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Sunday, December 25, 2016

My Lord says ... John 1:1-18


*SUNDAY GOSPEL


1 In the beginning was the Word, 
And the Word was with God, 
And the Word was God.

2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be 4 through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; 5 the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 A man named John was sent from God. 7 He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. 12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, 13 who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. 

14 And the Word became flesh 
And made his dwelling among us, 
And we saw his glory, 
The glory as of the Father’s only Son, 
Full of grace and truth.

15 John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.' 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, 17 because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.



THE WORD

There are only two words that anyone can often use everyday in communicating with others – good and bad words.  To simply know which of the two have we often used everyday in dealing with others, their differences are briefly cited here – good words that can comfort, uplift, soothe, encourage, strengthen, sympathize, and boost the moral aspects of a person, while bad words that can discourage, frustrate, disappoint, insult, humiliate,  and put down the moral aspects of a person. Which of the two do we often use everyday? Do we put value to every word we use to express our thoughts and feelings to others? Do we really mean what we have spoken or we don’t?  Have we already made or broke a promise to somebody?

I have a close friend whose husband often curses everyday, whether he is angry or not.  She hates hearing her husband express this bad word (the F- word) to anybody whether to her and children, family members, and friends.  Because she didn’t grew up in a family where cursing is allowed to be expressed, she wants her children not to imitate their father’s way of bad verbal expression.   She believes that the power of such words can greatly affect someone’s psychological, spiritual, mental, and emotional aspects of a person.  Mentally, she believes that a person, who curses often, has no mental ability to think what is appropriate  or not appropriate to do.  If he knows good manners and right conduct, a person will not express such bad / ill words.  What comes out of a person's mouth, especially, unkind or bad words determines an aspect of that person's character.  Psychologically, it can greatly influence the self-image of a person hearing it.  It can make the kind of character you will be by how you speak and act. Emotionally, cursing brings about negativity that can resonate to anyone hearing it.  In other words, cursing is like a spear that can pierce a person’s heart, a long-lasting effect that will linger on even when you grow old.  Spiritually, Christian religion teaches no harm to others, whether physically or emotionally.   It can somehow influence others who are members of religious community of such ill manners and conduct. Good words come only from God for His words are perfect and everlasting. 


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👼👼 Merry Christmas 👼👼
to all!!! 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

My Lord says ... Matthew 1:18-24


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

THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD

*Sunday Gospel
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.  When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.  Joseph, her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.  Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,  “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take  Mary your wife into your home.  For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.  She will bear a son and you are to name Him, Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 

 Behold, the virgin shall conceive 
and bear a son,
and they shall name Him, 
Emmanuel, which means,  
“God is with us.”    

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

*In deep thoughts


I WAS MADE TO LIVE
There was an instance in my life that I didn’t know why it just happened.  I went with the flow without asking why and didn’t feel any  hurt feelings, but compassion and love only.  But one thing I’m sure about  – I’m very happy that I was made to live. 

My mother told me something about me before I was born.  Due to the sudden death of my father, my mother was so desperate and didn’t know how to cope emotionally and financially to raise up three small children and me (not yet born). The unimaginable truth she confessed to me was -- she planned to abort me when I was still four months in her womb. (Oh my! I was stunned, but I still continued to listen to her story.)  She said she was always crying in her grief during her period of pregnancy with me. (It’s no wonder, I become a “Cry Baby” myself.)  It was only after her own mother convinced her not to do it that she decided not to do it.  (Thank you, Lord.  You enlightened and guided my mother.) 

At the end, I didn’t ask my mother what was her feelings after her confession.  I know deep in her heart that she regret thinking about that wrong decision.  Even just a thought of doing such decision, it has caused her pain till in her old age and confessing it to me was a big relief in her mind and heart.  From her emotional trauma during those years, she emerged as a strong person and a winner in my heart today.  As I mentioned earlier --- I’m very happy that I was made to live.  No hurt feelings against my mother. No arguments, but a heart to heart talk with most important thing to give -- forgiveness. No regrets having her as my mother, even though I grew up without a father. She did a lot of sacrifices for us as a single parent.   She did what she could do to provide for us and I’m proud of her as a mother in spite of everything.     



