Sunday, November 27, 2011

Need for Watchfulness [First Sunday of Advent - November 27, 2011]


First Sunday of Advent [November 27, 2011]

Mark 13.33-37

33Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. 35Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. 36May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. 37What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

Reflection

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life.” ~ Jesus in v. 34

It is unfortunate enough that Advent is a short liturgical season: four weeks.  Coupled with the societal reality of distractions around Christmas, this rich season that is utterly important in life is easy to miss.

Advent is a time of anticipating the parousia, the second coming.  Preparation includes personal reflection and assessment: What is it that I am preparing for and what is the current state of my own preparedness.  Last Sunday's (Christ the King, Year A) parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46) illustrates an example of people unprepared.  Only at the time of judgment are they asking "When was it that we did not take care of you?"  It is a question that one needs to ask oneself early in and throughout life on earth, not at the end of it.  Today's gospel wisely reminds us to be prepared.

The first reading today (Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7) offers seeds for reflection to help prepare not only for the parousia but also for the initial welcome of the Christ into one's heart, if one has not yet gone through that faith experience.  The seeds can also guide self- assessment vis-√†-vis what our faith demands of us:

Am I ever in awe of the goodness of God?  Have I become blas√©, unconcerned about the deeply intimate relationship that I ought to have with God?

Is my heart open to compassion, sensitive to the needs of others?
Has it become immovable and hardened on account of selfishness and cynicism?
Do I live a life ever mindful of God's ways?  Do I allow the Lord, my God, to be a true father to me, to be the potter who molds me and gives shape to my entire life?

And so we pray:  Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Deacon Ricardo I. Santiago
Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica – Ottawa
Our heartfelt thanks to my friend and former colleague, Deacon Ricardo I. Santiago, for agreeing to write the Sunday reflections this Advent.

Source: The Reflection is from Bro. Abel Navarro (you can visit his blog at http://myblogabelnavarroabel.blogspot.com/).

Friday, November 25, 2011

Your director and I are one


[Diary 1308] 
+ Jesus, I have noticed that You seem to be less concerned with me. Yes, My child, I am replacing Myself with your spiritual director [Father Andrasz]. He is taking care of you according to My will. Respect his every word as My own. He is the veil behind which I am hiding. Your director and I are one; his words are My words.

Source: DIARY, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.  Stockbridge, MA 01263.  All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Note: If you like my post then consider buying the Book "Divine Mercy in my Soul" from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception website. The owner of this blog have no other intention but to spread and proclaim the "Divine Mercy".

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Solemnity of Christ the King [November 20, 2011]



The Judgment of the Nations [The Sunday Gospel - November 20, 2011]

Matthew 25:31-46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, 32and all the nations* will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.34Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ 46And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Reflection

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory …” ~ Jesus in v. 31

Today is the last Sunday in the church year. So it’s appropriate to reflect on the end of time, on judgment, and our life to come. These topics can fill us with a number of positive thoughts and few fearful ones. In our anxious moments, we may worry about whether we or our loved ones will get into heaven. We may worry about death itself or what we will be actually be doing for all eternity in heaven.

Thinking about the Second Coming can help remind us of a key truth to our faith. We cannot save ourselves. Only Jesus can do that – and he did, when he died on the cross for us. But isn’t it ironic that while we cannot save ourselves, God will still judge us based on how we have loved one another and cared for the poor and needy around us? How is that possible?
The truth is, our acts of love and charity should be a direct consequence of our realization that Jesus, our King, loves us. The experience of Jesus’ love should send us to our knees in worship, and it should send us out into the world , eager to spread  that love to everyone we come in contact with – our loved ones, the needy, and even our enemies.

So as we contemplate our loving, merciful King today, let us ask him to inspire us to serve his kingdom. And whenever we perform acts of charity, let’s see them as a way that we can give our hearts back to Jesus, who gave himself for us.

Source: The Reflection is from Bro. Abel Navarro (you can visit his blog at http://myblogabelnavarro-abel.blogspot.com/).

Friday, November 18, 2011

How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting Me off?


[Diary 9]   
Once I was at a dance [probably in Lodz] with one of my sisters. While everybody was having a good time, my soul was experiencing deep torments. As I began to dance.  I suddenly saw Jesus at my side, Jesus racked with pain, stripped of His clothing, all covered with wounds, who spoke these words to me: How long shall I put up with you and how long will you keep putting Me off? At that moment the charming music stopped, [and] the company I was with vanished from my sight; there remained Jesus and I. I took a seat by my dear sister, pretending to have a headache in order to cover up what took place in my soul. After a while I slipped out unnoticed, leaving my sister and all my companions behind and made my way to the Cathedral of Saint Stanislaus Kostka.

Source: DIARY, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.  Stockbridge, MA 01263.  All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Note: If you like my post then consider buying the Book "Divine Mercy in my Soul" from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception website. The owner of this blog have no other intention but to spread and proclaim the "Divine Mercy".

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Parable of the Talents [November 13, 2011]


The Sunday Gospel [November 13, 2011]

Matthew 25:14-30

14“It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.15To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately16the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five.17Likewise, the one who received two made another two.18But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.19After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. 20The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’21His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ 22[Then] the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ 24Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; 25so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ 26His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? 27Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? 28Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. 29For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’

Reflection

“For everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” ~ v. 29

Let us take a look at today’s parable of the Talents and ask ourselves some questions: Who is the “master” in the story? Is he the “Lord” – the heavenly Father or the Lord Jesus? But he seems like a dishonorable character. The third slave’s description of the master is unsettling: he is arrogant, opportunistic, greedy, “harvesting where he did not plant and gathering where he did not scatter.” He is one tough master. And so we think again. Jesus may just be plucking out of life a greedy character who seeks to enrich himself further.

