Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Gates of Hell

If you go to Rome you can see atop the inside walls of St. Peter’s Basilica which was constructed by the famous Italian painter-architect-sculptor-poet Michelangelo (1475-1564) the words from Scripture Mt. 16:10 written in Latin: Et Portae Inferi non pravelebunt adversus eam [translated: And the powers (gates) of Hell shall never prevail against my Church]. Throughout history, since the very first century when the Church was founded and even in the years following till our very own times, such words of Jesus have been proven true.  In fact even if there have been hundreds of martyrs who were sacrificed and died for the faith, those words of Jesus have proven true.  “I tell you most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest” (Jn. 12:24). 

That was the experience and surprise of those who wanted the harm and downfall of the Catholic Church, the greater their numbers multiplied.  So came another Latin adage: Sanguis martyrum semen est Christianitatis [translated: The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity].  This would likewise include the tireless efforts and sacrifices of the followers of Jesus to proclaim and live His teachings of goodness, love, honesty, and justice.  God knows all those deepest secrets and motions of our heart and actions.  “He will reward each one according to his works” (Mt. 16:27).  The Lord hath said: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay” (Rom. 12:19; Dt. 32:35).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sincerity in Love

Since God knows all things, it is important that we be always sincere in our truthfulness of relationships towards our fellow men and women.  We cannot deceive God.  And the Bible points clearly to us.  “Pardon, and you shall be pardoned.  Give, and it shall be given to you…..for the measure you measure with will be measured back to you” (Lk. 6:38).  With more reason we should exert efforts in doing good sincerely towards our service to God and the neighbor since God knows our secret intentions and purposes and how much the Lord detests such hypocritical pretense and attitudes in relationships towards others, both towards God and our fellow men and women.  Such was the reason why Jesus objected to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.  “It is because you are unable to understand my language.  The devil is your father, and you prefer to do what your father wants.  He was a murderer from the start; he was never grounded in the truth; there is no truth in him at all: when he lies he is drawing on his own store, because he is a liar, and the father of lies” (Jn. 8:43-45). 

St. Teresa often advised her nuns to be truthful always.  Rightfully so, because God is a God of truth and the devil is the father of lies. Even while here on earth we have to keep our lines of connection open to God because God is a God of truth (cf. Jn. 8:45).  So if your love for God and the fellow men and women is true and sincere, you can only reap the golden harvest of God’s undying word which assures us: “We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his decree” (Rom. 8:28). 

If you are true and sincere you will certainly endeavor to seek for His will and do God’s will in your life.  God Almighty knows your every secret desire and intention.  Even William Shakespeare in his play Hamlet expresses how that sincerity is essential: “To thine own self be true and it will follow as day follows night you will be true to every man” (Hamlet act i, sc.3).



The word somehow means living in respect and understanding even with others of different religious denominations.  After all we will surely encounter the truth if we are open and sincere in seeking for it.  We have to avoid the mistakes of the past, the violent encounters that happened under the guise of religion.  True religion is not violent because Jesus had clearly said that part of the central commandment is: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and the first commandment.  The second resembles it: You must love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also” (Mt. 22:37-40).

In the gospel of Luke chapter 9, “John spoke up, ‘Master,’ he said, ‘we saw a man casting devils in your name, and because he is not with us we tried to stop him.’  But Jesus said to him, ‘You must not stop him: anyone who is not against you is for you’” (Lk. 9:49-50).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Vengeance is Mine

(the Lord Promises)

As we turn the pages of history we see how true indeed such divine words recorded in the Bible telling us about a God of history. He indeed repays every man or woman according to his or her deeds.  Check the mentioned texts in Rom. 12:17-21; Dt. 32:35.  “He will reward each one according to his behavior” (Mt. 16:27).  Where are the powerful people that figured in history who dared humiliate and abuse the simple folk whose only recourse was their trust in God Almighty?

            That’s  the main thing to keep in mind.  Remember history.  Where have all those great men gone who thought no God could see or control them?  Consider human history and see that even there God’s hand rules, as His word clearly attests.  “Do all you can to live at peace with everyone.  Never try to get revenge; leave that, my friends, to God’s anger.  As scripture says: Vengeance is mine – I will pay them back, the Lord promises.  But there is more: If your enemy is hungry, you should give him food, and if he is thirsty, let him drink.  Thus you heap red coals on his head.  Resist evil and conquer it with good” (Rom. 12:19-21).

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Hundredfold Cycle

If Jesus talks of a hundredfold award, it must be part of a cycle of graces for those who believe and put their faith into practice.  Mind you, God’s word never fails.  It has the mark of infallibility since God Almighty can never err.

Why?  He promised us the hundredfold, if we are faithful.  Of course, we have to stick to His very words.  Can I explain it?  It’s hard because you really understand it when you live it fully.  Must be true, it’s found in three gospels: St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke.  If this involves multiple relationships, St. Paul gives this advice.  “Do not speak harshly to a man older than yourself, but advise him as you would your own father; treat the younger men as brothers and older women as you would your mother.  Always treat young women with propriety, as if they were sisters” (1 Tim. 5:1-2).

Since the point here involves people serving the interest of Jesus and His gospel, let us intently consider and analyze the very words of the three gospels quoting this topic, which only us how people who truly love God and their neighbour also share such love with one another generously and positively both in word and deed. When people love one another sincerely they may in truth say ‘what is yours is mine, what is mine is yours’.

            Mt. 19:27-29: “Then Peter spoke up and said, ‘You see we have given up everything to follow you: what will be our lot?’ Jesus answered, ‘You who have followed me, listen to my words: on the Day of Renewal,when the Son of Man sits on his throne in glory, you, too, will sit on twelve thrones to rule the twelve tribes of Israel.  As for those who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or property for my Name’s sake, they will receive a hundredfold and be given eternal life’.”

            Mk. 10:28-30:  “Peter spoke up and said, ‘We have given up everything to follow you.’  Jesus answered, ‘Truly, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters, or father or mother, or children, or lands for my sake and for the Gospel, who will not receive his reward.  I say to you: even in the midst of persecution he will receive a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and lands in the present time and in the world to come eternal life.’.”

            Lk. 18:28-30:  “Then Peter said, ‘We left everything we had and followed you.’ Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, whoever has left house or wife, or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God, will receive much more in the present time and eternal life in the world to come’.”

On the true kinsmen of Jesus, we read from Mk. 3:31-35: “Then his mother and his brothers came.  As they stood outside, they sent someone to call him, ‘Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you.’ He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking around at those who sat there he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers.  Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me’.”