Saturday, April 14, 2018

The call to be a witness

3rd Sunday of Easter

Luke 24:35-48 

In the first reading, St. Peter explains the mystery of Christ's passion, death, and resurrection to give clarity to the minds of people.

In the Gospel, even though some of the disciples were still unbelieving and dumbfounded, Jesus explained to them that all of these have to happen.  They are witnesses of all these.

In the 15th day of Easter, the 3rd Sunday, we are called by the Lord to start becoming witnesses of his passion, death, and resurrection.  How can we be authentic witnesses of the Lord?

First, let's gather the moments God touched our lives.  It simply points out that we're not only ones in control of our lives.  Rather, he helps us, he sustains and he saves us; he is our Lord.

Second, we are to increase our knowledge of the love of God.  This doesn't mean simply we are to know who God is.  To know God in the level of the heart means we are moved to decide because of the love we experience which is so pure and so sublime enough to save us and pardon our offences.   Such love comes from God.

Finally, we are to move our entire being to respond also in love.  A parent who transmit God's love to his or her children becomes a witness of the powerful presence of God.  Every moment calls us to move people to conversion through actual experience of our presence to them.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Ways to concretize mercy


Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter)

John 20:19-31

The second Sunday of Easter is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday.  We remember how Jesus revealed himself to Sis. Faustina in a time of conflict and violence and promoted the messages of peace and forgiveness. 

The rays flowing from the side of Jesus symbolize the outpouring of his mercy: the red rays symbolizing the life that flowed out from the offering of his life and the white ones symbolizing the healing and purifying power of his love through the sacraments.  Thus, we pray: "Jesus, we trust in you."

In the first reading we hear of how mercy is concretely manifested in the life of the early Christian communities. 

First, they were one heart and mind.  When mercy becomes the guiding force of the community, it is bound by deepest bonds of love.  We become one in love, heart and mind with one another.  Jesus, whom each Catholic receives in the Blessed Eucharist binds each member to each other, making them one body.

Second, mercy is manifested in their faithfulness to the teachings of the apostles which are deeply rooted in Jesus himself.  We all become faithful witnesses to the heart, mind, words, and actions of Jesus, the Divine Mercy.

Finally, mercy abounds when the community shares resources for the benefit of one another.  The irony of selling all possessions and sharing them to the needy of the community results in the vibrant existence of the Church starting from its inauguration in Pentecost till today.  Acts attest that "Nobody is found wanting."  This is because even ones helped share their blessings with others.

It is inevitable that mercy will always have a concrete face, mind, heart, spirit, and body.  It is manifested in every Catholic and Christian who wishes to live as a true disciple of the Lord.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The true gift

Maundy Thursday

John 13:1-15

We formally enter into the Paschal Mystery of our Lord, or the mystery of his passion, death, and resurrection.  We need to enter fully into this mystery and know what it means for us.   And if there's a word that would encapsulate its meaning, the word would be "gift".

As we are fond of receiving gifts, we also realize that gifts have qualities needed for them to become real gifts.  For instance, a gift has to be freely given with a joyful heart.  If it is forced because we expect to receive something, then it is not truly a gift.  The Holy Eucharist and Jesus' command of love, on the other hand, are authentic gifts from Jesus.  What constitutes a true gift?

First, a gift needs to be given in the spirit of pure, immaculate intentions, as pure as a young lamb prepared for the family during the time of Moses.  In the gospel, Jesus is Begotten Son anointed by the Father with the purest heart filled with love for all of us.

As we also celebrate the Year of the priests and consecrated persons, know that God who is holy expects that his ministers too are holy, and so are the ones who would receive the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Second, a gift is given in the spirit of great humility.  The washing of the feet is the most obvious manifestation of that state of humility.  Jesus who is God, humbled himself to wash the dirtiest, most used or overworked parts of the human body - the feet.  In order to clean and wash it, there's no other recourse except to bend back and head. 

In order to give the gift of ourselves generously to others, we need a huge amount of bending.  This is the mark of a true Christian, not in the times we received God's bountiful graces, but in the times we've given ourselves to others in humble service.

