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Faultfinders

Oct 10, 2014 | [post_view] Views

Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time   READINGS First Reading: GAL 3:7-14 Responsorial Psalm: PS 111:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6 Gospel: LK 11:15-26   Homily Jesus during his life on earth was surrounded with faultfinders. They have openly expressed their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah of God. At everything that Jesus did and said, they were always looking for something to accuse Jesus of inorder to discredit Him and destroy His good reputation.  They were always skeptical and judgmental at Jesus. They refused to accept that what Jesus was doing came from God.They in fact at the end had their way to put Jesus away. They had him suffer death. Their ultimate rejection. Some fault finders are in our Gospel today. They accused Jesus of liberating individuals from demonic possession, that is expelling demons by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons. "When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said: 'By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.' Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven." Even if people would accuse him falsely, Jesus was never discouraged. He continued on His mission. Instead of being led away from it, He was even more focused and determined to fulfill God's plan. He did not let anything and anyone gets on His way, not even the stalking faultfinders. Let us then examine ourselves. I am a faultfinder or a victim of faultfinders? You are a faultfinder if you answer YES to these questions. Do I readily judge people? Am I pessimistic at the goodness of others? Do I readily see negative things at people? Do I make up and spread untruthful stories in order to destroy peoples'  lives.  Do I easily misinterpret peoples' actions and start a rumor about it?  If you are this kind of person, and if you want to be liberated from this unclean spirit, ask Jesus to help you. If you are a victim of faulfinders, follow the example of Jesus. Stay in the side of God and be strong even if others would try to weaken you with false accusations, even if they try to destroy your life. Move on, focus on doing what is right in the eyes of God and He will bless you. Continue to do good to those who hate you. You will heap burning coals in their hearts and bring them back to God.   Image credit: pjmedia.com

Persistence in Prayer

Oct 9, 2014 | [post_view] Views

Thursday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time   READING First Reading: GAL 3:1-5 Responsorial Psalm: LK 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75 Gospel: LK 11:5-13   Homily In our Gospel today, Jesus teaches us persistence in prayer. He said in his story that the friend who asked for bread for his guest in the middle of the night, got what he wanted not because of their friendship but because of his persistence. "I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence." Persistence in prayer is not about being demanding to God. We do not demand from God to give us what we want, to make God follow our will. It is instead, an expression of once confidence in God who alone can provide for us. In the story, the man who approached his friend in the middle of the night, had no one to turn to.  His only recourse was his friend. In the same way, we hold on in our prayers that it is only God who can provide for us and there is no other. Jesus reinfoces his teaching on persistence in prayer when he said further, “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” This reveals to us that God cares for us. He does not give anything that destroys us. He only gives what is best for us. However, we must ask in faith. We ask not what we want but we ask to receive what God wants to bestow upon us. If we continue on seeking God's will and never tire searching for it, we will find it. Only those who are looking in wrong places will never find what they are searching for. We, therefore, need to approach God and ask Him to lead us to the right place to find, and that right place is in God Himself.   Let our persistence in prayer lead us to a greater reliance and confidence on God's unfailing providence.   Image credit: projectinspired.com

God our Father

Oct 8, 2014 | [post_view] Views

Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time   READINGS First Reading: GAL 2:1-2, 7-14 Responsorial Psalm:  PS 117:1BC, 2 Gospel: LK 11:1-4   Homily The Jewish patriarchal society provides us with a good background of the prayer Jesus taught His disciples, especially about calling God our Father. In this society, only men can occupy a position of authority in the family and in the community. The father in the family holds authority over women and children who live under the shadow of the head of the family. Moreover, male children are identified by their father's name and reputation. Let me cite some examples from the Bible. The apostles James and John are identified as sons of Zebedee. In Aramaic the name Barabbas (Matthew 27:16-21) comes from two words "bar"means son and "abbas" means father. He is "son of somebody" who is unknown. It is just saying that he is nobody, a notorious robber at that whose identity leans on his father. Another example is Jesus Himself. He is called Jesus, son of Joseph, the carpenter in John 6:42, or son of David in Luke 18:38. And Joseph, son of David in Mt. 1:20. The father, with his authority, takes care of his family, provides for his needs, protects them from any harm and gives a name and social acceptance to his children and wife. When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray calling God our Father is saying that by this prayer they are submitting themselves to the authority of God. More than our earthly fathers, God our Father never fails to provide for His children,  gives them their daily bread, forgives their offences unconditionally, protects them from any harm and temptation of the evil one. By teaching us this prayer, Jesus brings us to a covenant relationship with God, a covenant that makes us part of the Divine Family, with God as our Father. Our identity then leans on the name of God. We will be known as sons and daughters of God our Father.  The Lord's Prayer then is a prayer of God's children who submit themselves under His Divine authority.   ----------------- Image credit: en.wikipedia.org

