HOMILY OF THE DAY

APRIL, 2014             CYCLE A,      YEAR II

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WED

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13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30

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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)


Third Sunday of Lent

READINGS (Cycle A):

Reading 1 ex 17:3-7

In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst
with our children and our livestock?”
So Moses cried out to the LORD,
“What shall I do with this people?
a little more and they will stone me!”
The LORD answered Moses,
“Go over there in front of the people,
along with some of the elders of Israel,
holding in your hand, as you go,
the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb.
Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it
for the people to drink.”
This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah,
because the Israelites quarreled there
and tested the LORD, saying,
“Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

Responsorial Psalm ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R/ (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R/ If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R/ If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R/ If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

reading 2 rom 5:1-2, 5-8

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
to this grace in which we stand,
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

And hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Gospel jn 4:5-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but 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.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her,
“Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him,
“I do not have a husband.”
Jesus answered her,
“You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands,
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.”

At that moment his disciples returned,
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman,
but still no one said, “What are you looking for?”
or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar
and went into the town and said to the people,
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another,
“Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment
and gathering crops for eternal life,
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for;
others have done the work,
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him
because of the word of the woman who testified,
“He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

or jn 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but 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.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.

“I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him.
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

Back to: Third Sunday of Lent (Year A)


Second Sunday of Lent (Year A)

Gen 12:1-4; 2Tim 1:8-10; Matt 17:1-9

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES (02):

2nd SUNDAY OF LENT: TRANSFIGURATION OF JESUS

Mt 17: 1-9

THE GOSPEL of the Second Sunday of Lent brings us to one of the important events in the life of Jesus. That is, his transfiguration on a mountain during which his face was transfigured and shone like the sun, while his clothes became white as light.  This episode is now part of the “Mysteries of Light,” if you will. Let us try to go over the important moments in this gospel passage.

First, the gospel passage says that Jesus invited three of his friends, Peter, James, and John, to go to a mountain and pray. These three disciples are among the most-mentioned names in the gospels. The invitation of these three disciples by Jesus highlights the importance of communal prayer. Elsewhere in the gospels, Jesus instructs his disciples to pray in private. While private prayer is important, communal prayer is important as well. One nice practice among Catholic communities and organizations during the season of Lent is the holding of Lenten recollections and retreats. These prayerful activities recall the experience of Peter, James and John, that is, communing with Jesus. The season of Lent is a call to prayer. Therefore, if opportunity permits, we should spend time for it so that we can enter into the paschal mystery of Jesus. Moreover, this makes our celebration of Easter more meaningful.

Second, Jesus transfigured. The transfiguration previews the glory and splendor of Jesus at Easter and beyond. It is a foretaste of what is to come. On the part of the disciples, the transfiguration gives them a preview of the glorious figure of Jesus. Then Jesus is shown talking to Moses and Elijah. Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the prophets. The appearance of these two figures shows that Jesus is in continuity with the Law and the Prophets. This puts Jesus within the context of the salvation history of the People of God, Israel.

Third, Peter cries out to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here.” This statement of Peter is something we should reflect. Peter speaks of something “good” which may be translated into joy. Peter feels good and happy in that moment. There is joy of praying with Jesus. Community life gives us joy; communal prayer is also an experience of joy. Fr Patrick Peyton says, ‘A family that prays together, stays together.”  But there is more of it. A family or community that prays together is a family or community filled with joy. This is also what we should feel in the holy Mass. Each time we celebrate the holy Eucharist, we should also exclaim like Peter, “Lord, it is good that we are here!

Fourth, it is significant that the transfiguration takes place on the road to the crucifixion. The disciples have some sense that Jesus is on the road to suffering and death. However, Peter’s proposal to Jesus, “lf you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah,” was a way of evading the pains on the cross. One spiritual interpretation of this statement could be building up of comfort zones. Certainly, for Peter, staying in the mountain could be more advantageous than going back to the lowland because there Jesus would encounter his own death. Jesus did not utter any response to Peter’s proposal. The gospel tells us that after the Father speaks, Jesus told the three disciples. “Rise and do not be afraid.” The transfiguration gives them strength and confidence that God is at work in the life of Jesus. It also gives them the courage to continue with their work because of the assurance that God is or would be with them. After the transfiguration event, the disciples became committed to face the future struggles.

The Transfiguration is a story of determination and hope. Our tendency is to build comfort zones in our life. Our tendency is to evade the pains and struggles that are there. What God wants us is to have the capacity to face all these. We need a determination to face life’s difficulties and at the same time, cling to the hope and promise of glory. Let us remember the often used adage, “No pain, no gain.”

msp.org.ph/homilies.do?id=17101

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NASAAN KA?

Unang Linggo ng Kuwaresma

Mt 4:1-11 (Gen 2:7-9; 3:1-7 / Slm 50 / Rom 5:12, 17-19)

Gusto n’yo po bang maunawaan ang ngayon?  Tumingin po kayo sa kahapon.  Nais po ba ninyong ipaliwanag ang kasalukuyan?  Simulan po ninyo sa nakaraan.  Pasulong man ang ating paglalakbay, pabalik naman po natin ito naiintindihan.  Siguro, ito nga ang dahilan kung bakit sinasabi po natin, “Ang taong hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.”  Ang kasabihang ito ay hindi lamang paalala sa atin na huwag makalilimot tumanaw ng utang-na-loob; itinuturo rin po nito ang mahalagang paraan para maunawaan natin ang dahilan ng mga bagay-bagay sa buhay.  Balikan ang nakaraan para madiskubre ang simula.

Lahat ng kultura at relihiyon ay may kuwento po tungkol sa kung paano nagsimula ang daigdig.  Iba’t iba man ang kanilang bersyon pero, kung tutuusin, iisa lang naman po talaga ang storyline: sa simula ay ayos pero pumalpak!  Maging ang ating mga ninuno sa pananampalataya ay may kuwentong ganito para ipaliwanag ang kaayusan at kawalang-kaayusan sa mundo.  “Genesis” po ang tawag sa ganitong kuwento, ang kuwento ng simula.

Sa pagsisimula po ng mga linggo ng Kuwaresma, binubuklat po natin ngayon ang aklat na naglalaman ng kuwento natin tungkol sa simula.  Sa mga unang dahon ng aklat ng Genesis ay mababasa ang bersyon natin kung bakit at paano pumalpak ang lahat.  Sa simula, ang unang lalaki at babae ay maligayang-maligaya.  Pero bumaliktad po ang lahat dahil sinuway nila ang Diyos.  Ang kanilang pakikipag-ugnayan, hindi lamang sa Diyos kundi maging sa kalikasan at sa isa’t isa, ay winasak ng kanilang paglabag sa kaayusang itinakda ng Diyos.  “Ipinakakain sa amin ang anumang bunga sa halamanan,” wika ng unang babae sa ahas, “huwag lamang ang bunga ng puno na nasa gitna niyon.  Pag kami raw ay kumain ng bunga nito o humipo man lamang sa punong iyon, mamamatay kami.”  At ano po ang puno sa gitna ng hardin?  Ang punong nagbibigay-buhay at ang punong nagbibigay ng kaalaman tungkol sa mabuti at masama.  Sa madaling-sabi, basta tungkol sa pagbibigay-buhay, dapat pong sundin ng tao ang Diyos at ang basta tungkol sa moralidad kailangan pong manatiling nakakapit ang tao sa Diyos.  Hindi poder ng tao ang buhay.  Hindi tao ang batayan ng kung ano ang mabuti at masama, kundi ang Diyos.  Sa larangan ng pagbibigay-buhay at paghatol kung ano ang mabuti at masama, kailangan pong laging tumingin ang tao sa Diyos, mahigpit na umasa sa Diyos, at tapat na sumunod sa Diyos.  Pero pati ang dapat lamang ay sa Diyos, pinanghimasukan po ng unang lalaki at babae.  Kaya, nabasag ang po kaayusan, at walang kasinlubha ang naging epekto nito sa buong sanilikha.  Ang agad na naramdaman ng unang lalaki at babae, matapos nilang magkasala, ay patunay po na may nawala sa kanila: nahiya sila sa kanilang kahubaran kaya nagtakip sila.  Ang una nilang reaksyon nang marinig nila ang yabag ng Diyos sa hardin ay patunay po na may nasira sa kanilang kalikasan: natakot sila sa kanilang Manlilikha kaya sila nagtago.  At simula noon, natuto na tayong lahat ng isang urin ng pakikitungo sa Diyos at sa kapwa: ang pagtatakip, ang pagkukubli.

