Thursday of the 1st Week of Advent

Matt 7:21, 24-27

The True Disciple


The prophet Isaiah and the evangelist Matthew give us a complete picture of Advent, of what it means to wait. It is a time to accept our vulnerability and need for a solid foundation so that we can do and heed the “will of the Father in heaven.” Matthew elucidates this solid foundation as listening and acting on the words of Jesus. One’s strength should come from recognition of one’s weakness. This can also be true in our relationship with God. When one stops building on false security, one can solidly anchor his/her faith on the security that God alone can offer.

How about our hearts? How vulnerable is it to people’s plea, to people’s needs? Do we have the solid foundation to stand by and be a rampart when brothers/sister are experiencing the denudation of their own personal resources and strength, of their faith and integrity? Then the WORD has taken root in us, the ROCK becomes our fortress. Then, no amount of rains and floods can erode that solid ground, nurtured by faith, hope and trust in the Divine Providence.

Let us all wait and never lose hope in our waiting. For the Lord will surely come. But we do not wait in passivity. It must be characterized with decisions, options and actions that adhere to the values of the Kingdom. Our waiting should also be characterized by activity. We do not just wait for the Lord to give us that strong foundation, we have to collaborate with grace. (Fr. Eli Mata, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


Today’s gospel describes religious authenticity, the conformity of one’s words and actions, of one’s being and doing. The opposite is hypocrisy (if deliberate) and schizophrenia (if not conscious).

Years ago, a book authored by 2 SVD priests was published: ‘To Hell on Monday.” The book presented the Filipino religious practice: to Church/God on Sunday but to Hell from Monday onward.

Fr. James Bulatao, SJ termed the same phenomenon “Split-level” Christianity.”

The quest for authenticity is basic to all moral/ethical thought. The metaphysical axiom “agere sequitor  esse” (Action follows being) is equally the moral norm: one must act according to one’s nature. The human person must act in the human way intelligently and responsibly.

In Jewish terms, halakah (one’s way of “walking”) must follow haggadah (the teaching).

In the letters of St. Paul, the moral/parenetic section follows the dogmatic/doctrinal part.

In human development, this is the goal of personal integration, when the human faculties/potentialities (intellective, affective, conative) function or interact harmoniously, when one’s “head, heart, hand” work in concord. (Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


I remember a time when I was officiating a Sunday TV Mass with a mayor and his councilors as the main sponsors. They were in the front row but they did not look happy at all. I found out later that they were quarreling as to who would do the readings and who would sit where, so as to get maximum exposure on national television.

It is sad that there are so many people who claim that they are doing God’s work, when in fact they are doing their own agenda

We must build on good and solid foundation for whatever we do. if something is done out of love, it will last. Mother Teresa put it so beautifully when she said that it is not how much we do but how much love we put in what we do that really matters.

How deep is your love?

How wide is your heart? (Fr. Jerry Orboas, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


This recalls to us the recent Asian tsunami experience wherein we saw whole towns and villages devastatingly blown and washed away like a deck of cards. People all over the world looked in total disbelief. The destruction was just mind-boggling. We also saw a few sturdy buildings or structures still standing but devoid of all life.

Listening to God’s words without putting it into practice is as useless as those buildings and houses that were flattened by the big waves.

“Not all who say, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my father in heaven.” It is not enough to profess that we believe and do not put into practice what our Lord tells us to do. As St. James will tell us, “Faith without works, is dead.”

St. Ambrose was a man who backed up his faith with good works for his fellowmen. He was a bridge-builder as he united the warring Arians and Catholics. Though he refused at first, he was prevailed upon and was elected by all parties to be their bishop. On this day (Dec. 7) in 374, Ambrose was consecrated bishop. He gave away all his possessions and began to live a life of great austerity. He was St. Augustine’s mentor.

A community is not built by wishful thinking, much less senseless talking nor by prayer alone. It is also built on deeds, no less.

It comes about when people really care and serve one another, understanding and forgiving one another and, above all, loving one another. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved. In this way, people will know that you are My disciples.”

