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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



Sunday, April 9, 2017

My Lord says ... Matthew 27:11-54


*SUNDAY GOSPEL

11Jesus stood before the governor, Pontius Pilate, asked Him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  Jesus answered,  “You say so.”  12The chief priests and the elders of the people  accused Him, but He made no answer.  13Pilate said to Him, “Do you hear all the charges they bring against you?”  14But He did not answer even one question, so that the governor wondered greatly.

15At Passover, it was customary for the governor to release any prisoner the people asked for.  16Now, there was a well-known prisoner called Barabbas.  17When the people had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Whom do you want me to set free: Barabbas or Jesus called the Messiah?”  18for he knew that Jesus had been handed over to him out of envy.  19While Pilate was sitting in court, his wife sent him this message, “Have nothing to do with that holy man.  Because of Him, I had a dream last night that disturbed me greatly.”

20But the chief priests and elders of the people stirred up the crowds, to ask for the release of Barabbas and the death of Jesus.  21When the governor asked them again, “Which of the two do you want me to set free?” they answered, “Barabbas!”  22Pilate said to them,  “Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?”  They all said,  “Crucify Him!” 23Pilate asked, “Why? What evil has He done?” But they shouted louder, “Crucify Him!”

24Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, and that there could be a riot.  He asked for water, washed his hands before the people, and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.  Do what you want!”  25And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”  26Then Pilate set Barabbas free, but had Jesus scourged, and handed over to be crucified. 

27Then the Roman soldiers took Jesus into the palace of the governor and the whole troop gathered around Him.  28They stripped Him and dressed Him in a purple cloak.  29 Then, weaving a crown of thorns, they forced it onto His head, and place a reed in His right hand.  They knelt before Jesus and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”  30They spat on Him, took the reed from His hand and kept struck Him on the head with it.

31When they had finished mocking Him, they pulled off the purple cloak, and dressed Him in His own clothes, and led Him out to crucify Him.  32On the way they met a man from Cyrene called Simon, and forced him to carry the cross of Jesus.  33When they reached the place called Golgotha, which means the Skull, 34they offered Him wine mixed with gall.  He tasted it, but would not drink it.  35There they crucified Him, and divided His clothes among themselves, casting lots to decide what each one should take.  36Then they sat down to guard Him.  37The statement of His offense was displayed above His head, and it read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”  38They also crucified two thieves with Him, one on His right hand and one on His left.

39The people passing by shook their heads and insulted Him, saying,  40“Aha!” You, who destroy the temple and in three days rebuild it, save yourself – if You are God’s Son – and come down from the cross!”  41In the same way the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law mocked Him.  42They said, “The man who saved others cannot save Himself.  Let the king of Israel come down from His cross and we will believe in Him.  43He trusted in God; let God rescue Him if God wants to, for He Himself said, “I am the Son of God.” 44Even the thieves who were crucified with Him insulted Him.  

45From midday, darkness fell over all the land until mid-afternoon.  46At about three o’clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice,  
 
“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
which means,

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

47As soon as they heard this, some of the bystanders said,  “He is calling for Elijah.”  48And one of them ran,  took a sponge and soaked it in vinegar and putting it on reed, gave it to Him to drink.  49Others said, “Leave Him alone, let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.”  Then Jesus cried out again in a loud voice and gave up His spirit. 

51At that very moment, the curtain of the temple Sanctuary was in two from top to bottom, the earth quaked, rocks were split,  52tombs were opened, and many holy people who had died were raised to life.  53They came out of the tombs, after the Resurrection of Jesus, entered the Holy City, and appeared to many.   54The captain and the soldiers who were guarding Jesus, having seen the earthquake and everything else that had happened, were terribly afraid, and said, “Truly, this was God’s Son.”  



“She turned her back on me”
My friend was really crying out her heart to me when we met one time.  She told me this devastating statement, “She turned her back on me.”  After all those years of providing for her only daughter’s education and giving her all the support she needed in order to be able to go and find a job abroad, she didn’t care anymore what happens to her afterward.  She made a lot of sacrifices for her just to help her achieve her goal. She borrowed the money from a lender even at a high interest rate. Her daughter promised her that she would pay her back once she becomes stable in her job and would petition her to live with her also.  There was so much happiness in her  and her daughter when her application was approved.

