Friday of the 5th Week of Lent

Jer. 20:1-13; John 10:31-42

Feast of the Dedication

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

The person who pretends is tense. The person who is honest is at peace.

Jesus shows us how He is not threatened by anything or by anyone in this world because He is telling the truth.

There is a line in the Desiderata that says: “Speak your truth quietly and clearly.” If you have the truth and if you speak the truth, you don’t have to shout in rage or in anger.

More than words, Jesus reminds us again that our actions and the very lives we live speak so loudly. Words can teach but works can teach more. Indeed we can see in Jesus the truth that “actions speak louder than words.”

Are you a person who needs to speak less and do more? (Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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John McKenzie in his commentary noted that in Biblical times Palestine was probably one of the stoniest of all areas in the world. One therefore may suspect that execution by stoning may have been practiced because of its convenience.

Blasphemy is just one among several other crimes punishable by stoning. Jesus was charged with blasphemy for claiming to be the Son of God. The Law of Moses laid down the death penalty for such crime: “He who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him,” (Lev 24:16). The mob was in rage over Jesus’ blasphemous claim and began picking up stones to hurl at Him.

A stone is a piece of rock made of solid mineral material. Isn’t it interesting to note that when a person is in rage he can be as tough and unforgiving as a stone? At the height of one’s emotion a person can become very irrational, one-sided and can fall into feats of aggression. Think for instance of the senseless and tragic deaths of innocent passengers that result from traffic altercations. People blow their tops to the point of doing dumb things that soon after they will regret and pay dearly. They won’t care a damn about your side of the story. It is their unreasonable, emotionally charged perspective that matters. It is futile to seek dialogue with someone who is hardened by a rush of hatred and anger.

Jesus found Himself in this similar unnerving predicament, not only once, but in a few instances. To the mob no amount of explanation would really matter. They were in rage for what they thought was an effort to their Law and tradition. All they had in mind was the blood of the blasphemer. Fortunately Jesus handled the situation rather skilfully. When He realized that no amount of arguments can reverse the situation. He simply escaped from their midst and walked away to let their rage cool down. (Fr. Nielo Cantilado, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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Reading the story in today’s gospel reminds me of our annual vocatio or evaluation at the end of the year in the seminary. The evaluation is usually made on the vocation, performance and suitability of a candidate for the religious life. And closely associated with the evaluation is the “defense,” the right of every person to explain his side or to clear himself from some problems that make him unsuitable to stay longer inside the seminary.

In today’s reading, Jesus is seemingly evaluated poorly by a certain group of people who brought out all sorts of false accusations against Him, particularly, on the source of His authority and power to teach and to work miracles. Instead of recognizing and accepting Jesus as indeed the “Son of God,” they accused Him falsely as one “who claims and makes Himself only as God.” what is the “defense” of Jesus?

Jesus does not “make Himself” God; He is God. He is already a God from the beginning of time who became a human person like us. Jesus told them, “The Father is in me and I in Him.” However, they still refused to understand and to believe Jesus because of the hardness of their hearts.

Like the crowd, we perhaps spend more time questioning, and even criticizing Jesus than what our faith dictates us to do, that is, to believe and to follow Him even though it maybe hard to do at times. Our faith demands that we should speak, pray, share and work more in “defense” of Jesus before the world.

We must now take the responsibility to speak for Him and to pass Him on to others for this is what we are called for as Christians and as disciples. Let us, therefore, work and speak more wholeheartedly in “defense” of God in the world today. Do you have enough courage and patience to speak about Him to your family and to the people around you? (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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When I was a second year theologian in Tagaytay, we had a summer camp in San Jose Mindoro Occidental. We gave seminar in a barrio called Mapaya. While I was giving the talk, I was interrupted by a man who claimed to belong to the Iglesia Ni Kristo. He insisted that Jesus was only a man, not a God. He cited some passages that Jesus is not equal to God. I quoted the gospel reading today telling him that he was like the Jews who accused Jesus of making Himself a God. Jesus did not deny that He is a God. His works reveal His oneness with the Father. Of course the man did not believe. He argued that our belief is beyond and contrary to the Bible.

