Saturday, August 31, 2013

22nd Sunday of the year, C

The proud vs. the lowly

Luke 14:1,7-14

The language of the world is that of power, wealth, and pride.  But the language of the Lord is that of humility.  Why is it so?

First, those who are humble acknowledge God as lording over them; the proud will always strive to be above anybody else, including God whom they do not recognize.

Second, those who are humble acknowledge that this world is not theirs; rather, it is only entrusted to them from above from them to take care of so that the gifts given them would multiply. The proud on the other hand, will want to claim everything for themselves, their wants and desires are insatiable.

Third, those who are humble will always place themselves at the service of others.  The proud will have no time for others; they will even let others die and still do not care.

The humble will receive the crown of everlasting life while the proud will be wailing and grinding their teeth; they shall never be happy neither in this life nor the next.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

21st Sunday of the year, C

The gathering

Luke 13:22-30

A reading filled with consolation, Isaiah speaks of a time upon the coming of the Messiah that not only the children of Israel will be gathered, but also from nations unheard of will also join in the gathering  and everyone will be bringing fitting offerings for the Lord; there will be priests and levites formed by the Lord.

Gathering - remember that the etymology of the word church is "qahal Yaheh" a people called by God.  Our being Church calls us to be gathered in the Lord, called by the Lord, and destined to receive life in Him.  How much do we enjoy "being church"?  There are many wrong notions of Church that we need to change.

First, in order to be gathered correctly, we need to be invited.  God invites us.  We don't invite ourselves.  We were invited ever since we were born. We don't imagine that God is indebted to us because we fulfill a Sunday obligation.  We attend the Eucharist because we owe a huge lot of our lives and simply because God invited us to the gathering.

Second, we respond according to the One who invited us. God invited us; we adjust to what He wants.  We don't complain.  We enjoy everything He gives.  He wants us to be purified and made holy.  We will be just that.  We don't just go to church simply because it is beautiful or luxurious.  We accept everything in church, even it's uncomfortable to do so.

Third, we enjoy most of all the company of the One who invited us.  This gathering is a gathering of all saints.  Saints become saints because they are close to the Host.  We need to inculcate in our souls and bodies the very presence of Jesus.  The very essence of a Church is in the involvement of the members, using their whole bodies and souls, constantly formed by the Divine Master.  Otherwise, it is easy for the host to say, "I don't know you. Depart from me, you evil doers!"

Remember how it is to being church - the invitation, the one who invited us, and our participation in the invitation.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

20th Sunday of the year, C

Who is the modern day prophet?

Luke 12:49-53

The Catechism of the Catholic Church sufficiently describes the prophetic office of the Church "when it unfailingly adheres to this faith ... and when it deepens its understanding and becomes Christ's witness in the midst of this world." (CCC no. 785)

The first point in a prophet implies an ontological reality: we are the faithful followers of Christ before anything else.

The second point implies what we should be doing as prophets in process - we should be deepening our understanding of the faith.

The third connotes every action we should be doing in this world: to be Christ's witnesses in the midst of this world.  Let us stand up to the truth of Christ and be his instruments of salvation for others.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Our solace in this life's journey

Luke 1:39-56

The Book of Revelations is truly an interesting one, attributed to St. John.  It contained a series of author's visions of the Church's destination in heaven.

The image of the Lady who is about to give birth to a Child who will rule triumphantly is clearly the image of Blessed Mother triumphantly bringing her Son Jesus into the world.  Only he can defeat the evil one while the lady is somewhere "where God had made a place of safety ready, for her to be looked after in the twelve hundred and sixty days."

In the Feast of the Assumption, we hold dear in our hearts that Mary was triumphantly assumed into heaven, body and soul, where eventually she received the crown as Queen of Heaven and earth.  Now, she is "solace and consolation for the pilgrim people of God."

I would like to dwell then on the Magnificat as hint to inspire us pilgrims to take the road Mary took on this journey through life.

First, let nothing exult our lives except to serve God alone, "my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord." Let our soul sing out only for God who saves us.

Second, let our lives be "blessed", made holy, consecrated, by truly giving witness tot he glory of God.  We are blessed not because of the things we have, but because God is with us.

Third, let our lives serve as living images of Jesus Christ, his justice, love, and peace.  Let us always remember that we are to generate Christ's mercy for the salvation of the world.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

18th Sunday of the year, C

Vanity of vanities!

Luke 12:13-21

"Vanity of vanities!" so goes the first reading.

The text is short, yet, this saying seemed like an endless mantra to remind us of what? Let's see.

For a man who toiled for everything, yet he must leave what is his own to someone who has not toiled at all; this is vanity.

What has he actually gained for all his laborious days, his cares of office, his restless nights?  This too is vanity.

On the other hand, there really is wisdom in this.  I am reminded of Mark 8, 36: "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul?"  Vanity of vanities!

What makes things vain?  Let us pray to expose vanities before it's too late, before they consume our lives.   If we embrace worldly values and not consider eternal life beyond, this is vanity.  If we remain in the narrow confines of our own world and not reach out to others, this is vanity. If eventually, the meaning of this world is us alone and not God, then it is vanity.  But embracing what is opposite: eternal life, good of others, and God, accounts for real meaning in life.

19th Sunday of the year, C

The solemn Oath

Luke 12:32-48

The closest reality of an oath between us and God is the covenant between man and woman. But in these times, the marriage covenant is definitely corrupted because of the phenomena of live-in relationships and wedding bonds via civil marriages.

A Catholic marriage holds that marriage bond, properly contracted, is indissoluble.  It represents God's eternal covenant with his people.  An oath is an oath because the give of the oath is trustworthy; the promise of the oath is worthy; and the covenant is sealed in a bond of lasting relationship between two parties.

All these God can do for us. But how about our share in this oath?

As two parties bond, so too we are transformed according to the image and likeness of God.

Thus, reflect on the gospel for today as a consequence of committing oneself to the covenant: the capacity to sell everything (be totally disinterested in the self to being selfless and generous), servanthood (realizing that we are servants of the Lord), and stewards of His creation.

Live out all of these and we shall keep our share of the solemn oath.