Saturday, January 24, 2009

The world is passing away

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle B
Gospel: Mark 1:14-2

It is remarkable that St. Paul mentioned about the world as passing away and therefore, one should prioritize one's activities here on earth. If the world or our lives were to end soon, how would have spent it?

Jesus did not waste any time in fulfilling his goal. He invited men to join him and become his apostles. The apostles in turn responded quickly and left everything they had to follow Jesus. Then the rest was history - a prophetic, kingly, and priestly Church, the people of God.

Time belongs to God. How quickly do we respond to God's call? How convinced are we to understand that our lives do not belong to us? Let us then imitate the Master in maximizing our time to the fullest. First, let us realize that time doesn't belong to us; it belongs to God. What we are wasting is God's time and our time here on earth. Pray that when the time comes, the Lord may find us using time as He wished us to use it.

Secondly, offer that time to be fruitful. In one management book, an author clarified the work of employees by asking them, "What would be your contribution to the company?" This would also streamline our activities, not only avoiding waste of valuable time, but all to maximize it to the fullest. What would be our contribution to this world? What would be our contribution to God's work?

Let us utilize time in fulfilling the Lord's will and contributing to the work of salvation.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sto. Nino, symbol of humility

Feast of the Sto. Nino in the Philippines
Gospel: Mark 10: 13-16

On the solemn Feast of the Sto. Nino, we are reminded to enliven our faith instead of letting it remain stagnant because of negative effects of popular religiosity. Among the wrong notions of practicing the faith is treating the image of the Sto. Nino as a good luck charm. The devotion to the Infant Jesus brings a much deeper theology than the one mentioned.

First, Jesus' infancy and childhood is all about humility, poverty, and obedience. it is never about crowns, power or wealth. May we be reminded that despite the things that we own, we rely totally on God for our existence.

Secondly, Jesus' infancy brings out the glory of God the Father. Like St. Paul who said, "I boast of my weakness" because God becomes his strength, so too we proclaim God's majesty and glory through our nothingness, otherwise, we are acting like little gods in this world; we don't have time to serve our Father simply because we are so busy creating our own worlds.

and thirdly, the gospel reminds us not to cause scandal to the next generation simply because of serving as wrong examples to them. The reality of social sin is bringing havoc over the moral and spiritual growth of our children. Who would then among our children recognize the Fatherhood of God if we as adults don't give good examples of Christian servanthood to them?

Let us imitate the ways of Jesus - humble and obedient, giving glory to the Father, and serving as good example to others.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy new year!

I just want to greet everyone a happy new year, and thanks for staying in touch!

Friday, January 09, 2009

May the flame of baptism be upon us!

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Gospel: MARK 1 : 7 - 11
Photo courtesy of: A Catholic life

We appreciate occasions of baptism. The babies are cuddly and cute. We are fond of watching them in their baptismal attires. We feel proud when we could invite dozens of guests and godparents for the occasion.

Sad to say, in a study conducted in a parish, 80% of the parents of these children are not married in the Catholic Church. What is the sense of baptizing a child when the home that will nurture it is not attuned to God’s ways?

We remember on this day that Jesus himself was baptized. If we could rekindle the meaning of our own baptism, then truly, the description of Jesus’ baptism would also apply to us, i.e. the heavens would open and the Holy Spirit like a dove would come down from it.

Baptism orients us to who we are and what we are. We belong to God. We are not just flesh and bones. We are not even sinful. We are cleansed by the dying and rising of Jesus Christ. We are who we are: adopted sons and daughters of the Lord.

Baptism opens the world before us. It opens us to the world of our neighbors, fellow families. I am saddened by daily news of hatred, or crimes, of abuses done to our neighbors. But there’s no news about the positive things we do to others. Baptism opens us to the world of families.

Finally, baptism opens us to the world ahead of us. Our task is to develop the family of God. Our task is not to gain money. Our task is not even to survive but to live in love. It is our task to love and to go to heaven. Baptism opens us to the future. And what we do today accounts to how we can reach the future. Could vices lead us to heaven? Could abuses lead us to heaven? Certainly not.

Baptism is life. It is also fire. May the flame of faith arise in each one of us to remind each other of the commitments that we made during baptism.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

To be "magi"

Solemnity of the Epiphany
Gospel: Matthew 2: 1-12

In this solemn feast of the Epiphany, or the manifestation, we recognize that all paths lead to Jesus as King, Lord, Messiah, and the God of our lives. And it takes one to be a "magus" to be able to recognize the King.

Are we still interested in becoming magi, wise in every way and able to detect the Lord? With the presence of concepts, ideologies, and instruments, like mass media, science, and globalization, all these seem to dampen our sensibilities to recognize the "divine" and render Him irrelevant in our lives.

To be magus, one has to turn one's orientation totally to the Lord, to see His world, not ours, and to respond to live out His will. This will need a discerning heart, lest we fall into the darkness of being lost along the way.

What is needed is a pilgrimage of faith, to constantly on a lookout for that star on where it would lie. In a pilgrimage, everything of ourselves is required.

And finally, we should trust the "star" that leads to Christ. That star is everything we hope for in this world till the next. For the Church, it is the vision of a renewed humanism as Pope Benedict puts it in his message last year regarding Epiphany. As the light is the main cause to recognize the poor child in the manger is the Son of God, we trust it to lead us to recognize the Lord in our pilgrimage of faith toward salvation.