Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2ND SUNDAY OF LENT (B)



Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. 
 Mk 9:2-10

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CONTEXT

Jesus asked his disciple, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answers for all of them, “You are the Christ.” Then Jesus reveals to them his destiny. He would suffer and die in the hands of sinful men, but rise again on the third day. That he would suffer and die shocked them so much that they did not hear the rest of his statement—that he would rise again on the third day. But to cushion the blow of the prediction of his passion and to make them remember that the cross would not be the end of his story, Jesus made Peter, James and John witness the Transfiguration.

EXEGESIS

The Transfiguration took place on a mountain. Tradition identifies Mt. Tabor as this mountain. Why did it take place on a mountain. In the OT mountains were the place of encounter with God. Moses, for example, received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. Elijah experienced the presence of God on Mt. Horeb in the form of a soft breeze.

Moses and Elijah appeared conversing with Jesus. Moses represented the Law; Elijah, the Prophets. Together the Law and the Prophets make up the Old Testament. That they appeared together with Jesus meant that the mission of Jesus was the fulfillment of the OT promises.
Peter wanted to build three tents. If he was thinking of the Tent of Meeting, he may have in the mind the building of a shrine. If he was thinking of the tent as a dwelling place, then it would mean that he wanted to stay there and prolong this extraordinary experience. But it was not to be because Jesus brought them down from the mountain.

As they were coming down, Jesus commanded them not to speak about this experience until after the Son of Man had been raised from the dead. They did not understand what he meant by rising from the dead in the same way that they did not understand his prediction of the passion. For the Jews expected the resurrection to happen only on the last day. And for the Messiah to suffer and die was unthinkable.

In Mk’s gospel, nothing is said about the brightness of the face of Jesus. He only mentions his clothing turning dazzlingly white. This transformation was meant to be a preview of the transformation of Jesus at his resurrection.

THE STORY OF THE TRANSFIGURATION AND LENT

Why was the Transfiguration chosen as the gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent?
First, the Church wants to remind us even this early during the Lenten season that the culmination of Lent will be the celebration of Easter. The Lenten season is a forty-day period of meditating on the passion and death of Jesus. But it will not end there. It will end with the triumphant celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Secondly, the Church also wants to remind us of the work that we must do for Lent. What work must we do? We must repent and turn away from our sins. If we do this during the Lenten season, the result will be a change, a transformation into better Christians.

Why do we have to undergo change or transformation into better Christians? Because the purpose of Easter is not only to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ and but also to celebrate the change, the transformation into better Christians that happened during Lent.

THE PHOENIX

We can use the mythical bird called the Phoenix as a reminder of the work we have to do for Lent.
When the Phoenix reaches 500 years old (some say 2,000), it is ready to die. It prepares a nest of cinnamon twigs which it turns into a funeral pyre. It burns itself in that pyre. When everything turns into ashes, something wonderful happens--a newly hatched Phoenix emerges.

Remember the ashes we received on Ash Wednesday? Do you remember the words that accompanied the giving of ashes? “Turn away from your sins and believe in Gospel.” If we take seriously this work of turning away from our sins, then what happened to the Phoenix can happen to us. From the ashes of Ash Wednesday, we can emerge as changed Christians ready to celebrate Easter Sunday with the Risen Christ.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

1ST SUNDAY OF LENT (B)



"This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
Mk 1:12-15

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

6TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)




Moved with pity, he [Jesus]stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”
Mk 1:40-45

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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

5TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)



Jesus approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. 
Mk 1:29-39 

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)



The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
Mk 1:21-28


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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

3RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)


“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Mk 1:14-20

Click to go to << 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) 2012 >>

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

STO. NIÑO




Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 
Mk 10:13-16

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GOSPEL FOR 2ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B)

Jn 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”

This was how John the Baptist publicly identified Jesus as the Messiah which was why his two disciples went over to Jesus to become his new disciples.
·         There are two instances in the Mass where we call on Jesus as the Lamb of God. The first is at the breaking of the bread. We call on Jesus three times as Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The second immediately follows. The priest says: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are they who are called to the Supper of the Lamb.”
·         There is another important event in the Gospel of John that is tied to the title of Jesus as the Lamb of God. Jesus was crucified and died on Calvary on a Friday at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Now it is precisely at the time that the lambs are sacrificed in the Temple during the Passover feast. This is how St. John the Evangelist points to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?”

It seems that the more natural question that Jesus would ask the two erstwhile disciples or John would be: “What do you want?” or “Why are you following me?”

