Thursday after Epiphany

Luke 4:14-22

Jesus in Nazareth


A priest once made a comment and said, “If only everybody in the church would speak and share about themselves as Christians more often and with pride, I believe there would be no need to give homilies and sermons on Sundays.”

Jesus is someone who never was silent wherever there was an occasion to speak before the crowd. He maximizes every opportunity to speak about God and His relationship of himself with Him with pride and sincerity. In the gospel of today, he stood up to speak of himself before the people as, “one anointed by God to bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to the captives, recovery to blind, freedom to the oppressed and a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Can we easily and faithfully speak of our faith in God to others? We have to admit that many of us are not so open and aggressive in sharing our faith as other churches do. Many of us are not even familiar and knowledgeable with the doctrine and teachings of our faith. In most cases, we have become more critical with some of them rather than making effort to learn and understand them better. At times, we speak more of ourselves as one who goes to Mass very often but seldom do we speak of what we have learned from the Mass and the gospel.

God needs us to speak and to bring him more to others. Many could have come to know and to appreciate their faith better if we have done our simple mission to God and to the church bu speaking about God more often to others. We can start it with our family, children and friends in our homes, in our place of work and community. (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


In today’s gospel Christ is about to start His public life. Before He does, He unveils his platform. He tells the people who He is and what He wants to do. His platform is contained in the Book of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. To set free the oppressed and to announce that the time has come when the Lord will save His people.”

All the above were fulfilled in and through Christ. He was the Messiah sent by God. His mission was to preach the good news, to preach salvation to all people. And for those who were willing to listen to Him, those who wanted to follow him, those who would accept Him, he would set free from the bondage of Satan and sin. He would give them new sight. Eyes to recognize God and Christ as Savior. To the poor, the downtrodden, the oppressed, His gospel would mean new life , new freedom – freedom of the children of God. The platform of Christ is also our platform.. what Christ was, we also are. What He did, we are also supposed to do now.

We were anointed and we have received the Holy Spirit. So we have the same mission as Christ – to preach the good news to all, either by actually doing it or by living it; to give sight to the blind, not by working miracles, but perhaps by giving them our time our efforts, our energies and by showing concern for them. (Fr. Alberto Figueras, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


“Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

What Jesus has just read from the book of the prophet Isaiah (61:1-2) is all about Himself. He is the Anointed One, the Christ and the Messiah! And so indeed, the Scripture passage in question finds fulfillment in Jesus Himself that very day in Nazareth, His hometown.

As a matter of fact, when that incident, so stupendous and yet so simply told, happened, Jesus’ fame as teacher, healer, exorcist, wonder-worker and a person whose integrity is beyond reproach, had already spread far and wide outside Nazareth.

But as the Messiah in action, He would always point to a reality way beyond the present. He did bring the good news to the poor, he did feed them when they were hungry, like no one else could but He also exhorted them: “Work for food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of man is offering you…” He did give sight to the blind but He was more concerned about liberating them from a far greater blindness and from shackles that cripple the spirit: fear, anger, hatred, envy, greed, lust, pride, prejudice, bigotry, selfishness, etc. Indeed he was concerned about His brethren enjoying to the full the freedom of God’s children, celebrating the Lord’s year of favor.

Personally, do we allow these blessings of the Messiah to penetrate our lives? And do we allow our Savior to work through us in the here and now so that “darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the Light of the Word and the Spirit of Grace?” (Fr. Dong Alpuerto, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


Human immune-deficiency virus (HIV), the retrovirus that causes AIDS has already claimed the lives of 25 million people since it was known in late 1981. One of the recent missionary tasks of Divine Word Missionaries is helping persons with HIV/AIDS. We have, for example, the SVD brothers like Bro. Fabien, SVD who is based in Ngondi, Congo;  Bro. Damien Lunders, SVD, Bro. James Wilkins, SVD and Bro. Ronald Fratzke, SVD who work in Nong Bua Lamphu in Thailand. The missionary brothers help in the prevention of the virus; visit the sick in their homes; give moral support; facilitate education and awareness programs for the youth in the villages; establish a shelter for the homeless and an orphanage for children with HIV-AIDS; and pray with them.

An early counterpart of HIV/AIDS could possibly be ‘leprosy,’ the notorious illness in the ancient Near East. Although it is not exactly the same as the modern-day leprosy also called Hansen’s disease, leprosy was a serious threat to the lives of the Israelites (Lev. 13:14). Even the commander of the Syrian army, Naaman, was infected with this disease that he had to seek the help of Elisha (2 Kings 5). Even without the physical presence of Elisha, Naaman was healed by following the prophet’s instructions. He even brought with him a souvenir, a load of soil from Israel, so that he can worship the God of Israel in his own city in Damascus.

