Saturday, February 27, 2016

3rd Sunday of Lent, C

The fruitful life

Luke 13:1-9

What is the gauge of fruitfulness, success, or even happiness?  Money or fame?

No matter how we define fruitfulness, happiness or success, one thing's sure - we hate to see our lives go down the drain.  Meanwhile, we see people who have lost hope of living decent lives by giving to sin, vice, or habitual wrongdoing.  This is a life of despair will continue unless someone or something so significant will turn their lives around and instill hope in this otherwise hopeless existence.

The story of Moses is story of hope for the people of Israel.  It was the moment of truth that God is God because He hears their cries and vows to lead them to freedom.  This relationship became the backdrop for a life of fruitfulness and dignity Israel has for being chosen by God.

In the Gospel, Jesus warns us to be awake lest we fall back to living a barren, fruitless existence brought about by God's absence in our lives.  Fruitfulness can be possible if, first, we cling to God as the very reason for our existence; second, that we cling to Jesus as he reveals himself in the Word, in the Eucharist and in life of faith; and third, that we cling to the Holy Spirit to transform our every action and deed into the living presence of God in the world.

Only in our radical dependence to God could we finally experience total fulfillment, happiness, and success, and peace. Our fruitful lives begin.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

2nd Sunday of Lent, C

Be transformed in Christ

Luke 9:28-36

As we remember Jesus' transfiguration this day, let's also encounter this transfiguration in the Eucharist and in our daily lives.

There are three moments when these elements are transformed: the bread and wine, transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ, the priest and the congregation when they receive Holy Communion to become the Body of Christ, and when the Mass is ended and we are all called to transform our homes, workplaces, and the whole world into the Body of Christ.

This entails a solemn offering of ourselves like Abram in the first reading when God promised that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and that a land would be given him.  He offered heifer, goat, ram, and turtledoves and God accepted them.

Our transformation cannot be possible unless we allow ourselves to be transformed.  Transformation cannot be possible unless we finally offer not the offerings of Abram, but our deepest selves, including our dreams and longings, to the Lord God Almighty.  Transformation cannot be possible unless we wholeheartedly offer what is closest to us - our families and our children.  And transformation cannot be possible unless we align our lives to Christ, be Christ-like, and offer our lives for others like Christ did on the cross.

Only then can we see the transformation of the whole world according to the very heart of Jesus.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

1st Sunday of Lent, C

Focus all attention on God alone

Luke 4:1-13

photo courtesy of Integrated Catholics

Moses is fully aware that it is the Lord who called Israel out of Egypt and brought them to the promised land flowing with milk and honey.  And as a sign of extreme thankfulness, he tells Israel to offer the first-fruits of the produce of the soil that the Lord has given.  If we are filled with greed, then we cannot even think about offering our gifts back to the Giver of the gifts.

It is the same as in the second reading when the salvation became possible only because God himself gave the solution by sending his only Son.

In the Gospel then, the three temptations simply lead our attention away from God through whom our lives totally depend.

They simply tell us any of them can be our gods.  Our grace therefore is to detect how they destroy our lives.  But the second point is more important - how do we place our full and total trust in the Lord?

The sins are materialism, power, and pride.  The three alternatives are poverty, humility, and embracing persecution for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.  When we proclaim our poverty and emptiness, the more we rely on God.  The more we embrace humility, the more we place ourselves under God's service.  And the more we embrace persecution, the more we exult God in our lives.