Kayo po, magaling ba kayong magtago?  Mahilig po ba kayong magkubli?  Hanggang kailan po ninyo gagawin iyan?  Hanggang kailan ninyo kayang gawin iyan?

Kaya nawala sa lugar ang lahat ay dahil po sa kasalanan.  Wari baga’y nadiskaril po ang takbo ng buhay.  Ang unang mga pader ay hindi po yari sa semento kundi sa pagsuway ng tao sa Diyos.  Ang tunay na bilangguan ay hindi po bakal kundi pusong inalipin na ng kasalanan.

Tingnan po ninyo.  Yari po ba sa ano ang pader ng buhay n’yo?  Sa anong uri ng bilangguan ninyo ikinulong ang sarili ninyo?

Dahil sa kasalanan, nahihirapan tayong maging bukas sa Diyos at sa isa’t isa.  Laging may pangamba.  Maraming panangga.  Panay na lang pagdududa at pagsususpetsa.  Hindi na matapus-tapos ang sisihan.  Hirap nang umiwas magsinungaling.  Nakalimutan na kung paanong maging masaya.  Nawasak na ang kakayahang magtiwala pa.  At natakot na sa sariling anino.

Sa buhay po ninyo, ano ang epekto ng kasalanan?

Dahil po sa kasalanan, tago tayo nang tago, takbo nang takbo, iwas nang iwas, palusot nang palusot.  Para huwag mahalata, natututo po tayong makipag-plastikan.  Para pagtakpan ang sarili, nahahasa tayong magbalatkayo.  Para hindi ituring na mababa, nagiging manhid tayo sa sariling kayabangan.

Dahil sa kasalanan, pati ang Diyos hindi na rin po natin maharap nang makatotohanan.  Pati sa Diyos, hirap tayong humarap nang hubo’t hubad.  Kita man ng Diyos ang lahat, pagtatakpan pa rin po natin ang sarili natin sa Kanya.

Kayo po, ano ang paborito ninyong gamiting pandepensa ng sarili laban sa Diyos?  Ang inyong pagiging binyagan?  Ang inyong mga debosyon at panata?  Ang inyong pagsasakripisyo at pagtitiis?  Ang inyong pag-aabuloy at pagkakawanggawa?  Ako po kaya?  Ang aking pagiging pari?  Ang aking pag-aalay ng sarili para sa Santa Iglesiya?  Ano po ang madalas nating pinantatakip sa ating mga pagkukulang at pagmamalabis?

Nang magkasala ang unang nilikha Niyang tao, kinailangan pang hanapin sila ng Diyos.  “Nasaan ka?” tanong ng Diyos sa lalaki.  At nasaan nga po ba ang lalaki?  Nagtatago sa Diyos.

Kayo po, nasaan kayo?  Nasaan na po ba talaga kayo sa buhay ninyo ngayon?  Saan kayo madalas magtago?  Ano ang paborito ninyong lungga?

Hindi po tayo ang nakatatagpo sa Diyos.  Ang Diyos ang nakatatagpo sa atin.  At kung ang kahulugan ng maligtas ay ang matagpuan ng Diyos, ang ugat po ng lahat ng mga tanong sa Bibliya ay ito: “Nasaan ka?”

Tunay po, ang Diyos ay matuwid.  Pero hindi po mapagparusa ang Diyos.  Tayo po ang lumilikha ng ating kaparusahan.  May likas pong ibinubunga ang mga pagkakamali at pagkakasala natin sa buhay, ni hindi na kailangan pang makialam ang Diyos para lang tayo parusahan.  Ang pagsuway sa Diyos ay pagtanggi sa Kanya.  Ang pagtanggi po sa Kanya ay pagpiglas natin sa Kanyang mga bisig na nagliligtas sana atin laban sa kapahamakan.  Kaya nga po nang suwayin ang Diyos ng unang lalaki at babae, ni hindi na kailangan pa silang pagtabuyan palabas ng paraiso.  Batid man po nila o hindi, sila ang pumili niyon.

Kayo po, nauunawaan po ba talaga ninyo ang pinipili ninyo?

Kay Jesus po, hindi naging madali ang lahat ng Kanyang pagpili.  Pero naunawaan po Niya na sa bawat pagpili Niya ang pipiliin Niya ay ang Kanyang Ama.  Tingnan po ninyo ang Ebanghelyo natin ngayon, kung paanong bumitiw sa Diyos ang unang lalaki at babae, kapit-tuko naman si Jesus sa Salita ng Diyos.  Sa gitna ng apatnapung araw at gabi ng pag-aayuno sa ilang, hindi po madaling magtiwala kahit kanino.  Malamang malabo na po ang takbo ng isip natin kung tayo ang nasa kalagayan ni Jesus.  Malamang gusto na po nating tumakas at tangkilikin kahit ano basta madali at mabilis.  Malamang isusuko na natin ang laban para sa Diyos at idadahilan pa natin, “Maiintindihan naman ng Diyos.”  Pero hindi po si Jesus.  Hinding-hindi Siya kumapit sa kalaban ng Diyos dahil kapit na kapit Siya sa Diyos mismo.  Kaya nga po, sa ating ikalawang pagbasa ngayong araw na ito, inilalarawan ni San Pablo Apostol sa mga taga-Roma na si Jesus ang bagong Adan.  Isinalugar po ni Jesus ang binaliktad ng unang Adan.  At iisa lamang po ang Kanyang paraan: pagtalima sa Ama magpahanggang kamatayan.

Kayo po, ano ang paraan ninyo?

Ngayon pong Kuwaresma ay muli tayong tinatanong ng ating Manlilikha: “Nasaan ka?” Hinahanap Niya tayo.  Huwag na po natin pahirapan ang Diyos: magpahanap na tayo sa Kanya.

“Nasaan ka?” tanong sa atin ni Kristo.

“Narito po ako sa ilang ng buhay ko,” tugon natin sa Kanya.

“Ah, ganun ba?” sagot Niya sa atin.  “Nandito ka rin pala!”

“Panginoon, nandito rin po Kayo sa ilang ng buhay ko?”

fatherbob-crumbs.blogspot.com/2014/03/nasaan-ka.html

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Transfiguration Leads to Life through Death

March 12, 2014 | By Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D. | Reply

Imagine: you are ten years past customary retirement age.  It’s time finally to kick back and relax.  You live in a great city where everything is at your fingertips – shopping opportunities, cultural events, all your relatives and lifelong friends.  Suddenly God appears and tells you to pack up, uproot your life, and march into an uncivilized wilderness.

This is what happens to Abram in Genesis 12.  He lives in Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization.  He’s 75 and he and the wife are not getting any younger.  He does not even know the name of the God who calls him.

Wouldn’t you “discuss” this one a bit?  Not Abram.  Genesis reports no backtalk, no “yeah-buts.”  In a fit of understatement, Genesis simply says “Abram went as the Lord directed him.”

That’s faith.  Abram hears a command from a God he can’t see, believes that this God must know what He is talking about, and begins a journey to he knows not where.  Keep in mind that Paul says, “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7).  That’s why Abraham is the great model of faith in the Old Testament.  For faith is not just about believing.  It’s about walking.

Obviously Abraham’s choice to walk involved great hardship.  What was the motivation that drove him to do it?  Simple.  There was something that God promised him that he desperately wanted.  He had a lot of things – wife, property, servants, and all the creature comforts afforded by his civilization.  Yet he lacked a son.  And for a Semite like Abram who had no belief in any sort of afterlife, a son was the only ticket to immortality.  A son would, presumably, go out and beget sons, thus keeping his father’s name and memory alive.  God promised not only descendants, but a progeny so numerous that all the communities of the earth would find blessing in Abram’s name.

So it was desire for future glory that enabled Abram to put up with the hardships entailed in answering the call.  This desire is called hope.

About 1900 years later, St. Paul writes these words to Timothy, “bear your share of the hardship which the Gospel entails” (2 Tim 1:8).  To be a Christian during the first 300 years meant risking everything.  If the Romans caught you, it could mean torture or death or, if you got off easy, the confiscation of all of your possessions.  Why would people take this chance?  For the same reason Abram embraced hardship-hope.  They had been giving a vision and a promise of eternal glory.  They understood that no earthly good could compare with this everlasting joy and so were willing to suffer whatever loss necessary in order to secure it.   In this, they followed their master who “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2).

