Monday, October 19, 2009

365 Days in Spain

Today marks my first year of being out of the Philippines the whole year round.


Monday, September 14, 2009

The Sorrowful Mother

Three days ago i promised myself to start blogging reflections on the daily readings. I thought of starting it today, monday. Everything is set and ready for uploading but it seems to me that i have to set it aside for a while.

When i checked my email early this morning I came across with the news from our neighbor that my mom was taken into the hospital and that she had a highblood pressure yesterday and a vein in her brain exploaded, causing her to be mute, unable to eat, semi-paralyzed. I was in the state of shock but calmly tried to call the one who was taking care of her in the hospital. It was only during the personal prayer that i started to cry and to live the words that i have just written in the reflection for tomorrow that i was supose to post in Facebook... that in th end, i decided not to post and postpone the apostolate for the folowing week.

The cross symbolizes suffering but at the same time life. It is part of everyday's life. Sometimes it comes light and sometimes it is so heavy and drags you to the ground, leads you to a different state - from standing to fallen. Today, on the feast of the exaltation of the cross, i realized what is sacrifice. I felt the pain of embracing this kind of life, the limits of myself and my personhood, the real meaning of poverty, of relationships, of family life, and most of all - of love. A love that divides but unites; a love that gives freedom and that enslaves; a love that is found in pain and in joy.

The blessed mother, specially her figure as Lady of Sorrows is a figure very dear and very close to me because of the tradition my family - tenemos una caroza de esa figura en Legazp City (una hermandad como en Sevilla pero es propio de la familia). And its very dear to me because, as a Claretian, I am consideed to be a Son of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. My reflections for the feast was related to the sufferings of the mothers around the world whenever their son/daugther is in pain. But perhaps i have to say it the other way around.

I know my mother was badly hurt and she had a lot of spears in her heart when our family went through bad times; when i'd been to far from her; when i told her that i would like to be a priest; when i left her alone in the house and i came here in Spain. I know it was terrible for a mother once their children chooses not to be in their side when they needed them. I know how they look for affection from their son/daughter but in the end never get it. And many more. But perhaps today, i would say, it is not only our mothers who are broken hearted when they see their children suffer, when they are being pushed or silenced,  when they start to leave them alone, but it is also a fact that in one way or another, in different forms we children of theirs feels that pain and the sorrow that they suffer when our own mothers suffers too (no matter how terrible experiences we have had in the family for others). Our mother will always be our mother. I firmly believe that it was not only Mary who had her heart speared with seven swords but also His son seeing His Mother suffering underneath His cross, seeing him suffering in pain, dying. I feel that pain right at this very moment specially that I am too far and there is "only a posibility" and not certain that i can go home to the Philippines.

These two feasts that we celebrate this 13th and 14th of September are days that i would never forget in my life. It had been incarnated and lived. Four years ago, on these same dates, my grandfather and grandmother had their final blessing on the very church where they use to take the Dolorosa every Holy Week for procession, and bade goodbye to the world as couples who always loved each other until the end of their life.

As I end this post, i pray, together with my prayers for my mom, for those who are suffering because of Christ, becuase of the presence and love for the Cross, because of ther passion to serve the Lord. I pray too for all the mothers who are in pain seeing their child or children suffering, in pain, etc. I pray for all those childern, for all of us sons and daughthers of our parents, no matter how they had formed or cared for us, or brought us up in this world, let us always recoginize or parents, love them, cherrish them, and tell them that we love them, let them know while they can hear and not when they are no longer around. I pray that we can become better children and be thankful for our parents, be thankful to God. No mater what, our parents will always be our parents. That will never be changed.

And lastly, I pray that the will of God may always be done. Thank you Lord for the lessons i have learned today from you and from my mother.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

LA CATEDRAL DEL MAR

When I went to Chipiona, a beach town in Cadiz, to spend some days during the summer vacation of August 2009, Jorge handed me one book to read while so that i wont get bored in the seashore while sitting under the sun. Their house happened to be the neighbor of house of Our Mother, the sanctuary of the Nuestra Señora del Regla. It had been a coincidence that the book was entitled “La Catedral del Mar” by Ildefonso Falcones and the sanctuary is just right near the sea shore. So everyday, as I spend my one hour meditation in the sanctuary, its as if the images of the novel comes alive. Well the imagination was towards the end of the meditation of course. Hehehehe. It’s as if everything was true and I was part of the whole story.


to be continued......

MERE TRADITION OR FAITH

Never in my whole life that I have seen and participated in a such procession. Well, Quiapo is one of the exceptions. Cantillana is a small village under the province of Seville, its just a few kilometers away from the city urbs. It’s patroness is the Our lady of the assumption. I happened to be there on the feast of our lady with one Indian, one of Burkina Faso, and one Spaniard. The procession started at 9 pm from the church. the carosa is well adorned with flowers, gold and silver plated wood carvings. The carosa was carried by 40 persons and I imagine the weight of it that’s why it takes 9 hours to do the procession in the small village as it is. The church was flocked with a lot of young men and women and also those who are strong enough to be pushed and not to be knocked out by the growing faithful. As the procession moves on little by little, the people shouts: viva la virgen! gwapa! gwapa! viva dios! viva la virgen de Asuncion! etc. People from their balcony throw petals of red roses. Some pray and show gestures of kisses and adoration, and some men as they are, cry as the image of their beautiful mother passes their balcony or at their sight.

