29 September 2010

Prayer to the Archangels

Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael
29 September

A Prayer to Saint Michael

Saint Michael, Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan
and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

27 September 2010

The Sin of not Bothering to Love

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – C

Readings: Am 6:1a, 4-7; Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10; 1Tim 6:11-16; Lk 16:19-31

The Gospel parable this Sunday is a veritable treasure trove of reflection on sin and grace. We have two main characters: the rich man, who dresses in fine clothes and eats sumptuous meals everyday; and Lazarus, the poor man who has practically nothing but his name and sores all over his body. When the two died, Lazarus was “carried by angels to the bosom of Abraham” and the rich man found himself in the netherworld where everlasting flames torment him.

Why did the rich man ended up in hell? The quick answer is because he failed to help the poor man by his door. But is it right and just that he be judged by that single act of omission? And what about Lazarus, did his earthly poverty rightfully won for him a heavenly reward? As it turns out, there is no short answer to the questions raised by this parable, which is a good thing as far as good stories go.

20 September 2010

True Devotion to Mary (Part II)

Solemnity of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Patroness of Bicol (25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – C ) – 19 September 2010

Readings: Gen.3,9-15. Ps 98,1-4. Rev 11,9;12,1-6. Lk 2,27-35.

This Sunday, Bicol region has a different liturgy from the rest of the Catholic world for today we celebrate the Solemnity of Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia. This year is all the more special since this is the Tercentenary of the Devotion to our Ina, Patroness of Bicol.

Last year, on the same feast, I gave a reflection on what constitutes true devotion to Mary. Here is a short recap: true devotion to Mary...
1. is faithful to the Bible, the witness of Scriptures;
2. leads to Jesus; and
3. to personal conversion and renewal.

I would like to continue the reflection on the same theme, and add three more descriptions.

12 September 2010

The God we believe in

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – C – 13 September 2010

Readings: Ex 32:7-11, 13-14; Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19; 1 Tim 1:12-17; Lk 15:1-32

More than a week ago, news articles around the world carried a controversial statement from one of the best known scientist in the world. British physicist Stephen Hawking released a snippet from his new book, The Grand Design (for sale just a few weeks before the Pope’s visit to the United Kingdom – and surely there is some grand design in this timing):

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."

Stephen Hawking, presumably after years of scientific inquiry, concluded that there is no need for a Creator of the universe, gravity would have done the job.

11 September 2010

The God I don't believe in

“….I would like to end my book with this article which is my simple and honest profession of faith, imperfect but sincere, for my non-believing friends.”
Juan Arias

“No, I shall never believe in:
the God who catches man by surprise in a sin of weakness;
the God who condemns material things;
the God incapable of giving an answer to the grave problems of a sincere and honest man who cries in tears: “I can’t!”;
the God who loves pain;
the God who flashes a red light against human joys;
the God who sterilizes man’s reason;
the God who blesses the Cains of humanity;
the God who is a magician and sorcerer;
the God who makes himself feared;
the God who does not allow people to talk familiarly to him;
the grandfather-God whom one can twist around one’s little finger;

A Short Prayer in Remembering 9/11

Today is the 9th anniversary of 9/11.
Lord God, we pray for the victims
from all sides, the living and the dead;
and for their oppressors as well,
whether they believe in You or Allah or none at all.
Inspire us to seek real freedom
that comes from peace that happens
only when justice and mercy meets.

05 September 2010

Counting the Cost

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – C

Readings: Wis 9:13-18; Ps 90:3-4,5-6,12-13,14-17; Phmn 9b,12-17; Lk 14:25-33

There is a classic story about having faith in God. Many of you may have heard of it, or its various versions, many times.

A man was travelling on a dark unfamiliar road when suddenly he slipped, lost his footing, and found himself falling into a ravine. Luckily, he was able to grasp a protruding tree branch and stopped his fall.

As he was hanging on literally for dear life, he cried out: “God, please help me!” Out of the darkness, a voice came booming: “This is God. Let go of the branch you are holding and you will be saved.” “Are you sure you are God?” “Yes, I am God. Now let go of the branch”, came the reply. And then there was silence.

As the man continued to hang on to the branch, he contemplated the risks of letting go. It took him so long to make a decision, he decided to wait it out. When the first ray of dawn came, he looked down and found out he was hanging only a few inches above the ground.

Surely, there is a lesson here about trusting in God. But something is also amiss: faith is not a blind leap in the dark.