Aware of the trauma the apostles would shortly suffer through the horror of his crucifixion, the Lord Jesus gave their leaders a vision of hope to sustain them.  He went up on Mount Tabor and at last appeared as he really was.  In anticipation of his risen glory, the Light of the World shown forth in the dazzling white of his divinity.  The Law and the Prophets bore witness to Him through Moses and Elijah. The Father’s voice boomed the affirmation that this was his beloved son.  The Holy Spirit was manifested as the shekinah cloud of glory which had led the Israelites on their desert journey.  This transfiguration is a scene that proclaims the whole gospel, the Good News of a glorious life, won by the Savior, that would last forever.

But the experience itself did not last forever.  It was not given to them so they could erect tents and stay there.  There was still walking to do.  The path called the Via Dolorosa lay before Him and before them as well.  The experience called the Transfiguration was to show them that this way of the cross was not a road to death but through death to a life that makes even death seem but a trifle.


Editor’s Note: Reflection on the Mass readings for the Second Sunday of Lent (Year A) – Genesis 12:1-4; Psalms 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22; Second Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9. 

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 crossroadsinitiative.com or call 1.800.803.0118.

integratedcatholiclife.org/2014/03/dambrosio-sunday-reflection-lenten-transfiguration/

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Transfiguration: No cross, no crown

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
March 14, 2014

There is a story about a man who complained about his work. Every day for 20 years, he looked at his table piled high with unfinished matters, letters unanswered, bills unpaid.

But he always had time for recreation and good time.

* * *

One night as he slept, he dreamed that he was in a large room with a mahogany table before him, clean and bright. Everything was in order, his businesses were finished and problems settled. He was happy and at peace.

Or was he? “What do I do now?” he asked himself, starting to get bored. The postman on the street passed by and greeted him. “Please tell me,” the man said, “what place is this?” “Why, don’t you know?” replied the postman. This is Hell!” He was grateful that it was only a dream.

* * *

Many of us, knowingly or otherwise, are like that man. We want success without the struggle, we want fulfilment without hard work. Think of certain people who want to make a fast buck by engaging in hold-ups, smuggling, stealing from government funds, or peddling prohibited drugs.

* * *

Some get by in work by simply coasting along, afflicted with AIDS. No, this is not the sexually transmitted sickness but an acronym for “As If Doing Something.”  Someone jokingly said some husbands are so lazy they should join the TV program “Philippine Idle” (Idol)!

Think, too, of some students  who buy instant term papers, instant book reports,  and yes, even instant diplomas rather than produce them “by the sweat of their brow.”

* * *

The TRANSFIGURATION of Christ commemorated this second Sunday of Lent brings home the lesson that we cannot achieve success unless we work and work hard.

Christ’s transfiguration depicts a glimpse of Christ’s glory, a preview of his resurrection. The glorious episode took place in the season of Lent in order to cushion the impact of the terrible suffering of Christ in the succeeding days.

* * *

The glorious event of Christ’s Resurrection had to be achieved with the greatest of pain. This truth applies in every human endeavor. Hence, the sayings, “No guts, no glory,” “No pain, no gain,” “No cross, no crown.”

You cannot pass an exam if you don’t burn the proverbial midnight oil. You cannot be a champion unless you undergo the long, dreary hours of training; in work, you don’t get promoted if you don’t exert effort and deliver.

* * *

Strictly speaking, it was not necessary for Jesus to undergo the terrible, bloody suffering. He could have redeemed mankind without shedding a single drop of blood. But the historical fact is that He chose to save us the hard way.

* * *

In this Lenten season, let us look at our work, our sufferings as a unique gift from God and unite them with the sufferings of the Lord; thus, make them spiritually MERITORIOUS.

mb.com.ph/transfiguration-no-cross-no-crown/

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Second Sunday of Lent

After the last sentence of the first reading the Bible continues: “Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran.”

Called by God at 75! This seems surprising but is not. Moses was 80 years old when the Lord called him from the burning bush for his great task of liberation of his people from the slavery of Egypt. St. Teresa of Avila was 50 years old when finally her shallow life began to be changed by a profound conversion to a deeper spirituality. Pope Bl. John XXIII was 77 years old when he was elected pope. At the beginning of Lent the Church encourages us that it is never too late to finally receive or accept a special task from God.

God’s call also entails suffering, the Cross. And so Paul encourages his young disciple Timothy, who had left his home, his family and dedicated himself to the mission of the young Church: “Take your share of suffering for the gospel.”

The gospel then brings us to the mountain of transfiguration. There God shows the discouraged disciples, who had followed the call of Jesus and left behind the security of their homes and families that after all sufferings and hardship are not what they were called to. They are taught that glory, eternal joy and life in the presence of God will be theirs if they follow Jesus all the way.

We are weighed down by our weaknesses and failures, by trials, in securities and sufferings, by the prospect of certain death. Jesus approaches us also today and says: “Get up, do not be afraid! Go and do not hesitate to proceed on the often difficult journey “to the land I will show you!” (Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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Moments

At the mountaintop

By Fr. Jerry M. Orbos SVD
Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:26 am | Sunday, March 16th, 2014
The story is told by Fr. Rod Salazar, SVD, about a husband who made a toast to his wife on their 50th wedding anniversary: “Cheers to my wife whose love for me has been tried and true!”  To which the wife, who was a little hard of hearing, responded:  “Yes, I’m tired of you, too!”

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Mt. 17, 1-9), Jesus brought His disciples Peter, James and John to a high mountain and let them experience His Transfiguration. The disciples were tired, and needed assurance from their Master. The religious experience at the mountaintop recharged them and made them more clear of and confident in their identity and mission.

* * *

We all need to leave our comfort zones and allow the Lord to lead us to a mountain where He will reveal Himself to us again. Trials, sicknesses, disappointments, humiliations, deprivations, and even persecutions, lead us closer to God’s heart. Climbing a mountain is never easy, but it will lead to a clearer vision, closer devotion, and deeper commitment and mission.

* * *

We cannot be with the crowd all the time. The Lord will lead us to ways unknown from time to time, to set us aside, and lead us closer to His heart. At such moments, what is needed is obedience and trust. When God calls, we must respond. Oftentimes, we don’t respond because we are afraid, or we simply don’t understand. Our greatest assurance is God’s word: “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46,10) At such moments, we must believe that it is God who is calling, that He has a plan, that He is in command, and that His love is our only assurance.

* * *

When we undergo our personal transfiguration moments, please remember that it is not so much about our faces shining like the sun or our clothes becoming white as light that matters, as that of becoming more a beloved son or daughter in whom the Father is well pleased. In other words, conversion is not for our personal glory or satisfaction, but for God’s glory and our sanctification.

* * *

It was a transfiguration moment to go back to the Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City for the 50th anniversary and grand alumni homecoming last March 11-12. It was good to meet again old and not so old acquaintances, classmates, professors, teachers, and workers, and to just be together again in that place we called home for so many years during our formation. Fr. Rector Fred Saniel, SVD, said it so well when he said: “Welcome home! Welcome to the womb of our alma mater.”

* * *

A homecoming is simply that—coming home to a place we have loved and known, to people we have lived with and grown with. Above all, it is a coming home to God’s heart, where we experience a joyful, unconditional welcome and love. Coming home is such a refreshing experience that strengthens us before we hit the road again. We don’t stay on the mountaintop forever. Yes, we rest awhile, but sooner or later we have to move on, and mission on.

* * *

At the mountaintop, we prayed, we listened, and we visioned with one another. It was a time for renewal for the alumni, priests, religious and ex-seminarians, faculty and students. Our former superior general, Fr. Antonio Pernia, SVD, talked about “The State of Mission Today,” pointing out the paradigm shift that mission is no longer centered on the Church but on the Kingdom of God, and that mission is not so much conquest as dialogue. He proposed the following conversions in doing mission: from activism to contemplation, from individualism to

collaboration, from superiority to humility.

* * *

CNN senior correspondent John Allen Jr. gave us interesting insights and information about the Vatican, particularly about Pope Francis who is known for his humility and simplicity and his message of mercy. Allen said Filipinos in the diaspora have become the “infrastructure of the future Church.” Yes, we as a people have an important role and mission. He also called Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, a former professor at Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay, the “Francis of Asia,” to the great delight of the audience.

