Total Pageviews

Friday, June 29, 2012



      How does our faith make a difference in the most difficult moments of our life?  Where does faith bring us when we are at the end of our strength, when our feet bring us at the end of the road facing an abyss?
      In the gospel this Sunday, we have two miracles interwoven with each other by faith.  Jairus’ twelve year old daughter was dead and the woman was suffering with hemorrhage for twelve years.  Jesus, being the Master of life, showed His power and mercy in response to the faith of Jairus and the woman.  It was not just about physical resuscitation nor cure, it was about encountering the Divine that led to salvation.
      Jairus asked Jesus to “lay your hands on her that she may be saved and may live.”   On the other hand the woman believed that “if I can just touch his clothes, I shall be saved.”  Jairus and the woman without them knowing it, were looking for salvation though from different levels and perspectives.    Both of them were looking for a physical cure.   Yet Jesus was offering more than they were asking for: salvation through the cure.   Jesus brought them to an encounter which would elicit their faith response.   This encounter brought Jairus and the woman in a dialogue with the Author of life.  Without this dialogue, the two miracles would only be physical healing devoid of the extraordinary dimension of true salvation.  It was in this dialogue that Jesus brought Jairus and the woman in a crescendo of faith from something primitive, magical and superstitious to something organic and transcendental.  Because of faith, Jesus brought Jairus’ daughter and the woman back into the fullness of life.
      When we reflect miracle stories like Jairus’ daughter and the woman in the gospel today, it is not just reading dead texts that appeal to the imagination.  It is different from reading a short story or a novel, fiction or true, spectacular they may be.   The miracles in the Gospel bid us to enter into the depth of the story and we become part of it, not just as readers or listeners, but active participants as we re-live it and suddenly it becomes alive.  If this is true, then how do we see ourselves in the story this Sunday?
      Are you at the end of your rope? Gasping your last breath? Nearly giving up?  Or just a mere spectator to life as it unfolds in the drama of your family and friends or people around you?  Do we  need to experience the end of life’s road before we finally realize that we are not in control but God?  Do we really need a tragedy in life before we start believing that God is real?
      Or is it in the ordinariness of life when we practice our faith that we encounter God in each other.  It is in the celebration of life when we could say that through our pain, God is also in pain; through our laughter, we hear the laughter of God! 
St. Irenaeus says “The glory of God is man fully alive!”

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Luke 1:57-66.80

“God is  gracious!”  This is the meaning of the name John. Zechariah and Elizabeth were blessed by God with a son as a fulfillment of a promise. 
The nativity of John the Baptist was not just about the birth of the greatest prophet but rather a new way of looking at the Old Testament.  Zechariah and Elizabeth were iconic representations of the Old Testament.  Being old and barren, like the Old Testament, they were not able to communicate life anymore.  They also represented a period of waiting, long and tedious yet full of hope.   In the graciousness of God He fulfilled the promise of old, ended the long waiting and brought the barrenness to fruition.  John the Baptist symbolized the transformation of the Old Testament into something new and inaugurated the new spring time in human history.  He would soon become the voice announcing that the Messiah has indeed come.
Literally the birth of John the Baptist is a miracle which in a sense represents the birth of all of us.  The prophet Isaiah reminds us in the first reading:  “God called me when I was in the womb, before my birth he had pronounced my name…”  This is the dignity of the human person from the moment of conception… A child of God with a destiny to fulfill hence just like all of us has the right to live!   Who are we to say that it is just a lump of meat?   Abortion is the most atrocious crime we can ever commit against a precious baby who can not even defend himself/herself.   It is one of the most sensitive issues that confronts our society today; so sensitive that we do not even hear it preached against in pulpits because of political reasons. The statistics of babies being killed around the world each day is escalating to a degree that humanity has become numbed and indifferent. Our present generation will have to pay for the crime against the babies who could have been our own.  If John the Baptist represents the fulfillment of a promise, we can also say that the baby in the mother’s womb is God’s fulfillment of His promise to humanity.  Each baby is God’s gift to the world, thanks to our mothers who make this possible.  As Rabindranath Tagore says: “Every child comes with a message that God is not yet discouraged of man.”  So every child has the potential to be great.
      And what about the aged? Aren’t they as precious as a new born child?  After the celebration of their life’s fruitfulness, they pass on their dreams to us  so that they continue to live and dream in and through us. Whenever I see new places, I believe my father sees them, too.  If ever I am good today it is because I reflect the goodness of my mother.     Every time I do something beautiful for the world, I give the credits to my parents.  This is why we give honor to Zechariah and Elizabeth because they gave the world John the Baptist.
      From the moment of his conception in the womb to his last breath and all those times in between, the life of man is pure grace!  We can only be grateful to God!  In the eyes of God each one of us is His beloved!

