Thursday, September 20, 2018

Great Sinners

“Her many sins have been forgiven...” Luke 7:47

In Luke 7, we find one of the most dramatic stories in the Bible. Jesus is invited to dine at a Pharisee’s home and a sinful woman comes, uninvited, to the gathering. She brings with her an alabaster flask of precious ointment. She then bathed Jesus’ feet with her hair, wiped them with her hair, and anointed them with the ointment. 

The Pharisee, and most probably, his other guests, are shocked. In the Talmud, if a woman lets her hair down in public, it was grounds for divorce. Here was a notorious sinner, with not only her hair down, she was touching a man who was not a relative. Although in Old Testament times, women could become leaders and were held in high repute, by Jesus’ time, women were separate from men in private, public and religious life. Respectable women stayed within the confines of their homes, and only the poor and disreputable would go, as it was called, “abroad”. 

Jesus knew exactly what Simon the Pharisee was thinking. “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner,” Simon thought, probably making the judgment that Jesus was no prophet! Jesus then proposes a story about two people who were in debt. One had a debt of 500 days’ wages, and the other just owed a paltry 50. “Since they were both unable to pay, the creditor forgave them both. Which of them will love him more?” 

Simon then replies, “The one, I suppose whose larger debt was forgiven.” We probably do not realize how much we have been forgiven. We usually go blissfully on with our lives ignorant of the price Jesus paid on the cross. If we knew, we would be grovelling at Jesus’ feet, wanting to kiss them like the sinful woman. But how do we do that now? 

The answer lies in Matthew 25:40: “Whatsoever you do for one of these least brothers of mine, you do for me.” Whenever we help the typhoon victims, feed the hungry, visit those in prison, teach a poor child to read, we are able to wipe Jesus’ dirty feet. When we speak out against injustice, when we forgive those who have hurt us, when we show love to the unlovable, we bind Jesus’ wounds. We are such great sinners, that we have to go “abroad”, and find ways to visit Jesus and show our gratefulness. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

WOYWW: This Generation

I bought this book recently and started drawing my day in a small notebook. 

“How shall I describe this generation?" Luke 7:31

We could say that Jesus was frustrated. He asked, "What comparison can I use for the men of today? What are they like?" And He compares them to kids playing a game in the city square, or in the public market. The children play wedding songs or funeral songs, anything that can get them a bit of money perhaps.  Men and women of today are still much the same. We are still playing games, not very serious about what we believe in.  We like to pick and choose the songs we sing.  We like to do it "my way".  In Jesus' time, people criticized John the Baptist for being too severe, for fasting all the time. But they also put down Jesus for feasting and eating, and being a friend of sinners. Today, we may read the Bible, but gloss over the verses that bring us to hard places, places where we would rather not go. Repentance. Transformation. Sacrifice. Forgiveness 70 x 7. Do we pass these Bible passages by?

If we want a life where God makes an appearance, where we can say we know the God of the Bible, we cannot make Him up.  We cannot invent Him.  We cannot make Him in our image. We need to be serious, read the Bible God has given us so we can get to know Him, the one true God, and all He has done through the ages to make us a part of His family. We have a marvelous inheritance in Him. In awe, we can only pray, "Lord, show up in my life!" 

Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!
I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Serve the Lord

“Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.” Psalm 100:2

Sometimes it is difficult to serve the Lord with gladness. These are deeply troubled times and it often seems like the world is on the brink of a collapse. We seem to be perched on a precipice and when we look down, it spells disaster. If we stay where we are, it’s also very precarious. Yesterday my sister showed me a video which impressed me deeply. It was a BBC documentary about a family of barnacle geese. The mother goose plants her eggs high up to avoid the Arctic Fox feeding on them. But when it comes time for the goslings to eat grass, the mother calls to the goslings to follow her from 120 to 450 m. down the rocky crags. The goslings have no wings yet, so they tumble down and hit themselves several times on the sharp face of the cliff. It is very hard to watch this painful descent and I got surprised that any of the goslings survived.

