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Showing posts from December, 2013

TREE, FRUIT, SOIL

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MARY, MOTHER OF GOD (A) January 1, 2014
TREE, FRUIT, SOIL
Romano Guardini’s image is striking. Talking about Jesus, the Christ, is a lot like talking about the tree, along with its blossom and fruit, he says. But it won’t ever be complete unless we also talk about the soil that enabled the tree to grow, blossom, and bear fruit. Jesus is the tree, blossom and fruit all at once. But Mary was the soil that enabled the fruit-giving tree become truly what it was meant to be.
Today, our focus, being on the exact octave (8th day) after Christmas, is as much on the Son, as on the one who brought forth the Son of God. Mary is not God, let me put it as clearly at the outset as possible. Today, we do not venture into idolatry, for a creature cannot be superior to the Creator; a human person cannot have ascendancy over the Divine Person, even as one does not pick apples from lemon trees. Mary is not God who gives birth to a God, in which case her Son would be of lower rank than his mother. No … but…

RISE, FLEE, AND STAY!

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Feast of the Holy Family (A) December 29, 2013
RISE, FLEE, AND STAY!
Something serious and potentially far-encompassing in scope is happening in our culture. Today’s issue of Pugad Baboy captures some of it, but not fully. People still flock to the Church during the nine-day preparation period, but there are serious signs worship of God, honoring the saints, and participating in the liturgy are not their topmost goals. Many don’t even care to go in and use the pews inside … no, they stand outside or sit on a bench, ready to respond to texts and Viber and Tango alerts. According to Pugad Baboy comic strip, there are those who drive in, remain seated in their cars, and look more or less toward the direction of the altar, and “attend” Mass from a distance.
I talked about this issue on Christmas morning, when huge malls like the Mall of Asia, were slated to be open all day of Christmas. I said that children behave in exactly the same way they do at malls as they do inside Churches. First, t…

GENERATIONS AND GRACE

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Christmas Day December 25, 2013
GENERATIONS AND GRACE!
Christmas is at one and the same time, an easy and difficult occasion to be preaching. It is easy as everyone is well-motivated, eminently receptive, and for the most part, responsive. But it is also difficult as the occasion is so rich, the readings so varied, and the themes so multi-faceted that it becomes hard to focus on just one, without feeling like not doing justice to all others.
But focus, we must, and speak of just one basic idea, we ought to, lest liturgy becomes, not primarily worship that it has to be, but another entertainment package or an opportunity for information overload.
The Gospel passage of the Vigil Mass is a repeat of what we heard in the last nine days – the story of the generations that led to the birth of the Savior, clustered in three groups of 14 each. The meaning of those generations is just as obscure as the names themselves of the people who, otherwise, we would not have known were it not for Scriptur…

BETWEEN PROMISE AND FULFILLMENT

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4th Sunday of Advent December 22, 2013
BETWEEN PROMISE AND FULFILLMENT.
Prophets definitely lived in interesting times. Isaiah was no exemption to this. He prophesied – or at least, tried to – during times when the southern Kingdom of Judah was in dire straits, threatened by dissolution by the powerful Assyrians. But interesting times are brought about by interesting characters – by individuals whose claim to big power is just matched by their big egos.
Ahaz was one such narcissistic leader. He wouldn’t listen to anyone, least of all Isaiah. He wouldn’t trust anyone, including the Lord Himself, who was ready to give a sign just so the Kingdom wouldn’t perish and go down in shame.
Our society and culture now, are full of such narcissists. In this age of selfies, where the case called “impression management” is the name of the game in social media and everywhere, leaders who make it on top, business people who reach the pinnacle of success, and dreamy-eyed idealists whose dreams are tall…

HERO OR HEEL? REED OR ROD?

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3rd Sunday of Advent (A) Gaudete Sunday December 15, 2013
HERO OR HEEL? REED OR ROD?
I am no Justin Bieber fan. I don’t know what he stands for, but right now, he is a hero to many young people in Leyte, whom he paid a surprise visit to, in order to give his help to all typhoon survivors in Eastern Visayas.
There are simply some people who rise to the occasion and prove their worth when tested, when tried, when needed. Isaiah was one such. More than a prophet, he proved to be an enabler, who encouraged, who gave strength, and who empowered people with buckling knees: “Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those who are frightened: Be strong, fear not.”
Leaders, they say, do the right things. Managers, they further say, do things right. Either of them, or both, while doing the right things and doing things right, may experience fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the process. When either, or both, surrender to fear or uncertainty, and refuse to act, p…

FLOWERING REPENTANCE; FLOURISHING JUSTICE!

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2nd Sunday of Advent Year A December 8, 2013
FLOWERING REPENTANCE; FLOURISHING JUSTICE
We have heard it once too often … “It’s not me; it’s my genes!” … “I didn’t know anything about it; my signature was faked!” “I am not a thief!” “Ooops! Sorry; I am just having a bad day!” “Is it a sin to love? What’s wrong about loving someone totally, physically, completely?”
Yesterday, I really had a bad day … no, a bad dream … a nightmare, in fact. Something really, really bad happened to somebody good. I know her and her family very well, from years back. Exactly like what happened to a young, promising lady who had a “bright future ahead of her” … that is, until a group of unrepentant young men killed her in cold blood and, when caught, had this line to tell the world: “We really did not mean her any harm!”No remorse … no guilt … nothing … It just so happened she had the unfortunate lot of crossing their paths one early dawn, while they were cruising around town for the next victim.
Some really b…