While in abroad,  there was a constant communication either through phone or emails. Then a year had passed, seldom has she called her anymore.  She got hospitalized and her finances got tight due to business losses.  She even tried to ask the help of her cousin to contact her daughter, but to no avail.  Until one day,  she got a call from her daughter that she got married and couldn’t afford anymore to give her the money she owed her.  The saddest part was when she said that her daughter would stop communicating with her because  her husband doesn’t like it.   


She asked, "What have I done to deserve this?" Emotionally and financially devastated, she was left with empty promises and has to shoulder the financial burden by herself.   She said there was a glory in her heart that she was able to provide everything for her only daughter.  But there will be more glory for her, if her daughter will be able to realize what she had done to her.  Only God can be the judge, no one knows, but only in His own time....

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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 2, 2017

My Lord says ... John 11:1-45


*SUNDAY GOSPEL

1Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill. 3So the sisters sent word to Jesus, saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” 4When Jesus heard this he said, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was. 7Then after this he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?” 9Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in a day? If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10But if one walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11He said this, and then told them, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” 12So the disciples said to him, “Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.” 13But Jesus was talking about his death, while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep. 14So then Jesus said to them clearly, “Lazarus has died. 15And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe. Let us go to him.” 16So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go to die with him.” 17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away. 19And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. 21Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” 23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” 24Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Jesus told her, 

“I am the resurrection and the life; 
whoever believes in me, 
even if he dies, will live, 
26and everyone who lives and believes in me 
will never die.

Do you believe this?” 27She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” 28When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, “The teacher is here and is asking for you.” 29As soon as she heard this, she rose quickly and went to him. 30For Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still where Martha had met him. 31So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her, presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, 34and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” 35And Jesus wept. 36So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” 37But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?” 38So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. 42I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” 45Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.



EXPERIENCING DEATH
Probably you have  read and heard from others’ stories that they had experienced death either caused by accident or illnesses. They said their spirit went to another dimension where they didn’t know where that place was. They all have one common experience -- seeing magnificent colorful lights.  As they walked through that long straight endless tunnel, they heard a majestic voice telling them to return because it wasn’t their time yet.  After experiencing death and went back to their physical bodies, it made them realized that death is not something to be afraid of. 

When I told my friend about this story, she told me that she had her own kind of experience about death.  One morning at 7 o'clock, she woke up to bottle feed her more than one year old baby.  She stood up and went to the side table where all the feeding bottles were. While she was preparing the milk, the next thing happened was total blackout.  She didn’t even know what really happened, till she heard her husband’s voice calling her name. He told her that he was awakened by a sudden noise and saw her lying already on the floor.  The milk powder and hot water were spilled on the table and floor.  He said her body was straight and heavy, but he tried to put her back on bed.  He said he couldn’t feel her breathing anymore and even no pulse at all. She regained her consciousness  only after 10 minutes of her husband’s calling her name and shaking her body.  He was terrified for he doesn’t know how to conduct a CPR.  She said she has no health problems or even had been hospitalized due to an illness or had past experiences of collapsing in just an instance like that. So she believed  she didn’t have to go to a doctor for consultation.  She also said that she felt nothing afterwards, never saw any colorful lights, and never heard a majestic voice telling her to return to her body, except her husband’s.  Until now, it never occurred to her again and that experience has been a puzzle to her.   


Different stories of life to cite, but one thing is common -- each one of us has his or her own "timeline." Life is full of challenges and struggles. When one is confronted with a problem and doesn’t know how to deal with it, he or she either tries to commit suicide or face the challenge.   Either way, death occurs to everybody and can be viewed in two different ways—physical and spiritual.  Physically alive, but spiritually dead.  Physically dead, but spiritually alive.  For whoever believes in Jesus, even if he dies, will live and everyone who lives and believes in Him, will never die.  God is truly amazing!!! 

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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, March 26, 2017

My Lord says ... John 9:1-41


*SUNDAY GOSPEL


1As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. 4We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. 