And third, a gift becomes redemptive to the recipient.  In the Old Testament reading, the blood of the Lamb became the sign of salvation for the people of Israel.  Meanwhile, the Angel of Death killed the first-born of those without this sign.  The sign of our salvation is and will always be Jesus.

May our every action as Christians always account for the salvation of others.  It's time that our every gift, the gift of ourselves becomes redemptive for others.  As Jesus has ordained priests and religious in every time and place, all of us are called to make a mark in the history of salvation by becoming Jesus' gifts for the salvation of the world. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

How to live humbly

Palm Sunday

Mark 14:1-15:47 

As we enter into the holiest of all weeks, we focus all our attention to Jesus as he formally enters into Jerusalem, eventually entering into the very mystery of our salvation.

Jesus, the Beloved Son of God, enters Jerusalem riding a colt or ass, a sign of of humility.  People also respond in humility by throwing their garments on the ground and others waving palm branches that exude fragrance.

The Beloved Son of God teaches us a valuable lesson in humility.  As he humbles himself to save us, so too we respond in total humility and love to Jesus and others.

As Jesus enters the temple, he brings all of us with him.  We are built as a Church with Jesus our cornerstone.  Life is now changed in Jesus.

In the Gospel which narrates the passion and death of Jesus, humility is very much at work here.  Jesus becomes bread and wine for us to eat and drink, always keeping in mind that he, our Lord, gives himself unconditionally, body and blood, by embracing our humanity.  We are challenged to use our humanity to save others.

In conclusion, let us travel through the path of humility:

First, by ridding ourselves of any notion of self-exultation or self-preservation.  The Lord will utilize humble people for his work, not the proud and self-filled.

Second, by relying totally on his grace and goodness.  Peter was confronted with his own weakness when he denied our Lord. Yet, Jesus made him the prince of the Church.  We realize that life would have order if we rely totally on the goodness and grace of God.

Finally, by serving one another in love.  The Church which is Christ's body on earth, could be the source of hope to a world dying of sin.  Let's dedicate time, talent and treasure to be Christ's body here on earth by our love for one another. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

How to make our love perfect

5th Sunday of Lent

John 12:20-33

In the 4th Sunday of Lent, on its 33rd day, the readings point out to love - aligning our love with the love of God.

This love is the cause of the new Law that would be planted in our hearts.  We would detect it's love coming from God.  There's no need to educate us to that love.  It's Jesus' love.

We are to love as Jesus loves.  How did Jesus show his love?

He showed love through his passion, death, and resurrection.  He also invites us to enter into our deaths so we may rise again to new life in Jesus.

Second, discipleship is a natural consequence of this love.  There would be no need to explain.  The disciple in love would follow Jesus immediately.

Third, this love would lead to total emptying of self for the sake of others.  It is totally other-centered.

Never grow weary of knowing Jesus' love.  Feel it and live it.

As we celebrate St. Joseph's feast tomorrow, let's also remember how St. Joseph died to self to marry Mary as a sign of following God.  Second, he fulfilled his being disciple taking care of the Mary and Jesus, and he did it all for the sake of others.

Jesus commands us to perfect that love in our hearts.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Reasons to rejoice


4th Sunday of Lent


John 3: 14 - 21

Laetare Sunday means "Rejoice!"

According to the www.fathersforgood.org, the Fourth Sunday of Lent (March 18th) is called Laetare Sunday, when the Church takes a bit of breather from Lenten practice and opens Mass with the Entrance Antiphon, “Rejoice, Jerusalem … Be joyful, all who were in mourning!” – taken from Isaiah chapter 66 (www.fathersforgood.org/ffg/en/big_four/laetare_sunday.html).

Though Jerusalem was captured by the Persians, still Cyrus made a public declaration to build the temple and allow the people to come back and worship in the temple of the Lord.  That's a reason to rejoice.

In the Gospel, no matter how deep the wounds of sin inflict our relationship with God, he wouldn't condemn the world:  "Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.  For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved."