Guardian Angels

Oct 2, 2014 | [post_view] Views

When I was small child my parents used to assure me that my guardian angel is always guarding me. Because of that I was always aware that my angel was accompanying me whereever I go, guarding, guiding and protecting me from harm. And as I grew older, my awareness of my angel's presence lessens. Now, I seldom pray to my guardian angel. Adults seem to think that they do not have guardian angels anymore. For them, angles are only for small children. Today, on the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, God reminds us that He has assigned for each one of us an angel to guard us in all our ways. They never leave us until we die. This means that our guardian angel has been accompanying us since we were born and has not left us even if we are not conscious of their presence. In our Gospel, Jesus said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” Jesus reminded the people to treat little children with reverence since their guardian angels are with them and are always in the presence of God. He started by saying that those who humble themselves like a child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus did not teach us to be childish in our ways. What He teaches us is about the humility of a child and her dependence on her parents. If we, too, manifest our humility and dependence in God, we will be called great in heaven. Our guardian angels guide us to walk in the ways of humility and dependence on God. A person who is too proud and overly confident about himself in his abilities, fame and wealth is no longer be dependent on God. He has no need of God. Our guardian angels protect us from living this kind of life. They lead us towards God walking in humility and dependence. Their role is to ensure that we are not lost in our earthly pilgrimage towards heaven. This feast then reminds us to be constantly aware of our guardian angels accompanying us all the days of our life. Let us remember to pray daily, Angel of God My guardian dear To Whom His love Commits me here Ever this day Be at my side To light and guard To rule and guide. Amen ------------------------------ Memorial of the Guardian Angels READINGS First Reading: JB 19:21-27 Responsorial Psalm: PS 27:7-8A, 8B-9ABC, 13-14 Gospel: MT 18:1-5, 10 ------------------------------ Image credit: en.wikipedia.org

Following Jesus

Oct 1, 2014 | [post_view] Views

Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church   READINGS First Reading: JB 9:1-12, 14-16 Responsorial Psalm: PS 88:10BC-11, 12-13, 14-15 Gospel: LK 9:57-62   Homily Chapter 9 in the Gospel of St. Luke begins and ends with discipleship,with following Jesus. It started with Jesus summoning the twelve disciples giving them authority to expel demons, to cure diseases and to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Today's passage speaks about the would-be-followers of Jesus. There are three of them who expressed their honest intention to follow Jesus. The first after knowing that Jesus does not offer comfort even at sleep did not say anything. He was probably dumbfounded when Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” The Gospel is silent about his decision. We can just surmise that he decided not to. The second and the third one had to deal with the urgency of following Jesus. They could not believe what they just heard. For them, Jesus was inconsiderate about their family concerns. And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Following Jesus demands a lot of courage to leave everything behind right at the moment of the call. The Twelve, when they were called by Jesus to follow Him, left their livelihood, their friends and their family behind immediately without any hesitation. They did not look behind. Instead they look ahead to the one they were about to follow. God continues to call more disciples today. He wants to add more members to the team whom He would train and send in order to continue spreading His love in the world. We use to hear the phrase, "many are called but few are chosen." Many who are called did not have what it takes to follow Jesus. Like to the two in the Gospel, they have so many reasons to delay their response. They may say, "I will serve you Lord only after my retirement," "I will have more time with you Lord when I get old." This is probably the reason why there are more old people in Church than young. The hard truth is that we want God to take the back seat. But when the world calls us, even just a hint, we respond right away. We easily follow worldly bidding. Following Jesus is of lesser priority. Those who are chosen are only those who respond…