When we feel the pain and pathos of our people, the hunger, the devastation of their crops and homes after typhoon Ompong, the lack of books and schoolhouses and good teachers who know right from wrong, the injustice that fills our jails with the innocent, the sexual trafficking of women rampant in the provinces, the use of little children and even babies by their parents for pornography here in our country, abuses by the clergy, etc.....where do we start to serve? What can we do? The task is insurmountable. 

Like Mother Teresa and the saints, we need only to serve the Lord in our little corner of the world. Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things.  But we can do small things with great love.” We may not be able to solve world hunger but we may feed a poor child begging in the street. 

“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.” May we all be little pencils in the hand of God. We can leave the big, horrible problems of this world to a God who takes care of even little goslings tumbling down a precipice. We can trust Him to take care of our people, our country and our Church. We just need to be available for Him to use, to put our gifts at His disposal, where we are. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Say the Word, Jesus!

“Just say the word and my servant will be healed.” Luke 7:7

In Luke chapter 7, we meet a centurion, who stands out because he cares very much for his slave who is sick and about to die. A centurion was an officer in the Roman infantry, and frequently commanded 80 to 1000 men depending on their rank. This man sent some Jewish elders to ask Jesus to save his slave. These elders pleaded with Jesus, and told him that this centurion loved the Jews and built their synagogue. 

Jesus went with them and when he was nearing the centurion's home, the centurion sent word, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof. Just say the word, and my servant will be healed." He then explained that he too was a man under authority with soldiers under him. These soldiers obey his command. "I say to a soldier, 'Go!', and he goes, to another, 'Come!' And he comes."

From what the centurion said, we know that he had been listening to Jesus and came to the conclusion that Jesus was no ordinary man. He acknowledged that compared to him, Jesus had the real authority. That is why Jesus was so impressed with the centurion's trust, "Not even in Israel have I found such great faith!"  

We too are unworthy for Jesus to come and visit our home of our hearts. But He does! He actually knocks and waits for us to say, "Come in!" Every day He waits, and He never gives up. Dear Jesus, thank You for not ignoring us as You have every right to! We are filthy, and most of the time, we are the ones ignoring you! 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Who Do You Say I Am?

“But who do you say that I am?” Mark 8:29

Do we really know who Jesus is? Where do we get our idea about Jesus, His character, what He values, what He did and what He said? Do we get it from the source of truth, the Bible? Or do we make up our own God by our experiences, and what others say, or read in other materials? It is easy to get misled because there is a great deceiver that looks for all the ways and means to beguile us and hoodwink us. The only trustworthy starting point is to read from the Bible what Jesus says about Himself. 

I read about a man named Daniel. Before he attended a church in Southern California, he lived in Uganda, when Idi Amin was President from 1971-1979. At that time, he was caught and tortured brutally for being a Christian. For several days at a time, a guard would hang him from his feet and whip him. One night as the guard was leaving, Daniel said, " Have a nice evening."

The guard turned back to him, and asked incredulously, "How can you say that to me? After what I have been doing to you?" Daniel then told him about Jesus, about the blood shed on the cross for him, about freedom, about how he had been forgiven and loved. A few days after that, the guard helped him escape, brought Daniel to his house, fed him and let him share about Jesus to his family. 

Jesus won't have to ask Daniel, "Who do you say that I am?" Jesus already knows the answer by the life Daniel lived and continues to live. How about us?

Lord, may I be faithful to Your calling. May I live in such a way as to show You that I know You, love You and obey You. May others who know me, know as well that I am Your servant. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Christ Bearer

 "Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother... When Jesus saw His mother there and the disciple there whom He loved He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son." Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home." John 19:25-27

Can we imagine how Mary felt seeing her son on the cross? Even if there were so many times that she had to accept God's inconceivable will for her life, I don't think it can ever be enough to cushion her from this last agonizing pain! Perhaps she couldn't think anymore. She could only be aware of her heart breaking into a million pieces.

