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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Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday December 30, Feast of the Holy Family Luke 2:41-52

Gospel:
Each year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety."

And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.
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My Reflections:
A baby was adopted by a childless couple. As he grew he was treated as their very own child. They taught him about the faith and they regularly brought him to church for Mass. When he was fourteen years old, his biological parents went to his adopted parents to get him back. The couple who adopted him asked him if he was willing to go back again to his biological family but the child chose to stay with his adopted family.

What made the child choose his adopted family over his biological family? It was the parental love that he felt and it was the strong foundation about the faith that they had given him. These two very important family foundations were also provided by Mary and Joseph to the twelve year old Jesus.

The Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph implanted upon the young mind of Jesus the importance of church worship. That is why they frequently brought Him to the temple in Jerusalem for the yearly feast of Passover. They both wanted the young Jesus to become a God centered man and not a man centered on the world.

With the modernity of our times, many families are forgetting the very important fact that they must implant in the hearts of their children the basics of their faith. Many parents are forgetting to bring their children to  church for worship in favor of the many material things of this world. What kind of children are we growing if we neglect our parental duty to teach them about our faith and if we neglect to bring them to church for worship?

We form children that do not know how to respect their parents; we raise children that have no qualms of committing grievous crimes even to the point of killing innocent people. These scenarios are for real and are happening now for the simple reason that there are parents who neglect their basic duty to introduce their children to God.

The feast of the Holy Family is a wake-up call for all of us. It tells us that we must prioritize God over anything else in this world; it tells us that we must worship God at church as a family. And it tells us that we must teach our children about our faith because we are the very first catechist or faith formators of our children. Before our children go to our respective parish church, it is already assumed that we have already taught them about the fundamental of our faith in our domestic church which is none other than inside our own house.   

Let us therefore emulate the Holy family life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Let us follow the unconditional love of Mary and Joseph and let us emulate them on how they properly took care of the young Jesus.  

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Reflections for Tuesday December 25 Solemnity of the Lord’s Birth (Midnight Mass) Luke 2:1-14

Gospel:
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
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My Reflections:
How will we meet the birth of Jesus this midnight? Would we be on a gathering/reunion with our family and relatives? This is very good but let us keep this celebration simple and let us ensure also that there will be no wasted food.

The gospel intimates to us the very simple birth of Jesus, bereft of any sign of affluence. This must also be our guide when we celebrate our Christmas; let us make it as simple as possible. Let us also see to it that we make others happy most especially the poor by sharing what we have with them. If we do this they will see the person of Christ in us; the true meaning of Christmas will become a living reality for them through us.   

Let us also see to it that we attend the midnight Mass for this is the best way to usher the birth of Jesus. The true reason of the season which is the birth of our savior is often times overcrowded by our many celebrations. Thus our celebration becomes the center of our Christmas; Jesus is now put aside in favor of these many celebrations.

Our Responsorial Psalm which says: Today is born our savior Christ the Lord. Typifies that we must put more premium first on the birth of Jesus and not on our many celebrations. In our first reading the prophet Isaiah signified the importance of Jesus’ birth by saying that those who walked in darkness have seen a great light and those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. (Isaiah 9:1)

How can we see the true light of Jesus that will brighten our lives if we put first our celebrations in lieu of our presence in the Holy Mass tonight? How can we discover the true essence of Christ simple birth if we will waste food and not share what we have with the poor which Jesus always love to be identified with?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday December 23, Fourth Sunday of Advent, Luke 1:39-45

Gospel:
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."
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My Reflections:
Who moves us to forget our own personal needs so that we could make life better for others? He is no other than Jesus. If Jesus is an integral part of our lives we would easily forget ourselves or our own personal circumstances so that we could make life easier and comfortable for others.

