Saturday, November 10, 2018

Total generosity

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 12:38-44 

The story of the widow of Sidon is truly incredible.  It puts Elijah on a dark spot because he kept on asking for food despite the woman's pleading that the bread would be their last meal till she and her son dies.  But his reason eradicated the woman's anxiety: "“Jar of meal shall not be spent, jug of oil shall not be emptied, before the day when the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.”’  True enough, the jars of oil and meal were not emptied.

The message of the readings is not about giving; rather, it teaches overly generous giving, as in the giving even of one's own life.  This is particularly true of Jesus Christ, the Lord of Heaven and earth, "who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Phil 2: 7).

The widow in the gospel also found the favor of the Lord, because "she gave everything she had."

A true Christian would follow the Lord's path "to empty oneself" or kenosis.  Jesus' self-emptying is what brings us our salvation and the forgiveness of our sins.

Also, a true Christian would be more concerned with giving rather than receiving, taking after the quotes, "It is better to give than to receive" or "it is better to give than to receive."  If we're preoccupied by what we want to receive, we haven't entered into the realm of self-giving.  But if we know that giving begets giving and love begets love, we would not hesitate to give.

A life of generosity is a reflection of the Kingdom of God, because in Heaven, all the residents of Heaven are givers and not receivers.   May we start our journey to Heaven by a life of cheerful generosity on earth.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

The law of love

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 12:28-34

God is clear on what he wants us to do: love him above all things.  This is also reechoed by Jesus in the gospel, thus, affirming the very heart of the faith.

It is true that Jewish religion enunciated the ultimate laws.  But the spirit of the law could only be interpreted through the eyes of God's beloved Son - Jesus Christ.

First, to love God above all things - demands utmost total and unconditional obedience, adoration, and offering of one's life to the Father, the source of all life.  Who could ever have authority over life itself?  Isn't it God alone?  Who could ever hold the key to true life and order?  Isn't it God alone?  Do we want an organized life?  Then follow God!

Second, to love one's neighbor as oneself - to love others means to recognize the other has the same dignity as I have for being a child of God.  Thus, to accord justice, respect, as well as honor in the same way as I treat myself becomes an absolute norm, considering that I and my brothers / sisters are created in the image and likeness of God.   The second norm is a call to build ourselves as one family of God.

Third, these two laws point to Jesus who fulfilled God's commands and brought it to fulfillment.  He is God's perfect priest who offered the perfect sacrifice, himself all for our sake.  Now he says to us, "Love one another as I have loved you."  This law manifests perfect communion with God and with one another and eradicates all tinge of separation, selfishness, and animosity.  This law reflects the true picture of heaven.  If we live out this law of love, God resides in us and we in God; we also reside in the hearts of one another.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

What makes a saint?

All Saints Day

Matthew 5:1-12

We celebrate the Communion of Saints every first of November.  "All Saints' Day was formally started by Pope Boniface IV, who consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs on May 13 in 609 AD. Boniface IV also established All Souls' Day, which follows All Saints" ("All Saints Day", Catholic Org, last accessed Nov. 1, 2018).

It is meant for us to remember all unknown saints, yet in perfect bliss with the Lord, who are now in heaven.  November 2, we would offer the mass for our suffering departed in purgatory.

Three messages:

1. It is meant for us to incorporate ourselves in the communion of saints right this time of our lives and not just consider sainthood in the afterlife.  Our lives today reflect our willingness to be counted among the saints.

2. The Church is also equipped with the communion with holy things that are mainly rooted in Jesus, the source of our salvation.  These are:

2.1.  Communion in faith (CCC 950) - let us nourish this faith and also ensure that others deepen in their faith.

2.2.  Communion of the sacraments (CCC 951) - communion with Jesus through the reception of the sacraments

2.3.  Communion of charisms (CCC 952) - These are gifts coming from the Holy Spirit meant to enrich every Christian community.  Let's offer to use this gifts for God and others.

2.4.  Communion in charity - (CCC 954) - In the Acts of the Apostles, it's clear after the Christians shared their resources with one another, nobody is found wanting (Acts 4:34).  Love abounds.