Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday

Where is the resurrection?

John 20:1-9

Where is the Resurrection?

It is not a thing of the past.  It is like the Eucharist: it makes itself present.  Only people whom the Lord elects could see Him.  Discern well God's action.

Where is the resurrection?

Peter saw the burial cloths.  But John believed.  Only people who have faith can see the resurrection.  Look for the Resurrection in the signs of the times.

Where is the resurrection?

St. Paul said, "Christ raised us to new life."  We too and the rest of humanity are the living testimonies of God's unending love.  Our desire for life for self and others makes us who we really are.  Look for heaven here on earth.

Live out the resurrection.  Jesus is in the midst.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Ikapitong huling wika

"Ama, inihahabilin ko sa iyo ang aking espiritu"

Lukas 23:46

Maaaring nasabi ni Hesus, "Naganap na" kaya nararapat lamang niyang sabihin, "Ama, inihahabilin ko sa iyo ang aking espiritu."

Ngunit ang paghahabilin na ito'y may dawalang kahihinatnan:

Una, nagsanhi ito ng paghahawi ng tabing ng templo, Tapos na ang panahon ng sacripisyo ng Israel at nagbigay daan sa sakripisyo ni Hesus.  Ang templo ay wala na.  Ang pagkahawing ito ay nagdulot ng takot at pangamba sa mga tao lalo na sa mga pumatay kay Hesus.

Ikalawa, nagdulot ito ng kaligtasan, pag-asa, at pananambit ng pananampalataya, "Ito ay isang makatuwirang tao" o "Tunay ngang ito ang Anak ng Diyos."  Ang Espiritu ni Hesus ay nagdulot ng kaligtasan sa mga taong nauna nang namatay ngunit sinasambit ang pagka-Diyos ni Kristo.

Alinman ang reaksyon natin ngayon, ito ang mahalaga: "Inihabilin ni Hesus, hindi ang kanyang maka-Diyos na Espiritu, kundi ang kanyang makataong espiritu, isang kaluluwang tulad natin.  Naghahabilin si Hesus ng kanyang espiritu alang-alang sa atin.  Sa kanyang pamamagitan,  tatanggapin ng Diyos Ama ang ating espiritu.

Tila ang pagkakaalam natin sa ating buhay ay may dalawang daigdig: isang makalupang buhay na abala sa mundo at isang daigdig na espiritual at nakaalay sa Diyos.  Ngunit sambitin natin ang mga salitang ito, "Ama, inihahabilin ko sa iyo ang aking espiritu."  Hindi ba iisang lang talaga ang ating daigdig?  Ang lahat ng ating mundo mundo na ng Diyos.  Tayo'y mga kaluluwang na nakapaloob sa ating katawan at umaasa na aakyat sa Kaharian ng Diyos sa takdang panahon.

Ito ang kwento ng ating buhay: bawat galaw, bawat desisyon ay hindi nakabaon sa lupa.  Dapat ito'y nakasandig kay Hesus na siyang makapagpapaakyat sa atin sa Diyos Ama.  Ano man ang gagawin natin, piliin natin ang maka-Diyos na gawain.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy Thursday, C

Love: the thing that binds us 

John 13:1-15

Today is a very special day. We are recalling to mind the Last Supper.  But we also recalling to mind Bishop Mylo Vergara's ordination to the priesthood.  A warm round of applause for Bishop Mylo. Blessed be his priesthood!

We recall also in the Old Testament the story of the Passover, of the hand of God passing over the houses of the Israelites while killing the first born of the Egyptians in their homes, sparing no one, not even the son of the Pharaoh.

We also recall to mind three Christian realities - the institution of the Holy Eucharist, the gift of the  Priesthood, and Jesus' call to serve one another.

What is it that binds all these realities of faith?

First, Jesus wants us to remember.  ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’

Remember, remember!  Remember our first Holy Communion.  Remember  Jesus in the Last Supper.  Remember the saving works of God.  Indeed, let us remember how throughout our lives, God has not left us.

