Monday, August 31, 2015

"no prophet is accepted in his own native place"

Monday of the Twenty-second week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 4:16-30. 

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read
and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: 
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 
because he has anointed me 
to bring glad tidings to the poor. 
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives 
and recovery of sight to the blind, 
to let the oppressed go free, 
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord." 
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. 
He said to them, "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."
And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, "Isn't this the son of Joseph?" 
He said to them, "Surely you will quote me this proverb, 'Physician, cure yourself,' and say, 'Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'"
And he said, "Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. 
Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." 
When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. 
They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. 
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.


We are judged according to the background of our parents. The gospel of today tells us that even if we can achieve great things we are still judge according to our parent's image. Look at Jesus in this gospel, He utter gracious words and made the people amazed of what he has telling them and yet in the end he was judge according to the image of Joseph, his poster father here on earth. Since Joseph is a carpenter the people's impression of what Jesus said to them suddenly changed. For this reason, Jesus told them that "No prophet is accepted in his own native place". This is still applies to anybody. People tend to judge us according to the image of our parents. Usually, a person is more praised in some other place other than his own hometown. In fact, there are many Filipinos who went abroad and awarded a lot of praises and recognition other than his hometown. There are many political leaders who were not voted in their home place and yet when he migrated to other place he won the election in the place. Sadly, this things happened. We should reflect and pray on this so that we will not be judgmental according to the background of the parents of others. Let the person perform in his own and forget the background of his parents because parents and child have total different personalities.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Greatest Commandments

Friday of the Twentieth week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 22:34-40. 

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 
and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, 
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, "You shall 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 is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."


Jesus in this gospel told us the greatest commandments. Probably, we will ask why these two commandments are the greatest? What particular commandment did Jesus referring to? In the last line of this gospel Jesus said "The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments". Jesus is referring not only the ten commandments but also to the commandments made by prophets. It is clear from the two commandments that if we will follow them all, all of the laws will also be followed. For example, if we will love our neighbour as ourselves, we will follow also other commandments because we will no longer hurt our neighbours. If we love our neighbours, then we will not steal, we will not kill our neighbour, we will not covet their wives, and so on. There was a question raised from one of the talks that I engaged. The question is who are our neighbours? Our neighbours are all the people near to us even strangers; be it physically, imaginatively, or digitally. If we will love God, with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind, then everything else will follow. In order to be a good followers of Jesus, we must always bear in our mind the greatest commandments and follow them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It will be hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven

Tuesday of the Twentieth week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 19:23-30. 

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." 
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, "Who then can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible." 
Then Peter said to him in reply, "We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?" 
Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. 
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."


Jesus again calls us to be humble in this gospel. I believe that this again a kind of figurative language of Jesus when He told us to give up what we have for the sake of his name so that we can inherit the kingdom of heaven. It is quite impractical to work hard and be rich and the properties we gathered would just be given up to others so that we can inherit the kingdom of God.  Besides, If it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven, then, why do we need to be rich? The meaning of rich in this particular gospel might be those irresponsible rich. Irresponsible in the sense that he became rich without considering others. We call this as selfish rich wherein he became rich at the expense of others. Remember when you become rich, you will have also a lot of responsibilities. If you cannot comply your responsibilities of being rich then you will be answerable to God on the judgement day.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sell what you have and give to the poor

Monday of the Twentieth week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 19:16-22. 

A young man approached Jesus and said, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?"
He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."
He asked him, "Which ones?" And Jesus replied, " 'You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother'; and 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"
The young man said to him, "All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to (the) poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.


It is easier to follow the commandments but giving up what you have to humanity is difficult to do. The gospel of today made an emphasis that we need to give up ourselves for others. The statement of Jesus that we need to sell all what we have and give it to the poor is again a figurative speech. If we take the statement of Jesus literally, then, there are a lot of people that cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. God loves us so much that he wants all of us to be saved. However, people chooses to be sinful. There are a lot of rich people who are giving up themselves and contribute a lot to humanity, be it money, time, or property, however, they tend to control it to minimise abuse. All of us have different type of being rich, so, we might give what we have differently. If you are rich in talent, then, give it to those who have no talents. I think what Jesus meant about being poor are those people who do not have of a certain aspect. Example, there are still a lot of rich people in the aspect of money or property but they are poor in love. So, if you are rich in love then give it to them.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Eat the Bread of Life

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 6:51-58. 

Jesus said to the crowds: 
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." 
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?" 
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. 
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. 
This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever." 


Jesus is not a magician. We cannot literally interpret the gospel of today. We must bear in our mind that what Jesus tells us here is figurative. How can we eat the flesh of Jesus? We are not allowed to eat human flesh. Besides, if we will literally understand it as human flesh, Jesus' flesh couldn't be enough for all of us in order to be saved. Another point to ponder here is that the flesh of Jesus is compared to a bread. Jesus told us that his flesh is a bread of life that came down from heaven. He promised us that when we eat this bread we will not die and we will live forever. Jesus puts this into action when he did it during the last supper with his disciples. He even emphasized that we have to do this in his memory, hence, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, once we will celebrate the Holy Eucharist we have done what Jesus told us to do to remember Him. This is the strong basis of celebrating the Eucharist and eating the bread of life during Sunday masses. Death that Jesus mentioned in this gospel means is not physical but spiritual. When you eat the bread of life every Sunday eucharist you will be spiritually live forever. 

