AN ILLUSTRATED PILGRIM’S NOTE

October 20, 2013 – DUBAI

MORE PHOTOS COURTESY OF MS. MAY ANN RODIS:

 20131020_204935  20131020_205208
 20131020_205311  20131020_205408
 20131020_205952  20131020_210018

Back to: October 20, 2013 – DUBAI


HOMILY OF THE DAY

APRIL, 2014             CYCLE A,      YEAR II

SUN

MON

TUE

WED

THU

FRI

SAT

1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30

Back to: HOMILY OF THE DAY


Fourth Sunday of Lent (A Cycle)

1Sam 16:1,6-7,10-13; Eph 5:8-19; John 9:1-41

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES (02):

BULAG-BULAGAN: Reflection for 4th Sunday of Lent Year A – April 3, 2011

May dalawang uri ang pagkabulag. Ang pinakakaraniwan ay ang pagkabulag dahil sa pagkawala ng paningin. Ito ay isang uri ng pisikal na kapansanan. Mahirap na itong ibalik lalo na’t ang pagkabulag ay mula pa sa pagkasilang. Nangangailangan na ito ng isang himala. Ngunit may mga tao din namang nakakakita ngunit nabubuhay na parang mga bulag. Ang tawag natin ay mga taong “nagbubulag-bulagan”. Ito naman ay ang mga taong pinili ang “hindi makakita” sapagkat ayaw nila at hindi matanggap ang katotohanan. Mas mahirap itong pagalingin sapagkat nasa taong bulag ang desisyon para makakita! May kuwento ng isang babaeng lumapit sa isang pari upang mangumpisal. “Pakiramdam ko po’y nagkasala ako, ” ang sabi niya. “Ngayong umagang ito, bago ako magsimba ay lubhang naging mapagmataas ako sa aking sarili. Naging palalo po ako! Naupo ako sa harap ng salamin sa loob ng isang oras habang hinahangaan ko ang aking kagandahan.” Tiningnan siya ng pari at sumagot: “Hija, hindi ito kapalaluan kundi imahinasyon!” Sinasabing ang ugat ng kasalanan daw ay kapalaluan sapagkat ito ay nagdadala sa isang masahol na uri ng pagkabulag… pagkabulag sa katotohanan. Kapag tayo ay bulag sa katotohanan ay akala nating tama ang ating ginagawa at dahil dito ay nawawalan na tayo ng pagnanais na magsisi sa ating mga kasalanan. Mabubuti na tayong mga tao kaya’t di na natin kailangan ang Diyos sa ating buhay! Ang Ebanghelyo ngayong ika-apat na Linggo ng Kuwaresma ay nag-aanyaya sa ating tingnan ang ating mga sarili at baka may simtomas na tayo ng ganitong uri ng pagkabulag. Baka katulad na rin tayo ng mga pariseo na hindi matanggap ang kapangyarihan ni Jesus nang pagalingin niya ang bulag. Ang ganitong pag-uugali ay malaking sagabal sa isang tunay na pagbabalik-loob at pagbabagong buhay. May mga taong hindi nagkukumpisal sapagkat ang katwiran nila ay “wala naman akong mabigat na kasalanang nagawa! Mabuti naman ang akong tao! Walang bisyo! Sumusunod sa utos ng Diyos! Bakit pa ako magkukumpisal?” Ang pagkakaroon ng kababaang-loob na harapin ang ating mga pagkukulang ang unang hakbang sa isang tunay na pagbabago. Nagbubulag-bulagan pa rin ba ako sa aking pagiging Kristiyano? May pagkakataon pa tayo upang muling makakita. Aminin natin sa Diyos ang ating mga pagkakamali, ihingi natin ng tawad sa Kanya at sabihin natin katulad ng bulag sa Ebanghelyo: “Sumasampalataya po ako, Panginoon!”

kiliti-ng-diyos.blogspot.com/

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MASAHOL NA PAGKABULAG : Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A – March 2, 2008

