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Showing posts from June, 2008

NOT FOR THE WISE AND THE LEARNED, BUT FOR MERE CHILDREN

Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A
July 6, 2008

Readings: Zec 9:9-10 / Rom 8:9,11-13 / Mt 11:25-30

There is something absolutely disarming about children. We all love to have them around and we find endless joy in their presence. Being simple, unsophisticated, open, easy to please, children are always the center of attention at any gathering. How they amuse and entertain us! We may have so many reasons for loving children, but I am sure there is one reason that is shared by all of us. It is because they are truthfully candid. They mean what they say. They say exactly what they mean. They have no reason to resort to double-talk, to subterfuge, to deception. How very true are the words of the psalmist: “Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have drawn a defense against your foes, to silence enemy and avenger.(Psalm 8:3)

There is power in simplicity. There is an undefinable force attached to being what the world may consider weak, powerless and poo…

UTTER CONFIDENCE OF BEING IN GOD'S HANDS

Catholic Homily/Sunday ReflectionSolemnity of Sts. Peter & PaulJune 29, 2008

The first reading, by all counts, should be rather depressing. King Herod was hell-bent on doing harm to the Church and its incipient leaders … James was ordered killed … and Peter, too, the head of the emerging “band of brothers,” presumably becoming, as days went by, some kind of a pain in the neck for ambitious Herod, was arrested … and imprisoned. Luke finds it significant enough to record that no less than “four squads of four soldiers each” had to be commissioned to guard him as he languished in prison. He was fettered with “double chains” and had to sleep “between two soldiers,” while more guards “kept watch outside the door.”The second reading is no less saddening, in a way. Paul, too, was in prison kept under humiliating conditions. As if to say good-bye, he speaks of his impending “departure” very clearly referring to his death. Paul was writing his own version of a valedictory address to Timoth…

FOREVER I WILL SING THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD!

Catholic Homily/ Sunday Reflection / Gospel Reflection
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A There is something particularly striking in today’s response to the 1st reading. Profuse in its expression of joy, the response acclaims God’s faithfulness, his kindness, his justice, and exalts him for the favors he has given.There is a note of definiteness to this profuse expression of thanksgiving and exultation in the Lord. Today’s readings give us enough reasons to join the psalmist in singing of the Lord’s goodness.When was the last time you could honestly feel with the grateful psalmist? When was the last time you really knew you were overflowing with gratitude to the Lord? Tough question for many of us, huh?Let me tell you how in my life I used to complain more than I thanked God – at least, as an initial reaction to something I never expected.As an enthusiastic, 21-year old professed brother, fresh from College, I, together with my companions, was avidly waiting for our assignments, th…

THE LORD IS WITH ME LIKE A MIGHTY CHAMPION

Catholic Homily / Sunday Reflection / Gospel Reflection
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A
June 22, 2008
All three readings, on close examination, strike very, very close to home base. They all speak of struggle. And they all sound so reassuring. They all refer to a God who inspires so much confidence,so like the God we spoke of last Trinity Sunday: gracious and merciful; slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.To Him, we cry out today, led as much by human desperation, as by utter confidence and divine faith: LORD, IN YOUR GREAT LOVE, ANSWER ME.Who among us, in those quiet, desperate moments, at some time or other in our lives, have not identified with the psalmist who cries out to the Lord almost desperately? The pleading itself reflects a struggle deep within. The plea speaks of a person torn between despairing, and claiming that which he or she knows God has the power to give, or withhold. Who among us, in the midst of so many trials, caught between the Scylla and Charybdi…

EVERYTHING THAT THE LORD HAS SAID WE WILL DO

Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A
June 15, 2008


It almost sounds like conditions are being set. If the Jews behave well, they stand to get handsome rewards. If only they would shape up, God would reciprocate accordingly. “Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine. You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. That is what you must tell the Israelites." Fair enough, isn’t it? A case of “You scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours.”

Could God be making a deal with His people here? Doesn’t all this appear like following God is a case of tit for tat? Is this for real? Could God really be saying, “You will be my people…but only if you listen to me and toe the line…” Or so it seems to the unwary reader.

Of course, we know better than to take isolated passages of Scripture, and make dogma out of each and every line, taken apart…

CALLED BEYOND LIMITS!

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A
June 8, 2008

Readings: Hosea 6:3-6 / Rom 4:18-25 / Mt 9:9-13

There is no mistaking it ... Hope oozes out of every reading today, hope that is not mere wishful thinking; hope that is not just equivalent to Dale Carnegie’s “how to win friends and influence people” type of mentality; hope that is not based on just any nameless god, as Pope Benedict XVI puts it, but hope that is ultimately grounded on a God with a name, a God who revealed Himself in Jesus Christ His Son.

Paul Tillich wrote about this in itself ungrounded grounding of our “ultimate concern” many years ago. His writings have touched me deeply, a non-philosopher though I am. But the readings today are more than just the philosophical gibberish that is all I could muster. They are existential declarations of believers who knew whereof they spoke: Hosea, for one, who saw troubles beyond imagination, whose unfaithful wife abandoned him for somebody else, who knew what it was to suffer - and - f…