Saturday, August 29, 2015

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

The law

Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

Moses and the people of Israel exclaimed, "There are no other laws that could match the law of this great nation."  God himself is the maker of the law.

But what happened during the time of Jesus?  There is so much observance on externalities.  The Pharisees have forgotten the spirit of every law, centering on themselves and not on God himself.

Jesus is not only the word made flesh, he is also the incarnation of the law itself.  He lived it through words and actions.

How do we apply following the law in daily life?

First, following laws are imperative to facilitate social order and development.  When we follow, we are contributing to the common good.

Second, every law is a reflection of the divine law, the law of God.  Even our bodies follow the natural law.  If it is not linked with divine law, the law has no basis and there is no need to follow it.

Third, the law of our lives reach their perfection in God's law of love.  The minimum requirement of love is justice.  But the perfection of justice is found in love.

Let Jesus' love and justice be the guiding stars of our lives as we follow God.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Choosing God

John 6:60-69

The context of the gospel is the people's desire for food that will last forever.

But Jesus is inviting them to taste the real food and drink: the body and blood of Jesus himself.  They could not accept these words.  They left him.

The first reading talks about Joshua asking the people, "Choose the god you want to serve; as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." The people responded, "We will serve the Lord for he is our God."

If we are also asked this question, two answers should come to mind - first, whether we would choose to serve the Lord or not; and secondly, what is the quality of our response.

First, our capacity to choose comes from our being created in the image and likeness of God.  God is full freedom.  And God wants us to choose in full freedom to be his children or not.  We choose in full freedom.

Second, choosing God is not like a commodity that if we don't choose the product, we lose nothing.  On the contrary, in not choosing God, we choose to die.  We choose to live in selfishness and greed.

Third, if we eventually choose God, we are confronted with the quality of our response.  Could we still say we choose God but we don't serve him?  We choose God but our faith is as cold as ice.  We don't even travel through the path of sacrifice that Jesus took in order to save us.  So, it's also tantamount to saying "no".

Our choice eventually boils down to choosing between life or death.  If we see sufferings and sin around us, it means that we simply are not serving God the way He wants to be served.  But if we start working for peace, forgiveness, selflessness, building of communities, we are on the road to building life from here on earth to eternal life.

What is your choice?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom and the Bread of life

John 6:51-58

Wisdom teaches:  "Walk this way!"  It is a positive message even for the ignorant to walk through the way of knowledge.

How much do we know about life?  In spite of the many errors of humankind, the next generation always risks committing the same mistakes as the past.  This is because of the hardheadedness of the future to learn from the past.

And now, Jesus teaches us, "I am the bread of life; anyone who eats this bread will live forever."  But the Jews couldn't get the message, "How can this man give his flesh to eat?"  The issue is between ignorance and wisdom.  People who are wise would succumb to Jesus as the key to life.

The first context of "flesh" is Jesus himself, flesh and blood, to teach us the way of life in words and actions.  He himself is the way to the Father.  His path is where we should go.

The second context of "flesh" is the flesh is the state of the worldly as St. John the evangelist defines it.  This implies a state of sinfulness.  But with Jesus, we become new creations; Our flesh becomes becomes Jesus' flesh, not the world's.

The third context of "flesh" is "reality".  "My flesh is real food, and my blood, real drink."  Many claim reality as relative.  But those who are "real" are those coming from God and going towards God.

Walk through the path of wisdom by accepting Jesus, flesh and spirit.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Model of our lives

Luke 1:39-56

Last Nov. 1, 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII solemnly declared the Dogma of the Assumption as "the Virgin Mary "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory".

May all Christians be inspired with Mary's examply and aim for the resurrection of their own lives.  Let Mary be our model from birth till eternal life.

First, let us be concerned with the vocation God wishes us to take. St. John's vision is that of a woman giving birth to the Son who will rule all nations and be taken straight up to God and to his throne.  Let our vocation be to bring Jesus into the world.

Before that, John saw a vision of that woman adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head for a crown.  This is an obvious picture of Mary as queen of heaven and earth.  Let our vision be that of who we really are as members of the our eternal family in heaven and let that vision guide us on earth.

In the gospel, we see a humble woman, a virgin who has just seen an angel announced to her that she would be the mother of God and that she responded with an unconditional "yes" to be the handmaid of the Lord.  But she also went in haste to attend to her cousin Elizabeth, an obvious picture of a woman who thinks not of herself but of others.  Let us also go in haste to serve God and our neighbor even letting go of what we desire.

Yes, Mary is a model from beginning to end, from birth to resurrection.  But let us follow her and the path she took in order that we may be humble disciples of the Lord:

Saturday, August 08, 2015

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Bread from heaven

John 6:41-51

We have been reflecting on the bread that came down from heaven.  Man who eats this bread will live forever.  What does the bread of life affect our lives?

Let us learn about this bread that affects our participation in the Eucharist and in life itself.

First, this bread enables us to learn about the Father.  He's in Jesus himself, body and spirit. Eating this bread will make us one with the source of life, God himself.

Second, this bread will give us the strength to journey through life on a day-to-day basis.  Like food that we need to receive each day, this bread, makes our pilgrimage in this world totally meaningful.

This, this bread enables us to reach our final destination: life everlasting in heaven.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Life's blessings

John 6:24-35 

In the first reading, in spite of the complaints of the people, the Lord still gives them bread from heaven.

In the gospel, Jesus invites us to focus our attention on the physical food to the food that lasts forever.  These are the following:

1. Jesus - Jesus is our source of life; all his teachings and accounts inspire us to life.

2. Love - a love that transcends to the presence of God who is pure love.

3. Opportunities to life - instead of wasting our time away focusing on the negatives, let us use all opportunities of life to multiply life in us, in others, and most especially, in our relationship to God.

Then we shall know that life is not a curse, but a blessing.