Friday of the 29th Week of the Year

Luke 12:54-59

Signs of the Times


St. Augustine once asked: “What is time?” To this question he made a serious observation: “I know what time is, for I live in and with it. I deal with it. But when asked to explain it, then I am at a loss for words.”

While many in the Eastern tradition considered time as cyclic and thereby involved in the inevitable eternal return, Judeo-Christian tradition presented this dimension as linear. Hence, time has a beginning and definitive end. Moreover, the latter tradition points to the mystery of the Incarnation where the eternal Son of God took upon himself flesh and thereby entered into the domain of time and space-something which was unheard of and unthinkable for people in other traditions. For them God who is pure Spirit would never immerse Himself in the inferior, hence imperfect and sinful realm of the created world.

Now, while there is a definitive end to each one’s march through time and space, and this can be quite a bewildering task, the Incarnate Son of God has given direction, meaning and goal to our temporal, hence limited existence in this world.

To his words, “Watch and pray” comes the added advice to make good use of and to account for the time God has entrusted to each of us. (Fr. Flor Lagura, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


So often we see cars that broke down on an expressway or on one of our roads causing heavy traffic jams. The reason for cars breaking down is usually that the owner did not maintain it properly. Of course, money is scarce and we are tempted to drive a car as long as long as possible to avoid extra expenses. But after it breaks down somewhere, the expense is usually much higher than having it maintained regularly. There are even signs that a breakdown is imminent: the engines heats up faster than usual; the sound of the engine has changed. If only the owner had paid attention to these signs!

If Jesus would live and preach today, he probably would have used for the parable in today’s gospel the car and not wind and clouds. The message is the same. If only we would pay attention to certain signs we would be prepared and not taken over by events. A marriage does not break overnight. There are signs of rising problems. Why wait with “maintenance” until the situation is beyond repair? Losing one’s faith does not happen without warning signs.  there is first lack of interest in spiritual matters, then lessening of prayers, then not going to Mass anymore on Sundays. Youngsters do not become drug addicts from one week to the other. There are signs that tell the parents that their children are in danger. Many priests who left the priesthood admit that it all started when they were too busy and gave up on prayer, but they ignored the signs.

Jesus alerts us to watch for signs of disintegration, of fissures and cracks in our personal and community relationships. He wants us to mend them before they split wide open and are beyond repair. He suggests that we settle such situation while we can. Everyday, in every person we meet, in every member of our family God gives us opportunities to settle matters. What Jesus meant with His parable is, “Don’t let theses chances pass by. They might come only once.” (Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


As we say in the Philippines, when the month ends with ‘ber’ and the radio starts playing carols, then you know it is Christmas time. Jesus might have also complained: why do we get immediately excited about Christmas and not first deal with Advent – a season of preparation and reconciliation?

One who only wants the celebration without working through the preparation; one who only wants victory without first trying to win the enemy, is what we may call a short circuit Christian. In life, first things first. Jesus wants us to do our homework first.

Before rushing to the judge, we can first try making peace rather than war. On our way to the Church, we make sure we are first reconciled. In making up with those who wronged us or whom we have wronged, I don’t know if there is such thing as “the right time,’ or is Jesus instead telling us that we simply ought to make the time. We need not wait until the end, for often than not, the end is already too late.

In politics, a peace treaty is always less costly than going to war. The gospel suggests the same is true for us emotionally and spiritually. A war-freak mentally will cost us sleepless nights, disturbed days, wrecked bodies and restless souls. Obviously, hatred can never be a winning remedy. (Fr. Emil Lim, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


Freeman shares his insights on photography: “On those frosty mornings when I grab my camera and tripod, and head out into the meadow behind the house, I quickly forget about me. I stop thinking about what I’ll do with the photographs, or about self-fulfillment, and loose myself in the sheer magic of rainbows in the grass. Letting go of self is essential precondition to real seeing. When you let go of yourself, you abandon any preoccupations about the subject matter which might cramp you into photographing in a certain predetermined way…When you let go, new conceptions arise from your direct experience of the subject matter, new ideas and feelings will guide as you make pictures.” (Freeman Patterson, Photography and the Art of Seeing).

