Thursday, January 12, 2017

FEAST OF SANTO NINO (HOLY CHILD JESUS), A

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WHY NOBODY SEEMED TO NOTICE





 “Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 18:4



We have just finished the Chrsitmas season. There we rejoiced at the presence of God in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The angel appeared to announce his coming. Zechariah experienced a theophany in his muteness. Elizabeth felt something in her womb dancing with joy at Mary’s coming.



The star shone in the east to herald his birth. Due to this the Magi came with costly gifts adoring the King of Kings.  Though born in the manger, the Savior was greeted by shepherds who were told by an angel host to come and venerate him.



But why was it that when Jesus started his public life, he was just an ordinary person? Known as a carpenter, a lowly preacher from the unimportant town of Nazareth. He was not a priest, nor lawyer, nor scribe in the temple. He was just a laborer, the orphaned son of a departed carpenter and a simple but noble aging mother.



If he were born amidst miracles and glorious events, why is it nobody seemed to notice, nobody seemed to remember? Both Matthew and Luke solved this puzzle by making it clear that the people who experienced the marvel of Jesus’ birth all went back to their normal lives, they all “departed” after the events they witnessed. The angels back to heaven, the shepherds back to the fold, the magi back to their foreign land. And well, Joseph seemed to have died early, as did the the old Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna. John the Baptist was too young to remember anything. In Luke, it was only Mary who would be consistently present from the beginning to the end of Jesus’ earthly life, up until the resurrection.



After Jesus’ birth, things returned to normal once again. For the way of the Lord is not the way of ostentation and show. His way is that of humility, simplicity and poverty. The only thing Jesus carried with him from his conception birth and infancy was his child-like attitude before the Father and towards his fellows.



Let us pray to become humble, not to cling to the glories of the past or aspire for the fleeting riches of the world. Let us rather set out hearts on greatness in the kingdom of our Father in heaven. Viva Santo Nino!


KAPISTAHAN NG SANTO NINO, A

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BAKIT WALANG NAKAPANSIN





 “Sinumang magpapakababa tulad ng batang ito, siya ang magiging pinakadakila sa langit.” Mt. 18:4



Katatapos lang ng Pasko. Nagsaya tayo sa pagdating ng Diyos sa pamamagitan ng kanyang Anak na si Hesus na ating Panginoon. Lumitaw ang anghel at nagpahayag. Naranasan ni Zacarias ang isang himala. Naramdaman ni Elizabet na nagsayaw sa tuwa ang sanggol sa kanyang tiyan.



Sumikat ang tala sa Silangan at dinala nito ang mga pantas upang mag-alay ng handog at sumamba sa Hari ng mga hari. Kahit sa sabsaban, ang Tagapagligtas ay dinalaw at sinamba ng mga pastol dahil sa utos ng hukbo ng mga anghel.



Pero baki tila walang nakaalala nito noong lumalaki na si Hesus, na tila ba simple at ordinaryong tao lamang? Kilala bilang karpintero, mangangaral mula sa simpleng Nasaret. Hindi siya pari, abogado, escriba sa templo. Yung lang siya, manggagawa na ulila ng isang karpintero at ng biyuda nito na simple subalit kagalang-galang na ginang.



Kung ipinanganak siya sa gitna ng mga himala, bakit walang nakaalala o nakapansin? Kay Mateo at Lukas, nalutas ang palaisipang ito dahil malinaw nilang itinuro na lahat ng nakaranas ng mga bagay na ito ay wala na, bumalik na sa kanilang pinanggalingan, o namayapa na. Bumalik ang mga anghel sa langit, ang mga pastol sa parang, ang mga pantas sa kanilang bayan. Tila maagang namayapa si Jose, at gayundin ang mga matatanda nang sina Zacarias, Elisabet, Simeon at Ana. Si Maria lamang ang tanging naiwan na makakakita ng mga pangyayari sa buhay ni Hesus hanggang krus at pagkabuhay.