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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, December 11, 2016

My Lord says ... Matthew 11:2-11



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

*SUNDAY GOSPEL

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question,  “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”  Jesus said to them in reply,  “Go and tell John what you hear and see:  the blind regain their sight,  the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.  And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” 

As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John,  “What did you go out to the desert to see?  A reed swayed by the wind?  Then what did you go out to see?  Someone dressed in fine clothing?  Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.  Then why did you go out?  To see a prophet?  Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.  This is the one about whom it is written: 

          Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;  
                    he will prepare your way before you.

Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist;  yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

FRIENDS FOREVER
A close friend of mine was emotionally devastated when she found out that her husband was having an affair.  She went to my place and cried out all her marital problems.  She didn’t know that until their common friend saw her husband with the other woman in a certain place.  My close friend happened to meet this common friend in a grocery store and informed her about that incident. She confronted her husband about it and without remorse, he admitted his illicit affair with the woman.  Not knowing what to do, she informed her parents-in-law about it. But instead of condemning the act, the more they criticized her.   She left them with a heavy heart and decided to leave the house. Nowhere to go, she brought her two young children to my house.  I offered her my place to stay to help her be relieved temporarily from her emotional trauma... 

I know it's a long journey to emotional recovery and to pray continuously for someone is mostly needed, not only in times of problems and struggles, but also when the situation in our life is still manageable. We’ve been friends for more than twenty years.  Whenever I have a problem, too, I run to her for help or advice. She has been a living witness to my kind of life and vice versa.  We both hold a pledge of allegiance to our friendship.  We can’t say “No” to each other when it comes to family matters or problems. We are "Friends Forever." 


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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, December 4, 2016

My Lord says ... Matthew 3: 1-12



Photo Courtesy of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church's bulletin
  
*SUNDAY GOSPEL
John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying,  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”  It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:

A voice of one crying out in the desert, 
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.

John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist.  His food was locusts and wild honey.  At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. 

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them,  “You brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.  And do not presume to say to yourselves,  “We have Abraham as our father.”  For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.  Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.  Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.  I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.  I am not worthy to carry His sandals.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fan is in His hand.  He will clear His wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”




BEING THE MESSENGER AMONG US

In our life, there is always a member of the family or other people who tells us what is right and what is wrong.  Each of us can act as messenger of God to each other in order to guide, enlighten, and help our brothers, sisters, parents, friends, relatives, and others who are in need or in trouble.   We need to live in righteousness in order for others to follow our good example and live the same way.   But there are people who refuse to live in righteousness probably because they lack knowledge or no one cares to tell them, or just plainly being stubborn to accept that what they are doing is wrong.  There are also other people who influence us  more to do something wrong or just condone the wrongdoings under certain circumstances.

Social influences affect our choices or preferences more than our family does, thereby causing more disagreements and disunity among the family members.  It primarily affects our attitudes towards our relationship with each other, thereby loosing respect, trust, and love for one another.  We also become helpless in certain situations when a family member doesn’t listen or respect us anymore.  In times of trouble, who is really to blame? In times of need, to whom do we go?

My close friend, who is a widow, once cried out to me about her son.  She said her eldest son told her that he likes her girlfriend to stay with him or live as husband and wife without getting married yet.  Her son informed her that his girlfriend is three months pregnant already.  She was really surprised and got mad.  At first,  she didn’t like to agree, but at the end, she agreed because she took pity of her son’s girlfriend.   She lost her job and can no longer work for the meantime because of her situation.  Besides,  her parents didn’t approve their relationship, so she was cast out by her own parents upon learning her situation.  In addition to the problem,  her son has no job yet to provide a living for his future family because he hasn’t finished his college studies yet.    “This is a terrible problem and I still have other responsibility to my other children to provide their needs. I’m the sole breadwinner in the family.  How can I handle this” my friend complained. 

As a friend, it was so hard to judge her decision regarding her eldest son.  Though her heart is full of compassion, she really doesn’t like to tolerate her son’s wrongdoings.  I just left her house with a heavy heart, too, but promised to pray for her and offer his son a job, if there is available in my other friend’s company.     


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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