bishops and priests of each generation have a story to tell how the faith is passed to them, how they responded to the the call to serve, and how till today, despite the lures of the world, continue to be faithful to their vocation.  Each of us must have a story to tell about the Resurrection.

Second, we discern every symbol, every object, every sign.  We increase our sensitivity to the presence of Jesus, in events, people, and in ourselves.

Third, we respond by being the living signs of Jesus in the world as we inspire others to build a better world.  This this world reflect the resurrected life and not further descend to the realm of death.  Resurrect each family member to the Lord.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Easter Sunday

Salubong

Luke 11, 27 - 28


Happy Easter!

We have just witnessed the encounter between the Risen Lord and the dolorous Virgin Mary, and how her sorrow turned to joy when her black veil was unmasked by an angel.

Fr. Rafael dela Cruz, SDB presented a beautiful thesis regarding the theology of the Salubong, capitalizing on what he term as "theo-dula" or the theological drama depicting man's reality and God's salvific action.

Fr. dela Cruz said that Salubong is a mimesis of life itself, a mirror of our lives yearning for salvation.  Such is the situation of our Lady of Sorrows.  We fully know that she would not stay sorrowful, and neither should we.  We fully know that our sorrow shall turn into joy.  And that joy can only be supplied by Jesus alone.

Second, salvation is precisely what it is: fullness of communion of life.  In Tagalog, it is called "kaginhawaan", where in the Acts of the Apostles, people are not found wanting.

And third, Christ offers us the way to salvation through his passion, death, and resurrection.  It is because of these encounters between Jesus and the disciples, the faith is passed on, this time, to our own experiences.  How true are the accounted of the apostles, "We have been witnesses to all these, and Jesus sends us to proclaim to all people that God has given Jesus the authority to judge the living and the dead through the forgiveness of their sins.

Let us heed the words of the gospel, "Blessed are those who listen to God's words and keep it" by proclaiming also to others the Good News that we continue to witness in Jesus.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Good Friday

The compassionate side of the cross

This Good Friday, we commemorate the passion and death of Jesus.  We recall the words of scripture, "He was so disfigured nobody recognized him ... he was torn away from the land of the living."

On the other hand, there are these words, "The Lord burdened him with all the sins ... there was no perjury in his mouth, he took the fault on himself ... while he prayed for all sinners."

He may have died a gruesome death.  But he served as salvation for many.

Let us reflect how a life of offering would be, taking after our own model, Jesus Christ.

When I was still a young priest, my niece, who was 6 years old back then, upon watching the passion and death of Jesus, asked, "Ang bait bait niya bakit ito ginawa sa kanya?"

Honestly, I was startled I didn't know what to say.  How could I tell her that violence was all around Jesus.  How could I explain to her that we are living in a violent world and cause violence upon others?

The Papal visit at UST also had something like this when a girl wasn't able to finish her speech, and she just cried, "Why do people allow this to happen to children?"

I have no answer.  The violence was beyond comprehension.  All I know is that Jesus suffered all these, taking upon himself the sins of the world.

In last year's homily of the Holy Father Pope Francis on Good Friday, he said that there's two realities the Cross offer: "In the Cross we see the monstrosity of man, when he allows evil to guide him; but we also see the immensity of the mercy of God, who does not treat us according to our sins but according to his mercy."

"Before the Cross of Jesus, we apprehend in a way that we can almost touch with our hands how much we are eternally loved; before the Cross we feel that we are “children” and not “things” or “objects”, as St Gregory of Nazianzus says, addressing Christ with this prayer: “Were it not for You, O my Christ, I would feel like a finite creature. I was born and I feel myself dissolve. I eat, I sleep, I rest and I walk, I fall ill and I recover. Longings and torments without number assail me, I enjoy the sun and how the earth bears fruit. Then, I die and my flesh turns to dust just like that of animals, who have not sinned. But what have I more than them? Nothing, if not God. Were it not for you, O Christ mine, I would feel myself a lost creature."

Could it be that the Holy Father lived this norm by simply embracing the crying girl?  He further talked about the ministry of crying when he said something like this: "If we feel for one another, we help one another."

Thus, Jesus, in being to the cross and dying on cross, opened for us a fountain of mercy and compassion.

Let us show to the world the human and compassionate side of this cross.  Only then can we experience the saving power of Jesus who is Love himself.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Palm Sunday

Discipleship

Mark 15:1-39


As we formally enter into the Holy Week with the triumphal entry of Jesus at Palm Sunday, note that the whole scene is marked by the total discipleship Jesus exhibited to the Father as described in the Old Testament, "He gave me a disciple's tongue."

What does it mean to be a disciple?

A disciple is a disciple because of his relationship to the Master.  With whom are we related with?  Reflect all the people we are loyal to and they become our masters.  Probably we are not disciples of God.

A disciple listens attentively to his Master.  Aside from having a disciple's tongue, "he wakes me to hear his words".  Sometimes, with all these people talking around us, could we still be sensitive to the voice of the Master?

Third, a disciple is sent to deliver the message of his master, even if it means offering his very own life.  Reflect on all the apostles, the Blessed Mother, and all the saints and you will see Jesus himself.
Even when Jesus cried out, "My God, why have you abandoned me?"  Our being disciples is ultimately tested not by our successes but by our failures, and still know our Master has not left us.  Such is the very heart of Christ on the cross as he pours his love to the Father.