Pagkasilang ni Hesus, sa madaling sabi, lahat ay bumalik sa normal, sa dating gawi. Kasi hindi istilo ng Diyos ang magpalabas o  magpa-bongga lamang. Ang landas ng Panginoon ay kababaang-loob, kapayakan at pagdaralita. Ang tanging binaon ni Hesus mula sa lahat ng ito ay ang kanyang ugali na pagiging tila bata lagi sa harap ng kanyang Ama at ng kanyang mga kababayan.



Hilingin nating maging mababang loob din, hindi kumakapit sa maluwalhating bagay o naghahangad ng napapawing yaman ng mundo. Tulad ng Panginoon natin, ipako natin ang puso sa kadakilaan ng Kaharian ng Ama sa langit. Mabuhay ang Santo Nino!




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

GROWING WITH JESUS: LESSONS FROM THE "FINDING IN THE TEMPLE"


Lk 2:52

My main interest in this reflection is Lk 2: 52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.” This verse talks about the growth of Jesus. It is good to know that like all of us, Jesus too, grew in every aspect of life. How he experienced this growth will lead us to appreciate the way of life Jesus took, the way he preferred to live his life, the way he knew best to please his Heavenly Father.

In the gospel of Luke, it was mentioned twice that Jesus “grew.” The above verse is already the second instance. The first one comes at the end of what is called the infancy narratives, the stories that treat of the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus by the Holy Spirit through the consent of Mary, his mother. The narrative stretches until the presentation of the baby Jesus in the temple, where his coming was greeted with joy by Simeon and Anna, both elderly prophet and prophetess. After Joseph and Mary accomplished all the precepts of the Law regarding the presentation, Luke 2: 40 says: “And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”
The Context of Lk 2: 52

Then follows a separate story, which is the context of Lk. 2: 52, our chosen verse today.  It is of a different genre than the infancy narratives which considers Jesus as a newborn child. Rather, this account belongs to the category of the “boyhood stories” which seek to somehow fill our thirst for the “hidden life” of Jesus in Nazareth with his parents.  In Luke, the gospel centers on the event that is known as the Lost and Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Lk. 2: 42-52).

The outline of the story can be seen like this:

Geographical introduction: Jesus goes with his parents to Jerusalem for the feast (41-42)

Setting: the parents discovered Jesus missing and searched for him (43-45)

Central Part: Joseph and Mary found the boy Jesus and was amazed at his action in the Temple; Jesus shows a strong predilection towards his Heavenly Father (46-50)

Geographical Conclusion: Jesus returns with his family to Nazareth (51)

Concluding Statement: declaration that Jesus progressed in wisdom, maturity and favor (52)

Features of the Lost and Finding Narrative

1. The gospel puts emphasis on the Piety of Jesus and his family. here was a family consistently obedient to the will of God. I heard a Pentecostal preacher who stated that in his study of the Christmas characters in the Bible, Mary and Joseph stand out as ideals for every Christian to emulate in the way they prepared for the Savior’s coming. Both filled their lives with “pockets of humility and obedience” to the will of the Lord.

Joseph and Mary both heeded the call of the census (Lk 2: 1, 4)

They named the child Jesus as the angel commanded them (Lk. 2: 21)

They offered the infant in the Jerusalem Temple to fulfill the Mosaic prescription on purification and presentation (Lk. 2: 22-24)

In the lost and finding story, the parents are again shown as obedienct to the Law by setting on pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover (2:41). Jesus is now alongside his parents, therefore he too, learned respect and obedience towards God.

2. Luke calls attention to the wisdom of the Child Jesus. Like in verse 40, verse 52 mentions wisdom as an area where Jesus progressed and continually matured.

The finding story relates how Jesus was seen in the company of teachers in the Temple. He was listening to them and asking them questions. He impressed the people by “his understanding and his answers” (v. 47).

This clearly tells us how in the future, the Lord Jesus will evoke similar reactions to his teaching ministry. People will be amazed; they will wonder at his teachings; his teachings will be full of authority and power.

The boy Jesus is here said to already possess the wisdom in sacred teaching which will be more pronounced in his career as a proclaimer and teacher of things divine. What reactions his temple audience show now will be the same reactions people will manifest later when he starts his public life and ministry.

