Saturday, September 29, 2012

Year of Faith 02: On Holy Communion

Year of Faith 02: On the reception of Holy Communion; It is one of the highlights of the mass. The opportunity to finally receive the Lord in communion is both a privilege and a moment of grace. It happens most meaningfully and fruitfully when the faithful had prepared himself before and during the mass. Receiving the Lord in the state of grace is an experience of the Lord truly and really present!

As we approach the priest for communion, we must pray to ourselves to be worthy. When the priest asks, "The Body of Christ!" We must bear in mind that he is challenging our faith in the Eucharist. He is asking if we believe that the bread we are about to receive is the Christ! Then we say, "Amen", which means, "I believe!" Communion should therefore give us a spiritual high! We have not only heard the Lord in the readings, seen Him in the consecration, but also felt, tasted, and received Him in our person in communion. It is indeed a solemn and gracious moment! Thus, is it not obvious that we should go back to our seat reverently and utter a prayer of thanks?

Jews, and we can even say among Filipinos take their meal seriously. We see to it that we eat with friends at table. it is very understandable that we avoid those who we are not in good terms with to be eating at the same table. A meal is a gathering among friends. Thus, if we have been disobedient to the Lord, how can we break bread with Him? How can we receive Him in communion. That is why we are reminded to go to confession and reconcile with God. Having been graced with forgiveness, we can now receive Him in the Eucharist.

Food, when taken, became a part of our bodies. The reverse happens in communion. When we receive the Lord, we become more and more like Him. Or should we say, we SHOULD become more like Him. There must be a change! The bread we received was not just an ordinary bread anymore. It is the Lord! Aware that we have received the Lord, then we should act with Him!

Thus, the burden is on those who went to mass and had received the Eucharist. People should be able to see the difference. If they see it, then they will be encouraged to go to church and also want to experience the change we had acquired. In the process, we have invited and evangelized others without even saying a word!

Year of Faith 03: On the Sunday Mass

Year of Faith 03: On the Sunday Mass (The Eucharist): It is the CONTINUATION of what Jesus did in Calvary. That saving action of love is ONCE and FOR ALL. It fulfills Jesus' command to do it in His memory. "Memory" here does not mean an act of the mind but making present what had started before. This time it is bloodless. The Lord Jesus continues His saving work in the Eucharist. Thus, the mass is
 the highest and most important form of worship a Catholic must do. Once a week, he should set aside this important encounter with the Lord.
Sunday had been designated by the Catholic Church as a day with the Lord. It is in consonant with God's resting on the 7th day and establishing of the Jewish Sabbath. It does not mean that during the rest of the six days that we are without God or separated from Him. It just means that we need to rest our bodies, commune and pray with our Master, and reflect on the week that happened. In the mass, we offer to God everything (pains and joys, successes and failures, etc.) and ask God for graces to sustain us for the coming week.
We must see it as a need! When we need it we give importance to it. And then we actively participate in it! The Word of God nourishes our life and the presence of Christ in the Eucharist inspires and moves us to become more like Him. We must get over the idea that it is an obligation that we must carry out for the sake of it. Let it be a moment of grace.
Lastly, we must prepare for it. Like what we do when we have special engagements, we must do more with the Sunday mass. And by the way, we must dress up for it. We are meeting not just anyone but the Lord. Surely He deserves our utmost respect. And that happens when we dress up appropriately!

Year of Faith 04: On Prayer

Year of Faith 04: On Prayer: There was a situation when the apostles complained about having difficulty with an evil spirit. Jesus told them that it was the kind that can only be casted out by prayer (Mk.9:29). This means that prayer has its purpose and power. No less than the Lord Jesus commanded and depended on it. What is prayer?