Friday, June 15, 2012


Mark 4:26-34

         Because of the breakthroughs and advancements in science, medicine and technology, some people think the world depends upon them.  This is also true to those who control the global economy, world trade and down to the ranks of the heads of governments, CEO’s of companies and those who hold authority in different forms.   This power-play in the world is about control hence the difficulty to let go and let God!
         The gospel this Sunday reminds us that God is in control and not us.  The Kingdom of God is likened to the seed growing by itself and a tiny mustard seed.  It is true that man plants the seed but he does not have the power to interfere with its growth. Come to think how the Catholic Church considered as a subversive religion within the powerful  Roman Empire and whose leaders were simple and uneducated fishermen was able to triumph and survive in the midst of continuous persecutions.   The Roman Empire and many world empires have long been gone and yet the Catholic Church is still here to stay.
         That seed of faith was sown in our hearts when we were baptized so we can say that the seed of the Kingdom is within each one of us.  Just like an ordinary seed, it has an inherent power that given the right atmosphere can grow into a tree.  That “energy” within the seed is called grace!  Because of the movement of grace, God is silently working within us to make it grow and bloom and bear fruit.  Of course God needs our cooperation because He does not want to impose on us and He respects our freedom of the will.  When we are able to work hand in hand with God, we cannot but see the blossoming of a beautiful tree within ourselves.  St. Therese of Liseux, St. Faustina, St. Francis of Assisi are just some of our saints who were unknown to the world during their time and yet they became bigger than themselves.  They are examples of little seeds  who revolutionized and transformed the world. 
In this world of ATM’s, fast food chains and internet, when was the last time we sit in silence?   Watch a sunset?  Touch a flower and contemplate on its wonder?    Who would want to do that?  That is why our generation is losing the sense of mystery, contemplation, mysticism and in the eyes of a child the wonder of magic.   Faith, prayer, religion are passé in a world that allures our minds into a labyrinth of unquenchable pleasures.
Let us ask ourselves: Are we control-freaks? Are we indispensable that we think the world totally depend on us?  Do we feel agitated just because things are not running the way we want them?  When was the last time when at the end of the rope, we simply entrust everything to God.
At the end of the day when we go to bed, a seed somewhere is breaking through the darkness of the soil.  It continues to grow through the power deep within.   We don’t have to look for that seed anywhere because that mystery is happening in our own hearts.   We have that seed of the Kingdom in all of us; we just have to cooperate and trust in God as it grows into something great and beautiful!


