Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Reflections

The Language of God

What language does God speak?" a man asked this question. He went to different different places to see what people thought would be the language of God.

"Ah, the language of God is that of power, like a king!" says a powerful politician. But the man was not contented.

He went to a military officer who said, "The language of God is that of strength, like a battalion!" But he was not contented with that either.

He continued to travel to different countries until he reached a poor village one, cold night. Only one bright star guided him towards a certain location, a stable. He went inside and behold, he saw a lady and a man beside her, and in front of them, a tiny baby wrapped in swaddling clothes.

The beautiful lady called the man by his first name who wondered, "How did you know my name?" The lady answered, "I know you even before and I know the question you seek to be answered. If you want to know the language of God. Then come closer."

The man, filled with awe and wonder, went closer till he stood before a tiny, helpless baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes. As he looked tenderly at the child, he felt warmth in his being and his heart was filled with joy.

The lady said,"Behold, how God speaks. He speaks the language of love."

photo: forums.catholic.com

Feast of the Holy Family

May our families imitate the Holy Family of Nazareth, which is

model-par- excellence. From them we can learn love, trust, respect, and growth.

The parents hold the key to forming their children's personalities. The constant threats of divorce, separation and abuses alienate our children from growing up with trust and strength. Mary and Joseph were always there for Jesus.

Children learn from their parents who have gone through a lot of trials to bring them up. Today, some children are more aggressive in disobeying and disrespecting their parents. Jesus respected his parents. And from this intense experience of parenthood, Jesus taught us to call God "our Father".

As children grow up, they take up the responsibility of their parents and serve society. Now, we see selfishness abound - children leaving their parents or childish irresponsible adults committing one immorality after another. Jesus' formation at home enabled him to do his Father's will and be the source of salvation for many.

Take the Holy Family as the model of our families.

photo: Immaculate Conception Parishes and Schools

Solemnity of Mary, the mother of God

We celebrate New Year with Mary as mother of God.

We don't just make New year resolutions. In the eyes of faith, we are provided that direction of becoming better, of growing up and maturing in our faith, that as the years go by, we would see how deeper we are living out our Christian life and how the Lord becomes real for us.

Mary played a big role in bringing hope and meaning to mankind's history. By bringing Jesus into the world, the world became sanctified. That is why we recognize her as the mother of God. But we also recognize Mary's role as the mother of the Church. She gathers her children and teaches us the way to her Son.

Let us rid ourselves of any doubt as to Mary's role or downgrade her position before God. For she will always be a mother to us to lead us back to her Son, Jesus.

Photo: Boston Catholic Journal


Epiphany commemorates the manifestation of the Lord. It is symbolized by the star in the night sky which was the guiding light of the magi in their journey toward Jesus. On the other hand, Herod wanted to kill the child Jesus, he also wanted to see him, but because of his foolishness he couldn't detect the sign.

Many people are now misled. They have chosen to live in darkness instead of the light. But they are badly mistaken. How long will it be before they realize the futility of going in the wrong direction, of living in darkness? As Christmas is formally ending with Epiphany, may the same feast be the beginning of our lives to see and love Christ, to nourish Him by makingour Christian commitments alive and growing.

Photo: Diocese of Springfield, Illinois

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas 2006

My dear family and friends

Year 2006 has given me so much blessings, I thank God for all He has given me.

First, I was amused with the snow in Milan and the community winter outing at Mentorella.

Then, Holy Week was much rewarding for me as I got to see Lourdes together with the Christian community in Milan. So many people need healing and Mary is there to assist them.

Witnessing Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales' consistory becomes a once-in-lifetime experience for me. I was able to see the Holy Father up close and participated by giving communion together with my fellow priests here in the Collegio.

The grueling finish of the academic year was terrible, but it was worth it. I had to take a quick leave to Austria where Cholo and family accommodated me. Again, I could not imagine myself travelling to places such as this.

Summer was spent assisting at the Parish of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield New Jersey with Fr. Rich Kwiatkowski as parish priest.

I was also able to celebrate the Feast of San Lorenzo Ruiz with the Multicultural Ministry leading the choir.

And while in the States, I was able to visit my sisters Annie and Eva in Chicago, my classmate Fr. Sammy Alvero and UST High School classmate Eric Sabinano in Florida, and the parishioners of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in California.

Of course, I would never leave watching Broadway musicals in New York!