Many times we look at realities and life itself with our biases and prejudices as through a looking glass, yes, we see but only those we want to see and we miss the bigger picture. There’s another way. We allow the subject matter to reveal itself to us. Or, we let the facts speak for themselves. Real seeing requires that we let go of self and any preconceived notion. But there’s still another way. We look at events, the world, life and realities from God’s perspective, his viewpoint. “Come up here and I will show you…” (Rev. 4:1).

The gospel reading today reiterates the need to discern the present time. We have to learn to see what God is doing in our midst, in our family, in our nation. Can we read the signs of the times? Where is our nation headed today? Are we treading on the path of unity and reconciliation or are we heading towards ruin? We need a new kind of vision. We have to exercise the gift of discernment in order to understand and interpret what is happening to us. We should see every event that happens today in the light of salvation from God as call to transformation.

Helen Keller, who became blind after an accident, was asked: “What is the greatest calamity?” she answered: “To have eyes and not see.” Indeed, it is unfortunate that many people, despite the gift of sight, are not able to see God’s blessings, the wonder of creation, the goodness in each person, different human realities, truth, meaning and direction of one’s life. (Fr. Mario Bije, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


Filipinos has an age-old adage that says: “Ang taong maagap daig ang taong masipag.” In other words, prudence is better than industriousness. Prudence requires sensitivity to situations as it anticipates danger with caution. Prudence acts like an early warning system. For example, a leaking faucet is repaired before it floods the kitchen sink, a small tear on the clothes is sewed before it rips the whole garment, and a big project is worked out piece by piece each day to prevent the stress of beating a deadline.  The practice of prudence prevents the emergence of bigger and serious problems. Disaster preparedness is one common application of prudence. Alarms are raised about incoming storms so the people can adequately prepare to avoid damage or loss of life and property. Preventive medicine is also a practice of prudence.

In today’s gospel, Jesus tells the crowd to have sensitivity to the signs of deterioration in human relationships. Serious problems are usually the result of complicated situations and overlooked issues that pile up day after day. Christians must be sensitive to the signs of dangers to the spiritual life and to do something as soon as possible to resolve small problems early while they are still manageable.

St. John Capistrano (1386-1456, Oct. 23) was a Franciscan missionary who lived at a time when the Catholic Church was in the midst of difficult challenges. During the invasion of the Turks in Belgrade after the conquest of Constantinople, he preached to the 4,000 crusaders to invoke the Holy Name of Jesus. Before long, the enemy withdrew and the city was saved. For this and his many other pious efforts, St. John was called the “Apostle of Europe.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, by your most Holy Name, helps me build in myself an early warning sensitivity in my relationships with others so I may preserve my faithfulness to my friends and acquaintances. Protect me also from my enemies. Amen. (Fr. Fred Saniel, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


October 21, 2016 Friday

The Biblical interpretation of the present time is that it is God’s visitation. His challenge and call implies self-transformation, if not salvation. The present is God’s time or time of fulfillment or salvation, Kairos in Greek ( J. Mckenzie, Dictionary of the Bible, 1965 )

Jean Donovan, a twenty- seven year old Catholic lay missionary from Cleveland, USA, after some years of apostolic work in El Salvador, wrestled with the possibility of marriage and the security of a lucrative career before she decided to remain and continue her work. Despite the risk of her life, she was firm: ”Several times I have decided to leave – I almost could except for the children, the poor bruised victims of adult lunacy, who would care for them? (R. Ellsberg, All Saints, 1997n). With her decision, she ended up being killed and being raped.

As I was enjoying the delicious food at table, the little child shouted, ”Mommy may mga poor people sa labas. Bigyan natin ng pagkain”. The mother whispered,“Nakakakonsensya naman.” Right away, she responded to the conscience’s call.

A woman upon hearing the Isang Dakot Program of the Parish (St. Arnold Janssen, Cainta) offering rice to some people, acted creatively. Instead of bringing rice, she negotiated in the office: “I cannot carry a sack of rice, can I just leave cash?” She handed four thousands pesos.

