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KNOWN, DEDICATED, APPOINTED, SENT!

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4th Sunday Ordinary Time (Year C) February 3, 2013
KNOWN, DEDICATED, APPOINTED, SENT!
Whoever thinks Jesus had a nice time preaching in his own hometown Nazareth probably never heard what he said about it … “No prophet is accepted in his own country.” There was rejection. There was cynicism and skepticism. Who was he anyway? … the son of the carpenter? … one who grew up alongside us … What has he got more than we all have?
Jeremiah fared no better. He always had a mouthful to tell his friends, who soon became his foes after he told them what didn’t sound like music to their ears. But today, I have bitter, but good news to would-be prophets among you: “They will fight against you but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”
Last week, I shared with you how difficult now it is to be a prophet like Jeremiah. For speaking the truth and going against the tide of public opinion (read: rigged surveys!), a modern prophet is crucified in the same arena of public opini…

FULFILLED IN OUR HEARING

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3rd Sunday Year C January 27, 2013
FULFILLED IN OUR HEARING!
The people during Nehemiah’s time had a compelling reason to be emotional. The first reading says they were weeping as they listened to Nehemiah’s reading with attention and deep interest. Nehemiah, of course, was reading for hours on end the completed Book of the Law, known to Jews as the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament.
When was the last time, you and I wept over an attentive and rapt reading of Scripture? Was there ever a time when the words we read or heard so convicted us or so convinced us, and by their power, moved us in the same way as Nehemiah’s listeners were moved?
Today, I stand before you and I start with a little confession. I confess that preaching has become of late an even harder task to do. It never was, in the first place. While Nehemiah read for hours, and people were moved by what he read, people now are moved by something else – by entertainment brought by a mass media crazed culture of ente…

BLEST WITH EVERY SPIRITUAL GIFT!

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Feast of the Holy Child (Santo Nino) January 20, 2013
Readings: Is 9:1-6 / Eph 1:3-6.15-18 / Luke 2:41-52
BLEST WITH EVERY SPIRITUAL GIFT!
It’s more fun in the Philippines! That, at least, is what our tourism people would like the world to believe. Why not? Where else do you find Christmas beginning in earnest in September and ending some time in mid January, with a little of Passion week sandwiched in between with the feast of the Black Nazarene?
But I am being flippant here. It’s not just about fun. It’s all about being “blest with every spiritual gift!” And I am dead serious about it!
Family psychologists in the Philippines have always been puzzled by this. Most mothers and fathers of fledgling families in the country are working and living elsewhere, far from their young, growing children, far from home that is more than just home, far from all that they grew familiar with. Darkness, you might say? Indeed! The darkness and the growing social costs of migrant workers, who look elsewhere …

FOR THE GRACE OF GOD HAS APPEARED!

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BAPTISM OF THE LORD January 13, 2013
FOR THE GRACE OF GOD HAS APPEARED!
Today’s feast definitively closes the Christmas season. Gone ought to be all the tinsel and the foil, the trimmings and trappings of a romanticized Christmas, that is, for the most part, meant to be for kids, to perk up their sense of wonder at the miraculous “Christ-event” that has changed the course of world history.
But the child not only grows in age and wisdom. We, too, ought to rise above the childish level of tinsel and foil, and claim for ourselves the responsibility that the Christmas and Christ-event has imposed on us.
Let us look for some clues straight from today’s readings!
First, the reading from Isaiah, it must be admitted, sounds like soothing balm to aching hearts and like much needed prop-up support to our sagging spirits. “Comfort, give comfort to my people … her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated.” Is this a repeat, then, of the spirit of Advent – when we were told to lift up our eyes and se…

LESS IS MORE!

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Epiphany Sunday January 6, 2013
LESS IS MORE!
Today, we celebrate what used to be known as the “little Christmas.” In many European countries, the real gift-giving day is today, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.
During the day of the “bigger” Christmas, I actually talked about what’s right with the gift-giving culture associated with Christmas. I shared with you something eminently personal, a deep experience that has touched me immensely, as I go on doing my ministry as priest, over the past 30 years!
Epiphany now calls me to reflect a little more on this topic, but this time, I focus on the essential – on the “little”, that is, on the lesser, which ultimately redounds to what is more, what is greater, what is higher.
The bigger Christmas, whether we like it or not, had to do with the more. We had more lights, more fun, more food, more celebrations, more parties, more everything. Prior to the big day, we even had more traffic-clogged roads, more people at malls, in the streets, and fo…