Sto. Entierro, Our Lady of the Pillar Parish, Silang, Cavite
Love is the very core of Christianity. In love we can find its beginning, journey and consummation. We believe in a God whose very essence and identity is love. And in love, we can also find the highest meaning of our existence. It can be our greatest joy and deepest pain. Yet now, we can see that love has already been desecrated and devalued. Love is the most abused word in today’s world.
Thus, we must undertake the task to redeem the meaning of love. For it is only through love by which our fallen humanity can be redeemed. It is only through love by which we can know and experience God in this corrupted world. Love is the only way. It is the Lord’s sole mandate, “Love one another as I have loved you.” It is the reason why He dwelt among us, to show us the…
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“Your daily life is your temple and religion.” –Kahlil Gibran
Today’s Gospel passage is a picture of how God can be found not only in the church and in the practices of religion but also in the ordinary experience of life particularly in our work, in our jobs, and in the practice of our profession.
The boat of Peter symbolizes our work or our profession. Jesus comes into our boat and uses it as a vessel of His message to the world. The coming of Jesus into our boats signifies that our jobs and our professions, however or complex they are, are vocations and missions, with greater purpose and ultimate meaning. Their greater purpose can be to sustain our families, to have a happy and convenient life, to advance science and technology, to serve the common good or even to serve our country. Whatever their greater purpose is, their ultimate meaning must be to serve as instrument to bring Jesus to the people we encounter in our lives.
Oftentimes, when our work finally becomes too familiar and routinary, or when our efforts don’t seem to bear any fruit, we lose our sense of wonder and we forget the meaning of the things we do. They just become a monotonous routine, we turn into machines and so we tire out and become victims to quiet desperations that consume us to the core of our being. It is at these moments when Jesus invites us to pause and let Him invade our boats, and then to go into the deep. And if we will just accept His invitation and surrender our boats and efforts to Him like Peter, it is then that we shall witness the catch of our lives. Nevertheless, most of the times, we are too knowledgeable, too controlling, too anxious, too afraid or too self-righteous to accept His help and call. We are afraid to surrender ourselves into the invasion of grace and to offer our efforts and their fruits into the hands of the Creator.
On the other hand, there are times that we accept Jesus’ help but after witnessing the miraculous catch, like Peter, we lose our focus in Jesus, we are overwhelmed by the tasks ahead of us, we see our weaknesses and flaws, and so we bury our heads in the sand and become afraid to move forward to greater blessings ahead.
Finally, whatever the fruits of our works are, no matter how great the catch is, the most important thing remains to be the people we catch, the people whose lives were touched by Jesus through us.
The challenge of today’s Gospel is for us to realize that there is something more in our jobs than earning money, that there is always something more in life if we will invite Jesus into our boats.
There is a calling in every work. Every job is a mission, if we will just heed the call to go into the deep. We are called to live in a deeper level, to contemplate, to ponder on things that really matter. And the things that really matter in our work are the people and the relationships we have with the,, through which Jesus will come into our lives.
And so may we always pray: “Lord, may everything we do begin with your inspiration and continue with your saving work. Let all our works always find its origin in you and through you reach completion. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Is 6:1-2a, 3-8
Ps 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5,7-8
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 15:1-11
Gospel: Lk 5:1-11
“It is better for you to suffer for the truth than for the truth to suffer because of you.” –St Josemaria Escriva
Most of the time we are all very eager to hear the Good News but when we realize the challenge it represents, we are very quick in covering our ears. Worse, we are prepared to dismiss the truth altogether and then condemn the prophet who spoke it.
Today’s readings expose the solitary path that one must take if he wants to follow the truth. On the First Reading, Jeremiah was afraid to be a prophet of the Lord since the truth that he needs to proclaim is a message of doom. As his story progressed, we would see how he became unpopular and hated, ostracized and persecuted because of the Word he proclaimed. Yet we would also see how the Lord stood by him and supported him, how his words prevailed and were justified and how his words became lessons to be learned throughout all generations. Meanwhile, in the Gospel, we saw how Jesus was condemned by his own townspeople because he proclaimed that God is not just for the Jews but all nations and that He shows no partiality in giving His blessings. The people even attempted to kill Jesus. So much, for just telling what is true.
