Sunday, May 26, 2019

How to build a strong Church

6th Sunday of Easter 

John 14:23-29

During a frustrating argument with a Roman Catholic cardinal, Napoleon Bonaparte supposedly burst out: “Your eminence, are you not aware that I have the power to destroy the Catholic Church?” The cardinal, the anecdote goes, responded ruefully: “Your majesty, we, the Catholic clergy, have done our best to destroy the church for the last 1,800 years. We have not succeeded, and neither will you.” (Anonymous)

The true strength of the Church lies in its founder - God himself, the Father who gathers us as a Church, the Son who built this Church with his own body, and the Holy Spirit that sanctifies the Church. And as we are nearing the end of the Easter Season, grant that we may enliven in us the gift of becoming a strong Church;

First, in firm rootedness in the Lord, neither doubting him nor relying on our own strength.

Second, in faithful obedience God's will and not our own.

Third, in taking the path of peace, not violence, selfishness and greed.  Jerusalem, the Holy City, is the image of heaven, a state of bliss for all Christians who are made holy by God through the daily struggles of life.  They also lived in unconditional love for God and others, offering their very own lives so that others may live.

Be strengthened therefore in the ways of faith!



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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Faces of Divine Mercy

Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter)

John 20:19-31

The 2nd Sunday of Easter is declared by the St. Pope John Paul II as the Divine Mercy Sunday.  In this Sunday, we reflect how the resurrected Jesus becomes a "fountain of mercy" for us.

First, the early Christians experienced the miracles of healing even after the resurrection of Jesus.  It is the Christian community in-charge of the works of mercy for the sick.   This is the manifestation of the mercy of God, now lived by every Christian.

Second, in our full faith in Jesus, the beginning and end, alpha and omega, the living One who died and now who lives forever.  The second image of mercy is Jesus himself and only through him can we have eternal life.

Third, in the works that reflect peace.  "Peace be with you." Then Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit.  On Christmas night, the angels shouted "Peace to men of goodwill!" How blessed are we who serve the Lord in the name of peace which brings healing to people.

Search for the Divine Face of Jesus in our lives of mercy.

Prayer to the Divine Mercy

You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us. (Repeat three times) O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You! 

Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. 

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. 

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world. 

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments, we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. Amen.

Read more at: https://www.praymorenovenas.com/how-to-pray-the-divine-mercy-chaplet

Saturday, March 23, 2019

A fruitful life


3rd Sunday of Lent

Luke 13:1-9 

At this point, God is ready and is always ready to save us.  But it seems we are not ready.

The second reading and the gospel give us stern warnings against being barren in this life. 

In this Third Sunday of Lent, could God still change us for good?  Could we still be fruitful as God wants us to be?  How can we be fruitful?  Let me offer three suggestions:

1. Pray more - prayer opens our world to the Almighty.  This prayer doesn't simply call us to recite as set of prayers; nor are they intended for God to listen to our prayers.  The very objective of prayer is openness to a loving relationship with God.  It entails humility on our part to heed God's voice.  Prayer demands a lot of humility, listening, and simply staying in the presence of the Lord.  We need to pray more.

2. Know more - we need to know more about Jesus.  Actually, what our stand is about issues do not count at all if we know that it is Jesus who is our way, truth and life.  God's Word and the Church open us to a world of possibilities with Jesus on how to enter his loving heart.  Only then can we know what lies in our hearts as well.

3.  Change more - We need a huge dosage of life-changing experiences.  The point is whatever we experience in life calls us to a change of heart and mind according to the very heart and mind of Jesus.  A life transformed according to the very heart of Jesus accounts for a fruitful life.  Every moment of fruitfulness is Jesus' fruitfulness in our lives.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The illogicality of God

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 6:27-38

This Sunday's gospel doesn't need too much explanations.  It is what it says, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly."

There's no logic to this.  Only the logical person would say, "An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth."  But Jesus would command us, "Love your enemies." Why is this the logic of God?

For one, when we retaliate against our enemies, how do we differ from them?  "'Vengeance is mine,' says the Lord" (Deut. 32: 35).   But it is the Lord who speaks, not us.  We are not gods.  Besides, Jesus reminds us of the golden rule, "Do no do unto others what we don't want others to do to us." Remember, the wounds we inflict upon our enemies come back to us with vengeance.

"Love one another" is Jesus' command to us; and that means everyone, saints and sinners, friends and enemies alike.  "For he (the Most High) himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked."  

Furthermore, learn to see the face of God even in the enemy, for Jesus reminds us, "Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it to me" (Mat. 25, 40). 

Lastly, if ever we feel not forgiving our enemies, look at the man on the cross who suffered even for his enemies.  He said, "Father, forgive them; for they don't know what they do" (Lk. 23, 34).  Jesus forgave his enemies a long time ago.  Who knows?  Our enemies might be the first ones to go to heaven ahead of us.

So, let us be concerned with the salvation of our enemies rather than with their doom.  The logic of God is love; and it is all that matters.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

There is only one Word

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 1:1-4,4:14-21

In the first chapter of St. John, it says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1, 1)

Could there be two words, God's word and man's word?  Since it says, "the Word was God", let us cease distinguishing how man speaks and how God speaks.  Rather, let us make efforts that whatever comes our our mouths are God's Word.

The Word of God frees us. "The truth will set us free." Lies enslave us.  From the gospel, "The Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring the Good News to the Poor", God's Word frees us from the shackles of sin and helps us to live in freedom.  That is our Good News in Jesus.

The Word of God unites us.  Love is the binding force of the Word of God.  It unites us with Jesus and with his body. The Church, saturated in God's Word, is the body of Christ.  Let our every action meant to unite our brothers and sisters in the bond of love, the love of the Trinity.

The Word of God is incarnated in acts of compassion.  In the first Reading, Ezra commanded the people to have a feast, but give a portion to the man who has nothing prepared ready." That is compassion.  Like Jesus, the Word-made-flesh, let's incarnate in us the compassion of Christ.  Then we would know how the Word enlivens us!