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Showing posts from February, 2008

DARKNESS ONCE, BUT NOW LIGHT!

Catholic Homily/ Sunday Reflection
4th Sunday of Lent - Year A


Today’s liturgy smacks of contrasts: individuals being presented for office, but God choosing the least expected (1st reading); people wallowing once in darkness, but now being wrapped in light (2nd reading); and a blind man exposing people’s ultimate and real blindness far worse than the blind man’s own physical inability to see (Gospel).

We are once more back to the realm of reversals, the world of Christian paradox, the arena of faith that transcends the predictable flow of logic and linear, cause-and-effect mode of thinking. We are once more back to the realm of Christian mystery that is represented most fully by the mystery of the cross.

This mystery of the cross takes center place in our thoughts, in our prayers – in the liturgy all through the Lenten season. Of itself, Lent is one such big paradox, referred to by the liturgy as the “joyful season,” but a season during which we are told to think penance, prayer, almsgivi…

DISCOURAGED BY WEAKNESS, CONFIDENT IN LOVE

Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
3rd Sunday of Lent - Cycle A

We all are familiar with the complaint. People who suffer in any way, healthy individuals who suddenly get seriously sick, faith-filled persons who, otherwise, have lived observant lives, cultivating a healthy fear of the Lord, who try their best to become what God expects them to be, at a moment of intense (and undeserved) trial and pain, are heard to mutter, as the desert wanderers of old murmured: “Is the Lord in our midst or not?”

Is the Lord in our midst or not? This is the question of a heart confused by pain, the murmurings of a person hard-hit by suffering, the groans of one whose moorings of erstwhile certainty and security, are suddenly rattled and shaken by existential events not within anyone’s fondest dreams and designs.

Is the Lord in our midst or not? When I, as a priest, behold the polarized confusion even in the so many so-called communities of faith, the factionalisms even in a Church neatly divided between t…

SHADOWED VISION, RESTORED SIGHT

Catholic Homily/Reflection
2nd Sunday of Lent - Year A
February 17, 2008

There is hope in every line of today’s readings, upliftment for everyone who sees and sees rightly, for all who care to listen and hear good news during this “joyful season” of Lent. Last Sunday, our readings introduced us to the reason behind this joy, the foundation of this hope, and the firmament upon which all our Christian strivings are solidly anchored.

That reason, the readings insisted, was none other than God’s generous, gracious, and gratuitous love!

This is the same story of love reported by the first reading taken from the book of Genesis: the call of Abraham, a call enveloped in fivefold promises not only for the called, but for his descendants. “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you … I will make of you a great nation … I will bless you … I will make your name great … I will bless those who bless you … All the communities shall find blessing i…

UNDERSTANDING JESUS' DEATH & RESURRECTION

Catholic Homily/Reflection
1st Sunday of Lent - Year A
Feb. 10, 2008

Lent has once again come by us. It opened with an age-old, Biblically based ritual of the imposition of ashes last Wednesday, a rite as meaningful as it is colorful, a symbol that stands for layers of meaning that only people deeply immersed in the whole Judeo-Christian culture and history can fully fathom.

Whilst it is true that, traditionally, Lent has been proposed by Christian tradition as a time for penance, for repentance, and a time to stand back and take stock of our spiritual resources for the journey of life up ahead, it is important for us to understand that the Biblical readings all focus, not on human sinfulness, but on the gracious, generous, forgiving, and immense love of God.

I thought I should clarify this right at the outset. Lent is not a time primarily for sado-masochistic, self-inflicted suffering per se, not a time primarily for self-denial, and self-focused introspection. It is also that, but it is …

LIGHT THAT BESTOWS SIGHT

Catholic Homily/Reflection
Ash Wednesday
February 6, 2008

“Non ridere, non lugere, neque detestari, sed intelligere.” (Not to laugh at, nor to mourn for, neither detest, but to understand) Spinoza

Ashes on the first day of Lent for the great tradition of the Eastern and Western Christian churches are one of those rituals and practices that are all too easy to deride, deplore, or detest – at least from the postmodern, and more so – biblical fundamentalists’ point of view. After the spate of anti-christian (and anti-catholic) literature over the past decade, not excluding the extremely popular Da Vinci Code, it is easy especially for those who have an axe to grind against the institutional church (which they mistake for the essentials of Christianity) to take everything Dan Brown and others say hook, line, and sinker, never mind the overwhelming historical and scholarly evidences to the contrary. It is still to be wondered at how come people do not react as vehemently against the lies peddl…