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Friday, October 31, 2014

30th Week in Ordinary Time

 

1st Reading: Phil 1:1-11

Gospel: Lk 14:1-6

One Sabbath Jesus had gone to eat a meal in the house of a leading Pharisee, and he was carefully watched. In front of him was a man suffering from dropsy; so Jesus asked the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But no one answered. Jesus then took the man, healed him and sent him away. And he addressed them, “If your lamb or your ox falls into a well on a Sabbath day, who among you doesn’t hurry to pull it out?” And they could not ans­wer.

D@iGITAL-EXPERIENCE

(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

Today’s Gospel calls our attention to the many times we end up sacrificing the essentials by following a strict interpretation of the Law. The Christian way is the way of Jesus who interpreted the Law in relation to the ultimate good of humanity.

Jesus did not hesitate to disregard interpretations of the law disadvantageous to the welfare of people. In today’s Gospel, for example, he did not allow the Pharisees’ narrow interpretation of the Sabbath Law to deprive a man suffering from dropsy of that rare healing encounter with him. Jesus cured that sick person over and above the objection of the Pharisees who cried foul because Jesus was performing miracles on a Sabbath. Under the strict Sabbath Law any mode of work was prohibited. Jesus was not spared.  When Jesus was made to choose between complying the law to the letter and saving a person, he chose the latter.

Every time I come to this topic on the law and human welfare I remember an experience I had long time ago with a traffic enforcer while I was on my way to the hospital to minister to the sick.  Because the hospital’s parking lot was fully occupied I pulled over to call from my mobile phone the relatives of the sick to inform them about my parking problem. Suddenly a traffic officer apprehended me for pulling over at a ‘no stopping’ zone. “Someone is dying in that hospital and I have nowhere to park,” I explained. The traffic enforcer must have taken me for a doctor, perhaps because I was wearing white. He said, “It’s okey, Doctor, you can park here. I can even keep an eye on your car”. He left before I could explain further.

The way he interpreted the law doctors should be exempted from street parking regulations because they save lives, and matters of life are higher than any law. The survival of any decent society hangs on how sacred people consider life to be. Any law that jeopardizes life is oppressive and should not find support. The life we sacrifice because of our penchant for the details of the law may be our very own life.

We may not be in a position to interpret the law for others but we must understand that life must be given the respect due. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email:dan.delosangeles@gmail.com. Website: www.frdan.org.

Prayer for the day: God our Father teach us to love each other by tempering the rigors of the law with our genuine concern for the needs of our brothers and sisters. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHURCH BULLETIN:

SAINT OF THE DAY:  ST.  Wolfgang, Bishop. He was born in Suabia in 925 and became a Benedictine monk who reformed the abbey school where he was director. After he became a priest he evangelized the Magyars and was later appointed Archbishop of Ratisbon.  He was canonized in 1022.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

30th Week in Ordinary Time

 

1st Reading: Eph 6:10-20

Gospel: Luke 13:31-35

 Some Pharisees came to Jesus and gave him this warning, “Leave this place and go on your way, for Herod wants to kill you.” Jesus said to them, “Go and give that fox my answer: ‘I drive out demons and heal today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my course!’ Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and for a little longer, for it would not be fitting for a prophet to be killed outside Jerusalem.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you slay the prophets and stone your apostles! How often have I tried to bring together your children, as a bird gathers her young under her wings, but you refused! From now on you will be left with your temple and you will no longer see me until the time when you will say: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

D@iGITAL-EXPERIENCE

(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

Today’s Gospel passage shows Jesus’ loving care for Jerusalem . He did not withdraw this loving care even when he met opposition from its inhabitants. In fact he made clear his intention to die not outside but inside Jerusalem. Was this love for Jerusalem reciprocated? We rush to reply in the negative. Yet today’s Gospel reading suggests otherwise as it presents certain Pharisees, in a rare show of extraordinary concern, warning Jesus of Herod’s plot of murder. We find this unusual because the word Pharisee has become synonymous with the word enemy – a concept attributed to them because they always sought for ways to destroy Jesus. The rarity of this display of loyalty balances the great concern of Jesus for Jerusalem and its people.