Do we put into practice the Word of God that we read or hear in the Holy Mass or in our Bible reading and sharing? (Fr. Fred Mislang, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


December 1, 2016 Thursday

In Timor-Leste, I saw the building of a school dormitory with flooring and walls almost done but the posts still missing. Fr. Reniel Nachima, SVD said that here, without typhoons, floods and earthquakes, building a house is easier, cheaper, and without worries about its foundation and security.

Our gospel today tells us that entering God’s eternal dwelling (built on love, justice, mercy, peace) isn’t at all easy, cheap and reassuring. “For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Mt. 7:14). It sets a condition which can make exclusion inevitable. “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you’ve faith but don’t have works?

Can faith save you?” (James 2:14). Indeed, saying “Lord, Lord” is not enough. Professing our faith, teaching, and preaching the Word of God are empty without the outward manifestations of doing the Father’s will. Jesus tells his disciples that the Father’s will is about taking care of the little ones- children, the lost, outcasts, the sick, naked, hungry, thirsty, prisoners, strangers (Mt. 18, 25:35ff ); about changing one’s mind, believing and working in the vineyard (Mt. 21:28ff ).

St. Paul urges us to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share (1Tim. 6:18). Just “saying” is not enough; it is too hypocritical. Just “doing” is neither enough; it is too secular. Saying and doing, listening and acting, praying and performing, faith and good works must always go together. As we begin this new liturgical season, let’s build our lives and homes on the spirit of Christ’s Adventus.  Amidst life’s storms, we will never be ruined if our foundation and security are solidly built on the Eternal Rock, Jesus Christ. (Fr. Jay Baliao, SVD | Timor Leste Region Bible Diary 2016)


As we read the gospel passage today, we ask ourselves the question that pulls together this week’s Advent liturgy: Who is Jesus whose birthday we prepare to celebrate and whose coming in our lives we await? Jesus Himself reveals to us in His words – He is the Rock, the Sure foundation of life.

Owning and building a house is every man’s lifetime dream: adorning one’s own house is every woman’s dream. The “house” as Jesus uses it in the gospel might as well then represent our life and all our life projects. In relation to this project, Jesus does not simply want to be the roof (one that shades from sun and rain). Jesus does not simply want to be a wall (one that secures from outside forces). Jesus does not simply want to be a door or a window (one that offers a way out, an escape). Jesus wants to be the rock – the bedrock, the one that supports all.

How about us? Have we accepted Jesus as our rock? (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP New Every Morning New Everyday 2006 p. 5)


MARKETPLACE CHRISTIANITY: One time during Mass, the priest asked his congregation, “What is the most important place in the Church?” “The altar,” one answer came, “because that is where the bread and wine are consecrated into the Body and Blood of Christ.” Another said, “the lectern, because that is where the Word is proclaimed and the homily is delivered.” After hearing other responses, the priest finally said, “Yes, the altar and the lectern are important but the most important of the Church is the exit door.” A surprised silence followed. Then the priest continued, “The exit door is the most important because unless you live out what and who you have received in the Mass, everything will be in vain.”

In today’s gospel, Jesus reminds us that “none of those who cry out, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” During that time, not everyone had access to the Scripture. The Temple became the “official” place where people can call on the Lord and hear and read the Word of God.

Jesus warns us against a religion where God only becomes Lord of our life in the temple, where God is glorified only inside and during worship done in the Church. This is what I call a “Christianity of the Sanctuary.”

The gospels do not picture Christ as always in the temple. You can actually count with your fingers the number of times Jesus was seen in the temple. Jesus did not come to inaugurate a Christianity of the sanctuary. He rather proposes a “Marketplace Christianity.” This is why Jesus commissions us to be “salt of the earth and light of the world.”

Commenting on the noticeable decline of Christians especially in Europe, Pope Benedict XVI commissioned them to be a “creative minority.” A minority that is powerful and effective as to effect a real transformation in society. The mission of the Church is not so much to put Christians in the Church but to put Christians outside of the Church (Fr. Joel Jason SABBATH Scripture Meditation for Daily Life December 1, 2011 p. 342).


