Friday, June 29, 2012

ROCKS

My dear brothers and sisters we are celebrating today the feast of the two great pillars of the Church. Parehas sila matigas ang ulo. Both were rocks and rocked the world. To make it simpler, let me summarize the characters, lives and deeds of these two pillars of the church into the word "ROCK"

R stands for RENEWED - Peter was a proud fisherman and was turned into a humble "fisher of man" when he met Jesus by the lake. His name was Simon but when he was RENEWED, he was RENAMED by Jesus into PETER. Paul was a proud tent maker, a ruler, a well versed person in the Law and the Prophets, he was a serial killer of Christians. But later was moved and RENEWED by his mystical experience with Jesus on the road to Damascus. He was a tent maker but later turned into a "Church Builder". His name was Sul but then he was RENAMED to PAUL.

O stands for OPEN - Peter and Paul were both open to the promptings of the Spirit, open to innovations, to the call, to teach and to preach.

C stands for COMMITTED - Both were COMMITTED to FISH and to MAKE TENTS. Peter was able to invite and convert thousands of new Christians, to fish thousands of faithful. Paul was able to build more tents, more churches for the gentiles.

K stands for KNOWLEDGEABLE - Both knew Jesus Christ. Peter knew Him for he was with Jesus during his earthly ministry. He was called by Jesus personally. He ate, drank, slept, walked, prayed with Him. For Peter, Jesus is "the Messiah, the Son of the Living God" as we have heard in the Gospel today. Paul on the other hand did not live with Jesus Christ but knew Him by the mystical experience he had. He was a great witness to Christ and convinced that Jesus was with him in all his endeavor. He said in the second reading, "the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me, the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it."

Who do you say that I am? Both answers that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

My dear friends, as we celebrate the feast of these two rocks, may we also be "rocks" in this school. I do not mean that you should be matitigas na ulo o puso or sakit sa ulo in this institution dahil ibabato ko kayo palabas. What I mean is that you become Renewed Persons, Open to different innovations and posibilities in teaching, Committed to Educate the future rocks of our country, and you TRULY KNOW what you teach. Aba nag teacher pa kayo kung wala naman pala kayong alam.
Remember that you are building the foundations of these students of Claret. Jesus instructed us in yesterday's Gospel to build our houses on rocks, build then the future of these children on a solid foundation. Renew the children, teach them and let them be open to different possibilities in life, teach them to be committed and give them the knowledge that they should have.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ibaon Mo!


Everyone who listens to the words of Jesus or the words of God and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. We are simply being told in our readings of the day that we should root our life in the Lord, to make him as our strong foundation of our faith. Jesus, a master of convincing authority, is teaching the "requisites" to belong in His Kingdom and how should we behave after the Law of God.

Actually, listening to the Word of God implies to put it into effect. We are urged to bear witness to our faith. He who does it will have prudence and wisdom. Building the house on rock is a clear image that invites us to value our commitment to our faith, which cannot be limited to just a few nice words, but must be based on the authority of our achievements, impregnated with charity. Words and prayers without any commitment do not count, but only our desire to live in accordance with God's Project.

We have our first reading as an example of a house built on a sand. The kingship of Jehoiachin was taken away from him because as we have heard, He did evil in the sight of the LORD, just as his predecesors had done. A greater kingdom took it away from him and Nebuchadnezar deported Jehoiachin to Babylon and put somebody else in his place.

That is the same thing that will happen to us if we do not root our faith in the word of God and if our actions is not a witnessing action of God's love. My dear friends, it is us who builds our houses. We are the ones who constructs it and not God. God only gives us the materials to construct it. One of these materials is the Word of God. So please do not blame the Lord or attribute any "kamalasan" to our God and that he caused it for it is us who builds the house and choses where and how to build it. Tayo po ang nagcoconstruct ng buhay natin. God only gives the material.

As we continue with our eucharistic celebration, let us pause for a while, and i will ask you to gently close your eyes and reflect.

How do I speak and behave like a Christian in my life?
Papano ko nga ba isinasabuhay ang pagiging kristiano ko?
How do I define my testimony?
How do I undertake the commandment of love in my life, whether personal, family, professional?
Thank you Lord for your Word and for reminding us today that we should always make the Word of God as our foundation so that when storms and floods would come, our houses, our faith would not simply be drown away.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kainingin

Jesus in the Gospel today speaks about cutting trees. Trees in the scriptures is not compared to life just like how we compare it in our society. So we must understand here that he is not talking about taking away life of individuals. The tree is more of a symbol of faith, of teaching, of education, of belief. Remember Nathaniel and the fig tree? When Jesus told him that "before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you" He was not pertaining to the physical tree but rather he is pertaining to the education of Nathaniel in the Laws and the Prophet. To sit under the fig tree is an icon of the rabbinic education. Remember the tree of knowledge of good and bad in genesis how it was described and what was it? Remember the cursed fig tree? It is not cursing life, he was cursing the faith and practice that bears no fruit. And many other examples that I can mention to you here. But I guess you already get my point and get the idea why in the first part of the Gospel Jesus was talking about false prophets, false teachings before he talks about cutting trees or talks about bad and good trees and its fruits.

