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Showing posts from May, 2007

NEARER MY GOD, TO THEE, FATHER, SON, & HOLY SPIRIT

Solemnity of the Holy Trinity
June 3, 2007

Readings: Proverbs 8:22-31 / Rom 5:1-5 / Jn 16:12-15


The Solemnity of Pentecost we celebrated last week put the great Easter season to a close. We are now back to the so-called “ordinary time.” But the series of “solemnities of the Lord” that we will have in these two Sundays speak to us of anything but ordinary. They have, in fact, to do with some important and extraordinary truths of our faith.

There is nothing “ordinary” about today’s Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. Neither is there anything that could be seen as trite and commonplace in the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord slated for next Sunday. And if we include the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart trailing closely behind, we see, indeed, a series of feasts that speaks of truths that go beyond the category of “ordinary.”

The celebration of the Blessed Trinity, extraordinary though it is, owing to its nature as a mystery, is all about God’s desire to be “ordinary” in relation to us. I…

GIFTS THAT DIVIDE AND THE GIFT THAT UNITES

Pentecost Sunday (Year C)
May 27, 2007

Readings: Acts 2:1-11 / 1 Cor 12:3-7, 12-13 / Jn 20:19-23



You would think that, with all the gifts that the early Church received on the day the Church was born, everything would go smooth as silk, and every relationship in the incipient faith-community unruffled. Paul, in his letter to the fractious and quarrelsome Corinthians (1 Cor 12), in fact enumerates a variety of gifts: being apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, healers, assistants, administrators, and – that much coveted gift in our “charismatic renewal” times – the gift of tongues!

But alas, the Corinthians’ and our very own experience tells us that there is a shadow side to those gifts. Gifts galore bring as much jubilation as consternation. With gifts come envy and jealousy, to name just two. With gifts come additional difficulties, as later Paul would acknowledge.

But I am getting ahead of myself and the story.

Today’s story is one of gifts abounding. …

ABSENT FOR A TIME; PRESENT FOR ALL TIME

Ascension Sunday
May 20, 2007

Readings: Acts 1:-11 / Eph 1:17-23 / Lk 24:46-53


This day is definitely a day of seeming contrasts. Jesus bids good-bye to his disciples. Good-byes are, in our human experience, generally sad events. But not so Jesus’ leave-taking. The ebullient joy that characterizes this day is captured for posterity by our response after the first reading: “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.” Make no mistake about it. This is a joyful departure. It sounds almost like we are happy because the Risen Lord has taken leave of us.

But hold it a second … did he or didn’t he? Let us see more of such apparent contrasts.

The first reading gives us one more to consider. The Apostles, we are told “were looking on [as] he was lifted up” (Acts 1). They were awed. They were caught up in the loftiness of the mystery unfolding. They worshipped and adored the Risen Lord. But hold on a second … Just before being taken up, the Risen Lord told them: “You w…

HOPE THAT IS AT ONCE HOMELY AND HEAVENLY

6th Sunday of Easter – Year C
May 13, 2007

Readings: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29 / Rv 21:10-14, 22-23 / Jn 14:23-29

HOPE THAT IS AT ONCE HOMELY AND HEAVENLY

Our opening prayer in today’s Mass gives me a perfect jump-off point for this reflection. We ask God for grace to help us “express with our lives the love we celebrate.” Celebration connotes crowds. It entails many people gathering to express live the love that calls them to celebration in the first place. When we speak of many, we speak, too, of differences: different characters, interests, points of view, origin, race, color, and so many others. When we speak of love that is worthy of being celebrated, we speak of unity in diversity, we speak of inclusion, not exclusion, of openness, instead of bigoted and narrow-minded closedness.

In fact, this is what we pray for right after the first reading: “O God, let all the nations praise you!” (Responsorial Psalm).

But prayer is not just wishful thinking. It is wanting and doing at one and the same ti…

FILLED WITH THE WORDS OF A NEW SONG

5th Sunday of Easter (C)
May 6, 2007

Readings: Acts 14:21-27 / Rev 21:1-5a / Jn 13:31-33a, 34-35

FILLED WITH THE WORDS OF A NEW SONG
(5th Sunday of Easter Year C)

[Paranaque City, Metro Manila, May 1, 2007]


Newness is the apt word that best describes what today’s liturgy, among other things, focuses on. The Entrance Antiphon gives the opening salvo: “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds” (Ps 98). The acclamation just before the Gospel brings us to the heart of what the Gospel reading itself zeroes in on: “I give you a NEW commandment; love one another, as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34).

Newness, or the active search for it, is what led Paul and Barnabas to blaze new trails for their work of evangelization. Discerning rightly that they were called to go beyond the limiting confines of the Judaic world at that time, they left the familiar sights and sounds of home, and went on a whirlwind “pilgrimage” of ministry to the areas associated with gentiles and non-Jewish cultur…