Sunday, February 24, 2008

From darkness to light

4th Sunday of Lent
Cycle C
Photo courtesy of Vision Vocation Guide

The gospel presented to us today is about the contrast between sight and blindness. The man cured by Jesus from blindness could now see while the Pharisees who were supposed to see the religious reality are actually blind.

We have physical eyes, but we also have the eyes of faith. Haven't we learned from the book The Little Prince? What is essential is invisible to the eyes. So let us reflect what seeing with the eyes of faith means.

It means seeing beyond what we actually see. Instead of admiring what we can see now, like the beauty of flowers and trees and the flowers, pay tribute to the source of beauty of it all, the God who created all of creation. Whenever we see these, we should see God who cares for us and created this beautiful world for our enjoyment.

Secondly, seeing through the eyes faith means that we respond also in faith. We utilize our whole being to respond to God's call; not just in attending Sunday masses but in every opportunity of life. Authentic faith in Jesus is not in compromising His values for lesser ones, but in committing to remain faithful to Him until He comes again.

Thus the reward is great for those who truly see. There is total freedom in God.

We're never done

3rd Sunday of Lent
Cycle A
Photo courtesy of: Christian Theological Seminary

The Lenten season should enable us to reflect deeply on the quality of our faith, on how it is progressing. That's why we have to celebrate it each year, so we would be transformed, our hearts purified to see Christ.

The problem lies when we opt to stay in our own selfish worlds and not progress in our faith. What an ironical situation when we want to progress materially, make ourselves richer and more famous, but actually remain poor inside. We need to open our hearts and ask for that conversion before we actually think that God is not important in our lives, only money.

The story of the Samaritan woman and Jesus is a classic example of this apathy to faith. The Samaritan woman, set in her ways, was ostracized by society, was content by just walking by the well when no one else comes, because they knew who she was. But Jesus in his loving concern for the woman, talked to her and guided her to experience God's love for her. Eventually, she recognized that the one she's talking to wasn't an ordinary human being. she was talking to Jesus the Messiah.

We are never done in this world. The Lord is always calling us to himself. He never allowed us to stay in our sinful state. We should not be content with not receiving communion just because we are in the state of mortal sin because we are not married. Or when we feel that God abandoned us and we opt to live in our darkness, it is not true. Our hearts will always yearn to live in the light. Respond to God then.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Can you see God?

2nd Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Life is a series of risks. But there is also what we know as calculated risks. In investment, we can't move forward unless we risk. In risking, we have to make thorough research and initial judgments. Then we adjust as we move along. We need to maintain an open mind as see where we are going and if our risks are paying off.

Risks happen even in relationships. We cannot forever remain in our shells; we have to risk giving ourselves to others. Let us not lose the opportunity of getting to know others.

Applied to religion, we risk giving ourselves to doing God's work. If we make initial judgements and not participate in Church activities, we might see the fruits of real service; we'll end up selfish and greedy while others languish in poverty. We may eventually lose sight of the One who calls us to a life of service - God Himself.

Today, Jesus was transfigured in the mountain of Tabor. Never did it cross the minds of Peter, James, and John, that Jesus would be transformed, with clothes as bright as the sun, and be counted as one among the revered in Jewish history. Out of the ordinary comes the extraordinary, Jesus as the Messiah, the Holy one of God.

How many have lost opportunities for consider things? How many have turned to greet because they fail to see what is "extraordinary"? Pray to see the light. Pray to see God right in the people you see, even the insignificant.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Beatitudes live on!

4th Sunday in Ordinary time,
Cycle C,
Matt. 5: 1 - 12

The scripture gives reference to exulting the poor, "Happy are the poor in spirit ..." and from the prophecy of Zephaniah, "Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth..." Which among the poor makes them special in God's eyes?

The poor in the Old Testament refers to the "anawim" - the widow, the stranger, and the orphan, those who were totally helpless as they cry to nobody else except God. In our world today, we include the elderly who remain unvisited in convalescent homes, the unborn who is threatened abortion by an unwelcome mother, and all the poor whom we have left behind as we strive to earn our our worlds and build our own kingdoms. What is special in all of them? The answer is evident - God.

It's not that there is a literal condemnation of the rich and the powerful and the exultation of the poor, because even some of the poor blame God or have left God. All of us, if we ever reach a point when we say we have no need for God because we are self-sufficient, because we have medical insurance and are wealthy, are looking for trouble. We cannot add another strand of hair nor another breathe of life if it is our time. In spite of all the things we have, we need the Lord, then we are poor.

Thus, to possess the spirit of the Beatitudes is to be oriented to the life of total dependence on the Lord - possessing the virtues of poverty of spirit, gentleness, seeking consolation when in mourning, purity of heart, justice, and being a peacemakers. We shall all possess the crown not of this world, but the crown of real life that comes from God!