God's love is enough reason for the whole mankind to rejoice.

First, God loves us with an everlasting love.  Let our love for God be permanent and eternal.  Let's acknowledge the permanence of love, a love that reaches eternal life in heaven.

Second, God loves us with a salvific love.  It is supplied for us by Jesus who aimed to save us from sin.  Let's not choosy in the way we love.  Rather, let our relationship be opportunities to save the other and lead him / her to heaven.

Third, God loves us with a sacrificial love.  As Jesus chose to sacrifice his life for love, may we imitate him by suffering on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are poor.  Remember, no one attained salvation by sitting comfortably in a chair.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

How to prioritize Jesus

2nd Sunday of Lent

Mark 9:2-10

This 2nd Sunday of Lent, also 12th day of our Lenten preparation, we  focus on on the very person of Jesus. Undoubtedly, Abraham prioritized God above the life of his very own son, that's why God even said, "I swear by my own self ..."  God gives witness to his own nature.

In the Gospel, Jesus was transformed to who he really is - majestic, truly the Son of God.  Let us take time to acknowledge who Jesus is in our daily lives.  We acknowledge we placed him in the peripheries of our own preoccupations.

How do we prioritize Jesus?

First, determine which is passing and which is eternal. 

Time and again, we learn about faith.  But our faith doesn't have any hands, eyes, lips, teeth, and feet.  We ignore the call to be Church.  But remember, which of our preoccupations can lead us to heaven?

Second, relate everything with the eternal. 

In a family, the preoccupation of every parent is to provide for the well-being of the children and prepare them for the future.  But real preparation is not simply about money.  Imagine, what would our children be if we are gone?  What legacy would we leave behind?  Blessed are the parents who prioritize sharing God's values to their children.  Start determining which truly counts in heaven. 

Third, choose the first step.

Knowing the eternal in mind, we're back to our day-to-day activities.  But even the most trivial is accounted for.  How many of our activities reflect God and his kingdom?  Let our lives be a picture, not of ourselves, but of God and his reign on earth as in heaven.

Finally, learn to see God's kingdom in the daily sacrifices of life.

Learn from the passion of Jesus.  In embracing the cross, he also embraced his resurrection.  Grant that we may see Jesus in our sufferings and sacrifices and see the greater picture of salvation at hand.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

New beginnings

1st Sunday of Lent

Mark 1:12-15

Every thought about new beginnings brings freshness and rejuvenation: new year, resolutions, new life, new paths to tread, and new challenges to face. 

Our readings point out to a new beginning.  Noah and his family, coming from a world of sin and degeneracy, was given a new covenant by God.  A sign of this new beginning is a colorful rainbow which is a reminder that mankind would not be washed away by floods ever again.

In today's gospel, after being exposed to the wiles of the devil and emerging triumphant over its temptations, Jesus went into Galilee 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.'"

Let's utilize the Lenten season for our new beginnings, now with God more than ever. 

First, let that time to serve God be now or forever withhold our peace.  It should have been when we were born.  But let's realize that each day is an opportunity of new beginnings with God as our Lord and Guide.  He is Lord, meaning, we shall take time to offer our lives in adoration and service to him; and Guide, meaning, each day would be meaning because we opt to listen and respond to him.

Second, realize the kingdom of God.  Here and now, the kingdom of God dwells, not when we waste our lives with useless and worldly enjoyments and suffer the consequences of delaying the kingdom of God.  Let's be aware that what we do adds up to the realization of the kingdom of God here on earth;

And finally, Repent.  This gesture is not simply negative.  It seeks to put an end to vainglory and prioritize the Good News in our lives.  Anyone who prioritizes God in his or her life becomes a new creation with a new heart that belongs to God.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Serve Him no matter what


5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B


Mark 6:7-13

Job talks about the travails and burdens of life.  Actually, his story is also of almost all of us human beings who despite our efforts to create a comfortable life, still are beset with problems and frailties.