* * *

Among the alumni who joined the celebration was Archbishop of Taipei John Hung, SVD, a number of other bishops, and about 400 priests and religious. Former Pampanga governor Ed Panlilio was given the Outstanding Alumnus Award for Public Service. Also given recognition was Cory Belardo for her 39 years of dedicated service. But beyond the awards and recognition, it was an experience of a grateful community praising God for bestowing upon us “grace upon grace” (Jn. 1,16).

* * *

The ex-seminarians did wonderful work in making the alumni homecoming successful and meaningful. Dante Magdangal and Manny Mendoza motivated their group to help raise funds for their alma mater, particularly through the “Dinner for the Missions” held last March 13. It was a shining moment of Church and laity cooperation and collaboration.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, thank you for being always with us, be it on mountains high or in valleys deep as we journey through life. Amen.

opinion.inquirer.net/72645/at-the-mountaintop

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See Today’s Readings:  Cycle A

Back to: Second Sunday of Lent (Year A)


First Sunday of Lent (A)

Gen 2:7-9,3:1-7; Rom 5:12-19; Matt 4:1-11

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES(02):

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT: OVERCOMING SIN AND EVIL

Mt 5: 1-11

THE FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT introduces us to the many realities of our lives. The themes of sin, the fall of Adam, the redemption of Christ and overcoming sin and evil come to the fore. These themes are a key to a better preparation before we celebrate the feast of Easter.

The First Reading brings us to an awareness of our own sinfulness. The reading recalls the story of the fall of our first parents who disobeyed the word of God by eating the forbidden fruit. Their sinning was realized through the deception of the devil. The devil persuaded Adam and Eve to turn away from the truth and from God. As a result, many graces had been lost because of sin, and their action had an effect to the entire humanity.

The Second Reading contrasts Adam with Christ. While many things were lost in the wake of disobedience of Adam, through the obedience of Christ a new life has been won. St Paul says that “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous.” Thus, we have been saved by the obedience of Christ which culminated in Jesus’ death on the Cross.

The Gospel talks about the temptations of Jesus in the desert. We have seen the dramatic struggle of Jesus. While Jesus prayed and fasted for forty days and forty nights, the devil entered and offered propositions to Jesus. But Jesus never entertained these enticements. He was victorious over the devil.

What is the significance of these readings in this Lenten Season?

First, Lenten season is a time to rediscover the reality of sin in our lives. It is especially important because more and more people now no longer feel that they are sinning or they no longer have the “sense of sin.” Some may still feel the sin, but they tend to relativize or rationalize their sins. In fact, for some, if a sin is becoming “popular” or being committed by many, they would not feel anymore the guilt. We can hear people who say, “Father, almost all of us in the office are doing it. So I don’t feel guilty at all.”

Second, Lenten season is a time for new life with Christ. Let us remember that the obedience of Jesus, even to the Cross, has made a difference. We were saved and we have become sharers in the blessings of salvation. Let us make this salvation as our own, by following also the will of God. Obedience to the word or to the will of God may not be an easy thing to do. Like our first parents, we have the tendency to simply do what we want, and on the process, we have rejected God. Let us not forget that true freedom can only be had if we have the capacity to follow the will of God.

Third, the temptation by the devil reminds us of the temptations that we face daily. Jesus was tempted thrice according to the account, and these three temptations are likewise common temptations that we encounter every day. The three temptations are temptations to riches, power and fame. But Jesus never caved in to Satan’s enticing propositions. He fought against the devil. In our life, our tendency is to entertain the devil’s enticements which lead us to commit sin. In such a case, we have been following or bowing to the devil. Lenten season is a time to go back to God. If we have the capacity to refuse the temptations, in effect, we acknowledge the true God who must be in control of our life.

msp.org.ph/homilies.do?id=17100

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Overcoming temptations

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
March 7, 2014

A teen-aged son asks his father at what age temptation to women disappears. The father replies, “At my age, son, 75.” Whereupon,  an attractive, shapely lady passes by. Ogling at her, the father says, “Son, I correct myself. Make that 80 years old!”

* * *

Temptation is an ever-present reality in life. Even the Lord Jesus was tempted as the gospel of  this first Sunday of Lent shows.  (Read Matthew 4,1-11).

As Jesus withdrew to the wilderness for a retreat, He encountered Satan who offered him the ultimate in power, money, and material comforts.

* * *

The offer was, of course, conditional. Jesus was to acknowledge Satan as supreme being.  “All these (worldly possessions) I will give you if you will fall down and worship me,”  the devil said.  Jesus answered with an emphatic no. “Begone Satan! The Lord your God shall you worship and him alone shall you serve” (Mt 4:10).

* * *

The struggle between Jesus and the devil  goes on within each of us, every day of our life.  The urge to be true to God is real, but so is the urge to be untrue. St. Paul describes the inner struggle as a “spiritual combat” (Romans 7:15).

Temptation is not a sin, but an incitement to evil, a test.  It’s when we give in that sin happens.

* * *

In temptation, the devil does not always appear in the stereotype image of a horrible looking half-man, half-animal with horns and forked tail.  He can appear in the form of a well-dressed man with pleasing personality who incites us, for instance,  to bribe people or steal.

The devil could use a smart, charming lady to seduce you to be unfaithful to your wife.

* * *

One form of temptation is the so-called “occasion of sin.” There’s this man who’s been drinking heavily and says he wants to kick the habit.

On the way home, he is invited by his barkada to drink just one bottle of beer — for friendship’s sake. “But after one bottle,” he says, “I couldn’t refuse to take a second, then a third, and so on.” So instead of  the concluding toast “one for the road!” it becomes “one for the canal!”

If one knows he’s weak,  he should avoid the people that would lead him to fall.

* * *

As someone graphically put it: “To pray against temptation but not to avoid the occasion of sin is like putting your hand in the fire and pray that the hand does not get burned.”

Apart from a bad barkada, other occasions of sin are pornographic materials, say, from movies, internet, magazines; places of vices, like bars and gambling dens.

* * *

We’re in the first Sunday of Lent. Lent is a season of testing and discipline. Are we making the right choices against evil? Pray that the Lord will give us strength to say No when temptations provoke us. Giving in causes guilt feelings and leads to moral perdition.

mb.com.ph/overcoming-temptations/

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Moments

Let it go!

By Fr. Jerry M. Orbos SVD
Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:53 am | Sunday, March 9th, 2014
The story is told about a teenager who asked his father: “Dad, is it okay to smoke while I am praying?” The father replied: “That is not okay, my son.” Added the son: “But is it okay to pray while I am smoking?” The father answered: “That is okay, my son.”

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Mt. 4, 1-11), Jesus was led to the desert by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil who is the master of lies and half-lies. If Jesus were not strong in the Spirit, He would have succumbed to the lures and enticements of the evil one. What made Jesus strong? Prayer and fasting. May we learn and live these two disciplines as we journey on, especially in this season of Lent.

* * *

As it were, God allows us to be tempted in our resolve to do good and avoid evil, and in fact we fall again and again. But our human frailty and failures should not lead us to despair and hopelessness. We can overcome temptations if we know how to pray and flee. We can overcome our hopelessness if we trust in Divine Mercy.

* * *

Let it go! When temptation starts to grow, just let it go! The best way to stop a fire is to stop it while it is still small and low.

* * *

Today is National Migrants’ Sunday. We remember, we honor, and we pray today for our Filipino brothers and sisters who brave difficulties, loneliness, and even persecution in foreign lands for the sake of a better future for their families and for our country the Philippines. We pray, too, that our government will be truly supportive of and really present to them, especially in their times of need.

* * *

We pray for a time, soon, that no Filipino will have to go to another country just to find work. There is a lot of danger and temptations for overseas workers and also for the families left behind. As statistics have shown, the phenomenon of Filipinos working overseas has brought in the dollars, but also untold damage to families and to our society in general. Again, half-truths are dangerous.  We need money to live, but we don’t need to live for money. Money isn’t everything in this world.

* * *

In this season of Lent, we are reminded that we all are migrants in this world. We are all just passing through, and from dust we came, to dust we will go. May we be reminded, again, that life is short, death is certain, and that we carry nothing with us when we leave this life, except the love we have shared in our hearts.

