Posts

Showing posts from April, 2008

HOPE BEYOND SUFFERING

Seventh Sunday of Easter – Year A
May 4, 2008

Readings: Acts 1:12-14 / 1 Pt 4:13-16 / Jn 17:1-11

N.B. I am advancing this post as I will be traveling from May 1 to June 8. I hope to be able to continue on the postings from where I will find myself in all this time. Thanks for your continued patronage.

We live in a world fraught with suffering and pain. It is enough to see the TV, read the papers, and hear the radio. As of this time, food insecurity is on top of the list of the woes and worries, particularly of the poorest among us. Given the unabated rise in the prices of everything, including primary necessities, like food, people all over the world cannot but ask themselves and the Lord: “how long, O Lord, must we keep waiting?”

And yet, Sunday in and Sunday out, we gather together in Church, as we do today. We even proclaimed heartily in response to the first reading today: “I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living” (Responsorial Psalm). Despite b…

JUST AS WE HAVE SEEN HIM ASCEND

Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
Ascension of the Lord - Year A

Power, promise, and presence take center stage in our celebration of the Lord’s ascension today, 40 days after the resurrection (plus two in many dioceses all over the world). That power, referred to by the letter to the Ephesians as “the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens,” (2nd reading) is echoed by our response after the first reading: “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.”

That power, however, is born of a promise. It is not power for its own sake bestowed on oneself; not worldly and political power; not military might, nor power that accrues from a deep need to lord it over others, but a power proffered from above – a power for a purpose … “he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise …

COMPANION, COUNSEL, CHAMPION!

Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
6th Sunday of Easter, Year A
April 27, 2008

Today’s liturgy is dedicated to power. It has to do with the power to penetrate barriers; the power from above that makes individuals and persons go counter-cultural, and do the unexpected and the ordinarily unthinkable. Like Christ, who deemed it worth his time to talk about salvation with a Samaritan woman, Philip, one of the seven proto-deacons, “went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed Christ to them.” (1st Reading) That power from the “laying on of hands” after which “they received the Holy Spirit,” enabled him to give “great joy to the city,” on account of the many signs he did.

We see power also behind proclamation; power behind Peter’s “confession;” power that shines through one’s ability “to give an explanation to anyone who asks […] for a reason for […] hope.” This is the same power that enables one “to suffer for doing good,” to suffer even death, for, through the outpouring of the Spirit, one …

CHOICE, FREEDOM, PROMISE!

Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
5th Sunday of Easter, Year A
April 20, 2008
Diversity, divergence, disputations, and displacements of various forms characterize our readings today. Two big rival groups from among the ranks of believers, the “Hellenists” and the “Hebrews” open up the scene marked by complaints of neglect and what may sound like modern-day “favoritism” and “political patronage.” Widows were being shunted aside. In the 1st Letter of Peter, displaced – and therefore – disgruntled Christians were being exhorted and uplifted to a sense of Christian transcendence, with a message of hope that has their Master’s experience as proof, pledge, and promise: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own.”The Gospel report from John, for its part, presents two seemingly dissenting disciples, who dispute Jesus’ discourse of encouragement with two questions. One comes from the same Thomas who, three weeks ago, desisted from falling easily for the report…

HOME, HAVEN, HEAVEN: FRUITS OF A SHEPHERD'S CARE

Catholic Homily/ Sunday Reflection
4th Sunday of Easter, Year A
April 13, 2008

Confidence and utter trust in God’s care and loving solicitude come out as primary messages in today’s liturgy. The Opening Prayer would have us beg God for “new strength” that comes “from the courage of Christ our Shepherd.” The alternative prayer is addressed to the same God who is “helper in time of distress.” Echoing the words of Psalm 23, it speaks about believers not having to “fear,” though they may “walk in the valley of darkness,” for “they follow in faith the call of the shepherd whom [God] has sent for their hope and strength.”

There is something very real and truly existential in what the liturgy would have us focus on today. All around us, events and concrete realities in everyday life speak to us of hopelessness and despondency. In the midst of what George Weigel refers to as “all the awfulness of this [past] century,” in a world that is inundated by a swell tide of secularism that threatens to co…