Elizabeth Stone said, "Making the decision to have a child- it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart walking around outside your body." 

That must have been true of Mary more than of any other mother! From the moment she conceived, there was so much hinging on the way she would love this child, nurture Him, teach Him, protect Him, and then surrender Him to the world to do with as we pleased!

“Behold, your mother." Before Jesus died, He made sure His mother would be cared for. I think He would also want us to honor her and love her. Just as there is a place in Jesus' heart for His mother, we should also find a place in our hearts to honor a woman who gave up her heart to lodge in her son's body, and allowed it to be trampled on so God's plan would be accomplished!

“Hail Mary! Truly you are full of grace!” May you be our example of how we should learn to sacrifice for others, and be a Christ bearer to the world. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Sooo Rich!

 "We have sinned in complaining against the Lord..." Numbers 21:7

How hard should it be to cultivate an attitude of gratitude? We are soooo rich! 

Consider how much a blind man would pay to have even one eye? How much a paraplegic would give to be able to move around and not have others help him do what we take for granted every day? How much for a kidney, a heart, a leg or a hand? 

We are billionaires! If you can read this, 

you have access to a computer or a cellphone. 793 million people in the world don't even have enough to eat!

Many years ago I had so many canker sores in my mouth for months at a time. I couldn't eat, I couldn't talk, I couldn't sing! But sometimes I would get respite and it felt so good to be able to sing songs during mass and in my community.  Do we have to wait to lose things before we can praise God for what we have?  There was a time I had difficulty walking. It turned out I had some compressed discs in my spine. So now I have resolved to praise God for the "ordinary, every day things" I can do. I can walk, I can talk, I can write, I can breathe on my own, I can paint, I see colors, I can read...

So much to praise God for! COUNTLESS! What other ordinary, everyday things should we be grateful for?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Master Knitter

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.” Psalm 139:13

I know very few people who knit. In today’s fast paced world, it takes a very special person to appreciate this slow, calming, rhythmic hobby. A knitting expert says that even the most complex knitting patterns are repetitive, based on combining two stitches—knit and purl. Indeed since the 70s and 80s, countless artists have knitted art forms and blanketed trees, bicycles, and other shapes with their knits and purls. 

The original “knitter”, if there is such a word, is God. He knit us carefully in our mother’s womb. We too are a work of art, and just as it is barbaric to destroy an artist’s masterpiece, it is unthinkable that abortion is actually protected by law in some parts of the world. 

The making of a baby is magical and awesome and mysterious. Science can study and explain what happens inside the womb, but no one on earth can create a baby out of nothing. Only God can. Scientists are experimenting with creating embryos from skin cells and maybe one day they will be able to, but the building blocks come from God. All of us, each one of us, come from God’s creative hand. Each one of us is His masterpiece, loved and carefully knit together. Let us see each other as brothers and sisters. Let us value one another as God values and loves us. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Passing Away

“For the world in its present form is passing away.” 1 Corinthians 7:31

No one can doubt that the world is changing very fast. It seems to me that instead of uniting under truth, under goodness and righteousness, people are moving in different directions. Of course there was and is always evil under the sun. I may be mistaken but I think that before, people who had wrong tendencies would not be outspoken and proud to talk about it. People would also not applaud and approve these perverse ideas. Now we can hear it all over TV, comments on Facebook, magazines and radio. A man tweeted that he would support the President even if he raped his wife! 

Should we be alarmed for ourselves and for our children? Scott Hahn, a former Presbyterian who is now a Catholic theologian, said that this world of ours is a great saint making machine. I don’t think God looks down at the world with dismay and anger but with love. God’s love will always find a way to get us into heaven, even if it is through the hell of this world. 

We should be aware that “time is running out” (1 Cor. 7:29). For each of us, the sand in the hourglass is pouring relentlessly and we do not know when God will turn it around and say, “Enough!” When we are aware of the brevity of life, that we should not waste an hour, a minute, a second of it, in useless pursuit of things that will not count for anything in the yardstick of eternity, then we will attain the wisdom of the ages. This is certainly much easier said than done. 