May kuwento ng isang babaeng lumapit
sa isang pari upang mangumpisal.  “Pakiramdam ko po’y nagkasala ako, “
ang sabi niya.  “Ngayong umagang ito, bago ako magsimba ay lubhang
naging mapagmataas ko sa aking sarili.  Naupo ako sa harap ng salamin
sa loob ng isang oras habang hinahangaan ko ang aking kagandahan.”
Tiningnan siya ng pari at sumagot: “Hija, hindi ito kapalaluan kundi
imahinasyon!”
Sinasabing ang ugat ng kasalanan daw ay kapalaluan sapagkat ito ay nagdadala sa isang masahol na uri ng pagkabulag…  pagkabulag sa katotohanan.
Kapag tayo ay bulag sa katotohanan ay akala nating tama ang ating
ginagawa at dahil dito ay nawawalan na tayo ng pagnanais na magsisi sa
ating mga kasalanan.  Mabubuti na tayong mga tao kaya’t di na natin
kailangan ang Diyos sa ating buhay!  Ang Ebanghelyo ngayong ika-apat na
Linggo ng Kuwaresma ay nag-aanyaya sa ating tingnan ang ating mga
sarili at baka may simtomas na tayo ng ganitong uri ng pagkabulag.
Baka katulad na rin tayo ng mga pariseo na hindi matanggap ang
kapangyarihan ni Jesus nang pagalingin niya ang bulag.  Ang ganitong
pag-uugali ay malaking sagabal sa isang tunay na pagbabalik-loob at
pagbabagong buhay.  May mga taong hindi nagkukumpisal sapagkat ang
katwiran nila ay “wala naman akong mabigat na kasalanang nagawa! Mabuti
naman ang akong tao! Walang bisyo! Sumusunod sa utos ng Diyos! Bakit pa
ako magkukumpisal?”  Ang pagkakaroon ng kababaang-loob na harapin ang ating mga pagkukulang ang  unang hakbang sa  isang tunay na pagbabago.   Nagbubulag-bulagan pa rin ba ako sa aking pagiging Kristiyano?  May pagkakataon pa tayo upang muling makakita.  Aminin
natin sa Diyos ang ating mga pagkakamali, ihingi natin ng tawad sa
Kanya at sabihin natin katulad ng bulag sa Ebanghelyo: “Sumasampalataya po ako, Panginoon!”

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Fourth Sunday of Lent

BLIND PURPOSE

 It is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. – John 9:3

 I wanted to be a priest. Actually, I found it cool to be called Brother Leo and to live a missionary life serving God. Then a priest friend convinced me to seek a higher vocation by joining them if I had really heard God’s call.

So when I announced to my parents a few days after my elementary graduation that I wanted to become a priest, you could almost hear a pin drop.

With teary eyes from a mixture of joy and sadness, my parents agreed. A few days before entering the seminary, they changed their minds. I respected their decision and closed the chapter to my priestly vocation. Years went by until I experienced a life-changing crisis that led me to the Light of Jesus Family. Miracles healed and restored me, and I eventually started to reap blessing after blessing.

In gratitude, I volunteered in various liturgical ministries, served in cause-oriented missions and have been saying yes to God’s call. Since then, I’ve been living a missionary life serving God just the way He had wanted me to. Surprisingly, every time I serve, people call me Brother Leo. Leo Villarico (leovrico@yahoo.com)

 Reflection: Have you examined your intentions if they are according to God’s purpose? Allow God’s grace to open your eyes and see the works He has promised.

Lord, we surrender ourselves to Your divine purpose. Lead us not by sight but by faith, not in our own comfortable time but in Your perfect time, and purify my intentions for Your greater glory.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-03-30

1ST READING

This time it will be God who chooses who becomes King. The people of Israel have had their opportunity and chose Saul. God chooses David. We are supposed to look at the contrasts and see what makes the difference between a not-so-good and great king. Saul looks the part from a worldly point of view but lacks the inner character to do a good job. David is exactly the opposite. 1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13

2nd READING

 Being a child of the light means being a good example to others in faith and morality. Each one of us is called to embrace the challenge of righteous living so that those whom we meet will be inspired by our holy way of life. This is one of the most important aspects of living and proclaiming the Gospel, namely that our commitment to the truth will make available to others the same choices we have made for Jesus.

 Ephesians 5:8-14

GOSPEL

We should not ascribe medical difficulties directly as the result of personal sin. We can certainly get sick from the choices we make, but that is not the same as saying that God punishes sinners with sickness. Some choices, such as smoking, make certain illnesses like cancer much more probable in a person’s life. God does not give cancer to the smoker — smoking does that!

 John 9:1-41

think: Each one of us is called to embrace the challenge of righteous living so that those whom we meet will be inspired by our holy way of life to embrace it themselves.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-03-30

VENTURE INTO THE LIGHT

 In this Sunday’s Second Reading, St. Paul wrote that when we were in sin, we were like blind men living in the dark. But when Christ came and called us to conversion, we were able to see anew. St. Paul would continue that in Christ, “We are children of the light. There was a time when you were in darkness, but now you are the light in the Lord. Well then, live as children of light” ( Ephesians 5:8 ). Paul here is admonishing the people of Ephesus to remain in the light of Christ and not regress into the darkness of sin.

In the Gospel, after having been given the gift of sight, the man born blind progressed in his knowledge and faith in Jesus. Ironically, the people in the temple, supposedly people who had received the light of faith, ridiculed the man and put no faith in the person of Jesus. They have regressed into the darkness of unbelief. They have sight, but could not see.