Are we ready to be disciples of the Lord?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

5th Sunday of Lent, B

The new law

John 12:20-33

In the last Sunday of Lent before Palm Sunday, we hear in the Old Testament about a new law which would be written in the very hearts of men and women, where people don't have to teach or remind one another about this because God's fullest presence and forgiveness dwell.

This law is Jesus himself; totally the incarnated Word of God who pleased the Father and through his very own life, we are led to the Father.  Thus, the law is not something external to guide people's way of life.  Rather, this law is written in the very hearts of people in their very person, Jesus dwells.

For me, this is the very picture of heaven itself.  We don't have to die to realize where we are going. Either we have incarnated heaven itself or we don't.  We have to make every effort to make our lives the living picture of heaven where we are totally one with Jesus.

Second, we are totally one with others.  Their hurts become our own; and in experiencing the hurt we experience every effort to heal the other and ourselves.  Just as Jesus underwent his passion, death, and resurrection, the mystery of redemption becomes our own, giving us the strength to go through our own passion, death, and resurrection where Christ is the fullest meaning of our lives and to offer our lives for the sake of others.  Then we can experience Jesus drawing everyone to himself.

Let this be our guidepost as we now enter Holy Week.  From then on, the new law is ingrained in our hearts.




Saturday, March 07, 2015

3rd Sunday of Lent. B

Heaven

John 2:13-25

Jesus did not comprise God's values when he drove the money changers out of the temple.

In the first reading, from the Book of Exodus, Moses laid out the 10 commandments of God without any revisions.

This God is not a compromising God.  Even our vision of heaven is a state of perfection, not compromising with evil by simply saying, "God will understand."

How then could we engage in the habit of being faithful to God?  First, hold on to the vision of heaven and assess how much of it we have compromised it by yielding to money, power, fame, or lust.

Second, starting falling in love with heaven.  Celebrate heaven already here on earth.  Third, sacrifice to make heaven a reality through the offering of ones life in total service to God and neighbor.

In time, we shall know if we have been faithful to the glimpse of heaven or if we have compromised it. By simply looking at our children, we shall already know if we have kept heaven in our hearts.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

2nd Sunday of Lent, B

DIvine experience

Mark 9, 2 - 10


In today's reading, Jesus was transfigured into something divine.

Abraham also had a divine experience.

Actually we all have divine experiences each day.  Even the capacity to be able to ride a jeepney is already for me a divine experience.   The only thing is how to detect the divine experience and secondly, how to make the divine experience a  way of life.

First, we can detect a divine experience by increasing our sensitivity for God's presence each day.  Our waking up every morning is already an experience of God.

Secondly, we can make each day a divien experience if we can partake of the redemption of Jesus each day.  Never think that the day passes that we are thinkng of hurting our brothers or sisters, or even retaliating against them.  Rather, what would Jesus do for the day to save humankind?

Third,  we need to see the presence of the Lord even in the darkest experiences of our lives when we feel like giving up.  Imagine a story of a family whose husband gave up on the family simply because he lost his job.  He should have detected that the lowest time of his life could be the best opportunity to show how strong his is for his wife and children.  The cross manifests the shining presence of Jesus.

So let us be sensitive to the presence of Jesus even right this very moment.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

1st Sunday of Lent, B

Good News

Mark 1:12-15


In the gospel, after being tempted, Jesus started proclaiming the Good News.  He said, ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’

What makes news Good?  Wealth, power, and blessings?  Don't the poor have good news as well?

Three things comprise the Good News - repentance, alignment of life with the Kingdom of God, and belief in the Good News.

Repentance - to hope against hope that I can transcend above all weaknesses, temptations, and sins till I see who I really am as God intended me to be.

Kingdom of God - that everything I do leads me closer to the realization of the Kingdom of God and heaven here on earth,.

Belief in the Good News - to actually live out the Good News because I am sent to proclaim it with my whole being.  Faith tells me that God sent me personally to change the world for good and to lead others to Christ.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Healing

Mark 1:40-45


Jesus healed a leper.  In the first reading, people are to cry out to the leper, "Unclean, unclean!"

Jesus aims to restore; people aim to warn others, "Unclean, unclean!" without having any intention to cure.

I would focus on healing.  Pope Francis stressed this too in his World Communications Day message, "There are many who are wounded in the digital highways. We just need to be present for them."

How do we know if our presence is a healing presence or a wounding presence?

We know if wounded, we say, "If you will to, you can cure me." Everything depends on the healer.  We can only ask and not demand. It is an opportunity for us to place ourselves under the service of the healer.

Second, if like Jesus, we say, "Of course I want to."  Jesus' presence is absolutely healing.  Ours is partially healing if we say, "We can only do so much." Our every presence is in itself healing.

Third, like Jesus' prescription, "Make an offering of healing."  Healing is a free gift.  It is repaid by another gift - ourselves.  If all people in this world are offerors, nobody would be wanting.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

The Epiphany of the Lord

Let the light to continue to shine on us

Matthew 2:1-12

Epiphany means "manifestation" of something of a Divine nature.  To be able to see means either to see with our eyes as well as our hearts.  We need faith in order to see the Divine.  We need eyes to see the concretization of faith.

We need to desire for the light that leads to Bethlehem, not the kind of light as we define it, like our wealth or power.  We should know what we are looking for: the face of the Divine in Jesus.

Second, we need to know all advantages of light to enjoy it.  The best advantage is to able to experience all: people, things, beauty, God.  It is the picture of heaven itself where God dwells.

Third, we need to know what to do or to be when enveloped by the light.  We become a nation of mercy and compassion with hearts open to the Divine and to others.

May we never let go of this light.