3. Both Jesus’ piety and wisdom are subordinated to his obedience to his parents (51). If as a boy Jesus was already pious and devoted to his Father in his fulfillment of duties, and was already showing signs of his close attachment to his Father, a more fundamental attitude was surfacing here – obedience to his parents; in effect, obedience to the will of God.

We find in Heb 5:8 that Jesus, “although he was a Son, he learned obedience.” This last of the Christmas stories underlines that God’s Son took the role of an obedient child, the way of the servant.”

Conclusion: The way of Jesus

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.”

The passage we have chosen allows us to appreciate the way of life Jesus followed, the way of life he has chosen as his response to the Father’s love.

Jesus was reared by Joseph and Mary to be respectful of God and so he embraced the piety of the Jews. Jesus was not a rebel Jew but an observant Jew, in the sense that there was no conflict between him and what was best in the religion of Israel. 

Jesus was full of wisdom, which was actually a statement of the Christian community’s faith in him as the Son of God (thus a post-resurrection insight inserted by Luke in this part of his gospel).

Above all, Jesus was obedient, not only to God, but also to the God-given instruments who will prepare him for his mission, the humble couple, Mary and Joseph.

Jesus grew, increased, as a human being. This growth however was not by way of ostentation, of showing-off, of pride or presumption. He grew in the way of “downward mobility” (Henri Nouwen). This was none other than the way of humility, simplicity, obedience and ordinariness.

With all the glory of the infancy and boyhood narratives, one would think that Jesus will conquer the world with an amazing display of glory, power, and might. But he chose to return to Nazareth as an ordinary boy, with ordinary parents, in an ordinary home, and there grow “silently” into the man the Father wished him to be one day.

Henri Nouwen writes: “The society in which we live suggests in countless ways that the way to go is up. Making it to the top, entering the limelight, breaking the record – that’s what draws attention, gets us on the front page of the newspaper, and offers us the rewards of money and fame.”

“The way of Jesus is radically different. It is the way not of upward mobility but of downward mobility. It is going to the bottom, staying behind the sets, and choosing the last place! Why is the way of Jesus worth choosing? Because it is the way to the Kingdom, the way Jesus took, and the way that brings everlasting life.”

Questions:

Do I grow in the way shown by Jesus? Do I strive to live humbly, simply, obedient and ordinary? Or do I find myself chasing after attention, security, and the advantages that a comfortable life offers? Which way do my steps take me: the way of upward mobility? Or the way of downward mobility which is the way of Jesus?




Friday, January 6, 2017

EPIFANIA O PAGBUBUNYAG NG PANGINOON, A

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KAPAG KUMPLETO NA ANG PASKO



Bilang mga bata, lumaki kami malapit sa simbahan at palagi kaming nag-uusisa sa mga gamit sa simbahan. Pag Pasko, tuwang-tuwa kami sa Belen habang unti-unti itong nagiging kumpleto – una si Jose at Maria, at ilang mga hayop sa bukid. Pagkatapos, darating ang Nino Hesus na siyang sentro ng lahat. Pero sabi ng pinsan ko, magiging kumpleto talaga ang Belen kapag dumating na ang mga “tatlong hari” o ang mga pantas. Kaya pag nakita naming may dumagdag na mga hari sa belen, kumpleto na nga ang Pasko.



Kumpleto na nga kapag nariyan na ang mga pantas dahil sila ang nagsasabi sa atin kung ano ang magaganap pagkatapos ng pagsilang ng Tagapagligtas. Totoong ibinunyag ng Diyos ang buo niyang sarili sa kanyang piniling bayan. Sa kanila ipinadala ng Panginoon ang mga anghel at mga propeta, mga milagro at kababalaghan, higit sa lahat ang kanyang Salita, ang Kasulatan. Pero, sa kabila ng lahat, ang mga Hudyo ay nagsarado ng puso at hindi kinilala ang tunay na hari.



