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Sunday, January 15, 2017

My Lord says .... Matthew 18:1-5,10


*SUNDAY GOSPEL

1At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child over, places it in their midst, 3and said, 

“Amen, I say to you, 

unless you turn and become like children, 

You will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 
4Whoever humbles himself like this child 
Is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 
5And whoever receives one child 
Such as this in my name receives me. 
10See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
For I say to you that their angels in heaven 
Always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”



*In deep thoughts …

BEING CHILDISH
In any relationship, I’ve heard many times someone say, “You’re being childish.  I don’t like you anymore.  Grow up.”    Is being childish a bad thing or not the right thing to be? What does it take to be childlike that you don’t want to be? 

Whenever my 5-year old granddaughter does something wrong, her mother confronts her and always ask her to say this,  “What will you say?”  Then my granddaughter’s response  always is, “I’m sorry.”  My elder daughter has been training her daughter to take up the responsibility for anything her daughter does wrong by letting her do the correct or proper way of doing things.  Her kind of upbringing her daughter shows the call for an ACTION -- firstly,  to admit the mistake and then express the sincerity of apologizing for the wrongdoing;  secondly, to do the thing the right or proper way;  and thirdly, to keep from doing the same misdeed.  Normally, at this stage, a child is really being programmed to be polite, honest, courteous, responsible, and so forth.  They are doing a great job as responsible parents and setting good examples to their only daughter. 

In reality, when a child  grows up, parents can’t always keep their child from committing a mistake or probably the same wrong doing again.  The truth is -- no one can because we make choices in our life, especially when we become an adult. We are endowed with free will to do things ourselves.  I’ve heard many times, too, people say,  “I’m just human.  I can’t control myself.” That’s why, whatever decision we make, it really does matter.  We should not forget to ask ourselves, “Am I being childish if I do this? 

On the other hand, there are many children in the whole world who are being abused emotionally, physically, and sexually.  Luckily, we were born, nurtured by our parents, and grew up as an adult.  But how about those unborn babies who were not given a chance to live because they were aborted willingly or unwillingly by their own mothers due to many personal reasons?  Children, especially unborn babies who can’t even defend themselves, are exposed to the dangers and contingencies of the world.  Remember, as what our Lord Jesus Christ said,

10See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
For I say to you that their angels in heaven 
Always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”


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" I will sing of your salvation. In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are rock and my fortress. O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. For you are my hope, O Lord, my trust, O God from my youth. On you I depend my birth; from my mother's womb, you are my strength. My mouth shall declare your justice, day by day your salvation. O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds."

Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My Lord says ... Matthew 2:1-12



Photo Courtesy of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church's bulletin

THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

*Sunday Gospel

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw His star at its rising and have come to do Him homage.”  When Kind Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.  They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:  


And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, 
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;  
since from you shall come a ruler, 
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”  

Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child.  When you have found him, bring me word, that I, too, may go and do Him homage.”  After their audience with the king they set out.  And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.  They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house, they saw the child with Mary, His mother.  They prostrated themselves and did Him homage.  Then they opened their treasures and offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.



SHE IS LIKE A RISING STAR
I was surprised and very glad to hear this familiar voice in my Ipad because it has been a long time since we had a heart to heart talk. She was very sad and in despair.  Why?


She had already too much to bear in her heart when her mother died suddenly last May, 2013 (the same month my eldest brother died).  Afterwards, another blow came -- her young nephew was arrested for shooting a man.  He had a drinking spree with his friends when that incident happened. He stole the gun and money from his own grandfather. The man didn’t die, but her nephew was arrested and imprisoned. Her brother seldom visited his son in prison because of his long-distant job, while his mother was hesitant to take him back.  The parents have been living separately since they were young. The mother has already a new family. His only sister was also hesitant to provide moral support to him.   While in prison, her nephew suffered from physical abuses and lack of food.  He had to sleep on the floor because of the crowded prisoners inside a cell and he got sick, too.  I learned from my friend that her nephew was on drugs, too.  While every one in her brother’s family turned their back on her nephew, my friend had been forgiving and compassionate, in spite of what her nephew did.  Her father wanted his grandson to go into a rehabilitation center.  She continued to give guidance and moral support to her nephew and niece, as well as, to her eldest brother.  She constantly called her sister-in-law to beg her to take and let him live with her.  There was a continuous family struggle to maintain peace and harmony…. 

While I was listening to her,  her voice was different than before.  I heard the good news that I have been praying for ---her nephew is already out of prison on a bail bond and has been living with her own mother and stepfather now.   His stepfather got him a job in the same company he has been working.  He is no longer on drugs, too.  

Happiness fills her heart, so is mine, too. She is like a rising star in the cloud of darkness that used to envelope her family.  She led her nephew out of the narrow path where even a small dot of light  wasn’t visible. She didn’t give up on him. Her patience, guidance, compassion, and forgiveness equal to only one thing – LOVE.  



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"I will sing of your salvation. In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are rock and my fortress. O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. For you are my hope, O Lord, my trust, O God from my youth. On you I depend my birth; from my mother's womb, you are my strength. My mouth shall declare your justice, day by day your salvation. O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds."


Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a