Enter the Kingdom of God

Sep 28, 2014 | [post_view] Views

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time September 28, 2014   READINGS First Reading: EZ 18:25-28 Responsorial Psalm: PS 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14 Second Reading: PHIL 2:1-11 Gospel: MT 21:28-32   Homily In order to enter the Kingdom of God, it is necessary to repent of our sins, ask for God's forgiveness and work in His vineyard. In the Gospel, Jesus tells of a story about two sons who where asked by their father to work in the vineyard. The first son said "no" but later decided to go and work in the vineyard. This mirrors the tax collectors and prostitutes who are publicly known as sinners, who disobeyed God but at the preaching of John the Baptist, they believed in him, repented of their sins and were baptized. John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance to prepare the way of the Lord, the coming of the messiah. The taxcollectors and other sinners did what God wanted them to do that is to accept Jesus as the Messiah.  The second son, who said "yes," who seem to obey at first but did not go to work at the vineyard, mirrors the chief priests and elders of the people who publicly show that they were righteous, that they were not sinful and therefore did not need  repentance. They said "yes" but did not do what God wants, that is, to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah. The iniquity they committed is their nonacceptance of God's ways of salvation. They will not be able to enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. Jesus was saying to them that only those who return to God with a repentant heart, changed their ways and follow God's plan of salvation will enter the Kingdom of God. In our first reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Ezekiel presents a formula to enter the Kingdom of God.  But if he turns from the wickedness he has committed, he does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Ezekiel is saying that in order to preserve our lives and be saved, we need to turn away from our wicked ways and return to God with a repentant heart and a changed mind and do what is right and just by working in God's vineyard, the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is offered to everyone both the righteous and sinners but only those who accept God's reconciliation and do as Jesus tells will be able to enter the Kingdom of God.   Image credit: nika87tequila.deviantart.com

Pay Attention

Sep 27, 2014 | [post_view] Views

Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest September 26, 2014   READINGS First Reading: ECCL 11:9-12:8 Responsorial Psalm: PS 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 AND 17 Gospel: LK 9:43B-45   Homily Our Gospel passage today is from chapter 9 in the Gospel of St. Luke which gives us two passion predictions of Jesus.  The first passion prediction in verse 22 which says,“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” The second passion prediction in verse 44 says, Jesus said “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” In the middle of these two passion predictions is the Transfiguration of Jesus and the The Healing of a Boy with a Demon. We know that at the Transfiguration  when Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah, "who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem." The exodus refers to the passion Jesus was to undergo in Jerusalem. At this, a voice from the cloud was heard, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” If we pay attention to the placement of the "Healing of the Boy with a Demon," we will see clearly its connection, that our ultimate liberation from the clutches of the evil one will finally be accomplished through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. As the disciples were still in the state of amazement at the healing of the boy, Jesus told them, “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” To pay attention means to listen attentively or to listen carefully. Jesus wanted His disciples to listen to Him with great attention. This is what the voice from the cloud said at the transfiguration. Apparently, His disciples were not listening. They were perplexed because they were so engrossed at what was before them at the present moment. While what Jesus did was a genuine liberation of the boy from the demon, it was a foretaste of the future liberation brought about by Jesus' passion. Jesus directed their attention to this but they just won't listen. But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying. For us today, we are reminded that unless we truly pay attention to Jesus and do as He tells us, we too will be at a lost at receiving true liberation, our salvation. Let us then listen to Jesus even more attentively.   Image credit: shcofbuckhead.com

Know Jesus

Sep 26, 2014 | [post_view] Views

Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time September 26, 2014   READINGS First Reading: ECCL 3:1-11 Responsorial Psalm: PS 144:1B AND 2ABC, 3-4 Gospel: LK 9:18-22   Homily Our Gospel today presents to us the identity of Jesus. The disciples upon their return from the mission Jesus sent them got so many things people were saying about who Jesus is. They seem to know Jesus. But their answers vary. When the disciples were asked by Jesus about who do the crowd say that He is, they said that He is “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.” This is the same opinion Herod the Tetrach got from the people about who Jesus is. Jesus then asked His disciples a personal question about what they personally know about Him. It was Simon Peter who answered, "You are the Christ of God." He may have answered correctly because rightly so Jesus is the Christ, but he did not really know Jesus. This is the reason why Jesus told them not to tell anyone about this because they will just be telling them a false understanding of the messiahship of Jesus. It was Jesus Himself who revealed to them who the messiah truly is, what will the messiah do and what happen to the messiah. He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” There is no other person who can truly reveal who Jesus is except Jesus Himself. It is then necessary that we follow Jesus, come nearer to Him at Mass and especially at adoration before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. It is here that we encounter Him most intimately and it is here that we know Him most deeply as He reveals Himself to us. Our knowledge of who Jesus is leads us to a deeper relationship with Him empowering us with blessings in life. Follow Jesus, know Jesus, live your life with Jesus and you will surely be blessed in life here in this world and in the world to come.   Image credit: pablorenauld.deviantart.com

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