It is communication with God. Jesus wants us to be in constant c
onnection with God.Maintaining that line would also let graces flow through and guide us where to go and and what to do. Prayer makes us be with God. Thus, in the context of that encounter with evil, the apostles would not be alone when in connection with God. Alone, we can not deal with evil. With God, it has no match at all! Prayer provides that glue to keep God and us forming a strong front against evil. God directs and empowers. We allow ourselves to be God's instrument of dominion over them evil!

The attitude in prayer is therefore one of humility and listening. Humility in the sense that we are aware of our limitations. We express our dependence on God. Listening is important. It is the Word of God which is important. We can express our wants and pleads. But we must be ready and focus on what He will say. We must feel the stirrings and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It will be wrong to just go before God and utter our wants and then go without listening to what He has to say. Of course, God will not speak just like any other person. But He will reveal Himself and His words in a way we would understand. With the right disposition, we will be able to receive God's guidance and power that even evil can not trample! Prayer is power!

Year of Faith 05: On Jesus

Year of Faith 05: On Jesus! One reflection will not be enough on Jesus. Let his catechism be on His Incarnation as God's ultimate saving action.We believe that Jesus is true man and true God. He is the Son of God and Mary. He is one Person of the Trinity and He was born of the Virgin Mary. God decided to save us through the death and resurrection of His Son. To initiate this, the Son should become
 like us, human. Thus, the greatest act of humility no word can ever express happened. We call it "Incarnation" but it is not enough to appreciate what God had done through His Son. He was God but became one like us! Analogous but very much short in meaning is when a man decide to become an insect. Even if true, it would never come near the truth of the Incarnation.

That is the essence of what we celebrate in December. Christmas. it is unfortunate that Christmas had been masked with so many different faces. Many other things had occupied center stage during that season; Santa Claus, pine trees, gifts, clothes, new things, food, dresses, carols, and even relations. But Christmas is Jesus humbling Himself for us. Christmas is God's initiating the work of salvation which would culminate in calvary. Jesus is the reason for the season of Christmas.

Envy Defiles!

It is the end of the month and the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Gospel is about envy and goodness. The apostles encountered someone driving out demons in Jesus name but was not willing to follow them. That someone created the ire of the apostles that they told Jesus. Jesus rebuked them instead and reminded them of some faith basics; "For whoever is not against us is for us," and later praised those who do good deeds and warned those who do evil. How the apostles took it, I do not dare guess. But I am sure the Lord Jesus did not want to miss teaching His apostles something important in the situation.

Envy defiles. Jesus knows! Thus, He immediately nips it from the bud as far as the apostles are concerned. Jesus could not let that attitude persist. He wants the apostles to be spared by it. With envy, we tend to focus on ourselves; what we have and not have. We see the lack as a weakness and a misery and we see what we have as either rightly ours or riches. When we start to compare ourselves with others, we either feel inferior for the lack or superior for the advantage. In both cases we are left to handle two dangerous feelings. With envy, we try to equalize. With superiority, we try to dominate. These are very tiring situations. These are very tempting situations.many times we are caught in the trap. Envy defiles!

Goodness is God's business. Goodness is the expectation of a Catholic Christian. Goodness is a welcome act. The offense made by that someone against the apostles does not really matter. In the first place, doing things in the name of Jesus and not the apostles was the point. The apostle's ego was affected, so be it. But what counts was Jesus! Jesus has the power. Jesus gives the power. Jesus is the Son of God!

We all are guilty of these attitudes. In our effort to protect and preserve ourselves, we criticize and undermine others who rival and surpass what we have and do. We see them as threats rather than friends and companions achieving a common goal. in the process, we regress and spend more time overcoming our envy. If we just allow and accept them and go on improving and doing our craft, we maintain ourselves and more. The more comes from others. Those more will also benefit us!

"Crab mentality", we call it. Kawawa naman yung mga crabs. They were just acting by their instincts. But that is not our instinct. We were created good and therefore we must do good and love good even if they come not from us! Let us begin the attitude of appreciating the good of others. When the world is flooded with goodness, the world benefits.

Be good because God is good!