It is not common in the Bible that a prophet is at the same time a healer except Elisha and Elijah (1Kings 1 and 17-24). In the gospel reading today, Luke used this theme of prophet-healer. A chapter earlier, Jesus begins his public ministry as a prophet (Luke 4:16-30) and after choosing His disciples like the prophet Elijah (Luke 5:1-11; 2Kings 2:9), Luke continues his narration with two stories of healings: of a leper (5:12-16) and of a paralytic (5:7-26).

Unlike Elisha, Jesus touches the unnamed leper to heal him (also in Mark 1:40-45). Jesus commands him to present himself to the priests and to offer sacrifice following Moses’ instructions in the Book of Leviticus (Luke 13-14). The sick man then had to make a long trip to Jerusalem to perform this ritual. On his way, he is healed. Healing does not happen immediately but while fulfilling Jesus’ instruction.

As points for meditation, let us ask ourselves: What are the things in me that need healing? How can I follow Jesus’ instructions in my illness? How can I help others in their illness? (Fr. Randolf C. Flores, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


“10 Commandments of the Gojongweis” is the title of an article that appeared in The Philippine Star (13 March 2012) which presents part of the Gokongweis business philosophy and a quick analysis of this reveals that they deal basically with the issue of relatives and their conduct in the family-owned company. The commandments are simple and practical: ‘No in-laws in the company; no moonlighting, that is, one must have a full-time commitment with the company; no conflict of interest; no work, no pay policy; personal assets should be kept separate from company assets; pay must be based on the contribution to the business; being a family member is not a guarantee of employment; avoid working directly unde4r one’s parents, specifically at the start of one’s career; ‘give the next generation wings’ and part of this rule is ‘have a fixed retirement age’ for the business; and finally, “there can only be one boss.” This is how lance Gokongwei, the actual president of the company, summarizes their business philosophy which he inherited from his father’s entrepreneurial experiences and enriched by his own experiences of managing their business. It is basically a meritocracy: promotions and compensations are based on one’s capacity and contributions to the company and not merely on account of blood relations. Needless to say, he himself assumed these commandments and they continue to guide him and most probably, he will insist on these as a blueprint for the next generations of their company. In other words, lance Gokongwei is telling his fellow entrepreneurs: imbibe the spirit of these commandments and it will help you attain success.

Jesus, at the start of His ministry, consciously assures for himself the blueprint of the Messiah’s mission announced from of old by the prophet Isaiah (61:1-2): “The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favor.” And Jesus boldly declared: “This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen,” i.e., fulfilled in his person and ministry. Indeed, this template of the Messiah’s mission becomes a reality and incarnated in Jesus’ life and ministry as he went around, with a single-minded devotion and passion, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom to the poor, liberating those oppressed by the enemy and curing people’s sicknesses. Although Jesus’ messianic mission did not end as a ‘success story’ a la Gokongwei but as a failure (humanly speaking, of course) but because of his faithfulness to the mission he assumed and to the will of his “only one boss” – the Father – the He would be vindicated as the greatest victor and the grandest ‘success story’ in the whole history of mankind through his resurrection from the dead and by virtue of which he made us, his brothers and sisters, participants in his victory and glory.

Everyone is invited to discover one’s vocation and mission, for surely God has plan for each one. It is in consciously assuming an generously responding to it, like Christ where one finds meaning, direction and fulfillment in his/her life (Fr. Ronnie Crisostomo SVD, Madrid Spain Bible Diary 2013)


Fr. Tony Pernia, SVD, the former superior general of the Society of the Divine Word always makes sense each time he would climb into a podium to deliver homilies, speeches or give lectures. His messages are always well thought out where words are carefully chosen and contents well arranged. Neither is he so fiery nor empathic in his delivery but always captures full attention from his audience. Fr. Tony speaks with conviction and authority at a high scholastic level.

Many people are gifted with speaking skills, capturing the attention of peoples regardless of topic and length. They are gifted with good voice, eloquence, fluency, articulation and even good looks. Transmitting messages to listeners for them is effortless. Many of them come from the ranks of politicians, ideologues, academicians, preachers, lecturers and teachers. But there is one element in speech that can divide them from one another, that which leaves in the listener a good feeling, a deep sense of meaning and the longing for more. That element is wisdom. It is that which triggers instant adherence to, reflection on, internalization and acceptance of the call for action because wisdom elicits honesty, sincerity and self-giving.

