Thursday, March 23, 2017

IKA-APAT NA LINGGO NG KUWARESMA A

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PAGLALAKBAY



Noong nakaraang Linggo nagsimula tayong magnilay sa mabuting balita ayon kay Juan sa tagpo ni Hesus kasama ang babaeng Samaritana. Ngayon naman, ang tagpo ay si Hesus kasama ang lalaking isinilang na bulag. Sa kanyang habag, iniligtas siya ni Hesus sa kadiliman. Nagbunyi ang lalaki sa liwanag, kulay, at kilos na natuklasan niya sa mundo.



Pero hindi naman pala niya kilala si Hesus na nagpagaling sa kanya. Kailangan pa niyang unti-unting lumago sa pagkilala bago tuluyang maisuko ang buhay  niya at makasunod sa Panginoong Hesukristo.



Una, alam lamang niya na ang “taong Hesus” ang pangalan ang nagpagaling sa kanya. Pagkatapos, naisip niya na baka isa itong “propeta.” Saka napagtanto niya na “mula sa Diyos” ang sinumang may ganitong habag at kapangyarihan. Sa huli, sa harap ni Hesus, natanggap niyang siya na nga ang “Anak ng Tao, ang Anak ng Diyos.”



Ilan ang tulad sa atin sa bulag na ito na handang maglakbay patungo sa mas malalim na pagkilala sa Panginoon? Oo, kailangan niyang magbago ilang beses tungkol sa pagkakakilala niya kay Hesus. Kailangan niyang isaayos ilang beses ang kanyang relasyon sa kanya base sa kanyang natuklasan. Pero nang huli, sulit lahat dahil natumbok niya ang tunay na pagkilala sa Panginoon. Hindi natin puwede mahalin ang hindi natin nakikilala. Ang taong ito, sa wakas, may tunay na kaalaman at natanggap niya sa puso ang kanyang Panginoon at Diyos.



Maraming Katoliko ang ayaw nang maghanap, tumuklas sa Panginoon kasi sapat na raw ang alam nila. O wala naman daw matutuklasan pang bago. Kaya nga kay daming ang pananampalataya ay nasa ulo lamang. Ang pananalig nila ay katumbas ng sa isang batang nag-aaral pa lamang ng katesismo. Samantala, marami ang nagsisimulang maglakbay upang hanapin si Hesus, maging kaibigan siya, maging sentro siya ng puso nila. At maraming Katoliko ang naglakbay sa labas ng simbahang kanilang kinamulatan.



Nais mo bang lumago sa pananampalataya? Magdagdag ng galak, buhay, sigla sa iyong ugnayan sa Panginoon? Ngayong Kuwaresma, maglakbay patungo kay Hesus, maglakad palapit sa kanya sa tulong ng panalangin, sakramento, sakripisyo, pag-aaral, pakikinig, pagbabasa ng Salita ng Diyos at mga debosyon. Maglakbay papalapit sa Liwanag ng ating buhay!




4th SUNDAY OF LENT A

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PILGRIMAGE



Last Sunday we started reflecting on the gospel according to John by looking into the Lenten message of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. Today, we read about Jesus’ encounter with the man born blind. In his mercy Jesus saved this man from darkness. The man rejoiced in his discovery of light, of color, of movements around him.



But the man did not know who it was who healed him. He did not know the identity of his benefactor. The man had to slowly grow in his knowledge of Jesus before he could surrender his life to him and decide to follow him.



First the man knew that “a man named Jesus” was his healer. Later, he concluded that he must be “prophet.”  Then he realized “he came from God” because only God could have mercy on a blind man like him. Finally, in the presence of Jesus, he welcomed into his heart the “Son of Man, the Son of God.”



How many of us are like the blind man, who was willing to take a journey in order to more deeply know the Lord? Yes, he had to change several times, his definition of Jesus’ identity. He had to adjust his relationship with him as he began to appreciate the richness of the person of Jesus.  But it was worth it because in the end, he came to the right knowledge of the Lord. You cannot love what you do not know. The man, at last, had the right knowledge and he began to love Jesus as his Lord and God.



