Saturday of the 14th Week of the Year

Matt 10:24-33

Courage under Persecution


I was finishing my studies in biblical exegesis in Rome when I had the chance to go to Germany to visit the long time Abra missionary, the late Fr. Juna Piotrowitcz, SVD. He was the one who baptized me and we fondly called him “Apo Pio” because we could not pronounce his family name well. At that time, he was 90 years old but still working as chaplain in an old folk’s home. I thought I have known a lot on the Bible, but as this veteran missionary was sharing to me his experiences in the mountainous province of Abra, I felt I was a kid listening to his homilies. He spoke of hiding during the Japanese war with only the bible with him. He gathered his parishioners to read to them the bible since they could not celebrate the Mass. When the war ended, he helped them rebuild their lives. I thought, “I know my Bible but he had lived the Bible!”

This missionary had lived what Jesus’ commanded to his disciples: “What I say ion the dark, speak in the light,” (v. 27). This “speak in the light” does not only mean preaching the gospel in public but also preaching by good examples. This is similar to what Jesus said earlier in the gospel: “You are the light of the world…Just so your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father, “Matt 5:14, 16). The disciples were asked to live what they preached.

When we do good deeds to others, we make the Good News alive. Word alive is word put into action. We do not have to be like Apo Pio who went about and preached. When we perform good deeds for the sake of others we speak the word in the light and glorify our heavenly Father. (Randy Flores, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


Today’s gospel is a warning to the disciples who have just been sent to mission for the first time by Jesus.

The mission he is giving them is a difficult one and they should not think of an easy success. They will face persecutions and false accusations; they will be arrested and so on. That’s how they treated him the teacher and master of the house. The disciples should be glad to receive the same treatment. Indeed, “a student should be glad to become like his teacher and a slave like his master.”

So the teaching of Jesus to his disciples (and to us) is not be afraid, listen to the master, proclaim to the housetops his words and tries to be like him.

Do not be afraid: Fear is one of the most dangerous enemies of man. When one is afraid he could no longer act freely or take any initiative. So the disciples should be aware of this number one enemy in their ministry. And the Lord wants to assure them that he is always there with them.

Listen to the master: the disciples have to listen to the master because what they are going to teach or proclaim do not come from them, but from the master. They have to trust and follow him.

Proclaim to the housetops his words: They are the ones who should proclaim loudly and openly what Jesus spoke to them in secret. They are his voice to the ends of the world.

Try to be like him: in normal life a student should look up to his teacher. Here Jesus is giving the privilege to his disciples to become like him.

Let us be like the prophet Isaiah putting our trust in the Lord; let us be empowered by his words and let him send us to his mission. May our response be: “Here I am, send me.” (Fr. Willibrord Kamion, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


V. 24

A story is told of a young boy who knocked at the studio door of a painter who had died. A lady opened the door, and the boy declared his purpose: “Please madam,  will give me the master’s brush?”

The boy, who had a passionate longing to be an artist, wished for the great master’s touch. The woman placed the brush in the boy’s hand and invited him to try.

He made a supreme effort but soon found that he could paint no better with that brush than with his own. The woman then said: “Remember, you cannot paint like the great master unless you have his spirit.”

The greatness of the power and effectiveness of our imitation of and service for Christ is in exact proportion to the measure of our surrender to Christ’s spirit living within us. St. Paul proclaims: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” Gal 2:20).

Christian life after all is a process of surrendering and stepping into the imitation of Christ, to think, speak and act like the master…allowing his breath to breathe through us. Indeed: “it is enough for the disciple that he become like his master.” (Fr. Joey L. Sepe, SVD, Bible Diary 2006)


“A famous pastor,” relates Mark Link in his Daily Homilies, “got up to preach. The king, who was an evil man, was in the congregation. Suddenly, the pastor realized how close to home some of his remarks would strike the king. So before he started to preach, he paused and spoke out loud to himself: “Oh, pastor, be careful what you say. The King of England is here today.” Then pausing again he said: “Oh pastor, be careful what you don’t say. The King of Kings is also here today.”

