Sunday, November 24, 2019

Who are we before the great King?

Christ the King

Luke 23:35-43

A king is a king becauase there are followers. 

We can only contemplate on Christ the king based on what has become of us as we follow him.  How did we follow the Lord the past year? 

We need to possess the qualities of a servant to appreciate Jesus as King of our lives. 

First, we need humility enough for us to understand that we belong to the earth.  But Jesus also became man not so that we may lift ourselves to his level but rather, he may dwell among us as a man.  That is humility.  In celebration of our humanity, let us remain humble to the great King so he will use us as his trustworthy servants.

Second, communion.  In the First reading, the people of Israel said to David, "You are flesh of our flesh and the blood of our blood." In the book of Genesis, Adam also uttered to Eve words like this, "You are the bone of my bone, the flesh of my flesh." This is communion.  We are united to the Lord our King and to one another in an unbreakable bond.   If God himself is communion, so too may we be communion to one another.

Third, charity.  Jesus in the Gospel said to the thief, "You shall be with me in paradise."   Jesus' mission is to save us all and to bring us to his kingdom, a kingdom of love, peace, and justice.  Let it also be our mission to carry our brothers and sisters, even those not related to us and also to our enemies, to bring them to God's kingdom. Then we shall know our true role in this world, to be loving servants of the Lord in bringing others to salvation.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

God's justice is his mercy

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 18:9-14 

We have our own concepts of justice.  However, people also see it as getting even, fighting for one's rights, taking revenge, or even winning in trials even though one knows how guilty he is.  In this regard, no one escapes the justice of God.

God's justice is based on the way he equally treats all of us his children.  Why is there inquality in the world and what are we doing about it?  In God's eyes we are all created equal, for we all are created in the same image and likeness of God.

The Gospel shows man's sense of righteousness to the detriment of the outcast.  Jesus says, "Everyone who exults himself shall be humbled, but the man who humbles himself shall be exulted." This too is God's justice.  For he intends to correct any inequality and wrongdoing we do against others.

Be more concerned with God's justice upon us rather that our own against others.  The cross becomes the most powerful expression of the justice of God; it shows total mercy even to the wayward.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Perseverance


29th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Luke 18:1-8

In the Philippines, we have a wise saying: "Kung may tiyaga, may nilaga", the Filipino translation of "No pain, no gain."  With perseverance we can gain anything. 
With perseverance we can gain anything.

The point is we don't have patience and perseverance.  In an age of automatic processes at the push of a button, we tend to be more impatient with systems.  Consequently, we also lose patience with people, with the Church, and most specially, with God.

The readings reflect various elements of perseverance.  In the First Reading, Moses, in his old age, had to lift his arms so Israel could win against the Amalekites.  Aaron and Hur had to help him.  Grace builds on nature; we need lots of perseverance given our limited human nature.

In the second reading, Paul reminded Timothy, "You must be faithful to what you have been taught and know to be true." Faithfulness is a sign of perseverance.  The faithful friend stands by us through thick and thin and through highs and lows of life.

Third, the cross is a sure sign of perseverance.  Imagine all the sufferings Jesus had to go through to gain our salvation.

Those who persevere in the faith attain their true goal - to be holy and perfect men and women in God.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

LIfe itself is thanksgiving

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 17:11-19

The usual thing about thanksgiving is that it is expressed only after a good deed or favor has been given or done to us.  Such thanksgiving is conditional, "Only after ..."

What if we turn everything upside down?  What if we realize that even though we have not received at first instance, we knew we've already received, what would be our attitude?  Say, life.  Do we own it or it has been given to us?  Where did all the good things come from?  If we only knew, we would have thanked the Lord a long time ago.

The Lord is the giver; we are the receivers.  When did we last thank the Lord instead of forever asking him? 

This whole life is a gift.  Therefore, thank the Lord.  A thankful life will always be indebted to the One who gave and continues to give life.  When did we last give our lives as thanksgiving to God?

Finally, imagine when our lives are about to end; what comes out of our hearts - "Lord, give me more life?"  This is a prayer of desperation.  Instead, we say, "Lord, thank you for a well-spent life." That is true thanksgiving. 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

On discipline


21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 13:22-30


‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.
The first reading speaks about an assembly of people called by God sent to proclaim to others his glory.  What kind of people are these?  Are we worthy to join this august crowd?

The second and third readings give us a hint of the type of people who are worthy to join God's people.  They are disciplined by the Lord because of his great love for them.  Moreover, they entered into the narrow door where only a few could enter.

Discipline is the key to being incorporated into God's kingdom.  And if we say we are not obliged to serve God, give our tithes, or actively participate in an apostolate, we may be in for a big surprise.  The Lord would not let us enter into his kingdom not only because he doesn't know us despite our presence during his talks, but also we  became evildoers.

Consider discipline as our way to heaven.  It is for our own good when we submit ourselves to purification of our desires.

Secondly, discipline is for the good of the community.  We observe God's law so we would not end up committing sins against another.

Third, discipline affirms our desire to be disciples of the Lord.  When we live out God's will rather than our own, we become his disciples.  Thus, the assembly God wants is a community of disciples.  By being a disciple of the Lord, we would be able to enter through the narrow door that leads to everlasting life.

Friday, August 09, 2019

3 ways to follow Jesus

from "Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse"

 Friday of week 18 in Ordinary Time

If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24-28)

Both readings today call us to follow God's commands.  If we're challenging this thought, the question to ask is, "Is there another source or person who can  who can instruct us the path to life aside from God?"

If God is our Lord, there is no other recourse except to follow him.  He shows us the way through three things:

1.  Renounce ourselves

This day and age, there's no problem being responsible for one's life, future and happiness.  Yet, what kind of happiness are we actually referring to, this life or till eternal life?  Our faith in God calls us to adhere to his will considering his will leads us to eternal life.

2. Carry our crosses 

This world conditions us to a life of comfort.  Yet, we also understand that comfort cannot be attained unless we work for it.  And that involves making sacrifices or "carrying our crosses" so to speak.

3.   Lose our lives for Jesus

This by far is the hardest to follow; yet, the way of Jesus is the only way.  We might be carrying our own crosses and renouncing ourselves, but if we aren't one with Jesus nor have the passion to serve and love him, what's the point of our sacrifices?

Learn the path Jesus took to save us.  Better yet, let Jesus, his every thought, word, and action, be ours as well.  In losing our lives for Jesus could we actually gain true life!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Lord's prayer

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 11:1-13

Abraham pleaded to the Lord to spare Sodom if there were even at least 10 God-fearing persons.  The Lord said he would spare Sodom in behalf of the 10.

In the gospel, the apostles asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.

Prayer can only be possible if there is an authentic relationship between the person praying and the Lord. Knowing who Jesus is and his role in the history of salvation, we might as well increase our devotion and love for him.

The Lord's prayer contains the summary of our deepest longing for the Lord.  There are three aspects that reveal our knowledge as well as devotion to the Lord:

First, adoration


Adoration demands utmost reverence to God the most High; it demands total adherence to his will and worship to his name.  Only God deserves our adoration.

Second, service


Asking for daily bread is a recognition that everything comes from God and as a sign of thanksgiving, we practice responsible stewardship for all created things, not let them lord over us, but we utilize them as God wants us to use them: for the service of one another.

Third, salvation


The prayer marks our salvation; that we are indeed meant for heaven.  As such, we need to practice compassion, forgiveness, justice and mercy.

All these taken together, marks who God is and who we are in his name.

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!