But God is the giver of every good thing. We can trust Him to be patient with us, forgiving, generous and faithful. All of these we should try to be to those who think wrongly, act unjustly, and speak with a forked tongue. That is how we become saints! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A Whole Night in Prayer

"Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, 
and He spent the night in prayer to God. 
When day came, He called the disciples to Himself and from them He chose twelve." 
Luke 6:12

Before Jesus chose the twelve apostles 
(from the Greek word meaning "one who is sent away", like a messenger or ambassador), He prayed. This was a very important decision. Jesus prayed the whole night!

Most of the time, my prayers bring good fruit. Someone gets healed. A problem is solved. A sister gets a job. We reach somewhere safely. I have been praying big and small prayers since I was very young. 
But sometimes my prayers are not answered. My mother died 4 years ago. I am still waiting for God to answer my prayers for my father, and brother, and Arnold, and many other brothers and sisters. 

But I look at Jesus and see that after praying the whole night up in the mountain (not in the comfort of His bed), 
He still chose one man, Judas Iscariot. 
We can't say that was a good choice, can we? But I do believe it was an inspired choice. In a way, because of Judas and what he did, I am saved. Because of Judas, God's plan was fulfilled. But what of Judas? God only knows. If only he repented.

So when my prayers aren't answered 
the way I want God to answer, I can only look to Jesus' prayer on the mountain 
and trust that God knows best. He has His own purposes. A bigger plan. A grander vision. I need only to stay in faith and trust that He has my very best in mind.

My 92-year old father has been lying in bed for the past weeks. One verse he often repeats to all of us is, Romans 8:28. “ALL things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Stretch Out Your Hand

"Stretch out your hand.” Luke 6:10

“Stretch out your hand,” Jesus said to the man with a withered right hand, and the hand was restored. I remember another story in the Bible where God said those exact same words to Moses when the Israelites were being pursued by the Egyptians. They were in a panic because they were hemmed in by the all the forces of the Pharaoh’s army and the sea. Moses stretched out his hand and a path opened up through the sea and the Israelites were saved. 

This morning I was listening to Ravi Zacharias on Youtube. He told the story of a man who called him up at his office. This man asked Ravi if he prayed for healing because he was paralyzed from the neck down. He was at a sports event organised by his company, and during a game of baseball, he rammed himself into another player, severing his neck. The doctors said he would be paralyzed for the rest of his life. Ravi is a great preacher but he is not known to have the gift of healing. Some years later, a woman cornered Ravi. “Do you remember the paralyzed man who called you to ask about healing? He’s my brother. I just want you to know he’s healed.”

Sometimes we are caught between a rock and a hard place. Life can seem hopeless and we can think we are abandoned by God. It may seem too simple, but if we stretch out our hand to God and stay in faith, He will touch us in ways that will amaze us. His answers may not be what we expect but trusting God is the best way to live our life. 

“Fear not! Stand your ground and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today... The Lord Himself will fight for you; you only have to keep still.” Exodus 14:13-14

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Be strong!

“Be strong, fear not! Here is your God...” 

Isaiah 35:4

C.S. Lewis believed that “pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” God must be shouting into His megaphone right now because there is so much pain and suffering in the world. Just last week super typhoon Jebi slammed into Japan with winds that went over 209 kph. One million people were evacuated. Then if that wasn’t enough disaster to deal with, a strong 6.7 magnitude earthquake triggered horrific landslides that destroyed and buried many homes and roads in Hokkaido. It’s not only nature that deals us heavy blows, men with perverted hearts cause so much pain and heartache when they give in to their lust for pornography, sodomy, murder, power, etc. The world is in need of healing and renewal, and that’s an understatement. 