I’m sure all of us here have had an experience of living in the darkness of sin. But we were converted to the Lord and we lived in the light. Unfortunately, we often go back into the dark, like the darkness of past hurts. I remember a woman who spoke of a hurt a loved one had inflicted on her — 20 years ago — as if it had happened only yesterday. When we refuse to forgive the hurts of the past, we will continue to live in darkness.

We all have our favorite sins. We confess the same sins over and over again. Sometimes I would tell people in the confessional, “Do you promise that you will do your best to turn away from these sins?” They would say, “Yes, Father, but not this one or that one.” If we continue to hold on to some of our favorite sins, we will continue to live in darkness.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said, “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.”

Today, we ask the Lord to help us out of the dark because by ourselves we cannot do it. Remember what Jesus said, “Without me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Let us have faith in Jesus. Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: What darkness covers your real beauty? Allow your beauty to shine forth!

Dearest Lord, help me to cling to Your light. Help me to get out of the darkness that I am in.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-03-30

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4th SUNDAY OF LENT: A JOURNEY FROM BLINDNESS TO SIGHT

Jn 9: 1-41

THE GOSPEL TODAY begins with an account on the encounter of Jesus with the man born blind. All his life, the latter had recognized people by their voices only. Now, with Jesus’ healing on him, he was able to see what human faces look like. While some people have recognized him, it is also surprising that some of his neighbors did not wish him well of his cure.

The usual enemies of Jesus came to the fore. They were Pharisees who distrusted the marvelous deed that Jesus had done to the man who was born blind. Because Jesus did the healing on a Sabbath, they judged him as man “who is not from God.” Jesus must have realized that it was easier to cure the man who was physically blind than the Pharisees who are “spiritually” blind. He has a longer and harder struggle with the Pharisees who are sick of spiritual blindness.

What is the significance of the gospel story on us? I can think of two things:

First, we can associate ourselves with the Pharisees whose stubbornness of heart precludes them from seeing the truth. This happens in ordinary relationships, friendship for instance. Most people do not want to see the hard truth, for some reasons. Some fail to see the truth because of fear that they might hurt their friends or family members. Our deliberate blindness does not actually help the relationship. We might be sustaining or protecting the relationship, but it does enrich the relationship. Why? Because we allow people to live in lies; not in the truth.  In these cases, we are in need of the healing grace of God.

Second, we can also associate ourselves with the man born blind. It is interesting to note that the vision, recognition or knowledge of Jesus did not happen overnight. In other words, he did not recognize Jesus immediately. When Jesus asked him whether he believes in the Son of Man, his reply was, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”

There are two things which are of importance to us:

On the one hand, we should try to live in light. St Paul has something to tell about this spiritual blindness or darkness. In the second reading, he told the Ephesians, “You were once darkness, but now you are light of the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” This is true! Living in light is related to living in truth. As children of light, we must be a sign of hope to the world. Our light produces goodness which can be a source of inspiration for others.

On the other hand, our journey of faith is also comparable to the journey of the man born blind. First, he knew of Jesus as a “man Jesus.” Next, he called Jesus as a prophet. Lastly, he addressed Jesus as Lord. Thus, there is a progress in his knowledge of God. In comparison, we also had been born blind until we were baptized. When we were baptized, our knowledge of God was only insignificant. But the Church expects it to grow while we grow older. It is expected that while we grow in age, we should also grow in our “seeing’ or knowledge of God. Thus, there should be progress and development in our understanding and knowledge of God. We must not stop exploring the depth and the width of the knowledge of God.

msp.org.ph/homilies.do?id=17218

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Have eyes but cannot see

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
March 28, 2014

A woman once approached a priest and confided, “I feel guilty, Father. This morning, before coming to Church, I committed the sin of pride. I sat for an hour in front of my mirror admiring my beauty.” Will I have to do penance?

The priest, looking at her, replied: “Not at all, my child. You only have to do penance for a sin; not an imagination.”

* * *

In the gospel of this 4th Sunday of Lent, we encounter people who, like that woman, are blind (read Jn 9,1-41). They are two kinds: one who is physically blind and people who are spiritually blind; one who  wants to see and people who refuse to see.

Of the latter Jesus, who’s referring to the Pharisees, says, “They have eyes but do not see.” These self-righteous religious leaders could not see because of hubris, an extreme form of pride, which thinks it knows all the answers.

* * *

Aren’t we in some ways like the blind Pharisees? For instance, in arguments we insist we’re right when it’s clearly the opposite; all because we think it’s weakness to yield or accept the truth. Or, there are husbands and wives who choose to remain in the dark about what’s wrong with their marriage instead of seeking help or counseling because of  amor propio.

* * *

With respect to graduations held nowadays, there are parents who cannot accept their child graduated “salutatorian only.” So they raise hell contesting over a .01% difference with the valedictorian’s grade.

* * *

Pride is the worst of all sins. It is the sin that makes a man feel that he is better than others, and that he doesn’t need help from anyone.

