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.