A lot of our beliefs are beyond logic and understanding. One difficulty in our religious belief is that we tend to put God in a “box” or categorize Him in concepts or images. Of our image of God does not fit our expectations of what God is supposed to be, then we deny such a god. For example, God should be transcendent therefore he should not be a man. God is always beyond our concepts or images of Him. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways,” (Is 55:8). The mystery of Jesus being God and man is beyond our understanding but it does not mean it is not true. We know it through the Sacred Scriptures and through faith.

Who is Jesus Christ in our life? How do we experience Him? We should experience Him as a friend who is always with us and who loves us so much that He laid down His life for us. ((Fr. Titus Mananzan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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The main theme of the Gospel of John (and Christianity for that matter) is the Incarnate Word, i.e. that Jesus Christ is both God and Man. This mystery of Jesus’ divinity and humanity has occupied the central place in the Church’s theological debates through the centuries.

The denial of Jesus’ divinity is the heresy called Arianism. Arius was a pious monk and a good philosopher. His philosophical concept of God caused him to deny divinity to Jesus. God, for Arius, was totally transcendent God; a suffering God was a philosophical impossibility. God cannot suffer. Since Jesus suffered and died, he was not and could not be God.

Orthodox Christianity teaches that our Savior Jesus Christ is both God and Man. If He were not a human, He would have been a total stranger to us. If He were not God, He could not have brought us to heaven, to His Father.

Up to our days Christ’s divinity remains unacceptable to so many people. The Iglesia ni Kristo is a contemporary Arian group. One of the NT verses which clearly teaches Christ’s divinity is the Apostle Thomas’ confession, “My Lord and my God,” (John 20:28). The INC interpretation is a travesty of all hermeneutical norms. Their interpretation: Thomas was frightened and exclaimed: “Dioys ko po!” Instead of confessing of Christ’s divinity, it is an expression of surprise and fright.

That God became truly one of us seems too good to be true for so many people. for us Christians the words of the 4th gospel are truly consoling: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” He was truly divine, the Father’s only Son, who could bring us back to the Father. (Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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Gandhi once said, “I believe in Christ but I do not believe in you Christians.” This is a hurting criticism against us Christians and it readily points to the emptiness of our actions. In today’s gospel, Jesus underlines the importance of good works for His mission as the revealer of the Father. “If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe in me, believe the works, so that you may realize (and understand) that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Te ultimate test of genuine faith is plain good works and not speeches.

St. Francis emphasized the importance of good works by saying, “Preach and preach and use only words when necessary.” Effective preaching comes with good example and witnessing. Indeed, St. Francis is not known for his eloquent and ravishing sermons and yet he is one of the greatest saints and Christians of all times. He lived a life of radical simplicity and respected all creatures no matter how inferior and insignificant a brother or a sister could be.

It is disturbing for me that people ask from time to time why does the Philippines remain a poor country despite the long and strong presence of the catholic Church? Why is corruption and dishonesty in government service rampant when most of our government officials and employees got their education from Catholic schools? There is not one reason to this sad phenomenon but one thing is clear, there is failure among our leaders and officials to give witness to their Christian faith. Moral bankruptcy and empty words go hand in hand. After 100 years of proclaiming God’s word in the Philippines, the SVDs might do well to ask themselves, how much are we to blame for the woes of our nation?

The time is ripe for us to take the theme of the centennial celebration (witness to the Word) not merely as a slogan but as expression of commitment to the mission of renewing Philippine society. (Fr. Raul Caga, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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March 30, 2012

St. John Climacus
Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
VIOLET

Jer 20:10-13
Ps 18
Jn 10:31-42

Feast of the Dedication

31The Jews again picked up rocks to stone [Jesus]. 32Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” 33The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.” 34Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ’? 35If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and scripture cannot be set aside, 36can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; 38but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize [and understand] that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39[Then] they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power.

