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Showing posts from February, 2009

MAKING PEACE WITH ALL

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Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflections
1st Sunday of Lent(B)
March 1, 2009


There always seems to be something timely and current whenever we hear God’s Word. God’s Word always convicts us, confronts us, and engages us in a task that is concrete, here and now. Thre is simply no skirting around it, no deying, no running away from it. Today, we are told about chaos, confusion, wilderness, flood, sin, wild beasts, desert, temptation, and arrest, on the one hand. But we also hear about a covenant, about a promise, about inclusiveness. We are told about all creatures as being part of this inclusive promise from God, no one excluded. Absolutely!

The promise from God was given in the heels of sin-induced destruction by flood. But as the creatures saved in the ark filed out into dry land, God, in His mercy promised a new covenant to be symbolized by the rainbow. Not only did God promise no more flood to destroy all mortal beings. He also included “every living creature” in this promised new covenant.

W…

PROTECT US IN OUR STRUGGLE AGAINST EVIL

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Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflections
Ash Wednesday (Year B)

Readings: Joel 2:12-18 / 2 Cor 5:20 - 6:2 / Mt 6:1-6, 16-18


A melange of powerful images confronts us as we “begin the discipline of Lent.” The prophet Joel speaks of “blowing the trumpet” and “calling for an assembly” in order to “proclaim a fast.” The rousing call has an air both of certainty and urgency, both springing from a firm conviction … “perhaps He will again relent, and leave behind him a blessing.” Joel’s conclusion is as certain as it is firm: “The Lord was stirred to concern for his land and took pity on his people.”

But the conclusion did not come from thin air. It came from the depths of pleadings and prayers, summed up in our response after the first reading: “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.”

The same air of plaintive pleadings and fervent prayer is shown in Paul’s reaching out to the Corinthians: “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God … We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in…

LOOKING WHILST NOT SEEING

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Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time(B)
February 22, 2009

There is newness and freshness in the words of Isaiah the prophet today: “See I am doing something new!” Newness is something we all crave for. Freshness in the way we perceive old realities is something we value highly. We admire writers who do not dish out old and trite ways of expressions. And we esteem leaders who do not necessarily “go by the book” but who inject fresh vigor and renewed enthusiasm in their leadership and management style.

The same is pretty much true in other aspects of our lives. In Manila, for example, I am aghast at seeing how quickly people tire of whatever is perceived to be old stuff. Bars and restaurants need to reinvent themselves all the time if they want to remain in business. How many upstart joints have been put up all over which drew rave reviews less than six months or a year or so ago, but which are now struggling to survive, ever competing with ever new players in the …

THE TIES THAT BIND US TOGETHER

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Catholic Homily / Sunday Reflections
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B
February 15, 2009

Readings: Lv 13:1-2. 44-46 / 1 Cor 10:31-11:1 / Mk 1:40-45



The conditions described by today’s readings are a perfect example of class distinction, separation, and everything that smacks of segmentation and fragmentation. Whilst not necessarily bad in itself, a misguided, if overzealous dedication to the principles of such ritual class segregations may do more harm than good on the long haul – and a most dangerous atttitude to boot!

Our world of today is rife with not just examples but glaring realities of such categorization of people and even whole nations into disparate groups or blocks that tend, for the most part, to exclude, not include. We talk of the world’s richest nations, the G7, or the so-called group of seven. We talk about the world’s 7 poorest nations who, aping the former, also hold periodic conventions to discuss about things I know not much about. In cities all over the world, peop…

ALL FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL

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Catholic Homily / Sunday Reflections5th Sunday in OrdinaryTime - Year B
February 8, 2009

Two weeks ago, I reflected on the need for a sense of urgency in our lives, an urgency not in terms of being enslaved by the desire for the more, the better, the ultimate in our earthly concerns. I spoke of the need for a sense of urgency in the sense of getting the right perspective in life, knowing one’s priorities, operating on the right paradigms that put God and His Kingdom as first in the list, “for the world and its pleasures are fast drifting away.”
Today, we are confronted with a similar challenge. There is a little air of apparent compulsion as we hear the Lord say “Let us go on to the other villages, that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” But this challenge is preceded by yet another paradox, an apparent contradiction in images, presented in the first reading by a figure of a tired and weary, complaining Job whose laments strike us to the core: “Is not man’s life a dr…