In today’s gospel our Lord tells us that anyone who acknowledges Him before men, He will acknowledge before His heavenly Father. Being true to what Jesus teaches is acknowledging Him before men.

Jesus was certainly concerned with what is true regardless of what people say. That is why when His followers started leaving Him because of His hard teaching, he didn’t hold them back. He didn’t water down His teachings to suit their taste. He even asked His apostles” “Do you also want to go away.”

Likewise, Jesus spoke out fearlessly against evil even in the person of the mighty and the powerful. Defying king Herod, he said: “Tell that wily fox, I will continue preaching today, tomorrow and after tomorrow.”

Nothing intimidated Jesus. So much so that even his enemies admired his courage. Are we as fearless as our Lord when we preach His Good news? In the end, we must heed what St. Peter and the apostles said: “We must obey God rather than men.” (Fr. Fred Mislang, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


July 9, 2016 Saturday

We are precious in the Lord’s eyes. He said: “Do not be afraid. The Father is taking care of you.” We are also very important. He said: “Do not be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows.”

These words are pertinent to my experience as a 58-year old believer and a 27-year old ordained priest. In helpless situations where my faith was tested, I only repeated: “God will provide.”

The first time I experienced God’s providence was when I was preparing to enter the seminary.

All set to go, I discovered my father was hospitalized and eventually died. I spent my savings to help defray his hospital bills. I was helpless, but I still wanted to enter the seminary. An MIC sister who told me: “Don’t worry. God will provide.” came to my rescue. Hurdling the hassle of searching for a place, I was accepted in Christ the King Seminary. The rest is history.

Every time I was in dire need God always provided for me. Our house was destroyed – the SVD assisted me financially to build a new one. My brother was killed while I was on retreat in preparation for perpetual profession – I was dispensed from the retreat and allowed to go home for the burial.

The parishes I was assigned to were poor but when preparing for important celebrations, money was never a problem. One thing I was sure though: I remained poor. I realized that God gave me the things I needed, no more, no less.

The Father indeed takes good care of his people. He wants to save everybody. He even sent his on to rescue us from the slavery of sin. He will surely take care of us as he said: “Not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent.” (Fr. Rodrigo Salac, SVD | HNU, Tagbilaran City, Bohol Bible Diary 2016)


THE CROSS IS OUR HOPE (Matt 10:21-27): It seems that the fate of those whom the Lord really holds close to His heart is to suffer the cross. The life of St. Teresa of Avila showed that she was persecuted even by the Church authorities. She was misunderstood and maligned by her own confreres. She was distressed and she suffered dryness in her prayers for so many years.  Finally, in prayer, she asked the Lord, “Why do you allow all these trials? Why do you allow all these persecutions to come to me?” with my friends.” And Teresa responded, “That is why you have few friends. To be your friend means to suffer with you.”

Very clearly in the gospel, the Lord tells us that His disciples, the first followers of the Lord, had to suffer the same fate. Because they were followers of Jesus, they had to be persecuted. Why? For only one reason, they were friends of Jesus.

That is why it really distresses me and really bothers me, that some of our countrymen, especially the non-Catholics, jump to conclusion that Pinatubo, the earthquake, the calamities besetting our country, happened because we sinned. This is unfortunate because they are missing the whole point.

If it is true that all those who suffer do so because of their sins, I ask you one question, “Christ suffered, Christ carried the cross and Christ was nailed to cross. Does that mean that Christ sinned? Does that mean that the Father was punishing Jesus because Jesus had sinned?”

If you say that Jesus had sinned, then, you are a heretic. Jesus is holy; Jesus never sinned.

When we suffer, it is not necessarily because God is punishing. When we suffer persecutions, we are hailed to court, there is only one basic reason: We cannot be above our Master.

The servant cannot be above the Master. Every trial, every difficulty we have to face is not because God is punishing us. It is only because God wants to share with us His very special possession. And what is that special possession? His cross.

The Lord holds the cross very precious to His heart. And, therefore, He only gives His precious jewel to His precious friends. Unfortunately, His precious friends are us, so we have to suffer the consequences of our friendship with God.

