January 24th Reflection: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today's Gospel, Jesus proclaims in clear terms his message: "The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” It is a clear call that requires a clear, not a half-hearted response to conversion.
True repentance is not just about being sorry for one's sins. Rather, it is "metanoia," a change or conversion of one's ways, lifestyle, priorities and values. It is the realization and grateful acceptance of God's unconditional forgiveness, and a decision to pay back the Lord for His goodness. Repentance is, in concrete, payback time!
Payback time happens when we finally realize that we are
living on borrowed time, and that we are just stewards, not owners, of our talents and possessions, and even of our very own lives. It is the acknowledgement that there is Someone greater than ourselves to whom we are accountable.
The pandemic, hopefully, has made us realize that love and reconciliation with God and with one another are things that truly matter. Life is fragile. Life is short. Anyone of us can go, anytime, and it happens fast. We must shift our focus from what is fleeting to what will truly matter in the end.
Lord remind me that payback time is not in the “last two" minutes of my lifetime. Amen
January 17th Reflection: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
You know, the gospel of today is an example of a divine initiative. God takes the first step. God does the first move. It is he who calls us first. God does not wait for us to search and search until we can find him. God himself goes out to meet us, to search/look for us. St Augustine said, "when we go to God we do not go to him who hides himself and keeps us at a distance. We go to him who stands waiting for us, and who even takes the initiative by coming to meet us on the road of life.”
Jesus began by asking the two men in today's gospel the most fundamental question in life, that is, "what are you looking for?". And Jesus invited them with his words, "Come and you will see".
We can also ask ourselves these questions: What are we looking for? What are our aims and goals in life? What are we really trying to get out of our lives? People are searching for security. People dream of a safe life and sound position. They think of money or a family to make their lives happy and their future secured. Others might be searching for stability. These could come from permanent or rewarding careers. People could be working hard for prominence, for prestige, or for popularity. Some could be searching for peace, or for prosperity. People might be looking for success, or for their own salvation. Yet we are reminded: Do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore. All the nations of the world seek for these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom and these other things will be given you besides.
Lord it is you that we should look for in life. Give us your grace that we may embrace you, now and forever. Amen.
January 10th Sunday Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Today is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Today marks the end of the Christmas season. Jesus' baptism in the River Jordan signaled the formal beginning of His mission; His public ministry.
The Gospel episode ended with the description that as Jesus came out of the waters of the Jordan, the heavens opened up and a voice was heard saying "This is my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased ".
Success is a matter of doing. Significance is a matter of being. And since we are not human doings but human beings, it makes sense that our heart yearns for something more than just success. It yearns for significance—the significance of meaningful relationships, mission, and yes, affirmation. Success does not always lead to significance, but significance always leads to a deep sense of success. Like the voice from the heavens that affirmed Jesus in His baptism, every human heart longs to hear the words "in you I am well pleased.”
Isn't it a wonder why, according to studies, almost eighty percent of substance abusers are successful people, and almost fifty-five percent of these successful people end up committing suicide? Without meaning to pass judgment, could it be that significance was missing on top of their successes?
Do you consider yourself successful right now? With what do you measure your life--success or significance?
Prayer: At the sunset of my life, may You be well pleased with me, O Lord. Amen.
Sunday December 13th Reflection
In today’s Gospel (Jn. 1, 6-8, 19-28), we hear of John the Baptist who told the truth and testified to the Light. He did not pretend to be somebody else: “I am not the Messiah.” He was honest about who he was, and he was clear about his role and mission in life.
Problems arise when a person becomes dishonest about himself/herself, and when he/she does not become true to his/her calling. Look at history, and see how many dishonest people have hurt so many and caused so much havoc in people’s lives because of their dishonesty, unfaithfulness and deceit. We don’t need to look far. We only need to look at current events and people around us. In fact, we need only to look at ourselves.
Yes, we need more John the Baptists in the world, a few good men and women who will stand up for the truth and who will show the light. We need people who have a sense of mission and sacrifice. Let us not give up on hope.
Today, the third Sunday of Advent, is also called Gaudete Sunday. Our waiting for the Lord should be joyful and full of hope. Yes, we must learn to joyfully trust in the Lord, and believe that there is something better up ahead. As we go on, we must believe in our hearts that the best is yet to come!