But why did they cry? What made them cry? What was their true feeling? Were they true catholics? Do they also cry for those who suffer everyday of hunger, war, maltreatment, injustices, etc? How much do they spend for these feasts compared to the alms and aid for the poor, the sick and the immigrants whom I have seen and been with here in Spain? Are they expressing true faith, true love for My Mother? Do they also believe in the Son? These were the questions that roamed around my mind at that time. Am I seeing true faith or am I seeing just a usual tradition that had been there through hundreds of years? Who am I to judge whether its true faith or not? And besides how do we measure faith? Who measures faith, isn’t god alone and not man? To measure a tradition, we look at the history. But to measure faith? only God knows what’s in every heart of every human being.


Tradition makes faith strong, builds up the faith. And faith grows and dies through tradition. Tradition enriches through time and faith is always there at all times in different manners, in different ways, expressed in different traditions. They say that the church now a days lacks faith, but are we saying this because we are losing tradition, losing the old ways to express the faith, or because the young generation of today do not do the same old ways that our ancestors had been doing to transmit and express their faith before? The church renews, rebuilds. Speaking church here, i dont refer to the hierarchy but the whole church, the congregation of the faithful. If the world changes, grows, moves on – so should we, so should the church be in its views, in its traditions, in its expression of its faith. After all if we bracket everything there is, well get back into the basics – you and I as the church should reflect as a sacrament of LOVE, a reflection of God who is love, a reflection of Christ’s love, of the love of the Father, of the presence of the Spirit that continually renews the face of the earth.


Let’s not be afraid to change, to accept changes in our churches; to love rather than to destroy and sacrifice lives for the sake of keeping the tradition; to live with a broken-patched-heart rather than to die with a heart of stone. All that God asks us is to love just as he loves us. This had always been the dream of God, the desire of the Father that up to now, we struggle to realize. Shouldn’t we start renewing our lives now? Shouldn’t we start loving our neighbors from this time on, now that we have all the time to do so?


Sunday, August 2, 2009

¿Y Tu, Por Qué Me Mirabas?

Después de un mes de trabajo con los jovenes de nuestro provincia de Betica en Loja, pasé algún tiempo precioso en las playas de San Pedro, Marbella con la familia de nuestro compañero en el seminario. Fue un lugar de las personas ricas, de tiendas caras en Europa, de turismo, un lugar de ciudadanos de primera clase y extranjeros. Pero lo que me llamó la atención no era el glamour de la ciudad ni la grandeza de las playas, sino la presencia de los pobres en aquel lugar. Literalmente pobre. Habia un par de mendigos en algunos calles, en las iglesias, y en la playa, y mucho imigrantes africanos vendieron cosas a los que estaban en la playa.

Eran los ojos, que me llamó la atención. Me sentía tan avergonzado sobre una mujer, que estaba allí pidiendo limosna, cuando me miró y me fijó sus ojos, porque no tenía algo para darle. y los ojos estaban muy centrado, diciendo que “dar mi misericordia por favor.” No sé, me sentía muy mal después porque no podría aliviar su dolor, su agonía, su sed, su hambre en practica. Pensé sacar unas fotos pero qué vergüenza tuviera si lo hubiera hecho con mi camera y diera nada a ella. Me consolé a mí mismo con las palabras: “Luis, tu no es el Mesías, no pudiera hacer todo y ayudar a todo.” Pero que poco vergüenza, verdad. Había un hombre de pie cerca de un edificio mendigando. También me miró muy fijo. muy muy fijó. Quizás estaba muy atenté a los particulares en estos momentos, y no sabia que había pasado en mi vida. Quizás eran efectos de la colonia de verano o eran mensajes que dios me quiere fijarlos. Eso es la vida que quería vivir, pues eso son realidades que voy a ver y va a redorar mi vida.

Cuando estaba con la familia de nuestro compañero, me sentía bien estar con ellos y con quedarme por allí. Pero luego he pensado sobre mi familia, como va la cosa en mi familia, que como va los relaciones dentro, que como va nuestros fortunos compara de ellos, que como va los tiempos que han pasado con nosotros. Estos preguntas surgieron durante todo los días que estaba con ellos. Me sentía feliz y también sentía triste en algunos momentos, recordando mi vida pasado, las vidas de mis amigos y amigas que fueron peor de mi o fueron muy desafortunadamente para ellos.

