Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TO VISIT THE PRISONERS, TO CLOTHE THE NAKED AND FEED THE HUNGRY

Here is my comment to To this article

PRELATES - CARDINALS, ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS occupy very important position in the Church. They are symbolic. Hence their actions could mean more. A Bishop Visiting a former president who is accused of plunder can be misinterpreted by many people as giving a thumbs up to corruption. I beg you dear bishops please be more prudent with your actions. If you think your actions will have political or moral repercussions please don't do it. A regular priest can visit GMA and there is no need for you to be there. My dear Bishops you are our leaders and we look up to you, but please be prudent with your actions. Think of what is good for the unity of the church. While it is true that you are pastors and you have the obligation to care for souls, you must realize that your positions as head of local churches will give weight to what you do no matter how well meaning it is on a personal level. Given the politically charged atmosphere, and given the controversies that were attached to the previous relationships of the former president with some bishops, this actions when caught on media will not help advance the interest of the church. This could even cause harm to the image and the standing of the Church. The church should not only be genuinely and internally upright but it should also have the appearance of uprightness in order to have integrity and thus making the message of the gospel more credible. While every one wants change and reform in the social sphere, it is best left in the hands of the committed and faithful laity. Encourage the laity and their leaders to advance the agenda of the church in the social sphere, while the Bishops attend to the spiritual governance of the church. The social sphere should not be misconstrued with the so called integral evangelization. For if ever, the social sphere is part of the so-called integral evangelization, whatever that may mean, it should be in the hands of the laity. Temporal things have its intricacies and we cannot afford that the difficulties of these temporal things will tarnish the image of our church and our spiritual fathers.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

BEARERS OF THE LIGHT



My Reflection on Matthew 4-12-32

For the people who lived in darkness have seen a great light.
Among the sacramentals of the Church there is nothing as meaningful as the candle.  We use it in our liturgies, and we light candles to accompany our prayers.  I find the candle very meaningful especially during the rite of Baptism.  I made it a habit to collect the candles I’ve used at time whenever I am invited to serve as sponsor in Baptism, because I am touched and I am impressed by the meaning of the candle.  The candle we lit and we hold symbolizes Christ who is the Light.  We who believe are bearers of that light.  As Christians we must be “another Christ”.  In our hearts we should live the Christ-like life and being nourished by the Eucharist we should be conscious of the real presence of light.

In the gospel today, we read that when Jesus heard that John the Baptist was arrested, He moved to Capernaum and began His public ministry.  He left Nazareth and moved to the region of Capernaum.  In fulfilment of the prophecy, “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, in those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.”

In a land overshadowed by death light has arisen. As we reflect on our world today, everyday of our lives we are overshadowed by death.  The despair and hopelessness, the endless struggle and the false hopes-hopes that fail.  As bearers of the light how do we bring Christ to others and to those around us?  We heard that when Jesus proclaimed the message he said, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” 

As Christians we should be the bearers of hope, by our work and by our deed.  God sent forth His Spirit to be the comforter, He is our strength.  He gives us direction and makes us cheerful even in the most adverse of circumstances.  May we always find this inspiration and strength.  So that we may be truly the bearers of light.  In our workplaces and in the places we go,  may we be like Christ, who walk among the Gentiles proclaiming the good news.  To the people who sit in darkness (of sin, corruption, strife, evil works), may we be an example.  If only we learn to live up to our faith, our country and our community will not be as dark as it is now.  When we pay lip service to our religion, we will see the fruit as it is.  May our political leaders learn to see that light, may our ministers also see that light, that they may become true, dedicated and tireless pastors/shepherds of the sheep, not like the hirelings who seek only their own gain.  And may we as individuals also become bearers of that light so that those who sit in darkness and those who walk in the shadow of death may find hope.  Amen.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The line connecting the Church with the World: Transform Society According to God's Plan.


"We priests, can talk about politics and certain ethical economic practices, but we admit that we are outsdiders in these fields.  We are not politicians or economists. We are not politicians or economists.  So who has the deeper responsibility to transform the world in accordance to God's plan?  That is where the laity enters." - LUIS ANTONIO CARDINAL TAGLE, Archbishop of Manila.  Read more @ CBCP News

