Saturday, February 23, 2013

2nd Sunday of Lent, C

Remember the Covenant

  Luke 9:28-36

How do we prepare for Holy Week in this second week of Lent?  Let us reflect on the readings for this Sunday.

In the first week, Jesus was triumphant over temptations of wealth, power, and pride. 

Now, these already cast aside, I believe that the Church now invites us to explore the depth of who we are and invites us to come closer and remember our Covenant with God himself, in an unbreakable bond of agreement sealed in fire, water, and blood of His Only Begotten Son.

Who are we?  We have just entered into the covenant with God.  God is our God and we are his people.  Remember, we are nothing without God.

Secondly, remember our covenant with God. What is this covenant which we are to renew?  Married couples renew their covenant every year.  A covenant is a solemn oath.  God entered into a solemn oath with us.  It is funny how God can make a covenant with such unworthy creatures capable of breaking bonds.  Thus, this covenant is not about us; it is about God sealing His eternal love to us.  A covenant is definitely a mark of God.

A covenant marks also our humble response.  What is the response for the overwhelming goodness of God?  Greed?  Selfishness?  Hurting neighbors?  Then, we have not sealed the covenant enough.  But since this is a story about God; He is the divine Covenant sealed in the body and blood of His very own Son, this covenant indeed has merit and we as the other party also respond in love and in thanksgiving.

The covenant is Jesus himself by which a sound is heard, "This is my beloved Son; listen to Him."

The covenant entails deep listening.  There are a lot of good natured people around us; but are they doing God's will?  Are they in close connection to Jesus?  The moment we are, our work becomes Jesus' work; our hearts become Jesus' heart.  Even we cannot detect who we are, because we're simply transformed into the image and likeness of His Son.  Have we changed to the image and likeness of Jesus?

Then we have so much to do regarding the Covenant.  Don't let go of the Covenant.  Respond well, and see the fruitfulness of the Covenant in the way we live Christian lives.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

1st Sunday of Lent, C

First fruits

Luke 4:1-13

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia, the "first fruits" "sprung up naturally among agricultural peoples from the belief that the first — hence the best — yield of the earth is due to God as an acknowledgment of His gifts. "God served first", then the whole crop becomes lawful food."

The first reading clearly expresses the rationale of the first fruits, "He brought us here and gave us this land, a land where milk and honey flow. Here then I bring the first-fruits of the produce of the soil that you, the Lord, have given me.” (Deuteronomy 26:4-10)

Whether offering the first fruits is still practiced by the people of today or not, we have to realize that the only reason for our existence in this is world is God's benevolence; especially too that he practiced offering his fruit fruit, Jesus Christ, his only Son.

This first week of Lent, let us be conscious whether we would like to offer our first fruits to the Lord or not.  The temptations of Jesus are meant to purify our hearts so that the offering of our first fruits would come out more natural and more sincere; they would come naturally from our hearts.

The first temptation highlights our inclination to material possessions. The second, to all the powers of this world, and the third, reputation or our very own pride.  All these can be our first fruits if we offer them to God and his work, then we shall be saved; the rest of our lives become a blessing.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Our Lady of Lourdes

From the healing waters of Lourdes

Mark 6:53-56

From the Catholic Enclopaedia, "In 1858 the Immaculate Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, near Lourdes in France, in the cavern called “de Massabielle.” Through this poor, fourteen-year-old girl, Mary calls on sinners to change their lives. She has inspired in the Church a great love of prayer and good works, especially in the service of the poor and the sick."

Today, Lourdes is teeming with people, most specially, the sick, who seek solace and consolation to the Blessed Mother of Lourdes  and healing in total obedience to God's will.

The miracle, as the guides in Lourdes would say, is not just in the healing waters of Lourdes but more so, in the power of faith and conversion that were so richly manifested in the people's lives.

People flocking to Lourdes are rejuvinated in faith; both for the sick and the visiting, the volunteer aides and the doctors, and a host of multitudes praying for the conversion of the world.  Thus, I see three forms of healing:  an interior healing that calls for the conversion of the soul from sin to grace and towards a more vibrant faith, an exterior healing of the body and mind brought about by the forgiveness of the soul, and the the social healing the results from the dynamics of sharing and caring in the community.

May Lourdes become a living sign of God's love for all of us as showered constantly by the Blessed Mother.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

5th Sunday in ordinary time, C

We are God's servants

 Luke 5:1-11

The first reading resonates with the words we utter before we receive communion, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof ..."

St. Peter also said it, "Get away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man ..."

But this is not the core of the message.  What's more significant is that despite our weaknesses and unworthiness, God still pours his Spirit and his assurance ... "See, this has touched your lips, your sins are purged." God transformed our unworthiness into worthiness.  How do we reach that state of becoming worthy for the Lord?

First, be docile to God's will, not our own.  It is God's will that everyone lives, why should we have no time for it?  Our will is focused on our own while God's will is focused on all people.

Second, God's will is entrusted to us to carry them out, have we treated ourselves as God's servants?

God's will enables us to see who we are: messengers of the Lord and fishers of men.  This is our task.

We are unworthy.  But now, God makes us worthy people to serve Him.  Now, serve him as trusted servants.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

4th Sunday of the year, C

Who am I?

  Luke 4:21-30

"Know thy self." It was believed that Thales the Greek philosopher knows this.

But another Greek philosopher, Socrates, coined a more significant proverb, "The more I know, the more I don't not know."  The more I know something, it escapes me.

It calls the person to take a humble stand in front of the other.  We cannot put people in a box.  We need to respect them.

Who are we before God?  In this, we will come to realize we are nothing, but God is everything.  But you know what? We are because God is.  He created us.  Our identity belongs to God.

This is the very reason why Jesus escaped from the mob.  They thought they knew Jesus, but they didn't.  He is teaching them that everything he does is God's work and He is His instrument.

Who are we?  We are linked to God.  He created us.  Only He knows our past, present, and future.

Because we belong to God, and He called us His own, can we at least thank Him?  Those who are not satisfied in this world are thankless.  But those who knew that the only reason why they are still alive is only because God allowed them to will be thankful.  Thankfulness is our response to God for allowing us to live.

Thankfulness also leads to a genuine service to God to make things real.  A thankful heart will be attuned to the Creator and realize what He wants.  And this is known as loving.

And in the world of love, it is impossible not to give.

So who are we?  We are servants with the heart of Jesus, no more, no less.