Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why being good is a hard thing to do.

SHARING MY REFLECTION: “Why being good is a hard thing to do?”
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 1, 2013
(Luke 14:1,7-14)

Reading the gospels is not like reading any other book where one tires and get bored.  Reading the gospels is like discovering new gems every time we read its pages.  Musing at today’s reading one can causally infer that our Lord teaches that too often used theme of humility and propriety.  But as I looked at the last verse of our reading I found this part which goes this way: “blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” 


Why indeed it is difficult to be humble?  Why is it difficult indeed to invite the ungrateful?  Why is it difficult to take the lowest place in society?  Because doing the humble thing requires a belief in the doctrine of the “Resurrection of the Body”.  There are several points that I find in this line that will have implication in the way we live our faith.  First, the call and the challenge to believe.  Now a day’s seldom do people express their faith in public.  Sometimes when we talk about our faith, we always do it with a tinged of embarrassment as if we are not suppose to talk about it openly. Faith in what? Faith in the teaching that someday there will be a resurrection of the body.  That this dead body that we have will be brought back to life again in an immortal state and in an entirely cleansed and purified world.  This matter calls for faith and no one can believe this unless God will give that kind of faith.  For it is only God who can incline our mind to faith.  Second, we have to be convinced of God’s goodness, that somehow whatever good we do and whatever self effacing move we take will be rewarded in heaven.  Often we believe more in our own goodness to chart our lives.  We take pride in our achievements and we take pride in our honours or the feather’s in our cap so to speak.  But we seldom believe that God can truly reward us.  The problem with this attitude is that God’s reward though the surest, is always in future tense, which calls us to again to faith.  But indeed how narrow is the path that leads to salvation that only few take it and fewer still attain to its goal.  Indeed we need to pray for perseverance and we need to pray to be good, truly good.  Can we take the lowest seat?  Can we invite to our meals the person we hated most or the person we despise the most?  Can we do good things without expecting a reward or payment?  Now I know the reason why it is so difficult to be good.  And I fail many times.  But I am full of hope and faith that Jesus will give me the grace and strength to be good, no matter how many times I fail.  And no doubt we can always look up to the resurrection.  Here finds the greatest appreciation for the eschatological dimension of our faith.  This material world we live is only a place of exile, a means to an end and not the end.  Let us then be good for God is good all the time. Amen.  Blessed Sunday to every one.  –Sincerely, Herbert Rosana

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Will Only Few be Saved?

SHARING MY SUNDAY REFLECTION (LUKE 13: 22-30)
"Lord, will only a few people be saved?"
The tone in today's Sunday reading sounds pessimistic in a sense because it contradicts the optimists notion of "universal salvation". For how can an all-merciful Lord allow souls not to be saved. But looking at the other side of the coin, I would opine that Jesus our Lord has good reasons for saying that the door to heaven is fraught with difficulties, many strive to enter, but in the end only a few would make it. Here, I think the Lord would like to remind us of our personal responsibility. God saves, He forgives, but we need to cooperate with Him with the assent of our free will. As free agent of our wills, we are not robots but we need to make our own decisions. Often the most agonizing part of being human is that we are endowed with freedom and making a choice is not easy. But no matter how difficult we need to make that decision. Our human frailty often causes us to commit mistakes in the way we make our decisions. But if we believe in God we can rest assured that his grace [unmerited favour] will suffice to guide us and to strengthen our faltering wills. Faith is the key that will open to us this possibility. Only we need to make that firm commitment. As I reflect on the changes in the translations of the liturgy several years ago during the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, I think the Holy See made the correct move in revising the translation of PRO MULTIS from "for all" to "for many". The correct translation is "for many". Either use of the translation will have implications to meaning. The former one could be erroneously be mistaken by some that everyone will be saved, so it can encourage presumption on the part of the unrepentant sinner. While the latter translation, which is the correct translation, affirms the universal efficacy of Christ's sacrifice and yet unequivocally affirms the responsibility of the believer. This means that the merits of the sacrifice of Christ will only be appropriated to by those who believe and accept it. In another instance I heard a priest use the phrase: "The Lord is with you..." rather than the text: "The Lord be with you...". I do not know where this priest got his permission to change the words in the text of the mass. The use of the former implies that the Lord is with everyone but it can be mistaken as a form of encouragement to the unrepentant. While the latter, which is the correct form, is telling every one in the congregation that the Lord is with the repentant believer, but is not with those who persists in sin and have no decision to repent. I think that the words of the liturgy are very important. Thus a correct translation is necessary too. But the point of my reflection is that salvation is a matter of choice and a great gift too. May God give us the grace to follow Him. Amen. - Blessed Sunday to Everyone.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

SETTING THE EARTH ON FIRE

My Reflections for this SUNDAY:  “The Contradiction of the Cross”
The Reading for this Sunday is from Luke 12:49-53. 