Samantala, ang mga pantas ay taga-malayong lugar at hindi bahagi ng bayang pinili. Sila ay mga Hentil, walang tahasang pagbubunyag mula sa Diyos tulad ng mga Hudyo. Sa mga tanda ng kalikasan nila sinisikap makita ang kalooban ng Diyos. Sa halip na Kasulatan, nakabatay sila sa kalikasan. Pero, sila ang dumating, naglakbay nang malayo, upang hanapin at sambahin ang haring isinilang at itinuro ng tala mula sa langit. Natagpuan nila ang Diyos sa sanggol na ito.



Ang Pasko ay totoong kuwento ng Mabuting Balita. Ang mangyayari kay Hesus sa kanyang pagtanda ay ipinatikim na sa kanya sa simula pa lamang. Bilang isang mangangaral, si Hesus ay sasalubungin ng dalawang tugon ng mga tao: pagtanggap o pagtanggi. Sa kuwento ng Pasko, ang mga tugon na ito ay nagaganap na.



Nakapagtataka lang na ang mga matagal nang naghihintay sa Mesiyas ang siyang hindi sumalubong sa kanya. Ang iyong mga walang inaasahang pagliligtas ang siya pang nakaranas ng maligayang pagtatagpo sa Panginoon, tulad ng mga pantas.



Ngayong patapos na ang Pasko, tandaan nating sa buong buhay natin, nasa gitna tayo ng dalawang pagpipilian, tanggapin o tanggihan ang Diyos na dumarating sa ating buhay. Ipagdasal nating mapasaatin ang pagiging bukas at tapat upang manatili tayong nagmamahal sa Panginoong Hesukristo.


EPIPHANY, A

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CHRISTMAS IS COMPLETE



As children we grew up near the church and most of the time we were in the church to help clean and arrange things. At Christmas time we were fascinated by the Nativity scene as slowly it becomes complete – first, there were just Joseph and Mary and some farm animals, then the centerpiece Baby Jesus comes. My cousin used to say though, that the Nativity scene would not be truly complete until the “three Kings” or Magi arrived. True enough, when we saw the Magi already in front of the King of Kings, we knew that Christmas was indeed complete.



The Magi complete the Christmas story because it is through them that we know what happens after the birth of the Savior of the world. God has indeed revealed himself fully to his chosen people. These were a people who met God through the angels and prophets, through miracles and wonders, and most importantly, through his Word, the Scriptures. And yet, not all the Jews would open their hearts to receive their king and to acknowledge him when he came.



In contrast, the Magi were a people from a faraway land, and certainly not part of the chosen people. They were Gentiles, without benefit of direct revelation from God. That they saw a “star” tells us that they read the signs of nature to find the will of God. Instead of Scripture, they relied on signs. And yet, they came, braving all difficulties, to find the King proclaimed by their heavenly sign. They not only came but adored God in the baby in the manger.



Christmas is truly a gospel story in itself. What would happen to Jesus later in life already happened to him at his humble beginnings. In his adult life, as a preacher, Jesus would be met with two possible reactions: acceptance and rejection. In the Christmas story, the reactions were already happening.



The paradox is that those who were waiting for the Messiah missed the opportunity because they failed to receive the Lord. And those who had no inkling of salvation finally possessed the joy of encountering the Lord, as the Magi did.



Now that we are ending Christmas again, let us remember that all throughout our lives, we are in between two choices, to receive or to reject the God who comes to us. Let us pray for openness and fidelity that we may be found faithful to the Lord.


Monday, January 2, 2017

KILALANIN SI HESUS part 5

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SA TULONG NG MGA “SALAYSAY NG PAGKABATA”

(INFANCY NARRATIVES)



8.2.1. ANO NAMAN ANG MENSAHE NG MGA “SALAYSAY NG PAGKABATA” (INFANCY NARRATIVES) TUNGKOL SA GAMPANIN O ROLE NI HESUS BILANG KAGANAPAN NG BUONG KASAYSAYAN NG ISRAEL?



NANG ISULAT ANG MABUTING BALITA NI MATEO AT LUKAS, WALA PANG BAGONG TIPAN NG BIBLIYA. ANG ALAM NG MGA TAO NA BIBLIYA AY ANG LUMANG TIPAN LAMANG (BATAS, MGA PROPETA AT IBA PANG AKLAT).