Friday, June 8, 2012


Mark 14: 12-16, 22-26

         Since time immemorial, blood has been the symbol of life!  It is the innermost red river that flows in the very depth of  every man and woman.  In many ancient worships and religions, shedding of blood expresses the highest form of sacrifice.  In covenant ceremonies, blood is sacrificed by cutting an animal into halves to show the seriousness of the obligation.  The  partners in the covenant take an oath to be faithful by marching between the halves lest they also be cut in halves should they be unfaithful.
         Jesus initiated the New Covenant with us through His blood.    He did this by giving a new meaning to the Jewish Passover by transforming it into the Eucharist which henceforth will be the new salvific event for all peoples.   We may say that the Last Supper is the “blood compact” of Jesus which makes us one with Him, with God and with one another.  We all become “blood-related” hence our unity being symbolized by the crushed wheat and grapes in the Eucharist.  The wine transformed into blood by the words of Jesus “This is my blood of the covenant” and the bread into  His body “This is my body” during the Last Supper would be the prefiguration of the ultimate sacrifice on the Cross.
         Unlike other sacrifices, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was perfect and unrepeatable being the High Priest of the New Covenant.  When we offer the Mass, the priest does not repeat the sacrifice of Jesus but rather he re-lives it and makes it present together with the community that celebrates it.  The sacrifice offered by the faithful transforms them into the mystery they celebrate, namely they become the visible manifestation of the Mystical Body of Christ which is the Church.
         The sacrifice is not just an offering of worship to God but God accepting that sacrifice and transforming it and given back to us as food.   God takes what we offer and makes it alive; it becomes His Body and Blood served in a banquet.  Like the Last Supper, it is a meal that we share together as covenanted friends.   And because we partake in the cup of the blood of Christ, we renew that blood-compact which is our covenant with God and with each other.  The blood of Christ which is mixed with our human blood makes us all together sacred because His blood is running through our veins.  And because we partake in the flesh of Christ our bodies are transformed into the temples of God.  This divine life which is given to us through Baptism grows as we eat the Eucharistic food again and again.
         This is the beauty and the grandeur of the Eucharist.  That is why Vatican II proclaims that the Eucharist is the apex of the Christian life. 

Friday, June 1, 2012


Mt. 28:16-20

         The liturgical celebration of the Trinity is based more on a doctrine rather than an event in the history of salvation.  The Trinitarian doctrine that we have now comes from the Greek philosophy expressed in the scholastic theological understanding of persons and essence.  We therefore try to understand the doctrine of the Trinity as the belief in one God with one divine nature in three divine persons. These three persons are distinct yet they co-exist in unity, are co-equal, co-eternal and con-substantial. Our understanding may sound metaphysical because of the aide of philosophy nevertheless we do not undermine the revelation of the Trinity in the history of salvation through the biblical tradition.  In fact, it is through the unfolding of the three Persons of the Trinity in the bible that inspired the biblical authors and subsequent thinkers and theologians to define the doctrine the way we understand it now. Thanks to the inspirations of Origen, Tertullian, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and Karl Rahner (to name a few), now we can at understand a bit the most fundamental of all the Christian doctrines which still remains an elusive and absolute mystery.
         The immanent Trinity which is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as they are related to themselves becomes the economic Trinity when they entered into the history of salvation through revelation.  In fact we could say that the history of salvation is nothing but the unfolding or the manifestation of the three Persons of the Trinity who became a Pilgrim-God leading humanity in a pilgrimage towards Himself.  The Old Testament records the beginning of what we may call the “footprints of the Trinity” as the three Divine Persons walked through and with the people He loved.  But the fullness of the unfolding of those imprints came in the New Testament when the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, became man and literally walked together with His people.
         In Jesus we do not just see the revelation of the Trinity but rather He invites humanity to enter into the life of the Trinity.  He did not just reveal God as a Father, but our own Father who we can call “Abba”; He did not just reveal the Holy Spirit but was given to us as the “Paraclete”, and Jesus did not just reveal Himself as the savior but our friend.    This is quite revolutionary in a sense that finally a religion is here whose God is not just immanent but a real person whom we can relate with.   The gospel this Sunday reminds us the mission of Jesus entrusted to the Church: “Go therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.” Our mission is to let the whole world know the presence of God as the Trinity and to bring all peoples into this Trinitarian life: that God is our Father; Jesus is our Savior and friend and the Holy Spirit is our sanctifier.
         Unless we enter into a personal relationship with the Father, with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit, the Trinity will remain a boggling mystery which is confined only to the domain of the mind.  As this Trinitarian life penetrates every stratum of our being, we are challenged to translate it to make a difference in the lives of other people and eventually the world! 
Through us and with us, the Trinity  continues to walk as a Pilgrim-God until He brings all His sons and daughters back to His womb.