On this fourth Sunday of advent let us take a deeper look on the actions of the Blessed Mother. The Blessed Mother disregarded her own personal safety so she could give comfort and care to her cousin Elizabeth. What moved her to risk her life considering that she was also pregnant at that time? And considering also that she had to travel a very long distance?  It was the baby Jesus in her womb; she was carrying in her womb the greatest gift that we could ever have. She wanted therefore to share the blessing of Jesus to her cousin Elizabeth.

During these days of materialism and consumerism Christmas is slowly becoming gift-centered rather than Jesus centered. We have a tendency to focus more on gifts and not on Jesus. Jesus is slowly being eased out in place of materialism and consumerism; let us refocus our Christmas celebration to Jesus. Let us make the forthcoming birth of Jesus as our first priority and the gifts our second priority only.  

Hence let us emulate our Blessed Mother.  Let us forget ourselves and let us remember to share Jesus with our fellowmen. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Reflections for December 18 Tuesday third Week of Advent Matthew 1:18-25

My Reflections:
In his dream Saint Joseph humbly listened to the voice of God coursed thru an angel. Without him listening the Blessed Mother would have been exposed to ridicule and danger but she avoided it because of Joseph. In our lives the voice of God speaks through us in our conscience, through our family members and well-meaning friends.

Are we like Joseph who listens even if it appears to be against our will? Are we like Joseph who listens so that others may avoid humiliation and ridicule?    

Or we just push with our own selfish interest and we don’t give any iota of care for the well-being of others?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday December 16, Third Sunday of Advent, Luke 3:10-18


Gospel:
The crowds asked John the Baptist, "What should we do?" He said to them in reply, "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, "Teacher, what should we do?" He answered them, "Stop collecting more than what is prescribed." Soldiers also asked him, "And what is it that we should do?" He told them, "Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages."

Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people.
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My Reflections:
A boy was taught by his father that there was only one way to be happy and it was none other than to accumulate wealth. He imbibed his father’s teachings so he studied very hard and he eventually became one of the very rich in their town. On his quest to acquire worldly treasures he stepped on the toes of many people, he created many enemies on his way up and upon reaching the pinnacle of his ambition he became greedy and he subsequently discovered that it was very lonely at the top.  

He was on his quest once again to find the magic formula to happiness so he went to a wise old man in the mountain to seek his advice. The wise old man gave him only one advice: Learn to share whatever you have for it is in sharing that you will find happiness. He followed the wise advice and he felt happiness as he had never felt it before.

In our gospel the crowds asked John the Baptist, "What should we do?" (This was in response to John’s call for them to repent) John said to them in reply, "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." Perhaps the crowds were becoming self-centered already. They only cared for their own needs and never on the needs of their fellowmen.

The season of Christmas is not about what we will receive. It is about what we can freely share. The real essence of Christmas is in sharing not in receiving. Let us try to wholeheartedly share and we will feel the highest degree of happiness that we would not be able to feel when we accept gifts.

On this third Sunday of advent John the Baptist message is loud and clear it is about learning to share no matter how little so long as it comes from the bottom of our hearts. Let us share to the poor, to those who are badly in need, let us share to those who cannot pay back our generosity. There are many of them in poor communities and in places affected by disasters and calamities. Like our brothers and sisters who were badly affected by the devastating  typhoon named Bopha or Pablo in Mindanao.
  
Let us bring Jesus to them by generously sharing whatever we can give. …

Friday, December 7, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday December 9, Second Sunday of Advent, Luke 3:1-6

Gospel:
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
"Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."
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My Reflections:
In a faraway place there was a powerful dictator who shunned God in order to possess all the money and earthly power that he can muster. He used that power to oppress his people and to corrupt wealth. After ten years this dictator was deposed and he paid dearly for his abuse of power. This is the normal destiny of powerful and abusive people, yes they stay in power for a period of time but they are eventually punished and then they fade away into oblivion.

Contrast these powerful people with godly and humble ones, they are never forgotten. They forever stay in our consciousness  and their names are permanently remembered by God and by history.  