Many Catholics refuse to seek the Lord more, to discover him more, because they think they already know enough. Or maybe because they think there is nothing more to discover. That is why many of us know our faith from our head only. Many of us have faith equivalent to that of a child in catechism class. Meanwhile many people are embarking on a pilgrimage of faith – looking for Jesus, befriending him, claiming him as center of their lives. Some Catholics find Jesus elsewhere, away from the church of their birth.



Are you willing to grow in your faith? Do you want to add more zest, more joy, more life to your relationship with God? This Lent, walk towards Jesus, walk with him, walk closely with him through prayer, sacraments, sacrifice, retreats and recollections, through Bible reading and devotions. Walk closer to the Light of our lives!










Sunday, March 19, 2017

POWERFUL NOVENA TO ST. JOSEPH



(March 19 is the Solemn Feast of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary;
novena is from March 10-18.)





O St.Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interest and desires. O St.Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ our Lord.  So that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. 

OSt.Joseph, I never weary contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while he reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss his fine head for me and ask him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.  St Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.

(Not only is St. Joseph the second human person, after Mother Mary, closest to the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is also our great friend in the spiritual life, a powerful intercessor and good provider for his devotees, as he was for the Holy Family in Nazareth. He is my favorite saint whose help for me never fails. I recommend him to every Catholic who needs a heavenly guide. Try Joseph’s fatherly care.  Go to Joseph. Ite ad Joseph!)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

IKATLONG LINGGO NG KUWARESMA A

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ATUBILI PERO GUSTO NAMAN…



Kahit ang mabuting balita ni Mateo ang sinusunod natin sa taong ito, pinagninilayan natin ang ilang tagpo sa mabuting balita ni Juan. Halimbawa ang Juan 4, kung saan nakatagpo ng Panginoong Hesus ang babaeng Samaritana.



Kinakatawan ng babaeng Samaritana ang mga taong nais tanggapin ang Diyos pero may natitira pang pag-aatubili bago mabuksan ang puso. Gusto nilang mahalin ang Diyos pero nais muna nilang mawala ang lambong na nakatakip sa kanilang mga mata. Hindi handa kasi may agam-agam. May agam-agam kasi nasaktan. Nasaktan at kailangan ang paghihilom.



Ang unang pagtutol ng babae ay ang hindi pagkaka-pantay ng Hudyo at Samaritano. Totoo naman kasing mababa ang tingin ng mga Hudyo sa mga Samaritano na tinatawag nilang hindi purong lahi. Hindi pinansin ni Hesus ang reklamo at sa halip inialay ang “tubig ng buhay” na dala niya. Natuwa ang babae dahil pagod na siya kaiigib ng tubig.



Ang ikalawang pagtutol ng babae ay ang kanyang nakaraan. Alam ni Hesus na lima na ang asawa niya at may iba na naman ngayon. Tatanggapin pa kaya siya ng Diyos sa kabila ng lahat? Pero hindi sinabi ng Panginoon, “Magbago ka muna at saka ka na bumalik.” Handa si Hesus tulungan ang lahat ng nagkamali kapag nasa wastong panahon na. Ang mahalaga ay tanggapin muna ang alok na pag-ibig.



Ang ikatlong pagtutol ng babae ay ang lugar ng pagsamba. Para sa mga Hudyo, sa Templo, para sa mga Samaritano, sa Bundok ng Gerizim. Matiyagang nagpaliwanag ang Panginoon na sa bandang huli ang tunay na pagsamba ay magaganap sa puso at espiritu ng tao.



Muling tumutol ang babae at ginamit naman ang pagdating ng Mesiyas. Siguro pagdating niya saka na lamang siya maniniwala. Kaya tiniyak ni Hesus sa kanya: Ako na Siya! Ang daming depensa at pagtutol! Pero nang gumuho ang lahat ng depensa ng babae, buong galak na ipinahayag si Hesus sa lahat niyang mga kapitbahay.



