Saturday, August 29, 2009

Have we compromised our faith?

22nd Sunday in Ordinary time
Cycle B
photo courtesy of Franciscan Action Network

There are some things in this life that we should regard as "non-negotiables" - freedom, love, trust, respect, honesty. If we haven't compromised these to lesser values, we are indeed blessed.

Faith is non-negotiable, but have we compromised it lately? How do we regard our relationship with the Lord? Do we relegate Him to second place? God also calls us to possess a pristine faith. We are all called to regard our Lord as God above any other. Does He deserve the way we are treating Him right now?

Secondly, we nourish a lively faith if our lives are oriented to serve all people, most specially the poor. All deserve to live, not just ourselves. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the universal destination of goods is to render life to all people, even our private properties.

Thirdly, we sustain our faith unto eternal life if we can truly say that we haven't compromised our values. This is our gift to God - ourselves as pleasing offerings.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We are on FACEBOOK!

Friends, we are on FACEBOOK! Just look for my name so we can interact better there. I post our latest gospel reflections, movie reviews, and reflections about our country. All of these make sense in helping us be inspired with the things that influence our lives. God bless!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

3 levels of faith

21st Sunday in Ordinary time
Cycle B
John 6: 60-69
photo coutesy of timelytidbits

After 5 weeks of intensive orientation about Jesus as the Bread of Life, Jesus' living words fell on deaf ears.

How could people do this to the Lord? And how could we in today's generation still abandon Him? The Lord has the best intentions, but we are the ones' stifling his plans.

Let us cooperate with his grace. Then we shall see that the Lord is correct all along.

We need the gift of faith to realize the Lord's plan in our lives. The faith has three levels: first, faith enables us to do good and and avoid evil. Let's face the fact that life is a not a choice between good and evil. Rather, it is a choice between two goods - the good the comes from ourselves and the better one that comes from following God.

The second level of faith entails doing what pleases the Lord and not ourselves. Go to confession. Get married. Be active in church activities. Give to the poor.

The third level is the most matured way of manifesting the faith. It entails offering everything for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, denying ourselves of what we want, embracing the world of suffering and pain, being simple in life, teaching values to others, loving and not expecting to be loved, to give and not to receive, to suffer persecution and ridicule, and yes, to offer one's life totally for God.

All of us who are bound for heaven should enter into the third level of faith - to work only for the greater glory of God. This should be the fruit of Jesus' teachings. This is our response to the overwhelming mercy of God and to give life to others, most specially, the poor.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Knowledge and Wisdom

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle B

Both knowledge and wisdom are gifts from the Holy Spirit. There is supposed to be a beautiful relationship between the two. Unfortunately, some choose to stay at the level of knowledge. Some gain wisdom only after having experienced so much in life. There will be a time when we think that we know all things, but only now do we realize we haven't learned a single thing.

In the readings, lady Wisdom invites the readers to enter its world. It prepares food that lasts forever. It invites the foolish to take wisdom's course. It is not plain knowledge that we should aim for; it should be wisdom.

Take the analogy of food. People have spent so much - their time, talent and treasure, just to ensure that there is food on the table. Some want to acquire more than just food - wealth, fame, reputation. But like physical food these are as good as our time here on earth. When will we realize that given all our investments of the 3 Ts, we haven't invested at all.

Invest in having food that lasts forever. The man filled with wisdom will acknowledge that it could be possible only if he invests most or in fact all of his time, talents, and treasure (and not just a portion of them) to knowing, loving and serving Jesus. Jesus will give him the power to give food to the hungry, to have the heart for them, to have the heart for building a community of persons loving and serving God through people, and to have the time and the energy to see to it that the whole community is becoming more "humane" and that we could see God in the midst of all our efforts. That is true wisdom.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Call to a livelier faith

19th Sunday in Ordinary time
cycle B

For three weeks now we have been reflecting on the Eucharist. Actually, following the gospel of St. John, the encounter between Jesus and the crowd reflects a call to a livelier faith. Unfortunately, crowd is not taking this too well; eventually they leave our Lord.

Is our faith degenerating or getting worse or are we growing deeper in our faith? Things are never stagnant with the faith; either we are slowing growing or we are dying. Let us pray that we are growing in faith. Let us test the depth of our faith through the following questions below:

1. Is our concept of faith individualistic or ecclesial? If we claim that our religion is our own and does not affect others; if religion for us is a matter of personal piety, then we are degenerating. From the very start God called a set of people and not just individuals. Our faith should lead us to a reality that we are all called by God and that we all have duties and responsibilities to one another.

2. Is our faith exclusively spiritual that it affects only our souls or is it incarnational and integral? When we say incarnational, it starts from the moment of our birth Jesus and is dedicated to do the Lord's will in our entire lives. It is integral in that it affects every aspect of my entire being - to my family, to my social, political, economic, and social life. We are embodied spirits and not only souls; that in this world what we do to our brethren today constitutes the moments of our salvation.

3. Is our faith concerned only with freeing ourselves from sin; or are we concerned with the sinful structures affecting us all? We see social realities around us - the incidence of couples not getting married in the church, that corruption is our country's second skin, and that the youth corrupt themselves with vices. If we fail to do something to eradicate these things, no matter how many times we go to confession and we don't do anything to cure the social ills, our faith is useless.

These three and much more, the Lord is calling us to a deeper and more concrete sense of faith, a livelier faith that we can pass on to our children. Take your pick, which faith would you rather espouse?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

There's still hope

18th Sunday
Cycle B

The readings for today deal with difficult people in accepting God's interventions. Moses was put on trial by the people. But God still acted on the people's behalf, sending them a rain that turned to manna and birds that flew in the night.

Jesus diagnosed the crowd's wrong notion of his mission. But He still offered himself as the food that will last forever.

Probably more important here is how God deals with us finite beings, not condemning us any further, but giving us more life.

For St. Paul, this is a call to inner conversion and to practice more compassion to others and more dedication to God.

Would our hearts be so far as to continue misunderstanding God's intentions? This life could turn out to be meaningful if we decrease complaints which simply are manifestations of a state of corruption. But there will always be hope. Among the signs of hope are the following:

1. The sun continues to shine and God allows us to witness His blessings everyday. From now on we realize that we cannot bring light to others except through God's light.
2. Children continue to be born in this world, a manifestation from our Lord that life still goes on and the world is still filled with blessings. From now on we recognize that life can only have meaning in God.
3. That there is always time for us to learn from our mistakes, be reconciled with God and live life anew. That this life is a constant struggle to change outlook according to His will.

Let us allow ourselves to be formed by the Lord and let us make his mission on earth our own.