We have in our gospel for this second Sunday of advent powerful personalities such as Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Philip, Annas and Caiaphas. We also have in our gospel John the humble and godly precursor of Jesus. It was John who said that he is not worthy to untie Jesus' sandal strap (John 1:27). Compare the humble John with the powerful personalities in our gospel reading and let us choose whom we would like to emulate.

Would we choose the powerful ones or the humble one? Who is none other than John, power fades away; there is no permanence with power. Power and money could even become a curse to oneself if handled with arrogance and pride. But once we choose to emulate the humility of John, we would gain favor from God. Jesus would lovingly embrace us with His love and care for this is what He would want us to become.

Let us therefore choose to emulate John, let us follow his humility and let us heed his call for us to repent from our sinfulness by humbly submitting ourselves to the healing Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession.   

When was your last Confession?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Milagros Mila O. Dasmarinas November 28 1948 - November 27, 2012)



Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.  Amen. 

Please offer Mass for her intentions and please remember her in your prayers.

Thank you for everything and Farewell to you my Dear auntie Mila.  . . .

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday November 25, Solemnity of Christ the King, John 18:33b-37

Gospel:
Pilate said to Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?" Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." 

So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."
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My Reflections:
In a faraway place there was a king who was very well loved by his people, he opened the gates of his kingdom to everyone especially to the poor. He would also regularly go out of his beautiful palace bereft of the elegance of a king to regularly give help to his people.

In spite of his stature he was very humble and very down to earth, he mingled with everyone: The poor, the educated and the social outcast. He eventually became old and sickly then after a few months he died. There was an outpouring of support from his people and everyone mourned his passing. They had glowing tributes about his kindness, his humility and his selfless service to them.

Today is the solemnity of Christ the King. What is the kingship of Christ all about? It’s about humility, it’s about kindness and it’s about self-sacrifice. Jesus never abused His powerful Kingship He never used it for himself, He never used it to oppress or to bully and foremost of all His kingship was always for our welfare and never for himself.

What is the implication of Christ Kingship to us? It loudly tells us that we must at all times follow the kingship of Jesus. It loudly tells us that we must be humble at all times, we must serve others at all times and we must always be kind to everyone.

The world that we are in right now is in chaos because many political leaders and  some religious leaders follow the kingship of this world. If only they would learn to truly follow the true kingship of Christ, there would be no more hunger, no more oppression and no more corruption.

But the sad reality is many of us still choose to follow the temporal kingship of this world. We allow it to enslave us that is why we become arrogant and domineering caused by the temporal power or position of influence that we presently have. We embrace egotism, we flaunt our power so that others will respect or even bow to us.

Let us discard the worldly kingship for the heavenly kingship of Christ.  Let us always embrace His kingship of Humility, His kingship of kindness and His kingship of self-sacrifice. 

Which kingship do you embrace?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Reflections for November 18, Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 13:24-32

Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples: "In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken."And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

"Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. "But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
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My Reflections:
Every now and then there are movies with end times' story lines such as extensive flooding, hunger, chaotic situations, disasters, wars and the like. This is not only happening in movie themes, this is in fact already part of our life’s reality. Just watch the news and you will see many depressing situations. What if these frightening events that   you see are really signs of the end times? Are you ready for it?

All of us perhaps are not yet ready for these end times scenarios and all of us are not yet ready for these end times pronouncement by Jesus in the gospel. He tells us this: "In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken." This is unimaginable and horrifying, but what if it suddenly comes like a thief in the night? What will happen to us? Where will we end-up?

We may not all be ready for these, we may lose sleep thinking about these dreadful scenarios. But for so long as we have God in our hearts and for so long as we live within the ambit of His teachings. We need not worry for God will give us faith to endure all of these tribulations, He will give us peace in the midst of the absence of peace in our hearts.

But  often times  we forget the power of God over everything that happens and exists in this world. We often times forget that God is above all these tribulations. Yes, all of these may happen at a time when we least expect it but if we have faith we have nothing to worry. If we love and believe in Jesus we have nothing to worry. 