Second, Jesus wants us to see.  Behold!  "This is my body which will be given up for you" and "I am with you till the end of time."

See now, Jesus is here!  And Jesus will feed the deepest longing of the human heart as Bishop Barron said in the 51st IEC.

Jesus wants us to see him in his gifts like the priesthood.  In Cardinal Dolan's words, "Priests are close to Jesus.  According to Mother Teresa, they perform the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ."  Let us appreciate the healing a priest can do for us.

Finally, Jesus wants us to focus on doing something for others.  Abuja Archbishop John Cardinal Onaiyekan in his talk titled "The Eucharist and the Poor" said in serving the poor, "There should be action.  Do something!  Do not say the problem is too much... God is challenging us, "Do the little you can with the right spirit and God will do the rest."

For what binds all these realities we are celebrating is love.  Love is God's decision to free the Israelites and lead them to the promised land.  Love is Jesus' words to the apostles and to us: "Love one another as I have loved you."  Love is the underlying motive for bending over the wash each others' feet.  Love is God instituting the priesthood.  Loving is Hesed or mercy.  There are no explanations; we just do it, immediately, now.  A kind word or gesture, unplanned, but responding to the present moment, is a direct mirror of God's love for us.

Let us learn from the message of the washing of the feet.   Loving entails bending down and taking part in the healing of another. Let the love of Jesus be incarnated in us to satisfy the longing of every heart.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Palm Sunday, C


Luke 19:28-40 and Luke 22:14-23:56

According to one bible commentary, the people singing "Hosanna" as Jesus enters Jerusalem seems to be a divine impulse that most of them did not understand.  This truly is God's action that nobody can stop, not even the interpreters of the Law.  It even says in Luke 19:28-40,  ‘I tell you, if these keep silence the stones will cry out.’

We have been given opportunities to break out from the rituals of daily activities to give more emphasis to praising and glorifying God.  Our prayers and praises in the Eucharist now consciously and done with passion, give way to the God who saves.  We utter "Hosanna" which means "God saves".  Our call is to do much more and allow God to work in us and respond to serving Him all the more.  Our service to others should also cause them to admit that God is saving them.

In the readings, which are extensions of the Gospel for Palm Sunday, the Messiah shows his true glory - that of a humble servant who in the face of extreme violence remains undefiled; his heart remains pure in its intention to give glory to the Father and embrace humankind in love.

The Eucharist is a direct manifestation of the Lord's love for us.  It demonstrates over and over again the Paschal mystery - the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus; passion in the act of humility in converting bread into His body; death in sharing himself to be eaten by us the recipients; and resurrection in that we are given the mission to proclaim his resurrection after every mass.

We therefore should know the implications of every Eucharist we celebrate - that we enter into our passion through a life of humility; death each day in our willingness to share ourselves to others so they would be saved; and resurrection, in assisting others to live a life of freedom in the Lord.

It is the same work of Jesus now manifested in our lives.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

4th Sunday of Lent

Food and the Eucharist

4th Sunday of Lent

The Book of Joshua tells the story of the people of Israel reaching Canaan and eating from the produce of the soil given to them by God.  From there on, manna stopped falling from the sky.

Food is so integral in our lives.  I would not wonder why God used the picture of food to describe who He is for us.

The story of the prodigal son further describes our dependence on God.  Life can only be found in the father's house.  What a contrast with the elder brother who despite his obedience refuses to enter the house.

It's really sad when despite of all the food offered to us, still we choose it more than the Food that gives us real life.

The Lord makes himself available to us everyday in the Eucharist.  Every part, every moment, is life-giving.  We might as well learn from the lessons of the Eucharist.

Reflect on its every part that gives life.  The greeting is a reminder that we are always in the presence of God.  The Word enables us to open our minds and hearts to receive God.  The Eucharist is a call to open our lives for others.