This display of loyalty from a group noted to be inimical to Jesus takes us to the inspiring principle that something good can still come out from groups no matter how notorious they are. I am reminded of a seminar I attended sponsored by DOST and PAG-ASA where the speaker told us that typhoons cause most of the rain that we need and that without typhoons happening somewhere, we’d stand to suffer yearlong draught. Typhoon, no matter how unwanted, can still bring about some desirable effects. In the same way, one can still derive something good from what everyone brands as evil. Jesus was a believer of this. That is why he never gave up on Jerusalem. Even if Herod already plotted to kill him, he did not waiver. Instead he made public his desire to die in Jerusalem.

The same love and concern Jesus had for Jerusalem is given to us. We feel this in the ministry of the Church, in the charitable deeds of lay people and in the pastoral care of non government institutions. Is this concern reciprocated? People rush to answer in the negative. May our lives of charity prove them wrong!  – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: dan.delosangeles@gmail.com. Website:www.frdan.org.

Prayer for the day:  God our Father, strengthen us so that despite the evil we experience in this world we may persevere in building your kingdom on earth. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHURCH BULLETIN:

SAINT OF THE DAY: ST. MARCELLUS THE CENTURION. He was centurion in the court of Emperor Maximian. During the birthday of the emperor in 298, St. Marcellus refused to participate in the rituals for the gods and declared himself a Christian by throwing down his vine-branch the mark of his dignity. Upon learning of the centurion’s public admittance of
his Faith, the Prefect of the legion ordered the arrest and imprisonment of Marcellus. He was eventually condemned to die by
beheading for desertion and irreverence.

The narrow road

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

30th Week in Ordinary Time

 

1st Reading: Eph 6:1-9

Gospel: Luke 13:22-30

Jesus went through towns and villages teaching and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, is it true that few people will be saved?”

And Jesus answered, “Do your best to enter by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you will stand outside; then you will knock at the door calling: ‘Lord, open to us.’ But he will say to you: ‘I do not know where you come from.’

“Then you will say: We ate and drank with you and you taught in our streets! But he will reply: ‘I don’t know where you come from. Away from me all you workers of evil.’

“You will weep and grind your teeth when you see Abraham and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves left outside. Others will sit at table in the kingdom of God, people coming from east and west, from north and south. Some who are among the last will be the first, and others who were first will be last!”

D@iGITAL-EXPERIENCE

(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

Today’s Gospel is best interpreted in connection with Luke 13:1-9 where Jesus clarified that it was not a punishment for personal sins that the Galileans suffered under the hands of Pilate. It was Pilate who had them killed and had their blood mixed with the sacrifice offered to false gods. This clarification notwithstanding, Jesus warned his listeners that they could end up like those Galileans if they refused to repent.

Today’s Gospel passage from Luke 13:22-30 builds on this call to repentance by stressing on Christianity’s demand for total allegiance to Jesus. This is the meaning of the exhortation to strive to enter by the narrow door. Total allegiance narrows down our life’s options to choices that build strong relationship with Jesus. This is not slavery since this narrow path is freely taken. One perseveres if he draws strength from the spirit of repentance. The deeper the repentance, the more profound one can develop his allegiance to Jesus.

This total allegiance raises the bar of discipleship above casual eating and drinking with Jesus. Beyond casual encounter with him, a disciple shares in Jesus’ life, the life he lived with the poor. Today’s Gospel warns us that once the door is shut, no amount of knocking will set the door open, not even to those who claim that they have had “bonding moments” with the Lord eating and drinking with him.