ANG PAGLALAGAY NI MATEO AT LUKAS NG MGA “SALAYSAY NG PAGKABATA” SA KANILANG UNANG MGA KABANATA AY PARA BAGANG TULAY MULA SA BANAL NA KASULATAN NG MGA HUDYO PATUNGO SA KUWENTO NG BUHAY AT PAGLILINGKOD NI HESUS.  GUMAWA ANG MGA EBANGHELISTA NG LAGOM O SUMMARY NG LUMANG TIPAN SA TULONG NG MGA SIMBOLO O KUWENTO UPANG IHANDA ANG MGA TAO NA LALONG BIGYANG HALAGA ANG PAGDATING NI HESUS.



KAY MATEO, BINAYBAY NIYA ANG PINAGMULAN NI HESUS MULA KAY ABRAHAM NA AMA NI ISAAC. KASUNOD NITO ANG TALAAN NG MGA PATRIARKA O AMA NG ISRAEL PATUNGO KAY HARING DAVID.



MAY PAGPAPAALALA NG KUWENTO NG PAGKAKALIGTAS NG ISRAEL MULA SA EHIPTO.



SI SAN JOSE AY ISANG PAALALA NI JOSE SA LUMANG TIPAN NA NANAGINIP NG MENSAHE NG DIYOS.



SI HERODES AY TULAD NG PARAON NG EHIPTO NA PUMATAY NAMAN SA MGA BATANG LALAKING HUDYO.



SA KUWENTO NI MOSES, ANG PANTAS NA SI BALAAM AY MULA SA SILANGAN AT NAKAKITA NG TALA NI HARING DAVID. SA KUWENTO NI HESUS, ANG MGA PANTAS AY MULA SA SILANGAN AT NAKITA NAMAN ANG TALA NG HARI NG MGA HUDYO.



MAY MGA QUOTATIONS O HALAW NA SALITA MULA SA LUMANG TIPAN ANG GINAMIT NI MATEO UPANG IHANDA ANG MGA MAMBABASA SA KATUPARAN NG BATAS AT MGA PROPETA SA PAGDATING NI HESUS.



KAY LUKAS NAMAN, SI ZACARIAS AT ELISABET AY PAALALA NI N ABRAHAM AT SARAH SA LUMANG TIPAN SA GENESIS.



SI ARKANGHEL GABRIEL, ANG ANGHEL NG MGA HULING ARAW SA AKLAT NI DANIEL ANG NAGPAHAYAG NAMAN NG MABUTING BALITA SA BAGONG PANAHON NI HESUS.



ANG PAGPAPAHAYAG NG PAGLILIHI KAY JUAN BAUTISTA AT KAY HESUS AT TULAD NG NAGANAP SA LUMANG TIPAN.



ANG APAT NA AWIT KAY LUKAS (AWIT NI MARIA, NI ZACARIAS, NG MGA ANGHEL, AT NI SIMEON) AY PUNO NG SIMBOLO MULA SA LUMANG TIPAN MULA SA PROPETA AT MGA SALMO.



ANG PAG-AALAY KAY HESUS SA TEMPLO AY TULAD NG PAG-AALAY NI ANA KAY SAMUEL (1 SAM 1: 24-28).



MULA SA PAGTUTULI KAY HESUS HANGGANG SA PAGLAKI NIYA, ANG LAHAT AY PAGTUPAD SA BATAS NG DIYOS.



PARA KAY LUKAS, ANG MGA “SALAYSAY NG PAGKABATA” AY TULAY SA PAGITAN NG LUMANG TIPAN ( SINASAGISAG NINA: ZACARIAS, ELISABET, SIMEON AT ANA) AT NG BAGONG TIPAN (JUAN BAUTISTA, MARIA, HESUS).


Friday, December 30, 2016

BAGONG TAON 2017

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SIMULAN ANG TAON KASAMA SI MARIA



Bakit sinisimulan natin ang taon kasama ang Mahal na Birheng Maria? Bakit hindi ipagdiwang ang kapistahan  ng Diyos Ama na bukal ng lahat? O ng Panginoong Hesus, ang Diyos Anak na isinilang sa belen? O ng Espiritu Santo na kaloob ng Ama at Anak? Bakit tuwing Bagong Taon, kapistahan ni Maria?