Tomé el calor del sol como una gracia, como un regalo, como una con los que sufren, con quienes se convirtió en tan, negro por su deseo de vivir, su deseo de hacer un mundo mejor, a sus hijos de sus ojos que sacudió mi corazón profundamente. los ojos habla más claramente cualquiera que sea una persona se siente profundo y sólo aquellos que son profesionales pueden engañar utilizando sus propios ojos.


LA PREGUNTA:
¿por qué me mira si usted no puede darme algo para mi bebé
si no tiene nada para comer, o agua para beber,
si no tiene gana de compartir un poquito de tu tesoro?

¿por qué mira me si no desea compartir su amor,
si no desea expresar sus sentimientos,
si no tengas la valentía a abrir la boca y empezar a hablar conmigo,
si tiene nada que decir,
y todo lo que quieres hacer es simplemente mirarme?

MI REPUESTA:
te miro por qué quiero hacer algo, quiero decir algo
te miro por qué quiero cambiar mi vida si no puedo cambiar el tuyo
te miro por qué me siente mal cuando algo mal ocurre a mi projimo
te miro por qué te amo, te quiero
te miro por qué yo veo la presencia de mi dios en ti

¿y tu por qué me miraba?

Para aquellos que hubiera sido conmigo juntos por años, meses, semanas, días, y qué yo siempre veo que le teniendo vistazo a mí y no me han dicho porque, darme una respuesta - por que me miraba ...... johnlcmf@yahoo.com
te esperaré.

ENGLISH VERSION
For those who had been reading this blog and had been with me together for years, days, weeks,or months, why do i always catch you taking glances at me? Thanks

ENGLISH VERSION OF THE BLOG SHALL BE POSTED LATER ON

Change - Exodos 2009



The Message of Joy - Gospel 2009



Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Art of Letting Go

From time to time I have this chance of talking to my good women friends in their down moments in their love life, in moments of separation, in moments of post-separation, or in moments of looking for another person to share love with.

But this afternoon´s conversation with a close friend of mine made me write for the first time about an experience of love that we call in friendster "Complicated" status. Perhaps i was touched by the feelings that she had shared to me or perhaps because i had never shared my part in the last letting-go that i have had; perhaps because we share the same experience and the only difference is that this sharing is more of my part rather than sharing the part of the girl.

What happens when someone fall in love with someone who have decided to serve the Lord in a life of celibacy, etc? Or perhaps it is better to ask the other way around, "What happens when a partner of a complicated relationship falls out of love?

I fell in love with a high school best friend of mine eversince when we were still in High School together. But i had never told her that i admire her because i am afraid to lose our friendship that had been going well. Oh i miss those days when she comes to our house in the afternoon after our classes and spend sometime talking, sharing her life stories and a bit of her love life, climb the mango tree, talk about what will our future be, do assignments together, laugh at many things and later when the sun is finally down i will have to accompany her back to her house either on a bicycle or just by walking. I wpuld always prefer that we walk because I could have more time to be with her. It was like the story of Lee Woo-jin and Eun-ha of the Korean tele-novela entitled "Love Letter." That´s why when we had watched that tv series in the novitiate, like my other companions, I too got sick. Literaly sick - or better to say "love sick."

Well, She had her boyfriend and i had my girlfriend too. And we´d talked about them most often times and tried to fix each others failing relationships. We were truly good friends then. She never learned that i had wished that i could be one of his public admirers, one of those who could be part of her life, and that if she would have felt the same i would not make her cry and i would never be like her previous boyfriensd who had just broke her heart over and over. (Too bad for me i did the same in the end of our story. Im sorry.) How I wish I had told her imediately before or how i wish I had a mind/heart reader to know if she she too have that same feelings for me.

But i never had the courage to tell her about how i feel for her. I was what they call "torpe" in tagalog. I didn´t understand why it was too hard to say "I Love You" to her compared to the rest who had been part of my love life too, i´d been open to them and i had easily told them that i like them or I have said "I Love You" many times. They said that if you love someone, you say it, right there, out loud. Otherswise, the moment just passes you by.

To cut the long story short, in the end she had learned about my hiden feelings through her friends, through our friends i´d rather say. But only after years. And unfortunately only when i was already in the seminary, only after M, T, Z have passed through my life. And it was only when I am about to be a postulant. That was 11 years after wishing that I could be hers and my heart could be with her for the first time. It was a big crisis for me, perhaps the biggest of them all in my seminary life when on the 11th of February she told me that all this time she also love me. I never new what to do. There was this feeling of being paralyzed and the only part of my body that was alive was my heart that was beating so fast. It was a feeling of being embraced by someone who dearly loves you, an unexplainable feeling, a feeling of joy. But after an hour there was the feeling of pain because i know the consequence of the love that i have just found.