What about the servants? Who is worthy of imitation? In the story, the master praises the first two servants for doubling the talents entrusted to them. Are we supposed to follow their example? Are they not as ruthless as their master? Does the master approve of them because they follow his ways? And what about the third servant? Not a few people would say that it is he who does the honorable thing. The audience of Jesus may have realized that what the third servant does with the money is both legal and safe.

What is the parable telling us? In what way does it disorient us and lead us to a different outlook? The story focuses on the third servant who is condemned as “wicked and lazy” and whose talent is taken away from him. The opportunistic and hard-nosed master expects him to take a risk and to obtain results, not to play it safe by hiding the money on the ground. It is easy enough to dismiss this as a greedy person’s point of view. But in life, one who does not take risks may eventually lose out. “Use it or lose it,” goes a saying. Lose what? Talents, skills, opportunities, connections – the list is endless.

And this may well be true of eternal life. Jesus teaches that whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever would lose his life will save it (Matthew 16:25). Jesus himself may be regarded as a model of “reckless living.” He is careless of his reputation: associating with sinners and outcasts, healing on the Sabbath, criticizing the religious leaders. Is he not telling us by word and example that one cannot save anything without taking a risk?

Following this parable is the parable of the Judgment of the Nations where Jesus teaches that we will be rewarded or condemned  for what we do or fail to for the poor and the needy (Matthew 25:31-45). Connecting these two parables, we realize that those who do not take a risk, those who try to save by not caring for the poor in need will lose everything. But if we do the “sacrificial losing” called for in the process of serving others, we will find ourselves saved for eternal life.

Credits: Fr. Gil Alinsangan, SSP; From the Mountaintop

Source: The Reflection is from Bro. Abel Navarro (you can visit his blog at http://myblogabelnavarro-abel.blogspot.com/).

My love deceives no one


[Diary 29]
One of the Mothers [probably Mother Jane], when she learned about my close relationship with the Lord Jesus, told me that I must be deluding myself. She told me that the Lord Jesus associates in this way only with the saints and not with sinful souls "like you, Sister!" After that, it was as if I mistrusted Jesus. In one of my morning talks with Him I said, "Jesus, are You not an illusion?" Jesus answered me, My love deceives no one.


Source: DIARY, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.  Stockbridge, MA 01263.  All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Note: If you like my post then consider buying the Book "Divine Mercy in my Soul" from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception website. The owner of this blog have no other intention but to spread and proclaim the "Divine Mercy".

Monday, November 7, 2011

Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids [November 6, 2011]


The Sunday Gospel [November 6, 2011]

Matthew 15:1-13

1“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, 4but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. 5Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ 10While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. 11Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ 12But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Reflection

“Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” ~ Jesus in v. 13

Jesus, always attentive to the customs of his people, also uses the wedding celebration to teach an important lesson about the kingdom of God. The groom’s coming may be delayed and those who wait can fall asleep. Here Jesus draws the need to be “wise” and ever watchful.

Jesus underlines the symbolism of “being asleep” and staying awake. This is not to be taken literally, for in the parable all the girls become drowsy and fall asleep. “Sleep” here means spiritual unpreparedness, coldness, even death. When a person no longer cares for spiritual values, when he no longer respects God and men, he is spiritually asleep. This is what being “foolish” also means.

One the other hand, “being awake” means to be alive and dedicated to one’s Christian calling, active in the service of God and neighbor, living one’s life to the full, never postponing conversion to the last minute. This is being prepared and being “wise.”

Somehow, life is a wait in the dark. Darkness stands for moments of tension, of temptation, of struggle, of despair that put the person in the “dark night of the soul.” On this occasion, one appreciates the value of “oil,” the sign of intimacy, of courage, of faithfulness to one’s consecration as a Christian. With this “oil” in the lamp, one produces the light that breaks through the darkness, until the night passes by and full salvation draws.

Credits: Fr. Gil A. Alinsangan, SSP; From the Mountaintop

Source: The Reflection is from Bro. Abel Navarro (you can visit his blog at http://myblogabelnavarro-abel.blogspot.com/).

Friday, November 4, 2011

Holy Communion from a Seraph


[Diary 1676]
Jesus said to me, Be at peace; I am with you. Tired, I fell asleep. In the evening, the sister [Sister David] who was to look after me came and said, "Tomorrow you will not receive the Lord Jesus, Sister, because you are very tired; later on, we shall see." This hurt me very much, but I said with great calmness, "Very well," and, resigning myself totally to the will of the Lord, I tried to sleep. In the morning, I made my meditation and prepared for Holy Communion, even though I was not to receive the Lord Jesus. When my love and desire had reached a high degree, I saw at my bedside a Seraph, who gave me Holy Communion, 250 saying these words: "Behold the Lord of Angels." When I received the Lord, my spirit was drowned in the love of God and in amazement. This was repeated for thirteen days, although I was never sure he would bring me Holy Communion the next day. Yet, I put my trust completely in the goodness of God, but did not even dare to think that I would receive Holy Communion in this way on the following day.

The Seraph was surrounded by a great light, the divinity and love of God being reflected in him. He wore a golden robe and, over it, a transparent surplice and a transparent stole. The chalice was crystal, covered with a transparent veil. As soon as he gave me the Lord, he disappeared.


Source: DIARY, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.  Stockbridge, MA 01263.  All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Note: If you like my post then consider buying the Book "Divine Mercy in my Soul" from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception website. The owner of this blog have no other intention but to spread and proclaim the "Divine Mercy".