[My comment: Bishops and Priests have the duty to instruct the faithful about doctrine, catechism, morality and spirituality.  Their mandate is to sanctify God's faithful people.  Teach them and administer the sacraments.  Let every administration of the sacraments be an opportunity to proclaim God's Word.  So that through these the faithful are instructed and edified.  So that by these when they go out into the world they are ready to face the world and perform their tasks and role in politics and economics bearing the fruits of Christian life.  No matter how strong is the advocacy of the Bishops and priests towards social justice or social action it is not in their realm to engaged directly into this.  We must admit that politics and economics is a dog-eat-dog world.  A spiritual leader cannot afford to get himself tarnished in the controversies of economics and politics.  They cannot afford to compromise their reputations as teachers of the word of God. The apostles ordained deacons, because they wanted to be freed from temporal affairs related to charities.  Because they came to realize that their calling is to devote to the teaching of the Word of God. Acts 6:2]

Saturday, January 18, 2014

PIT SENOR: UNTO THE MOUTHS OF BABES I HAVE ORDAINED PRAISES


 
The Image of the Holy Child Jesus in Kingly Robes and Sceptre
FOR FROM THE MOUTH OF BABES I HAVE ORDAINED PRAISES

“And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

Today the whole Philippines celebrates the feast of the Holy Child Jesus, popularly known as the Sto. Nino.  It was said that when Ferdinand Magellan converted King Humabon of Cebu and her wife Juana, he gifted them with an image of the Sto. Nino.  Later expeditions marveled that after several decades since the discovery of the Philippines, this material vestige of the first expedition was venerated by the natives even without guidance or supervision from church authorities.  Miguel Lopez de Legazpi named the city, Villa del Santissimo Nombre de Jesus, now known as Cebu.

The significance of the Sto, Nino to the evangelization of the Philippines is significant.  Not only was it inscribed in the Scripture in Matthew 18:3 that one has to become like little children in order to enter into the kingdom of God, but this devotion has spread to all Christianized Filipino.  Hardly a home does not contain an icon or image of the Sto.Nino, To this day the Catholic religion has been established in the Philippines.

What is the personal signification of this feast to us as individual Christians? Indeed we need to be converted on a daily basis.  This conversion is not just a once and for all experience but it is renewed on a regular basis.  Like love gained it has to be regained many times over.  But then this message of conversion will not take root in ourselves as long as we do not have the faith of a child.  We need to have the heart of a child, one who is poor in spirit, one who is thirsty for truth, one who is not presumptuous of one’s self, and one who is ready to obey.

Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17).  Like a child we must be willing to hear and listen.  But as a child we need to mature into that faith.  The seed of the word of God must not only germinate in our hearts and minds but it must grow and it must bear fruit.  Being a Christian is not only being a baptized member of the Church, but someone who knows, understands and acts upon the Word of God.  Religious piety is good, it is a vehicle for expression of faith, but religious piety must be translated into something concrete.  It must transcend towards moral action and goodness.  Many people wonder why despite being Catholic and Christian for so many years, and despite the religious piety, why is our country plagued by corruption?  It is because most of us only listen, we conform, but few take to heart and endeavor to let the Word of God bear fruit in our lives.  Our hearing is so superficial and we never take the effort to make it real.  So as we celebrate the feast of Sto. Nino we hope that this religious devotion, the fervor that we see on the street as the image of Sto. Nino is held in solemn processions, may this fervor be also seen in us as we fight corruption and cleanse our society from so many evils that confronts us.  Our religious fervor will mean nothing unless we take the effort to cleanse our midst from the filth of sin.  For only through this transformation will our Lord be pleased and bless us.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

THE POPE WILL ELEVATE NEW CARDINALS IN A CONSISTORY IN FEBRUARY 22, 2014

The Pope will elevate new  Cardinals on February 22, 2014.

On the Contextalization of Morally Charged Issues

"On successive days in mid-January, Pope Francis and his top collaborator at the Vatican made public statements that provided a lesson in Franciscan contextualization of highly loaded moral issues." Read More from Catholic News Service  


My Comments:  It is true that the contextualization of morally charged issues is necessary.  In fact this strategy is needed if only to lessen the bitterness and acrimony in the debate but it is extremely necessary too to be clear  about our statements.  Important personalities like the Pope must avoid statements or pep talks where certain statements could be misconstrued because of vagueness.  Misappropriation of words can lead to wrong imputations and will have repercussions for doctrine.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

THE BAPTISM OF JESUS: A DEMONSTRATION OF UTMOST SURRENDER TO THE WILL OF GOD



“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.”