"5While I am in the world, 
I am the light of the world.” 

6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, 7and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” — which means Sent. So he went and washed, and came back able to see. 8His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” 9Some said, “It is,” but others said, “No, he just looks like him.” He said, “I am.” 10So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” 11He replied, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went there and washed and was able to see.” 12And they said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I don’t know.” 13They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. 14Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a Sabbath. 15So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.” 16So some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a sinful man do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17So they said to the blind man again, “What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” 18Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight. 19They asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?” 20His parents answered and said, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for himself.” 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ, he would be expelled from the synagogue. 23For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; question him.” 24So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner.” 25He replied, “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.” 26So they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” 28They ridiculed him and said, “You are that man’s disciple; we are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from.” 30The man answered and said to them, “This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. 32It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.” 34They answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out. 35When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37Jesus said to him, “You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.” 38He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshipped him. Then Jesus said, 


39I came into this world for judgment, 
so that those who do not see might see, 
and those who do see might become blind.” 


40Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, 


“If you were blind, 
you would have no sin; 
but now you are saying, 
‘We see,’ so your sin remains.”




I WAS BLIND
In my previous ways, I used to be firm not to lower my pride or admit my sins or faults or shortcomings.  I was blind thinking that I was always right in everything I was doing.  I would stand firm with my conviction that if somebody in my family did something wrong to me, I would not be the first one to make a gesture of reconciliation. I would not even want to talk to her or him for weeks or even a month.  I held so much grudges in my heart that made me so emotionally unstable.  I was too proud then and not even thinking that I was not even perfect, too.  Then I realized I was wrong.   Now, I have changed and learned to set aside my pride.  I even have learned to admit the slightest mistake or shortcomings I have done by saying, “I’m sorry.”  Most important, for all the past mistakes or sins I did before,  it’s never too late to admit to whom I offended and say, “I’m very truly sorry.”     

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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, March 19, 2017

My Lord says ... John 4:5-42


*SUNDAY GOSPEL


5Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon. 7A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. 9The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” —For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans. — 10Jesus answered and said to her, 


“If you knew the gift of God 
and who is saying to you,
‘Give me a drink,’
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”



11The woman said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” 13Jesus answered and said to her, 


“Everyone who drinks this water 
will be thirsty again; 
14but whoever drinks the water I shall give 
will never thirst; 
the water I shall give 
will become in him 
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 


15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.” 17The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ 18For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” 21Jesus said to her,

“Believe me, woman, 
the hour is coming when you will worship the Father 
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 
22You people worship what you do not understand; 
we worship what we understand, 
because salvation is from the Jews. 
23But the hour is coming, and is now here, 
when true worshipers will worship 
the Father in Spirit and truth; 
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. 
24God is Spirit, and those who worship him 
must worship in Spirit and truth.” 


25The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” 26Jesus said to her, 


“I am He, the One speaking with you.” 


27At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking with her?” 28The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “29Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?” 30They went out of the town and came to him. 

31Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.” 32But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33So the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?” 34Jesus said to them, 


“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me 
and to finish his work. 
35Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here? 
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest. 
36The reaper is already receiving his payment 
and gathering crops for eternal life, 
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together. 
37For here the saying is verified that 
‘One sows and another reaps.’ 
38I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; 
others have done the work, 
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.” 


39Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I have done.” 40When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41Many more began to believe in him because of his word, 42and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

*In deep thoughts …..


GAINED NOTHING, BUT LOSES MORE
I had a close friend  who had financial problems because she told me that she was running short of cash and she needed to pay a creditor, but her clients’ checks were not yet due for deposit.   She turned to me for financial help and promised me that she would pay me back as soon as she had her clients’checks encashed.   I didn’t have enough money to lend her the full amount she was asking for.  I didn’t have any business like her. But I gave an amount that I could only afford to give and help a friend.  I trusted her out of our many years of  being friends.  She gave me a check in exchange for the borrowed money.   When the due time came,  I went to the bank and deposited it.  After 3 days of bank clearing, her check bounced.  I called her to inform about it, but she wouldn’t answer.  I called her up several times, but still no answer.  Until I decided to call her husband and informed him about the problem.   He just promised me that he was going to let her know about it and he would let me know also her reply. Days passed no calls from either of them, until I decided to go to her house.  She wasn’t there even her whole family, but their things inside the house were still intact.  After a month, I heard rumors that she fled the country together with her whole family.   Though I was left with no money returned to me, I just felt sad for her.  