·         This reminds me of Diogenes of Sinope. He was a philosopher. One day in broad daylight he went to the town square carrying a lighted lamp. People were intrigued. And they asked him, “Why are you carrying a lighted lamp in broad daylight?” And he answered them: “I am looking for an honest man and it’s so hard to find one.”
·         At one time in our life, we might be in search of something important: what course to take in college; a soul mate; the meaning of life; the reason why you were born in this world; why do bad things happen to good people; why did someone die young; why is there so much evil in the world and so on. If Jesus were to ask you, “what are you in search of at this time in your life?”, what would you say to him? If he were to ask you, “what do you want so badly in your life today?”, what would you tell him?

Then he (Andrew) brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas” — which is translated Peter.

·         The giving of the name is a serious matter in the bible. In the Jewish culture a male child is circumcised on the 8th day. He now becomes an official member of the Jewish nation. On this occasion the father gives the child its name. By this action the father officially acknowledges that this child is his. Although Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, yet he (Joseph) acknowledges Mary’s baby as his own son by giving him his name, Jesus.·         In the bible, giving of a name signifies the giving of a mission or a special role. Simon’s name was changed to Cephas in Aramaic or Peter in Greek because he was to be the rock on which Jesus would build his Church. The son of Elizabeth and Zechariah was given the name John which means God is gracious. His birth was an act of graciousness on the part of God to Elizabeth and Zechariah for by giving them a child, God took away their shame at being childless. Jesus means “Yahweh saves”. Thus this was the name given to Mary’s child because he would save the people from their sins.·         When a new Pope is elected, he is first asked if he accepts the election. If he accepts, the next question that he is asked is what name does he wish to take. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio took the name Francis, the first Pope to do so. He is the 266th successor of St. Peter, the first Pope. At first they thought that Cardinal Bergoglio had Francis Xavier in mind because Cardinal Bergoglio was a Jesuit and Francis Xavier was also a Jesuit. But it turned out that he was thinking of Francis of Assisi. Why? Because he wanted to follow the simplicity of St. Francis of Assisi. Also he wanted to show his special concern for the poor, the suffering and the marginalized.
o    Cardinal Ratzinger took the name of Benedict because he wanted to work for the return of Europe to its Christian roots. Europe now is secularized. It no longer considers faith and religion as part of its identity. Thus, it is considered post-Christian. St. Benedict founded the order of monks who was responsible for keeping the Christian identity of Europe during the barbarian invasions. In fact, they were responsible for the Christianization of the barbarians.
o    Both Cardinal Albino Luciani and Cardinal Karol Wojtyla took the name of John Paul because they wanted to continue the reform of Vatican II. Now Pope John the XXIII opened Vatican II while Pope Paul VI brought it to conclusion. It is interesting to note that John Paul II visited the Philippines twice and his visits resulted in many boys being called John Paul.

·        
Cardinal Sin, God bless his soul, often cracked jokes during his homilies. He shared the following story. He was baptizing three children. The first was the child of a soldier. He asked for the name of the child. And the father with a smile replied, “Baby. Baby Armalite.” The next baby was the son of a scientist. He asked the father what the name of the child was. “Skylab,” came the answer. Skylab at that time was the orbiting space laboratory of the Americans. And finally , he came to  the last baby. He asked the father what was the name of the baby girl. The father replied, “Iluminada.” “Oh, finally!” thought the Cardinal, “a more sensible name.” And the Cardinal asked the father, “And what is the family name?” And the father with a naught smile replied, “Bombilya. Iluminada Bombilya.”
o    The traditional practice is to give a child the name of a Saint. The reason is that the Saint becomes the patron and the model of the child. Patron means protector and intercessor of the child. Model means someone the child could imitiate.
o    What is your name? How did you get that name? What is the meaning of your name? If your name is that of a Saint, have you ever read the life of that Saint? Have you ever approached him to pray for you?

·        
Finally, I remember many years ago a rivalry between the Noranians and the Vilmanians. They were the fans of Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos. Some of the fans of Nora went so far as to put a mole on their face similar to the mole or Nora.
o    No one here today would perhaps identify herself or himself as a Noranian or a Vilmanian. But I am sure that all of us here would call himself a Christian, a follower of Christ. We should not take that name lightly. For Christians living in Syria and Iraq, it may mean beheading at the hands of Muslim extremists. It is not dangerous to be a Christian in the Philippines. And for that reason, it is easy to take our Christianity for granted. May the Pope’s visit re-enkindle our enthusiasm for our Christian faith.