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Friday, February 27, 2015


Mark 9:2-10

       Man is created unto the image and likeness of God!  Yet sin tarnished that image and destroyed that likeness through the first Adam.  Jesus Christ, the second Adam, is transforming our image back to its “christic form.”

Six days after Jesus made the prediction of His passion, He was transfigured on Mt. Thabor in the sight of Peter, James and John.  The Transfiguration marks the second “Trinitarian theophany” wherein the three persons of the Trinity  were made manifest at the same time, the first being at the baptism of Jesus.  Here the Holy Spirit was in the form of a cloud which represented the indwelling presence of God in the Old Testament.  The Father’s voice was heard for the second and last time confirming that Jesus is his beloved Son and addressing himself to the apostles “Listen to him.”   Jesus standing on a mountain, is between the past [represented by Moses (the law) and Elijah (the prophets)] and the future represented by the three apostles.  The Father’s voice ushered in a new way of “listening”, this time not anymore from the Decalogue (The Torah) of old but to the present Living Word.
        The event should have been a preparation for the three apostles who will also witness the agony of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.  It was a foretaste of the glory of Jesus which could only be understood in the light of the Resurrection. 
        If we look around, everything is always on the move because science teaches us that molecules are in constant motion.  This is because creation is a continuous process of becoming.  From the first moment of our conception, we never stop growing and transforming.  But our spiritual transfiguration has already begun at the moment of our baptism.  When we were baptized, we were con-figured to the image of Christ and are constantly being transfigured moment after moment until we reach the fullness of our being.  St. Paul reminds us of this beautiful movement: “We all grow brighter and brighter as we are transfigured into the image that we reflect; this is the work of God who is Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).
        But our transfiguration, although God’s gift to us, has a price.  Abraham in the first reading was willing to give up and sacrifice Isaac!  We, too have our own share of sacrifice if we want to be transfigured the way Abraham was transfigured as the Father of all nations.    

God is like a sculptor who sees us like a marble with a hidden masterpiece in becoming.  If we let Him chisel away the unnecessary in us, the masterpiece will come alive!  God can transform us into the image of his Son because each one of us is his unique masterpiece!

Monday, February 16, 2015


Mark 1: 12-15

Today on the First Sunday of Lent, the Church enters with Jesus into the desert.  During this season of Lent, just like Jesus and the Church, we also enter into our personal deserts.  As Jesus stayed in the desert for forty days to prepare him for this public ministry, we also begin a journey that will prepare us to embrace Jesus' Paschal Mystery.

         In the gospel this Sunday, St. Mark presents Jesus as the New Adam who after defeating Satan inaugurated a paradise-state of the messianic era. 

        The desert has always been believed to be the domain of the devil being a harsh and unfriendly place.  Entering into a state of prayerful retreat with his Father, Jesus, led by the Holy Spirit, defeated Satan in his very own terrain. Being the embodiment of the law and the prophets of the Old Testament, he fasted for forty days the way Moses (representing the law) and Elijah (representing the prophets) fasted for forty days.  In rabbinic and apocalyptic literature, the number forty refers to a complete period of time which we see throughout the scriptures. Because Jesus was about to embark on a very important mission, that is the spread of the Kingdom of God, he was tempted by the devil not to pursue the mission.  St. Mark does not write the three temptations like St. Matthew and St. Luke.  In the wilderness, Jesus was with wild beasts which indicates peaceful and friendly coexistence and the arrival of the messianic era.   When angels ministered to him, this shows that where the first Adam fell, Jesus as the New Adam is now victorious over Satan hence the restoration of the lost Eden.

         The second part of the gospel this Sunday is the inauguration of that messianic era in Galilee. This is seen in  the very first spoken words of Jesus in the gospel of Mark: “The time is fulfilled…”  Then Jesus proclaimed “The Kingdom of God is close at hand.”  That is the gospel, the Good News!  It was a proclamation that Jesus Himself was the Kingdom-personified (auto-basilea). Then the condition in the acceptance of that Kingdom is “Repent, and believe the gospel.”
         There is an inherent goodness in all of us, a pulsating energy that swells out and seeks for creative expressions which is the manifestation of the divine consciousness that was gifted to us when we were born. Yet at the same time there is also a desert deep within us trying to pull us towards the opposite direction away from goodness. It is called concupiscence.   Our heart is a battlefield between good and evil.  All of us have been tempted, and will always be tempted; left alone to ourselves, we will not survive.  That is why Jesus has entered into the desert of our lives to accompany us in our struggles.  He is our friend when we feel alone in the midst of a hostile world; he is our victory in our tragedies. 