This is exactly what Jesus did in the synagogues. He spoke with wisdom, courage, conviction and authority. Without missing words of compassion and love He was not afraid to tell the truth, nor was he intimidated by the presence of authorities and antagonistic people who were knowledgeable of the law. Wisdom gained Jesus approval and acceptance. No wonder large crowds would always tail Him wherever He went. In a world full of lies and half-truths, Jesus’ example reverberates into every Christian’s heart who has accepted the challenge to be a witness to the Word. The proclamation of freedom, preaching of God’s word, restoration of sight to the blind, and the reconstruction of faith are only few of the tasks we have to do. And we can only effectively do these if we ourselves have mirrored our lives to that of Christ – the life lled with wisdom. (Fr. Eugene Docoy, SVD | USC, Cebu City Bible Diary 2016)



HOW TO LOVE. How is love shown? First, by intention. Second by verbal expression. Third is by action. In other words we can love people in our minds and nobody knows about that love except God and the one who loves. We can also show good deeds by our words. So from the mind, the expression goes to our lips. That is very encouraging, to hear somebody say to us that we are loved, that they are grateful, that we are appreciated. Such words bring consolation. But the third expression of loving is by action. The love comes from the mind, not always from the lips, but certainly, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

The leper wanted to receive healing from the Lord. But he would have been satisfied with the intention of Jesus because he said: “If you will it, I can be cured. You don’t even have to say it. You don’t even have to touch me. Just by willing it in your mind, I know I will be cured.”

Jesus would not be satisfied with simply willing the healing of the leper in His mind. He touched the leper and said: “I do will it be cured.” Saying it with His lips, saying it to this person what was in His mind and heart, Jesus healed the leper.

We have so many things in our minds. We have said so many things we don’t actually mean. Today, let us ask the Lord for the gift of consistency. May what we think, say and do always be consistent and in agreement in any of these. May there be contradiction in any leg. May what we think, may what we say and what we do, form a total unity without any contradiction. (Bp. Socrates Villegas, DD Love Like Jesus pp. 132)


Thursday after Epiphany (Year C): Lucas 4:14-22. Unsa may tuyo sa Dios sa pagpahimugso kanimo ning kalibotan? Sa iyang paghingkod si Cristo nakasabot nga aduna siyay dakong misyon sa kinabuhi. Gipili siya aron maghatag og katumanan sa panagna ni Isaias – ang “pagsanyaw sa Maayong Balita ngadto sa mga kabus …” Sama kang Cristo, matag usa kanato gipakatawo nga may diosnong katuyoan. Dili mahitabo nga ania kita sa kalibotan nga walay hinungdan. Usa ka amahan miingon sa iyang anak, “Dong, mag-ampo ta sa Ginoo para sa atong silingan aron makakita siya’g kwarta nga ipalit og tambal.” Apan mitubag ang bata, “Tay, dili na nato samokon ang Ginoo. Kita na lay hatag sa atong silingan og kwarta para sa iyang tambal.” Bisan sa iyang pangedaron, ang maong bata nakasabot sa iyang misyon (Fr Abet Uy).


1 JUAN 5:5-13. Unsa may kalabotan sa tubig ug dugo sa atong kaluwasan? Kining duha ka elemento nahatagan og talagsaong kahulogan diha kang Kristo. Ang tubig magpahinumdum sa Iyang pagbunyag ug ang dugo sa Iyang pagkamatay. Ang tubig ug dugo, uban sa Espiritu, maoy nagpamatuod sa gugma sa Dios. Didto sa Kalbaryo, samtang gabitay si Kristo sa krus, usa ka sundalo ang niduslak sa Iyang kilid ginamit ang bangkaw. Ug sa dili matukib nga misteryo, nibuhagay gikan sa Iyang kilid ang dugo ug tubig, nga malagmit nagagikan sa Iyang malumong kasingkasing. Atong nasayran gikan sa mga mensahe sa Ginoo kang Sta. Faustina nga ang tubig ug dugo maoy timaan sa Iyang dakong kalooy ug pagbati sa katawhan. Kini ang gihulagway sa larawan sa Divine Mercy, nga may mga sidlak nga puti ug pula nga nagagikan sa kasingkasing sa Dios.

(English) 1 John 5: 5-13. What to do with water and blood for our salvation? These two elements are given special meaning in Christ. The water reminds us of His baptism and the blood of His death. The water and blood, with the Spirit, are proof of God’s love. At Calvary, while gabitay Christ on the cross, a soldier niduslak His side with a spear. And the ineffable mystery, nibuhagay from His side the blood and water, which may come in His tender heart. We know from the message of the Lord to Sta. Faustina the water and the blood is a sign of His great mercy and compassion to the people. The description of the image of the Divine Mercy, with radiant white and red from the heart of God.