Let us always learn to give all our worries to God, let us always learn to invite Him to dwell into our hearts. By doing so we will not dread anything even the horrific end times we will not fear.

Do we always share our worries with God? Do we always invite Him to dwell into our hearts?   

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Reflections for November 11, Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 12:38-44


Gospel:
In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."
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My Reflections:
There is a story of a poor woman who was always ready to give anything that she had for the sake of those who were in need. Because of her generosity there were instances that her children would gently remind her not to overly give and reserve something for them.

But the bighearted woman would softly tell her children that it is always in giving that they would receive unfathomable blessings from God. True enough, there were no instances wherein they were in need of anything; even if they were poor they always have something for themselves because God takes care of those who are generous. Very much like the poor widow in our first reading who generously gave water and bread to the prophet Elijah thus from then on the good Lord provided for the widow and her son. 

We may not know it but the poor are the most generous people in the world.  They gave from the pureness of their hearts no matter how small, they freely gave out of their poverty or need and never out of their excess.

Compare this with some of the rich who give as a result of their excess. For example, those millionaires who give thousands to their favorite charities, I think most of them give because the money that they would give will never hurt their pockets anymore they have safely earmarked it already for charity.

True generosity is epitomized by the poor widow in the gospel, she gave the little money that she had and she gave out of her need. She could have bought food with the two small coins that she had to satisfy her hunger but it never came to her thought.

What was paramount to the poor widow was to give without any string attached. Jesus consequently favored the poor widow because He saw the pureness of her intentions and the pureness of her generosity.

How do we give to our church? How do we give to the poor and to those who are need?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Reflections for November 4, Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark Mk 12:28b-34

Gospel:
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus replied, "The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, 'He is One and there is no other than he.' And 'to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself' is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
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My Reflections:
What is the key to a successful marriage? It's none other than the love for God of both spouses. What if there is an absence of the love for God in their relationship? It is a guarantee that they will have a failure of their marriage.

The love of God is in the heart of every successful marriage, it is the very foundation that keeps the marriage unbroken between a man and a woman. However, there will be times wherein the marriage will be tested but at the end of the day the relationship will still survive the test no matter how severe for the reason that  the love for God is an ever present light in the hearts of both spouses.

When Saint Joseph discovered that the Blessed Mother was pregnant by virtue of the Holy Spirit, Joseph was already planning to discretely divorce the Blessed Mother but the Lord intervened through an angel. In his dream the angel told Joseph, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife for she has conceived by virtue of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-20). Joseph’s love for God prevailed because he obeyed the will of God for him He did not follow his selfish will for himself.  

This is what will happen also when there is love for God in the hearts of married couples. They will listen to the voice of God to respect the sacredness of their marriage no matter what trials they may encounter. When couples truly love God there is no room for infidelity, jealousy and indifference.

They only make room for more love because the love of God that they have in their hearts is now translated to an everlasting love for their spouse which will forever stand the test of space and time.  . . .

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cardinal-designate Luis Tagle, 55, of Manila, Philippines. A future Pope?

Excerpt: 
The second youngest of six cardinals announced Oct. 24 is widely lauded for his theological gifts and his humility. Cardinal-designate Luis Tagle, 55, of Manila, Philippines, “really takes care of people … he’s so simple and generous and there’s no class structure when he deals with people; everyone is equal in his eyes,” said Nemie Anciado, a longtime custodian at the cathedral in Imus, Philippines, where the cardinal-designate was bishop from 2001 to 2011.

Please click on this link for the whole article:

Cardinal-designate Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle’s feelings regarding his appointment and his views on the topics in the current (October 2012) Synod.