The Gospel Reading: Matt. 3:13-17

The altar where the image of St. John the Baptist is enshrined. 
Tabaco City
This Sunday the church celebrates the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.  Marking the end of the Christmas season in the Roman Liturgical calendar.  Whenever, I go to some of our churches, I always notice in some baptistery the image of  St. John the Baptist , pouring water on the head of Christ.  An iconographic depiction of the Baptism of the Lord in the river Jordan.  But the thought never came to me until it was pointed out to me that what we see from this passage is the Baptism of John.  And here our Lord was telling John that this was an act of obedience to the Will of the Father, that even if He were the messiah, he wanted to demonstrate to us the fact that we all need to fulfill the righteousness required from us.  The baptism of John the Baptist is different from the Baptism of Jesus.  What we receive in the sacrament of baptism is the Baptism of Jesus not the Baptism of John.  John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.  St. John was called by God to prepare the way of the messiah.  To reform the conscience of the children of Israel so that by repentance and forgiveness they might prepare the way for the coming of the messiah.  On the other hand Baptism of Jesus is the baptism of fire and of the spirit.  It is the sacrament that initiates us into the life of the Church and of God.  

What lesson can we derive from the gospel this Sunday?  It is a lesson of obedience.  There is nothing more important than obedience as far as religion is concerned.  No matter how good our intentions are, but if it does not fulfill the requirement of God, then it is nor pleasing to God.  In the Old Testament we read about King Saul, who was ordered by God through the prophet Samuel to destroy all livestock coming from the Canaanites.  But fearing his men, he set aside the fatted cows and made the intention of keeping them to offer as sacrifice to God.  But God’s anger was kindled against Saul.  It was said that to obey is better than sacrifice.  For what material thing could we offer to God?  God does not need of any of these, what He seeks from us is a voluntary obedience to Him and to His voice.  The same also with Naaman, the Syrian.  He said why he would dip himself in the murky waters of the Jordan when there are huge rivers in Syria.  But it took his humble maid-servant to remind him to obey because it was the only way for him to be cleansed from leprosy. 

Today many of us have many good intentions.  Intentions to do good and intentions to be good.  But have we reflected on the will of the absolute good which is God?  Many today disregard the sacrament of penance because they think that it is too humiliating to confess to a priest who is also a sinner. [But they do not understand that the priest is just the minister and he does it in the name of the Church and of Christ who so commanded that this be done.]  Today there is nothing more pressing in our spiritual life than to fulfill the requirement of God.  Jesus said his yoke is easy and his burden light.  Why don’t we come to this great teacher who will show us the will of God?  Faith comes from hearing and that is hearing the Word of God. May God show us the light and give us the strength to do His Will.  For “hearts shall never be at rest until it finds itself in God.” (St. Augustine of Hippo).

Friday, January 3, 2014

FOR GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH...



FOR GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH
by Herbert B. Rosana, Ph.D. 

“By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16 (NASB)

Christmas is always has something to do with gift giving.  People are delighted with gifts.  And gift giving do teach us about certain values.  For one it gives us the opportunity to show gratitude, second it also teaches us to appreciate others, and third it helps us recognize our interdependence and need to communicate.

In olden times January 6 is always considered as the day of gift-giving.  This is the reason why we use the word epiphany which means manifestation, derived from the Greek word ephiphaneia and from the Latin, ephiphania.  We celebrate the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.  Through the feast of the magi, Christ was manifested as the gift of God to Israel and to the whole of Humankind.  Today the fulfillment of the promise given by God to Abraham and to his children was made manifest.  The magi bearing gifts, Gold, Myrrh, and frankincense.  This symbolizes the office of Christ, King (gold), Sacrificial Victim (Myrrh) and Priest (frankincense). 

The verse above (1 Timothy 3:16) summarizes the economy of salvation. For when Jesus Christ was born, taught, live, died and ascended into heaven, and into the summation of the entire paschal mystery, the whole world and the Universe as if in a cosmological way converge in the person of Christ – who was manifest in the flesh, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, and now is seated at the right hand of God, and will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.  From a distance, the angels proclaimed the message, “Peace to all men of goodwill.”  For his incarnation was witnessed both by the good angels and the bad angels, the souls of the dead in Hades also witnessed the redeeming work of Christ, for when Jesus died he descended into the lower parts of the earth and proclaimed the gospel to the souls of the dead.  His message was preached among the nations.  A group of people believed his message, the ecclesia.  And we await the final coming.  Whether we are alive or dead we as believers are consumed by hope, we live by hope and we die in hope. That this same Christ whom we believed on will raise us back again to life, show us His mercy and bring us to everlasting life. 

What a great gift we have in Jesus Christ. – This is the whole meaning of the epiphany.  And in gratitude we say: “What shall I repay the Lord for all this things He has given me? I will take the cup of the Lord and bless His Name.”  What a wonderful gift we have in Jesus. Amen.