Choosing between TWO LOVES is not that easy. It´s a question of priority, of dying, of what is really true love. The Art of Letting Go is a very painful art but an enriching one too. When that good friend of mine shared to me this afternoon that after all she learned something out of having a relationship with someone who is inside. Something resounded into my ears. That was the same thing Hon had told me in the process of letting go. And perhaps i can take the same words for me to say but only just now for my part. And to be fare, if girls get hurt when falling out of love, we too do feel hurt, we too do cry, we too feel the same struggle of letting go and of not longing for the comeback of the broken relationship. And more for us because we dialog not just with our own mind, with our own heart, we also find a hard time dialogging with God for what had just happened, for the feeling of jealousy, for the feeling of unfairness. This is not usually being perceived by our partners because of the common nature of men - never show directly or immediately the affect to preserve the pride in us.

But perhaps what touched my heart today was the status of my friend´s feeling because it made me feel guilty. Here i am trying to console this lady because her seminarian boyfriend broke her heart. Here I am trying to make her laugh, cheer her, give her hope, etc but had I ever did it to the one i always loved? It's too hard. It is too painful. I felt like I can say "what a shame on me." But i was thankful for this occasion because it kept me on the ground, it made me feel the importance of respecting the feelings of others, it made me understand more the dynamics of separation and of letting go. And honestly, it made me cry. Thanks Phen for reminding me of how was it to love and how it feels to be out of love!



Friday, May 8, 2009

To Have Faith and To Believe

One good friend of mine had posted on his blog http://larazone
xtraviada.
blogspot.com/ questions on faith and belief that perhaps had caught my attention. I intended to write a comment but perhaps my Spanish is too bad so i decided to just write a bit of reflection and a response to his post here.

Let me start with Faith.

Faith is a complete trust that proceeds from a certain belief. It is loyalty to a certain truth, a certain body of beliefs, a certain religion, or a certain philosophy of life. It is the ascent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another based on his or her authority and truthfulness.

To have faith in God is to say that I have a complete trust in God; that i am loyal to God no matter what happens, no matter waht they say, no matter waht they do to me, no matter what difference i have on others, no matter how bad and good the church is, no matter how different the world is, etc...

To have faith is like to have love for another. Both are difficult words to define and sometimes the definition depends on the individual and not on a collective definition of the word. To have faith in love is to feel being loved no matter what manner it was given, shown, or manifested. To have faith in a statement when someones tells you "I Love You" is to completely trust that the person is really loving you whithout doubting or asking for questions WHY, WHEN, HOW, UP TO WHERE, etc.

Faith is more of the decisions made up by the mind, heart, and body together. Some religious believers and many of their critics often use the term faith as the affirmation of belief without evidence. Faith refers to belief beyond evidence or logical arguments which is sometimes called implicit faith. Faith in the sense of "belief for the sake of believing" is more of Soren Kierkegaard´s philosophical views and of the existentialist religious thinkers.

To believe on the other hand is to have confidence, trust on something or someone. It is to have a firm conviction about something: accept as true. It is to hold as an opinion or to suppose. Belief is something that is believed in like a tenet or a creed. A Belief is a sign of conviction, an opinion, a persuasion, a sentiment.

In order to believe or resort to a certain belief, it is often times necessary to have evidence or an accumulative experience, an experience that comes from a chain of experiences. To believe doesn't necessarily need the heart and the body. Sometimes, reason is enough in order to believe. Convictions can be attained after certain evidence, rational or logical evidences or way of thinking, experiences, gestures, etc.

To believe that I am "loving" is to be convinced that I am doing something for the other more than the way i do normally. To believe that i am "loving" is to be certain that I am emitting something out of me, i am sharing myself to others. To believe that i am loving is supposing that i am imparting my feelings to somebody. To believe that i am "loving" is to persuade the mind that i am doing this and is certain that i am on an act of loving.

To believe that i am "loved" is to accept the truth that somebody is entering into my heart and my mind tells me that it is true and for real. To believe that i am loved is a way of saying that you have moved me and touched my life. To believe that i am loved is to trust that which the other is proposing to me to feel, that which she had just said, that which she had just made my senses feel, that which she made impact in my life. To believe is to be convinced that i am being loved and period. Or perhaps it is wrong to say "and period" because someone who feels of being loved is always for certain moved to love in return or in any other way. Someone who felt love is someone who becomes kind, generous, patient, humble, loving etc...

To believe in love is a prerequisite to have faith in love. to have faith in love is deeper than just believing that i am being loved or that i am loving. It is completely trusting in the love that is being received or given. Because someone who has faith in love makes it sure that he or she is loyal to what is love, how to love, how to manifest love. He or she performs the duty of loving in every moment of his or her life. In relationships, when one starts to be disloyal to the partner, he or she begins to be unfaithful to him/her. To believe that he or she loves the other doesn't necessarily requires loyalty. But to have faith in love it is necessary to believe in "the love" and in "love". To have faith in love is more than just believing in love.

But the most curious of all is this question that he had posted: What is there if I don't believe or perhaps if I don't have faith in love. Likewise the statement " I cant truly love if I have not truly felt loved, and my little faith is that which compels me to love despite that it is little."