For me, money can be earned again, but trust can never be gained again.   On the spiritual side, she gained nothing from me, but loses her soul.  Besides these, I still felt lucky not to be in her shoes. 

May God redeem her and her family from all their troubles and lead them to the straight path that God intents them to walk in. Amen.

********************************************************************************
" 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, March 12, 2017

My Lord says ... Matthew 17:1-9


*SUNDAY GOSPEL


1Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. 3And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, 


“This is my beloved Son, 
with whom I am well pleased;
 listen to him.”


6When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” 8And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone. 9As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”




NEVER TOO LATE TO CHANGE
I have a cousin who always goes to church and visit the Blessed Sacrament every night after the end of business day. Every time we see other, my ears are always open to what her heart is speaking out as a mother.  She always prays for her son’s conversion who is becoming abusive of himself. Her son is into smoking marijuana, gambling, womanizing, and going out to bar to have a drink every night.  He never worked after graduating from college.  He enjoys being with his friends only and never even helped her in their business.   Arguments have been the daily happenings in their household.  Whatever pleadings her mother ask him to  change his ways, always become futile.  The more he plays deaf and ignores her.  She never stopped praying for more than five years.

Until one day, she came to know that her son impregnated his girlfriend.  Her son doesn’t know what to do because his girlfriend’s family doesn’t approve of the relationship. The reasons -- he has no job to support a family and he has many vices. At the end, this didn’t stop her son from proving to his girlfriend’s family that he is capable of becoming a responsible man.  From then on and after the birth of his own son,  my cousin’s son who used to cause his mother’s heart so much pain, is now a changed man.  It’s really never too late to change for the better.  The challenge he accepted to prove that his girlfriend’s family was wrong, is worth taking the sacrifice he did and worthy of having my cousin’s prayer be answered at the end. 

Transfiguration deep within our hearts and how these changes emanate to others are more important than the physical changes we do to make  us appear more beautiful to others.  It can happen only if we ask for God's graces to allow it. Refusal to change is another problem.  


*********************************************************************************
" 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, March 5, 2017

My Lord says ... Matthew 4:1-11


*SUNDAY GOSPEL


At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” He said in reply, 


“It is written: 
‘One does not live by bread alone, 
but by every word that comes forth 
from the mouth of God.”


Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, 


“Again it is written, 
‘You shall not put the Lord, 
your God, to the test.”


Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! 


It is written: 
‘The Lord, your God, 
shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.” 


Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.



JUDGE ME NOT
There was an instance during one of my high school years that I was absent from class for one day.   When I came back to school,  our teacher in Geometry gave us a surprise quiz.  I felt uneasy during the quiz for I didn’t know the answer.  I wasn’t prepared for that quiz.  My classmate next to me felt my uneasiness,  so she whispered to me and told me that she can let me copy her answer.  I was hesitant to do it because I might be caught cheating, but my classmate was already showing her paper to me.  My pair of little telescopic eyes became bigger as I looked at her paper.  Afterwards our teacher said, “Time is up. Pass the papers.”  Many years ago had passed…


Teachers really like to give their students a surprise quiz.  During one of my college years also,  I was placed in a different situation. I had a classmate in College Algebra seated next to me.  She wasn’t good in this subject.  She asked me if I could let her copy my answers.  Do know what I did?  I didn’t let her copy my answers.  Why? Because I know it was wrong to cheat  and if I allow her to cheat,  I would be in the same situation as hers – committing a wrongful act.  I was a fool before and I realized my mistake. I don’t like to judge her for acting that way.  In the same way, I don’t like to be judged by anybody.  Mistakes happen, if we allow it to happen. Temptation really abounds in every corner. I repented and that's why I don’t like to be an instrument to others committing a wrongdoing. 


