30 August 2010

The Greatness of Humility

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – C – 29 August 2010

Readings: Wis 9:13-18; Ps. 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11; Phile 9b, 12-17; Lk 14:25-33

The Gospel setting and parable this Sunday pertain to banquets, a setting quite familiar to most, if not all, of us. Social life is defined, and social connections are formed and strengthened during banquets – from small family dinners to big feasts where the entire barangay (and beyond) is invited. Parish and barrio fiestas span our entire social and ecclesial calendar. No wonder the banquet setting didn't escape the use of Jesus as a medium of instruction on Christian life. And then, of course, the fount and summit of Christian life is the banquet of the Eucharist.

What Jesus teaches in this passage goes beyond table manners or respect for hierarchy and social status (there is plenty of that already, then and now). Rather, He asks that we examine our inner dispositions. In particular, He stresses the virtue of humility. The First Reading from the Book of Sirach speaks about it most succinctly.

28 August 2010

Litany of Humility

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...

25 August 2010

National Day of Mourning

Pres. Aquino declared today, August 25, as National Day of Mourning in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong, especially the families and loved ones of the victims, over the 8 Hong Kong citizens who were killed in the hostage-taking of a bus by a dismissed police officer.

This is a good start. We mourn and grieve with the victims and their families. We call for the needed reforms to be made, especially at the Philippine National Police, so situations like these may never happen again.

However, several reactions to the incident were definitely not good.

22 August 2010

Faith and the Narrow Gate

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – C – 22 August 2010

Readings: Is 66:18-21; Ps. 117:1, 2; Heb 12:5-7.11-13; Lk 13:22-30

The readings this Sunday tell us, at least, two things:

I. God wants all people to be saved.

Lk 13,29 says: “People will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.” Is 66,18 says: “I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory.”

II. The way to salvation is through the narrow gate.

Lk 13,24 says: “"Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” What does it mean to enter through the narrow gate?

20 August 2010

A Wedding Homily

We are here today to witness and pray for Ferd and Cha who are about to receive the sacrament of matrimony. I do not wish to dispense advice, only to articulate the things already present but which we don't always see.

1. The little things are the big things.

Matrimony is the sacrament of love. And love is made up of the little things. It’s not just about holding hands, it’s the way you hold hands together. It’s not just about having daily conversations, it’s the way you inject kindness and concern when you talk with each other. It’s not just about being naturally thoughtful, it’s the way you create memories and cherish them. It’s not just about being understanding, it’s about being ready to forgive when one is weak or has fallen. It’s not just about helping each other, it’s about making sacrifices so one may help fulfill the other’s dreams.

18 August 2010

Getting to know Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

It seems there is an emerging (non-)Christianity. Or an almost-Christianity. Christian Smith and Melinda Denton, investigators for the National Study of Youth and Religion, call it Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. And it is influencing a majority of today's American youth across religious denominations.

Looks like if "practical atheism" is on one end and traditional religion on the other, MTD would be the middle ground. But there is not much wisdom in this particular middle ground, only that it has become the "dominant civil religion" in America. This alternative faith “feeds on and gradually co-opts if not devours” established religious traditions.

Of course, no one during the study calls himself a moralistic therapeutic deist. The label is a summarizing term. But if the common creed for those who hold this belief may be stated, it would look something like this:

17 August 2010

One-Minute Homily

Motivational speaker and author Tamara Lowe from Christ Fellowship has hit a spiritual nerve, in a good way. Her motivational rap, popularly dubbed "one-minute homily", bashed TV pop culture in favor of the "real superstar" Jesus Christ, and people apparently found it inspiring enough to share it around. This Youtube video alone (and there are other versions of it) has gotten 2.7 million views as of this posting.

Here's the lyrics:

16 August 2010

Requiescat in Pace, Mamo Enzo (+)

DIOCESAN CIRCULAR NO. 17, Series of 2010

To: All Clergy, Religious, and Lay Faithful
Re: Rev. Fr. Lorenzo C. de Leon (+)

Your Reverences, Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Peace in the Lord!

Our beloved REV. FR. LORENZO COLIPANO DE LEON passed away on 13 August 2010 at 10:30 p.m. He suffered a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Aquinas University Hospital in Legazpi City. He was 66 years old.

Mamò Enzo was born on 10 March 1944 in Tiwi, Albay. He was ordained priest on 28 November 1970 by His Holiness Pope Paul VI at Rizal Park in Metro Manila, on the occasion of the Pope’s visit to the Philippines.

He has served the Local Church of Legazpi as a priest for close to 40 years. During this long and fruitful ministry he was assigned as Rector of St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Tabaco City; Vice-Rector of Holy Rosary Major Seminary in Naga City; Pastor of the Parishes of Manito, Tiwi and Camalig; Vicar Forane of the Second Vicariate; and Member of the Diocesan Presbyteral Council. He also served as Chaplain to overseas Filipino workers in the Archdiocese of Paris in France from 1997 to 2003.

Blessed be Her Glorious Assumption

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – C – 15 August 2010

Readings: Rev 11:19a; 12:1-6a; 10ab; Ps. 45:10, 11, 12, 16; 1 Cor 15:20-26; Lk 1:39-56

On November 1, 1950, Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of faith in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus: “We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.”

09 August 2010

Growing in Faith

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – C – 8 August 2010

Readings: Wis 18:6-9; Ps 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22; Heb 11:1-2, 8-19; Lk 12:32-48

"Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen". (Heb 11,1)

We call faith a theological virtue because it is a grace from God. No one can rightly say he has acquired faith out of his own doing. It is something that God puts in our hearts. It is also both a gift and a task. We need to deepen it, teach it discernment, partner it with reason, and make it grow as we go through the stages of life. But even its growth is still a grace from God.

Let us reflect on several levels of growing in faith. I don't propose though that this listing is definitive or exhaustive.

03 August 2010

The move to legalize abortion is on


Now they're getting bold and brazen about it. Even attempting an emotional blackmail on the rest of us.

Let me just re-phrase what I have just read from this Inquirer article.
1. These pro-choice groups are proposing that abortion be legalized.
2. They are arguing that abortion is a human right.
3. They are blaming the government for the death of women who are "forced" to undergo illegal abortions.

02 August 2010

On Failing to be a Good Preacher

Once in a while amidst the crowded traffic of the web, we get to meet a few posts we can instantly connect with, those that speak to us and about us. This is one of them. This one I got from the Faith and Theology blog. I may not agree with everything it says (just the part about preaching without notes), nevertheless it remains for me the most honest and realistic testimony I have ever encountered about the craft of preaching.

Besides, Ben Myers has Karl Barth on his side. Even for a Catholic priest, it is hard not to be won over by Karl Barth. 

“As ministers, we ought to speak of God. We are human, however, so we cannot speak of God. We ought therefore to recognise both our obligation and our inability, and by that very recognition give God the glory.”

01 August 2010

The Worldly Christian

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time – C – 1 August 2010

Readings: Ecc 1:2, 2:21-23; Ps 90:3-4,5-6,12-13,14,17; Col 3:1-5.9-11; Lk 12:13-21

The readings this Sunday talk about the ephemeral nature of things. Ephemeral is what comes to mind when the psalmist uses the image of the changing grass “which at dawn springs up anew, but by evening wilts and fades” (Ps 90,6, Responsorial Psalm). Thus, it is foolish to trust in worldly goods and not in the Lord.