With Jesus as our rainmaker, expect our deserts to bloom!

Saturday, February 14, 2015



Mark 1:40-45
        How does it feel to be an outcast? To be cut off from your loved ones and from the rest of the world?  How do we endure pain that will afflict us for the rest of our life?  How do we live when life becomes unbearable as death? 

        The life of a leper before and during the time of Jesus was a total wreck.  Being an outcast and not able to live and worship together with his family and the community, a leper was a living dead.  He was considered a sinner punished by God. In the story of the healing of the leper in the gospel today, Jesus wanted to correct the popular interpretation of leprosy and show the mercy of God. 

         In the story, we see two bold actions: On the part of the leper – his braveness to break the social norms to go to Jesus, carrying with him his unwavering hope ("If you are willing, you can cleanse me") and utter humility (he knelt down).  On the part of Jesus – his boldness to welcome, to touch and to heal the leper.  A miracle like this takes the boldness of both man and God to make an impossible thing possible.

         Jesus understood the wretchedness of the leper being an outcast and rejected because he himself would also experience the same and even worse, later in his life.  Showing his mercy and compassion, a) he stretched out his hand (Jesus bridged the social and ritual gap, the leper being separated from the community)  b) touched him (nobody is allowed to touch any leper lest the person becomes ritually unclean; Jesus, by touching him, became one with the leper) c) Jesus said “I am willing, be cleansed” (the miracle took place with the actions of Jesus together with the power of His word.

         The once dreaded disease though still exists today is now contained, thanks to the wonder of research, science and medicine.  Presently “leprosy” has taken many other forms in our society: drug addiction, alcoholism, abortion, etc.  But there is a spiritual leprosy that continues to plague humanity even today and this is SIN.   Sin at its worst, cuts us off from God and the rest of humanity. It also inflicts the depth of our being with such loneliness of self-constriction which makes us even more wretched than physical leprosy.
        Like leprosy, sin is already been contained!   Though it continues to afflict us, there is a more powerful antidote that is offered to us which is the love of God expressed as mercy and compassion. 
        When we encounter a fellow leper, should we run away or embrace him as our own?   Ego-constriction expressed in self-sufficiency and self-autonomy without the need of God can be the worst leprosy.  But he who humbles himself and accepts the antidote of the self-emptying love of God, has found the fullness of life.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Mark 1:29-39

What’s in a day for Jesus?  Our gospel today shows us how Jesus would normally spend His day.  After His preaching at the synagogue, He 1) went to the house of Simon (Peter) and healed Simon’s mother in law 2) healed all who were sick and possessed by the devils 3) went off to a lonely place to pray and 4) continued to preach and performed miracles.

Because Jesus would be spending His public ministry only for three short years, He was as busy as a bee.  He was a man of action and yet in spite of His very busy life, He took time to be with His Father in prayer.  That is why we can say that His life swings like a pendulum between action and contemplation.  As the Word Incarnate, He permeated His world and its people with the power of His presence that is why people flocked to Him.  And yet at the end of the day He would always go to a lonely place to pray.  After giving Himself to the people, there was a need for Him to give Himself to the Father.   There He would bask in the source of His being, to enter into communion with the One who had given Him the mission.

If we ever evaluate how we spend our day, normally we are more active most of the time because we have to work and earn our living.  To those who are retired from work, the time is almost not enough in doing the things we want to in a day, and there will always something to do the following day.  To the active amongst us, there is actually no dull moment even as we spend some time in between to relax.   In the  dignity of our work, we participate with God in His continuous work of creation. 

After a day's work, we go home and relax. At home we get recharged and rejuvenated in the presence of our families and loved ones. A father may be exhausted after the day’s work but when he’s home with his loving wife and children, he’s simply re-created!  At the end of the week we look forward to re-create with friends.  If we are able to regain our strength after we rest from our busy schedule, how much more when we spend some time to pray and be spiritually re-charged to the source of our being?
We take rest to re-charge, to rejuvenate, to evaluate, to strategise!  But Christian rest is different!  It means going back to the Source!  To be with God! In His presence, we offer our labour believing that everything come from Him and with His graciousness will be brought to fruition.   Handing over Him the works of our hands, He in turn will hand over to us the fruits of his grace.

Unless we are able to contemplate, we are mere social workers for without contemplation, we will not be able to see the face of God even if we do our work for the marginalised and the poor.  Contemplation sanctifies and fructifies our work.  

Set a specified time to pray with God! To be with our loved one or a friend is entering into temporal paradise but to spend time with God in prayer is entering a foretaste of eternity.