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GETTING BEYOND, NOT ABOVE ONESELF

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C
September 2, 2007

Readings: Sir 3:17-18,20,28-29 / Heb 12:18-19,22-24a / Lk 14:1,7-14

Today is a Sunday of highs and lows. Sirach counsels us to find meaning in being “low,” a trait which he says, should be inversely proportional to our being “high” up there. “Humble yourself the more, the greater you are” (1st Reading). The letter to the Hebrews takes as a given our having “approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God.” In and through Jesus, “the mediator of a new covenant,” we have received the singular grace of being in the presence of the “ecclesia” – the gathering of “countless angels in heaven” (2nd reading).

At first blush, there seems to be something incongruous, if not contradictory, in the first two readings. The first extols lowliness and humility. The second proclaims the singular grace of Christians being able to go up the mountain of the Lord – Mount Zion. The first glorifies lowliness, and counsels us to seek not, and search not…

ROBUR AB ASTRIS!

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C
August 26, 2007

Readings: Is 66:18-21 / Heb 12:5-7, 11-13 / Lk 13:22-30

STRENGTH FROM THE STARS!

Last week, I wrote about the difficult struggle of a climb I did with friends at Mt. Ugu in Northern Philippines 17 years back. The support of my own little version of my “cloud of witnesses” kept me going, until we all safely made it to the destination, where we were able to celebrate Mass. One thing beautiful about trekking up heights is the difference that is made when one keeps the goal in sight, when one sees the ultimate destination in the looming, but beckoning distance. The sight of the summit, as much forbidding as inviting, keeps one focused on the goal. The view of one’s destination, though seemingly unreachable, keeps one pining for more, walking some more, putting in just a little bit more effort each time, at least to put one foot before the other, “one step at a time.”

The big difference is made by one’s ability to keep the goal in sight, bot…

AMICE, ASCENDE SUPERIUS!

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C
August 19, 2007
Readings: Jer 38: 4-6, 8-10 / Heb 12:1-4 / Lk 12:49-53

The readings of today remind me very much of a trek up Mt. Ugu 17 years ago, just a few months before I went to Rome for further studies. I was invited by the PAL-MC (Philippine Airlines Mountaineering Club) to celebrate Mass with them atop the peak where three years earlier, a PAL turbo-prop plane had crashed. I reached the peak with the group alright … but with much difficulty. By then, my full-time work, that is, being acting parish priest where I am right now, and all the teaching job I was concurrently doing, after wrapping up my stint in our college in Mandaluyong City as Dean, all contributed to my being out-of-shape, not to mention the fact that, by then, I had a queasy tummy that, for days, kept me running, if you know what I mean.

The whole climb was a torture and an absolute struggle. It was embarrassing to the group as I had to stall them, or delay their ord…

MARY, MAIDEN, MIRROR, MOTHER!

Solemnity of the Assumption into Heaven of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Readings: Rev 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab / 1 Cor 15:20-27a / Lk 1:39-56


A recent book by the feminist theologian Elizabeth Johnson is entitled thus: “Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints” (2003).Whilst I can make no critique, whether negative or favorable on the whole book as I have not read it yet, the title strikes me somewhat as odd at worst, or intriguing at best. For long standing Christian tradition from the very earliest decades of the Church has always accorded the endearing title of “Mother” to Mary, the mother of Christ.

I am immediately reminded of those famous words of the renowned theologian Karl Rahner who said the equivalent of what follows… “Abstractions don’t need mothers, but people do.” Whilst it is true that being the “first among the redeemed,” and being the first recipient ever of the fruits of Jesus, her Son’s passion, death and resurrection (the grace was given her at birt…

HEART-SIGHT, MORE THAN JUST IN-SIGHT!

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C
August 12, 2007

Readings: Wis 18:6-9 / Heb 11:1-2, 8-19 / Lk 12:32-48
HEART-SIGHT, MORE THAN JUST IN-SIGHT!Perspective was what we reflected on last week. It meant having clear eyes to see the difference between what lasts and what doesn’t last … like the dew that with the early morning sun passes away. Qoheleth reminded us last week: “transitoriness of transitoriness!” … “Vanity of vanities!”… Jesus, too, would have us set our sights beyond earthly greed, beyond working for mere accumulation of material things. “Take care that your heart is not overtaken by greed.”Given the right perspective, we know that man ought to work for his keeps, not for his greed. Merely working for one’s keep means one gets to a point when he has to say “enough.” People who work on account of greed never will have enough, for the pull of the more, the better, and the greater simply does not reach a point of satiety. This Sunday, another perspectival concept juts out…