If we cease to believe in love what does it makes of us? Well, we continue to be human and continue to live the only difference is that we view things differently and receive the daily experiences differently. If we cease to have faith (not in the religious sense) then we are in the state of distrust. If we cease to believe, we start to destroy our relationships, ourselves, but it doesn't makes us nonexistent human being. We still exist even if we would not have faith or we won´t believe because Faith and Belief is not the core of human beings. If I wont believe in love, love never cease to exist, love would stay as love and continues to be love even until I die. If I wont have faith in love then i would act opposite of it and live differently than the rest, but i continue to live and exist. If i wont believe in what i say then its just mere facts of words, ideas and concepts. Because if i believe in what i say it becomes my own point of view. If i wont have faith in what i say, i am bluffing or joking or just in the state of rational mind. If i have faith in what i say, what i am saying is part of me, or i am telling about myself, or telling who i am (although it is true that what we do and say is not what we are).

But the most beautiful thing of all, aunque yo no tengo fe o no creo en amor y en Dios, Dios me ama y el crea en mi. Even if I dont believe in love or dont believe in God, God loves me and believes in me. Even if i don't have faith in love and faith in God, God continues to be faithful in me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Multicultural-Fatima Birthday Present

Ten years after i decided to serve the Lord, I found myself in an exactly the same situation - an international-multicultural-marian gathering.

Ten years before, on the 1st of May 1999, I happend to attended a Mariapolis in Antipolo of the Focolare Movement in the Philippines. It was from there that I experienced for the first time multiculturality and dialogue. And it was the first time to celebrated my birthday with thousands of people of different faith and races. Days before that event I went to the vocation office of the Claretian Missionaries in Quezon City to present myself for an interview. These are two occasions that perhaps are not just a mere coincidence but a sign to reflect on.

Our Lady of Fatima had been part of my life since it was introduced to us in St. Michael Academy, a high school run by the Dominican Sisters of Siena. And I remember very well that I was dedicated to the Blessed Mother when I was 5 years of age by my grandmother and therefore the rosary had been part of my life too. But I never thought that I could ever be in Fatima, Portugal. I never thought that I would be able to celebrate my birthday in Fatima exactly 10th year after that decision to take this road of life.

On the 30th of April, during the first visit to the basilica, i wrote something in the guest book of the basilica where people write their prayer requests or whatever they wish to write. And I wrote: "Maraming salamat po sa ipinagkaloob mong biyaya sa akin at hinihiling ko na sanaý magkaroon na ng kapayapaan sa Mindanao." (thank you for this gift, of which is to be present here, and i ask that peace may be attained in the land of Mindanao, Philippines). I consider the visit to Fatima on May 1 as one of the best gift that I have ever received in all my birthday celebrations although could be only second to that of the Jubilee year 2000, the day that i was accepted in Claret, the day that i started my life in the seminary.

The Claretian Students Ecounter in Fatima which took place from April 30 to May 3 was an enriching experience for me. That experience affirms that our vocation as Claretians is not just for our own homeland but for the world, our mission is for the whole world. Our being Servants of the Word is not just limited to proclamation of the gospel and in preaching, but rather it is of what ever is timely, urgent, and effective. It is posible to live in a community of different races, of different colors, of different attitudes, different views, different culture. That which unites us all is the charism of St. Anthony Mary Claret, the charism that he has given us to live, the way of love and service that Jesus had taught us in the last supper, and most of all the presence of God. Living in a community of diversity tells me who I am and makes me one with rest.

A Christian community is not a group of people merged together, living together equally or the same in all aspects, instead, it is a collection of individuals of different composition but has one thing in common that unites them all - Love. And that makes the difference.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Three things you didn't know about John Luis

Top 5 Facts for this Name:
38% of the letters are vowels. Of one million first and last names we looked at, 38.4% have a higher vowel make-up. This means you are well envoweled. 
In ASCII binary it is... 01001010 01101111 01101000 01101110 00100000 01001100 01110101 01101001 01110011 
Backwards, it is Nhoj Siul... nice ring to it, huh? 
In Pig Latin, it is Ohnjay Uislay. 
People with this first name are probably: Male. So, there's a 98% likelihood you sweat just thinking of the price of shaver blades.
Name Origin and Meaning:
Forename:
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: God is Gracious 
3 Things You Didn't Know:
Your personal power animal is the Humpback Whale 
Your 'Numerology' number is 9. If it wasn't bulls**t, it would mean that you are multi-talented, compassionate, and impartial. A humanitarian, you seek opportunities to help others. 
According to the US Census Bureau°, 3.283% of US residents have the first name 'John' and 0.0028% have the surname 'Luis'. The US has around 300 million residents, so we guesstimate there are 276 Americans who go by the name 'John Luis'.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pascua Misionera 2009

My vocation started with the youth in my parish way back exactly 10 years ago, and i remember that the desire was intense, morely intensified by the Holy Week experience with the youth at that time too.