* * *

When tempted, think of death. Think of yourself lying in the coffin. What seems so big, so important, in your life now—would it matter then?

* * *

Pera, power, pride, pleasures. These are the 4 Ps that seem so big now, and which we often cannot let go, and which can cause our downfall now and can close the door for eternal life if we don’t learn to let them go.

* * *

Pera. How many persons, how many friendships, how many families, have been destroyed because of money? The devil is a genius when it comes to using money to cause our downfall. All the news and current events are full of stories about cheating, lying, theft, corruption, killing—all because of money. Let us not make money our God.

* * *

Power. This early, our politicians and government leaders are positioning themselves for power. And they will do whatever it takes to get the power or stay in power. Let us not make power our God.

* * *

Pride. How many problems and quarrels could have been avoided, or could have been resolved, if we learned to swallow our pride! And how peaceful life would be if we realized that we need not compare ourselves to others. The bottom line is that we are all sinners and unworthy servants needing God’s mercy and in need of true repentance. “Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, a sinner!” Let not our pride become our God.

* * *

Pleasures. All of us have weaknesses, and the devil knows what these are, and he knows when best to pounce on us. Many times, he need not tempt us for we ourselves seek and pursue our pleasures. May we learn to just pray and flee! Let not our pleasures become our God.

* * *

I’m sharing with you the prayer of St. Benedict to protect us from the evil one and to help us overcome temptations: “May His presence protect us in the hour of death. May the Holy Cross be my light. Let not the dragon be my guide. Begone, satan! Suggest not to me your vain things. The drink you offer is evil. Drink that poison yourself!”

* * *

“Protect us from snares and enticements of evil, keep our feet from stumbling.” This intercession prayer from the Divine Office (Breviary), Saturday Morning Prayer, Week IV should be our constant prayer as we journey on. Temptations are real. So are God’s mercy and power!

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to pray harder, and flee faster, when temptation comes knocking at my door. Amen.

opinion.inquirer.net/72402/let-it-go

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TUKSO: Reflection for the 1st Sunday of Lent Year A – March 9, 2014 – YEAR OF THE LAITY

Isang tatay na nagdiriwang ng kanyang ika-50 kaarawan ang masiglang gumising upang harapin ang mahalagang araw na ito ng kanyang buhay.  Ngunit laking pagkagulat niya ng wala man lang bumati sa kanya sa bahay.  Ang kanyang mga anak ay maagang nagsipasukan sa paaralan.  Ang kanya namang asawa ay abalang-abala sa gawaing bahay at naghahanda sa pamamalengke.  Nakadagdag pa sa kanyang kalungkutan ng pumasok siya sa opina at wala man lamang ni isa na bumati sa kanya.  Halos patapos na ang araw at naghihintay pa rin siya ng kahit isa man lang na lalapit upang bumati.  Sa wakas, ang kanyang magandang sekretarya ay pabulong na nagsabing: “Happy birthday po sir.”  Medyo may pagkamalandi ang kanyang tinig at idinugtong na” “Sir, baka naman gusto ninyong sa bahay ko na lang tayo magcelebrate ng inyong birthday?”  “Bakit nga ba hindi?”  tanong niya sa kanyang sarili.  Siya lang naman sa lahat ang nakaalala na birthday nya ngayon.  Kaya’t sumama siya sa bahay ng kanyang sekretarya.  Pagdating sa bahay ay laking pagkagulat niya sapagkat parang nakahanda na ang lugar.  May pagkadimlight ang sala, may two glasses of wine sa maliit na lamesa at may romantic background music na nagpapalamig sa apat na sulok ng bahay.  Kinabahan siya at lalong pang lumakas ang kalabog ng kanyang dibdib ng sabihin ng sekretaryang hintayin lang siya at magpapalit lang siya ng mas kumportableng damit.  Ilang sandali ang lumipas at narinig na naman niya ang malanding tinig nito: “Sir, nandyan na po ako ready na kayo…”  At pagkatapos ay biglang bumukas ang mga ilaw at malakas na pagbati ang bumulaga sa kanya “HAPPY BIRTHDAY! SURPRISE!!!”  Laking pagkagulat niya sapagkat naroroon ang kanyang asawa at mga anak,  mga ka-opisina at kaibigan.  Ngunit mas malaki ang pagkagulat ng lahat ng makita siyang nakababa na ang pantalon at wala ng damit pantaas!  hehehe…  ang tukso nga naman napakahirap iwasan lalo na’t pag nasa iyo ng harapan.  Kung ang malakas na super typhoon Yolanda ay nanira ng maraming bahay at kabuhayan, ang malakas na tukso namang ‘YoLANDI”  ay kayang sumira ng buhay at tahanan.  Wala nang hihigit pa sa pinsalang idinudulot ng tukso sa pang-araw-araw nating buhay. Hindi lang bahay o buhay ang sinisira, ngunit higit ang ating buhay espirituwal ay isinasapanganib! Maari bang layuan tayo ng tukso? Hindi. Bagkus ito pa nga lapit ng lapit sa atin! Kahit si Jesus na Anak ng Diyos ay hindi pinatawad na lapitan ng tukso. Marahil ang nag-iiba sa atin kay Jesus ay kailanman ay hindi nakapanaig sa kanya ang tukso. Bagkus ito pa nga ay kanyang napagtagumpayan. Ito ang laman ngayon ng Ebanghelyo, nanaig si Jesus sa tukso ng diyablo! Sa pagsisimula ng panahon ng Kuwaresma ay binibigyan kaagad tayo ni Jesus ng halimbawa kung papaano nating mapagtatagumpayan ang maraming tukso sa ating buhay. Dalawang mabisang panalaban ang ginamit ni Jesus na siyang sinasabi ng Simbahan na atin ding magagamit ngayong panahon ng Kuwaresma: pagdarasal at pag-aayuno! Apatnapung araw itong ginawa ni Jesus. Hindi nangangahulugang ganoon din kahaba ang ating gagawin. Sinasabi lamang sa ating kung seryoso tayo sa pakikipaglaban sa diyablo ay palalimin natin ang ating buhay panalangin. Ang Diyos ba ang sento ng aking buhay o baka naman sa mga bagay na makamundo o mga tao umiikot ang buhay ko? Kailan ko masasabing nagdasal ako ng mabuti? Tandaan natin na ang tunay na panalangin ay pagkikikipag-ugnayan sa Diyos at hindi lang salitang lumalabas sa ating bibig. Ang pag-aaayuno naman ay hindi lamang para sa mga nakatatanda at hindi lamang nangangahulugan ng pagbabawas ng pagkain. Mas kinalulugdan ng Diyos ang ayuno ng pagbabawas ng ating mga masamang pag-uugali na nakakasira sa ating sarili at sa iba tulad ng mga bisyo, pagmumura, paninira sa kapwa, pagsisinungaling, tsismis at mga gawaing hindi nakalulugod sa Diyos. Sa apatnapung araw ng Kuwaresma ay sikapin nating madisplina ang ating sarili sa pamamagitan ng pagdarasal at pag-aayuno. Sa ganitong paraan ay mapagtatagumpayan natin ang maraming tuksong darating sa ating buhay.  Ngayong Taon ng Mga Layko ay piliin natin ang maging matapang: “Choose to be brave!” lalo na sa harapan ng maraming tukso sa ating buhay. Makakaya natin ito sapagkat sa ating kahinaan ang Diyos ang ating kalakasan!

kiliti-ng-diyos.blogspot.com/2014/03/tukso-reflection-for-1st-sunday-of-lent.html

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Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, `He will give his angels charge of you,’  and  `On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, `You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.

+ + + + + + +

Reflection:

Many of us if not all of us have gone through the process of temptations and many of us have already succumb to these temptations. How did you feel after succumbing to these temptations? For example the temptation of money and lust of the flesh, perhaps you felt good as if you are now the king of the world.

The devil always disguises temptations as attractive, salivating and full of power. The devil does this to entice his prospects to bite into these temptations. However, after biting into these temptations, here comes sin, here comes problem that will surely disturb our peaceful life.

After fasting for forty days and nights Jesus was naturally hungry and the devil thought that Jesus was now vulnerable.  Therefore he dangled before Jesus three temptations: Make the stone bread, throw himself off from the parapet of the temple for angels would catch him and last was the temptation of material possession. Jesus refused all these three temptations and thereafter He rebuked the devil away from His sight.

