Tuesday, June 30, 2015

14TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)



So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.


Mk 6:1-6


Organization of the Text

  • Jesus goes to his hometown, Nazareth.
  • Jesus taught in their synagogue. It was the Sabbath.
  • His town mates  didn't accept him because they knew him, his family, and his background.
  • Jesus explained this rejection.
  • As a consequence of their lack of faith, he couldn't work many miracles there.
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” 

Son of Mary is a strange designation. No one is ever referred to as a son of a certain mother. Jesus would have been called the son of Joseph. This particular deviation from the custom has been explained in two ways. First, Joseph might have been dead by then. The second and the probably the correct one is that Mark wanted to highlight the fact the Jesus was not the biological son of Joseph, that he had God as his Father.

There is a problem in this particular verse. It seems to contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary found in Catholic teaching. 

The first explanation can be found in Biblical usage. Brother and sister are terms not exclusively used for blood brothers and sisters. We shall use Abraham and Lot as an example, In Genesis 12:5, it says that Lot was Abraham's nephew. But in Genesis 14:14, it says that Lot is Abraham's brother. 

The second explanation lies in the Hebrew and Aramaic languages. The terms "brother" and "sister" are also applied to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters.

A third explanation. If Jesus had blood brothers and sisters, then why would Jesus before dying on the cross entrust Mary to John. And John we know is a son of Zebedee.

Finally a fourth explanation at least regarding James as the brother of Jesus. In Galations 1:19 St. Paul wrties: "But other of the apostles [besides Cephas] I saw none, saving James the brother of the Lord." This James then is an apostle. We know from the list of the apostles that he is a son of Alphaeus and Mary is never called the wife of Alphaeus. James then is not the blood brother of Jesus. We may assume that this is the case with the other brothers and sisters mentioned in v. 3. 

Three Things for Consideration

  • The rejection of Jesus by the people of Nazareth is a foreshadowing of his rejection by the people of Israel.
  • Familiarity can breed contempt.
  • Faith is the key to unlock the warehouse of God's blessings and graces.

Stories of Rejection

The story of Jesus is the story of rejection that led ultimately to his death. We find other such stories of rejection and death in the history of the world.

Martin Luther King was assassinated for promoting equality of all human beings irrespective of race. Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated because in spite of the fact that he was a Hindu, he was friendly with the Muslims. Bishop Oscar Romero did because he denounced the exploitation of the poor by the rich who had the backing of the military. And finally, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was executed by the Nazis because he attacked the evils of fascist Nazism.

We should too should expect rejection and even violence when we take a stand on the side of what is right. 

Two catechists (brother and sister) suffered verbal abuse from their elder brother who got angry when they told him to stop playing a pornographic video.

If Jesus suffered rejection and violence, should we, his disciples, expect to not suffer rejection and violence when we take a stand for what Jesus taught?

Friday, June 26, 2015

13TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)



Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

Mk 5:21-43



There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.

This woman’s condition was also desperate. A curious point. The story of this woman is also found in St. Luke’s gospel. In St. Luke’s gospel, however, nothing is said about suffering at the hands of many doctors, spending all that she had and in the end only got worse. Someone asked why St. Luke omitted these details. The explanation was that St. Luke was a doctor. In fact, he became the personal physician of St. Paul. And being a doctor, he could not include something that made his profession look bad.

She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”

Did the woman believe that the clothes of Jesus possess some kind of power? Of course not. She knew that the clothes of Jesus will not cure her. It is Jesus who will do that. Why did she touch his clothes then? She touched his clothes as a way of getting connected with Jesus who she believed had the power of healing.

Some Catholics scandalize Protestants because they behave in a way as if statues or medals or prayers possess some kind of power. Statues and medals do not have power. Prayers are not magic formulas. But we can use statues and medals to help us raise our minds and hearts to God. Prayers are words by which our hearts reach out to God. And once in contact with God, we lay bare our hearts and tell him all our needs.

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.”

God can not do anything for us unless we put our faith in him. We have to believe that God can and will take care of us.

I will relate two instances from Don Bosco.