Bad teachings and bad faith do not bear good fruit my dear friends. They do not produce good faith. Ahh! The more we can understand now why in the first reading, the King, upon hearing and knowing what is truly written in the book that they have discovered, changed, ripped off his garments and decided to change ways. For what is written in the Law and the Prophets is what the Lord God wants them to be. The king made a covenant before the LORD that they would follow him and observe his ordinances, statutes and decrees with their whole hearts and souls, thus reviving the terms of the covenant which were written in this book. And all the people stood as participants in the covenant.

As we continue our Eucharistic celebration, let us ask the Lord that He would continually teach us the way of  His decrees just as we have said in the responsorial Psalm: Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord. Let us cut our wrong beliefs, let us always be guided only by the Word of God and by His decrees.

NOTE: For non Filipino readers of this blog, Kaingin is a tagalog term for deforestation using fire. Its an easier method than cutting trees one by one. By doing a "kaingin", you clean everything in the mountain

Build on Rock

Everyone who listens to the words of Jesus or the words of God and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.

We are simply being told in our readings of the day that we should root our life in the Lord, to make him as our strong foundation of our faith. Jesus, a master of convincing authority, is teaching the "requisites" to belong in His Kingdom —of love!— and how should we behave after the Law of God.

Actually listening to the Word of God implies to put it into effect. We are urged to bear witness to our faith. He who does it will have prudence and wisdom. Building the house on rock is a clear image that invites us to value our commitment to our faith, which cannot be limited to just a few nice words, but must be based on the authority of our achievements, impregnated with charity. Words and prayers without any commitment do not count, but only our desire to live in accordance with God's Project.

We have our first reading as an example of a house built on a sand. The kingship of Jehoiachin was taken away from him because as we have heard, He did evil in the sight of the LORD, just as his predecesors had done. A greater kingdom took it away from him and Nebuchadnezar deported Jehoiachin to Babylon and put somebody else in his place.

That is the same thing that will happen to us if we do not root our faith in the word of God and if our actions is not a witnessing action of God's love. My dear friends, it is us who builds our houses. We are the ones who constructs it and not God. God only gives us the materials to construct it. One of these materials is the Word of God. So please do not blame the Lord or attribute any "kamalasan" to our God and that he caused it for it is us who builds the house and choses where and how to build it.

Let us pause for a while, and i will ask you to gently close your eyes and reflect.
How do I speak and behave like a Christian in my life?
Papano ko nga ba isinasabuhay ang pagiging kristiano ko?
How do I define my testimony?
How do I undertake the commandment of love in my life, whether personal, family, professional?
Thank you Lord for your Word and for reminding us today that we should always make the Word of God as our foundation so that when storms and floods would come, our houses, our faith would not simply drown away.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

byview


A Sequel to Backview
by Sandz L BahiaJr on Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 9:37pm (taken from FB notes)

He loves being one of those OUTSTANDING people in the church. And I was once BY-STANDING one when church people gather in the house of the Lord.

I never did care about the “happenings” whenever my parents would bring me to the church for the mass. I found it too awkward knowing my friends would be laughing at me: “Sundays are for computer games Dude!” they would say.

It irritated me. I was always surrounded by elderly on the pew where we were seated. The atmosphere made me feel sleepy. The scent made me feel dizzy. Oh creep! And from then on, I have found myself standing outside the church – as what my brother once wrote, “OUT STANDING.”
And that brother has walked the extra mile. There at the altar, he’s already “outstanding.” While I remained standing outside the church as a porter during his ordination, I have felt what it takes to stand outside the church. I felt in a sense, “low” – people will just pass in front of you (especially with the kind of face I have), but I enjoy their presence at times (distracting or not).

During his ordination to the diaconate, I think I have caught Rev. Lui wearing his unfamiliar “sadness” while facing the people and doing the sacrament in the altar. And while I sat at the back of the church (after being so exhausted standing outside), I could only guess he can no longer sit on the back benches or stand at the side of the entrance of the church whenever he’ll go to mass. There - at the very moment of June 16, 2012, he was in front, not just in the front row, but in the altar.