Jesus said: “I have come to set the earth on fire and how I wish it were already blazing!”  I am amazed at how our Lord uses metaphors and paradoxes to drive a lesson.  In some instances our Lord is said to be the Prince of Peace, but in today’s reading we saw how our Lord wished that the earth is set on fire.  He gave us the assurance that he did not come to bring peace on earth but of division.  Her we need to understand the PEACE promised to us by Christ.  It is a peace not of this world.  Remember that this world also promises peace.  Literature abounds with political and social a theory that promises peace.  This is the main reason why Liberation theology is a bankrupt theology because it promises a Kingdom of Peace here on earth.  The peace of Christ is something that is within us.  It is futuristic because it hopes for the coming of His Kingdom.  Not as we envisage it but according to what God has planned.  Humans as we are, and intelligent as we are, we often device our own plan and we have our own solutions.  But if these solutions are not in accordance with God’s will it will never provide a lasting solution.  This reflection brings us again to the CROSS, where Christ our Lord hanged.  It is a sign of contradiction for as long as this world exists; there will be those who will be reconciled with God through the Cross.  There will be those who will reach heaven by the narrow way.  But there will be also those who will never find the right way and will always put themselves in opposition to God.  This is the reason why for so many times the world has criticized Catholic Doctrine on life issues.  As our Popes and Bishops continue to defend our doctrine, the more the world criticises the church and sometimes we are put in a bad light in the mass media.  This is exactly what Christ is saying.  The world will never be converted, but if we wished we can be converted.  As Christians, we bear the light of Christ.  And while we await for the coming of His Kingdom and His Second Coming, we do our best to bear witness to this world by our good deeds and by our positive efforts to show to the world how the Kingdom of God will be in the future.  Let us bear the cross with all humility and let us never be ashamed of Christ and His Cross.  Amen. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

MY SHORT REFLECTION ON TODAY'S READING FROM THE GOSPEL According to Luke (Lk 12:32-48). "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

I often hear people remark, that this world is increasingly becoming materialistic. I agree to some extent but I would like to think that ever since the world began, humankind has always been materialistic. Even from the time that Cain offered his sacrifice to God, the malice of materialism was already there. In this gospel reading our Lord is trying to tell us that what we prioritize in life will be the basis for our striving. Moreover, the Lord is telling us that the relentless pursuit for material wealth will drive our hearts and minds towards these temporal things. We know that they who loved money shall pierced themselves with innumerable sorrow. And the vanity of all of it is that there is an appointed time when all men and women shall die. Once we die we leave of all things behind. For even our mortal bodies shall be helpless when death ensues. 

In relation to this I remember the philosophy of Christian Kierkegaard, a Danish existentialist philosopher, where he said that our lives are our project. When we possess our faculties and we are in the position to decide, we need to make that decision in a very responsible manner. We would not do well if we do not set a "project" for our lives. Though this is laced with anxiety, and indeed making decisions are a source of anxiety, yet we have to do this because this is our mission. But humans are not perfect they make mistakes sometimes. And Kierkegaard said that once we are on our dying bed we ca no longer do this project, our only recourse is throw ourselves into the loving and merciful arms of God who will judge us for all that we have done. But the key in this is that we must have the faith that God is merciful indeed. Because many people die with the thought that God is the judge but only few believe that He is Merciful. But I would like to add my opinion that though our lives our own project to do, we still need the faith to received the grace that comes from God. Just like what our Lord have said, that without Him we can do nothing.

This morning as I heard mass, I was mesmerized to hear once again the hymn "Anima Christi". Soul of Christ sanctify me... that by looking at the crucified Lord, meditating on his passion and wounds we can find life and strength for our souls.

Life is not about money. Life is not all about material wealth. But even in these material wealth God can shower us with gifts even beyond what we asked for. But we seldom forgot the word of Christ: "SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE ADDED UNTO YOU." I have experience this in my own little way. And I know that God is good. But I know the treasure, I know that PEARL OF GREAT PRICE...and with God's help, poor sinner that I am, I am going to buy that pearl of great price. JESUS YOU are that pearl of great price. You are the key that opens the door to paradise. Amen.

Prayer: Lord open my eyes and remove the scales that covers my vision so that I may see the true wealth, and seek it with all my heart, that with your grace and help I may attain to it. I ask this in the name of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.