The proud person is impatient and oversensitive. He is affected by everything from a seating arrangement to the tone of a greeting.

* * *

The proud man also feels that God is not necessary in his life. With all his creative talents, money and power, he THINKS he can do whatever he wants by himself.

Do you remember the huge British ship Titanic?   Its builder claimed:  “Not Even God can sink this ship!”   In 1912 when it started its maiden Atlantic voyage to the USA,  it struck a large piece of iceberg which sank it to its watery grave. As the biblical Proverb puts it:   “Pride goes before the fall!”

* * *

The gospel lesson, as exemplified by the blind man, is: we need self-acceptance, self-knowledge. That requires humility–humility to accept you need help, humility to COOPERATE with God’s grace. In order to grow spiritually, humility is needed.

* * *

May the season of Lent help us to eradicate our spiritual blindness, see our limitations and accept our weaknesses so we can be cured and grow spiritually.

mb.com.ph/have-eyes-but-cannot-see/

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See Today’s Readings:  Cycle A

Back to: Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year A)


Fourth Sunday of Lent

READINGS (Cycle A):

Reading 1 1 sm 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a

The LORD said to Samuel:
“Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way.
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,
for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice,
Samuel looked at Eliab and thought,
“Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel:
“Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,
because I have rejected him.
Not as man sees does God see,
because man sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.”
In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,
but Samuel said to Jesse,
“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”
Then Samuel asked Jesse,
“Are these all the sons you have?”
Jesse replied,
“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse,
“Send for him;
we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them.
He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid appearance.
The LORD said,
“There—anoint him, for this is the one!”
Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,
anointed David in the presence of his brothers;
and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.

Responsorial Psalm ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

R/ (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

reading 2 eph 5:8-14

Brothers and sisters:
You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light,
for light produces every kind of goodness
and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness;
rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention
the things done by them in secret;
but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
for everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says:
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

Gospel jn 9:1-41

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned;
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.
Night is coming when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said this, he spat on the ground
and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”
So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
He replied,
“The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes
and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’
So I went there and washed and was able to see.”
And they said to him, “Where is he?”
He said, “I don’t know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe
that he had been blind and gained his sight
until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.
They asked them,
“Is this your son, who you say was born blind?
How does he now see?”
His parents answered and said,
“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
We do not know how he sees now,
nor do we know who opened his eyes.
Ask him, he is of age;
he can speak for himself.”
His parents said this because they were afraid
of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed
that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,
he would be expelled from the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said,
“He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind
and said to him, “Give God the praise!
We know that this man is a sinner.”
He replied,
“If he is a sinner, I do not know.
One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
So they said to him,
“What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?”
He answered them,
“I told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again?
Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
They ridiculed him and said,
“You are that man’s disciple;
we are disciples of Moses!
We know that God spoke to Moses,
but we do not know where this one is from.”
The man answered and said to them,
“This is what is so amazing,
that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners,
but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.
It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.
If this man were not from God,
he would not be able to do anything.”
They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, ADo you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said,
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him,
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said,
“I came into this world for judgment,
so that those who do not see might see,
and those who do see might become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this
and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
Jesus said to them,
“If you were blind, you would have no sin;
but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.

or jn 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” — which means Sent —.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said,
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him, and
the one speaking with you is he.”
He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.

Back to: Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year A)


Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

READINGS (March 25):

Reading 1 Is 7:10-14; 8:10

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us!”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11

R. (8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading 2 Heb 10:4-10

Brothers and sisters:
It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats
take away sins.
For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll,
behold, I come to do your will, O God.’”

First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in.”
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.”
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this “will,” we have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Gospel Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Back to: Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord


Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

March 25

Luke 1:26-38

Announcement of the birth of Jesus

Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. The Annunciation was the moment when St. Gabriel the Archangel announced to Mary that she would be the Mother of God Jesus Christ the Word made flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit. This Feast is also called in old calendars as the feast of the Incarnation. It probably originated about the time of the Council of Ephesus (c.431) and is first mentioned in the Sacramentary of Pope Gelasius (died 496).

Actually Jesus the Son of God who became man could have taken our nature without the cooperation of any creature; but He was pleased to be born of a woman, the One announced in Genesis chapter three. In choosing her whom He raised to this most sublime of all dignities, He was turning to the one maiden who, by the riches of His grace and virtues, was of all others the most holy and the most perfect. The purpose was to give a Savior to the world, a victim of propitiation to the sinner, a model to the just, a son to this Virgin who would remain a virgin, and a new nature to the Son of God, the nature of man, capable of suffering pain and anguish in order to satisfy God’s justice for our transgressions (from the: Butler’s Lives of the Saints).