Please click this link:


http://media01.radiovaticana.va/audiomp3/00340269.MP3

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No to Reproductive Health (RH) Bill: By Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas

Excerpts: 
A recent report from Bloomberg (one of the leading business news agencies) was just headlined “Philippines Leads in Demographic Dividend of Supply of Young Workers.” The very bullish article about the Philippines—just echoing many others that have come out since the beginning of the current year—pointed out that the so-called demographic dividend from a rising supply of young workers is one reason Japan’s second-largest shipbuilder expanded in the Philippines, where workers are on average half the age of its Japanese employees.  Passing the RH Bill would literally be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Already China and Thailand—still with relatively large populations—are suffering from labor shortages because of the rapid aging  of their populations over the last decade or so. According to Nobel prize winner George Akerlof, who combines the study of economics and psychology, contraceptives tend to degrade marriage and lead to more extramarital sex, more fatherless children, more single mothers and more psychologically troubled adolescents. Harvard Director of AIDS Prevention, Edward C. Green, once wrote that according to the best evidence available, condoms give a false sense of security and prompt people to be more reckless in assuming sexual risks, thus worsening the spread of the sexually transmitted diseases. Thailand, which has the highest incidence of AIDS-HIV in East Asia, could be cited as a testimony to this.

Please click this link to read the full article:

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday October 21, Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 10:35-45

Gospel:
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?" They answered him, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking.

Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" They said to him, "We can." Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared." When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.

Jesus summoned them and said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.

For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
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My Reflections:
A young man who was to be conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation saw the arrival of their bishop. He was overwhelmed  by the respect that was being given to the bishop. Many were bowing to him; they were holding his right hand so that they could put it on their forehead for them to be blessed.  Many were also kissing the bishop’s ring to express their reverence and respect for him. The young man was so impressed by what he saw that he said to his parents, I want to become a priest also, so that I will also be admired and respected.

James and John were also after respect and admiration that is why they asked Jesus if they could sit beside Him in His kingdom. They wanted those who will see them to be  in awe by the influence that they have. Imagine sitting beside Jesus in His kingdom, it is a badge of honor; it is something that will make any believer proud. But Jesus rebuked them by saying, “You do not know what you are asking.”

Why do we aspire for respect and admiration? Do we want it because it enhances our self-worth? Do we want it to feed our egotism? Do we want it for the reason that we want others to look-up to us and perceive us as someone who is powerful? It is all of the above and more, whether we admit it or not many of us are craving for  self-centered honor to be bestowed upon us for we hunger and love it.      

But in Jesus’ viewpoint self-centered honor, egotism, and every kind of action for us to be adored and exalted amounts to nothing. Because Jesus himself shunned all of these fickle exaltation, Jesus avoided it like a plague. What was important for Jesus was to humbly follow the will of God and that is none other than humble service to His people. This eventually led Him to sacrifice His very own life on the cross.  

We ask ourselves now, why do we aspire to be well known, to be great, to be popular, to be admired and to become rich which is sometimes brought about by dirty money? The answer is no brainer: Some of us simply want to increase our temporal human value, we want to feed our hungry egos.  . . .       

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday October 14, Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 10:17-30

Gospel:
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother."

He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?"

Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."Peter began to say to him, "We have given up everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."
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My Reflections:
A man who had a good job and who was living a comfortable life with his mother and siblings suddenly decided to work in a foreign country. When he was asked by his mother why he need to work abroad he simply said this, “I want to earn more money so that we could buy many things and live a more comfortable life.”

So he went abroad amid the protestation of his mother. While he was abroad he lived a promiscuous life which resulted in him being sick with AIDS. This is a sad story brought about by the man’s greed for material possessions. 

In our gospel there is this man who asked Jesus this question, Good teacher, what must I do to have eternal life? Jesus enumerated what he should do and the man said, "All of these I have observed from my youth." But Jesus told him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." With that statement his face fell, and he walked away sad, for he had many possessions.

Eternal life was already within reach for the man in the gospel. Comfortable life was his to take for the man in our story. But they both let go of it because they could not forgo their greed for material possessions.    

Many of us are also enslaved by our greed for material possessions such as money and the like. We greedily want it even if we can live without it, we are very much willing to have it even if we barter our souls to the devil. We may not know it but our greed for material wealth is the main foundation of our many troubles in this world.