Oftentimes, truth hurts. Yet the truth will always set us free. Unless we accept the challenge that it gives, we will never experience the liberating power it provides. Without truth, growth is never possible. Nothing real comes forth from deception. Lies corrupt even the noblest intentions. Thus, truth must be proclaimed even though it is unpopular and unwanted. Because without truth, there is nothing. Any persecution or condemnation will just serve to purify the truth and forge it. Whatever happens, truth will prevail and God will justify it. Truth conquers all.
All truths can only come from God so we must learn to accept it in whatever form it comes or however it was proclaimed. We must fight for a world that cultivates truth, a world with an open mind and an open heart. Truth is never discriminatory and exclusive, it embraces all because nothing can corrupt it. Thus, we must never condemn or persecute anyone convinced that he proclaims the truth because whoever proclaims it, a lie will perish yet truth will remain.
If you believe something to be true, proclaim it and stand by it. Everyone may leave you, condemn you and persecute you, but God will be with you and that is enough. In the end, truth conquers all.
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jer 1:4-5, 17-19
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 12:31-13:13
Gospel: Lk 4:21-30
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
A story was told about a group of Christian ministers and pastors discussing their favorite translations of the Bible. One preferred the Dhouay-Rheims for its beautiful English. One quipped that his is the King James Version for its easy to understand and popular. The third one suggested the New American Bible to be the best since it is directly translated from the original languages. However, when they asked the fourth one, he simply said, “I like my mother’s translation best.” They were astonished and asked him to explain further, he told them that what really touched and converted him was the manner in which his mother translated the Word of God in her daily life, especially in raising her children.
On the First Reading, Ezra emphasized how the Sacred Writings must no be a source of condemnation and cause of fear but rather a source of motivation and cause of our joy. The response of the Psalm resonates it with the affirmation that the Word of God is a life-giving spirit. In the Second Reading, Paul reminds us that no one should ever be left behind in receiving and then in turn proclaiming the Gospel. All of us are called to proclaim it according to our capacities and gifts. Everyone’s proclamation no matter how small or different is indispensable. Finally, in the Gospel. Luke assures us of the everlasting truth of everything we have been taught about Jesus and then proceeded in in recounting not only how Jesus proclaimed the scriptures but also fulfilled it by being the Good News of Salvation for everyone.
Good News can mean different things for us. To a childless couple, it is the news of a long awaited pregnancy. To a student, it is the news of good marks or the passing in an exam. To a job seeker, it is the confirmation of an application. To an OFW, the grant a vacation at home in the Philippines. To a prisoner, it is a parole. To a patient in the hospital, it is his release and recovery. In a courtship, it is the long-desired yes of a girl. The point is, let us examine our lives, determine what would be our Good News, and realize that God has only one answer to all of us, Jesus. Whatever our needs and desires are, Jesus can be our Good News if we will only open our hearts and let him fulfill whatever we need or want.
One of the most provoking images of Jesus Christ is the one of a crucified without hands. The challenge it represents is for us to be the medium through which Jesus will be proclaimed to those people we meet in our lives. We are told in the Gospel how Jesus was sent by the Spirit as a Good News for everyone, how he was meant for the improvement and betterment of everyone He met.
The Good News has always been the same. But for it to reach persons with different identities, needs and wants, we must appropriate the medium. We must translate the Gospel in everything we think, say, and do. We must let it transform us. We must embody the Gospel, we must be a Good News, we must be Jesus. This quote by Paul Gilbert aptly summarizes it:
“You are writing a Gospel,
a chapter each day
By deeds that you do,
By words that you say.
Men read what you write,
Whether faithless or true,
Say, what is the Gospel,
according to you?”
1st Reading: Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 12:12-30
Gospel: Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21