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

THURSDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK OF ADVENT (YEAR C) – MATEO 7:21,24-27. UNSA MAY MAKAPALIG-ON SA ATONG PAGTOO? Gitudloan kita ni San Pablo sa iyang sulat ngadto sa taga Efeso nga ang pagtoo usa ka gasa sa Dios (2:8). Apan, wala kini magpasabot nga ang tawo wala nay papel sa pag-amoma sa iyang pagtoo. Gani, ang Sulat ni Santiago nagpahimangno nga ang pagtoo nga walay buhat usa ka pagtoong patay (2:26). Diha sa ebanghelyo karon, si Hesus mismo ang nagpasabot nga kita adunay dakong papel sa pagpalig-on sa atong pagtoo. Mahimo nato kini pinaagi sa pagpaminaw sa iyang Pulong ug sa pagpuyo niini sa matag adlaw. Sa pagbuhat niini, mahisama kita sa tawong maalamon nga nagtukod og balay ibabaw sa malig-on nga bato. Walay unos, bagyo, o baha nga makatumpag niini. Bisan unsaon kita paghadla sa mga problema, dili kita mahugno ug mahutda’g paglaum. Posted by Abet Uy


Thursday, December 1, 2016

THURSDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK OF ADVENT – MATEO 7:21,24-27. UNSA MAY MAKAPALIG-ON SA PAGTOO? Si San Pablo nagtudlo nga ang pagtoo usa ka gasa sa Dios (Efeso 2:8). Apan, wala kini magpasabot nga ang tawo wala nay papel sa pag-amoma sa iyang pagtoo. Gani, ang Sulat ni Santiago nagpahimangno nga ang pagtoo nga walay buhat usa ka pagtoong patay (2:26). Diha sa ebanghelyo, si Hesus mismo nagpasabot nga kita adunay papel sa pagpalig-on sa atong pagtoo. Mahimo nato kini pinaagi sa pagpaminaw sa iyang Pulong ug sa pagpuyo niini matag adlaw. Sa pagbuhat niini, mahisama kita sa tawong maalamon nga nagtukod og balay ibabaw sa malig-on nga bato. Walay unos, bagyo, o baha nga makatumpag niini. Makatandog ang gisulti sa usa ka higala: “There is much I do not know about God, but what I know has changed my life.” Posted by Abet Uy


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Reflection for December 3, Thursday; Saint Francis Xavier, Priest: Matthew 7:21, 24-27

Reflection: There is a story about an old man who was always at church, he attends Mass, and he was always present during novena prayers. However, he also has this domineering attitude, he thinks highly of himself and he treats everyone in the church as someone who is not within his level.

After a few years he died, Therefore, he was expecting a smooth passage to heaven but Saint Peter did not allow him to enter the pearly gates. So he asked: “Why are you not allowing me to gain entry to heaven, I was always at church leading the novena prayers, I was always at Mass!” Saint Peter replied: “Yes you were always in the church but you did not change your ways, it was all for show.”

A lot of us are like the old man, we are active in the church, we attend Holy Mass but we refuse to let go of our boorish behavior, we think highly of ourselves simply because many of us are rich and educated. Then we carry over these domineering behaviors into our home and our workplace.

Could we gain entry into heaven with this behavior? Can we be compared to the wise man in the gospel who built his house upon a sturdy rock? Not certainly, to become the wise man who built his house on a solid rock we need to walk our talk and we need to live what we preach.

In the gospel, Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven (Matthew 7:21).” – Marino J. Dasmarinas


LIVING OUT GOD’S WORDS – Having been raised in a Catholic household, I know how my life should be founded on Christ’s Word. My nanay (mother) would always remind us her children how we are to live by our Christian principles. Apart from reminding us how we are to always protect our names, fidelity to the Christian norms that she raised us with takes paramount consideration. She would always say that that is the key to success.