When we depend on men to solve the world’s problems, it only gets worse. Take for example, our President’s solution to the drug menace in our country. He advises us, and our police, our law enforcers to murder the drug addicts and drug pushers. “Kayong nandiyan sa neighborhood ninyo (Those among you in your respective neighborhoods), feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun, you have my support," he said. Will making killers of our people solve the problems we face as a nation? 

Isaiah continues, “Here is your God, He comes with vindication; with divine recompense He comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf be cleared...” Let us pray that indeed God will show His face to us, and open the eyes and ears, not only of the President and other political, social and religious leaders, but all of us who need His mercy and wisdom. 

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Unfolding God’s Plan

“God is with us.” Matthew 1:23

The study of Scripture is amazing! You can find so many parallels in the Old Testament that finds fulfilment in the New. This shows me that what we believe in is not made up by man but planned by God for thousands of years. He journeys with man. In the Anawim meditation this morning, this leapt out for me: “The plan of God gradually unfolded, despite the weaknesses and sins of men. God never thought that sin was a good reason to abandon the human family; He continued to work with us and through us, generation after generation, with our eternal salvation ever in mind.” 

One of God’s greatest gifts to us is Mary, the mother of our Savior. Today we celebrate the feast of her birth. In the Old Testament we see a foreshadowing of her role as Queen Mother of the King as an advocate and intercessor for the people. Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Old Testament was hidden in a cave when the Babylonians were going to sack Jerusalem in 587 BC.  In 2 Maccabees 2:7, Jeremiah advises the people who wanted to mark the cave, “No one must know about this place until God gathers his people together again and shows them mercy.” It was never found again. 

But the new Ark of the Covenant did reappear in the form of Mary who gave birth to Jesus in a “cave”, a dark stable. The old Ark contained three things, a copy of the Ten Commandments, a bowl of manna, and the budding staff of Aaron which was the symbol for the high priest. Inside Mary’s womb, was the Word made flesh, the bread of heaven, and the great High Priest. 

There are so many other parallels and echoes and foreshadowing in Scripture that cannot be discounted as signs God has left to show us His amazing plan. Let us be confident that even in the midst of turmoil in the Church, God will work all things together for good for us who love Him and are called according to His purpose. 

Thank you to the Prisma app for all the variations of my original art!!! 

Friday, September 07, 2018

Mysteries of God

“...stewards of the mysteries of God.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-5

The complete sentence in St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians reads: “Brothers and sisters: Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” The word “mystery” means to me what cannot be fully understood. We will never be able to unpack God’s mysteries completely, but astoundingly, He gives us access to it as His stewards, His caretakers. We are in a privileged position BUT in verse 5, St. Paul cautions, “Do not make any judgement before the appointed time, until the Lord comes, for He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness...”

This admonition is so fitting for our time when there is so much upheaval in our country and our Church. I can be so judgmental when I do not try to see things through God’s eyes. I can be horribly unforgiving and unrelenting in my discriminations. My sister said yesterday that probably our President is so skewed in his thinking because as a child, he was abused by a priest as he has revealed many times. Being taken advantage of by someone you trust can really scar you emotionally and stunt your growth into a right thinking adult. Only God knows. We may condemn the things men do, but never the sinner. 

“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen,” as Jesus said in Matthew 20:16. In humility let us leave the judging to God and as trustworthy caretakers, do the work God has for us. 

Thursday, September 06, 2018

The Impossible

“Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? or who may stand in His holy place?” Psalm 24:3

Yes who? It seems as if our country and our Church are filled with people who do not know right from wrong! The answer follows: “He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain.” I’m sure that discounts me! It discounts Saint Peter as well, who claimed in today’s Gospel, Luke 5:1-11, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Peter realized his sinfulness and his need for Jesus. 

When we realize our sinfulness, see that our wisdom is foolishness in God’s eyes and become aware of our pressing need for Him, we can depend on God to redeem us just as He did Peter. He gave Peter many chances. He did not forsake Peter even when Peter abandoned Him in cowardice. We too can take courage that God will use us even in our frailty, make our hearts new, and cleanse our dirty hands. Let us always take the time to connect with the only One who can do the impossible and bring us into His holy place. 