The clear message for all of us is to avoid temptation or to stand up against temptation for it will not bear any good fruit. It will only destroy us little by little as we immerse ourselves into it. For example, if you’re already married don’t allow yourself to succumb to the temptation of having an extra marital affair. If you’re a politician or an employee, don’t allow yourself to be tempted by the glitters of dirty money and the like for there may be payback during the course of your life.

Have you already succumbed to temptations? Everything is not lost yet, this season of lent offers you a window of renewal. …

Posted by: Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/03/my-reflection-for-march-9-first-sunday.html

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How to Tell the Devil to ‘Go Away!’

User’s Guide to Sunday, March 9

by Tom and April Hoopes, Register Correspondent Saturday, Mar 08, 2014 11:41 PM

Sunday, March 9, is the First Sunday in Lent (Year A, Cycle II).

Mass Readings

Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7;  Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-14, 17; Romans 5:12-19 or 5:12, 17-19; Matthew 4:1-11

 Our Take

Pope Francis never tires of warning us about the devil’s activity in the world today.

“Some may say, ‘But, Father, you’re too old-fashioned. You’re frightening us with these things,’” the Pope has said, defending his willingness to talk about the devil. “No, it’s not me! It is the Gospel! And these are not lies: It is the word of the Lord.”

So when today’s readings tell us about two different encounters with the devil and his temptations, it is good to take notice. The lessons learned can be applied throughout Lent and beyond.

On the one hand, we have the devil’s encounter with Jesus; on the other hand, we have his encounter with Adam and Eve. What can we learn from the two experiences?

First, Jesus’ temptation came after fasting; Adam and Eve’s comes after enjoying abundance.

Adam and Eve, before the fall, had every right to enjoy the abundance of the Garden of Eden. But today’s first reading, from Genesis, hints at one problem in their enjoyment.

When Genesis describes the good fruits of the garden, we learn they “were delightful to look at and good for food.”

When Genesis describes how Eve fell for the bad fruit, we learn that she saw it “was good for food, pleasing to the eyes and desirable for gaining wisdom.”

Thus, Scripture gives the sense that Eve was focused too much on the externals and not on the deeper significance of all the fruits in the garden.

Think of it like gifts under a Christmas tree: Most of us look at our own gifts and others’ gifts very differently. We are grateful for ours and consider other people’s simply off-limits. We don’t focus on the pretty wrapping and desire both.

Eve, essentially, saw someone else’s gift and had the same reaction to it that she had to her own. That’s a problem.

Jesus shows us how to avoid the problem: by becoming detached from the things of this world. Human beings may naturally start to see the goods around us as things we are entitled to. Our Lenten fast should remind us that they are God’s gifts, and not all of them are meant for us.

Second, Jesus quoted Scripture accurately; Adam and Eve (and Satan) did not.

When Satan tempts him, Jesus knows just where to turn: to the word of God. He sternly and truly quotes Scripture to Satan in order to demonstrate the impossibility of what he is asking. The finality of his statement is hard to beat: “The Lord, your God, shall you worship; and him alone shall you serve.”

Eve’s grasp of Scripture is not so true.

God had told her, earlier in Genesis, Chapter 2: “You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden, except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it, you shall die.”

Eve reports his words this way: “God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.’”

God never said that touching the fruit would make her die. She has reinterpreted God to make him sound unreasonable. This is a first step toward rejecting God.

Jesus teaches us the Lenten way: Review God’s actual words and live by them.

Third, Jesus sent Satan away; Adam and Eve engaged him.

Last, Jesus had the right attitude toward Satan and temptation: He wanted nothing to do with them. Temptations are inevitable in human life, even for Jesus, but his reaction was unequivocal: “Get away, Satan!” he said; then, immediately, angels come to minister to him.

Adam and Eve have a more … complicated response. They consider the devil’s lies as being on par with God’s truths. God said the food would kill — Satan said it would give wisdom. Eve sees the fruit on Satan’s terms, eats it changes the course of her life. Instead of angels ministering to them, they get angels that kick them out of paradise.

Our Lenten practices should lead us to a Christlike response to the devil: a simple “Go away!” that rejects temptations and refuses to entertain the rationalizations that invite them.

Tom and April Hoopes write from

Atchison, Kansas, where Tom is

writer in residence at Benedictine College.

ncregister.com/site/article/how-to-tell-the-devil-to-go-away/

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Father Cantalamessa’s 1st Lent Homily 2014

With Jesus in the Desert

Rome, March 14, 2014 (Zenit.org) | 1144 hits

Here is the first Lenten homily given this year by the preacher of the Pontifical Household, Capuchin Father Raneiro Cantalamessa.

* * *

Every year Lent begins with the account of Jesus going into the desert for forty days. In this introductory meditation we seek to discover what Jesus did during this time, and what themes are present in the evangelical account, to apply them to our life.

“The Spirit led Jesus into the desert”

The first theme is that of the desert. Jesus had just received the messianic investiture in the Jordan to take the good news to the poor, to heal afflicted hearts, to preach the Kingdom (cf. Luke 4:18 f). However, he is not in a hurry to do any of these things. On the contrary, obeying an impulse of the Holy Spirit, he goes into the desert where he stays for forty days. The desert in question is the desert of Judah, which extends from the walls of Jerusalem to Jericho, in the valley of the Jordan. Tradition identifies the place as Mount Quarentyne overlooking the Jordan valley.

In history there have been groups of men and women who have chosen to imitate Jesus and withdraw into the desert. In the East, beginning with Saint Anthony Abbot, they withdrew into the deserts of Egypt or Palestine. In the West, where there were no sand deserts, they withdrew into solitary places, remote mountains and valleys. However, the invitation to follow Jesus in the desert is not addressed only to monks and hermits. In a different way, it is addressed to all. Monks and hermits chose a space of desert, we have to choose at least a time of desert.

Lent is the occasion that the Church offers to everyone, indistinctly, to live a time of desert without thus having to abandon daily activities. Saint Augustine made this famous appeal:

“Re-enter your heart! Where do you want to go, far from yourself? Re-enter from your wandering which has led you outside the way; return to the Lord. He is quick. First re-enter into your heart, you who have become a stranger to yourself, because of your wandering outside: you do not know yourself, and seek him who has created you! Return, return to your heart, detach yourself from your body …. Re-enter into your heart: there examine him whom you perceived as God, because the image of God is there, Christ dwells in man’s interior.[1]

To re-enter into one’s heart! But, what is represented by the word heart, of which there is so often talk in the Bible and in human language? Outside the ambit of human physiology, where it is but a vital organ of the body, the heart is the most profound metaphysical place of a person, the innermost being of every man, where each one lives his being a person, namely his subsisting in himself, in relation to God, from whom he has his origin and in whom he finds his purpose, to other men and to the whole of creation. In ordinary language the heart also designates the essential part of reality. “To go to the heart of the problem” means to go to the essential part of it, on which all the other parts of the problem depend.

Thus, the heart indicates the spiritual place, where one can contemplate the person in his most profound and true reality, without veils and without pausing on externals. Every person is judged by their heart, by what he bears within himself, which is the source of his goodness and his wickedness. To know the heart of a person means to have penetrated the intimate sanctuary of his personality, by which that person is known for what he really is and is worth.

To return to the heart means, therefore, to return to what is most personal and interior to us. Unfortunately, interiority is a value in crisis. Some causes of this crisis are old and inherent to our nature itself. Our “composition,” that is, our being constituted of flesh and spirit, inclines us toward the external, the visible, the multiplicity. Like the universe, after the initial explosion (the famous Big Bang), we are also in a phase of expansion and of moving away from the center. We are perennially “going out” through those five doors or windows which are our senses.

Saint Teresa of Avila wrote a work titled The Interior Castle, which is certainly one of the most mature fruits of the Christian doctrine of interiority. However there is, alas, also an “exterior castle” and today we see that it is possible to be shut-in also in this castle. Shut outside of home, incapable of returning. Prisoners of externals! How many of us must make our own the bitter observation that Augustine made in regard to his life before his conversion: “Late have I loved Thee, beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved Thee! Lo, you were within, but I outside, seeking there for you and upon the shapely things you have made I rushed headlong – I, misshapen. You were with me, but I was not with you. They held me back far from you those things which would have no being were they not in you.”[2]

What is done outside is exposed to the almost inevitable danger of hypocrisy. The look of other persons has the power to deflect our intention, like certain magnetic fields deflect the waves. Our action loses its authenticity and its recompense. Appearance prevails over being. Because of this, Jesus invites to fasting and almsgiving in a hidden way and to pray to the Father “in secret” (cf. Matthew 6:1-4).