This call to total allegiance is issued to “all people coming from east and west, from north and south” (verse 29). But those who fail to enter into deeper relationship with Jesus will be left out from the banquet hall where their forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob also sit. Outside the banquet hall they will wail and grind their teeth, a far worse state than those of the Galileans whose blood Pilate mixed with the sacrifice to false gods. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: dan.delosangeles@gmail.com. Website: www.frdan.org.

Prayer for the day:  God our Father, help us persevere in the narrow path that leads to life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHURCH BULLETIN:

SAINT OF THE DAY:  SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Narcisus, Bishop. It is said that he is the 30th bishop of Jerusalem. In the Archdiocese of Cebu, his Feast is celebrated today in Consolacion.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles

 

1st Reading: Eph 2:19-22

Gospel: Luke 6:12-16

 Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them whom he called apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James and John; Philip and Bartho­lo­mew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.

D@iGITAL-EXPERIENCE

(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

Our major seminary used to own a dog trained not to eat till after the prayer before meals is over.  The dog’s name was Carmo. Unlike other dogs Carmo would sit down and prayerfully wait until the prayer leader (a human being, of course) has concluded the ritual with the word “amen”.

If by appropriate training a dog’s instinct can be restrained until prayer is over there is no reason why people could not be formed into prioritizing prayer. After all humans, unlike dogs, have the intelligence to understand that prayer is important. It is enough to revisit Jesus’ attitude towards prayer to appreciate its value. Consider how Jesus prioritized it when it was time to make the major decision of choosing his Apostles. It was such an important decision because he was choosing leaders for his Church. He did not make the choice till after he had spent a whole night of prayer.

Consider the advantages one gets from praying before making important decisions. God, being up there, sees the broader picture. Moreover, his wisdom is far superior than the wisdom of the most intelligent person alive. Of this wisdom St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” (1 Cor. 3:19).

Some people refuse to pray because they don’t want to be guided by God. They are not happy with his ways and even criticize him openly for mismanaging the world. They are wrong. God’s ways appear foolish to some not because God is suffering from cerebral poverty but because man can only go that deep in trying to fathom the wisdom of God. Humanly speaking, Jesus’ choice of Apostles was far from wise. Until now we still can’t see the point why he handpicked a public sinner (tax collector), and a traitor (Judas Iscariot). Yes, that is how dull we are. That is why it is so dangerous for us to be left alone in making important decisions in life. In every step we make in our lives it is best that we pray for God’s guidance “so that our faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor 2:5).

But we shouldn’t pray as Carmo did. He was actually trained to recognize the word “Amen” as his signal to start eating. In all those years his heart was not in the prayer recited for him. How demeaning if we do not do any better! – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: dan.delosangeles@gmail.com. Website: www.frdan.org.

Prayer for the day:  God our Father, teach us how to pray, for left to ourselves even our wisest decisions could lead us to damnation. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHURCH BULLETIN:

SAINT OF THE DAY: STS. SIMON AND JUDE, Apostles. These could be the patrons of all anonymous people. Both of them have difficulty even in getting their names remembered! Simon is chiefly known as not Simon Peter! The gospel writers themselves call him by different names: Luke calls him “Simon the Zealot,” Matthew and Mark call him “Simon the Canaanite.” Nothing more that that is recorded of him! It’s a slim CV! His companion Jude is likewise almost anonymous. There is difficulty about his name too: John calls him “Judas—not the Iscariot!” Luke calls him “Jude the brother of James,” Matthew calls him “Thaddeus.” Nothing is said of him in any of the gospels except that he asked a question, “Lord, what is all this about?” (Jn 14:22). The rest is silence.

Monday, October 27, 2014

30th Week in Ordinary Time

 

1st Reading: Eph 4:32–5:8

Gospel: Luke 13:10-17

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath and a crippled woman was there. An evil spirit had kept her bent for eighteen years so that she could not straighten up at all. On seeing her, Jesus called her and said, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” Then he laid his hands upon her and immediately she was made straight and praised God.

