Friday of the 34th Week of the Year

Luke 21:29-33

The Lesson of the fig Tree


The Book of Revelation describes Judgment Day. Satan is chained for thousand years. The Book of Life is brought in. the names written in the book are read aloud. Those whose names are not found are told to go straight to the Lake of Fire. Heaven and earth are no more. A New Heaven and a New Earth appear and this they called the Holy City of God. The saints and martyrs robed in white are all with Christ before his throne, the New Jerusalem. (Fr. Carlos Lariosa, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


There was an American Indian, a mother, who was often seen by a tree on a hill. There she placed her dead son slain by enemies some years ago. When asked why she had to go to the place often, she answered: “It’s really not the tree nor the hill but what’s inside me. The hill and the tree awaken what’s inside my heart.”

The two readings tell us we ought to recognize the signs that ultimately point to God. The hill and the tree in our story point for the mother the presence of her son. We ought to recognize that God loves us so much than we can love ourselves. Do we give first place to God? Do we love Him in return more than anyone or anything else?

The Holy Father once wrote that the religious are beneficial to society because they offer themselves totally to God and thereby to their neighbor. Indeed, those who are married may serve their neighbors too. But it is only the religious who can remind others that it is God who owns their hearts.

Not too long ago, Bishop Claver observed that if there would be any lack today in the Filipino’s psychological make-up, it is his weak sense of community and the common good. The Filipino’s allegiance goes to his family and its narrow good. If we truly love God above all else, we ought to form communities in mission, reaching out to other communities.

We religious are still credible to Philippine society due to our position in the Church in spite of the negative publicity we have been receiving nowadays, in particular due to sex scandals wracking the Church. How are we using our position in the Church to our advantage? As religious, we are sent to be present in situations where God’s presence is least perceptible, namely: massive poverty, lack of peace, terrorism, increasing polarization between groups, sense of uncertainty and hopelessness, and lack of sustained commitment to justice. What is our response? As Christ’s yellow ribbon, we act togetheras we minister to a world in need of healing and forgiveness. (Fr. Joel Maribao, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


The valedictorian of our minor seminary took a leave after graduation. Some months later he was recruited by a born-again community and became a regular member. After some time, he wrote a letter that shook me. For in it he asked me an accusing question: “How come the Word of God was kept from us while we were in the seminary?” apparently, he discovered the value of God’s word only outside the seminary walls.

Of course, I did some soul-searching myself. Did we, formators in the seminary, really keep the word of God from them? Did we not teach them the value of the Bible? We Catholics are famous non-Bible readers. Our Christian counterparts are impressive when they talk or preach, complete with chapters and verses. I wonder, however, how the early Christians preached when the Bible was not yet divided into chapters and verses.

The perception of our seeming lack of interest in the Bible and the Protestants’ seeming obsession with it underline one value, namely, God’s Word is sacred; its power is permanent; until now the Word brings God into our lives and relationships. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

Is God’s word one of the principles of my day-to-day actions and decisions? Is my life governed by it? St. Paul exhorts, “Let the word of God dwell in you in all its richness,” (Col 3).

Come to think of it, if everything passes away, including myself, will it not be best that I hitch myself into something that does not – God’s word? (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


A story is shared by a religious writer about a young black man studying in a university in America. He was a star player of the school’s rugby team. One night on his way home, he was mauled by a group of white men (probably students of the university). He was hospitalized. The school chaplain visited him and asked:  “Why did you not defend yourself?” he could have easily one or two of his attackers to the hospital. The young man replied: “The violence has to stop, Father, even if it has to stop in my body.”

The act of offering the other cheek instead of raising one’s fists, the act of forgiving instead of vengeance, the act of loving instead of hating, these are like “bud of the fig tree” bursting open to announce that the kingdom is near. When you see, “buds appearing and bursting forth, know that summer is near.”  And soon the world will be filled with the fragrance and colors of summer.

When loving kindness is extended to the needy, a “bud” will burst open. When there is loving service, when communion is celebrated, when God is praised in thanksgiving, then know that the Kingdom of God is near. (Fr. Herman Suico, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


November 25, 2016 Friday

The Gospel simply reminds us to be aware of what is going within us and the world around us. We are constantly challenged to be sensitive to the signs of the times because nowadays people have become disoriented on what really matters in life. God has continuously revealed his divine plan in our daily life. All we need is to look at everything in the eyes of faith. Sad to say, our perception mostly gets blurred with our possessions and wants. We have become preoccupied with, and overwhelmed by what the world is offering us, creating distortion in our spiritual consciousness.

