Saturday, October 29, 2016

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, C

Grateful heart

Luke 19:1-10 

See how God loves what is small, who is humble, and how he blesses them.

Zacchaeus is in the same predicament.  Aside from being small in statue, his dignity has fallen considering the ire of the Israelite for being a tax collector.  But Jesus called him by his first name and even invited himself to his home.  Zacchaeus was indeed grateful that he offered to pay four times the amount he stole and give half of his belongings to the poor.

These are the signs of a grateful heart:

Remorse - the sinful man realizes how much he offended God not only because he deserves just punishment but more so, he offended God who is all-good and deserving of all his love.

Amendment - the sinful man experiences how he is deeply loved by the Father despite his sinfulness that he is willing to make amends, correct all wrongs, and restore things and relationships to their proper state.

Offering - a grateful heart is an offering heart that loses all selfishness worsened by sin and releases the person from further slavery to it.  He gives his life back to God and offers his services to others.

Gratefulness is the experience of heaven itself as nothing can ever separate us from God.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C

Between pride and humility

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus' parable opens us to the world of the proud and the humble.

But the book of Ecclesiastes opens us to God's world as judge who rules the world with fairness and equality, decides in favor of the poor and the oppressed, and favors the humble.  In knowing the justice of God do we learn about the life of the humble and the proud.

First, God is a just judge who is fair to all.  The humble man treats everyone with respect.  The proud look only on themselves and looks down on everyone else.

Second, God has preferential option for the poor, the oppressed, the rejected.  The humble man, aside from treating himself as one of the persons mentioned above, is filled with compassion for the poor and the oppressed.  He would do everything to help them up their feet.  The proud will further oppress the poor and justify their poverty.

Third, God loves the humble. The humble becomes a model for all others of a fruitful life that leads to everlasting life.  The proud man's life ends here on earth.

Choose then which one would you prefer to live out: pride or humility?

Saturday, October 01, 2016

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C

The heart of a faithful servant

Luke 17:5-10

For this Sunday, as we reflect on the faithful servant as described in the gospel, I would like to use St. Ignatius' "prayer for generosity" to show the qualities of a servant:

"Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will."

First, the faithful servant deeply knows his master.  He asks for generosity because the master is overly generous.  And to serve the master as he deserves implies total respect and honor to him.  The reference point of service is the master, not the self.

Second, the faithful servant knows who he is and what he should do.  He knows his responsibilities.  Giving, fighting, toiling and laboring are far worthier than costs, wounds, resting, and rewards.  Without expecting to be paid, the servant fulfills what is expected of him.

Third, the faithful servant is oriented totally to his master.  He is set to do the master's will and not his own.  The master's will is in itself the reward for all his efforts.  Following the Lord's will will definitely bring order to the world and to people's lives.

These constitute the very heart of the servant as he utters, "We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.”  This is also the heart and life of a true disciple by we are called to be.