The friends of God cannot avoid persecution. We will be persecuted for following the Lord. We will be persecuted for venerating the Mother of our Lord. But, keep in mind, the cross is the most precious possession of our Blessed Lord. And He only shares it with those He loves.

There was a Malaysian bishop who shared with Cardinal Sin his insights about what is happening in the Philippines now. He says, “When it is winter time, the leaves of our tress start to fall. But that is also the time when the roots of our trees sink more deeply into the earth.”

The Filipinos are suffering their winter time. They have no leaves. In the eyes of the skeptics we are an ugly people. But as the trees lose their leaves, they also sink their roots more deeply into the earth.

Let us thank God that our leaves are gone. Because of this reality, our roots sink more deeply into the heart of God. (Socrates Villegas, Only Jesus Always Jesus, pp. 39-40)




By Rosemarie Scott

If God is so loving, kind and compassionate, why does Scripture say we should “fear” Him?  What exactly is fear of the Lord, which is considered a gift of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2-3 Douay), and how does it relate to our walk with God?

Two Kinds of Fear

The fear of the Lord is a much misunderstood concept, perhaps in part because there are actually two types of “fear” of the Lord mentioned in Scripture.  The first, mentioned in Isaiah 2:10, 19 and 21, is not a gift of the Holy Spirit; it is the abject terror of an unrepentant sinner before the justice of God.  Some translations render this as “the terror of the Lord” (Revised Standard Version) or “dread of the Lord” (Revised English Bible).  The original Hebrew word is pachad, which always indicates a terrified dread.  The Apocalypse (Book of Revelation) contains a parallel passage (6:15-17), in which evildoers try to hide in terror of God’s justice.

Ultimately, God will have to judge those who do evil and refuse to repent at His loving call.  Such people have every reason to dread that day.  Yet those who are in Christ are “not appointed to wrath” (I Thessalonians 5:9).  Our Lord has redeemed, justified and sanctified them by His Cross and through Baptism. As long as they remain in a state of grace, they are not children of wrath, but regenerate children of God.  “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1), for Our Savior did away with their eternal punishment.

So Christians in a state of grace need not fear God’s wrath.  I St. John 4:17-18 says “In this way love is perfected among us, so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like Him.  There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love”.  Those who are perfected in love will have humble confidence on Judgement Day and always.  Perfect love drives out all fear of divine punishment.

So for those who are in Christ, the “fear of the Lord” does not involve abject terror or dread of divine justice.  In fact, Saint John says that any who fear God’s wrath are not perfected in love (verse 18).

Yet Sacred Scripture elsewhere mentions “fear of the Lord” as something virtuous, one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.  So what is this “holy fear”?  In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word used for this fear is yirah, which denotes piety and reverence rather than abject terror.  This is why some modern translations say “revere the Lord” rather than “fear the Lord”.

A careful study of Scripture will reveal that “the fear of the Lord” involves the following elements:

  1. Reverence and Awe

“Let all the earth fear the Lord, and let all the inhabitants of the world be in awe of him.” (Psalm 33:8)

The Creator of the Universe is Almighty and awesome (Ps 47:7).  His attributes such as Power (Joshua 4:23-24), Majesty (Jeremiah 10:7), Justice (Apoc/Rev 14:7), and Holiness (15:4) certainly inspire awe and reverence in His creatures. Yet Sacred Scripture says that Our Lord’s blessings (Ps 67:7), goodness (I Samuel 12:24) and even forgiveness (Ps 130:4) are also reasons to “fear” Him!  God’s wonderful love and goodness should inspire awe and worship in our hearts.

Such reverence does not conflict with an intimate communion with God, but it does conflict with flippancy, which is disrespectful. The fear of the Lord acknowledges the “otherness” of God, which deserves recognition and respect on our part. Yet God’s infinite “otherness” does not subtract from the fact that He is our loving Abba Father.  “For thus says the High and Exalted One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the spirit of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15).