*********************************************************************************
" 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, February 26, 2017

My Lord says ... Matthew 6:24-34


*SUNDAY GOSPEL


24 Jesus said to his disciples: 

“No one can serve two masters. 
He will either hate one and love the other, 
or be devoted to one and despise the other. 
You cannot serve God and mammon. “

25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? 27 Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?"
  
28 Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. 29 But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. 30 If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ 32 All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 

"33 But seek first the kingdom of God 
and His righteousness, 
and all these things 
will be given you besides. 
 34 Do not worry about tomorrow; 
tomorrow will take care of itself. 
Sufficient for a day is its own evil."




DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY
I’m guilty of this for I’m a great worrier.  Before I left to travel back to the United States, I got worried about my mother being left alone in her house.  Her household helper didn’t come back for a week when she took her day off and she promised to be back the following day.  Her daughter was hospitalized due to her kidney problem.  I do understand her situation because I even asked my other family members to provide financial assistance to her. We all contributed for her daughter’s hospitalization expenses. I got into argument with my elder brother suggesting him to transfer our mother to the same place where his elder son is living. In that way, there is at least someone closed by to look after her, even if her household helper will not return anymore.  I told him that it didn’t matter to me whether her household helper would come back or not anymore. My main concern was about our mother’s safety. I informed him that I can help our mother move out by carrying all her personal belongings to the place and arrange them within the remaining two days of my stay. The rest of her hard-to-carry furniture and appliances will just be handled by his workers.  For two days, I texted him about the situation, but there was no response from him.  Early morning, I attended my last mass and lifted up everything in prayers.


While in his office on the day before my departure, he opened up about the subject and  to my surprise, he didn’t approve of my suggestion. Though I left his office with a heavy heart, I felt relieved and happy on the same day also because my mother’s household helper arrived. 


Then after a month, I heard from my niece that my mother moved to the place near where his elder son and his family are living.  What is good for my mother is what matters most to my elder brother and I felt very happy that he agreed at the end. 

*********************************************************************************
" 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, February 19, 2017

My Lord says ... Matthew 5:38-48


*SUNDAY GOSPEL


38 Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. 40 If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. 41 Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 


44 But I say to you, love your enemies, 
and pray for those who persecute you, 
45 that you may be children of your heavenly Father, 
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, 
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

46 For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48 "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”



LOVING YOUR ENEMY
These words are easier said than done. Holding grudges is the biggest obstacle preventing you from loving your enemy.

I can’t count anymore how many times in my life that I held grudges and how many times I forgave those who wronged me, as well.  In spite of this, regardless of whoever wronged me in the past, whether a family member or a friend, moving on is important. Though it’s hard, the will to forgive somebody is emotionally and spiritually rewarding, thus providing a good relief to your whole being. But the problem arises when you don’t know if somebody is holding a grudge against you or not also.  If you  have  done something not to cause any harm to someone intentionally, but unknowingly caused somebody to hold a grudge against you, what will you do?

One instance, when I was already all packed up to travel again, a friend of mine called up to ask a favor.  She wanted me to bring something for her family member.  I denied her request because one bag was already full of my sister’s items to be given to her family members, while the other bag was full of my items to be given to my own family members.  I didn’t have anymore space for my own personal items to use.  Beforehand,  I even asked my own elder daughter to lend me some dress to wear for I brought only my underwears.  I thought my friend understood me, but I was wrong. 

When I came back from my travel, I called her first among my other friends to find out how she was doing.  Her husband answered the phone and he called her, but after a few minutes, the call was cut off.  I wondered why my call was cut off.  So I tried calling her up again twice, but the line got busy already. With the thought of giving her some vegetables from our garden, I called her up again the following week.  She answered the phone, but she lambasted me with unkind words and hung up on me afterwards.  Since then I stopped calling her, until we met one time in a shopping mall.  I greeted her and her husband and she told me that all was well with her feelings.  I explained my side to her and she said she had no grudge against me anymore.  Actually, I had forgiven her for her rudeness towards me even before she forgave me.  I just embraced her, talked with them for a while, and then walked away…..



*********************************************************************************
" 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