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

THURSDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (YEAR C) – 1JUAN 4:19-5:4. MAHIMO BA NGA ATONG HIGUGMAON ANG DIOS UG DILI TAGDON ANG ISIGKATAWO? Ang Unang Sulat ni San Juan adunay tubag niini: “Kon may moingon, ‘Nahigugma ako sa Dios’,apan nagdumot sa iyang isigkatawo, bakakon siya; kay unsaon man niya paghigugma ang Dios nga dili makita kon siya walay gugma sa isigkatawo nga iyang makita? Kini ang gisugo ni Kristo: Ang nahigugma sa Dios kinahanglan mahigugma sa iyang isigkatawo.” Kon mao kini, unsa may atong hagit isip mga magtotoo? Ang tema sa pagduaw ni Pope Francis dinhi sa Pilipinas maghatag kanato og ideya: “Mercy and Compassion”. Kining duha ka mga hiyas kinahanglan nga atong ugmaron diha sa atong kaugalingon. Kon matag adlaw malooy ug motabang kita og usa ka tawo, adunay labing menus 365 ka mga tawo ang atong matabangan kada tuig. Posted by Abet Uy



Reflection for January 8 Thursday after Epiphany, Luke 4:14-22 Reflection: Do you always see to it that the words that you say are always motivating and remarkable? For example in your house, do you always see to it that you avoid negative words or words that create a stigma on those who hear and receive it?

Our words are very powerful it can build or destroy a person or a child. If our words are always words that condemn or words that brings down the dignity of a person or a child. We can be sure that this person or child will have an inferiority complex. He will lose confidence in himself which is very important for a person growth and development.

When Jesus preached in their synagogue He spoke words that build, words that gently informs and words that heals and motivates. Why? Because this is the innate character of Jesus, He would always see to it that when He speaks His worlds would be forever treasured in the hearts of those who receive it. And up until today when His words are read in the bible those who read it are moved and changed toward a better life.

In our gospel, after Jesus preached in the synagogue those who’ve heard Him had nothing but respect and admiration toward Him (Luke 4:22). This is for the fact that Jesus words are always healing and motivating. Never words that curses, never words than injures the feelings and never words that downgrades the human dignity.

How about us? What are the usual words that come out from us? – Marino J. Dasmarinas



A BIG WORD: Little EJ is big on – (ready for the big word?) DISCRIMINATION. It means, treating people unfairly. It’s like ignoring someone who isn’t like you. Is it clear yet?

Two more examples: 1) It’s making fun of a kid who has a strange name. 2) It’s ignoring those who are different from you – classmates who look or speak differently.

I think it is clearer if we look at Jesus. He hated discrimination! His love was for everyone – rich or poor, young or old, schooled or ignorant.

Why do I say little EJ is big on discrimination? Well, he doesn’t know the word, much less spell it. But he knows exactly what it means.

He wrote a story, “Purple Monkey.” All monkeys were black, but somehow. One monkey was born purple. Because he was different, all the black monkeys made fun of him. They never shared their bananas except the peels. They excluded him from all their games. They ignored him. In the end, however, they realized that the purple monkey was exactly like them.  His outward color had nothing to do with what he was inside.

Have you ever ignored anyone who is different from you? Next time, don’t discriminate. Jesus never did. (Grace D. Chong, Zoom 180 Devos for Kids, Makati: Church Strengthening Ministry, Inc., 2005: # 17)


January 07, 2016

REFLECTION: There is a charming Irish ditty which goes like this:

To live above

With the saints we love,

Ah! that is purest glory!

But to live below

With the saints we know,

Ah! that is another story.

At first blush, this little poem seems to be simply describing reality: it is easy to love saints but difficult to love those we rub shoulders with and whose weaknesses are so glaring. In reference to such a state of affairs, John’s implied statement that it is easier to love humans (we see) than God (we don’t see) is startling and almost non-sensical.

Yet, when we think in greater depth on all this, we realize that the problem with our difficulty in loving our companions is that we do not really see them in their full dimension as God’s loved children. We see their outward mannerisms, ugliness, bad temper, narrow-mindedness, etc., but that is just their exterior shell. If we accept to go beyond that and love them as God’s children, then we really see them. And that happens when we ask God to pour his love into our hearts. When that happens, we see everyone with God’s loving eyes.


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to; Thursday after Epiphany

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