God is exalted above creation, yet “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  He knows us completely, loves us infinitely and is with us always (Ps 139:1-2).  God’s Majesty does not keep us from Him because He willingly humbles Himself to fellowship with us (Ps 113:4-9; 138:6).  His holiness does not bar us from His Presence because whe have become the righteousness of God in Jesus (2 Co 5:21). No created thing can keep us from our loving Abba, for we have communion with Him through Jesus by the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:18).

God deserves our reverent worship and desires our close fellowship.  As we draw closer to Him in prayer, we will see that there is no real contradiction between the two.  A proper respect and awe in worship is possible without perceiving God as a cold, distant Deity.  The more we get to know Him, the more we shall see how the Majesty and immanent Love of God are reconciled.

  1. Hatred of Evil

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13)

Here Christ, the Eternal Wisdom, defines “the fear of the Lord” as hatred of evil.  Exodus 18:21 states that those who fear God hate coveteousness.  Job is said to have feared God and turned from evil (Job 1:1, 8). Proverbs 3:7 warns us to “fear the Lord and turn away from evil”.  If we hate evil we will turn away from it (Proverbs 16:6, Job 28:28).

The popular “Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts” defines the fear of the Lord as follows:

The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin.  It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”

When David teaches “the fear of the Lord” in Psalm 34, he says, “Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile.  Turn away from evil, and do good, seek peace and pursue it” (vvs 14-15). Turning from evil should lead to doing good.  This brings us to the third meaning of “fear of the Lord”:

  1. Obedience to God

That he may learn to fear the Lord his God by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes” (Deuteronomy 17:19)

Abraham, our father in faith, proved that he feared God by obeying his command to sacrifice his son (Genesis 22:12).  Moses told the children of Israel to “Fear the Lord…to walk in all His ways and love Him” (Dt 10:12, 20).  Centuries later, the Prophet Samuel counseled the Israelites to “fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart” (I Samuel 12:24).  Isaiah 50:10 makes another clear association between the fear of God with obedience and trust in Him, as do Psalm 86:11; 112:1; 128:1 and Ecclesiastes 12:13.

What should be our motivation in obeying God? Some people obey because they fear the divine wrath if they don’t.  Though it may cause one to obey God’s commandments for a while, fear of punishment is not the highest motivation for serving God.  It may even contain some hidden selfishness:  “I serve God because if I don’t He’ll do something to me-which I will find inconvenient.  So serving and obeying God is in my best interest!”. Hardly a perfect motive!

Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  Obedience should spring from our love for God.  That is a much better motive than fear of punishment.  Love is freely given and does things out of a desire to delight God.  It is unselfish, gives all the glory to Our Lord, and seeks no other reward but pleasing Him (although God’s justice will always reward such obedience – Matthew 6:4,6,18).

Of course, both our love and obedience should be inspired and empowered by the Spirit of Grace.  Then it will be God’s work within us, not natural good works (see the articles on Grace elsewhere in this web site).

Fear and Love Together

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them is one who loves me, and whoever loves me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him….If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our abode with him.” -St. John 14:21,23.

Here Jesus lists three results of our loving obedience.  First, the Father will love us.  Yet Psalm 103:17 states that “the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting to those who fear him“!  God loves both those who fear Him and those who love Him.  As we saw before, some Scriptures say that obedience comes from the fear of God and others from love for God. Notice a pattern?

The second result of loving Jesus is that He will disclose Himself to us.  This means He will reveal something intimate about His Person to one who loves Him.  Yet Psalm 25:14 tells us that “The secret of the Lord is for those who fear him“.  The original Hebrew word translated as “secret” indicates a confidential, intimate dialogue between friends.  Another interesting parallel.

The third result is the abiding presence of the Father and Son in one’s soul.  God promises to dwell with, commune with, guide, protect and perfectly satisfy the spiritual longing of those who love Him.

Is this also the case for those who fear God? Yes; God watches and delivers those who fear Him (Ps 33:18). They receive long life, abide before the Lord forever, and know His love and faithfulness (61:5-7).  His salvation is near to them (85:9); they are blessed in every way (112:19), for He satisfies and saves them (145:19). God remembers them, calls them His own and spares them (Malachi 3:16-17) and the Sun of Righteousness rises on them (4:2). His mercy continues even on their families (Luke 1:50; see Proverbs 14:26-27). This is all unmistakeable evidence of God’s abiding presence and love in their lives.

