Saturday, June 25, 2016

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C

Following Jesus

Luke 9:51-62

The readings reflect the urgency of following God.

Elisha followed Elijah and succeeded him only after doing final service to his father.

In the gospel Jesus  reprimanded those whom he called but have to do some errands first, "Those who look back are not fit to enter into the kingdom of heaven."

There are three connotations of following: the first one is about following the law; the second one involves physically following another, and the third one involves offering one's life to do the will of another.

Jesus commands us to radically follow Him.  Going to church every Sunday and following the 10 commandments are simply not enough.   We need to follow the Lord and live out His will if we wish to gain eternal life.

The Song "Day by day" can give us a glimpse on how we can follow Jesus.  The lyrics go this way:

Day by day
O dear Lord, three things I pray -
to see Thee more clearly,
love Thee more dearly,
follow Thee more nearly day by day.

See Thee more clearly ... The reason we opt for material things instead of God is because we don't exert effort to know him each day through the teachings of the Church and the Word of God and the reception of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.  We cannot start loving someone whom we don't know.

Love Thee more dearly ... It's a bit odd for men to propose love to women if in the first place, they neither know how God loves nor do they love God.  For love to be sincere, it has to be deeply rooted in God's love, for God is love.

Follow Thee more nearly ... Each day, let us make it a point to get closer to Jesus, to develop intimacy with Him, serve Him, and follow Him in carrying our crosses.  Martyrs receive the crown of everlasting life because of their adherence to Jesus through the offering of their lives.  Are we ready to align our lives with Jesus?

If we do these things, seeing, loving, and following Jesus, then everything we do is Jesus' fruitful work on earth.  People would see and feel the love of Jesus concretely.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Suffer for love of Him

Luke 9:18-24

Jesus may have asked, "Who do people say I am?" but actually, he wants us to know him as one who suffers for our sake.

The first reading mentions it, "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." (Zech 12, 10 - 11)

The Eucharist is not just a celebration of food and thanksgiving.  It is a remembrance of the sufferings of Christ.  Whenever we receive the Eucharist, salvation is attained at the expense of Jesus' offering of self on the cross.  Reception of the Eucharist is not a right to be demanded; but a gift freely given by God who loves us.

May we identify with the sufferings of Christ.  First, we need to know what we are suffering for.  For Jesus it is very clear, he had to suffer and die to save us.  To what are we suffering for?

Second, to suffer means to feel with those who are actually suffering.  We stop complaining not just because we don't have the luxuries but because we know there are those who are dying each day for lack of food and justice.  We need to empathize with them before we can help them.

Third, the path to heaven is a series of wounds inflicted by sin but healed by forgiveness and love.  This is our real connection with Jesus.  We live each day embracing our crosses, sacrifices, and sufferings to be totally united with him and with one another.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C

Forgive

Luke 7:36-50


We are invited by the readings to forgive.

But forgiveness cannot be possible unless we admit that we have sinned.  Imagine, if we claim we have not sinned, then the world would be living in unity and sharing.  But it is not.  Unless we admit our sinfulness, God cannot forgive us.

Second, know that God is the one who forgives and not just ourselves.  When we forgive we are sharing in God's power to forgive.

Third, we need to realize the fruits of forgiveness - the state of becoming whole and well, uniting with God, healing, restoring to life.

We should be more concerned about this than inflicting pain, hatred, and vengeance against those who sinned against us.

Forgive then; forgive endlessly.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C

Power to bring to life

Luke 7:11-17


The readings tells of Jesus and the Prophet Elijah raising the dead sons to life and giving them back to their mothers.

The mother replied, "You are the man of God; and the word of God is in you."

The Eucharist brings life to our dying souls.  Such is the heart of God, life itself.  There is no space for death nor corruption.

The beginning is life.  The end is life.  All that lies between them is life.  Let's reflect on each one.

At the beginning of all our intentions is to bring life, but to whom?  Only to ourselves?  Let us bring life to all, even to those dead in sin.

Second, what process are we doing to bring life?  Killing?  The means are as important as the end.  Let's be consistent with bringing life.

Third, where are we going with all these?  Eternal life?  Salvation for all?  Let our actions account for the salvation of many.  This is the very heart of Jesus.

Friday, June 03, 2016

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Good Shepherd

Luke 15:3-7

The image of the Good Shepherd is the closest picture to describe the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It poses three challenges to us Christians: food, the Good Shepherd, and the sheep.

First, the Good Shepherd brings the sheepfold to green pastures where there is an abundance of food.  The image of food is central to our faith because of the Holy Eucharist. It is challenge that as we receive spiritual food from our Lord, we are called to provide food for our hungry brothers and sisters through justice and mercy.

Second, the image of the Good Shepherd is that of a merciful, caring shepherd.  The more we get to know Jesus, the more he embeds his merciful heart upon us, causing us to be merciful as well.  Hatred and vengeance do not have a place in his merciful heart.

Finally, the sheep is deeply connected with the Good Shepherd.  Here we actually practice and live out mercy as well, enough to give life to our brothers and sisters.  This is the task of life, that we become Christians molded after the very heart of Jesus.

May we wear the scapular and align our hearts with Jesus' heart.