Inwardness is the way to an authentic life. There is so much talk today of authenticity and it is made the criterion of success or lack thereof in life. However, where is authenticity for a Christian? When is it that a person is truly himself? Only when he has God as his measure. “There is so much talk – writes the philosopher Kierkegaard – of wasted lives. However, wasted only is the life of a man who never realized that a God exists and that he, his very self, stands before this God.”[3]

Persons consecrated to the service of God are the ones who above all are in need of a return to interiority. In an address given to Superiors of a contemplative religious Order, Paul VI said:

“Today we are in a world which seems to be gripped by a fever that infiltrates itself even in the sanctuary and in solitude. Noise and din have invaded almost everything. Persons are no longer able to be recollected. They are prey of a thousand distractions, they habitually dissipate their energies behind the different forms of modern culture. Newspapers, magazines, books invade the intimacy of our homes and of our hearts. It is more difficult to find the opportunity for the recollection in which the soul is able to be fully occupied in God.”

However, let us try to see what we can do concretely, to rediscover and preserve the habit of inwardness. Moses was a very active man. But we read that he had a portable tent built and at every stage of the exodus, he fixed the tent outside the camp and regularly entered it to consult the Lord. There, the Lord spoke with Moses “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11).

However, we cannot always do this. We cannot always withdraw into a chapel or a solitary place to renew our contact with God. Therefore, Saint Francis of Assisi suggested another device closer at hand. Sending his friars on the roads of the world, he said: We always have a hermitage with us wherever we go and every time we so wish we can, as hermits, re-enter in this hermitage. “Brother body is the hermitage and the soul is the hermit that dwells within to pray to God and to meditate.” It is like having a desert “in the house,” in which one can withdraw in thought at every moment, even while walking on the street. We conclude this first part of our meditation listening, as addressed to us, the exhortation that Saint Anselm of Aosta addresses to the reader in one of his famous works:

“Come now, miserable mortal, flee for a brief time from your occupations, leave for a while your tumultuous thoughts. Move away at this moment from your grave anxieties and put aside your exhausting activities. Attend to God and repose in him. Enter into the depth of your soul, exclude everything, except God and what helps you seek him and, having closed the door, say to God: I seek your face. Your face I seek, Lord.”[4]

Fasting accepted by God

The second great theme present in the account of Jesus in the desert is fasting. “After having fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry” (Matthew 4:1). What does it mean for us today to imitate Jesus’ fasting? Once understood by the word fasting, was a limit of one’s intake of food and drink and to abstain from meat. This fasting from food still keeps its vitality and is highly recommended, when, of course, its motivation is religious and not only hygienic and aesthetic, but it is not the only kind of fasting or the most necessary.

Today the most necessary and meaningful form of fasting is called sobriety. To willingly deprive oneself from little and great comforts, of what is useless, and sometimes also damaging to one’s health. This fasting is solidarity with the poverty of so many. Who does not remember Isaiah’s words that the liturgy speaks to us at the beginning of every Lent?

“Is not this the fast that I choose:

To share your bread with the hungry,

And bring the homeless poor into your house;

When you see the naked to cover him,

and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:6-7).

Such fasting is also a protest against a consumerist mentality. In a world, which has made of superfluous and useless comfort one of the ends of one’s activity, to renounce the superfluous, to be able to do without something, to stop oneself from taking recourse to the most comfortable solution, from choosing the easiest thing, the object of greater luxury — to live, in sum with sobriety, is more effective than imposing on oneself artificial penances. It is, moreover, justice towards the generations that will follow ours that must not be reduced to live from the ashes of what we consumed and wasted. Sobriety is also an ecological value of respect for creation.

More necessary than fasting from food today is fasting from images. We live in a civilization of images; we have become devourers of images. Through television, internet, the press, advertising, we let a flood of images enter us. Many of them are unhealthy, they engender violence and malice, they do nothing other than incite the worst instincts we bear within us. They are made expressly to seduce. However, perhaps the worst thing is that they give a false and unreal idea of life, with all the consequences that derive from that in the subsequent impact with reality, especially for young people. They pretend unwittingly that life offers all that advertising presents.

If we do not create a filter, a barricade, we quickly reduce our imagination and our spirit to a rubbish dump. The evil images do not die on reaching us but ferment. They are transformed into impulses to imitate, they condition our freedom horribly. Feuerback, a materialist philosopher, said: “Man is what he eats”; today, perhaps we should say: “man is what he sees.”

Another of these alternative fasts which we can do during Lent is that of evil words. Saint Paul recommends: “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, that it may impart grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).

Evil words are not only bad language; they are also cutting, negative words that systematically bring to light a brother’s weak side, words that sow discord and suspicions. In the life of a family or a community, such words have the power to shut everyone in himself, to freeze, creating bitterness and resentment. They literally “mortify,” that is, they give death. Saint James said that the tongue is full of mortal poison; with it we can bless or curse God, resurrect a brother or kill him (cf. James 3:1-12). A word can do more evil than a fist.

Reported in Matthew’s Gospel is a word of Jesus that made the readers of all times of the Gospel tremble: “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render an account for every careless word they utter” (Matthew 12:36). Jesus certainly does not intend to condemn every useless word, in the sense of those not “strictly necessary.” Taken in the passive sense, the term argon (a = without, ergon = work) used in the Gospel indicates an unfounded word, hence calumny; taken in the active sense, it means an un-founding word, a word which produces nothing and does not even serve for necessary relaxation. Saint Paul recommended to his disciple Timothy: “Avoid such godless chatter, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:16), a recommendation that Pope Francis has repeated to us more than once.

The useless word (argon) is the contrary of the word of God, which is described in fact, by contrast, as energes, (1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 4:12), that is, effective, creative, full of energy and useful for everything. In this sense, what men will have to render account for in the day of judgment is, in the first place, the empty word, without faith and without anointing, pronounced by one who should instead pronounce the words of God which are “spirit and life,” especially at the moment in which he exercises the ministry of the Word.

Tempted by Satan

We pass to the third element of the evangelical narrative on which we wish to reflect: Jesus’ fight against the devil, the temptations. First of all a question: does the devil exist? That is, does the word devil truly indicate some personal reality gifted with intelligence and will, or is it simply a symbol, a way of speaking to indicate the sum of moral evil of the world, the collective unconscious, the collective alienation and so on?

The main proof of the existence of the devil in the Gospels is not in numerous episodes of deliverance of the possessed, because in interpreting these facts we must take into account ancient beliefs about the origin and nature of certain sicknesses. The proof is Jesus who was tempted in the desert by the devil. The proof is also the many Saints who fought in life with the prince of darkness. They are not “Don Quixotes” who fought against windmills. On the contrary, they were very concrete men of very healthy psychology. Saint Francis of Assisi confided once to a companion: “If the friars knew how many and what tribulations I receive from the devil, there would not be one who would not weep for me.”[5]

If so many find it absurd to believe in the devil it is because they base themselves on books, they spend their life in libraries or at the desk, whereas the devil is not interested in books but in persons, especially, in fact, in the Saints. What can one know of Satan if one has never had to do with the reality of Satan, but only with his idea, that is, with the cultural, religious, ethnological traditions about Satan? They usually address this argument with great certainty and superiority, writing everything off as  “Medieval obscurantism.” But it is a false assurance, as one who boasts that he is not afraid of a lion, adducing as proof the fact that he has seen a lion so many times depicted in photographs and has never been scared.

It is altogether normal and coherent that one who does not believe in God does not believe in the devil. It would be downright tragic if one who does not believe in God believed in the devil! Yet, if we think about it well, it is what happens in our society. The devil, Satanism and other connected phenomena are of great topicality today. Our technological and industrialized world is replete with magicians, city sorcerers, occultism, spiritualism, horoscope reciters, vendors of witchcraft, of amulets, as well as even true and proper Satanists. Chased out the door, the devil has re-entered by the window. That is, chased out of the faith, he has re-entered with superstition.