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

WOYWW: God’s Garden

I started with the painting below. 

Then I used the Prisma app to alter it. 

So fascinating!

I ended up with this one- 

“We are God’s garden.” 1 Corinthians 3:9

This is one of my favorite, favorite verses. I’ve illustrated it, I’ve given workshops, and meditated on it several times. But the main reason why I love it so much is because when I was on my last singles’ retreat, I was before the Blessed Sacrament, and God have me my first and only vision. 

I was in a beautiful garden, a wildly amazing, magnificent garden. And Jesus was with me. He said, “This is my garden. I am the gardener here. I take care of all of these plants. I prune each and every one of them. Come and I will show you a plant I do not prune.” He led me down the path to a dead, decaying tree. It was of course brown and shrivelled. “ I am sure you do not like to be like this plant.” 

You see ever since I was young, my prayer was, “Please treat me gently, Lord.” I did not want trials or challenges. I did not want hardship to enter my life, and God answered my prayer. It was as if Jesus was telling me that it could not go on. If I was to bloom the way He wanted, He would have to prune me. What a kind way of preparing me for the “pruning” of marriage! Not that Luigi, my husband, was the “pruning hook” he calls himself, but marriage was certainly not the easy, carefree life that I was used to! 

We are God’s garden. He takes care of each and every one of us in His garden. He knows exactly how much water, sun or shade, nurturing and pruning we need to make us bloom and grow. We just need to trust Him! 

Tuesday, September 04, 2018


“They were spellbound by His teaching...”

 Luke 4:32

Imagine if Jesus were the one preaching on a Sunday! We would be as spellbound as the listeners in the synagogue because He spoke with authority. Even if He spoke for more than an hour or two or three hours, our hearts would burn within us just as the two walking to Emmaus in Luke 24. “Beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” If only what Jesus said on this journey were written down for us to read! It would have been fascinating! 

We have to remember that Jesus explained to them things concerning Himself in the OLD Testament. There were references to Jesus in all those old books! From Genesis 3:15, where there is mention of the enmity between the serpent and the woman’s seed, to the last book of the Old Testament, where the prophet Malachi prophecies that “the day is coming...the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings”. 400 years later and indeed the Son of all righteousness was born to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). 

In every book in the Old Testament, we can see signs and references to Jesus and His redeeming work, life and sacrificial death on the cross, and resurrection. It is like a treasure hunt to find it all. It’s not so hard with Google’s help! We have to delve deeper into Scripture so our roots will get buried so deep in God’s work and revelation, no sinister work of the serpent can pry us loose from God’s love and plan for us. 

Monday, September 03, 2018

Loving God’s Law

“How I love your law, O Lord! It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97

Love is a curious idea. The word is bandied about so much, it has lost much of its original meaning. When my nephew Christopher brought a stray cat home, he and his siblings pleaded with my sister Peggy and my brother-in-law to let it stay. It was a scrawny, ugly thing, but Peggy decided that she would love whom her children love. It would be practice for when they brought home their chosen life partner. She grew to love Truffles even if she was a cranky, highly emotional cat who scratches at the least provocation, and only seemed to return Chris’ affection. Now they have three cats, Truffles, Oreo and Pepper, my silent companions when I am outside in the garden praying and reading my Bible. My family shares a garden with my sister’s family. 

I use this as an example of how one can learn to love. It’s not usually an automatic “love at first sight” sort of thing. When I started reading the Bible, it was hard going. If it was a love affair, it was an on again, off again dalliance, with me stopping as soon as there was something I read that I disagreed with. Then I would go back to it, and begrudging read without quite knowing what I was reading and where I was going. That phase took years. Then after a Life in the Spirit Seminar when someone prayed over me, I started reading the Bible as if there was a flashlight on the words and everything was important. That phenomenon did not last long but I got the impetus to read the Bible every day. 

