Saturday, August 26, 2017

Peter, the Rock, and us

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 16:13-20

We may know so little about Shebna, except that he was the master of the palace who was so irresponsible that he was dismissed from office and Eliakim took his place.  This happened during the reign of Hezekiah of Judah.

Authority or power reflects the very power of God who brings order in his creation.  He also exercises power based on justice and love that brings order to people's lives.

In the Gospel, Jesus gives power to Peter and calls him Rock on which he will build his Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  What made him give this authority to Peter?

First, Peter recognized Jesus as Messiah - the main message here is how much do we know about Jesus? Enough to leave everything behind, sell all riches and give them to the poor, and come follow him?  If we truly know who Jesus is, it would be very easy for us to follow him and be active in his Church.  For Jesus is the very strength of the Church.  The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Second, Peter was entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven itself!  This is a great privilege indeed!  But the key represents the power of the Church to loose and to bind; to forgive or not.  Remember on the power of Jesus to save or to redeem.  Now, remember our power to bring people to salvation.  But are we using our power to save?

It's an invitation for all of us to deepen our relationship with Jesus.  Then we shall know every nook and corner of our personhood and the authority given to us, the power to redeem people in Jesus Christ.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Citizens of Heaven

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 15:21-28

The key to the healing of the daughter of the Canaanite woman was her total submission to God.  Jesus just didn't see this in any of the Jews who felt that they were the chosen ones; thus, they felt they were above everybody.

In the first reading, we pose this question:  "Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?"  The Lord will accept in his holy mountain the following:

1. those who have submitted themselves totally totally at the service of God (pagtalima) - no one is exempt from this, especially those who are busy with family affairs and work.  Without any conditions, let us place all our cares and concerns under the Lord's feet and orient everyone in the family to serve the Lord;

2. Integrity and upright of heart (kabuuan) - they are single-hearted for God; not those who are fragmented, overwhelmed with other concerns which are all inferior to God; those who don't sell themselves to the world, but yield totally to God; these are the people whose integrity remains intact because God owns them; and

3. faithful to the covenant till the end (tapat) - at the end of the day, it all redounds to this: Do we really love the Lord?  Then we shall remain faithful to him and love others, especially the poor, because it is God who loves us first.

These people shall climb the mountain of Lord.  They will receive the crown of everlasting life in heaven.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Can you see Jesus?

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A

Matthew 14:22-33

We may not dare to ask where Jesus is simply because we knew him in an invisible way.  Our faith tells us the Jesus is here with us.  On the negative side, however, some commit sin as freely as they want to, after all, Jesus cannot be seen.

In the first reading God appeared, not in wind, earthquake, and fire, but in a gentle breeze.  In the Gospel, Jesus is seen walking above the waters.  Where can we find Jesus?

First, Jesus resides in our hearts.  Peter doubted so he fell.  He lost his sight of Jesus.  Let's not lose sight of Jesus in word, sacrament, and life.

Second, Jesus resides in the world.  We just experienced a powerful earthquake.  There are news about nuclear wars.  Wherever this whole world is going, God still resides in his creation.  As long as life is produced, as long as hearts are still beating, as long as nights turn to days and back, God resides in his creation as Jesus walks over the waters to help regulate creation.  We just need to cooperate with his grace.

Third, Jesus resides in our neighbor.  Don't go about looking for God in the neighbor.  Help him / her instead.  As long as there is love, there is God.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Our transfiguration in Christ

The transfiguration

Matthew 17:1-9

On this blessed day, Jesus was transfigured before the eyes of the the apostles. His glory shone and the Father was well-pleased.

When this vision was over, Jesus was in his usual form and he ordered them not to tell anyone about the vision till the Son of Man has risen from the dead.

What can we learn from the Transfiguration:

First, even his humanity, Jesus' divinity is revealed.  

Could we also see the divine side of people or have succumbed to seeing humanity in his fallen state?  Let's put our faith in people for being created in the image and likeness of God.

Second, God's favor is upon him.  

Jesus is the image of his Father.  What makes us god-like is our adherence to the Father and our willingness, ability, and readiness to do God's will.

Third, the Transfiguration is connected with the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  

It also defines our lives here on earth not in terms of comfort, material prosperity, and power but in offering our lives and carrying our crosses for the sake of the salvation of others.

We can experience our own transfiguration by allowing ourselves to be the disciples of Jesus.