For example many siblings and relatives are not in speaking terms because they could not agree on how to divide their inherited wealth. Many parents are problematic with their grown-up children for the reason that they spoiled them with material wealth but they famished them with parental love and guidance.

It is never too late to let go of your greed for material possession in favor of harmony, peace of mind and love in your family. It is never too late to share your wealth with the poor to have eternal life with God.    

When the time comes that we are already in the doorway of earthly death our material possessions will not be a factor for our salvation. What will matter is the love that we gave to the poor and the love that we gave to God.  . . .

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday October 7, Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 10:2-16

Gospel:
The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?" They were testing him. He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?" They replied, "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." But Jesus told them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate." In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.
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My Reflections:
Here are examples of marriages in crises: 1.) A man betrays his wife by having an illicit affair with his officemate. 2.) A wife stays in the same house with her husband but they have no intimacy anymore - she only stays with him for the sake of their children. 3.) A wife filed for nullity of her marriage in the church tribunal citing irreconcilable differences as one of her grounds. There are countless more marriages that are breaking apart, why is this happening? To whom could we attribute this debasing of the Sacrament of Marriage?

Perhaps this is caused by the lack of strong foundation on the couple’s faith and understanding about the Sacrament of Marriage. Perhaps this is caused by their immaturity and their lack of humility, forgiveness and perseverance to make their marriage work.  Perhaps this is influenced by their own family background for example, when they were young they saw that their own parents were not also faithful to their marriage.

The breakup of the Sacrament of Marriage is not the desire of God because from the beginning  He envisioned this Sacrament of Matrimony to be forever. This is the reason why Jesus tells us in the gospel: “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate (Mark 10:7-9)."

What then is the secret to a long and lasting marriage? We need to have childlike humility,we need to have Jesus in our lives, we need to be forgiving, we need to be persevering and we need to have a daily prayer time as a family as father Patrick Peyton famously said, “The family that prays together stays together.” 

But sad to say, humility, forbearance and forgiveness are the virtues that are lacking amongst married couples nowadays. It is so easy for them to separate now without considering the welfare of their family. Why is it hard for us to become humble, forbearing and forgiving? The answer is very simple - it is for the reason that we are not faithful followers of Jesus. We do not anymore take the teachings of Jesus seriously.

Let us therefore renew our loyalty to Jesus and let us also restore our lasting commitment to the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday September 30, Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

Gospel:
At that time, John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us." Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched."
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My Reflections:
A parish priest was told by his Eucharistic Lay Minister that there was a Christian denomination who wanted to use the parish chapel for their Christian worship. The ELM was expecting the priest to reject the request but to his surprise the humble priest allowed the Christian denomination to use the chapel.

Months had passed by and this Christian group was always using the chapel for their worship. Along with it they had built a solid friendship with the parish priest anchored on his humility and tolerance.  After two years of friendship and communication the Christian group decided to convert to the Catholic faith and they were warmly welcomed to the church by the humble and tolerant priest.

In our gospel for this Sunday Jesus speaks about tolerance, humility and love for our fellowmen. When John told Him that they tried to prevent someone from driving out demons in His name. Perhaps John was expecting Jesus to condone his arrogant behavior. But Jesus rebuked John by saying, “Do not prevent him, there is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.” 

This rebuke of Jesus towards John echoes up to this time and it is not anymore addressed to John but it is now given to us. We are reminded by Jesus that we must always be tolerant, humble and loving to those who are not within the loop of our faith. Jesus at all times reminds us also that we must always live these virtues because it is only through this that Jesus could become a living symbol in our lives.   

Sometimes it is so tempting to become proud and arrogant because of our life’s status and the friends that we have. But how can we convince others to join our faith if we portray Jesus as domineering and arrogant? How can we highlight Jesus in our lives if we are always overbearing and superior?

Jesus would always want us to be tolerant, humble and loving. Never did He want us to become domineering and arrogant.  …