Friday, March 8, 2013

Grasp it

Gospel Mk 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself

is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions. 

Have you ever felt the urge of stalking a person because you idolize and fantasize the person? :)

I guess we all did. We even think of exchanging place with someone who is famous and rich, right? I remembered the time when I was still a grade-1 pupil. I was really really fat that time and was always hungry. I envy my classmates who can buy the street foods outside our school for I still do not have an allowance that time.
I was curious why my parents did not let me hold even a scent that time. But, every time I see my parents, I did not bother to ask them why. The reason I think is because I really don't care at all. I am so carefree that time and I am always happy with the way things are moving. A child indeed. :)
Friends, it is this being carefree.. child-like.. is a reason why people can easily grasp and understand our Lord, our God. And so, let this be our attitude towards everything in our life. See God in every creature. See God in every heart.

Sure Foundation

Gospel, Luke 11:14-23

14 He was driving out a devil and it was dumb; and it happened that when the devil had gone out the dumb man spoke, and the people were amazed.
15 But some of them said, 'It is through Beelzebul, the prince of devils, that he drives devils out.'
16 Others asked him, as a test, for a sign from heaven;
17 but, knowing what they were thinking, he said to them, 'Any kingdom which is divided against itself is heading for ruin, and house collapses against house.
18 So, too, with Satan: if he is divided against himself, how can his kingdom last? - since you claim that it is through Beelzebul that I drive devils out.
19 Now if it is through Beelzebul that I drive devils out, through whom do your own sons drive them out? They shall be your judges, then.
20 But if it is through the finger of God that I drive devils out, then the kingdom of God has indeed caught you unawares.
21 So long as a strong man fully armed guards his own home, his goods are undisturbed;
22 but when someone stronger than himself attacks and defeats him, the stronger mantakes away all the weapons he relied on and shares out his spoil.
23 'Anyone who is not with me is against me; and anyone who does not gather in with me throws away.
In every family, country, circle of friends, faith denomination, flock of birds, armed battalion   faculty of professionals, government and in any other affiliations or associations in this world, there should always exist a sure foundation to ensure peace, harmony and unity among its members so as to attain certain objectives or goals for the main benefit of everybody. Now, where should that 'sure foundation' come from? Of course, it should come from the hearts of every member-- may he be a leader or a mere follower. There must be understanding, unyielding patience, unwavering trust, and of  course, the last but not totally the least, unconditional love must prevail all the time.  These are just some of the vital requirements  in order for a family or any group to stay longer, survive longer, and bear every struggle that comes.
Today, Jesus conveys a very important message to us. As servants of God, it is inevitable that some people would throw questions at us to test our faithfulness in Him. For me, they do that because they would like to ask or get clarifications on why we struggle to continue, and yet still love to do service for God and for His people. But because we believe that 'faith without deed is useless', we strike our answers by showing (instead of just telling or explaining) them why and how. Jesus tells us that for as long as we are firm in faith in Him, we are with Him; and for also as long as we abide in Him, we are undoubtedly secured in Him. And this, truly, becomes our sure foundation whatever happens and wherever we will be today, tomorrow and in the life of the world to come. Amen. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Discover. Obey. Preserve.

Gospel: Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”


"I have come not to abolish but to fulfill."

          During His time, Jesus was considered by some as blasphemous preacher. This is because of the way He interpreted and preached God's commandments. They formed an accusation against Jesus that according to them He's breaking the laws handed to Moses by God. The leaders of the church that time believed that reaching out your hand, helping others, and healing in Sabbath day are grave sins. But Jesus revoked this by asking, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath, to do good, or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?". The pharisees also believed that picking grains in Sabbath day is unlawful. But Jesus just told them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.".

          The pharisees heartlessly followed God's commandments thus making the laws of God a kind of burden to them. But Jesus followed God's command with all His heart, contemplated and discovered the intent of each of them, and realized that the law were created for man, and not the other way around, and that the major intent of the laws is actually to preserve love for God and for His people.

          Like Jesus, find and discover the deepest meaning and full intent of God's laws.

"..until all things have taken place."

          God's laws and commandments are unchangeable. God's laws were created not only for the ancient people of Israel, but for all of His people, including us in the current era. No circumstance or current situation, can change God's laws. Just because we cannot handle our current situation anymore by applying God's precepts doesn't mean that they are already obsolete, and tell God "Hey God! Your commandments are not anymore effective, leave us alone and let us handle things our own way! Permit us to modify your laws, or if it's okay with you, allow us to create our new standards to follow so we can address our current concerns.".

          If God said we shall not have other gods, then we must not follow and worship other gods. Yet, how many christians are mixing the christian and non-christian beliefs? How many of us believe that putting 12 rounded fruits on our table every new year will bring us luck and prosperity in the coming years? How many of us believe in horoscope as their daily guide instead of reading and believing in bible?

          If He said we shall keep and observe the Holy Sabbath, then we must make ourselves available, come and gather together to celebrate the Sabbath day. Yet, how many of us christians are so busy that they don't even bother anymore to hear and participate in the Holy Mass?

          If He said we shall love our father and mother, then with no complaints we shall love them. Yet, how many christian parents today are feeling abandoned by their children?

          If He said we shall not kill, then we don't have the right to take other's life. Yet, how many babies were aborted by their mothers because they're afraid of the responsibilities that goes with having a child?

           If He said we shall not steal, then we shall not resort to stealing especially when we are badly in need. Yet, how many of us christians are blinded with money that they become greedy and believe that corrupting and stealing other's hard-earned wealth will help them escape poverty?

          Circumstances, may it be bad or good, are part of God's plan. Yes, we're fine with the good circumstances. The problem is with the bad circumstances. We immediately panic when faced with challenges. We immediately resort and cling on to something that will help us escape to what we are currently facing. We immediately forget that God is in control. But Jesus Christ is encouraging us not to let our faith in God be shaken and swerved by the trials and struggles we are currently in, but to reflect and remain still, and trust God that whatever is happening into our life right now is part of the plan, has a purpose, and that the purpose doesn't mean to hurt or put a heavy burden on us, but to prepare and mold us for something that's greater.

          When faced with difficulties, we are encouraged not to create an escape or emergency plan and change the laws, but rather still be obedient to them, adhere to them, and wait in God's time until all things have taken place, until all the reasons behind every circumstance are revealed, and until all the plans of God are unfolded before our very own eyes.

"..whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."

          God's commandments must be preserved throughout humankind. And this can't be achieved by obeying and living with each law alone. Jesus gave us the strategy. Don't just obey the commandments. Teach them. Preach them. His disciples and apostles followed the same strategy and, lo, until now God's laws still live in us.

          Teach your siblings. Teach your children. Teach your neighbors. Teach your friends. Teach them also to preach the laws. Create a chaining effect, like a domino, that even the people in the farthest part of the earth may hear, and obey, and teach God's laws. This is the strategy and the only way to preserve God's laws in the coming generations.

          Don't just obey. Teach and preach.

          Jesus started it all. And He is encouraging us to do the same, to contemplate more on the precepts and laws of God. Discover the intent of each of them. Use them properly, earnestly obey them. Teach and preach them to others. And by accomplishing all of these, be ready to be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.