We need to read the whole story of Job to get the picture of life and answers to life's questions like "Why do bad things happen to good people?"  The point is found in Desiderata: "Despite the drudgery and broken dreams, it's still a beautiful world."

Jesus, in spite of forces that sought his destruction still proclaimed the Good News.  He healed, exorcised, performed miracles, and a host of good deeds.  We should learn from this experience:  No matter what happens, let us proclaim the Good News.  How?

First, serve.  Serve unconditionally.  Peter's mother-in-law, the moment she was cured, immediately served the Lord.  When we are cured, we celebrate by going to the malls.  We forget to serve the Lord. 

Second, pray.  Jesus woke up early in the morning to commune with his Father.  No matter what happens, pray.  When we are beset with problems, the first thing we do is sacrifice our prayer life; we cease going to church.  We will not be able to solve our problems when we are far away from the Lord.

Finally, fulfill the mission.  No matter what happens, let's fulfill the mission entrusted to us by the Lord.  We shall of use to him and to others.  We would be able to make a difference in this world. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Molded to be prophets


4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 1:21-28

Moses condemned the false prophets.  Jesus silenced the devils.

What we need are committed prophets of Christ, possessing a strong sense of faith and grace in the world.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, all baptized share in the prophetic function of Jesus Christ as we engage in teaching and witnessing  to lead others to the faith.  The key word is "evangelize", i.e. proclaim Christ to others by word and deed.   What do we need to get into the disposition of being evangelizers?

First, a strong sense of faith.  We cannot preach what we don't believe.  Let us make every effort to deepen our faith through on-going Catechesis and exposure to God's word.

Second,  a strong desire to evangelize.  There should be a strong desire to share the Word, even in the most ordinary circumstances.

Third, a desire to reach out to the unbelievers.  The Church teaches:  "The true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful.
"

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says: "Lay people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in catechetical formation, in teaching the sacred sciences, and in use of the communications media" (CCC, 906).

Let's seek to be true prophets, witnesses, and evangelizers of Jesus Christ to the world.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The way Jesus was reared

Feast of the Santo Niño 

Mark 10: 13 - 16

It's a joy for us to celebrate the Feast of the Santo Niño.  The entire history of the Catholic faith in the Philippines hinges on the offering of the image of the blessed Child by Magellan to Queen Juana as a gift during the baptism on April 14, 1521.

The images of the Santo Niño and Poong Nazareno really present to us profound insights on our country's adherence to Jesus, our Savior.  If we are serious in deepening our faith, let us adhere to Jesus the Child, the young man, respectable adult, and the loving Messiah.

On this blessed Sunday, we are all invited to enter into the childhood of Jesus and embed him in our hearts, minds, and lives, for we too once upon a time, became children.

First, on the hidden life of Jesus. The Church teaches us: "The hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary events of daily life" (CCC,
533).  How we were reared by our parents might be the same way Jesus was reared by Joseph and Mary.

Second, on obedience.  "Jesus' obedience to his mother and legal father fulfills the fourth commandment perfectly and was the temporal image of his filial obedience to his Father in heaven" (CCC, 532).  It gives us a rich insight on how Jesus effectively teaches us to love the Father; he's speaking from his own experience when he was a child and which we can also imitate.

Third, on doing the Father's will. "The finding of Jesus in the temple is the only event that breaks the silence of the Gospels about the hidden years of Jesus.226 Here Jesus lets us catch a glimpse of the mystery of his total consecration to a mission that flows from his divine sonship: "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work?" (CCC, 534).  How wonderful would it be if we hear these same words from our children, "I must be about my Father's work."

We are assured of the growth and development of our children when they are wholeheartedly doing the Father's affairs.  Then the Santo Niño has born fruit in our lives.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sensitivity to God's call


2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 1:35-42


We are much appreciative of our parents and those who introduced to us the ways of the faith for through them, we have known and observed it.  Today, we are capable of knowing what is bad and good; the good, we live out; the evil, we cast away.  Our religious practices and devotions are manifestations on how we are living out our faith.

But perhaps, we can aim for something better in our faith.  It is not just a set of formulae;  rather, Someone is calling us for something much greater.