The Gospel challenges us to redirect our perception on things that make our life meaningful.

To discern the will of the Father, Jesus taught his disciples to be sensitive to the realities surrounding them, a pretty basic and practical act. God speaks to us at every moment of the day: through the warm words and prayers of a person who cares for us, through strangers we encounter.

His presence everywhere we don’t sense maybe because we don’t spend enough time for Jesus. Most people can spend hours in front of the television and browsing the internet but cannot even spend a minute for prayer. It’s very ironical to realize that God has given us 168 hours every week. But some of us would not even give Jesus an hour during a Sunday Holy Eucharist. We only live once; we should not waste our time, but maximize it on what matters the most. (Fr. Roger Solis, SVD | HNU, Bohol Bible Diary 2016)


WORD Today (Dn 7:2-14; Luke 21:29-33): Arise, devour much flesh – Dn 7:5).

Daniel  foresaw a time when Satan will rule the hearts of many and lead them to indulge in the pleasure of the flesh.

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Once the body is filled with food, wine, sex, and possessions, the heart no longer hungers for God.

“You are what you eat.” Eating Satan’s food will make us like him, rebellious and stubborn. Hating to yield to anything but our own desires, we become zombies wandering from pleasure to pleasure. And Christ counters with His own flesh and blood! “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54). Come to Mass frequently.  Celebrated since the dawn of Christianity, there we see and “know that the Kingdom of God is near.” (Fr. Iko Bajos Oct 29, 2013)


CATECHISM a Day (Luke 21:31): “When you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.”


In the New Testament, the word basileia can be translated by “kingship” (abstract noun), “kingdom” (concrete noun) or “reign” (action noun). The Kingdom of God lies ahead of us. It’s brought near in the Word incarnate, it’s proclaimed throughout the Gospel and it has come in Christ’s death and resurrection. God’s Kingdom has been coming since the Last Supper and in the Eucharist, it’s in our midst. The kingdom will come in glory when Christ hands it over to His Father” It may even be… that God’s kingdom means Christ Himself whom we daily desire to come and whose coming we wish to be manifested quickly to us. For as He is our resurrection, since in him we rise, so he can also be understood as God’s Kingdom, for in him we shall reign (Fr. Iko Bajos Oct 29, 2013).


EVEN THOUGH TIMES HAVE CHANGED – “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” – Luke 21:33

I’ve loved reading Bible stories ever since I was a small girl. The colored pictures amused me. In my early twenties, I copied on index cards Bible phrases that spoke to me in particular moments in my life. Three decades later, the same words continue to speak to me, revealing different messages as circumstances changed over time.

I have lived to see three generations before me – my great grandparents, my grandparents and my parents. My children were born when my grandparents were still alive and strong. All these generations have heard the Word of God, and the future generations will all hear the same Word of God.

In much the same way, the world we live in has gone through war and peace, through destruction and rehabilitation. People, famous and not, have come and gone. We’ve had our share of triumphs and defeats, of joys and sorrows. But His Word has remained the same. It urges us on. It showers us with hope. It lifts up our spirits. And it transforms us day by day.Bella Estrella (

Reflection: After all is said and done, the Word of God will continue to live on. It remains forever.

Thank You, Lord, for molding us through Your Word that never changes. Steadfast indeed is Your love, and we can never live without it.


GOD’S WORDS ARE ETERNAL – Unlike lies, which will be found out eventually, God’s words are eternal. They contain the truth that endures. This is why we are told that the Holy Spirit will lead us in the ways of truth and love.

Truth and love are two factors of life that endure eternally. We can chase many things in life, but only truth and love will endure. This is why Pope Francis often reminds us of the futility of seeking hope and fulfillment in material things. He knows that the answer to human fulfillment is in God’s love and truth.

This is also why those blessed with material wealth eventually realize that their wealth is more of a curse than a blessing. It is difficult to maintain a humble, disinterested attitude towards wealth. Everything about materialism and consumerism screams out: More, more and more! But every word of the Gospel screams out to us: God alone can save us; in God alone do we find true life; and so on. Each one of us must choose who or what will be the God in our lives. The Scriptures are clear that we cannot choose both God and mammon or wealth. We choose only one.

Pope Francis has stunned the world in his first 18 months with many simple acts and gestures like paying his own bills, making his own phone calls, eating and speaking with the Vatican employees and little people. What is so strange about this? These acts are gestures that say, despite being the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, that he is not above the least of them. In fact, he is not above the non-believer or atheist either. Pope Francis has demonstrated humility as the most important trait a leader can cultivate. Humility is never far from the truth.

