Saturday, June 28, 2014

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul


Did you ever wonder why in many Catholic Churches here in the Philippines you always find the images of St. Peter and St. Paul side by side in the facade? It is because St. Peter and St. Paul are considered the Patron saints or the founders of the Roman Church. That is why in Rome you have the St. Peters Basilica, the location where St. Peter was buried and also the Church of St. Paul outside of the walls, two prominent churches in Rome. If Constantinople claims St. Andrew and if Alexandria claims St. Mark, Rome claims St. Peter and St. Paul. An ominous sign that it is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ when before Simon, later Peter profess his faith in Caesaria Philippi. The Church of God founded on the ROCK (Peter), the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. On the SOLEMNITY OF ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL, may they intercede for us all.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

THE BREAD THAT CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN




A Personal Reflection on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord


1.     The solemnity of Corpus Christi reminds us that the Eucharist is the summit of Christian life. It is the culmination of our religious experience and practice as revealed by the historical experience of the Church.  The two disciples on the road to Emmaus, felt that their hearts were burning while discussing with Him the events in Jerusalem and How the Lord, yet unrecognized by them, expounded to them the scriptures and how it should be fulfilled by the Son of Man.  The acts of the breaking of the bread finally opened their eyes.  Applying these thoughts to contemporary issues, it can be  observed  that our liturgy, the Mass, is arranged in such a way that the Word precedes the liturgy of the Eucharist, the proclamation of  the Word instructs but it is only in the Eucharist that Christ gives himself to us Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  Christ told the unbelieving Jews that unless they eat of this bread and drink of His Blood, they have no life in them. 

2.     The Church has grown steadily in the appreciation of this great mystery.  The richness of her rites and liturgies has demonstrated the love and adoration for the Eucharist.  There is however, an erroneous belief or perception which says that the bread of the Eucharist is supposed to be eaten and not to be looked at.  This erroneous belief led some to minimize if not neglect the adoration and exposition of the consecrated Host.  I would suppose that this erroneous belief is protestant in origin but sadly for a time it has had its influence on some segment of the Church especially after the confusion that ensued after the Second Vatican Council when the liberals had their free ride in the reforms being undertaken as if to legitimize their erroneous beliefs.  Akin to this erroneous belief is the practice of relegating the Blessed Sacrament on the side or hidden corner of the Church away from the altar.  As they said it was a confusion to put together in one place the repository of the Host and the place where the act of transubstantiation happens.  But I would opine that it is more confusing to place the Blessed Sacrament on the corner of the altar in full view of the faithful while the Mass is being held at the altar.  But I am glad that today in renovations and in many churches where the Blessed Sacrament is displayed; they have brought back the Blessed Sacrament at the center of the altar.  In some churches, I have observed that they have a place where they put the Bible on one side and the Blessed Sacrament on the other side.  I would think that it is illogical to create a repository for the Bible side by side with the blessed Sacrament because it creates confusion.  The Real Presence is a true presence of the whole person of Christ, while the presence of Christ in the proclamation of His word is not as the same as the Real Presence.  In the proclamation of the Word Christ is present because he is the origin of the Word, He is the logos.  It demonstrates His omnipresence.  But the Eucharist is indeed a Real Presence because it is Christ Himself offered as a sacrifice of Calvary but in unbloody manner.

3.     I refuse to take the idea that; the Bread is to be eaten and not to be looked at.  The practice of exposition of the Sacred Species for adoration is not an aberration, but rather the practice of doing so is the product of the long collective experience of the Church and her growing appreciation and love for the Holy Eucharist.  It is also an appreciation for the Most Holy Sacrament that produced such intimacy between the Lord and His Bride-the church.  This practice became popular during the time of St. Thomas Aquinas.  The angelic doctor has composed numerous prayers and hymns on the adoration of the Eucharist.  This practice also arose as the church’s affirmation of the real presence which at that time was being challenged by the heretics. 

4.     Imitating the two disciples at Emmaus, let us open our eyes that Christ may fill us with faith to believe and accept. Amen. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

MY THOUGHTS ON PENTECOST



PERSONAL REFLECTIONS: “My thoughts about Pentecost”

1.      The Holy Ghost is the proof of Christ presence in the church and the enduring promise of his Second Coming.  His presence proves to us that we have the foretaste of what it is to be in the life of God.  One of the greatest proof of his enduring presence is Love.  We saw that during Pentecost the infant church were filled with love, they shared everything.  They sold the things that they have, laid it down at the apostles feet to be distributed to the poor and be shared.  They were steadfast in the celebration of the Eucharist daily, which they called the breaking of the Bread.  Life is a journey through time.  The church as a human organization also journeys through time. Through this journey it is possible that somehow we can become lukewarm.  If we read in the Book of Revelation Chapter 1we read about the messages of Christ to the seven churches of Asia.  Some were faithful while others were not.  As we journey in this faith let us pray and be vigilant and listen and obey to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  The infant church of the New Testament is a living proof and is model picture of what the church should be.  IT IS NOT THE CHURCH THAT WE WOULD WANT TO SEE, BUT IT SHOUD BE A CHURCH THAT WHAT CHRIST WOULD WANT TO SEE.  I am amused to see some dioceses or even parishes formulate their own vision, mission and objectives (VMGO), as if the church is a corporation.  The church may be ahuman organization but it is divine in origin so it is not the human members that should formulate the VMGO, but it should be the gospel and the will of God.  Are we following ourselves or are we following Christ?

2.      In a special way I saw ecumenism as the work of the Holy Ghost.  We should however distinguish between false and genuine ecumenism.  When two groups of people seek to overcome their differences with sincerity and try to honestly communicate with each other to reach a level of understanding that is what we call ecumenism.  The prayer of Jesus was “that that they maybe one just as we are one”.  If we are animated by the Trinitarian love, we shall be move to seek ways to come to unity with our brothers and sisters.  The bitter division at the great schism in the eleventh century and the protestant reformation has rend the body of Christ.  As Christians we should listen to the voice of the Holy Ghost to heal and to mend the bitter division.  As Christians we must support our Pope in fulfilling the Petrine ministry of fostering unity in the church, in confirming the faithful in their faith and to be a tower of strength.  True ecumenism is not syncretism but it is a genuine desire to understand each other and to honestly work to overcome divisions.

3.      Pentecost also offers us the hope and the faith that with the help of the Holy Ghost, we can cleanse ourselves and that the church would be cleansed of the sin that plagued some of her members.  To overcome the issues of child abuse and financial mismanagement.  Far from being negative these are opportunities for us to cleanse the church with the blood of the Lamb.  The Holy Ghost will always be there to help and to renew the face of the earth.