This is the mystery of the call which Samuel heard.  It's not just an ordinary call.  He was instructed to respond accordingly, "Here am I, Lord, your servant is listening."

We dread the moment when we couldn't hear Him who call us everyday.  We dread every moment when we think we're the only ones conducting our lives, when we can hear what the world is saying, but cannot hear what He's saying.  God is the voice within, calling us to serve him everyday and every moment. How do we become sensitive to God's call?

First, acknowledge people and event pointing the way to Jesus.  In the Gospel, John declared, "There is the Lamb of God."  We learn about the faith through our parents, school, and church.  Let the things we learned deepen our relationship with Him.

Second, Jesus responded to the invitation of the 2 men, "Come and see."  And they followed him.  It was 4 in the afternoon.  It was at this point they were called "disciples".  A disciple follows the Lord 24 hours and for the rest of his life.  The disciple is formed according to the heart and mind of the one he's following.  We may respond to the call to be transformed according to the heart and mind of Jesus.

Third, "You shall be Cephas."   Jesus called Simon "Cephas."  When we follow Jesus, he will reveal to us our true selves, the one God intended us to be.

May parents give the best gift to their children - not only financial security in the future, but more importantly, their vocation in God.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Light that destroys the world's darkness

The Epiphany of the Lord

Matthew 2:1-12

The story of the three wise men may come to us as a great post-Christmas story with the drama of deceit, revenge and treachery.  But underneath this drama is a revelation much greater than we can ever imagine.

What an irony; Christmas comes to us not in a grandeur fashion, but in an obscure way, with the sight of a humble child resting in the manger.  This feast should lead us to notice the grandeur in the obscure and the extraordinary in the ordinary.  Where does Epiphany lead us to?

First, the light.  That light is the brightest of all lights.  It leads us directly to God; his glory shining upon all of us.  Even at nighttime the light keeps shining.  Let us be aware of God's presence every moment of our lives, in our decisions and actions.

Second, the assembly of kings.  There are only two kinds of kings reacting to this fact: ones are like Herod, who was perturbed at the thought of this king.  For he rules with corruption.  He compromises with men but contradicts God.  The second ones fall to their knees to do God homage.   They should teach us a lesson that all power comes from God and that power should be practiced most humbly.

Third, the assembly of nations.  "Lift up your eyes and look round: all are assembling and coming towards you, your sons from far away and your daughters being tenderly carried."  This is the image of the Church that serves as light to the world, teaching all children the truths of faith.  Only the Church shall walk towards the Lord.  The true Church shall see the star that leads to Jesus.  Only the Church would be able to offer the gifts fit for a king.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Mary, our torchbearer for 2018

Mary, Mother of God

Year B, Luke 2:16-21

Happy New Year!

The Church totally unites herself to God for another year of his presence and glory.  The Blessed Mother, the Mother of God is our torchbearer for 2018 and the next years to come.  She carries for us the following:

The light to shine and direct our steps and guide our decisions in life. She is the "morning star" as mentioned in the Litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Her state of Immaculate Conception is that of a bright light that illumines our minds, hearts, souls, and being and orients our lives to God.

Second, the ability to see the wonders of God.   There are two characters in the story of Christmas that describes this "seeing".  First, the shepherds who were endowed with the gift to see the majesty of God through the humble appearance of the Child in the stable.  The second one is in Mary's heart as she pondered all these things.  Pray that we may see the Lord in the daily events of our lives.

Third, incorporation into God's family.  Jesus was incorporated to the Jewish family through the circumcision.  But now, we make sure to be incorporated in God's family by active and conscious participation in being "Church", the family of God.  With the our support and service to one another, the future of families will remain bright, because all are servants and disciples of the Lord.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Orient to become God's family

The Holy Family

Luke 2:22-40

We look up to the Holy Family through which Jesus was raised to be the perfect Messiah that he truly is - grown to maturity, filled with wisdom, and God's favor was with him.

God wishes us to celebrate Christmas by incorporating us into his family through the Holy Family.  What are the signs of God's family?