I believe also that there’s no wrong being a BYSTANDER member of the congregation. After all, that’s where everything starts.

CLICK HERE TO READ BACKVIEW


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Helpless

A young girl approached me this afternoon and started talking about her sad story after the fire in San Vicente. She lost everything and only saved the shirt and shorts that she was wearing that day. Since the time that the fire broke out last 18th of May, she and the rest of those who lost their homes have been sleeping and staying in the community stage or center. She was looking for a job today. She said she is giving up the money intended for her studies just to build up a new house and start anew. They were promised to be able to avail of a house in the relocation site but they could only have it next year. "From today till that day next year, where shall we stay and how could we live?" she asked me.

I felt so helpless, I didn't have a job to offer her nor have the power to create jobs and give salary. Perhaps I could give clothing or the rest of my allowance but I know that is not enough and that's not what she and the rest of those who were victims of fire needs at this moment. What they really need is security: money to sustain life, food to continue living, shelter to lay down their heads at night. I felt so sorry and disturbed because I felt so incapable of helping, even at least in helping her and giving her a little amount of money. I know how it feels to have nothing, be helpless, be hopeless. I know, because I come from a poor family that depends only from the mercy of generous persons.

Perhaps I am helpless and I don't have a job to give her but I have the voice to let it be known to all of you. Perhaps I am not Superman to save the world nor I am the Christ to lift up their souls, but I have this blog and my hands to appeal for your help for these poor little ones. Perhaps I am incapable of helping all of them, but I firmly believe you are capable of helping at least one. Perhaps it is really wrong to live in and be a squatter, but who are we to judge. We too are most of the time squatters in the Kingdom of God. So please extend your hand even just for this one family. Thank you!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Backview

I'm a bit sad that, two weeks from now I could no longer sit on the back benches or stand at the side of the entrance of the churches whenever I go to mass. I will be forced to stay in front, not just in the front row, but in the altar.

When I was a small boy, my grandma use to bring me to church but she loves to be seated in the very first bench. I didn't like it because I couldn't play with the rest of the kids and I am forced to behave, be steady, and be reserved.

When I went to high school, I started sitting in the middle benches. Though later on in fourth year I transferred at the rear side benches because I joined the choir to add more points to my extra curricular activity grades. The rest of the year, when there is no choir, I would sit in the halfway of the church in order to be able to sit beside a special someone. 

When I joined the youth ministry of the parish, I started sitting everywhere. And when I became a seminarian, I would sit on the backmost benches or stand leaning on the back walls of the church or stay outside. I became one of the many "OUTSTANDING" members of the parish as they fondly call it here in QC. Standing outside the church - OUT STANDING.

In being an "outstanding" member of the church, I discovered a lot of things, I became friends of many, I found most of my friends, my schoolmates, love ones. I got the chance to talk to the men of the women of our town. And lastly, I got to know more the father of my other special friend. 

It was actually Raul Romero, our former commandant in the citizens army training who moved me to stay at the back of the church, far from the altar while I am still a seminarian. He was also one of those "outstanding" members of my parish in Oas. One day I got curious and asked him the reason why he loves to stay outside than to be inside the church. He just smiled at me and asked me a question "what's wrong with it" he said. Then he told me, "you know what Louie, you should enjoy now being with and where most of the people are so that you can feel also their presence. Once you become ordained, you'll never have the chance to stay here where we are now, but rather you will be there at the altar forever. You will be in front forever. At least later on you will be proud that you know how it is to stay low, to be at the limelight at the back before you were put to the pedestal." 

Sir Raul was right. I really did enjoy sitting at the back with the rest of the people. Joining them sometimes in the chikahan instead of being attentive to the homily helped me discover more of the joys, the pains, the sorrow and the hopes of my fellow men. I thank my teacher for that wisdom which may be a foolishness to some old traditional readers out there. In sitting at the back, and in being an outstanding member of the church, I heard what are the common complaints of the faithful in the priests' homilies. Oh, I should be very careful now on that. I have seen butts peeping out of the pants, different spaghetti straps, colored or white skins, different types of foolishness. I have heard "kilig" stories of the youth, different complaints of men on the unending charming voice of their unlimited call of their wives. Etc, etc, etc.

I believe that there is nothing wrong in sitting at the back of the church or in being an "outstanding" member of the congregation. As long as your heart and mind is on what is being done in front, then its alright. After all, God would not ask you where you have been seated during the celebrations. He would always be after your heart, if it had been an "outstanding" heart and knows how to go back to God. 


TO BE ADDED IN THE LIST.
What actually prompted me today to recall why I love to sit at the back of the church is the picture that you see above