Total Pageviews

Friday, June 26, 2015


Mark 5:21-43

     What do we do when nothing else makes sense in life; 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 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 were looking for a physical cure.   Yet Jesus was offering more than what they were asking for: salvation!   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!”

Friday, June 19, 2015


Mark 4:35-41

         Master, do you not care? We are going down!” the cry of the disciples over Jesus who was fast asleep in the middle of a storm!  It has been the same cry that reverberated in history  when humanity is besieged with different forms of monstrosities!

        Where was God during the following recent world tragedies: Haiyan, the strongest typhoon in world history that killed more than 6,000 people and displaced 10 million Filipinos; the recent 7.8 earthquake which left more than 8,800 dead in Nepal; hundred of thousands of Christians murdered in the open by the ISIS; the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines MH17 with 283 passengers; the plane crash of Germanwings carrying 150 people.  

      And what did God do when five millions of Jews were gassed in Auschwitz in the 1940’s?  How about the atrocities in Rwanda in 1994 that killed 800,000 people in 100 days?  Where was God in the genocides of the 180,000 Kurds in Al-Anfal; the wiping out of the Moriori race; the Native American genocide that led millions of natives to perish together with their tribes and cultures; the displacements of thousands of children in the stolen generations of Australia; the Armenian and the Bosnian genocides? Why did not God intervene in the mass murder by the government of the USSR of about 41 million of its citizens (1917 to 1987) and the government of China murdering 35 million of its citizens (1949 to 1987)!  The list goes on… a shame on our barbarity and a slap on the face of humanity!

         Human tragedies both nature and man-made in the massive scale finds its microcosm deep within each human person.  We all struggle against anything that threatens the very core of life!  To those who cannot fathom the inability of God to thwart or at least diminish the sufferings in the world turn to “protest atheism.”  They could not understand a God who is “up there” watching innocent people suffer.  Their motto: if there is God, why does he let evil happen in the world?   Job, a very pious man in the Old Testament who lost everything in life asked the same question: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  God's response to Job is in the First Reading today (Job 38: 1, 8-11).  

         What is the Christian response to this never-ending problem of evil?   The key to understand it is the Paschal Mystery of Jesus.  In the eyes of the world, the Father of Jesus “did not do anything" to intervene and save the One who claimed to be God's Son!  The result was the seemingly total failure of the “project of Jesus”.   To the bystanders, he was a criminal who did not deserve anything but to die like an animal. Now, where was the Father who sent Jesus to save the world when Jesus needed him the most?  In a cry of utter emptiness and desperation, Jesus felt his Father and God abandoned him: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”  And Jesus died a useless death!  But the story did not end in tragedy because the response of the God and Father of Jesus was not according to the expectations of the people who clamoured for the spectacular and magic to ease the suffering right before their eyes.  God has something more grand to offer: the Resurrection!  God’s justice is served in a more magnificent way beyond the expectations of humanity. 

         When our boats are in the brink of collapse, we are no saints not to be frightened by the waves and strong winds just like the apostles but we turn to our “sleeping Captain” whose presence gives us an assurance that there is no storm bigger than him.  All we need is to believe that nothing can harm us when we are in the boat of God; He will make sure that we are safely docked ashore!  God is in charge!

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Mark 4:26-34

         There is something grand and mysterious in a simple seed that is planted on the ground.  In the midst of darkness surrounding it, the wonder of creation is at work.  The seemingly dead cotyledons inside the seed are touched by the perfect combination of all the elements in themselves together with their environs that empower life to start.  At the right time life triumphs and seeks out a passage through which it breaks through the deadliest and the darkest obstacles.  Nothing is too hard like the seed coatings that cannot be broken by the most gentle movements of a tiny plant inside the seed.  Once it makes its passage and pierces through the ground, the tiny creature is on its way towards the fullness of its being and perfection.   The seed growing by itself is a microcosm of the reality of the Kingdom of God in the world and in each person. 

         The seed of the Kingdom, albeit unseen, has been sown in the world permeating every fiber of humanity.  The same seed of faith was also sown in our hearts when we were baptized.   So we can say that the seed of the Kingdom is within the world and in 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.  But 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 blooming of that seed into  a tree of goodness within the world and 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 later on revolutionised and transformed the world. 
Are we control-freaks? It’s good to plan and organize things otherwise there will be disorder and chaos.  But we can only do so much.  The best doctors in the world cannot add one single second once our time is up.   There is always an end even to the most genius of humanity simply because we are not eternal.    We cannot take full control of our life and the world because whether we like it or not, we are not indispensable!   God is in full control of everything, including ourselves!

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 grand and beautiful!

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

         Almost every religion has rituals through which the people aspire to connect with a deity.  These rituals  are set of man-made prayers/incantations and actions/dances which express the longing of humanity to reach out to the divine.  What makes Christianity unique is in its liturgy which is expressed in the celebration of the Sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ. 

         On the night before Jesus died, he celebrated the First Mass through the Last Supper which would be an anticipation of the great sacrifice he would be offering on the cross.   During the Last Supper, he offered himself in the form of bread and wine which will would be his body and blood on the cross.  Therefore he was the High Priest and at the same time the Victim being offered in one continuous event of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.  This is the mystery of the Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ) in the Holy Eucharist.
1.   It is a SACRIFICE!  While the sacrifices of all other religions are made by man, our sacrifice is one, ultimate and unrepeated offered by God-man Jesus.  It sanctifies the cosmos, humanity and each individual person as it transforms all worldly realities unto the realm of the divine.  When we celebrate the Eucharist, we do NOT repeat the sacrifice of Jesus but rather we re-live it and make it present so that we can still participate in that salvific event even if it happened two thousand years ago.  The sanctuary is transformed into Calvary; the cross stands now as the altar of redemption; the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood and the High Priest is now the ordinary man celebrating the mass.  In the unfolding of this great sacrifice of which we part, the Word becomes flesh once again:  "This is my Body…."

2.   It is FOOD!  Jesus fully understands the nature of man and its basic needs so he bequeathed himself to humanity in the form of food.  As compared to ordinary foods, his Body and Blood is for spiritual nourishment.  It is the fruit of man’s offering (bread and wine) to God that is given back,  transformed (Body and Blood of Christ) and transforming those who are participating on it (the Mystical Body of Christ).  In our communion of this heavenly food, we become one with Christ and with one another as companions (cum = with; panis = bread) on the journey!

3.   It is a SACRAMENT!  Instituted at the Last Supper and fulfilled on the cross, the Body and Blood of Jesus continue to confer grace to humanity.  It is the sacrament of the God’s love beyond understanding expressed in divine self-emptying (kenosis) so that man may have fullness of life (pleroma). 

      The Body and Blood of Christ is God’s overflowing and excessive charity which is beyond measure.  This is the boundless God whom we encounter (liturgy) and partake (communion) as he continues to transform us unto the image of Jesus Christ!