Whenever we offer God something of ours, our time, energy, whatever, we always receive more in return. Today I can say that opening God’s book is like opening up a palace of treasures and I look forward to reading scripture. A dear sister talked to me yesterday during our prayer meeting. She said she gets excited reading the Bible in the morning. I can totally relate. The Word is beautiful, compelling, pregnant with meaning, and it speaks to us whatever our circumstance. My day would not be complete without it. Truly I love Your Word O Lord! 

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Defiled Church

“...the things that proceed out of a man are what defile a man.” Mark 7:15

Many are disturbed and furious and want to leave the Catholic Church because of all the abuses that were exposed, and now with Cardinal Vigano’s 11 page letter implicating even Pope Francis and other top prelates, even more so. 

I never thought the Catholic Church was perfect or filled with holy men and women. Ever since the time of Christ, there were snakes in the grass like Judas. There were Popes who were corrupt and who had mistresses and several children. In 1 Peter  5:8, the first leader of the Church warns, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The enemy is out to destroy the Church, the same way he is out to destroy our country, our community, our families, our souls! 

I understand people who want to leave the Catholic Church. Superficially there is nothing that makes you want to stay, the homilies of a lot of priests are generally bad, and although churches in the Philippines are usually packed, most who attend are at best nominal Christians who don’t open the Bible. 

But those who read the early Church fathers will discover that true worship the way it was done in the early Church can only be found in the Catholic Church. In all the earliest churches built in Israel, Turkey, Egypt and Greece, at the very center you could find an altar where the sacrifice was offered. The very first Christians went to mass on Sundays and received what they also called the Eucharist. They went to Confession. These first Christians lived, worshipped, and died without the New Testament to guide them but they were willing to die for the faith! There was no such thing as “Sola Scriptura”! 

Just because there’s something horribly wrong with our family, we don’t leave it. We pray hard and help to fix the wrong. We don’t abandon the ship and look for a raft to bring us home. We stay on the ship and fix the leaks. 

Father, forgive us our sins. Heal our Church. Heal those who have been hurt. Bring to justice those who have committed unspeakable sins, and those who have covered for them. Cleanse our Church O Lord. You are our only hope. Your will be done! 

Saturday, September 01, 2018

The Master’s Joy

“Come share your Master’s joy.” Matthew 25:21

In Matthew 25, Jesus gives us the gift of another parable. A rich man goes off on a journey and entrusted talents to each of his servants. Today we think of talents as a special ability. A talent in Jesus’ day was a measure of the weight of gold or silver so one talent in today’s equivalent would be about more than a million dollars. One servant was given 5, the second one two, and the third, one. When he left, the first servant immediately went and used the talents, maybe bought a boat and started fishing and sold fish. The second one probably went to Divisoria and bought stuff to sell. The third one dug a hole in the ground and hid it. 

When the Master came back after a long time, he called his servants and settled accounts with them. He was so happy that the first one doubled his talents that he exclaimed, “Well done, my good and faithful servant! Since you were faithful with small matters, I will put you in charge of many things! Come, share your master’s joy! Celebrate with me!” The same thing happened with the second servant who was also able to double the talents entrusted to him. 

But alas! The third servant received a tongue whipping! “Wicked and lazy! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten! Throw this useless servant into the darkness outside!” 

When we use our creativity and imagination, when we work hard, using the gifts and talents God generously gave each of us, we do experience joy! It is the same joy that God experienced in Genesis when He created the heavens and the earth. God totally revelled in making all the magnificent birds, fishes and flowers. He took great pleasure in forming the corals in Coron, the Niagara, Mount Everest, the VY Canis Majoris. “God saw that it was good,” is repeated so many times in Genesis. I believe that God wanted us to have that same kind of triumph and exhilaration when we too make something out of what has been given us. The first servant IMMEDIATELY went out to use the talents. He was that excited. We too should be excited to use whatever resources we have at our disposal. At the end, we will have to show God what we have done with the talents he gifted us with. I hope God will say to each of us, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the fullness of my joy!”