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Showing posts from March, 2008

TILL ETERNITY DAWNS

Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
3rd Sunday of Easter - Year A
April 6, 2008

Today, 3rd Sunday of Easter, the liturgy calls our attention to early risers, sojourners, and travelers. In the Gospel, Luke reports the fact that “some women from [their] group … were at the tomb early in the morning.” The same gospel passage tells us about “two of Jesus’ disciples going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus.” Again, the same Lukan report speaks about the disciples being joined by another one, and all three became fellow sojourners as they talked on all the way up to the moment of the “breaking of bread.”

We see here three types of people with very focused goals and precise objectives. The women, presumably, were there first thing in the morning to do unfinished tasks related to the burial of their Master whose death coincided with the Sabbath day of rest. The two disciples had a precise destination – Emmaus, although the Lukan report does not say for what purpose. For all the p…

HINDSIGHT, HEADSIGHT, HEARTSIGHT: INSIGHTS TO FAITH

Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
2nd Sunday of Easter/Easter Octave
March 30, 2008

Easter Sunday has come full circle. During the so-called Easter octave (today being the “eighth day”), everyday from Easter Sunday to the 2nd Sunday of Easter, is meant to be each one a celebration of Easter day. Only in the next most important liturgical solemnity does the Church celebrate in full for all of eight days – the Christmas octave. The dramatic scenes of Holy Week have taken a back seat. The pall of semi gloom during the Paschal triduum has given way to the brilliance and ebullient joy of the Easter season. Even the receding color of Lenten purple, has exploded to the dazzling brilliance of Easter white, silver, and gold (or red, for the Chinese inspired cultures all over the world).

The world of nature, at least in temperate zones, assumes an air of newness. It is now springtime, and the coming of spring evokes feelings and thoughts of new life, freshness, and invigorating vitality. In this tr…

PESACH, POETRY & PROMISE: HOPE REVISITED

Catholic Homily/Reflection
Easter Sunday - Year A
March 23, 2008

Something new is in the air; something strange; something unfathomable, it is true, but also something real. It is so real we stay up and keep watch. We keep vigil on account of it. It is so real, albeit difficult to fully fathom, that we engage in a multiplicity of symbolisms … Easter eggs, easter bunnies (Europe and US), the peacock (ancient Christians), water, light, candles, and new fire (the Eastern and Western Christian Churches). It is so real we Filipinos even engage in acts that border on the dramatic. In our penchant for re-enactments; in our entertainment-crazed culture that prizes living tableaus, we even take resort to stage-like living presentations of what we consider so real as to affect life in concrete; as to affect our emotional state as dictated by what we hold as true. In many, many places all over the country, the early dawn procession called the “salubong,” that re-enacts that supposed ecstatic momen…

REMEMBRANCE, REENACTMENT, MEMORIAL & MYSTERY

Catholic Homily/Reflection
Good Friday, March 21, 2008

Today, being Good Friday, the altars are bare; the tabernacle is gaping open and empty, and the joyful bells and organ music are both silent and still, reserved for the glories of the Easter celebration. Everything smacks of a kind of “mourning.” After we ended last night’s adoration and watching with the Lord before the altar of repose, the whole Church takes on a subdued atmosphere as it goes into what I personally call the R2M2 mode that is the hallmark of the holiest three days of the whole liturgical season.

R2M2 …. Remembrance, reenactment, memorial, and mystery!

Last evening was an exercise of remembrance par excellence. We gathered around the table of the Lord, among other things, to reminisce, to bask under the glow of His love, to hear the mandatum – the mandate given to his followers to “love one another” as He has loved us. Not only did we remember. We also engaged in a doing as befits our act of remembering. “Do this in r…

REMEMBERING AND DOING

Catholic Homily/Reflection
Maundy Thursday
March 20, 2008

The holy triduum that focuses on the Paschal Mystery of Christ begins in earnest in today’s liturgy. The pole of seeming gloom that capped last Palm Sunday’s liturgy with the reading of the Passion bounces back in this evening’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper, and takes on the spirit of joy and rejoicing as befit a celebration that gives way to sublime ideas of remembering, on the one hand, and doing, on the other. This evening’s Mass, the only other celebration allowed for today after this morning’s Chrism Mass at Cathedral churches presided over by local Bishops, ends not with a formal blessing, with nary a formal sign of closure, for this celebration only begins what is really a three-day long celebration that ends with all the pomp, funfare, and exultation possible, on Easter Sunday, the day of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead.What do we remember? The entrance antiphon offers us a summation … “the cross of our Lord Jesus Chris…

CANDOR, CONTRASTS, AND SPLENDOR

Catholic Homily/ Sunday Reflection
Passion Sunday - Year A
March 16, 2008

Today is the last Sunday of Lent. In a few days, we will enter into the holy triduum, the holiest of days that will culminate in the glorious celebration of the Lord’s resurrection. In the meantime, as we long for the “joys of Easter,” we are confronted with a deep experience of contrasts and an unmistakable situation of lights and shadows.

We begin the liturgy today with a tinge of triumph, in an unmistakable tone of joy. Two disciples are sent on ahead to be an advanced party of sorts. They were told to prepare for what the “master” needed. Misreading the poetic parallelism of Zechariah’s language (9:9), the Matthean author speaks of two beasts of burden used by the Master: an ass and a colt. Whether he rode only on one or both is immaterial to the focus of the story: Jesus made a triumphant entry into Jerusalem as befits the people’s expectations of what he was perceived to be, the “Son of David,” the awaited Mes…

EMBRACING THE WORLD WITH COURAGE!

Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
5th Sunday of Lent - Year A
March 9, 2008

Today, 5th Sunday of Lent, we are seemingly confronted with courage gone flat, hopes dashed, and dreams for a threesome family’s future togetherness gone forever, lost to the inevitability of physical death. The opening scene of our running movie feature today is one of death and decay – with no less than a graveyard as centerpiece, and with Ezekiel’s feeble-sounding oracles trying to rise above a very real and existential condition of humanity’s apparent common destiny of desolation.

An unmistakable tinge of desolation is what we hear in Martha’s plaintive, faintly mocking and blaming tone, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” We see traces of the complaint we heard Israelites of old in the desert wilderness tell Moses three Sundays back, “Is the Lord in our midst or not?”

The world is threatened with death all over. Prognostications of doom and destruction surround us from all sides – fro…