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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 



Sunday, February 12, 2017

My Lord says ... Matthew 5:17-37


*SUNDAY GOSPEL

17Jesus said to his disciples: 


“Do not think that I have come 
to abolish the law or the prophets. 
I have come not to abolish, but to fulfill. 
18 Amen, I say to you, 
until heaven and earth pass away, 
not the smallest letter 
or the smallest part of a letter 
will pass from the law, 
until all things have taken place. " 

19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  20 I tell you unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  21“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’  


22"But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother 
will be liable to judgment, 
and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ 
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, 
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ 
will be liable to fiery Gehenna."  

23Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you,  24 leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  25 Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.  26 Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny. 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  


28 "But I say to you, 
everyone who looks at a woman 
with lust 
has already committed adultery 
with her in his heart."  

29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.  30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.  31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.’  


32 "But I say to you, 
whoever divorces his wife 
— unless the marriage is unlawful — 
causes her to commit adultery, 
and whoever marries a divorced woman 
commits adultery."  

33 Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.’ 


34 But I say to you, do not swear at all; 
not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;  
35 nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; 
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.  
36 Do not swear by your head, for you cannot 
make a single hair white or black. 


37"Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ 
and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ 
Anything more is from the evil one."

  
SAYING YES OR NO
When my children were growing up, they usually asked something from me, like going out to malls, beach outing, buying new clothes, shoes, and bags, reward for something good done,  etc.  I always see to it that if I make a promise to them, I can fulfill that promise.  Saying ‘yes’ to their needs or desires means a lot to them.  But on the other hand,  saying ‘no’ to them, breaks my heart because I can’t afford to give or provide everything  to them, even though I like to give it to them.  There were instances that no matter how I explained the reason behind my saying ‘no’,  they would not believe it.   They wouldn’t argue with me, but I could see in their facial expression the frowning, eyes either rolling up or lowering like a tamed dog with heads down  as they walked away.   

I worked hard for my 4 children and sending them to college caused me a lot of money.  In our culture, we don’t allow our children to work while studying.  They will start working only after they finish their college degree.  Education is the only thing I can provide them and serve as my legacy being a parent.  We don’t belong to a rich family, but somehow we always have food on the table 3 times a day.  I have to balance what is a “need”  and what is  a “desire” only. Likewise, I have to balance when I should be saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to them.

Being a parent is a very hard role to tackle in life.  Disciplining children is the hardest part, especially when they reach the teenage life.  Parents have different ways of disciplining their children, while some may not discipline their children at all.  If the children become disobedient and disrespectful when they grow up, it is like a sword that pierces the heart of any parent.  On the other hand, it can be a good accomplishment for any parent if the children become respectful and obedient as they mature.  How are we as a parent?


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


Monday, February 6, 2017

My mind tells... Everybody Knows and Nobody Knows


Everybody knows that water is essential.  But nobody can know when the water supply in your community will run out or be contaminated with chemicals, solid particles, and other toxic elements.  This also holds true when any accident or  natural calamity will happen. I would like other people to know about our own experience with this water problem which I think is really worth sharing.  I’m writing this article, not to endorse any product but, to make other people become aware of what bottled water to buy.  Be health conscious and spend wisely. Likewise, we also don’t have to wait for another water problem before we decide to save a clean, filtered water at home.  Whatever situation you might be in,  remember to stay calm, focus, and find a solution to that problem. Here’s how our story goes--  

The Welder and I have a country living.  We have a good supply of water for years, but one night, there was a great surprise to us.  I was in the kitchen filling up a big cup with water and then poured it in the pitcher with zero-water filter.   After that, I noticed there was something different in the water that hadn’t been passing through the filter yet.  I thought I was just having difficulty seeing things clearly.  I even brought the pitcher with water under the light to see it clearly.  I set aside my doubt about the water and went to our bathroom.  I flushed our toilet and found out that I was really right about my doubt.  The color of the water in the toilet was even darker than the water I got from the kitchen water faucet.  I told the Welder about it, but since it was Sunday night, he couldn’t call somebody in the water district office to ask what was wrong with the water supply.  So the following day, Monday, he called the office and he was informed that there was a leakage in the next county area. Somebody from the office told him that it was still safe to drink the water.  So the Welder still drunk that light colored water for a day, but I didn’t.  I told him that I neither would like to drink that water nor use it for my cooking  until it is really clear. The following day, the Welder told me that he wasn’t going to drink that water anymore because it tasted metallic.  For 4 days we had colored water from the kitchen and bathroom water faucets, but we didn’t buy gallons of water from Walmart.  Why? Because we have a supply of clean, filtered gallons of water at home  that I already saved for many months ahead of this situation.  Before we used the water in those gallons, I tested first the water with our zero-water tester. It still reads ‘000’ which means the water has no residue of any solid particles or toxic elements, even though they were stored for many months.  The truth is, instead of throwing empty water gallons to the trash can, I save these water gallons the Welder buys every time he goes to a job in different states.  I patiently filter the water and let him bring these gallons of water always whenever he has a job, instead of buying them again from Walmart.  From then on, he decided to buy another zero water pitcher for his own use while staying in a motel.