But the ruler of the synagogue was indignant because Jesus had performed this healing on the Sabbath day and he said to the people, “There are six days in which to work; come on those days to be healed and not on the Sabbath.”

But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Everyone of you unties his ox or his donkey on the Sabbath and leads it out of the barn to give it water. And here you have a daughter of Abraham whom Satan had bound for eighteen years. Should she not be freed from her bonds on the Sabbath?”

D@iGITAL-EXPERIENCE

(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

Andy Serkis the British actor who plays the bulging-eyed schizophrenic cave dweller Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy said that he studied his cats to develop his character’s sinister throaty voice. The success of the Gollum character is in its ability to project in the physical the moral condition of being addict and desperate. Gollum did this by being bent in posture and crawling all the time. The throaty voice also reinforced the character. In an interview Serkis said: “I used to drink a lot of Gollum juice which was honey and lemon and ginger and fruit teas. I had a lot of lower back injuries because of the decision to make him crawl because he is an addict and I wanted to reflect that sense of desperation”.

The making of the Gollum reflected the dynamics of the human manifestation of an internal moral condition. The same dynamics was operative in the woman described in today’s Gospel as “kept bent for 18 years by an evil spirit”. Her bent stature and her spiritual slavery may be a symbolic reference to the power of Satan to alienate a person from the community. Probably because of such alienation she learned to stoop down to avoid the questioning eyes of the community.

Satan means one who gets in the way – a stumbling block. Recall how Jesus used “Satan” in this sense when he remonstrated Peter saying, “Get behind me, Satan.” That was when Peter began to dissuade him from his Passion. The devil deserves this name because his role is just that: to stand in the way of people who are supposed to tread the path to righteousness. Serkis was successful in becoming the Gollum movie lovers well remember because he began creating this movie character from the deepest recesses of his consciousness. If we let Satan into our souls, would he be less creative than Serkis? – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email:dan.delosangeles@gmail.com. Website: www.frdan.org.

Prayer for the day:  God our Father, grant us the grace of perseverance so that we may not succumb to the devil’s manipulations. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHURCH BULLETIN:

SAINT OF THE DAY:  ST. FRUMENTIUS, the Apostle of Ethiopia. He and his brother St. Aedesius were the only survivors among the voyagers of the ship that landed at Ethiopia. They were taken to the king and became members of his court. They introduced Christianity to the country and paved the way to the opening of trade with the West. As bishop, St. Frumentius worked hard and converted many including the king’s sons.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

1st Reading: Exodus 22:20-26

2nd Reading: 1st Thessalonians 1:5-10

Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard how Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. One of them, a teacher of the Law, tried to test him with this question, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the Law?”

Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the most important of the commandments. But after this there is another one very similar to it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole Law and the Prophets are founded on these two commandments.”

D@iGITAL-EXPERIENCE

(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

Jesus described love of neighbor as one “very similar” to love of God. Qualifying the word “similar” with “very” still leaves unsettled the exact level of correspondence between love of God and love of neighbor. Are they 90% similar? Why didn’t he simply say both are the same?

Equating love of neighbor with love of God may not be proper because experience tells us that not all those who love their neighbors love God. Similarly, equating love of God with love of neighbor may be improper because we know of many people who love God but hate their neighbors. With the foregoing considerations we should just stick to the words “very similar”.

When something is very similar to another, that similarity imposes upon the minds of observers the presence of that other. Love of neighbor should be “very similar” to love of God because we are supposed to love others in a manner very similar to how we love God. In other words our love towards our neighbors should approximate our level of love towards God such that whoever experiences our love also feels like he is loved like a god. Jesus was more explicit when he said that whatever we do to the least of our brothers we do unto him. In a word, our love for others should be to the degree that befits him. When we can love everyone this way, we arrive at the similarity that Jesus would like us to achieve.