Ano naman sa inyo? Anong pader ang nasa pagitan mo at ng Diyos? Ano ang balakid sa pagtanggap mo sa kanya? Dahil ba hindi ka karapat-dapat mahalin? Dahil ba magulo ang iyong nakaraan? Dahil baka hindi ka mapatawad? Dahil naging napakasama mo na? Baka hindi ka maunawaan ni Hesus?



Sa linggong ito, hinahabol tayo ng matiyagang pag-ibig ng Diyos. Hindi niya pakay ang nakaraan mo. O ang mga kasalanan. Kahit pa ang marami mong kahinaan. Ang nais niyang sabihin lamang ay “mahal na mahal ka niya!” Simpleng mensahe pero totoo! Tanggapin natin siya. Lapitan natin siya sa kumpisal, panalangin at sakripisyo. Naghihintay ang kanyang pag-ibig!

3RD SUNDAY OF LENT A

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HESITANT BUT WILLING…



Although this year we concentrate on the gospel according to Matthew, in Lent we reflect on some important passages from the gospel according to John. Today we take a look at John 4, the moment when Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman.



The Samaritan woman really represents people who want to welcome God in their lives but who have deep reservations that keep them from opening wide their hearts. They want to love God but they want to clear up the shadows that block their clear view of God before them. Unready because hesitant. Hesitant because hurt. Hurt because they need healing.



The woman’s first objection is the inequality between Jew and Samaritan: Why do you a Jew speak to me, a Samaritan and a woman? Jews did really look down on Samaritans as somewhat a mixed and impure race. Jesus patiently explained that he only needed water, and in fact, he can give her “living water.” This excites the woman because she was tired fetching water everyday.



The woman’s second objection was her past. Jesus knew she had five husbands and the one she lives in now is not her real one too. Will Jesus turn her away after knowing her imperfect life? But Jesus did not tell her to change before she can receive his living water. Jesus will help her to change when the time is right for her.



The woman’s third objection is the dispute on where to worship; Jews say in the Temple and Samaritans say on Mt. Gerizim. Jesus was again patient, not entering into debate but explaining that in the end, the real worship is done in spirit.



The woman’s fourth line of defense was to use the Messiah. She knows he will come to reveal everything. And Jesus assures her with love, “I am He.” So many defenses and objections! But with all her objections and resistances demolished, the woman returns home and proclaims Jesus to her neighbors.



What about you? Are you aware of the walls of defense you put between you and God? What keeps you from surrendering everything to him? Do you think you are unloveable? Do you think he cannot forgive your past? Do you think you have broken every law? Do you think that Jesus will not understand?



This Sunday, Jesus shows us the persistence of his love. Our past is not important to him. Our sins are not his concern. Our weaknesses cannot make him turn his back on any one of us. He just loves us! Simple but true! Let us welcome the Lord again. Let us face him with love in confession, in prayer, in sacrifice this Lenten season. His love is waiting to be invited.






Thursday, March 9, 2017

IKALAWANG LINGGO NG KUWARESMA A

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ANG MAHALAGANG SALITA


Nangyari na naman! Sa bundok ng Pagbabagong-anyo, narinig muli ng Panginoong Hesus and pinakamatamis na mga salitang patungkol sa kanya. Anak! Minamahal kong Anak! Tiyak naalala niya ang kanyang binyag sa Jordan kung saan sa unang pagkakataon, hayagan siyang tinawag ng Ama bilang kanyang Anak. Napakagandang karanasan na ipagmalaki ng magulang di ba?



Ang pagsang-ayon ni Hesus na ialay ang buhay para sa kaharian ay dahil alam niyang mayroon siyang lugar sa kahariang iyon. Laging kasama niya ang Ama. At laging katabi siya ng Ama. Wala nang mas malugod pang karanasan kundi mahalin ang tunay na nagmamahal sa iyo. Para kay Hesus, ito ang sentro ng lahat ng kanyang mga ugnayan, ang bukal na pinagkukunan niya ng lakas para yakapin ang kapwa bilang mga kapatid niya.



