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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Judas Wednesday


Today we take a special look at Judas Iscariot. Who was Judas?  Why did he sell Jesus? What do we learn from him?

The gospel of Holy Monday gave us different portraits of Judas and Mary (the one who anointed Jesus’ feet).  Six days before the Passover, Jesus was in Bethany having dinner with Lazarus, Mary and Martha.   Mary expressed her super generosity by pouring in a pure nard (a very expensive perfume) unto the feet of Jesus and wiped them with her hair. When Judas saw this, he said “Why is this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?”  John the one writing the story commented that Judas said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steel the contributions.  Judas was the treasurer and was a thief!

In the gospel of Holy Tuesday during the Last Supper we see again the difference portraits of Judas and Peter.  Amongst the twelve apostles, the two of them betrayed Jesus: Judas sold Jesus for thirty silver coins, Peter denied Jesus three times.  At the end, Judas despaired and hanged himself while Peter repented and was forgiven by Jesus.  Judas had nowhere to go in his greed, on the other hand Peter (according to tradition) went to Mary and asked  for help while he was in his grief.

Why did Jesus choose Judas as one of the Apostles
if he foreknew that Judas would betrayed him? It’s because Jesus believes in the inherent goodness of each person. He doesn’t judge us because of the bad things in our resumes.  He even chose Judas to be the treasurer and entrusted him the money of the band. Jesus simply believes that in spite of our “bad records” we can still change for the better.

Why did Judas sell Jesus? Because Judas was a thief, little by little he used to rob the common purse of the Apostles. Being used of doing it for the past three years that they were together, that evil scheme had already transformed him into a hungry monster.  

It is not important to ask whether Judas was saved or not but rather to learn the lesson from what he did.  We are all like Judas.  We have inherent goodness in us; we have been entrusted by God with so many gifts, resources and talents.  We always have the tendency to feed in the little monsters in our lives like the different addictions that entice us.  If we continue feeding these little monsters, we will crave for more until we are not able to control our cravings and one day those monsters will eat us up (this is the lesson we learn from “A Little Shop of Horrors”).

Even if we have done the worst thing, we don’t have to despair. We continue to believe that God loves us in spite of our sinfulness. We hope against hope that we can still change for the better.  Yes we are sinners like Judas but we are loved sinners.

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.