The three persons above must have interpreted the present time, hearing God’s call. And then responded appropriately to Jesus’ fundamental call to love the less fortunate. Definitely, human action may be secular, temporal and historical if not so ordinary yet it is godly or divine, salvific and eschatological. (Fr. Martin I. Mandin, SVD St. Arnold Janssen Parish Shrine, Cainta, Rizal Bible Diary 2016)


Romans 7:18-25a
Psalm 119:66, 68, 76, 77, 93, 94
Luke 12:54-59
Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

When I was in grade school, I had a very patient nun as a teacher, but I was a daydreamer. While she was teaching, I was quite likely to be lost in a book or staring out a window, not really hearing anything she said. At those moments, she would clap her hands in exasperation and say, “Wake up, Maureen!” Even then, I knew that what she really wanted to do was simply shake me awake from my lack of attention and my lack of awareness.

It’s the same image I get from today’s gospel. A very human and practical Jesus points out the obvious to us: black clouds in the sky mean rain. Southern winds mean the weather will turn hot. But I get the feeling he wants to shake us awake saying, “Wake up! Can’t you see who is standing right in front of you speaking to you? It’s me! I have a message of love and freedom and no one is listening!”

Sometimes we are simply oblivious to the miracle of Jesus being in our lives, standing right in front of us. We are too busy and distracted to see it. He wants to grab our attention away from so many things that distract us and he wants to tell us he loves us.

“You see me in the obvious places, like in Church,” he might be saying to us. But during the rest of the week? He wants to strip away the fears that distract us, heal our anger and our grudges. Too often we use our energy and focus to remind ourselves of the people we resent and those who have hurt us or the pain we carry from our earlier lives. What Jesus offers us is a healing, if only we can believe how much we are loved by him.

He wants us to be healed because he wants to send us out into this world to be his representative right now to those who need healing and love. But we can’t be free enough to be sent until we are no longer burdened with the distractions of wishing we had something different in our lives or of wanting what someone else has. He wants to set our hearts on fire with his love and to carry that to each other. But we aren’t able to listen to what he is asking us if we refuse to be healed.

Today’s gospel is clear – we are directed to forgive each other and move on with our lives. If we are caught in the middle of a disagreement, Jesus says to stop and settle it right there. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong – just settle it. Get that dissension out of the way so we will be able to be sent by him to serve.

Why are we so reluctant? What will it cost us to forgive? What are we willing to do to put down the grudges we hold, the angers and fears and resentments, and ask Jesus for forgiveness for our stubbornness? Only in that place of healing can we see what we have been missing all along – Jesus standing in front of us, holding our face in his hands, telling us how much he loves and needs us.


POSTPONING APOLOGY: We know what broken marriage is. We know what is broken family. I refer to a father and a mother, separating with bitterness. I also refer to a broken clan where brothers and sisters don’t talk to each other or cousins grew up separately not knowing that they are even first cousins. If we ask them, “Why are you not holding family reunions? Why don’t you see each other? Why are your nephews and nieces not relating to one another?” they cannot even recall anymore what is the source of original conflict. Very often the reason is very petty – a few hundred pesos or food, a party or a gift that was not given and the case exaggerated in grand proportions.

On a larger scale, we also have the hurt, the pain and the anguish of Christian separations. We believe in Christ. We are Catholics while they are Protestant. They are Born Again. They are Lutherans. They are Methodists and they all believe in Christ. We all believe in Christ. We all belong to the same family. We all say that God is our Father but we cannot go to the same communion. The Buddhists and Muslims cannot understand us. And if we ask Christians, Protestants and Catholics, “What is the source of your division?” they don’t know anymore. They will say they found it like that. This is not the will of God. According to Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, the will of God for us is harmony, but why is harmony, peace, unity destroyed? The Gospel answers us – because of that one big word POSTPONEMENT.  We postpone saying that reconciling word. We postpone making that phone call or writing that letter to say sorry. We postpone making that apology. We postpone saying that word, “I love you.” We postpone saying that word, “I need you.” We postpone acts of reconciliation. The more we postpone, the more difficult it is to reconcile.