Mary, a daughter of God, gives her “Fiat” (Be it done) by which she conceives the Savior by the working of the Holy Spirit. It is because in today’s gospel she hears what the angel says: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father, and He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end,” (Luke 1:31-33) and then, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God,” (Luke 1:30). But she questions first the announcement of the angel: “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Luke 1:34). In this sense she can have refused the plan of God for salvation since she is not a passive instrument. She ponders upon it what it meant (Luke 1:29).

But Mary is really a true hearer of the Word of God. Mary immediately makes a response with faith and trust. She is full of grace because she trusts to what God has said is true and would be fulfilled. She answers: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word,” (Luke 1:38). Because of her fiat to God’s invitation, this makes her the model of faith for all believers.

This Feast is connected too with the feast of the Nativity (December 25) because it was announced to her that through her willing cooperation the Incarnation of God will happen. But this Feast too almost always occurs during the Lenten season which is a time of commemoration of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, as somebody had said that the Annunciation touches both the good news that God has become one like us so that we might become as God is, and the greater news that God, in the person of Jesus, has “paid the price” for achieving this end.

And so, like Mary, somebody said that God’s call comes to all of us in the midst of the full spectrum of joy, suffering, grief and new birth that is present in our own individual, family, communal, national, and global lives. Like for example, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was an speaker to an international retreat of priests in Rome. She had this appeal to the group of priests: “Give us Jesus, only Jesus, always Jesus.” It is because Mary had brought Jesus to the world, flesh and blood. Can we also bring Jesus to others in our day-to-day lives?

See Today’s Readings:  Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Back to: SAINTS and SOLEMNITIES

Back to: SAINTS Homilies


Third Sunday of Lent (Year A)

Ex 17:3-7; Rom 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES (02):

3rd SUNDAY OF LENT: JESUS ENCOUNTERS THE WOMAN AT THE WELL

Jn 4: 5-42

A JESUIT philosopher says that “man is, by nature, thirsty or hungry.” But in his thirst or hunger, man turns to material things in order to quench his thirst or satisfy his hunger. Sadly, there will never be quenching or satisfaction because it would simply turn into a vicious circle. This will only end until one finds God who can ultimately quench our thirst.

The theme of the readings is today thirst and the quenching of thirst by drinking water. The First Reading recalls that moment in which the Israelites were crying out for water while they were leaving Egypt. They complained to Moses as if he was going to kill them, their children and their livestock. Moses was in dilemma, but Yahweh instructed him to strike to rock in Horeb with his staff, and the water would flow. And it did.

In the gospel, we heard the encounter and conversation of Jesus with a woman from Samaria. Jesus was exhausted due to a long walk under the sun’s heat, and he asked for water from a woman whom she should not talk because she was a Samaritan. During the conversation, we find that the woman and Jesus were not on the same plane. While the woman thought of water at the well (physical), Jesus talked about living water, so, he was on a spiritual plane. But then things had become clearer as the conversation went on. In fact, the woman rightly surmised that Jesus is the Christ that the Samaritans also expected. Let us take some of the points of their discussions and let us reflect on them.

First, Jesus says to the woman, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.”  Yes, most of us think that material things would quench our thirst, but it does not. The quenching is simply temporary, and after a while, we will be thirsty again. In affluent countries, we would notice that people are fond of buying things even if they do not need them. As a result, their houses become disordered, and a wide garbage. The Jesuit philosopher I mentioned above was right. If we only turn to material things, we will never be quenched from our thirst.

Second, Jesus continues to say, “Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” So, the water that Jesus gives is the saving love of God poured into our hearts which gives us life and peace. Jesus gives us the living water of salvation. This ultimately quenches our thirst. The living water of salvation is no less that Christ. This can be illustrated by the famous words of St Augustine who said, “My heart, O God, is restless until it rests unto Thee.” Before his conversion, Augustine was known to be a sinful person, a person full of vices. These may have quenched his thirst for things, but he felt it was simply temporary. Thus, his heart became restless. But the restlessness disappeared as he found God in his life.

Third, related to the feeling of thirst is hunger. The disciples of Jesus were looking for food. And when they came back, they offered food to the hungry Jesus. The response of Jesus was, “I have food to eat which you do not know” which lead to a confusion among his disciples. He further said, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.” Food, like water, is a basic need. We cannot live without it. When Jesus said that his food is to do the will of God, he suggests that he cannot live without obedience to the will of the Father. This is also something which we should reflect.  Obedience or following God and his laws should also be our food that enriches us.