First, God's family is rooted in his commandment: Honor thy father and mother.  Honoring our parents is honoring God who is is first and foremost, our Father.  Our parents are the transmitters of the faith to the children.

Second, God's family is equipped with a vision: "You may now let your servant go in peace, because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all nations to see".  Eventually every family efforts should lead us to a deeper knowledge, relationship, and awareness of Jesus' presence in our world - like seeing him in every man and woman.

Third, God's family is committed to perfection each day: "Jesus grew in maturity; he was filled with wisdom; and God's favor was with him."  Growing in maturity and in God's favor is a life-long commitment that needs to be realized in a day-to-day bas
is.  Perfection is not a goal; it is the way.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas: a world of justice, love, and peace

Christmas Day

Midnight mass

Luke 2:1-14

Words cannot express the profound effect of this humble night, unknown to the powerful, but revealed to the lowly shepherds; on how the whole world that was supposed to tremble on the coming of God, silence and peace overpowered it, with the Child born in the vilest of all places - a manger reserved only for animals; a place only the shepherds know what it is for.

But let us learn from the story of the humble birth of the Son of God and what it means to us who wish to be one with him:

First, he wishes to save his suffering people, not inflict judgment on them.  He is the Wonder-Counselor Isaiah was talking about in the First Reading; the source of peace that comes from good counsel.  He truly touches our hearts and enlightens our minds by his loving presence.

Second, his path is abject poverty, not wealth or power.  Why?  Simply because we have placed our brothers and sisters in a state of abject poverty caused by our selfishness and greed.  We thought power and wealth could make us live, but we contribute to to death and suffering.  Christ chose to stay with the lowliest of his people, so we may find ourselves devoting our lives to help, assist, comfort, and free them.  This becomes our vocation or calling in this life.

Third, he chooses the path of peace to change the world.  The option to take the path of active non-violence is so compelling that we are led to it to reach out to others, to uphold justice and speak against death and corruption, to turn weapons of violence into tools for farming and abundance; and to change the hearts of our children towards God.

It is probably ineffable at this point to actually describe the depth of Christmas; nevertheless, stay close to the manger where the poor Child lays, and the new world will open - a world of justice, love, and peace.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Fulfilling the promise of Christmas


4th Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:26-38

As we approach the blessed moment of redemption which is very imminent, our readings contain the fulfillment of the promise made to David and until now is being fulfilled in our hearing.

David was blessed by God because of his faithfulness, and God's kingdom shall be established in him.

In the gospel, the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive a son and name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.

What are we looking for this Christmas? Let us not be lost in the petty concerns of Christmas; rather, let us focus on the One who is to come into our lives, reflecting on these three things:

First, "He shall be called Son of the Most High" - As we are familiar with Jesus as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, we remember that part of the restoration of God is that fathers would be reunited with their children.  Jesus becomes the fulfillment of that reunion between God and man.  We turn to him to be reunited to our Father for all eternity.

Second, "He will be a descendant of David and will rule over the house of Jacob" - We are also familiar with King David and how he ruled Israel in justice and mercy, and God's favor was upon him.  We now remember that part of the real meaning of Christmas is to acknowledge that God established his kingdom, not only through David and his descendants, but through the living Church established by Jesus to be His living body here on earth.  Let us renew what it means to be a living Church and we shall experience the real meaning of Christmas.

Third, "His kingdom will have no end" - This phrase gives us the glimpse of what is to come - the establishment of the reign of God in all eternity.  We only need to reignite our faith in Jesus, be active in the Church, and be the Lord's disciples for all eternity.

Let the real Christmas be upon us, Jesus' eternal reign in our lives.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The poor celebrate Christmas

3rd Sunday of Advent, C

John 1:6-8,19-28

Every time Christmas comes, a parish calls its members to include the poor in their Christmas list.  This gives a powerful message that Christmas is not just about merry-making, eating good food, and exchanging gifts.  The only gift worth exchanging is us when we become God's gifts to others, especially the poor, the least, last, and lost.