This year i went to Villablanca, Huelva here in Spain out of obedience to the mandate of the formator. I really wanted to go to Sevilla to experience what it is to be in Spain during Holy Week because they say and i have seen in you tube how they celebrate it, of how precious it is, etc. But i was told to join the Pascua Misionera that the equipo Pastoral Juvenil Vocacional of the cmf province of Betica have had to hold in Villablanca. So i went with fear, frustration, but i guess with a bit of excitement too because the place is 25 min away from Prortugal. I had fears because i know that i can´t speak spanish well and i do not know what to do with the incapacity to formulate phrases well, the capacity to animate others well in a different language and a different context. I was frustrated because i was thinking of a better way to celebrate the season. But as usual, God has its way of teaching his servants of how it is to be a real servant and how it is to be a real Christian.

At the very beginning of the week, when we were organizing the groups, i found a small light glimmering in my eyes as i see the more or less 20 plus youth of the age 18 and above coming from different places of Andalucia. My memories of my youthfulness and memories of the youth ministry i´d been with in the past started to come back, one by one. The aspirations for the youth, the old plans i had before, the projects, the activities we wanted to do before started to pop up. I was silent the whole week actually, deep within because of course i have to speak if necessary when in groups or in sessions or during the house visitations. I admire very much how they had organized the group and i admire very much how willing these young boys and girls are willing to be formed, to serve, to share their lives to others, to be witnesses of the resurrected Christ, to share the light to others, to evangelize, to be easter missionaries or pascua misioneros as they call it.

I have had many realizations during that week and perhaps i can sight some of them here.

1. I believe and firmly believe that the Church of Europe is still alive and the only reason that they say its dying because perhaps they are looking at the old church and kept on comparing the new church with the old ways. I believe, after seeing this young individuals and 20 plus more who came later on Holy Wednesday just to contemplate and to pray, that the church is just renovating, regenerating, evolving, transforming, and hope is still at hand, and that the Espirit is still alive in the hearts of the young. Maybe not seen as it was before, but it is.

2. Evangelization is not all words proclaimed, it is too an act of being silence. Living is proclaiming. With the incapacity to speak well in spanish, i was able to live the Holy Week well, and perhaps i had transpired something to them, i suppose. I don´t know and i may naot be certain. But i discovered that indeed there is a time to speak and a time to be silent in the life of a servant of God. There is a time to listen and a time to respond. There is time for everything. God is with everything in both oposing lines. Its just that we do not have time for him, and sometimes not even a minute or a second of the 24 hours that we have everyday of our lives.

3. The Liturgy of the Church is so beautifully constructed and defined, prepared, with all themes etc. But sometimes, it is not necessary to be too strict with it and in celebrating it, following all the instructions of how to do it, etc. I beleive that the more it is closer to the people, more practical, more heartwarming, the better. God will not ask how did you step by step celebrate the Pascual Vigil, but how did it reached the hearts of the people or how did it transformed their lives. Transformation is more important than tactness and obedience. Steadfast love and mercy is always above true justice.

4. The visit to the sick, although during my turn, there was none of them present in their houses, but i encountered some during the house visitation, was a reminder of the care of the sick and the love of God to any age of any human being. Seeing and visting homes with individuals alone in the house made me think of my mom. Here i am visiting these people, but how about my mother, how about my own mom? Is there anyone who ever visted her at home? Have i ever visted her like the way i am doing here now? I remember my grandmother too, who took care of me from infancy but later on towrads the end of her life i was not around because i was in the seminary and having apostolate at the home for the aged at the back of SM North, .... and my Lola? Where am i when she needed me? Where am i when she needed my love? Its hard to be torn between two loves, between God and my family.

5. Perhaps i gained new friends this time. I don´t know if i did, because i didn´t talked much the whole week. But perhaps those who became contacts in tuenti considered me one. Perhaps?!

The Faces of Time


.... to be posted in 3 days time.... still eding the post

Christ´s Death and Resurrection


HISTORICAL SETTING OF JESUS DEATH.[5] The execution of Jesus of Nazareth on a cross is among the most securely established facts of his life. The precise date of the crucifixion is more difficult to establish. All four evangelist agree that it was the Friday of the Jewish Passover week.

The Synoptics tells us that Jesus’ last meal seems to be a Passover meal in which case he would have died on the 15th of Nissan. The Synoptics wants to emphasize that the last meal was a Passover meal.

For John, Jesus died on the preparation day for the Passover (Jn 19:14) while the Passover lambs are being slaughtered in the Temple. That would make it 14th of Nisan. John would like to present Jesus as the true Passover Lamb.

Astronomical calculations would give us 7th April AD 30 as the probable date.

Jesus was seen by the Romans as a political rebel. He was executed as a political rebel as attested by the inscriptions in the cross. The conclusion is often drawn from this: Jesus was a guerrilla leader of the Zealot type. The Romans were block mailed by the Jewish authorities since Pilate’s record with Rome was already quite poor, which made him easy target for pressure.