Lastly, when the woman proclaimed the good news and her encounter with Jesus, the Samaritans also came to meet him. Afterward, they told the Samaritan woman, “We no longer believed because of your word, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”  In our journey of faith, we tend to rely on the testimonies of others, which may be valid. But it is also expected that we ourselves should have our own or personal encounter with Christ. Two words are used here: hear and know. It is good that we have also heard for ourselves the God whom we believe, through reading the Bible, and we have known our God thought constant prayer and reflections. While we grow older, we must also grow in our knowledge of Christ.

msp.org.ph/homilies.do?id=17102

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The Samaritan Woman and the Original Meaning of Lent

Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.March 19, 2014Comments

Lent’s a time of introspection.  We read Exodus, and watch the Israelites grumbling, even after the amazing things God had done for them (Ex 17:3-7).  In them, we recognize ourselves.  For many of us, then, Lent is time for the spiritual equivalent of New Year’s resolutions.  We set aside work on ourselves for forty days so we don’t end up wandering around in the wilderness for 40 years. We do things to burn off the fat off that’s weighing us down, try to improve our spiritual diet, and do some spiritual exercises to strengthen the muscles we call “virtues.”

But in the early days of the Church, Lent was not so much a time to focus inward.  It was time for Catholics to focus outward.  It was a time not just for personal growth, but for growth of the Church.

In the days of the Church Fathers, did the whole Church fast, pray, and give alms for the forty days preceding Easter?  Absolutely.  But Catholics did this primarily for the sake of others.  There were two groups of people that were the main beneficiaries of this prayer and penance: new Catholics to be baptized at Easter and lapsed Catholics to be readmitted to communion. These folks were praying and fasting during Lent to break the power of darkness and to prepare to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land.

We ought to recover this ancient tradition and do penance for and with those who will enter or return to the Church at Easter.  But there is something else that we should do.  There are millions more who should be returning or entering.  We need to tell them about Jesus.

“Evangelize?  That’s not my charism, not my personality.”  “I need more education, first.”  “I evangelize by example.”  But the second Vatican Council and all Popes since teach that all Catholics are called to evangelize in both deed and word.

True, not everyone is a Fulton Sheen, and not everyone can manage to get a degree in theology.  But the story of the Samaritan woman (John 4) teaches the kind of evangelism that all of us can manage.

First, Jesus models it for us.  He comes to a town where everyone is a member of a heretical sect and sits down by a well.  A woman comes to draw water.  Israelites usually don’t talk to Samaritans, much less drink out of their vessels which were considered ritually impure.  To boot, men usually don’t make conversation with women. But Jesus recognizes her existence and affirms her by being willing to accept a drink from her.  Once she gets over her shock, a dialogue ensues.  It starts out about water, wells, Jews and Samaritans, but Jesus asks her questions that throw her off a bit and make her think.  He finally asks a question that leads her to “fess up” and admit her need.  She’s hungry for love, and has run through quite a few partners looking for the real thing.  Jesus’ soul-piercing glance tells her that his is the love she’s been looking for.  She abandons her water jar and returns to city to tell everyone about Jesus.

Did she wait till she had a masters degree in theology?  Did she sit down with people and demonstrate from Scripture why he was the Messiah?  No.  She simply told people, with joy, confidence, and conviction, what Jesus had done for her.  And she invited people to come and experience him for themselves.

And that’s how a large portion of that heretical town came to believe.  And that’s how a large portion of the Roman Empire came to believe.  There were no crusades in stadiums, no TV preachers.  Christians simply listened to neighbors and co-workers with respect and love, asked questions to find out their needs, and told how Jesus had met similar needs in their lives.  And then an invitation was issued to come check it out.

One of our Lenten resolutions this year ought to be to get over our fear of sharing the good news, to be aware of the spiritual needs of those around us, and share His love.  More people are looking than you think.  “The fields are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35).


Editor’s Note: Reflection on the Mass readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A) – Exodus 17:3-7; Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42 or 4:5-15, 19-26, 39. 

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio writes from Texas. For his resources on parenting and family life or information on his pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land, visit http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com or call 1.800.803.0118.

integratedcatholiclife.org/2014/03/dambrosio-sunday-reflection-samaritan-woman-original-meaning-of-lent/

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Living water quenches thirst forever

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
March 21, 2014

Many of you might still remember the Hollywood “sex goddess” Marylene Monroe of the 1950s? Monroe had everything — beauty, fame, money. In spite of that, deep down she was unhappy and her life empty. One morning she was found dead. She had committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.

* * *

Then there was the rock-and-roll star Elvis Presley who went on to make dozens of Gold Records, send millions of hysterical fans into ululations of delight, and gross US$1 billion in earnings—before he died at the young age of 42, on August 16, 1977. He died of an excess of drugs and junk food.

* * *

Modern  psychiatry’s files are loaded with cases of  persons  who have  managed to acquire everything they thought they  needed  to make them happy, except peace of soul.

In this Third Sunday of Lent, Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman coming to the well to draw water. Jesus asks her for water to drink. The woman was taken aback since it was forbidden for a Jew to speak to a Samaritan because the Jews considered the Samaritans unclean.

* * *

Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you…he would have given you living water” (Jn 4:10).

Jesus added, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst. (Jn 4:13).