As we reflect on the enduring nature of God’s words, let us focus on three things: truth, love and humility. Without them, nothing endures. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you grow in truth, love and humility? This is one of the primary messages of Pope Francis, so let us heed his call and follow his example.

Lord Jesus, help me to open my heart to the grace of the Holy Spirit so that He can help me grow in truth, love and humility every day. Amen.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

FRIDAY OF THE 34TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 21:29-33. MASAYRAN BA NATO ANG ORAS SA PAGBALIK SA GINOO? Ang adlaw sa ikaduhang pag-abot ni Hesus dili nato mahibaloan; ang Dios Amahan lamang ang nasayod niini. Apan, bisan dili masayran, ang pagbalik sa Ginoo atong mapangandaman. Ang sambingay sa Kahoy’ng Igera nagtudlo nga ang Ginoo maghatag og mga ilhanan aron kita makaandam sa Iyang pagbalik. Busa, gidasig kita nga magpabiling mabinantayon sa mga timailhan nga ihatag kanato sa Dios diha sa atong kinabuhi. Ang Ikaduhang Pag-abot sa Ginoo makalilisang para sa mga daotan; apan usa kini ka bulahang adlaw para sa mga matarong nga dugay rang nangandoy nga makig-uban Kaniya. Sa atong pagpaabot, hinumduman nato ang giingon ni San Agustin: “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” Posted by Abet Uy


Life’s Instructions: “To know what has to be done, then do it, comprises the whole philosophy of practical life,” (Sir William Osler)

At eight years old, my father posted in my room hid list of instructions:

When waking up:

  1. Say a prayer
  2. Fix your bed
  3. Change your pajamas
  4. Greet your parents “Good Morning”
  5. Sweep your room
  6. Water the plants
  7. Put flowers in the living room vase
  8. Take a bath
  9. Comb your hair
  10. Wear your uniform
  11. Eat breakfast
  12. Brush your teeth
  13. Check your school bag
  14. Say goodbye
  15. Go to school

When Going to sleep:

  1. Finish your homework
  2. Fix your school bag
  3. Prepare your uniform
  4. Drink a glass of milk
  5. Brush your teeth
  6. Wash your face
  7. Clean your feet
  8. Say goodnight
  9. Say a prayer

It’s a life of instructions……. (Father Simplicio R. Apalisok Jr (2000). Shoelaces. Quezon City: Claritian Publications. pp. 85-86)


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Reflection for Friday November 25, Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 21:29-33

Are we aware that God is always manifesting Himself to us?

God uses creative ways for us to be aware of His presence: sometimes He comes to us through a friend who will share His words to us. He comes to us through events or even accidents in our lives. And there are many more ingenious manifestations of God in our lives for this is His desire: to introduce Himself to us.

But how do we react with these manifestations of God? Oftentimes this is ignored by us for the reason that we are so enamoured with what the world offers us such as: Wealth, Power, Treasures and the like. We therefore fail to discern that it was God because we have already been enslaved by this world.

Then we get seriously sick that we are a few steps from death’s doorway and here we are cramming to know God. Here we are making amends with those whom we’ve hurt. And here we are trying our best to straighten our way of life.

Why wait for that time? Why not listen and get closer NOW with GOD while we are in the pink of health? Why not get close with God now? Why not reach-out and humble ourselves with those whom we have offended? Why not leave behind any form of sinfulness right now? – Marino J. Dasmarinas


November 25, 2016

Some Christians are disturbed when they hear such statements of Jesus as the one we just heard in today’s gospel reading: “This generation will not pass away, until all this has happened.” We know that this is not literally true. Consequently, must we conclude that Jesus was wrong about the timing of the end of the world? And, if he was wrong about such an important thing, can he be trusted about anything else?

These are honest and quite logical questions—only if we take Jesus literally. But this would lead us into all kinds of difficulties. We can avoid these altogether by interpreting Jesus, not literally but literarily, namely by understanding the kind of literature Jesus was using. And what was that? The prophecy of doom, which needs to use the limited time frame of one generation in order to effectively move people into action. This type of literature is used nowadays by Marxists, the proponents of the Green Revolution, those who predict a nuclear Holocaust, the alarmists of Global Warming, etc. All use the time frame of a generation or so: a shorter time frame would only generate panic and a longer one would leave people indifferent.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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