Tuesday, August 19, 2014

21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)


I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Mt 16:13-20

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

20TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)


O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.
Mt 15:21-28


Click to go to << 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) 2011 >>
Click to go to << 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) 2008 >> 

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

It is outside the land of Israel. It is pagan territory (non-Jewish) inhabited by Canaanites, long-time enemies of Israel. Tyre and Sidon are found in modern-day Lebanon.

And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.”

Only Jews would be familiar with the title, “Son of David”. And they would use it only for the promised Messiah. How did a Canaanite woman who was not a Jew learn about this title? Did she know what it meant? Is this a sign of the beginning of faith in Jesus Christ?

In those days people did not know about germs and viruses. They thought that illness was caused by evil spirits. That’s why she did not say: “My daughter is sick.” Instead she said: “MY daughter is tormented by a demon.” So that her daughter would get well, she would ask Jesus to drive away the demon.

Even today some Filipinos would resort to “tawas” to find out why someone is sick. Even today some Filipinos would explain why someone is sick by saying: “Nakulam.”

But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.

Why did he not mind the woman? Jesus explains his behavior this way: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Jesus’ disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”

The woman was making a scene. She was creating a scandal. And the disciples were not comfortable at all the people looking at them.

This woman would not take no for an answer. She wouldn’t give up even if Jesus was not minding her. She was persistent. Why? Because a mother would do everything to make her child get well. 

Maybe St. Matthew included this story in his gospel in order to teach us about perseverance in prayer, about praying and not getting discouraged. Maybe St. Matthew used this story of the Canaanite woman in order to explain this saying of Jesus: "Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.” (Mt 7:7-8)

But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”

What does “did him homage” mean? It means to bow. Is this a sign of respect. Or is this already, as I have said, an expression of faith, that Jesus was not an ordinary man but at least, a man of God.

He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”

The Jews called pagans “dogs”. It was supposed to be an insult. Did Jesus mean to insult the woman? This would be out of character for Jesus. I would think that if Jesus were texting, he would put a smiley at the end of his text message.

She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”

This woman was not only persistent. She was also witty. She used the very words of Jesus to get him to grant her wish for her daughter’s healing.

This reminds me of a conversation between St. Teresa of Avila and Jesus. She was on her way to visit one of the convents which she had established. But the heavy rains had swollen the river. She could not cross it. And that made her angry. Then Jesus appeared to her and said: “That is how I treat my friends.” St. Teresa, who was also a witty woman, retorted: “That explains why you have so few friends!”

Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

Faith is the key that unlocks the blessings from heaven. Faith makes it possible for us to receive the graces that God wants to give to his children. God’s blessings are like rain that falls from the sky. If we have faith, our hands would be open to catch these blessings. But if our faith were weak, then our hands would be closed and these blessings would slide away from our grasp.

If we have a weak faith, it would not really be a big problem. Faith is gift from God. Because it is a gift, we can ask for it, we can pray for it. And we shall receive sufficient faith. For did not Jesus promise us: Ask and you shall receive.


Today’s gospel teaches us three lessons: (1) Prayer that does not give in to discouragement because it comes from a strong faith; (2) Faith is necessary for us to receive the blessings from heaven; and (3) If our faith is weak, then we can pray for a strong faith because Jesus promised: Ask and you shall receive.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

19TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)



At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Mt 14:22-33

Click to go to << 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) 2011 >> 
Click to go to << 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) 2008 >>

After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.

In Jn 6 the crowds wanted to make Jesus King by force. Jesus did not want his disciples to get that idea into their heads. So he sent them away.

Parents need to keep watch over their children against bad influence. That usually means bad barkada, bad reading materials and bad videos.

Do something more positive. (1) Get to know the barkada of your children. Provide opportunities for them to visit your home. (2) Form the conscience of your children. Discuss the values and counter-values in the news, TV and movies.

After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.

WE usually think of prayer as asking God for this or for that. But prayer is more than that. In this particular episode, we might consider this as a bonding time that Jesus set aside for his Father and himself. We can also turn our prayer time into a time for bonding with God.

Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.

Take note that this is not a storm.

During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.

Jesus was walking toward them because he wanted to get into the boat. Even if he could walk on the water, the distance to the other side was so big that it was more convenient to ride on the boat.

The disciples were naturally frightened. It was still dark. They could not possibly recognize Jesus. You also would be frightened if you saw something moving towards you over the waters.

At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Someone counted 365 instances when the words “do not be afraid” were uttered in the Bible. That means for every day of the year God reassures us: “Do not be afraid because I will be with you throughout this day.”

Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”

This was an act of faith in Jesus. Peter believed that he could also walk on the water if Jesus gave him the permission. And in fact, he was able to walk on the water. The bible says: “Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.”

But something went wrong. He began to be afraid. And he began to sink. Fear meant a weakening of faith. And with a weakening of faith, he lost the power to walk on the water. In fact Jesus scolded Peter: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Something went wrong. What went wrong? The bible says: “But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened.” That meant that he turned his gaze away from Jesus and looked at the wind and waves. As long as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, as long as we remain aware of the presence of Jesus, we shall feel confident and unafraid. Once we forget Jesus, we shall be overcome by doubts and fear. But when that happens, we can still cry out with Peter: “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter.

And as Jesus rescued Peter, so Jesus will rescue us.


Let us bring with us into our daily lives two quotations from today’s Gospel. When things go wrong during the day, let us visualize Jesus telling us: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” And when fears and self-doubt assail us,  let fix our eyes on Jesus and cry out to him: “Lord, save me!”

Saturday, August 02, 2014

18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)



Taking  the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
Mt 14: 13-21



Tuesday, July 08, 2014

15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)



And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path…. Some fell on rocky ground…. Some seed fell among thorns…. 
Mt 13:1-9


Click to go to << 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) 2011 >>


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

14TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)



My yoke is easy, and my burden light.
Mt 11:25-30

Click to go to << 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2011 >>
Click to go to << 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2008 >>

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SOLEMNITY OF ST PETER AND ST PAUL




I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Mt 16:13-19

Click to go to << Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul >>