Thursday, December 10, 2015

Celebrating Jesus

As Jesus came to save us and show us the way to Everlasting Life, so we have committed ourselves to follow Him above all, as His faithful followers.  He is the Divine Word of Truth made flesh that we may not only ponder on Him like Mary His and our Mother, but more wondrously live in Him, our Bread of Life.  Since the start of His mission, He showed that He needed us—men and women disciples—to fulfill the Father’s will for all created beings.  So he formed the first community of apostles, to continue for ages to come in various parts of the world where His Good News is being proclaimed.  Hence we journey to our Eternal Home with the Father as brothers and sisters in Christ our guide.  “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one goes to the Father except by me” (Jn. 14:6).

Recalling the birth of Jesus as we have been preparing for His coming indeed fills our hearts with joy as we also join Mary in her “yes” to the will of the Father, telling the angel: “let it be done to me.” Even Elizabeth responded with joy to the nearness of the Lord, acknowledging she was in the presence of “the Mother of my Lord.”  We ourselves are wont to echo what Christ said to the Father, “I have come to do your will.”  The lives of these holy women and the saints remind us that there is real joy in fulfilling the will of God as we go about our manifold tasks in life.

Jesus’ birth means a promise of peace to all those faithful to the Lord and His love, and become active instruments of transformation in a war-torn, sin-wounded world.  With Mary, let us become ‘lowly servants’ of God, celebrating the richness of His love in our poverty and readiness to share all He has gifted us with so that the shepherd-king born in a lowly manger will be truly alive in the hearts of the poor and humble of heart.  “Cry out with joy in the Lord, you holy ones; sing a new song to him (Ps. 33).

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Protecting human life

As Christmas nears, we recall the tedious and endearing devotion of Mary and Joseph in caring for the Baby Jesus.  This reminds us how Christmas is a celebration of life, as Mary and Joseph closely followed the Father’s Providence in protecting Jesus from the clutches of King Herod who brutally dictated the murder of the infant male babies just to get rid of the new-born King of Israel.  For what motive?  For political reasons, power, greed, and dominance.

Let us reminisce how history can repeat itself, those days of genocide since the very days of Moses when the Egyptian king wanted to eliminate all male children (see Ez. 1:22);  the murder of the Holy Innocents by King Herod;  the Holocaust with millions of Jews killed in Hitler’s Nazi regime; the 40 million communistic purges by Stalin in Russia and neighboring countries, and in our very day the terror and widespread life-destructive attacks by the Islamic State (IS) militants, particularly in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and ongoing murders by the millions of abortions throughout the world.  Let’s not forget that murder—including abortion—is part of the four sins crying to heaven for vengeance.  These are: willful murder (including abortion), the sin of Sodom, oppression of the poor, and defrauding laborers of their wages.

St. Paul warns us that those who are evil and morally self-indulgent  will not inherit the kingdom of God (see 1 Cor. 6:9).  He further states in Heb. 10:31 that “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” If we look for victory in our world, it is because we endeavor to be on the side of truth, while the devil is a murderer and the father of lies and deception (see Jn. 8:44). 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Right giving VS. human rights

Right giving means a right motivation and concept regarding human rights.  As previously written out in this column, one gives for the purpose of helping and benefitting the recipient, in respect of his/her dignity as created by God, while also gaining in substance in the efforts to grow in the love of Jesus, who gave His own life to save and restore humanity to the Father’s original plan.

The actual mistake of those clamoring for human rights is that at times they do not seem to know what they are asking for, especially when such clamors end in violence and riots, which proves that there was no right motivation, and that there was correct concept regarding human rights.  Remember the first right of man is life and as such therefore a most important act is to respect the dignity of human life.  If there were no life, who could possess the other subsequent rights of: liberty, property, pursuit of happiness, freedom of worship and speech?  We might have a false peace, as that in a cemetery where all are dead.

True love – God’s love in us or charity – will ensure our right giving which has the intent and extent of Jesus’ immeasurable and unconditional love, going beynd all hguman rights.  He who had all right to divinity somehow relinquished this in becoming the Infinite Gift of the Father to man, so that all will have life to the full.  Right giving therefore also comes from right loving and rewards all concerned with unending happiness with the Giver of All Love.  May this Advent deepen our awareness of our God-given right to give in His love. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"I have overcome the world"

Jesus told us that in Him we shall find peace (cf. Jn. 16:33), continuing that “you will suffer in the world.  But take courage!  I have overcome the world”.  Has he really overcome the world?  I believe so.  How?  Through His death and resurrection He has opened Heaven’s gate for us all; also, because the bigger number in the world are those who freely chose to become Christians, without being forced at all.  This is not a matter of force or pressure.  Jesus’ attitude is one of love and gentleness, to invite people to the truths about God and our final destiny, this being done with full respect to each person’s free conscience, unlike the forces of terror that arms themselves with threatening death-dealing tactics. 

It may take time to discover the truth but with time and patience we shall be victorious.  As St. Faustina expresses in her Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul (1514), “I have learned that the greatest power is hidden in patience.  I see that patience always leads to victory, although not immediately, but victory will become manifest after many years.  Patience is linked to meekness.”  Jesus has conquered sin and death because He died and rose from death for the sake of truth and love.  Those who follow Jesus willingly are there because they sincerely seek for the “truth that sets us free” (Jn.8:32), and the Reign of God that declares ‘Fortunate are the meek and gentle, they shall possess the land’ (Mt. 5:5).

Monday, November 9, 2015

Game of life

Sometimes we fight for nothing, for children’s games.  Is that quite right?  Don’t we realize there is a better game, a larger sphere,---the game of life.  It’s so sad people could die fighting in the smaller battles or games or gambles. Lose a battle but win the war, the ancients said.  Did not Jesus do just that?

St. Augustine spoke of it.  He said here in the world there are two cities: the City of God and the City of Satan, the devil.  We must fight to resist the forces of evil and strive to belong to the kingdom of the sons of God.

“The kingdom of God is like a net catching all kinds of fishes, then the fishermen chose the good and threw the bad away.  That is what shall happen at the end of time.  The angels will select the good and throw to the fire the bad people”(Mt. 13:47).  May life's game keep us ever on the right track--Jesus' camp!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Prayer and change of heart

Prayer will make us leave sinning, or sinning will make us leave prayer.  Such a simple formula.  If one goes about doing his/her best giving time for the things of God, such as Holy Mass, prayer meetings, being together with the family or one’s brethren, then sooner or later, especially if one prays to God for the grace, the person will achieve the change for the better.  This change is what is called in Greek—metanoia, or a conversion of heart.

After all, what we’re after is really a change, but for the better.  What else?  Christianity is not a “palabras” but a religion of grace and power.  Yet like a person who needs water and opens faucets, we too can meditate on God’s word and receive the Sacraments, since these are instruments of change.  If human ideas can, how much greater will the change/conversion produce by divine ideas be.

In a homily delivered in June 1968, Blessed Paul Vi expressed this idea, thus: “We can imagine, then, that each of our sins, our attempts to turn our back on God, kindles in God a more intense flame of love, a desire to bring us back to himself and to his saving plan…God, in Christ, shows himself to be infinitely good…He loves us, seeks us out…He will be—so to say—delighted on the day when we return...”  Let us never forget that we are God’s children, and He awaits our final return at journey’s end.