But one time while staying in a hotel in Newport News, Virginia, I saw black particles in the water under my own naked eyes while pouring it into the zero water pitcher. So the Welder decided to buy two 2.5 gallons of water, but we were able to use only one 2.5 gallons of water. He told me to just let the water from the faucet run for a while before getting water and pour it into our zero water pitcher. So after his job was over, we brought this unused one 2.5 gallons of water at home for storage.

After this water incident in our own house, I got this unused 2.5 gallons of water out from the storage. Out of curiosity,  I thought of checking the reading of this water and we were surprised to know that the zero-water tester read it as  “147”.  I poured the same water into the zero water pitcher and after it was filtered, I dipped the tester into it.  We were surprised again to know that the reading was “000” already.  The Welder said, “I think this bottled water must never be trusted, even if it says, it has been filtered and ozonated.”

I just tested one brand, but never tested yet other brands of bottled water from the grocery store. We are glad that this water incident led us to know that not all bottled water are filtered well. So we should be more conscious of the bottled water we are buying and drinking.  We also feel glad that, in time of any water problem, my effort in saving many gallons of filtered water at home is worthy of doing it.  I would also to like to inform that not all water filters are worth buying it because the other water filter brand I bought before and used it for years was not. Now, I even regret having bought 2 pitchers with this kind of water filter brand. Viewers, in your own opinion, do you think we wasted our money on it?             


Different Brands of Bottled Water
These are the different brands of bottled water that we bought and consumed.  Remember, we should be wise and selective in buying bottled water.  Not all bottled water go through the same method of how they should be filtered and processed effectively to produce a clean water, free of contaminants.  It's still your choice which one to buy.  


Sunday, February 5, 2017

My Lord says ... Matthew 5:13-16


*SUNDAY GOSPEL

Jesus said to his disciples: 


“You are the salt of the earth."

But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 


"You are the light of the world." 

A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lamp stand, where it gives light to all in the house.  Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”


SALT AND LIGHT OF THE FAMILY
As the youngest one in the sibling of four, I look up to my eldest brother as my guidance counselor when it comes to family matters.  But when it comes to business matters, I look up to my elder brother and my only sister as my guidance counselors.  I both love and respect them all and the feelings are  mutual.  I consider them all the “salt of the family.” There is no best thing in a family household that anybody wants to have and feel other than the guidance, support, and care a family member can give, especially when one is in need or has a problem. 

When my eldest brother died, it seemed the whole world collapsed on my head and the whole family.  It’s hard to define the pain when  a loved one in the family died.  But his memories have stayed on in our  hearts.  His guidance and love he planted in the hearts of his own family can be seen on how his own children act in his absence.  His children always show their love, respect, and care for their mother. In times of family problems, they gather together and talk about how to solve it. There is no sibling rivalry among them, but only unity and support for one another.  

The effectiveness of being the "salt of the family" should also be reflected on how effectively the person puts into action the guidance he receives in his life.  It's also a two-way process. It's not only a matter of hearing it and passing through one ear to another ear, but there must be determination and perseverance to fulfill the responsibility.  As to put in simple words, “One must put into practice the knowledge or wisdom he or she has received.”  It’s not only talking and talking, but when nothing is being done, it becomes useless.   On the other hand, it’s not only hearing and hearing, but when nothing is being done,  it becomes useless also. 

Likewise, anyone can be the “light of the family” who knows that what he or she is speaking, is the real truth driven with a good purpose to guide, enlighten, and share the knowledge and wisdom  of life with those who has no belief and not even trusting God, but only himself or herself.  The family is the unit structure of the society. It's where our initial set of values are cultivated and molded in our hearts and thoughts.  They can be seen in the interactions of the family household and whatever behaviors and attitudes developed, can be extended to others or can be influenced by the other or vice versa.  In short, whatever a parent does, so the children, too.   Whatever a friend does, so the other friend does it, too. In our daily activities, we may start reflecting by asking ourselves, “How are we living our life today?  

    

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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