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Saturday, May 30, 2015

ALL GOD HAS COMMANDED!

[BREAKING THE BREAD OF GOD'S WORD]
Trinity Sunday
May 31, 2015

ALL GOD HAS COMMANDED
  
Oneness…fullness…completeness…totality…wholeness…The Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity today seems to remind us of all the foregoing concepts – and more! 

The readings today were all from books written well before the term “Trinity” was introduced in theological discourse. But Scripture that has come down to us through the centuries reflects the “lived theology” of the community of believers. Obviously, the reality of the Trinity preceded the terminology. The faith in the Trinity antedated the invention of a term (or a symbol) to stand for the truth held in faith in people’s minds and hearts, long before the word was uttered in their mouths.

All God has taught… all God has uttered… and all God has commanded! This represents the body of truths celebrated by the early Church in the liturgy. An ancient dictum says it all: Lex orandi, lex credendi. As the Church prays, so does the Church believe. What the Church holds in faith is what the Liturgy celebrates and proclaims.

Very early on, faith in the Triune God has been part of the whole structure, content and practice of prayer and worship of the incipient Church. Thus could St. Paul confidently teach: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…heirs with Christ.” (Rm 8:14-17)

The word “Trinity” is not found anywhere in Scripture. But the truth about this essential nature of the God who revealed Himself ever so gradually through history and, most especially in Christ, His Son is an incontrovertible fact that is clear in the same Scripture. The “lived theology” of Paul, the evangelists and the early Christians is a clear manifestation of the fullness, completeness and wholeness of their faith in the “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and the one God and Father of all.” (Eph 4:5) “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you.” (2Cor 13:13) No less than Jesus himself, after convoking his disciples for the last time, reveals yet another facet in the nature of God again on a mountain, like he did during the Transfiguration, like he did when he started proclaiming the Kingdom. It was on the mountain that he gave them final instructions: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mt 28:18)

Today, the Liturgical celebration forms part of a series of Solemnities called solemnities of the Lord in which we are invited to reflect on some aspects of our “one faith” in the “one God and Father of all.” That faith, we would do well to remind ourselves today, is one, whole, and entire, with nothing added, and nothing subtracted from what has been revealed to us in Christ. Today, we claim and proclaim, by way of a fitting celebration of worship, our faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as part of all God has taught and commanded… nothing more, nothing less, nothing else! Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; to God who is, who was, and who is to come.” (cf Rev. 1:8)


Saturday, May 9, 2015

TRIPLE A FOR LOVE!

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[BREAKING THE BREAD OF GOD’S WORD – 
6th Sunday of Easter B]

May 10, 2015



TRIPLE A FOR LOVE!



David Guetta echoes an old line from an old idea … “I can’t believe what I did for love!”


Everyone who gets to read this would agree. You all do great things out of love. You go out of your way everyday in the name of love. You endure so many pains because of love … exactly like Guetta says: “Stitch myself up and I’d do it again … I can’t believe what I did for love.”


Mothers do it every time. They stitch more than torn clothes. They hold the family together … again, out of love.


Today, only the one deeply steeped in denial would say otherwise … It is Love Sunday today! And more than that, love is an idea so old and so fresh … and so effective!


I am old enough to know just how important mother’s love is. I saw it first hand in my own life experience, both directly and vicariously. I see it everyday in my life of ministry for well over 30 years now. Matriarchs holding the fort for the family in many and varied ways … mothers’ silently suffering just so they could keep family united and whole.



The power of that love is undeniable. And to illustrate this, let me go to my favorite pastime … list down three words that all begin with letter A. This is the power of transformative love, not only of mothers, but the great love of God. That love is shown in Triple A: assurance, acceptance, and action!



More than anything else, what mothers do to us is give assurance to their children … that they are loved unconditionally. Your own mother loved you thus from day one, from the moment you moved in her womb. That assurance is what the readings today also give us: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.”



But mothers went beyond the merely giving us reassurance. Like God, mothers gave us acceptance: “not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.”



But the big clincher for today being LOVE SUNDAY is ACTION. This trumps the first two and goes way, way up higher … And this, my friends, is what Guetta croons about … What one can do for love! What God can, and did, do for love of us … “No one has greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”



So let us do a three-step process and do something in the name of the great love of God – before and in relation to which, all else, including mother’s love, ultimately pales in comparison.



And let us do as film makers are wont to do … Lights! Camera! Action!



The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so they say. So here’s a timely suggestion from John: “Let us love one another because love is of God.”



Let us go beyond assurance and acceptance. Action!



You better believe it! … You can do great things in the name of love!

Our UPK 5th Episode ... [DWBL 1242] Usap Pang Kabataan - May 8, 2015

Saturday, May 2, 2015

ATTACHMENT ... ATTUNEMENT ... AT-ONE-MENT


[BREAKING THE BREAD OF GOD’S WORD]
5th Sunday of Easter B
May 3, 2015

ATTACHMENT … ATTUNEMENT … AT-ONE-MENT

Attachment is a good word to begin our reflection for today. John, the “beloved” disciple uses two endearing terms in his letter, and the first word he used is “children.” He is not just connected in some vague, hazy fashion. He is attached to those he cared for, like the now proverbial fox who told the little prince: “You are responsible for whom you tame!”

But he uses a more important word … “beloved,” beloved of God, that is.

Right now, I have four dogs, three of which I have adopted: one was given and two were kind of “inherited.” Now even dogs instinctively seem to develop some kind of “connection” with those who take care of them.  They become sort of “attached” to their master, and one of them, instinctively again, seems to be attuned to my ways, my habits, my schedule. He even knows better to rouse me a few minutes before my alarm rings at 4:40 each morning.

One can assume that dogs do know by instinct how to return favors given!

But dogs are not humans. They behave instinctively, according to the imprints of nature. Humans, instead, can choose and decide freely. They can change dramatically and make 180 degree turn-arounds, like Paul (known as Saul) did! “He moved about freely with them in Jerusalem, and spoke boldly in the name of the Lord.” Take note, that prior to this, he was “breathing murderous threats” against the same believers he now joined.

Saul, become Paul, behaved exactly like John did, once he saw the light. He, too, became attached to his disciples, and wrote endearing letters to the churches he founded and started.

But attachment is not just mere sentimentalism and shallow connection. No … it bloomed into attunement and at-one-ment. It became “love not just in word but in deed and truth.” It became obedience to the primacy of love as the fulfilling of the law …  It was not just a matter of being loved by God, and loving God in return. It was a case of “loving one another just as he commanded us.”

Dogs have come and gone in my life. People close to me at some point also eventually drift away for many reasons, time and distance, included. People walk in and out of my life and I just have to accept that reality, whether I like it or not. Time and distance, and other factors tend to wear away both attachment and attunement.

But today, there is Someone whose love does not fade, does not wear off, does not wane. And He has proven it beyond expectation, beyond anyone’s dream. He suffered. Died. Buried. And he rose from the dead. All for love. All on account of that love so great for me and for you and for everyone … yes, including those who like Saul then, continue to “breathe murderous threats” even against the loving God Himself.

I should like to listen to him now, for I should know by now that his love is everlasting. “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

I should like to be attached. I would like to keep attuned. And today, I decide to be at-one with Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.