As we saw above, the fear of the Lord involves hatred of evil.  Yet Psalm 97:10 says “Hate evil, you who love the Lord“!  We also discussed above how we should mingle our reverence toward God with love.  The only conclusion one can draw from this is that, far from being opposites, love for God and holy fear are complementary.  If we love God we must reverence and worship His awesome Divinity.  The more we love Him the more we will hate that which is contrary to God, namely evil and sin, and fear displeasing Him by committing sin.  With the help of His grace, we will obey His righteous commandments out of love and fear for our Heavenly Father.

The Holy Spirit, the Substantial Love of the Father and the Son, is also the “Spirit of Holy Fear”, Who gives us the gift of the fear of the Lord.  He will help us turn from evil and desire to obey and please our Beloved in everything.  Love and holy fear are braided together in our walk with Jesus, and through them our spirits are braided into His own.

Let us Pray:

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set Thee, my Lord and God, before my face forever.  Help me to shun all things that can offend Thee, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Thy Divine Majesty in heaven, where Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the ever-Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.



Saturday of the 14th Week in Ordinary Time (Year C) – Mateo 10:24-33. Angay ba natong kahadlokan ang Ginoo? Adunay duha ka matang sa kahadlok. Ang una mao ang kahadlok isip pagbati sa kalisang o kakuyaw tungod sa umaabot o nahitabo na nga katalagman. Ug ikaduha mao ang kahadlok isip pagbati sa dakong pagtahod ug pagkahingangha sa gahom ug kaayo sa usa ka persona. Sa pag-ingon ni Jesus “Kahadloki ninyo ang Dios”, wala niya ipasabot nga angay kitang malisang sa Ginoo. Kay kon mao kini, nan malipay pag-ayo ang demonyo. Hinoon, buot ni Jesus nga dasigon kita sa pagpakita og dakong respeto ug pagtahod sa Dios. Ang Dios maoy labing gamhanan. Ato Siyang daygon ug pasalamatan tungod kay bisan sa atong kagamay Iya kitang giatiman ug gipakamatyan. (Fr. Abet Uy –


Saturday, July 9, 2016

SATURDAY OF THE 14TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MATEO 10:24-33. ANGAY BA NATONG KAHADLOKAN ANG GINOO? Adunay duha ka matang sa kahadlok. Ang una mao ang kahadlok isip pagbati sa kalisang tungod sa usa ka katalagman o kasakitan nga nahitabo, nagakahitabo, o mahitabo pa. Ug ang ikaduha mao ang kahadlok isip pagbati sa dakong pagtahod ug pagkahingangha sa gahum ug kaayo sa usa ka persona. Sa pag-ingon ni Hesus “Kahadloki ninyo ang Dios”, wala niya ipasabot nga angay kitang malisang sa Dios. Hinoon, buot niya kitang dasigon sa pagpakita og dakong respeto ug pagtahod sa Dios. Ang Dios maoy labing gamhanan; sa Iyang mga kamot anaa ang gahum sa paglaglag ug pagluwas. Ang Panultihon 9:10 nag-ingon: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Posted by Abet Uy


My Reflection for Saturday July 12, Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 10:24-33 – Reflection: Fear is something that we always associate with death, we are always afraid to die. Why are we afraid to die? Perhaps the reason why we are afraid to die is we have not found Jesus yet, Jesus is not yet part of our way of life. This is perhaps the primary reason why we are afraid to die. However, once Jesus  is already part of our way of life we will not anymore be afraid to die.

There is a story of a dying man who rarely attends Holy Mass and who was very much afraid to die. When his relatives told him that they will call a priest for him to be conferred with the Sacrament of the Anointment of the Sick. He asked them, Am I going to die already (For this was his usual notion)?

