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

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.  … 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Reflections for Sunday September 16, Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mark 8:27-35

Gospel:
Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" They said in reply, "John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets." And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter said to him in reply, "You are the Christ." Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it."
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My Reflections:
There was a man who was praying to have a personal encounter with Jesus. He said to Jesus: “Please show yourself to me. I want to see you. I want to follow you, and I want to have this personal relationship with you.”  Then in his dream Jesus replied by saying, “Will you be willing to follow the path of my suffering?” With a forlorn face the man replied negatively after which Jesus told him “So you will not be able to know me deeply and you will not be able to have that personal relationship with me.”

Just like many of us Peter seems to be averse with suffering because he reproached Jesus after Jesus told him that He must suffer, be rejected and then eventually be killed. Why are we afraid to suffer by the way? Is it because we love the many self-gratification of this temporary world?  Which would we prefer the many temporal pleasures of this world or our personal intimacy with Jesus? Coursed through our many sufferings which are actually easy to bear for the simple reason that Jesus will help us carry them.

We do not presently have personal intimacy with Jesus for the reason that we love this world more than Jesus. We do not have personal closeness with Jesus because we easily forsake Jesus in favor of the many temptations and enjoyments of this world.

What will it benefit us if we gain this world yet we are unable to find Jesus in our lives? Nothing, its pure emptiness, yes we will be happy and yes we will find enjoyment. But it is fleeting it will not last long, soon after emptiness and loneliness will once again set in.   Let us not allow ourselves to be deluded by this world because we will not gain anything that is eternally precious and lasting.

It is only through our faithful discipleship with Jesus that we would be able to find ourselves. It is only through the carrying of our own cross that we would have a personal and lasting encounter with Jesus.