Bawat bagong taon ay bagong pagkakataon, bagong tsyansa, bagong simula ng buhay. Pagkakataon ito upang lumago, magsimula, magbago, at magpakabuti. Nagsisimula tayong may pag-asa na dahil sa Diyos, yayakapin natin ang bago, ang sariwa, ang maunlad at mabuti para sa atin at sa ating mga minamahal, para sa ating kapwa at para sa ating lipunan at daigdig.



Pero hindi po ba, lahat ng bagong taon may dalang hindi inaasahan? Maraming bagay ang dumarating na hind mo maunawaan. Nagaganap ang mga bagay taliwas sa ating pangarap. Maraming sorpresa ang buhay na halos ating ikabuwal o ikahulog sa ating kinauupuan.



Bawat taon, tayo o ibang kakilala natin ay nagkakasakit at nagsisimulang mag maintenance medicine. Bawat taon may nakakaramdam ng pagtanda at dapat nang magsalamin sa mata. Bawat taon, maraming nagpapaalam sa lugar ng tirahan, sa lugar ng trabaho, sa lugar na nagdadala ng sigalot sa buhay. Pinakamahirap, bawat taon ay may dalang pamamaalaman sa mga taong naging bahagi ng ating buhay pero nawala sa atin at hindi na muling magbabalik, dahil nag-sanga na ang landas o kaya’y namapaya na. Bawat taon, kailangang mag-move on.



Kaya nga, bawat bagong taon ay may dalang misteryong hindi natin malutas-lutas mag-isa. Dito natin kailangan si Maria. Sa Mabuting Balita ni Lukas (2: 6-21), iisa ang binabasa tuwing araw na ito. Ang sentro ay: “At itinago ni Maria ang mga bagay na ito sa kanyang puso at pinagbulay-bulay.”  Ano ba ang pinag-isipang mabuti ni Maria? Yung mga bagay na iniisip din natin at pinipilit maunawaan ngayon. Bakit iba ang plano ng Diyos sa plano ko? Ano ang kahulugan ng mga pagbabago sa buhay ko? Ano nga ba ang gusto ng Diyos na gawin ko ngayon? Bakit nagdadala ang Diyos ng mga regalo pero may kasama namang pagsubok? Bakit dumarating ang anghel sa buhay natin pero biglang aalis na hindi nasasagot ang lahat ng tanong natin?



Hindi ko alam kung nasagot ni Maria ang mga tanong niya. Siguro yung iba lang, tulad din nang sa atin. Pero ganunpaman, hindi siya tumigil na magmahal sa Ama, sumunod sa Anak at makinig sa Espiritu Santo. Sa mabuting balita ni Lukas, naroon si Maria mula sa paglilihi, hanggang pagsilang, hanggang kabataan, hanggang pangangaral, hanggang kamatayan at muling pagkabuhay ni Hesus at pati na hanggang ang pagkabuo ng simbahan. Sinikap niyang maging matatag at matapat sa kanyang pananampalataya.



Ganito rin tayo ngayon. Ang daming tanong habang nagdarasal at nagsisismba. – “Lord, bakit ako pa ang dinapuan ng sakit? Bakit ang daming problema sa trabaho? Bakit hindi maayos-ayos ang pamilya ko? Bakit isa-isang nawawala ang mga minamahal ko?”



Hindi tayo nagsisimula ng baong taon sa simbahan dahil hawak natin lahat ng sagot sa ating mga tanong. Nandito tayo upang humingi ng liwanag (kahit konting liwanag) sa bawat sandaling darating, sa bawat araw na darating, sa bagong taong dumarating ngayon. Tulad ni Maria, sana, hindi rin tayo susuko o panghininaan ng loob dahil ang Diyos ay matapat, mahabagin, matulungin at makapangyarihn. At sa kanya lamang tayo kakapit sa panahong tahimik, o sa panahong maligalig. Siya ang kahulugan ng buhay natin sa taong ito at sa habang panahon.



Aba Ginoong Maria!