Jewish Involvement. 2 Elements: (1)Messiah issue – important to the accusation before Pilate. (2) Jesus’ saying about the destruction of the temple – secure the conviction as a false prophet and blasphemer.

Two mockery supporting the view:

1. purple cloak and a crown of thorns

2. Blind Man’s Buff

Jesus was caught in two millstones of power. But all that was superficial. It is insufficient to stress the political misunderstanding and the political aspect of his death. For the New Testament, Jesus’ death is not just the doing of the Jews and the Romans, BUT THE SAVING ACT OF GOD and Jesus’ VOLUNTARY SELF-SACRIFICE. (Historich & Geschichtlich)

The ESCATHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE[6] of Jesus Death’s central themes:

(1) They are POST-EASTER interpretations and not authentic sayings. That applies particularly to the third prophecy, which gives very precise details of the actual course of the Passion.

(2) The Passion tradition is clearly an old and SELF-CONTAINED ELEMENT of the New Testament tradition. It is close to the historical events, even if many details of the events remain uncertain. The Passion tradition clearly reveals the influence of THEOLOGICAL interests. These may be apologetic, dogmatic or devotional. They show that the Passion were not intended to be just narratives but as A PREACHING.

(3) Jesus understood His death as the fulfilment of the Father’s will. He knew that it’s a probability that he will die but he did not know the details. (a) The trials and tribulations are part of the Proclamation of the Basileia. (b) Jesus could see that there is a conflict heading, a growing opposition to his message. (c) He saw himself in the life of the Prophets.

The primacy of the proclamation of the Kingdom is PRIORITY. He has the WILLINGNESS to be SACRIFICED in view of the Proclamation of the Kingdom. He ACCEPTED it.

Jesus death was interpreted as a SAVING and EXPIATORY death ‘for us’ and ‘for many.’ He paid the debt on behalf of our salvation. His sacrifice is called a RANSOM (LUTRON) [7]for many. – this could not be supported at all because it would be problematic. We will fall into a mythologicalized and false ideology of Christ’s death.

There are two perspectives that we can get from the general intention (ipsissima intentio) – (1) Jesus’ Commitment. He was committed to proclaim the Kingdom of God despite the risk of being kiled (2) Love & Service that heals radical alienation between humanity and God. He has the attitude of service for Salvation. Salvation embodied Service.

The Resurrection is the Core of the Christian Faith. It is the central event of our Faith. The Foundational experience of the disciples is that JESUS is ALIVE. Resurrection is necessary for a TOTAL CHRISTOLOGY to develop. It means understanding the whole person of Jesus, his mission, humanity, all of that had been said about him.

CENTRAL:

1. Foundational

2. Expression of the Risen person of Jesus

3. Totally transforms the person of Jesus and US ALSO

4. It brings the final definitive proclamation of the Kingdom

5. If Jesus haven’t been raised, we are still in our sins

Jesus’ full nature and person are comprehended only with Resurrection faith.

The resurrection is NEVER described in the NEW TESTAMENT! It cant be described in terms of historical proof only. The EMPTY TOMB is the least important evidence. It is just a CORRABORATING evidence. It is not even part of the eschatological event of resurrection. Christian faith APPEALS to the LIVING ENCOUNTER with the Risen Lord. It was mentioned in all the gospels – Mk 16:16; Mt. 28:5; Lk 24:3; Jn 20:1-10.

We don’t believe in Christ’s Absence but in his Presence.

The credible witness is our transformed lives. It is a RADICAL TRANSFORMATION.

Paul explained the Resurrection of Jesus in Corinthians by

(1) Showing that it is a FACT (1-11). Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures (Is. 53), that he was buried, and was RAISED to life on the third day, appeared first to CEPHAS and secondly to the TWELVE, appeared to him, and he said that he preach what they preach, and that is what we ought to believe in.

(2) He also showed that his resurrection is of EQUAL CERATINTY (12-19) – If Christ has not been raised then our preaching and believing is useless. If the dead has not been raised, Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, we are still in our sins.

(3) Christ is the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ. Death was destroyed, overcome by Christ. God will be all in all when everything has been subjected to Christ, the one whom God had subjected everything.

(4) Resurrection Faith is supposed to be in put in practice. There should be conversion seen in ones life.

(5) Resurrection is God’s gift to Christ and also to us. In what manner are we to be resurrected? It can be described into four images on how this resurrection would take place: (15:42-44)

a. the thing that is sown is perishable but what is raised is imperishable

b. the thing that is sown in contemptible but what is raised is glorious

c. the thing that is sown is weak but what is raised is powerful

d. when it is sown it embodies the soul, when it is raised it embodies the spirit.

(6) God’s Victory. God’s loving plan for all people – that we are not all going to die but we shall all be changed. Kingdom of God.

