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BORN TO BE FREE!

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Catholic Homily / Sunday Reflection 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) September 5, 2010

There is something heartwarming in today’s readings, particularly in Paul’s letter to Philemon (2nd reading). Paul, by then an old man in prison, waxes paternal and solicitous for the welfare of both Philemon and the runaway slave Onesimus. As the law would prescribe, Paul sends him right back to Philemon, but not before liberating both the master and the slave. Philemon may well have been a slave to the prevailing culture of that time that considered slavery normal. Onesimus, may well have been, not only a physical slave, but also – and more importantly – a slave to his own misconceptions about himself and his relationship with the rest of the world, including his master, Philemon.
Paul, an old man shackled in prison, bound by the dictates of an earthly law that he has spent so much time and effort enlightening people about, gives Philemon, Onesimus, and the whole believing world for posterity, a great…

HUMBLE FOR A REASON

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Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time(C)
August 29, 2010



Reasons, there are, abounding to aim for greatness, popularity, and power. With so much competition in our postmodern culture that values self-fulfillment and self-realization to the hilt; with so much pressure on us to deliver, perform, and conform to the so-called “norms” of a society that ever hankers for the elusive more and more, who would want to be at the bottom of the heap? Who would want to be left behind by the bandwagon of success and achievement?


By comparison, the liturgy today simply sounds so counter-intuitive, so counter-cultural! Whilst the whole world speaks of getting up higher in the rung of worldly importance, and exhorts all and sundry to pull their own strings, and to claim their rightful place under the sun, today’s readings almost sound like a douse of cold water to our raging enthusiasm to excel and be known to many for all we are worth (or at least imagine ourselves to be).


Or are …

CALLED, GATHERED, DISCIPLINED, AND SENT

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Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time(C) August 22, 2010

The readings today are very much apropos the recently concluded World Cup that captured the world’s interest for a whole month.
Isaiah’s vision speaks of a great ingathering of people “from all nations” “of every language” who “shall come and see [God’s] glory.” The passage from the letter to the Hebrews speaks of “discipline”“brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.” Discipline, in other words, appears to come more easy and more acceptable for one who gets training. (The word for “training” has to do with the root-word for gymnastics). The Gospel, for its part, further affirms the overriding images of the first two readings, by alluding to the need for Christ’s followers “to strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many […] will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” (the original meaning has to do more with “instruction”), and acknowledges said discipline to …

UNTIL HE HAS PUT ALL HIS ENEMIES UNDER HIS FEET!

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Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary August 15, 2010
The world of science is familiar with the idea of putting to rout all that militates against life. Ironically, health or wholeness, had to do, among many other things, with being free from other forms of life that are really, at bottom, anti-life. Science is all too familiar with the world of microbes, bacteria, and viruses. Whilst they, too, are forms of life (though lower forms), they can wreak havoc to life as we know it, life as God would have us live it, fullness of life, a life of wholeness, a life of health, a life that leads us ultimately, to eternal life.


We all know what it means to be downed by a microbe, or at least, bacteria. Some bacteria can cause not just discomfort, but real misery, as when bacteria that gets into the alimentary canal, ingested together with food, can cause us untold misery via gastro-intestinal problems.


The whole world of medical science revolves arou…

LIVING IN FAITH, WATCHING IN HOPE

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Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) August 8, 2010

I would like to think of today’s liturgy as a lesson on keeping one’s sense of balance in these postmodern times all too prone to all forms of excesses and imbalances. In these confusing times marked by the pull of so many conflicting ideologies and positions on the political, cultural, philosophical, and – even – religious planes, it is very easy for all to fall for one of such extreme positions.
Not even the Catholic Church is spared this particular difficulty and monumental challenge to evangelization. On the one hand, there are those of us who fall for the cut-and-dried and what appears to be a no-nonsense approach to the faith offered by modern-day milleniarists who overly emphasize an apocalyptic, if frightening, vision of impending disaster and gloom that mark the coming of the “end times.” Supported by the teachings of so-called “visionaries” that espouse doubtful theology, and reports of various, a…