Our mother house in Turin occupies a whole block. But it all started with the Pinardi shed. The owner had always said that he would never sell his house under 3,000 pounds. After much haggling, Mr. Pinardi agreed to sell it for 1,200 pounds. Cash. In one week’s time. If Don Bosco failed to come up with the money, he would owe Mr. Pinardi 4,000 pounds! Don Bosco did not have the money. Mama Margaret asked, “But where are you going to find the money? We have nothing but debts.” Don Bosco replied, “Come, mother, if you had money, would you not give me some?” “Of course.” “Well and good. Why should you think that the Lord, who is rich, will be less generous?” Believe it or not, three benefactors came and in less than a week Don Bosco was able to pay for the house.
When St. John Bosco was nine years old, Jesus revealed to him his mission in life. He was to become a priest who would devote himself for the good of young people. At that time it seemed an impossible dream. His stepbrother violently opposed his desire to study. And even if he were not opposed, they didn’t have the money. They were just too poor. But he believed that if that was what God wanted him to do, God would find a way. And God did provide. He became a priest and he founded the Salesian Society and the Salesian Sisters to continue his work for young people. At the end of his life, Don Bosco had this regret, “If only I had more faith, I could have done more.” And yet, Don Bosco’s achievement was already monumental.

Putting our faith in God does not mean that God will always grant what we ask for. It doesn’t always mean that health will be restored or that someone will be saved from death. It doesn’t always mean that our money problems will be solved. Putting our faith in God means that we believe that God loves us and that God is so powerful that in the end everything will turn out OK for us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

12TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)


"Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?"

Mk 4:35-41

Click to go to << 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2009 >>

Sunday, June 14, 2015

11TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)



It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants.

Mk 4:26-34

The story of Mrs. Rosa Parks. Her "small" act of civil disobedience resulted in 1964 in the recognition of equal rights between whites and blacks. Great things happen from seemingly small, insignificant actions.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

THE SOLEMNITY OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST (B)


Take it; this is my body. This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.
Mk 14:12-16, 22-26

Click to go to << Corpus Christi 2012 (B) >>
Click to go to << Corpus Christi 2009 (B) >>


POINTS FOR CONSIDERATION

1. Setting
  • Last Supper
  • The day the Passover Lamb was sacrificed. And Jesus IS the Lamb of God.
  • Jesus did NOT say, "This is the symbol of my body. This is the symbol of my blood."
  • The separate consecration of bread and wine alludes to the death of Christ on the cross. 
  • The blood Jesus will shed on the cross will bring about a NEW Covenant, supplanting the Old Covenant sealed with the blood of an animal on Mt. Sinai.
  • The blood of Jesus is poured out for the many. This is an Aramaic way of saying "for all". Hence, the death of Jesus is for the salvation of all, reaching everybody through space and time.
2. Feast
  • The institution of the Eucharist is on Maundy Thursday. Why are we having a duplicate feast? St. Juliana of Belgium had a vision. She saw the liturgical year of the Church as if it were a full moon. But there was a small dark spot which represented the lack of any feast dedicated to the Eucharist. She communicated this vision to Church authorities which ultimately led to the institution of the the Feast of Corpus Christi (of the Body of Christ). 
  • The feast is on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. In the Philippines, the feast is celebrated on the following Sunday so that more can celebrate the feast.
  • The feast is usually celebrated with the procession of the Blessed Sacrament.
3. Doctrine

  • Jesus Christ is truly present (hence, Real Presence) in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is not a mere symbol of the presence of Jesus Christ. 
  • Although we say Jesus is truly present IN the Eucharist, it doesn't mean that Jesus Christ is to be found INSIDE the communion host. What we receive is Jesus Christ taking on the appearance of a communion host.
  • When we receive communion in the species of bread, it is not only the body of Christ that we receive. It is the whole Christ that we receive. That same is true of the species of wine. It is the whole Christ who is received and not only his blood.
4. Pope Francis and the Eucharist

  • Communion is not PRIMARILY nor EXCLUSIVELY for good people. It is for those who want to be good but find it difficult to do so. Kaya kung gusto mong bumaet, pero di mo magawa, ano ang iyong magagawa? Mandalas kang tumanggap ng komunion at iyo tiyak na magagawa (ang pagpapakabaet).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TRINITY SUNDAY (B)


Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Mt 28:16-20

Click to go to << Trinity Sunday 2009 >>

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

PENTECOST (B)


Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:1-11

Click to go to << Pentecost (B) 2009 >>