Resurrection Appearances

· “Experience,” “Encounter,” “Revelation”

· Become witnesses – Mission

· Result of a “conversion” / transformation

· An initiative on God’s part

· “Fully Awake”

RESURRECTION FOR CHRISTIANS

1. The Resurrection is Central to Christianity

3 types to deny resurrection: (a) Lie Theory (b) Psychological Theory (c) Swoon Theory or Comma on the Cross

2. The Resurrection is a Bodily One. His resurrection stands as guarantee of our own physical resurrection and salvation. A resurrected body is a spiritual (pneumatikon)body. It has the dual dimension of continuity (with the earthly body) and change (into the resurrected body). There is “identity with transformation”

3. Distinguish between Resurrection and Resuscitation.

Resuscitation – Lazarus, Jairus daughter, son of Widow of Naim

Resurrection is not a resuscitation of a corpse. It is a radical transformation.

4. The resurrection is Non-Historical. It is not limited to a historical event. The Resurrection is TRANSHISTORICAL, an Eschatological event. It is beyond the human experience of seeing and speaking. It is God’s act. God who is transcending space and time is not an historical character. The resurrection is outside the world of natural causes therefore it is NOT STRICTLY HISTORICAL. It is meta-historical, above history. We are not saying that it did not happen. It is simply to respect the distinctive dimensions of an event that so transcends our ordinary categories of thought as to render our language impoverished in describing it.

5. The actual resurrection is NEVER DESCRIBED. We do not have historical proof of the resurrection.

6. It is more accurate to say that “JESUS was RAISED

7. Easter is MORE THAN AN EMPTY TOMB. The resurrection of Jesus is more than just the absence of his body from the grave. Christians do not believe in the empty tomb any more than nature can approve a vacuum. The Easter is not one of only ABSENCE: “He is not here” (Mt 28:6); but of PRESENCE “and know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!” Mt. 28:20



Monday, February 16, 2009

The Love of God - Valentines ´09

Our community have spent the weekend in Calahonda, a town near Motril in the Province of Granada. It was meant for the students to be relaxed after a month-long exams and also for the two of us, Victor and I as we end our Spanish language class. We arrived at the rest house on Friday night.
 The following day, the community decided to take a beach walk. While walking, my attention was called by a scene that you can see in the foto to the left. A father and son. I was amazed at the sight and began recalling my memories about my own biological father, asking myself if we ever had the chance to do same things like this father. I felt sad because I never had this kind of experience but on the other hand I felt happy for the child because he had his loving father with him, in the sea shore, lying under the sun, together, and ON VALENTINES DAY! The psychological stuffs surfaced when I saw this "father and son." But aside from that psychological stuff that surfaced, I felt touched and felt the presence of God. I believe that I saw an image of the loving God. I was reminded of the WYD 95 theme "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son." Right after that I started to smile and I said to myself, this is a picture of how God loves us and began theologizing thinking imagining that this is an icon of the Trinity. It was perhaps the spirit that touched my heart and caught my attention of this beautiful scene. (O baka naman i just would like to have a son too. Hehehehehe)
 God was present in the waves, in the waters of the sea, in the multinumbers of the sand, in the sand, in the air, in the rocks, in the birds that were flying beneath us, in every person that I have met there, and i thank God for manifesting himself through his creation, through human nature.
The following day we attended mass at the nearby parish. I was asked to read the second reading. It was my first time to do that in public so far (in spanish of course). What surprised me afterwards, while i was standing outside the church after the mass, is that a mother unexpectedly approached me. She had 2 children, I supose, a boy and a girl. She handed me a small statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and I did know what to do or how to react. The first question that came into my mind "is she asking me to pray over the statue" coz she was just staring at me and did not speak immediately. So I placed over my hands and began praying. Then she said, "No." (in spanish) This is for you to keep. But please pray for me and for my family. Please pray for my brother who is so poor. I want you to pray to our Blessed Mother." In other words she was asking me to intercede for her. She is asking me to ask the Blessed intercede for her. Who am I to do this? I am not worthy to intercede for other people. But anyway, I promised to pray for her and I would like to ask you, you who is reading my blog right now to also pray for her, for her family, and her brothers/sisters who are suffering poverty, hunger, etc. Unfortunately i was not able to get her name. And I guess I would not be able to know who she was or who they were.
For me, that experience was profound and I believe that I was not just asked to pray for her in particular but to pray for those who are in need. I believe that this experience is telling me to pray to the Blessed Mother always and help in the salvation of souls. I believe that this woman had sanctified me and had made me holy. I believe that she had reminded me of that which i have during Valentines day, the day before this Sunday is true. God is not just in nature, in others but God is deep within me too. God´s presence in ourselves enables us to help others, to nourish others, to love others, to pray for others, to constantly recognize God in everybody.
This past two days, i have seen a "father and a child" a "mother with children." I have seen God right in front of me. I have seen love. And I am being asked to LOVE in a way that I can. I impart to you this heartfelt journey that I had this weekend. May God Bless you. Be reminded that God is in you. So continue doing good even if others do bad to you. Start doing good if you had not been good these days. God´s love is forever as you are.

God Born in the Midst

An Experience with the Migrants in Nijar, Spain