Saturday, April 14, 2012

2nd Sunday of Easter, cycle B

 A new way of seeing things

My model of Christian witnessing is St. Peter who after receiving the Holy Spirit, courageously and convincingly proclaimed Jesus Christ.  There are no rhetorical strategies whatsoever.  He simply spoke from the heart.  But he spoke of Jesus whom he has seen and heard.

When the people asked, "What must we do to be saved?"  Peter said, "Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus."  At that moment 3,000 was added to their number. (Acts 2)

The first reading is a continuation of this story.   The people, now called "Christians" live with one heart and mind, they share their resources, they share the meal and the Word.  And they sold everything they had to support the others in the community.

The Easter story now proceeds with Jesus appearing before the apostles in the upper room.  But Thomas was not with them.  The second time around, he touched Jesus' wounds and made a solemn proclamation, "My Lord and my God!"

There are two points we can learn here.  First, in the world of faith, of "new way of seeing the Lord", Jesus empowers us to do His work on earth.  Now we can forgive in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Secondly, Jesus reminds us, "Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe."  This refers to the countless generations of Christians who may not have seen Jesus, but reflect Jesus in their daily lives, in their relationship with other Christians, in their dedication to the poor, in their love for God's word.

Let us reflect if our lives become living representations of the resurrected Jesus in today's times.

copyright(c) 2012, Fr. Joselito I. Jopson
All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Easter Sunday reflections

The consequences of Christ's transformed body

Happy easter!

In today's gospel, we have heard the narrative of Jesus’ resurrection: the women hurrying to the tomb to put oil on Jesus three days after Friday. But what they saw was an empty tomb; instead there was a man who announced to them: he has been raised. Go to Galilee and he will show himself to you there.

In his book, “Jesus of Nazareth,” the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI presents a very enlightening catechesis on the resurrection.  He referred to confessional and narrative accounts of the resurrection of Jesus.

The confessional account is what is given by St. Peter, who after the Pentecost said, “You will not let your holy one see corruption.”  It is also our confession that in our faith, we solemnly say, “On the third day, he rose again, in fulfillment of the Scriptures.”

But what Pope Benedict said about the narrative account is truly interesting for us men and women of faith.

First, what is in the third day after Friday?  It is Sunday, a holy day of obligation.  It is the Lord’s Day.  And it is the day of the Church.  The resurrection is our day as a Church.  When Jesus appeared to Cephas, then to the 12, he was referring to the Church – to us, dear friends.  In the resurrection of Jesus, we are involved.

Second, it is about Christ’s new existence.  Pope Benedict is referring to a new kind of physicality that is not bound by physical space and time, but by identity and otherness.   This new form of encounter is none other than God and man himself in Jesus.  Now, Jesus appears to us a pure life.  And we are bound to encounter him in such the same way – as God and man.  As man, he would appear to us, talk, to us, share with us.  But in it he will share His divine nature.  As Tertullian said, “Spirit and blood have a place within God.”

Christ’s transformed body is a place where we enter into communion with God and with one another, and thus, be able to live definitively in the fullness of indestructible life.

Third, Christ transformed mankind’s history; our history.  We now have a new history which is eschatological, the indwelling of God in our history.  As the Holy Father says, “Jesus left an indelible footprint in mankind’s history.”

Finally, don’t worry if after the long procession last Good Friday, the witnesses of the resurrection are as few as the people gathered here.   Jesus is building a new history in the world of history – right in our very own hearts as we encounter him in the Church, in the sacraments, and with one another.  Pope Benedict says, “That makes a difference and changes them forever! Jesus aims to lead to freedom through his love." And in quoting Pope Benedict once more: “What seems so small is truly great!”

Have a wonderful new experience with the Lord each day.  Hallelujah!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Holy Thursday reflections

On the Covenant, preparations, and judgment

These days from Thursday till Sunday are truly most blessed days, for they reveal God's love for all of us and the fruit of that love in the self-offering, passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  In these days, let us vow to listen intently, relish every moment, learn, and become what God wants us to be.

Covenant, preparation, judgement - these are solemn realities that cannot be trivialized.

God command Moses to do all preparations of the passover in a detailed manner it the time of salvation draws near.

Jesus in fulfilling his mission, took the bread, lifted it, broke it and gave it to the disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."

It is a solemn action instituted by Jesus in the last supper by which we are to remember in the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

God's covenant with us entails a direct action coming from Himself; but it also demands our response also in love.  It is a direct consequence of love that it is realized in a series of actions, rituals, practices, etc.  But it also finds its way through our concrete activities which by now should be motivated by His love.

Moreover, this day, we celebrate the feast of priests and the blessing of oils to be used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, priesthood, and anointing of the sick.

As Jesus is the sacrament of the Father, the priest is a living sacrament of Jesus in every generation. Loving Jesus should manifest is our whole being that we become sacraments of Jesus to one another. 

May his love give us that courage to do what we have to do - offer our very own lives for the sake of Him who loves us.