40He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. 41Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” 42And many there began to believe in him.

Reflection:

Believe the works. “Actions speak louder than words,” a saying goes. Jesus tells the Jews that even if they do not believe in him, they should believe his works that proclaim how the Father is in him and he is in the Father. Jesus does the works of the Father. He has the Father’s approval in everything he says and does.

Our words, too, should be seen with our works. We always profess that we love God. We praise God. We call God our Father. We give homage to God. Let us back our words with our works. What we profess with our lips should be translated with the work of our hands and minds. In this God will always back us up. God will help us and stand by us. God will never fail us.

The season of Lent recalls how God, true to his promise, stands by us and lays down his life for us to save us.

What Jesus does tells much of his love for us.

Jesus on the cross speaks of God’s love for us

—no proof is needed; words are superfluous.

index.php/365-Days-with-the-lord/march-30-2012.html

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JESUS FACTOR! John did not do any mighty work yet all that he is saying about Jesus is true. – John 10:41

God’s anointing is surging. The Holy Mass is life-giving. The worship is energizing. The music is rejuvenating. The servants are enthusiastic. The congregation is vibrant. The talks are life-changing. The numbers are growing.

This is what happens at The Feast, our weekly prayer meetings all over the Philippines and the world.

It’s called momentum.

It’s as if it’s just a dream. Because four years ago, we were lethargic. The events were disorganized. The music was bland. The servants were disoriented.

But what happened? The God of momentum overhauled our spiritual engine! He fueled our momentum. Momentum has now become our new middle name.

This isn’t a miracle.

It’s called the Jesus factor.

Because of Him, miracles become ordinary.

So fire up your engine!

Brooooooooooom! Obet Cabrillas (kpreacherobet@gmail.com)

Reflection: Surrender to the Lord of miracles and miracles will be commonplace in your life.

O Mighty Spirit of God, overhaul our hearts and spirits. We start our engine with faith. We maintain it with hope. We oil it with love. And we gas up on Your grace! Ready, get set, GOOOOO!

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-04-11

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1ST READING: Jeremiah was often in conflict with the authorities of his day as he refused to back down from speaking the truth that they were failing to follow God’s Law. He is truly an inspiration, as it would have been easier to comply with what they asked of him. However, Jeremiah put God’s will before his own comfort. Let us pray for the courage to do the same if we find ourselves in a similar situation. Jeremiah 20:10-13

GOSPEL: It seems quite odd that the Jews could accuse Jesus of blasphemy when it is obvious that He is a very holy man, in that He worked so many miracles. Selfishness and self-preservation have the power to blind us from the truth and the cares and concerns of others. This is why it is always important to realize that our faith is not just an individual reality but has a communal dimension as well.John 10:31-42

think:  It is always important to realize that our faith is not just an individual reality but has a communal dimension as well.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-04-11

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YOU ARE GOD’S: Aside from the violations that Jesus did against the Sabbath regulations, His claim that He and the Father are one was another big issue for the Jews. The Jews questioned the words of Jesus about this because of their strict belief that God is only one and there can be no other. Also, the Jews believed that God is truly majestic, completely above everything, totally other, and fully transcendent. The Temple housed the Ark of the Covenant, the sacramental of God’s Presence in the Old Testament, beyond a veiled section known as the Holy of Holies to stress the chasm between God and Israel, His people. The Jews regarded God with holy fear and deep worship. Even the name of God was revered as too sacred to be pronounced by anyone.

In our time, secularism and science have entered strongly into people’s ways and thoughts. The danger now is that God is never mentioned and pronounced. But this is so, not because of any deep respect for God, but because of indifference to Him. The issue of God is thought by many today as better left to individual lives and convictions. Hence, things have moved from one end of the pendulum to another.

