Saturday, November 28, 2015

1st Sunday of Advent, C

God of Integrity

Luke 21:25-28,34-36 

Let us reflect on the first reading when the city of Jerusalem would be known as "God-our-integrity".

It is quite unusual that a city be called "God".  Could our cities and all its people be regarded the same way?  Is the whole city Godly?

As we enter into the new liturgical season, this time calls us to renewal of faith and to be persons of integrity.  What is integrity?

Integrity connotes a state of wholeness, of undefilement, of moral soundness, of a pure heart.  It is contrasted with a compromising heart in the face of sin, that it's normal to be evil because people are evil.  It is natural to be "evil".

Definitely, it's not natural to be evil.  We all come from God.  No matter how seemingly evil a person is, we know that God created us in his image and likeness.  Let us take it as a challenge then to be formed in the image and likeness of God.

Holiness. God wants us to be holy and blameless like him.  We may not be perfect outright, but we can devote each moment for formation, and allow God to form us each day. The gauge is willingness. Are we willing to be formed  to be blameless and holy?

Third, we are made clean by the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  And the only way toward a life of integrity is to follow Jesus, to suffer with him, to die with him, so we can be raised in him.  Heed St. Paul's statement of renewed Christians, "It is not I who live but Christ who lives in me."  And if Jesus is merciful, so too we are to be merciful to one another, especially the poor.

We can only be persons of integrity if we possess God in our lives.  Let us also pray that our city may be a Holy City where God dwells.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Gift of self

Mark 12:38-44

The readings today say a lot about total and wholehearted generosity.   The widow in the book of Kings followed Elijah even though she and her child would prepare for their deaths because of the lack of food.  But she trusted and thus, the "jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil was emptied."

In the gospel, Jesus condemned the scribes but commended the poor widow who put in two coins in the treasury; why? because "she put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on."

Jesus gave the whole of himself, body, soul, divinity, to be the Father's gift to us and cause our salvation.

We are invited to be God's gift to others.  Salvation of the world cannot be possible unless we become totally available to God.  Let's start even with tithes which represent 10 percent of our time, talents, and treasure and insure that we have enough resources to do what God wants.

On the other hand, it is not only 10 percent that God desires of us, but 100 percent.  When the time comes for us to go to heaven, we shall implore the Lord, "Lord, take my life.  Take the whole of me."  Let's not wait until the last moment of offering ourselves to the Lord.  Let's start now.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Solemnity of All Saints

What makes a saint?

Matthew 5:1-12 

The most common notion is that saints are those who lived lived of grace here on earth and are now enjoying the bliss of heaven.

But from the readings, it is evident that saints are not just saints because they're already in heaven.  Sainthood marks our whole lives here on earth.  We are already saints-in-process.

What makes a saint here on earth?  First, we become saints because we are washed by the blood of the Lamb, not because we did good deeds on earth but by our intimate knowledge and relationship with Jesus.  It is he who cleanses us each day and washes away our sins through the offering of his life.  Life is getting to know Jesus each day.

Second, we don't delay being saints in the afterlife.  Notice the gospel: every action has a consequence.  The gospel talks about being poor in spirit, of being merciful, of being peacemakers and persecuted, and so on.  These are not the actions in heaven but here on earth.  Now, Imagine the consequence of our every action if it runs counter to the beatitudes - the times when we wallow in our riches and power, every time we evade our sorrows, when we are more preoccupied with our comforts and reputation, or when we compromise our God's values.  Dread every moment when we forget to live life with Jesus.

But if we are conscious of every moment we do things because we rely totally on God, when God becomes our only joy, and we suffer persecution because of him, think what God will do to us in this life till the next.

Remember, saints are saints not just because they are in heaven.  Sainthood already becomes of us while we are on earth.