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, 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.
+ + + + + + +
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.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

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.
                                                       + + + + + + +
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."
+ + + + + + +

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?