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Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Lord says ... John 20:19-31


*SUNDAY GOSPEL


19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” 24Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” 28Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, 


“Have you come to believe because you have seen me? 
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” 

30Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. 31But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.



Believe It or Not

I have four children. I never prayed so hard in my entire life before. I never had been so much a seeker to ask God about this kind of petition because I never did it with my first three children. When I learned that I was pregnant with my youngest one, I decided to be more prayerful, especially during the mass. I was told by a friend that the most effective way to pray is during the consecration of the Holy Eucharist. So since then, every time the priest will raise the Holy Eucharist, I lifted up my petition. I hold on to that hope that my petition would be granted and even made a promise that I will have this child serve Him in the future. I believe that nothing is impossible with Him. So for eight months I did that kind of praying and had kept myself from knowing the sex identity of my child. Till one day, when I went to my obstetrician-gynecologist for my regular pre-natal checkup, she told me that I have to undergo an ultrasound already. I really didn’t want to because I wanted to keep that excitement, till I see my child be born on due date. But there was no choice. My doctor had to know the position of my baby, in case, whether I would have a caesarian section or normal delivery. Surprise, surprise, surprise -- the greatest joy I had felt for my prayer was granted. Believe it or not --- after having three daughters, finally I have a son! Though the promise I made to my Lord has not yet been a fulfillment as of now, my prayer is still on-going. It takes time when the Lord will call him or not, for my heart still believes -- nothing is impossible with Him. 

Believing is not just seeing what you are seeing right now, but continue believing what you can’t still grasp now until the day it will come forth. Believing is hoping and hoping is believing. Trusting on the Lord is both virtues of hoping and believing combined that He will grant our heart’s desire according to His will… according to His plans… according to His purpose… and according to His own time. That’s why I still believe …

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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, April 16, 2017

My Lord says ... John 20:1-9


*SUNDAY GOSPEL


1On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” 3So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. 4They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; 5he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. 6When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, 7and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. 8Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. 9For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.


DYING TO ONESELF
My mother became a widow at the age of 27.  She was four months pregnant with me when my father died.  She had a glorious day when my father was still alive.  She was complete with household helpers to do the house work and a nanny to take care of my eldest siblings.  She was a full-time housewife and a mother and never gone to work.  She was provided with materials things she never had before.  With material blessings, she shared it with her parents (my grandparents) to help them provide for her other siblings’ needs.  But it was short lived because my father was killed by someone who was in argument with him in business.  She was left with nothing because the business that my father used to manage was taken over by his eldest brother.  As usual, she had to rely on him for financial support.  Traditionally, grieving as a widow would take two years before she could be allowed to take the risk of getting married again.  But she didn’t take that kind of risk; instead, she took the risk of providing for our needs by herself alone.


Metaphorically speaking, raising four children is like a "calvary" of parenthood and a "dying to oneself," especially if one is a single parent. It’s a hard task wherein a parent doesn’t think anymore of herself or himself, but only the goodness of her or his own children. Food, clothes, shelter, and education are basic necessities that are hard to provide for.  Heart-breaking sacrifices that can’t be fully compensated by any material wealth only, but by our sense of appreciation, gratitude, service, and respect that should be given to one’s parent, especially in their old age. 

Before, I never realized the sacrifices and concern of my own mother for me, till I became a mother myself.  I made wrong decisions in my life because I disregarded her love and concern for me when I was still young.  But literally, I don’t need to wait for a family member to die before I open up my eyes to the truth and reality of a mother’s love.  Though it was too late before I realized my mistake, but it’s never too late to make up for my own mistakes and shortcomings.  Whatever forms, healing takes time, but I need to take actions to prove my sincerity as a daughter and as a mother also to my children.  Gone the "old self" and comes the "new self" to make everything possible with God's help.

Happy Easter to all!!!



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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