Saturday, September 24, 2016

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C

On Christian charity

Luke 16:19-31

Amos warned those who are living the comfortable life, shielded from any sentiments or feelings of mercy and compassion for the poor and thus, unable to extend arms to help them, "That is why they will be the first to be exiled; the sprawlers’ revelry is over." (Amos 6, 7)

In the Gospel for today, the rich man descended to Hell (or Hades) because he deprived Lazarus even of the crust that fell from his table.

Their lives are devoid of love and that is the exact meaning of hell.

Let's reflect on the spirituality of Christian charity.

First, charity is one of the theological virtues.  Virtues are formed out of habits or repetitive actions based on the intention to do what is good.  (CCC 1823) What makes charity a theological virtue is that it mirrors the source of all good: God himself.  When we are charitable, we live out the love of God who is first and foremost the generous One.

Second, loving is a commandment, not an option.  The Old Testament speaks about loving God above all things and loving neighbor as ourselves.  This is further strengthened by Jesus himself: "I give you a new command: love one another as I have loved you." (Jn. 13: 34 - 35)

The Lord commands us to love, the least, the last, the lost, and even our enemies.  Jesus loved us even when we were still enemies (Rom. 5, 10)  While on the cross, Jesus forgave his enemies, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they do." (Lk. 23, 34)  Thus, charity is inclusive and all embracing.  Selective loving is false love.

Third, charity is the source and goal of Christian maturity. (CCC 1827)  It is the motive and goal of all our actions.  Charity raises human love to the level of divine love.  Once we reach it, we shall find rest. (CCC 1829)

In living out charity, we live out God himself, for "God is love." (1 Jn. 4, 8)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C

Curing social problems

Luke 16:1-13

Amos is known as a social prophet, meaning, he reveals the social sins of the people of Israel like desecrating the Sabbath and being dishonest in dealing with business transactions.  God will render his just punish
ment over them.

In the gospel, even though the man in the parable is a dishonest steward, the owner still commended him because of his astute ways.  Then Jesus pointed out the message of the story, "For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light."

Despite our religiosity, our country is beset with social problems.  As of press time, even the Philippine President admitted that the corruption in government extends from Luzon to Mindanao and that he alone could not solve the problem. How do we as Catholics help the President in solving this gargantuan problem?

Social sin needs social action to eradicate it.   Let's band together to solve it.  The problem is ourselves.  Neglecting the situation, we continue to think about our own selves, not aware of the social consequences of our actions.  We don't heed to these words of wisdom, "Love people, use money".  Instead, we "love money and use people."

Social transformation starts with personal conversion.  By serving God first and using everything to help people, we become the trusted stewards of the Lord.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, C

In search of true wisdom

Luke 14:25-33 

Wisdom may arrive at moment of realization, after we have done something wrong and we haven't done anything at all about a situation.  Only then do we learn.

In an article "5 regrets of the dying", a nurse recorded the most common regrets of the dying.  The five regrets are: "I wish I'd have the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me"; "I wish I hadn't worked so hard"; "I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings"; "I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends"; "I wish that I had let myself be happier."  These are words of wisdom coming from dying person.

And if I may suggest, Christians as we are, may I include three more to the list:

1. "I wish I had thought of others more than myself."  By thinking more about how to serve others and make them happy, we are actually contributing to our own happiness.

2.  "I wish I'd listen to the wisdom of the Church rather than myself."  In the long period the Church has existed in history, it's credibility lies in being able to withstand the test of time, taking into consideration all its frailties and mistakes.  If we don't listen to the Church, we only risk committing the same mistakes as our ancestors.

3.  "I wish I'd thought about the world to come rather than my own world here on earth."  If heaven were in my mind even when I was born, I would have spent everyday of my life getting there.

In all of these, in loving others, in the Church, and in heaven, God is present.  He is the source of true wisdom.