Wednesday, June 30, 2010

With Faith in God Nothing is Impossible!

"With faith in God nothing is impossible," says Pope Benedict XVI.  In his homily on the vespers on the eve of the feasts of Sts. Peter and Paul, he reiterated the need to trust and believe in God.  That things can be done not on our strength but it can be accomplished by our faith in God.  He also spoke of the need for the New Evangelization, to reach out to countries who has deep Christian root but now because of the influence of militant secularism has abandoned faith in God. Let me share with you this quote from the Holy Father's homily:


Taking up this legacy, I have been able to affirm, at the beginning of my Petrine ministry, that the Church is young, and open to the future. And I repeat it today, near the sepulcher of St. Paul: The Church is an immense force of renewal in the world, not because of her strength, but because of the force of the Gospel, in which the Holy Spirit of God breathes, the God Creator and Redeemer of the world. [emphasis supplied] The challenges of the present age are certainly beyond human capacities; they are the historical and social challenges, and with greater reason, the spiritual challenges. At times it seems to us pastors of the Church that we are reliving the experience of the Apostles, when thousands of needy persons followed Jesus, and he asked: What can we do for all these people? They then experienced their impotence. But Jesus had in fact demonstrated to them that with faith in God nothing is impossible, and that a few loaves and a few fish, blessed and shared, could satiate all. But it was not -- and is not -- only hunger for material food: There is a more profound hunger, which only God can satiate. (Source: zenit.org June 28,2010)

Today the profound challenge for the  pastors of the Church is how to respond to the need of the faithful who now in moder times are confronted with varied challenges.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul

June 29 is the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul,  here the church celebrates and recall the martyrdom of these two pillars of the Church.  What is the significance of St. Peter to the Church?  He was the chosen leader of the church, the head and symbol of unity.  St. Peter was not perfect he was a man fraught with weaknesses.  His first encounter with Jesus wan on the fishing boat.  In that story it was told that all night they went fishing and they catch nothing.  But in the early of morning our Lord stepped up and told them to lower the net.  And lo they gathered a hundredfold.  Simon Peter exclaimed "Stay away from me Lord for I am a sinful man."  Jesus said "from now on you shall no longer be fishers but fishers of men."  In one instance when there was a storm, they asked Jesus to save them and they saw Jesus walking on the water.  Simon Peter requested to be invited to walk on the water.  And once half way, he began to sink.  Jesus rebuked Peter for his lack of faith.  Simon-Peter was also an impulsive man, prone to imprudent decisions.  He steike the ears of Malchus when the High Priests servants tried to arrest Jesus.  Simon Peter also displayed cowardice when he denied our Lord three times.  But Jesus told him, "Satan has desired to sift you (Peter) like wheat, but I have prayed for you.  Once you are converted strengthened your brothers."  After the Ascension of Our Lord and after Pentecost Peter became the confirmed leader of the Apostles and of the Church.  The wisdom of God was upon him and by work, life and teaching he has nourished the church.  In the end he paid for it by his own life by dying the martyr's death on the cross.  He felt so unworthy to be crucified in the same manner with Our Lord so he requested that he be crucified upside down.  St. Peter, Vicar of Christ and chief of the apostles, pray for us.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

On the Cross, Parables and Paradoxes


Cross marker in San Miguel Island, Tabaco City, Philippines

I am impressed by the homily delivered by the Holy Father in his mass at the Church of the Holy Cross in Paphos, Republic of Cyprus.  He spoke about the cross as form of capital punishment for the ancient Romans , on which our Lord Jesus was crucified.  Today we took on this symbol as a symbol of salvation and liberation.  It was carried by Christ and now carried forth by the Church as a symbol of God's saving power.  I wonder why our Lord often teach us precious lesson by means of parables and paradoxes.  Perhaps this is to challenge us and help us see that with God nothing is impossible.  Who would ever think that the instrument of cruel punishment will become the symbol of our salvation and freedom.  God works in many ways.  Our feeble mind will never be able to fathom such love.  God's ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts.  This brings us close to the core idea that we have to truly surrender our will to God's will.  This is our challenge, this is our battle.  We must overcome our "selves".  This may seem impossible at least for us but the Grace of the Lord is sufficient for us.  If only we will accept it with faith.

