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Saturday, November 12, 2016

PERSEVERANCE THROUGH THE END




33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - C

       We have now come towards the end of the journey in the Ordinary Time of the liturgical calendar of the Church.  Next Sunday being the last is the Solemnity of Christ the King.  Like any other journey, it has come to an end to give way to a new season which is Advent.  Life is cyclic! 

      Our gospel this Sunday belongs to a genre in biblical literature which what we call apocalyptic literature.  It is a unique body of work which describes in symbols the things to come at the end of time.  Because they are symbolic, they should not be interpreted in the literal sense.  One thing is sure though, that is, the world will come to an end like any other created realities.  

       The temple in Jerusalem was considered as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world during the time of Jesus.  It was predicted by Jesus that one day it would be put into complete ruins.  When he was asked the time of of its occurrence, Jesus did not say 'when' but rather he pointed out the signs that would accompany its fulfilment: false prophets, wars, insurrections, earthquakes, famines, plagues and other cosmic happenings.  There would be very harsh persecutions!  

      Because the Church brings us through a journey, it makes us realise that the end is inevitable.  The signs mentioned are those that would accompany the end.  They are more important than knowing the exact time of the end.  They are not only pointing to  the coming of the end of time but also act as warnings that the end is already at hand. 

       If the signs like wars, earthquakes, super typhoons and persecutions are already here with us therefore the end of time is also around the corner.  It means that our life and all other realities that we experience are telling us an important lesson:  impermanence!  Nothing will last!  Everything hangs on in a borrowed time!  The most important thing is not yesterday nor tomorrow but today that's why we call it present.  It is a precious gift that is lent to us by God!  

      To live life to the fullest by doing good to others is the best way to persevere despite the hard times ahead of us.  To entrust ourselves to God, knowing that nothing will harm us despite the overwhelming darkness and pains that continue to confront us, is itself the gift of faith!  To know that God is in charge of our life is itself a sweet victory!




Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday, April 2, 2016

BOUNDLESS GOD!


2ND SUNDAY OF EASTER 
(DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY)

         In a world that refuses to accept reality until it is verified by the senses and empirical science, transcendence becomes passé, spirituality is useless and religion is empty.   Doubting Thomas lives on until this  time with his legacy of skepticism which refuses belief until proven by  physical experience.

       Whether we accept it or not, we are born natural skeptics!  We do not want to appear naïve or credulous to other people and to simply believe in hearsays, unfounded stories, cheap gossips and unverified reports.  In a way natural skepticism is healthy because it protects us from falling into the pit of the gullible but it has its own limitations.   All of us are standing between the real world and the boundless mystery that beckons to be explored but our human limitations bow in humility to understand and capture the unknown. 
 
      Thomas as an Apostle and representing those men and women in the later generations demanded a proof:  “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails and place my finger in his side, I will not believe.”  When Christ appeared and agreed to Thomas’ condition, Thomas did not even dare to do the physical examinations, he said “My Lord and my God.”  It was an expression of affirming both the humanity (my Lord) and the divinity (my God) of Jesus Christ.  Now henceforth he would be representing all those peoples in later generations who without experiencing Jesus in the flesh will profess such profound faith. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

      The belief in the Resurrection was not founded in the empty tomb but rather on the testimony of those who encountered the Risen Christ through the many resurrection stories which have been handed down through generations until they reached us and shaped our belief.  The story of Thomas is the story of us all.  We have moments of disbelief when we demand for proofs of the presence of God most especially in times of darkness and fear.  Often times there are no proofs given other than the invitation for a leap of faith to embrace God in the realm of the unknown.    We can never capture the sense of the mysticism and mystery of God unless we let go and simply believe like Thomas did!
       
Divine Mercy Sunday
  
  The celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday is not just about a devotion entrusted to St. Faustina and was made a universal feast of Pope John Paul II.   Rather it brings us back to that mystical event on Calvary.  When Jesus died and his breast was pierced with a lance, the heart of God was opened inviting all humanity to enter into the immensity of God's mercy.  The Church was born from the heart of Jesus beneath Calvary!   Mary and John representing the Church which was now the New Humanity, received the two great sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist symbolized by the water and blood that flowed from the heart of Jesus.  But only those who profess their belief, like Thomas, can enter into the heart of God and bask in the unfathomable mercy of God.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

GOD'S CHILD! GOD'S BELOVED!


SOLEMNITY OF THE LORD’S BAPTISM

Luke 3:15-16.21-22

        The Lord’s baptism is revelatory in nature.  It revealed who Jesus was through the manifestation of the Father and the Holy Spirit which we call “Trinitarian theophany”. It happened before Jesus embarked on his public ministry. The same manifestation would occur again towards the end of the public ministry of Jesus in the Transfiguration.  Between these two theophanies was Jesus’ proclamation of God’s Kingdom through his words and works.

        During his baptism before his public ministry, Jesus was affirmed by the Father of his identity: “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.”  As we enter into the simplicity of this season, we are also reminded of the profound reality of our true identity  given to us when we were baptized: an adopted child of God.   During our baptism the Father was saying to us personally “You are my beloved child, with you I am well pleased.” 

It was important to Jesus to accept his identity which would be the reservoir of his power during his public ministry.  During his intimate moments with his Father in prayer, Jesus would go back again and again to that special moment when he heard his Father’s voice.  In fact he needed to hear the same voice again during the Transfiguration before he could carry on the most painful days of his earthly life.

During this ordinary season, like Jesus we carry in our hearts the Father’s voice so that whatever happens to us this year, we believe that the Father will always be there for us the way he was with Jesus all the time.  It means that we are ready to accept the different theophanies of God in our life.  We welcome him as he manifests himself to us in life or in death, in pain or in joy, in the sunshine or in the rain, in light or in darkness, in good times and in bad.  These are the many facets of life which reveal to us the many faces of God.   We just have to be ready to accept  his creative surprises in our life.

Our baptism is both a gift and a responsibility.  As a gift, we have become adopted children of God!  We call him our Father and we are heirs of the Kingdom! As a responsibility, we witness a Christian life, a life which is patterned after  Jesus, his Son. 

As a child of God, I am God’s beloved!  It is my greatest identity!