The truth of the matter is, we are all made in the image and likeness of God, and through Jesus Christ we are even given more dignity as adopted children of God, co-heirs with Jesus to eternity. To draw a line that deeply separates God from our lives and our affairs (religious and otherwise) —either because of deep misguided religiosity, or because of loud secularism — is not in accordance with Christian Revelation. In a way, Jesus’ incarnation into our world and our humanity has divinized our human lives. Jesus’ becoming man has made God assume once again everything in this world as part of His Kingdom. In fact, when Jesus began His preaching, His opening lines rang clearly: “The Kingdom of God is at hand!” Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How have you lived out your baptismal dignity as a child of God and a child of heaven? What should you reform in your thoughts, words and actions to truly reflect your heavenly dignity and calling as a Christian?

Dear God, help me to live out my dignity as Your child every day of my life.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-04-11

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THE PROMISE:“I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant…” – Genesis 17:7

Her husband promised that he would take care of her and their family. He fulfilled that by being a very good provider. But suddenly, he suffered a massive heart attack and died. During the wake, a man approached the wife to inform her that her husband had called him to sell a land property so that his family would be provided for. When she asked the date and time of the call, it was when her husband was already unconscious, if not dead. Her husband fulfilled his promise to take care of his family even when it was physically impossible to do so.

The covenant we make when we get married is as binding as the covenant God made with Abraham. It transcends time, generations and physical barriers. God keeps His promise to take care of us even if we are unfaithful at times. There may be some who don’t even live godly lives but remain abundantly blessed. Maybe he or she had a godly parent or grandparent who prayed for his children or grandchildren, and God is honoring that person’s prayer. The blessing will continue to trickle down the generations because God is faithful to His convenant even when we are not. Ronna Ledesma (ronna_ledesma@yahoo.com.ph)

Reflection: Let’s make sure that our descendants will continue to be blessed by being the covenant keeper of our generation.

Father, thank You for honoring my mother’s faithfulness. I am reaping the blessing because of what she has done.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-04-10

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CARRY MY CROSS – And many there began to believe in him. – John 10:42

I was blessed to join the Holy Land pilgrimage led by Bo Sanchez last year. There were the awesome sights and wondrous churches built on holy sites. We celebrated the Eucharist every day and worshipped with songs and praises.

But I was most blessed by the people I was with during the trip. More than being in the places where Jesus walked, I experienced Him through new friends, mentoring opportunities from wise people, and through loving affirmation from fellow pilgrims.

When we did the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem, I had to carry my heavy keyboard through all the stations so I could play during the Mass. My fellow pilgrims offered to help me carry my “cross” along the Via Dolorosa.

Jesus spoke to me at that moment. He made me realize that I don’t have to go to far places to meet Him. Because it is in each other that we can experience Him as we bear each other’s crosses and help one another strive for holiness.

This experience made me grow closer to Jesus, seeking Him not just in holy places, but seeing Him in the heart of every person I meet. Didoy Lubaton (christianlubaton@yahoo.com)

Reflection: The Church is not a building; it is people building each other up.

Thank You, Jesus, for sending people to help me with my crosses in life.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-03-27

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My Reflection for Friday April 11, Fifth Week of Lent, John 10:31-42

Reflection: Raffy was a popular figure in their parish, he was being consulted every time there was problems and decisions to be made. Then a new figure in the parish came along a humble man whose wisdom was very profound. Suddenly the people in the parish gravitated to this humble and wisdom filled man. Therefore Raffy planned to bring down this humble man so that he could once again be the main man in their parish.

The hatred of the Jews against Jesus was not only caused by His pronouncement that He and God are one and the same. Their hatred against Jesus was also caused by their envy with Jesus popularity with the people most especially with the ordinary people. The Jews were slowly losing grip of their authority because of Jesus. Therefore they must plot to kill Him at any cost.

There would also be people who will come along who are much better than us. Who are more humble than us (If at all we are humble). Let us not envy them, let us not plot any untoward against them let us instead be happy for them. To rejoice with somebody who is taking the limelight from us is hard to do. But this is not impossible to do if we really are true followers of Jesus.