Is it possible for human beings like us to arrive at this similarity? Why can’t we just love some and hate the others? Can’t we just love the more deserving ones and shun the others? Isn’t the requirement of loving the enemies too much to ask from human beings of vulnerable hearts? Isn’t the Love Commandment oppressive? Isn’t the command to love the same enemy who had wounded our hearts not a temptation to live a life of hypocrisy?

The foregoing questions are valid. That is why God so willingly provides the grace. At the start God had already bestowed will power upon us to empower us to swim against the tide of human weakness and love others the way God wants. Ascetics of the past built their spirituality upon this principle of swimming against the tide. By saying no even to things that are not sinful in themselves they built their will power to the effect that they became strong enough to say no to greater temptations. By building up our will power and by the grace which God so willingly bestows upon those who ask we can make our love of neighbor very similar to our love for God.  – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: dan.delosangeles@gmail.com. Website: www.frdan.org.

.  Prayer for the day:  God our Father, increase our love for one another and so deepen our love for you. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHURCH BULLETIN:

SAINT OF THE DAY: Damian Dei Fulcheri, Religious.  Damian was born at the beginning of the fifteenth century in Petri, Italy. He was an infant when kidnapped by a lunatic. After a long search, he was foundwith the help of a miraculous light that guided his searchers. Damian joined the Dominicans at Savona and preached throughout Italy.  He died in 1484 at Reggio d’Emilia and public veneration of him was approved by Pope Pius IX in 1848.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

29th Week in Ordinary Time

 

1st Reading: Eph 4:7-16

Gospel: Luke 13:1-9

Some persons told Jesus what had occurred in the Temple: Pilate had Galileans killed and their blood mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus replied, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this? I tell you: no. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did.

“And those eighteen persons in Siloah who were crushed when the tower fell, do you think they were more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? I tell you: no. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did.”

And Jesus continued with this story, “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard and he came looking for fruit on it, but found none. Then he said to the gardener: ‘Look here, for three years now I have been looking for figs on this tree and I have found none. Cut it down, why should it use up the ground?’ The gardener replied: ‘Leave it one more year, so that I may dig around it and add some fertilizer; and perhaps it will bear fruit from now on. But if it doesn’t, you can cut it down.”

 

D@iGITAL-EXPERIENCE

(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

Jesus disagreed with the religious leaders’ conclusion that what happened to the Galileans who suffered in the hands of Pilate was inflicted by God to punish them for their past sins. Jesus insisted that misfortunes are not punishments from above.

Why then do misfortunes happen? The two most common reasons are comeuppance and implication. Misfortune by implication results from the evil deeds of others. Because sin has a social dimension the innocent ones become the necessary casualties of evil deeds of others. If this is the kind of misfortune you are experiencing right now the challenge is to fight evil even while loving the sinner. Passivity is misunderstood religiosity. Evil thrives because people think that Christianity is confined to Calvary. But Calvary is only one part of the story of Jesus. He fought hard to rectify the system. When a soldier slapped him before Pilate, did he turn the other cheek? No. He protested the evil act, saying: “If I have done nothing wrong, then why did you slap me?”

Misfortune by comeuppance is simply the result of a person’s own evil acts. What comes around comes around! In such cases it is unfair to blame God who may even be in pain while helplessly watching us suffer the results of our wrongdoing. Human freedom renders God “powerless” in the sense that his great respect for our freedom will leave us where we are the moment we invoke it. If this is the kind of misfortune happening to you, know that the best option is to abandon your evil deeds. Keep this in mind: “Unless you change your ways you will also end like the Galileans whose blood Pilate mixed with sacrifices to false Gods”. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: dan.delosangeles@gmail.com. Website: www.frdan.org.

Prayer for the day: God our Father, grant us perseverance in  sufferings so that we may come to the reward you promise through Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHURCH BULLETIN:

SAINT OF THE DAY: ST. GAUDENTIUS OF BRESCIA, Bishop. He was born in Brescia, Italy (4th century). On the death of Bishop Philastrius, he was elected as his successor even in absentia. He governed his diocese with prudence and humility. He died in 410.

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