The words of Isaiah regarding the one anointed by the Lord to bring glad tidings to the poor are the exact words Jesus read when he began his public ministry.  Coming from mouth of Jesus, the world is transformed to one where the poor are not ostracized; rather, they become recipients of God's overly abundant graces.

What does it mean to be God's living gifts of Good News to the poor?

First, the Word. The Word itself is Good News!  We need to be immersed more in God's word as it serves as light to our lives, molding our decisions and moving us into action.  Allot significant time to be immersed in God's word to transform our lives for good.

Second, the Light.  John the Baptist is not the light.  But he speaks for the light.  He gives witness to the light.  When we are absorbed in the Word, it lights our lives.  We see the world in a different light, God's light.  Even the poor is seen in a different light.  When we diagnose the cause of poverty in greed and selfish, otherwise known as the darkness of life, we do well to start giving of ourselves to help them.

Third, Jesus.  He is the one whom John the Baptist is referring to; the one whose sandal-strap he is not worthy to undo.  This is the very message of Christmas; Jesus is the One we are waiting for all this time.  If we only know the real meaning of the Church as the Body of Christ, then we would know how to be the living gifts or Good News to the poor.  Knowing that God is with us, "Emmanuel", his saving actions would now be possible through us men and women of the time.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Real preparation for Christmas


2nd Sunday of Advent, B


Mark 1:1-8 

How are we preparing for Christmas?

The Christmas rush is now creeping to our bones.  Such panic is exhibited to meet the deadline lead to the blessed day as well as the much-need vacation for the family.

The readings cry out "Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths."   How do we prepare for the Lord's coming?

First, remember the God who cares.  We can't place our security in material things.  Only God is our good shepherd.  Only he can straighten crooked paths.  Do we feel confident in knowing who God is and what he can do to our lives?

Second, conversion.  All John's teachings lead to a process of conversion, from sin to grace and from self to others and God.  Everything leads to conversion.  Reflect: do our actions lead to a change of heart and life?

Third, walk the talk.  John lived in total poverty and simplicity.  Obviously, God is the one taking care of him, imbibing him with the power that comes from the Holy Spirit.  All thoughts and words manifest in our actions.  Only then can we realize if our actions are leading us to God.

Real preparation comes when it is not us who live but Christ who lives in us.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Just Share!


33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25:14-30

Described in first reading is the image of a pious, perfect wife, excelling in virtues and good works.  She truly becomes the joy of her husband.

Today's gospel, the parable of the talents, calls us to be the same for our Lord, who is our bridegroom.  He gives us ample time till his second coming for us to maximize the use of our gifts at his pleasure and for the good of others.

The useless one who buried the talent to the ground symbolizes a person who despite God's gifts is not interested in sharing and even investing it for the future.  Thinking that the talent is mainly to benefit himself, he will not do anything to benefit others, thus, hiding the talent on the ground.

As in the readings, what then constitutes a fruitful life?

First, a life that is focused on pleasing the beloved

Remember the industrious wife and her relationship to her husband.  How true it is when a man and woman becomes one; when his visions and goals coincides with her, and as one body, they journey together.  Such is us and God if it is clear to us that our life's mission is to give joy to the Master instead of pleasing ourselves.

Second, a life that utilizes its own free will to please the beloved

The ample time of the master's absence did not deter the industrious stewards to fulfill their mission.  Self-motivated, their lives are abundant in blessings.  Such is also our lives here on earth, fruitful in spite of the Lord's seeming "absence" that we still utilize all gifts only for him.

Third, a life that shares itself to others

"Come share in your master's joy" is the utterance of the master as he expresses his satisfaction over the fruitful servant.  "Sharing" is truly a magical word.  When joy is shared, two persons and more are affected by that joy.  How much more when we share our gifts to the poor and help them get up.  We shall fulfill the Lord's remarks are we enter into heaven, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me" (Mat 25: 40).

We still can share our time, talents, and treasures for God and others.

Reflect: What have I shared lately to others for the greater glory of God?