Sunday, February 25, 2018

How to prioritize Jesus

2nd Sunday of Lent

Mark 9:2-10

This 2nd Sunday of Lent, also 12th day of our Lenten preparation, we  focus on on the very person of Jesus. Undoubtedly, Abraham prioritized God above the life of his very own son, that's why God even said, "I swear by my own self ..."  God gives witness to his own nature.

In the Gospel, Jesus was transformed to who he really is - majestic, truly the Son of God.  Let us take time to acknowledge who Jesus is in our daily lives.  We acknowledge we placed him in the peripheries of our own preoccupations.

How do we prioritize Jesus?

First, determine which is passing and which is eternal. 

Time and again, we learn about faith.  But our faith doesn't have any hands, eyes, lips, teeth, and feet.  We ignore the call to be Church.  But remember, which of our preoccupations can lead us to heaven?

Second, relate everything with the eternal. 

In a family, the preoccupation of every parent is to provide for the well-being of the children and prepare them for the future.  But real preparation is not simply about money.  Imagine, what would our children be if we are gone?  What legacy would we leave behind?  Blessed are the parents who prioritize sharing God's values to their children.  Start determining which truly counts in heaven. 

Third, choose the first step.

Knowing the eternal in mind, we're back to our day-to-day activities.  But even the most trivial is accounted for.  How many of our activities reflect God and his kingdom?  Let our lives be a picture, not of ourselves, but of God and his reign on earth as in heaven.

Finally, learn to see God's kingdom in the daily sacrifices of life.

Learn from the passion of Jesus.  In embracing the cross, he also embraced his resurrection.  Grant that we may see Jesus in our sufferings and sacrifices and see the greater picture of salvation at hand.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

New beginnings

1st Sunday of Lent

Mark 1:12-15

Every thought about new beginnings brings freshness and rejuvenation: new year, resolutions, new life, new paths to tread, and new challenges to face. 

Our readings point out to a new beginning.  Noah and his family, coming from a world of sin and degeneracy, was given a new covenant by God.  A sign of this new beginning is a colorful rainbow which is a reminder that mankind would not be washed away by floods ever again.

In today's gospel, after being exposed to the wiles of the devil and emerging triumphant over its temptations, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the Good News.  He said, "The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.'"

Let's utilize the Lenten season for our new beginnings, now with God more than ever. 

First, let that time to serve God be now or forever withhold our peace.  It should have been when we were born.  But let's realize that each day is an opportunity of new beginnings with God as our Lord and Guide.  He is Lord, meaning, we shall take time to offer our lives in adoration and service to him; and Guide, meaning, each day would be meaning because we opt to listen and respond to him.

Second, realize the kingdom of God.  Here and now, the kingdom of God dwells, not when we waste our lives with useless and worldly enjoyments and suffer the consequences of delaying the kingdom of God.  Let's be aware that what we do adds up to the realization of the kingdom of God here on earth;

And finally, Repent.  This gesture is not simply negative.  It seeks to put an end to vainglory and prioritize the Good News in our lives.  Anyone who prioritizes God in his or her life becomes a new creation with a new heart that belongs to God.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Serve Him no matter what

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, B

Mark 6:7-13

Job talks about the travails and burdens of life.  Actually, his story is also of almost all of us human beings who despite our efforts to create a comfortable life, still are beset with problems and frailties.

We need to read the whole story of Job to get the picture of life and answers to life's questions like "Why do bad things happen to good people?"  The point is found in Desiderata: "Despite the drudgery and broken dreams, it's still a beautiful world."

Jesus, in spite of forces that sought his destruction still proclaimed the Good News.  He healed, exorcised, performed miracles, and a host of good deeds.  We should learn from this experience:  No matter what happens, let us proclaim the Good News.  How?

First, serve.  Serve unconditionally.  Peter's mother-in-law, the moment she was cured, immediately served the Lord.  When we are cured, we celebrate by going to the malls.  We forget to serve the Lord. 

Second, pray.  Jesus woke up early in the morning to commune with his Father.  No matter what happens, pray.  When we are beset with problems, the first thing we do is sacrifice our prayer life; we cease going to church.  We will not be able to solve our problems when we are far away from the Lord.

Finally, fulfill the mission.  No matter what happens, let's fulfill the mission entrusted to us by the Lord.  We shall of use to him and to others.  We would be able to make a difference in this world.