* * *

Jesus was talking about water of the Spirit that quenches human thirst that lasts to eternal life with God. Celebrities, like Marylene Monroe and Elvis Presley, tried looking for that water but unfortunately, could not find it in worldly pleasures, fame, wealth, and drugs.

* * *

I have known of certain professionals who, because they felt empty deep down, searching for something missing in their lives, opted to enter the religious life. One was a doctor, a specialist in gynecology, who became a priest. “Perhaps you did it,” I kidded him, “because you ran out of clients, you being male!” He replied, “No, it’s because I had always wanted to become a priest. It was my parents who ‘pushed’ me to become a doctor.”

* * *

There are also lay professionals who turned their backs on high paying jobs and now serve fulltime in the renewal movement. “I’m much happier doing this because I’m serving God directly,” they say.

* * *

Drinking of God’s “living water” does not mean only embracing the religious life or joining Life in the Spirit Seminars. If you can do that, go ahead. But for most people, it’s living at peace with God, following his will, and serving people, especially the “least of His brethren” that they can find true happiness and ultimate fulfilment

* * *

Material and physical needs won’t satisfy us. Only God can.  And this is what St. Augustine discovered after a long and tortuous search for true fulfillment.  “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in  You.”

mb.com.ph/living-water-quenches-thirst-forever/

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TUBIG NG BUHAY: Reflection for 3rd Sunday of Lent Year C – March 23, 2014 – YEAR OF THE LAITY

Saksi tayo sa kapangyarihan ng tubig nitong nakaraang mga taon.  Tubig ang nagpapalubog at nangwawasak ng maraming bahay at kabuhayan ito man ay dala ng bagyo o matinding pagbaha sa isang siyudad o probinsiya.  Ngunit sa isang banda alam din nating ang dala ng tubig ay buhay.  Tao, hayop o halaman man ay binubuhay ng tubig.  Ano ba ang biyayang naibibigay ng tubig sa ‘ting mga tao?  At ano naman ang kinalaman nito sa ating buhay espirituwal?  May joke akong nabasa sa isang text: “A thirsty city girl went to a remote barrio. GIRL: Granny, saan galing your water? LOLA: Sa ilog, iha! GIRL: Ha? Dini-drink n’yo yan? MATANDA: Duhh! Bakit? Sa siyudad ba chinu-chew?” hehehe… Tama nga naman si Granny… ang tubig hindi “chinu-chew!” Pero hindi lahat ng tubig ay “dini-drink!” Naalala ko, ten years ago, nagsimulang lumaganap ang pag-inom ng mineral water. Bakit? Kasi marumi ang tubig na lumalabas sa mga gripo sa Metro Manila, kulay kalawang at mabaho! Kaya nga yung mga “can’t afford” nung time na yun ay nakuntento na lang sa pagpapakulo ng kanilang inuming tubig. Mahalaga ang tubig! Hindi natin ito maikakaila. Kabahagi ito ng ating pagkatao. Sa katunayan, malaking porsiyento ng ating katawan ay tubig! Kaya gayun na lamang ang epekto kapag ikaw ay na-dehydrate! Kahit nga ang mga naghuhunger strike… ok lang na di kumain, pero dapat may tubig. Kung wala ay ikamamatay nila ‘yon! Ang tubig ay buhay! Narinig natin ang “water crisis” ng mga Israelita sa unang pagbasa. Di magkamayaw ang pag-alipusta nila kay Moises sapagkat dinala sila sa disierto na walang tubig. Ngunit ang pagka-uhaw ay hindi lamang pisikal. Sa Ebanghelyo ay makikita natin na ibang uri ng pagkauhaw ang taglay ng babaeng Samaritana. Ang kanyang masamang pamamumuhay ay pagkauhaw na naramdaman ni Hesus kaya’t inalok siya nito ng “tubig na nagbibigay buhay!” Tayo rin, ay patuloy na inaalok ni Hesus na lumapit sa Kanya. Marahil ay iba’t ibang uri ang ating “pagkauhaw.” May uhaw sa pagmamahal, pagpapatawad, pagkalinga, katarungan, katotohanan, kapayapaan, etc. Ngunit kung susuriing mabuti, ang mga pagkauhaw na ito ay nauuwi sa isa lamang… ang pagkauhaw sa Diyos! Ngayong panahon ng kuwaresma, sana ay maramdaman natin ang pangangailangan sa Diyos. Kaya nga hinihikayat tayo sa panahon ng Kuwaresma na palalimin ang ating buhay panalangin. Ang isdang tinanggal mo sa tubig ay mamamatay. Ang ibong tinanggalan mo ng hangin ay hindi makakalipad. Ang panalangin ay parang tubig at hangin. Hindi tayo maaring mabuhay kung wala ito. Ang pangangailangan sa Diyos ay pagpapakita na tayo ay tunay na tao. Tanggalin natin ang maskara ng pagkukunwari na hindi natin Siya kailangan sa ating buhay. Nawa ngayong Taon ng mga Layko ay tunay na madama ng bawat isa sa atin ang kakulangan kung wala ang Diyos sa ating piling.  ‘Wag tayong padadala sa agos ng mundo na winawalang bahala ang ating relasyon o pakikipag-ugnayan sa Diyos.  Hayaan natin Siyang pawiin ang uhaw ng ating puso at kaluluwa. Nawa ang ating maging panalangin ay katulad ng mga panalangin ni San Agustin: “Panginoon… di mapapanatag ang aming mga puso hangga’t hindi ito nahihimlay sa ‘Yo!”  