The mistake of the Pharisees and scribes during the time of Jesus was they allowed envy and pride to control them. By doing so they in the process opened themselves up to the control of the devil so they plotted and did evil against Jesus.

Let us therefore not commit the same mistake. (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/04/my-reflection-for-friday-april-11-fifth.html

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Barclay (John 10:31-39): To the Jews Jesus’ statement that he and the Father were one was blasphemy. It was the invasion by a man of the place which belonged to God alone. The Jewish law laid down the penalty of stoning for blasphemy. “He who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him” (Lev.24:16). So they made their preparations to stone Jesus. The Greek really means that they went and fetched stones to fling at him. Jesus met their hostility with three arguments.

(i) He told them that he had spent all his days doing lovely things, healing the sick feeding the hungry, and comforting the sorrowing, deeds so full of help and power and beauty that they obviously came from God. For which of these deeds did they wish to stone him? Their answer was that it was not for anything he had done that they wished to stone him, but for the claim he was making.

(ii) This claim was that he was the Son of God. To meet their attack Jesus used two arguments. The first is a purely Jewish argument which is difficult for us to understand. He quoted Ps.82:6. That psalm is a warning to unjust judges to cease from unjust ways and defend the poor and the innocent. The appeal concludes: “I say, `You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you.'” The judge is commissioned by God to be god to men. This idea comes out very clearly in certain of the regulations in Exodus. Exo.21:1-6 tells how the Hebrew servant may go free in the seventh year. As the King James Version has it, Exo.21:6 says “Then his master shall bring him unto the judges.” But in the Hebrew, the word which is translated judges is actually ‘elohiym (HSN0430), which means gods. The same form of expression is used in Exo.22:9; Exo.22:28. Even scripture said of men who were specially commissioned to some task by God that they were gods. So Jesus said: “If scripture can speak like that about men, why should I not speak so about myself?”

Jesus claimed two things for himself. (a) He was consecrated by God to a special task. The word for to consecrate is hagiazein (GSN0037), the verb from which comes the adjective hagios (GSN0040), holy. This word always has the idea of rendering a person or a place or a thing different from other persons and places and things, because it is set aside for a special purpose or task. So, for instance, the Sabbath is holy (Exo.20:11). The altar is holy (Lev.16:19). The priests are holy (2Chr.26:18). The prophet is holy (Jer.1:5). When Jesus said that God had consecrated him, made him holy, he meant that he had set him apart from other men, because he had given him a special task to do. The very fact that Jesus used this word shows how conscious he was of his special task. (b) He said that God had despatched him into the world. The word used is the one which would be used for sending a messenger or an ambassador or an army. Jesus did not so much think of himself as coming into the world, as being sent into the world His coming was an act of God; and he came to do the task which God had given him to do.

So Jesus said: “In the old days it was possible for scripture to speak of judges as gods, because they were commissioned by God to bring his truth and justice into the world. Now I have been set apart for a special task; I have been despatched into the world by God; how can you then object if I call myself the Son of God? I am only doing what scripture does.” This is one of those biblical arguments the force of which it is difficult for us to feel; but which to a Jewish Rabbi would have been entirely convincing.

(iii) Jesus went on to invite the acid test. “I do not ask you, he said in effect,” to accept my words. But I do ask you to accept my deeds.”A word is something about which a man can argue; but a deed is something beyond argument. Jesus is the perfect teacher in that he does not base his claims on what he says, but on what he is and does. His invitation to the Jews was to base their verdict on him, not on what he said, but on what he did; and that is a test which all his followers ought to be able and willing to meet. The tragedy is that so few can meet it, still less invite it.

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Reflection: God will always back us up. This old saying, “Works speak louder than words,” is very applicable in our gospel for today. Jesus told them: “Even if you do not believe in me, believe the works so that you may realize that the Father is in me and I am in the father,” (v. 33).

