Quotations:

I am with you always until the end of this world - Jesus (Matthew 28:20).

Preach the Word in season and out of season reproving, rebuking or advising always with patience and providing instructions (2 Timothy 4:2).

Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you (Luke 1:30).

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly. - G. K. Chesterton

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Gospel Reflections for the fourth Sunday of Lent; March 22, John 3:14-21

My Reflections:
Why do we have images in the Catholic Church? Is there a specific passage in the bible that refers to this? There are actually many passages in the bible that God commanded his people to create images. One of these is cited in the gospel reading for today. (Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Jesus was referring in this Old Testament passage (Numbers 21:4-9). Then, Jesus said: “So that everyone who believes may have eternal life.”

Those who are deep in their faith know what Jesus is talking about. We know that our deep faith in Him will carry us through eternal life. We know that our life here on earth is just temporary and fleeting and this can be taken away from us anytime. But we don’t worry about it for we know what awaits us in our afterlife.

Let us shift our attention to this bible passage: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

The love of God for us is always ours for the taking it’s perpetually there for us and it’s free it’s given by God to us without strings attached on it. God loves us so much that He gave His only Son for us. Can we fathom God’s love for us? No we cannot! Our finite minds will not be able to comprehend the hugeness of God’s love.

How come that there are those who are not aware of this eternal love of God? The answer to this question is very simple—their life is so much taken by the trappings and worries of this temporary world. This is the reason why they are not aware of this great love of God.

If we will faithfully celebrate Mass, if we will regularly find time to read the bible the grace of the Holy Spirit will be upon us. And it will slowly give us the gift of awareness of this great love of God.

Let us always be aware of God’s love for us, let us nurture it until it blossoms forever in our hearts. ...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The story of the Three Trees

"Once upon a time there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty."

Then the second tree said, "Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull."

Finally the third tree said, "I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me."

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, "This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter," and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, "This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree, I'll take this one," and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and He stood and said "Peace" and the storm stopped . At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

"The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don't always know what God's plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

MY Gospel Reflections for March 8 Sunday, The Transfiguration of Jesus: Mark 9:2-10

My Reflections:
In the first reading Abraham survived the litmus test of his faith when he responded to God’s command to bring his son Isaac to the mountain and offer him as his sacrifice to God. He obeyed God without question even if it is at the expense of his son. For his obedience Abraham was blessed abundantly by God and he was rewarded by God with so many descendants.

If we are in the shoes of Abraham would we sacrifice our son/child without any question? Would we be as faithful as Abraham in his discipleship to God? These two questions invites us to self examine our faithfulness towards God.

How are you as a disciple/follower of God? Maybe some of us are fair weather disciples only.

In the gospel Jesus together with Peter, James and John went to the mountain when He was there already He was transfigured before them. Why did Jesus went to the mountain? Was He called by God to go to the mountain? There was no mention of that sort. Perhaps, there was a call from God for Jesus to go to the mountain so that God can further strengthen Him as He nears His passion. So that He will remain humble and focused to His salvific mission for us. Perhaps, all of these things happened when He was transfigured before the disciples.

How do we relate the transfiguration of Jesus to our lives?

When we attend Mass we respond to Jesus’ open invitation to join Him in His banquet. Jesus wants us all to be transfigured and be inspired by His words when it’s read during the Liturgy of the Word. Jesus also wants to transfigure us all when we receive His body during Communion. Jesus hopes that through the Celebration of the Holy Mass we will also have that mountain top experience with Him. So that He will continue to sustain us as we do battle with the many temptations of this world such as: Self-righteousness, Egoism, Greed, Lust, Arrogance, Pride, etc...

Have you already allowed Jesus (Through the Mass) to transfigure you?

Do you have your own mountain top experience with God?