Sunday, July 17, 2016

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Choosing the better part

Luke 10:38-42 

It may seem that Jesus preferred prayer over work.  But this is not the message of the story of Martha and Mary.  The message is "choosing the better part."

Abraham, though he had a wife and household, chose the better part when he decided to accommodate the guests who turned out to be angels.

Jesus chose to suffer and die for our salvation.  What better part are we choosing?

If we continue to work actively in the world instead of working for the salvation of people and for the greater glory of God, we have not chosen "the better part."  Even for people who say that serving God through the family but are actually too busy to serve God directly are not really choosing the better part.

To choose the better part, we have to consciously and unreservedly choose to follow Jesus above all else, Jesus who is "the way, the truth, and the life." (John, 14, 16)  From this basic premise lies what we are to do in this world.

We follow Jesus as "way" when we follow him to his passion, death, and resurrection and carry our own crosses for the salvation of others.

We follow Jesus as "truth" when in spite of the noise this world offers, we choose to heed only to the truths of faith.

Finally, we follow Jesus as "life" when we choose to live in the love that he offers to us, unconditional, pure, and self-giving.

If our decision will redound to bringing others to God's reign and giving the honor and adoration due to God, we have chosen the better part.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday of week 15 in Ordinary Time, II

On being chosen

Matthew 12:14-21

All of us have own plans on earth, replacing what God wants us to do in the world.  By own actions we thought we can just move about the earth and follow our dreams.  But imagine a dream followed that is not in accord with God's dream - death is sure to follow.

In the midst of life's plans, there is Someone who calls us, chooses us and sends us on a mission.  His name is God.  And He will not take it sitting down until his will is followed by everyone.

Let's focus on "being chosen" vs. "choosing ourselves."  The former may in the passive tense, but it connotes a much direct reference on the One who chooses us, God himself.  While the later would consist of a stream of self-motivated actions with us moving according to our own whims and caprices, the former directly reflects the very image of God who chooses us make this world a better place.

God chooses us, but unfortunately, we couldn't detect it because we are so busy saving our lives.  How do we live a life chosen by God?

First, for the chosen, God's spirit dwells in him.  Jesus, whose spirit is God's spirit, is the concrete image of the God's presence in the world.  We as human beings are meant to manifest God's spirit and not our own.

Second, we are able to proclaim the true faith and not be swayed by false ones.  Millions of schools of thoughts and philosophies continue to be created.  But chosen will be able to detect truth from lies.  The worst form of lie is the absence of God or even the irrelevance of religion as a way of life.  From our view of religion, our way of life is affected and how we spend our time, talent and treasure.

Finally, the chosen will directly reflect God's love.  He would not be violent or vindictive, but salvific as God's love saves us.  Our dreams  will account to nothing if we don't live out God's love.

The result: all nations will put their hopes in God because His way is the way of truth, love, and life.  Everything points to Jesus.



Sunday, July 10, 2016

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C

Mercy

Luke 10:25-37

The reading from Deuteronomy assures us, "The Word is very near you, it is in your lips and in your heart." (Deut. 30, 14)

Such is God's law that is planted in the very hearts of people. Another word for this is simply "mercy".

Mercy is Jesus as he saves us by enduring all sufferings for our sake.  And as God is overly merciful with us, so we need to be merciful to God, to others, and also to self.

Mercy or "hesed" is God's loving care.  It is love with hands and feet that moves and acts for others.  Three more action words connote mercy.  These are forgiveness, empathy, sharing.

In the world of forgiveness, we share in God's forgiveness.

In empathy, we need to feel with one another before we can help them.

In sharing, we use what we have and share them to our brothers and sisters.

Mercy can only be the concrete and tangible way of loving God and our neighbor.


Saturday, July 02, 2016

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Be laborers of the harvest

Luke 10:1-12,17-20

Everything in  the first reading tells us about life - flowing river, a nourishing mother, flourishing like the grass.

This is how God sees the world and us.  Though we see sin, evil, and poverty, Jesus sees a great harvest, "The harvest is great but the laborers are few." He commands us to ask the Father to send laborers to the harvest. (Lk. 10, 1-10)

We are those laborers.  But do we allow ourselves to be God's laborers?

In order for us to be laborers, we need to know the following:

1. Do we know our roles here on earth?  If we are intent on just following our dreams of a better life, we are not laborers of the harvest.  Why are we on earth for?

2.  Have we responded to God's cal to send us?  Have we gone to communities, even the peripheries?  Do we even know that we are sent?  Again, if we are too busy with our affairs, we don't have the capacity to listen to the one who sends
us.

3.  Have we cured the sick?  When was the last time we gave food to the hungry, clothes to the naked, home for the homeless.  When have we brought sight to the blind and made the lame walk?  Have we brought a dead man back to life by bring hope to him?

If we haven't started any of these things, no wonder we cannot attribute all good things as coming from God, nor do we recognize the flowing river, the nourishing mother, and the flourishing grass.

But we have experienced these things.  Can we just allow ourselves to be sent by Jesus and the real beauty in this world?