Friday, November 24, 2006

My kingdom is not of this world

Feast of Christ the King
Cycle B
Gospel: Jn 18: 33- 37

"My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews."

Two things: that Jesus proclaimed that he is king, and thus, is judged as a traitor; second, that in his kingdom, his subjects would be doing the right thing and defend Jesus with their lives.

Two reflections: Jesus' kingship is one of radicality and not passivity as we know it. We can describe Jesus as "meek and mild", but in actuality, Jesus came to establish a "radical kingship", in sharp contrast with worldly values, one that transforms, converts, and re-creates the present situation. Theologians describe it as a "revolution of love", for with true love, there is a conscious decision to offer one's life. In the paradigm of Jesus' radical kingship, hearts are minds are changed according to his likeness.

Second, we are called to live out this radical kingship by concretely living it our in our lives and encouraging others to do the same. Heaven may be in the afterlife, but it can be very much real right now as we live out God's kingship in the concreteness of our lives - to love and serve Jesus, to live out his teachings, and to defend Him with our own lives.

Just notice the injustices and selfishness outside and realize how far we all are from the kingship of Christ. With this thought, there's so many things to be done for Jesus. Let's activate our Christian identity and join Jesus in establishing his kingship "on earth as it is in heaven."

Photo courtesy of: Roman Catholic Church, Luderitz, Namibia

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

The end times

33rd Sunday
cycle B

Throughout the scriptures and in salvation history, the Second Coming of the Lord is always the ultimate moment every Christian is waiting for. As St. Paul would describe it, all Christians would gather in the heavens and meet the Lord with great joy.

Unfortunately, for others, they dread this moment and fear its coming. Others just brush it aside because it's still far off. This is not in any way the spirit of the scripture texts and the reality of salvation. Perhaps people are so preoccupied with building mansions, kingdoms and legacies in this world as though it would last forever. But the kingdom of the Lord "on earth as it is in heaven" is pushed till that "last moment".

Kingdom of heaven is an "already but not yet"; right here and now in our midst but also something to yearn for; it is a kingdom of justice, peace, and joy. It is a world where we are all centered on Him and his blesses us and our work. It is much more than all the earthly kingdoms we've been building for ourselves and others. When it comes, we shall not desire for anything anymore.

Feel the excitement then of being with the Lord; desire to see Him; join Him in his work. Love him above all others. And when he comes, welcome Him with open arms. Give him a gift, not shame but love.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

The secret is in giving

32nd Sunday in ordinary time
Cycle B

It may sound really simplistic, but the key to life is not in receiving but in giving.

It's hard to accept this because we are more accustomed to receive rather than give. When we were children we knew couldn't live unless we receive food, clothing, shelter, and education from our parents. Though adulthood is a transition from receiving to giving, still we find it hard to change our paradigm. We work to earn; and we earn to sustain our families.

Today's readings invites us to practice radical giving. In the book of Kings, Elijah asks for the last piece of food from the widow and her son, and they ended up having food because they offered their last piece to God's work. God never ceases to bless those who are like him. He sacrificed His very own Son, Jesus Christ to be our daily bread in the Eucharist. The widow's mite in the new testament is a concrete picture of how God loves - till the very end.

Without God's generosity, we cannot imagine how we can still live today. The only thing that is keeping us alive right now are not the wonders of science and technology, neither riches or fame, nor our homes and our work, but God's generosity.

We too are called endlessly to a radical form of self-giving. Maybe in the past we have chosen a particular thing or person and sacrificed all others and even ourselves; maybe we have chosen to sacrifice our valuable time, talent and treasure in cause-oriented projects. If we have felt extreme joy in giving especially to those who cannot repay us back, then we know we have the gift of generosity.

Now imagine what would happen all of us live to give, and in giving, live?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Law of Love

31st Sunday in ordinary time
Cycle B

"Love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself."

Not only this law is for the Jewish, it's also for us Christians. But mainly, for every person of goodwill that the law of love applies.

It's a wonder how in the early days in the history of mankind the law that points out to love could be spelled out as clearly as could be. We shout have attained maturity in dealing with others by now. Nations should have regarded other nations by now. Secondly, the law points to the source of love who is God, and we the created are called to follow our Creator.

In this generation today, we see a deterioration of humanely acts and acts which spring out from authentic love. Wars, selfishness and greed - despite the advancement in technology, the world is going back to the age of barbarism.

Pray to follow the ways of the Lord in the path of true love. Follow the path that Jesus took, the one that leads us to salvation and grants us our hearts back. Pray to translate this law into the law of every land, and one that governs peoples and nations. A sign that poverty, violence and sin will decrease is when all are imbued with God's love and live it out concretely in our lives.

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