The Magnificat

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1:39-56. 

Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, 
where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, 
cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 
And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. 
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."
And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior. 
For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant; 
from this day all generations will call me blessed.
The Almighty has done great things for me, 
and holy is his name.
He has mercy on those who fear him 
in every generation.
He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things; 
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel , 
remembering his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, 
to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.


This gospel is popularly known as the Magnificat. Mary the mother of the Lord made a proclamation to glorify God by magnifying Him. The mother herself made this proclamation that God is great. This is a call that we should glorify and worship the Lord because even the mother of God glorifies Him. How much more to us? we must proclaim the greatness of the Lord for He is good and mighty. Sometimes being human we are very arrogant that we can do everything without God. Some of us proclaims that God does not exist. This is a manifestation of being arrogant. We have no right to do that as the Lord is our God. In case of doubt, we need to call the Virgin Mary to help us pray for our little faith. We need her intercession so that our prayer and our faith will be stronger. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

God Joins us Together

Friday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 19:3-12. 

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?"

He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female'  and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate." 
They said to him, "Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss (her)?"
He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery."
(His) disciples said to him, "If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry." 

He answered, "Not all can accept (this) word, but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."


Why marry when you are not sure to live with your spouse for the rest of your life? It is clear from this gospel that it is not good to separate. What God has joined together, no human being must separate. It is very spreading nowadays the separation between husband and wife. Our laws on earth allow divorce and legal separation. These laws encourage people to separate as they have an option to their problems. Although, there are situations where a husband or a wife have no option but to separate, but before coming up to that option the husband and the wife must see to it that they exerted effort to preserve the sanctity of marriage. In the first place, they bind themselves to the sanctity of marriage without the intervention of others. They decided by themselves to marry because they want to live together for the rest of their lives leaving behind their respective families. So, when you marry be sure to discern it a million times so that by the time you are living together as husband wife you will feel no regrets. Deciding to live together is loving each other as husband and wife, and love is matter of decision. Remember during marriage you will learn both the negative and the positive side of your spouse. Are you willing to accept the negative side of your spouse just like you freely accept his/her positive side? You have to decide. Remember, whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Forgiveness of Sins

Thursday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 18:21-35.19:1. 

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" 

Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.' Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, 'Pay back what you owe.' Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. 

Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair.

His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?' Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart." When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.


Jesus is very clear of his response. We shall forgive seventy-seven times. How could we do that? In fact when somebody would commit mistakes against us, we can forgive probably once but when such person commits a sin against us several times, that might be an abuse against our person. Being a Christian, we shall live like Christ. We must take our cross and carry it. That person who commits mistakes against us might be our cross. Being a Christian is really difficult. When we choose to be a Christian and take our crosses, there will be difficulties that will happen in our lives. This is a test from the devil. The devil would always measure our faith to God, our faith to Jesus. However, God will not let us go to the devil's hand. He will always protect, if we choose to be with Him. Remember, God loves us so much. But we should do our part being human. We must hate sin and love God with all our hearts and with all our soul by loving our neighbours as ourselves. We must forgive one another, not only once but seventy-seven times, so that the Father will bless us and bring us into his kingdom.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven...

Wednesday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 18:15-20. 

Jesus said to his disciples: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.

If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Again, (amen,) I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."


What Jesus told us in this particular gospel is quite difficult to do. He told us to confront those people who sinned against us and inform the person about his fault. This might be agreeable if the sin committed by our brother is not that serious. If our brother would commit serious sin against us, would it not you will plan for a revenge? You will probably look for an opportunity to get even with him. However, Jesus called us to be like Him. A true christian can always forgive. As human we can always hold grudges against people who committed sin against us but it is clear from Jesus that we must forgive so that the Father in heaven would also forgive our trespasses against the Father. If we are the one who committed sin against our brother, we must also be openminded to accept our faults. It clear from the gospel that if you will not accept your fault, the offended party can call others and if still you will not accept your fault you will be treated as a Gentile or a tax collector. If both the offender and the offended parties would take the advice of Jesus, surely peace on this earth would reign.

On the other hand, the last line of the gospel calls for a community prayer. It is guaranteed by Jesus from this gospel that when you pray together, He is in the midst of us. It is good to pray together and the easiest people you can call for a prayer are your members of the family. However, if you are living alone, you may start praying with your colleagues but some of your colleagues might have different faith. In this instance, you really need a community for you to engage in a community prayer. Remember when you pray together the assurance of your prayers to be granted is 100%. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Be Like Children

Tuesday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 18:1-5.10.12-14.

The disciples approached Jesus and said, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

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. What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?  And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”


Jesus compared those who are greatest in the Kingdom of heaven to a child. What is the implication of such comparison? Why is Jesus compared us to a child in order to enter the kingdom of heaven?

Let us reflect on the character of a child. A child is very innocent. In fact, a child can easily forgive those who hurt them. They will not thrive any grudges in their hearts. Their problems are simple and they are always happy. They know nothing about committing sins. Only adults know and choose to be sinned. 

We must always remember this. Jesus himself told us in the bible that we should become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, we must imitate the character of a child. We must be innocent, we will love each other and hold no grudges to our fellowmen. These are among the conditions of entering the kingdom of heaven. We must reflect on this.