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WHEN EMPTY MEANS FULL!

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EASTER SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S RESURRECTION March 31, 2013
WHEN EMPTY MEANS FULL!
I make no secrets about it. I am emotive. I cry easily when touched by something I hear, I see and experience. The last time I saw Les Miserables the movie (the fourth including three other live musical presentations in various places) I was touched by a number of particular scenes. The rendition of “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables” was among those scenes, when Marius, recovering from his wounds, imagines he is back in the ABC CafĂ©.
He is obviously portrayed to be in mourning, and one cannot help but be carried away by someone else’s pain.
Today, we too, are carried away but in a different plane, in a very different way. There is no question today about mourning, but everything to do about unalloyed joy. Last night, those of us who took part in the vigil would have noticed the quiet rejoicing, the ebullient praising and the profuse thanksgiving of the Church at what took place, immortalized in the act of memoria…

THE CONUNDRUM OF THE CROSS

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N.B. I DUG UP MY FILES AND NOTICED A REFLECTION I WROTE YET IN 2007 WHICH I HAD NOT ACTUALLY POSTED IN THIS BLOG. HERE, THEN, IS AN ALTERNATIVE REFLECTION FOR TODAY


Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion April 6, 2007
Readings: Is 52:13 – 53:12 / Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9 / Jn 18:1 – 19:42
THE CONUNDRUM OF THE CROSS
The serene and joyful silence that ended our celebration last night after the Lord’s Supper extends to today, broken only by the sedate and simple recitation of the Morning Prayers. Our afternoon liturgy timed more or less on the hour of the passion and death of the Lord on the cross begins with utter silence with the celebrant prostrating before the bare altar, stripped of all the usual paraphernalia attached to it. The bells are silent. The majestic music of the liturgy gives way to unaccompanied somber songs that smack of simple joy, and silent rejoicing.
Silent joy and rejoicing on Good Friday? Are we in our right frames of mind? Do we get the readings right? If Good Friday liturgy w…

SOMBER, NOT SAD

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Good Friday Celebration of the Lord’s Passion/Veneration of the Cross
SOMBER, NOT SAD
It is easy to fall into excesses this day. The thought that “God is dead” can wreak havoc on the faith of those whose faith in a living God, Good Friday or not, is already on tenuous grounds. But Good Friday’s focus is not a dead God, not a dead Christ, but a Christ who gives away everything freely, including his life by dying on the Cross, so that we might live!
Good Friday is not about him being dead and remaining very dead. Good Friday is about us getting back to life because He freely gave up His life that we might live. It is about Him being in control, being free and powerful enough even to subject himself to the black and dark forces of sin and misguided humanity, so that humanity might get back to the ways that lead to peace and authentic freedom.
Yes, Virginia … you ought not to be sad. The Liturgical celebration done in three parts, nowhere asks us to be sad, and to sulk in hopelessness and de…

NOT JUST BYSTANDERS, BUT PARTICIPANTS!

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Maundy Thursday 2013 Mass of the Lord’s Supper

NOT JUST BYSTANDERS, BUT PARTICIPANTS!


What I like about the Paschal Triduum that we begin in earnest at this Mass is that you all are very well motivated and, therefore, very participative and attentive. For the most part, when all the rest of the seasonal Catholics have all hied off to some more seasonable area of rest and relaxation, those of you who are here with us now, with the priests who serve you and work with you, have obviously decided to stay, and even more obviously chose to journey with us though our own version of the passover – the Church’s version, I must add. You have chosen this and not some fanatic and misguided trip to San Pedro Cutud, to witness the gory and bloody, and shallow dramatization of what now we re-enact and make present here and now, but in a totally different way.


Even as I speak, feverish preparations are being done in Cutud in Pampanga. There will be the same protagonists in the much-awaited drama, reple…

DISCIPLES, NOT JUST FOLLOWERS!

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PASSION (PALM) SUNDAY March 24, 2013
DISCIPLES NOT JUST FOLLOWERS
Today marks another milestone in our liturgical and popular religiosity as Filipinos. Palm Sunday ushers in for us Holy Week, the most colorful week in our collective consciousness. If the Christmas novena is the most awaited, most joyful and most filled with happy and hopeful expectations, Holy Week fills us with thoughts and feelings associated with penitence, repentance, conversion, and both the need and the possibility for anyone to turn a new leaf, start afresh, and begin again on a clean slate.
The Lord goes up to Jerusalem – up, not down, for Jerusalem was a city built on a mountain. But the Lord does not go there alone. And neither does he enter alone, unnoticed, incognito, ignored. No … he entered with a bang, not a whimper. He got in in triumph, not in silence. For people welcomed him with everything they could lay their hands on … pieces of clothing, branches of trees, and presumably, a lot of palm fronds, for …

GREAT AND NEW THINGS!

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5th Sunday of Lent Year C March 17, 2013
GREAT AND NEW THINGS!
All three readings today may be said to speak about newness. The first talks about new realities for the chosen people of God: a way in the desert and rivers in the wasteland, to name two. The second reading speaks about the need “to forget what lies behind but strain forward to what lies ahead.” The third refers to a new approach the Lord used to tame the old problem of people taking advantage of others to push their own agenda.
As a counselor, I am familiar with the tendency to wallow and dwell in the past. When one is hurting, one always remembers selectively, I must add, all the unfortunate and unhappy incidents in the past. One finds it hard to look ahead. One loses, not just serenity and peace, but also, and more importantly, the capacity to hope for better things in future. According to the research of Philip Zimbardo, there are people who are focused on the past: either the past positive or the past negative.
That foc…

TASTE AND SEE THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD!

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4th Sunday of Lent Year C March 10, 2013
TASTE AND SEE THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD!
The first reading and the responsorial psalm both have to do with the image of eating, celebrating, or partaking of food together with others. The second reading, though not even remotely related to eating and sharing of food, does give us the reason to eat together and celebrate – the fact that we have become new creatures in Christ, that is, reconciled to God in Him. The Gospel, for its part, although focused on the idea of forgiveness, does refer, too, indirectly to a banquet given by the forgiving father upon return of the younger lost son, who chose to follow a different path, until he got back to his senses and returned.
This is a rich Sunday, readings wise, and we preachers are hard pressed to make of all three separate readings a meaningful totality. But quite apart from all this, today is Laetare Sunday, meaning “rejoice,” for laetare is the first word in today’s entrance antiphon.
Well, who does no…