To make a long story short, the priest arrived and he was conferred the sacrament. After the priest left, the dying man told his relatives, now I am prepared to die. From being afraid to not being afraid to die and the reason of it all is the courage that Jesus gave him through the anointment of the sick.

When we have Jesus in our lives we already have the courage to face anything that may befall us.   We are not anymore afraid to stare at earthly death because we now know that soon after we will be with Jesus in heaven.

How are we going to face our fears? We face our fears with Jesus in our hearts.  Posted by: Marino J. Dasmarinas


Friday, July 8, 2016

Reflection for July 9, Saturday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 10:24-33

Reflection: A young man whose time was solely devoted to his career suddenly met an accident and he died. While on his way to heaven St. Peter suddenly stopped him, he asked the young man: what have you done for Jesus when you were still alive? The young man wasn’t able to answer for he was solely devoted to his many earthly concerns when he was still alive.

Someday in the foreseeable future our life shall come to an end and perhaps God will ask us: what have you done for me? Have you acknowledge me before others? Have you lived and shared my teachings? How would we answer God by that time?

While we are still in our life’s journey let us not forget the importance of acknowledging Jesus and the importance of sharing and living our faith in Him. If so far we have been solely concerned with the things of this world we are therefore being gently reminded that this world is temporary and passing.

Only God is everlasting, we will not be able to escape our appointment with God someday and when that day comes our fervent hope is we would be allowed entry by Saint Peter into the pearly gates because we’ve done something for Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


LOYALTY PLEDGE: “… nor a slave greater than his master.” – Matthew 10:24

My first job had everything I wanted. I was with a team that created tech-savvy, never-before-seen products. It provided training with no required tenure and it guaranteed a trip abroad.

There was just one problem: The employees loved talking about their dissatisfaction with the company. I couldn’t stand it.

I found another job where the employer befriended everyone and talked about his vision regularly. We supported each other and the camaraderie created a joyful workplace.

I agree with Elbert Hubbard when he wrote, “If you work for a man, in heaven’s name work for him. Speak well of him and stand by the institution he represents. Remember that an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness. If you must vilify, condemn, and eternally disparage, resign from your position. And when you are outside, damn to your heart’s content. But as long as you’re part of the institution, do not condemn it.”

How we work and what we say about our superiors reflect our faith. If we can’t obey and show respect to our superiors on earth, how could we subject ourselves to our Master in heaven? Cecil Lim (

Reflection: “Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people.” (Colossians 3:23)

Lord, change my heart and guard my lips. May I learn positive lessons even from negative situations and bring goodwill to all I meet.


1ST READING: The lack of vocations around the world is not for the want of God calling men and women to the religious life. I believe the biggest problem is that people do not listen to what God wants from them and secondly, if they have heard His call, they do not respond to it because the pleasures of the world call louder and more persistently. Let us pray for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Isaiah 6:1-8

GOSPEL: The Gospel truths are often drowned out in our secular and materialistic world because they do not readily sit with such values. This is a challenge for us believers to make our beliefs heard in the marketplace. We have just as much right to make known our views as anyone else in society. We should never be afraid to speak with conviction and a loud voice. Matthew 10:24-33

think:  Let us make our beliefs heard in the marketplace. We should never be afraid to speak with conviction and a loud voice.


HOLINESS AND FEAR: Our liturgical readings today call our attention to God’s holiness, along with the resulting reverential fear. In the Bible, holiness is “not a static perfection, but the total and dynamic otherness of God” (as the Vatican II Weekday Missal puts it). This holiness is dramatically displayed in the First Reading today, from the account of Isaiah’s call. Here, the holiness of God is acclaimed by seraphim and accompanied by earthquake and smoke — elements that are typically present in the biblical narratives of God’s revelations. Isaiah knows that in the presence of such holiness, a sinful human being like him is doomed. But his fear and unworthiness is removed in symbolic fashion. An angel took an ember from the altar and touched it to Isaiah’s lips. With that he is purified, and also empowered to respond affirmatively to God’s call to him as His prophet.