kiliti-ng-diyos.blogspot.com/2014/03/tubig-ng-buhay-reflection-for-3rd.html

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Moments

Irreplaceable

By Fr. Jerry M. Orbos SVD
Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:33 am | Sunday, March 23rd, 2014
The story is told about a woman whose boyfriend whom she loved very much just died. Then her rich suitor of many years called her up and said: “Now that your boyfriend is dead, I would like to express my condolences and my intention to take his place.” The woman answered: “Thank you. I will now call the funeral home and tell them of your intention to take his place.”

* * *

In today’s Gospel ( Jn. 4, 5-42), Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman at the well. Their conversation started with thirst for natural water, and ended with the Samaritan woman asking from Jesus the water He will give so that she will not be thirsty again. We often think that worldly pleasures and achievements are all that we need in this life to be satisfied and happy. Not so, the Lord reminds us today.

* * *

Money can buy happiness, but not true happiness. There are many things money can buy, but there are many other things it cannot buy or satisfy. In this season of Lent, we are asked to curb our desire for earthly pleasures so that we can focus more on the spiritual, which, in the end, can truly make us happy and satisfied.

* * *

Somebody once said that money is like sea water. The more you drink of it, the more you become thirsty. Sea water cannot quench our thirst. Somewhere down the road, we must make a decision on whether we will make money our god that we will worship and pursue for the rest of our lives. What can make us realize that? Like the Samaritan woman, an encounter with the Lord can make us change the course of our lives. Let us pray, and be open to God’s grace, and when we encounter the Lord, may we not turn our back on Him who is calling us toward a more peaceful life. May God give us the peace which the world cannot give or take away.

* * *

The Lord calls us today also to true worship, a “worship in spirit and truth.” Beyond religion, beyond traditions, beyond rituals and places of worship, our worship must be from the heart. Let God be God, let man be man. We cannot, and should not, confine or control God! Beyond the Church is the kingdom of God which is open for all. True worship is inclusive, not exclusive. Worship in spirit is worship not just with words but with heart.

* * *

What is worship “in truth”? Again, our Lord tells us to go beyond lip service to life service. Worship “in truth” is worshiping and honoring God not just with prayers and words but with the very life we live.

* * *

It’s that time of the year when we have final exams and graduations for our students. Congratulations! We honor not only the students but also the teachers and parents who believe that education is irreplaceable in our pursuit of better lives. Nothing can take the place of hard and honest work. Especially in this season of Lent, may our government officials remember how their greed can affect the lives of so many poor and needy who work so hard just to get by.

* * *

Perhaps the Gospel story of the Samaritan woman should remind us and our government that the people in Samar and Leyte whose lives were upended by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” last year are still suffering, and that life is still not “back to normal” for them. Let us not be complacent in our efforts to do good and to reach out to the poor and the needy.

* * *

After the Samaritan woman encountered Jesus, she was never the same again. We pray that we, too, will get to encounter Jesus in a deeper way, and that this encounter will lead to a life spent in quality time and payback time. Please remember that the journey to God’s heart is the most important journey we have to make in our life, more than a career journey, etc.

* * *

What if, for whatever reason, Jesus did not start a conversation with the Samaritan woman? He could have snubbed or ignored her. But He reached out, and engaged her in a conversation. He dialogued with her. A lot of issues and problems can be clarified or solved if we dialogue with each other. Dialogue is not easy. How far easier it is to impose on, demand from, dictate to, or shut out other people! You know why people don’t dialogue? Because for many of them, dialogue is not only difficult but also unprofitable. Besides, with dialogue, one takes the risk of daya (deceit) and lugi (losing). Baka madaya ka at malugi pa!

* * *

Summer is here! Drink plenty of water! Let me share this text message that I received: “Drinking water is important. One glass of water after waking up helps activate the internal organs; one glass before sleep prevents stroke or heart attack while sleeping; one glass after a bath helps lower blood pressure.”

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, indeed, restless are our hearts until they rest in Thee. No amount of worldly success or pleasure can fill the void in our hearts that can only be filled by Thee. Amen.

opinion.inquirer.net/72859/irreplaceable

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See Today’s Readings:  Cycle A

Back to: Third Sunday of Lent (Year A)


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