I know most of us can say the same thing about our upbringing. We have been given words of wisdom by our parents or by some significant persons in our lives. And as we grew older we can attest how such wise words have helped us as they came in handy whenever the need to apply and use them arises.

In our seminary, it was a practice to determine our individual core graces for the year. We first go through some spiritual exercises and then we discern, “What is God’s message for me this school year? What will be my maxim for the year?”

Those words greatly helped me in my formation years. Because as I tried to live up to them, my focus was always directed to the Giver of the word — Jesus — whose call I was responding to.

In today’s Gospel, we hear how He wants people to deal with the words that He speaks. They are not just meant to be listened to or professed. They are meant to be lived. Those words, when truly realized and lived, will merit for us not just a successful life but a glorified life promised by God in the end. Fr. Sandy Enhaynes

REFLECTION QUESTION: Before the year ends, take the time to listen to God’s message for you for the coming year.

Dear Lord, grant me the grace to listen well to Your message for me this coming year — and may I have the courage to act on it. Amen.


Is 26: 1-6

Mt 7: 21, 24-27

St Francis Xavier

As we celebrate today the feast of St Francis Xavier, the second Apostle of India, whose incorruptible mortal remains are still kept in Goa as a reminder to our faith, we recall the Bible dictum:  “Will a person gain anything if he wins the whole world but loses his life?” (Mt 16: 26).  St Ignatius Loyola reminded him of this Bible dictum and being convinced, he decided to join hands with St Ignatius Loyola to form the Society of Jesus on 15th August 1534.  On 24th June 1537 he was ordained a Priest together with St. Ignatius.  His desire to be a missionary made him reach Goa on 6th May 1642 after an eleven month- long tedious voyage.   He preached and converted people of India, Ceylon, Japan, many islands near the Philippines and died on his way to China on 2nd December 1552 at the age of 46.   He was born on 7th April, 1506.

It is truly a matter of wonder that one man in the short span of ten years after reaching India (6 May, 1542 to 2 December, 1552) could  have visited so many countries, traversed so many tumultuous seas, preached the Gospel to so many nations and converted so many  people, just like St. Paul. The incomparable apostolic zeal  which animated him and the stupendous miracles  which God  wrought through him, explain this marvel, which has no equal elsewhere.  St. Francis Xavier who lived just 46 years is considered the greatest missionary since the time of the  Apostles and the zeal he displayed, the wonderful  miracles  he performed, and the great number of souls he brought to the light of true Faith, entitle him to this distinction.  He was canonized along with St. Ignatius in 1622.

Jesus speaks in the Gospel today (Lk 10: 22): “No one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”  Jesus revealed the glory of God to St Francis Xavier and he became zealous as to convert thousands for the Lord as an expression of his living faith.  Regarding such wonderful observers of faith, Jesus spoke: “I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, but they could not, and to hear what you hear, but they did not.”   (Lk.10: 24). Am I blind and deaf to the faith bestowed on me?  Do I radiate the light of faith in my working situations? Fr Joseph Puthenpura CMI


December 01, 2016

There is a story about a senti­mental lady who loved to watch mushy movie. On one occasion she was watching a movie featuring the misfortunes of a little orphan girl. The movie was what we call a “tearjerker,” something like “the Perils of Pauline” or “Little Orphan Annie.” And the lady wept through most of the movie, deeply affected by the heroine’s many hardships. Finally the movie ended, the lady dried her tears, picked up her things and left. As she emerged from the movie house, a frail little girl in rags approached her. She was emaciated and trembling in the bitter cold. “Ma’am,” she begged, “I haven’t eaten for two days. Could you spare a few pennies, please?” The lady reacted with outrage. “Go away, little vermin!” she cried out. “How dare you clutter the streets of our city?” and she walked away, draped in her righteousness. A fictitious beggar could stir her feelings, but not a real-life one.­

In today’s gospel reading we hear Jesus say: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my heavenly Father.” In other words, fine feelings are useless if they do not inspire action.


SeeToday’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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