The Closing of the Annus Sacerdotalis

Tridentime Mass at Amaelianum College, Sorsogon City, Philippines.


Tridentine Mass at Aemelianum College:  The Priest as alter Christus becomes the Christ at the moment of the  Celebration of the Sacred Mysteries.  A minister and dispenser of the benefits of the altar.

The year for priests was concluded with a Papal Mass at St. Peters.  The Pope highlighted several issues and in general he has mentioned something about the blessing.  I would like to give emphasis on some points raised by the Holy Father.

"Had the Year for Priests been a glorification of our individual human performance, it would have been ruined by these events. But for us what happened was precisely the opposite: we grew in gratitude for God’s gift, a gift concealed in "earthen vessels" which ever anew, even amid human weakness, makes his love concretely present in this world. So let us look upon all that happened as a summons to purification, as a task which we bring to the future and which makes us acknowledge and love all the more the great gift we have received from God. In this way, his gift becomes a commitment to respond to God’s courage and humility by our own courage and our own humility. The word of God, which we have sung in the Entrance Antiphon of today’s liturgy, can speak to us, at this hour, of what it means to become and to be a priest: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart" (Mt 11:29)." (Zenit.org)

Despite of the scandals about clergy abuses in Ireland, Germany and other places, these tragic event did not ruin the Church.  The Holy Father is right when he said that priests are earthen vessels, there is a constant call for renewal and purification.  Even in deepest sin God can penetrate us.  Constantly we are called to look unto Christ and learn from Him.  As a Catholic layman I do am not discouraged.  This scandals and abuses can never dampen or destroy my relationship with the Church. 

I am ever grateful for my priests, to the priest who baptized me, to the Bishop who confirmed me in the faith, to the priest who heard my confession, the priest who says mass for us every day and every week.  Thank you Lord for these gifts.  Indeed it is through your priests that we approach the altar of sacrifice, that we are sanctified and renewed in the Church.  Lord send us holy priests who will love your house, who will love your ministry.

Tribute to a Beloved Saint


What should I say to honor such a Saint whose popularity is because he simply lived the gospel and was willing to preach it with his life and blood.  In many of his images and icon he is depicted with a lily symbol of purity.  He studied the gospel, preached it and lived it.  His love and zeal has inspired millions.  Even now he answers the wishes of the faithful and is a powerful advocate.  St. Anthony pray for us!

Friday, June 11, 2010

In the Valley of the Shadow of Death

"Then there is the phrase about the "darkest valley" through which the Lord leads us. Our path as individuals will one day lead us into the valley of the shadow of death, where no one can accompany us. Yet he will be there. Christ himself descended into the dark night of death. Even there he will not abandon us. Even there he will lead us. "If I sink to the nether world, you are present there", says Psalm 139(138). Truly you are there, even in the throes of death, and hence our Responsorial Psalm can say: even there, in the darkest valley, I fear no evil. When speaking of the darkest valley, we can also think of the dark valleys of temptation, discouragement and trial through which everyone has to pass. Even in these dark valleys of life he is there. Lord, in the darkness of temptation, at the hour of dusk when all light seems to have died away, show me that you are there. Help us priests, so that we can remain beside the persons entrusted to us in these dark nights. So that we can show them your own light." Pope Benedict XVI, address at the Papal Mass in Honor of the Sacred Heart

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June as the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus


In this turbulent times where our faith is buffeted by the strong waves of moral forces trying to undermine our faith, let us offer ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Full of love, burning with zeal for the salvation of men and women.  Let the Sacred Heart of Jesus be our refuge and strength.