Jesus works for God. he does the works of the Father. Jesus has the approval of the Father in everything he says and does. This shows unity or oneness between Jesus and the Father. God stands for Him. God backs him up. God gives his consent in the works of Jesus. Thus, why doubt Him? Why falsely accuse him? Why question him? The Pharisees simply lacked faith. They were blinded by their religious arrogance. They shut their eyes to the Truth.

Now, the gospel teaches us two important things. First, is that our words should be seen with our works. We always profess that we love God. We always say we are for Him. We praise Him. We call Him our Father. We give homage to Him. Let us now back our words with our works. What we profess from our lips should be translated with the work of our hands. Second, is that God will always back us up. God will always defend us. He will stand by us. God will never fail us. He comes to our rescue.

The season of Lent recalls how God, true to His promise, stands by us and lays down his life for us to save us. His death speaks much of his love for us. There is no need for proof. There is no need for words.

What Jesus did tells much of His love for us.

Story: There was a terrible drought. The people of the farming community needed rain for their crops. The parish priest in his Sunday homily told his parishioners that they must have hope in God. They should pray harder to God, do fasting and make sacrifices. He insisted that they should trust God in all the more and put more faith in Him. They must firmly believe that God will answer their prayers for rain. The parish priest even invited his parishioners on Thursday for a para-liturgical celebration to implore God for rain. The people listened to the parish priest. They observed what he said. They fasted. They prayed. They did sacrifices. And on the following Thursday, they all came. When the parish priest saw the people, he said to them, “There will be no para-liturgical celebration. You are still lacking in faith.” The people were surprised and they asked why. “We fasted. We prayed and did sacrifices. What was still lacking?” they wanted to know. The parish priest answered, “If you truly believe, why did you not bring umbrellas?”

Challenges: I will prove my love for God by doing good things to others. I will show my faith to God by applying His Commandments in my life.

It is God I will trust, not material wealth. It is God’s message that I will preach, not my achievements. It is God on whom I will depend, not my position and prestige. (Msgr. Ruperto C. Santos STL, Jesus Saves and Serves Us, Makati: St. Pauls, 2003: 197-199)

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WORD Today (Jer 20:10-13; John 10:31-42): Because of His love for His people, God sent prophets like Jeremiah to show them their sins. But they conferred pleasure. They hated the prophets, accused them of terror-mongering and plotted their death. So God sent His Son. But Christ got the same treatment! The Jews hurled rocks at Christ so He went away. His few believers followed Him. And it continues today.

The same hatred and accusations are hurled at Christ’s prophet, the CHURCH who warns the evils of anti-life laws. The RH law has been approved and government-sponsored abortion has starting by promoting the IUD that kills life in the womb. More anti-life bills are sure to follow. We who follow the Gospel of Life should continue our march even if they throw us rocks! (Fr. Iko Bajos – April 11, 2014)

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FRIDAY OF THE 5TH WEEK OF LENT (YEAR B) – JUAN 10:31-42. UNSA MAY MAGHATAG OG KREDIBILIDAD SA USA KA TAWO, ANG IYANG MGA PULONG BA O ANG IYANG BINUHATAN? Sa ebanghelyo giingnan ni Hesus ang mga Judio nga kon wala siya magbuhat sa gisugo sa Amahan, dili sila angay motoo kaniya. Bisan si Hesus nasayod nga ang Iyang pulong dili igo kon kini dili niya ubanan sa buhat. Nindot kini nga pahimangno alang sa mga magsasangyaw, mga magtutudlo ug mga ginikanan. Ang atong mga pulong kinahanglan nga makita sa atong kinabuhi, kay kon dili, lisod para sa atong mga parokyanos, mga estudyante, o mga anak ang pagsunod kanato. Matuod ang giingon ni Pope Paul VI sa iyang apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/03/friday-of-5th-week-of-lent-year-b.html

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Friday of the 5th Week of Lent

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