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BORN FOR US, THROUGH MARY!

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Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
January 1, 2013


Readings: Nm 6:22-27 / Gal 4:4-7 / Lk 2:16-21



The whole world is awash in blessing today. People bless each other, more than they greet each other a Happy New Year. Countless text messages, facebook private messages and chats, along with innumerable e-messages now clog the information superhighway, more or less filled with the same blessings or at least wishes for more blessings for each other.


This day could not be better chosen to call down God’s blessings on each other, and to be blessings to one another. The liturgy itself, meant primarily to extol the glories of Mary, Mother of God, focuses also on the issue of blessing and being blessed.


The first reading gives the opening salvo. Moses was told to hand on to Aaron the threefold blessing that God’s face might shine on all the Israelites. Our response to the first reading, which is basically a prayer, is more of the same: “May God bless us in His mercy.”


St. Paul, for his part, counts bl…

A PEOPLE IN WAITING; A PEOPLE IN SEARCH!

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Feast of the Holy Family December 30, 2012
A PEOPLE IN WAITING; A PEOPLE IN SEARCH
Everybody is now in search for the child … The wise men “from the east” wherever that is, have gone down in religious history as proverbially out in search for the newborn child or “king” as both Scripture, tradition and yore would have us understand. The shepherds out at night plying their trade, by far, the lowliest of them all, brought out the news to a waiting world. Angels, with their figurative trumpets blaring and wings a-fluttering, delivered, not just an SMS, mind you, but a full-length recital and a momentous proclamation of the glories of a wondrous and mysterious God, who at some point, decided to be one like us and became man in and through His Son Jesus, Emmanuel!
His coming brought together an elderly man, a young woman, an elder woman and her equally elderly husband, who, like Mary the young woman, bore a child in her womb. Everybody then, as everybody now, was waiting for a child – nay, two…

WHAT'S RIGHT ABOUT GIFT-GIVING ON CHRISTMAS DAY?

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I would like to state right at the outset that this post is as much my contribution to Christmas celebration as my personal tribute to a former confrere RENAN LUTERIA.

Rest in peace Renan! You touched many lives, including mine. May your example of selflessness live on in more young people!
Christmas Day
December 25, 2012


WHAT’S RIGHT ABOUT GIFT-GIVING ON CHRISTMAS DAY


Anti-catholic haters abound these days. Yes, even, and especially on Christmas day. Some of them former Catholics themselves, whose very shallow understanding of what they claimed they believed in, was simply not enough for them to parry all the sloganeering and the proselytizing, they have one common line: What’s all the fuss about celebrating a commercialized Christmas? What does the flurry of gift-giving got to do with the second most solemn feast of the liturgical year?


My answer is, simply everything! The question they ask seems to be “what’s wrong about gift-giving on Christmas Day?” That seems to me the wrong questi…

FESTINA LENTE!

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4th Sunday of Advent (C) December 23, 2012
FESTINA LENTE!
An ancient Latin aphorism that sounds like an oxymoron says: Festina Lente! It means “Make haste slowly.” How does one make haste? How does one does so but ever so slowly? How does one stop a rampaging Christmas season now at its climax, with excitement ready to explode any time now, at least for children who have things to look forward to? How does one look forward to Christmas at this time of year (the second in as many years) when thousands still lay desolate, despairing and dying (if not dead) in the typhoon ravaged areas of Mindanao in the Philippines?
Yes, I am wondering how on earth we can stop something we have taken for granted all our lives. And no! I am not about to stop you from celebrating Christmas. Please do. Please go along with the news of glad tidings that the angels brought to lowly smelly shepherds of yore. Please walk together with the Magi in honest search for the newborn King, for He was promised to reign for…

REJOICE! SAY THAT AGAIN PLEASE!

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3rd Sunday Advent (Year C) December 16, 2012

REJOICE! SAY THAT AGAIN, PLEASE!
All three readings could not be any clearer! They are all a call to joy, to optimism, to rejoicing! It is just too bad that the call comes for the third time in as many years, when we apparently have all the reasons in the world to be sad, dejected, and despairing. As I write, news about the more than two scores who were shot to death in Connecticut is still fresh. Whilst the tragedy that befell southern Philippines is by no means fresh news, the number of those who died and those who are missing, increasing by the day, seems always new.
Today, Gaudete Sunday, so called because of the command for us Christians “to rejoice,” we feel like being at the crossroads. We feel challenged. We feel tested, even as we feel shaken by recent events that seem to contradict the call and run counter to the teaching.
And we are also a little confused, perhaps … So which is which? Should we go the way of Ebenezer Scrooge, ever sad…

JOINING IN, INSTEAD OF WHINING!

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SAFE AND SECURE IN THE LORD WHO IS JUSTICE!

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1st Sunday Advent (C) December 2, 2012
SAFE AND SECURE IN THE LORD WHO IS JUSTICE!
Don’t we all love to hear good news! Fresh graduates who have recently taken the board or government licensure examinations wait interminably for good news to come their way. Sick people who undergo so many varied tests and lab works long to hear from their doctor how their health prognosis would be in the next few months or years. I know … been there; done that. The Lord knows how many examinations I have taken all my life, and waiting for good news is not something I am unfamiliar with.
But we all know that, no matter the good news, the events prior to, or surrounding the coming of good news, are not necessarily pleasant. Take it from Jeremiah, a prophet who has seen the best and the worst,  as one who saw first hand the bitterness of exile in his prophetic career. He had, in many respects, literally hit rock-bottom. He knew what it meant to be down there in the dumps of despair, of discoura…

THE TIME HAS COME!

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SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING November 25, 2012
THE TIME HAS COME!
Good old Lewis Carroll wrote these beautiful verses about the walrus and the carpenter out for a walk and a bite: "The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things: of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax-- of cabbages--and kings-- and why the sea is boiling hot-- and whether pigs have wings."
The time has come indeed! We’ve been through another year, another cycle … another round of reflections throughout what we call the liturgical year that is about to end. We’ve come full circle, and what we began a year ago is what we are wrapping up today.
The time has come … yes! But the time, too, has come to speak of many things: of shoes and ships, maybe? Of rockets and the ruckus they cause in that tiny piece of territory in the Middle East, perhaps? … Of cabbages and camotes, and genetically modified foods to feed an unsatisfied world?
Why not? Why yes! Even of Kings and despots whose only passport t…