Back at the Collegio this October and now in my second year, I must say that my subject are not as hectic as last year, but they are equally challenging as well. I can’t say I’ve adjusted to the courses or to speaking in Italian, but now, I’m focusing on doing my tesina, hopefully to be of assistance to Philippine Church through mass media evangelization. Here in Collegio Filippino, I’ve been assigned as music coordinator and socials com, and recently, we just celebrated our Christmas party.

Continue to pray for me so I’ll be able to finish this course as scheduled. And meanwhile, let’s pray for each other that our Lord and our Blessed mother will take care of us and our family members, till we see each other again!

Fr. Lito Jopson

Joyful expectations

3RD Sunday of Advent
cycle C
Gospel: Lk. 3: 10-18

As the third candle of the advent wreath is lit, we are reminded of how close the Lord is to us and how joyful we would be in meeting Him.

John the Baptist was also filled with joy as he announced the coming of the Messiah. But his approach was different. He did not focus on himself, on how good his words were, and how he could deliver a message of hope.

Rather, he immediately translated hope into action: to demand for payment other than what is required, to give one's tunic, not to extort anyone ... all these are signs of hope, especially for those who think that life is filled with despair.

The greatest teaching of John was to introduce Jesus as the Messiah, the transmitter of the Holy Spirit. This self-oblation puts Jesus at the center of things and not John. This act makes more concrete the work of salvation.

Again, we pray to be like John the Baptist on the road to helping others on the road to salvation. The most wonderful experience of Christmas is when a people, submerged in poverty and sin, would start moving on the road to healing and salvation just because they pave the way for the coming of the Lord.

Photo courtesy of: http://www.pain-heartache-hope.com/

Saturday, December 09, 2006

One Voice

Second Week of Advent
Cycle C
Gospel: Luke 3: 1 - 6

You must have heard the song, "One voice"singing in the darkness; all it takes is one voice, singing so they'll what's on your mind and when you look around you'll find there's more than one voice ...

Mass media like television and print and even public opinion are capable of projecting a message claiming that it is shared by all - that everyone buys this and that product, that people want charter change, that money, vice, luxury, and power are the most important things today.

Yet there are those who in the silence of their lives know it is not so, those whose lives reflect a committed faithfulness to God, to life, and to values. If only more of these people would be heard, then consumerist motives of mass media would be silenced, self-centered politicians included. Then we would know we are not alone in the quest of doing good and living in the truth.

All it takes is one voice - a single voice like John the Baptist to know that salvation has been here all along, that is it possible to be faithful, to live in values, and to heal wounds. We just need to hear more, and find others singing the same tune that gives light, life, and hope.

Volunteer to be that voice this coming Christmas. Be a catalyst; move against the flow; let the single voice of truth be heard. Don't worry; it's not our voice that is being heard; it's Gods. Especially if your words bring freedom and healing; surely, it would be like Jesus healing us all over again!

Photo courtesy of: melkite.org

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Put down those glasses!

1st Sunday of Advent
Cycle C
Gospel: Lk. 21: 25 - 28, 34 - 36

It's interesting how philosophy of science explains paradigm shifts and crises in science. The classic example would be the Copernican theory of the earth revolving around the sun and not vise-versa. Prior to that, everyone thought that the earth is at the center of the universe. But things are just so complicated. There is hardly anything coherent in mathematical systems and concepts. Not until the 16th century when Nicolaus Copernicus, a polish astronomer, changed this view. Then mathematical formulae became simpler.

There's a saying that we look at the world through a certain colored glasses. And if the color is red, that's what we see. But if others are saying that it is green, and others, colored, we might as well remove those glasses to be able to see things from another perspective.

Our gospel is about the destruction of the world. It may refer to the end times or significant events in history that simulated the end of the world. But it may also refer to the way we see things that need to be destroyed first before another one more beautiful than what we're desperately holding on to can be built.

Jesus invites us to a change of paradigm. Like the earth to the sun, he invites to destroy our orientation that it is us at the center of our own selfish universe and put on the new one that revolves entirely around Him. Like the glasses of our narrow-minded world, he invites us to remove them so we can put on Jesus and see things more clearly.

So far today, we see suffering and pain while others live luxuriously. See as Jesus sees and many people will live. This advent, prepare to put Christ at the center.

Photo courtesy of http://byzantinearts.com/

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