The Gospel somehow complements this, as Jesus makes clear to His Apostles as to who is in charge (“No disciple is above his teacher”). And then He clarifies matters as to who we should really fear: “The one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” With this, we realize that God is tops in our list. He alone, in other words, is holy and mighty, worthy of all our reverence and respect.

God’s holiness inspires not so much fear, as in the cowardly attitude of a scared slave. Rather, ours is a filial and pious fear of the Lord. God’s holiness inspires our own holiness. We do not get dramatic manifestations of God accompanied by earthquakes, and He does not take away our guilt with embers. But God’s holiness itself makes us holy as He strengthens us in our weaknesses. Although we may be fearful and unworthy in front of such an action of God, that will not prevent us from committing ourselves to Him: “Here I am, send me!” Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: Does your fear of the Lord pull you away from Him or push you towards Him?

You alone are holy and mighty, Lord God.


GOLDEN JUBILEE – Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. – Matthew 10:26

I hadn’t seen many of them in 50 years. There was so much catching up to do and I could feel the excitement all around. It was the Golden Jubilee celebration of our High School Batch ’65 at St. Theresa’s College, Quezon City.

Some things remained the same — the warm friendship, the loud chatter and the shrill laughter, just like the good old high school days. But some things have clearly changed — the gray hair on some and added pounds on many. We have evidently moved to another chapter of our life.

But aging has its perks, apart from the senior citizen discounts. Amidst the noise and the merriment, I saw a sense of stillness and contentment in the eyes of most. Gone was the burning ambition and the stiff rivalry that I saw 50 years ago. I now see the kind of calmness that we get when we choose to surrender all our cares to the one true God, who is in full control of everything. We are to leave nothing that is concealed from Him. That realization was, for me, the true meaning of our Golden Jubilee celebration. Mari Sison-Garcia (

Reflection:We find true peace when we open our hearts and minds to the Lord and welcome Him into our lives.

Lord Jesus, bless us today with a heart that loves You and a heart that worships You in spirit and in truth.


“DON’T BE AFRAID…” I have to admit that today’s Gospel passage made me think a lot. When I read it, it was as if Jesus was looking straight at me and speaking directly to me because I worry a lot. Worry and fear have caused me some painful moments in my life. And strangely, what I was worrying about and afraid of most of the time did not happen. My novice master, to whom I had opened up about this problem, was a wise old man. He once told me, “Jesus is so right when He tells you not to worry about tomorrow because each day has its own problems. Just focus on today’s problem. We also do not ask Him to give us something to eat tomorrow but, “give us today our daily bread.” And he added, “If you worry about what might happen tomorrow or next month, it’s a waste of time and energy. You suffer already in anticipation of something that might never happen, or you have to endure the pain twice. Once when you anticipate it worrying and fearing, and then when it actually happens.”

Since then, one sentence in the Mass has become my favorite, namely when the priest asks God after the Lord’s Prayer to “protect us from all anxiety.”

As Jesus encouraged His disciples, He also makes us aware that we are in the hands of God who is a loving Father, who knows us better than we know ourselves. And so He repeats, “Don’t be afraid.”

I have not checked it, but I read somewhere that in the whole Bible wecan find the words “Don’t be afraid” 365 times. That  means that the Holy Spirit tells us every day of the year, every day of our lives, not to be afraid but to put all our trust in the love, care and protection of our heavenly Father. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Do you experience excessive worries and fears in your life? Could it be that you don’t trust God enough?

Lord, thank You for reminding me once more of Your loving care. Forgive me for all the times I lacked this trust and gave in to fear and worry. Amen.


Persecution, for Heaven’s Sake

July 11, 2015 (readings)

Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot

Father Edward McIlmail, LC

Matthew 10:24-33

Jesus said to his Apostles: “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household! Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the one constant in my life. You are my beginning and my end. I love you as my savior. I trust you as my closest companion. I hope in you as the one who will welcome me into eternal joy.

Petition: Grant me, Lord, the courage to face persecutions, great and small, for the faith.