The most important thing that the Christian faith can tell us is not, however, that the devil exists, but that Christ has conquered the devil. For Christians, Christ and the devil are not two equal and contrary princes, as in certain dualistic religions. Jesus is the only Lord; Satan is only a creature “gone bad.” If he has been granted power over men, it is because men have the possibility to freely make a choice and also so that they “are kept from being too elated” (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7), believing themselves self-sufficient and without need of a redeemer. “Old Satan is mad,” says a Negro spiritual. He “shot his ball at me … He missed my soul and caught my sins!”

With Christ we have nothing to fear. Nothing and no one can do us harm, if we ourselves do not allow it. After the coming of Christ, said an ancient Father of the Church, Satan is like a tethered dog: he can bark and fling himself as much as he wants but, if we do not approach him, he cannot bite. Jesus freed himself from Satan in the desert to free us from Satan!

The Gospels speak to us of three temptations: “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread”; “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down”; “All these things I will give you if, prostrating yourself, you adore me.” They all have one common purpose: to divert Jesus from his mission, to distract him from the purpose for which he came on earth; to replace the Father’s plan with a different one. In Baptism, the Father had indicated to Christ the way of the obedient Servant who saves with humility and suffering. Satan proposes to him the way of glory and triumph, the way that everyone then expected of the Messiah.

Today also, the whole effort of the devil is to divert man from the purpose for which he is in the world, which is to know, love and serve God in this life to enjoy him later in the next; to distract him. But Satan is astute; he does not appear as a person with horns and the smell of sulfur. It would be too easy to recognize him. He makes use of good things leading them to excess, absolutizing them and making them idols. Money is a good thing, as is pleasure, sex, eating, drinking. However, if they become the most important thing in life, they are no longer means but become destructive for the soul and often also for the body.

A particularly related example to the topic is amusement, distraction. Play is a noble dimension of the human being; God himself commanded rest. The evil is to make of amusement the purpose of life, to live the week waiting for Saturday night or the trip to the stadium on Sunday, not to mention other pastimes that are rather less innocent. In this case amusement changes sign and, instead of serving human growth and alleviating stress and exhaustion, it makes them grow.

A liturgical hymn of Lent exhorts to use more sparingly, at this time, “words, food, drink, sleep and amusements.” This is a time to rediscover why we have come to the world, where we come from, where we are going, what route we are following. Otherwise what can happen to us is what happened to the Titanic or, closer to our time and in space, to the Costa Concordia.

Why Jesus went into the desert

I have tried to bring to light the teachings and the examples that come to us from Jesus for this time of Lent, but I must say that I have omitted up to now to speak about the most important of all. Why did Jesus, after his Baptism, go into the desert? To be tempted by Satan? No, he did not give that the least thought. No one goes on purpose in search of temptations and he himself has taught us to pray so as not to be led into temptation. The temptations were an initiative of the devil, permitted by the Father, for the glory of his Son and as teaching for us.

Did he go into the desert to fast? Yes, but not mainly for this reason. He went there to pray! Jesus always withdrew into desert places to pray to his Father. He went there to be attuned, as man, with the divine will, to deepen the mission that the voice of the Father, in his Baptism, had made him perceive: the mission of the obedient Servant called to redeem the world with suffering and humiliation. He went there, in sum, to pray, to be in intimacy with his Father. And this is also the main purpose of our Lent. He went into the desert for the same reason for which, according to Luke, he would later go to Mount Tabor, namely, to pray (Luke 9:28).

One does not go into the desert to leave something – the noise, the world, occupations — one goes there above all to find something, rather Someone. One does not go alone to find oneself, to put oneself in contact with one’s inner self, as in so many forms of non-Christian meditation. To be alone with oneself can mean to find oneself with the worst of company. The believer goes into the desert, goes down into his own heart, to renew his contact with God, because he knows that “Truth dwells in the interior man.”

It is the secret of happiness and of peace in this life. What does one in love desire more than to be alone, in intimacy, with the person loved? God is in love with us and he wants us to be in love with him. Speaking of his people as of a bride, God says: “I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her” (Hosea 2:16). We know what the effect is of being in love: all things and all other persons withdraw, are placed in the background. There is a presence that fills everything and renders all the rest “secondary.” It does not isolate from others, rather it renders one more attentive and disposed to others. Oh if we men and women of the Church would discover how close to us, within our reach, is the happiness and the peace that we seek in this world!

Jesus awaits us in the desert: let us not leave him alone during this time.

1. Saint Augustine, In Ioh. Ev., 18, 10 (CCL 36, p. 186).

2. Saint Augustine, Confessions, X, 27.

3. S. Kierkegaard, The Sickness unto Death, II, in Works, edited by C. Fabro, Florence 1972, p. 663.

4. Saint Anselm, Proslogion, 1, (Opera Omnia, 1, Edinburgh 1946, p. 97).

5. Cf. Speculum perfectionis, 99 (FF1798).

(March 14, 2014) © Innovative Media Inc.

zenit.org/en/articles/father-cantalamessa-s-1st-lent-homily-2014

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See Today’s Readings: Cycle A

Back to: First Sunday of Lent (Year A)


Second Sunday of Lent

READINGS (Cycle A):

Reading 1 gn 12:1-4a

The LORD said to Abram:
“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”

Abram went as the LORD directed him.

Responsorial Psalm ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22

R/ (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R/ Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R/ Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R/ Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

reading 2 2 tim 1:8b-10

Beloved:
Bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

He saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works
but according to his own design
and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but now made manifest
through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
to light through the gospel.

Gospel mt 17:1-9

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Back to: Second Sunday of Lent (Year A)


First Sunday of Lent

READINGS (Cycle A):

Reading 1 gn 2:7-9; 3:1-7

The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.

Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the LORD God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
“Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?”
The woman answered the serpent:
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.’”
But the serpent said to the woman:
“You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil.”
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.

Responsorial Psalm ps 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17

R/ (cf. 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R/ Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R/ Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R/ Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R/ Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

reading 2 rom 5:12-19

Brothers and sisters:
Through one man sin entered the world,
and through sin, death,
and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned—
for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world,
though sin is not accounted when there is no law.
But death reigned from Adam to Moses,
even over those who did not sin
after the pattern of the trespass of Adam,
who is the type of the one who was to come.
But the gift is not like the transgression.
For if by the transgression of the one, the many died,
how much more did the grace of God
and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ
overflow for the many.
And the gift is not like the result of the one who sinned.
For after one sin there was the judgment that brought condemnation;
but the gift, after many transgressions, brought acquittal.
For if, by the transgression of the one,
death came to reign through that one,
how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace
and of the gift of justification
come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression
condemnation came upon all,
so, through one righteous act,
acquittal and life came to all.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man
the many were made sinners,
so, through the obedience of the one,
the many will be made righteous.

or rom 5:12, 17-19

Brothers and sisters:
Through one man sin entered the world,
and through sin, death,
and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned.

For if, by the transgression of the one,
death came to reign through that one,
how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace
and of the gift of justification
come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression
condemnation came upon all,
so, through one righteous act,
acquittal and life came to all.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man
the many were made sinners,
so, through the obedience of the one,
the many will be made righteous.

Gospel mt 4:1-11

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God
.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you
and with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone
.”
Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve
.”

Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him.

Back to: First Sunday of Lent (Year A)


Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

READINGS (Cycle A):

Reading 1 is 49:14-15

Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Responsorial Psalm ps 62:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

R/ (6a) Rest in God alone, my soul.
Only in God is my soul at rest;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all.
R/ Rest in God alone, my soul.
Only in God be at rest, my soul,
for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.
R/ Rest in God alone, my soul.
With God is my safety and my glory,
he is the rock of my strength; my refuge is in God.
Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Pour out your hearts before him.
R/ Rest in God alone, my soul.

readng 2 1 cor 4:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ
and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Now it is of course required of stewards
that they be found trustworthy.
It does not concern me in the least
that I be judged by you or any human tribunal;
I do not even pass judgment on myself;
I am not conscious of anything against me,
but I do not thereby stand acquitted;
the one who judges me is the Lord.
Therefore do not make any judgment before the appointed time,
until the Lord comes,
for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness
and will manifest the motives of our hearts,
and then everyone will receive praise from God.

Gospel mt 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

Back to: Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)


DAILY HOMILY

MARCH, 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
23/30 24/31 25 26 27 28  29

Back to: HOMILY OF THE DAY


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