Bakit nakikinig tayo sa mabuting balita ito (Mt 17) ngayon? Kasi sa Kuwaresma, dinadala tayong muli sa kakaibang karanasan nang tawagin tayo ng Diyos, ang Ama ni Hesus at Ama din natin, bilang anak… minamahal na anak! Ang Kuwaresma ay pagsariwa sa binyag, upang huwag nating makalimutan. Bininyagan tayo hindi para makapasok lang sa simbahan, magkaroon ng pangalang Kristiyano, maging bahagi ng mga mananampalataya. Higit sa lahat, sa binyag tayo unang tinawag ng Diyos sa ating pangalan, bilang bahagi ng kanyang puso, ng kanyang buhay. Di ba, kaaya-aya ito?



Kamakailan lang isang Australian filmmaker and bumalik sa Pilipinas para hanapin ang kanyang tunay na mga magulang. Malaki na siya at malayu-layo na rin ang narating pero hindi kumpleto ang kanyang buhay kung hindi niya matatagpuan ang unang mga tao na tumawag sa kanya na “anak.” Nawala siya noon at nadala sa ampunan bago naiuwi sa Australia ng pamilyang kumupkop sa kanya.



Dahil naalala ni Hesus ang pag-ibig ng Ama, nakaya niyang harapin ang buhay na puno ng pananabik at lakas. Dahil narinig niya ang tawag sa kanya ng Ama, buong tapang niyang matatanggap lahat ng darating pa! Ang katatagan at tapang ni Hesus ang nais niyang ibahagi sa kanyang mga alagad nang sabihin niya: Huwag kayong matakot!



Ang isang Kristiyano, ang anak ng Diyos ay hindi alipin kundi manlulupig ng takot. Singtaas man ng bundok ang mga pagsubok, singtigas man ng bato ang kasalanan, kahit tila mukhang imposible ang mga pangyayari, hinihikayat tayo ng Panginoon na patuloy yakapin ang krus at luwalhat ng buhay. Binyagan tayo, Kristiyano tayo, at tulad ni Hesus, ang unang gabay at kaalinsabay natin ay ang Ama. Purihin Siya!


2ND SUNDAY OF LENT A

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THE IMPORTANT WORD



There it is again! At the Transfiguration, the Lord Jesus heard another time the sweetest words ever addressed to him. "Son! This is my beloved Son." Surely this event took him back to his baptism when at the Jordan he heard those words for the first time in public.  What a wonderful experience to hear your Father proudly call you son, beloved Son.



The willingness of Jesus to offer all his life for the sake of the kingdom was due to the fact that he knew he had a place in that kingdom. His Father was always with him. And he was always at his side. Nothing more could be more ecstatic than to know that you are truly loved by the one you truly love. For Jesus this was the core of all his relationships, the source from which flowed all his fervor to embrace others as his brothers and sisters.



Why do we listen to the gospel of the Transfiguration (Mt 17) today? Well because at Lent we too are drawn back to the unique experience we had when God, the Father of Jesus and our own Father, called us his son… his daughter… his beloved. Lent is a return to baptism, in case we forget how great its importance is. We were baptized not primarily to be card-carryiing member of the church, to be given the name Christian, to enter the family of believers. Above all that, baptism is the moment God called us by name, as his very own children. Isn’t that wonderful?



A young filmmaker from Australia recently returned to the country to look for his birth parents. Mature and accomplished, his life seems incomplete until he could find the first people in the world who called him “son” before he got lost and was sent to an orphanage and from there for adoption by an Australian couple.



Because Jesus was reminded of the Father’s love, he faced his life with excitement and energy. Because he heard his Father addressing him with affection and devotion, he courageously faced everything that was to come to him. This boldness and adventurousness towards life was what he wanted to share to his disciples as he said to them: Do not be afraid!



A Christian, a child of God is not a slave to fear, but a master of it. Whether you are faced with trials as big as mountains, sins as stubborn as rocks, personal circumstances that seem irreversible, the Lord is asking us to regain strength and continue embracing both the cross and the glories of life.  We are baptized, we are Christians and just like Jesus, our first companion and guide is our Father.

Praise to his name!