  1. Forewarned is Forearmed:Jesus’ opponents called him a devil. Either ignorance or hardness of heart prevented them from seeing the good in Our Lord. Opposition to him continues to this day — only now, we receive the brunt of the attacks. Christ warns that his followers will be reviled, just as he was denounced. Hence, it’s no surprise that we are labeled “backward” for our pro-life stance, or “intolerant” because we believe in moral truths. Persecution underscores the authenticity of our faith. If we never face any opposition, we might not be living the faith well enough or publicly enough. How do I handle persecution for my faith?
  2. What is True is Always True:Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed. Here, Our Lord assures us that all will be revealed in due time. Lies and fallacies move at the speed of light, thanks to the Internet. Truth seems to travel a lot slower. The problem isn’t new. “For the time will come,” St. Paul warned in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.” Whether it’s the truth about marriage or the dignity of the human embryo, the truth will emerge in the public mind, eventually. Likewise, the truth of Christ has to take root in us if we are to have joy and a sense of meaning. The unhappiest moments of life occur when we stray from Christ’s path. Which vice most needs to be weeded out of my life?
  3. Intolerable Tolerance:If we deny Christ, he will deny us at Judgment Day. That’s a sobering thought. So many times the temptation arises to muffle our faith, to give into human respect and keep silent in the face of evil. It can take many forms. We stay mum when a relative brags about moving in with her boyfriend. We say nothing when a fellow Catholic matter-of-factly defends abortion or contraception. Or we as parents fail to intervene when a child spends hours alone on the Internet. All this silence and inaction we chalk up to “tolerance.” But Christ didn’t tell his disciples to “Go, be tolerant of all things.” Rather, he implored: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Have I kept silent about something when I should have spoken up?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, following you isn’t easy. Attacks can come on all sides: from family, friends, the media. I almost wish Christianity was easier, but then, it wasn’t easy for you, either. So help me avoid complaining. Grant me strength to be daring for you.

Resolution: I will raise a delicate point with someone who needs to hear my Christian witness.

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JULY 9, 2016

Saturday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Is 6: 1-8; Mt 10: 24-33

Proclaim from the Housetops

My friend named his two sons Ajay and Vijay. He later explained to me, “See the situation is fast changing in our country. The people are becoming more and more fundamentalist. I don’t want my children to be identified as Christians. There will be problems in the school, employment and neighbourhood.” This is human wisdom. Many Christians do not want to be identified as Christians in their neighbourhood or working place and during travels. But for all other practical purposes, such as minority status, admissions in the minority institutions they want their identity as Christians. Against this human wisdom Jesus tells us “Speak in the daylight..Proclaim from the housetops.” We are called to proclaim the Gospel of Christ by word and deed, so that our ministry brings love where there is hatred, pardon where there is injury, faith where there is doubt, hope where there is despair and joy where there is sadness.

Jesus promises that if we give witness to him in the presence of people, he will then witness to us with his Father in heaven. This witnessing, he doesn’t tell us, will be without oppositions and persecutions. There will be resistance, there will be sufferings. But he comforts us- “Do not be afraid, every hair of your head has been counted and you are worth more than many sparrows.” Your Father will take care of you. You are precious to Him and you are safe in His hands. Fr. Davis Manjaly CMI


July 08, 2016

REFLECTION: In the past couple of generations, three men have changed the face of their respective countries for the better because each one of these three men, despite enormous pressures exerted on them, decided to free their enslaved people through purely peaceful means. These three men are Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), who freed India from British colonialism, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), who obtained for the black citizens of America equal rights, and Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), who liberated South Africa from the racial segregation of apartheid. Two of these three men, Gandhi and King, were assassinated, and the third one, Mandela, was imprisoned for 27 years because of his opposition to his government’s policies.

In today’s gospel reading Jesus tells us: “I send you out like sheep among wolves.“ That is exactly what Gandhi, King and Mandela were. By relying only on peaceful means, they accepted to be sheep among wolves. And this tactic succeeded. In fact, it always succeeds—provided you are ready to pay the price for it. At the same time, we are told to be “clever as snakes,” namely, to use prudence, wisdom, reflection. While being innocent as doves, we must not be naive.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Saturday of the 14th Week of the Year

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