If our forefathers had only reconciled 900 years ago, the division between Orthodox and Catholics would be this big. If our ancestors had only reconciled 900 years ago, then the Church would still be one. If only we made that phone call, wrote that letter, made the apology, paid that visit, joined the party, accepted that invitation even if there was anger in our heart, reconciliation could have began. We would not have reached this sad state right now. If we have to do something good for the sake of unity and peace let’s do it now, not tomorrow. (Bishop Socrates Villegas, Love Like Jesus pp. 84-85)



A good number of people love to study how the stars and other cosmic elements influence their “luck” or their “fate.” These people are fond of astrology and feng-shui. There are also those religious people who interpret every catastrophic event as a warning that the time of the end of the universe is near.  The Book of Revelation (chapter 6), however, says that catastrophic and cosmic upheavals are just part of the breaking of the seven seals of the scroll of God’s plan and will for the created world!

More important than the knowledge of the end of the world is our personal state of life. How are we doing? Are we settled with ourselves, with others and with God? Inner peace should be our most important concern. With it, we have the confidence to face life in all its forms and shades (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP New Every Morning New Everyday 2006 pp. 310-311).


Jesus tells us to interpret the signs of the times in today’s gospel. In the last twenty or thirty the Church has often spoken out about the signs of the time, the lights and shadows of our days. She has spoken about a greater awareness of the dignity of each human person, greater improvements in health care and medicine, greater awareness of our responsibility as a human family for the environment and for international relations. These are all positive things. But there are many shadows as well, such as materialism and secularism. Blessed John Paul II spoke of a “culture of death” and a contraceptive mentality that prevails in the world today.  The acceptance of abortion and euthanasia in many parts of the world, have cast dark shadows over the human family. Never before in history have we had such signs. They point to a rapid decline in our moral standards. Jesus goes on to apply reading the signs to a more personal matter, that of reconciling with our opponent. Being on the way to the judge is symbolic of our whole life in this world. We are all on the way to our judge, the Lord. We do best to settle our differences with our opponents now and to forgive now while we are still on the way. Our opponents maybe very hard to settle with, but the more challenging part, and the part we can do something about; is within ourselves. We must purify our inner responses to those who have hurt us. Jesus calls us to forgive.

This is easy to say, but it is not easy to do. We often find it hard to do what we know is right. This is the inner struggle that Paul describes very well in today’s first reading. He describes the division that we all experience within our own tortuous human hearts. We have a desire to do what is right but we do not have the power within ourselves to do it. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. What a contradiction! We are still prisoners of the law of sin! Who can free us? With grateful praise Paul declares the only answer – Jesus Christ! Paul’s personal discovery of the answer to our condition applies to us all.

The more we “read the signs” of sin and death with ourselves, the more we realize our own need for Jesus Christ. The more we see our need for Jesus Christ, the more we can discover his boundless mercy. The more wretched we are, the more loving he is. Let us proclaim with Paul: “All praise to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Pondering the Word The Anawim Way, Liturgical Meditations from 29th to 34th Week in Ordinary Time – October 16, 2011 to November 26, 2011 Cycle A Year I pp. 37-38).


This cosmic conflict will continue until the end of our world.  In today’s gospel reading, Jesus speaks about the signs of the times. We know how to recognize the signs of changing weather. We cannot yet change climate. All we can do is prepare for the change. But when it comes to conflicts within our own life, between individuals, we are able to bring some measure of peace and settlement. We can bring repose and reconciliation between ourselves and those around us. When we examine the great national issues of racism, nuclear war,  economic injustice and communism we should not forget the equally important and infinitely more manageable conflicts in our own life to which we can bring some peace.

Point: Bringing reconciliation into our corner of the world is a small but real contribution to the resolution of the cosmic battle between good and evil. (Rev. S Joseph Krempa, Daily Homilies Ordinary Time Year I, published 1987 pp. 204-205)


We are told to watch for the signs of the times.  The coming of judgment is like the coming of a weather change. We can tell when it is near. We should watch for signs of disintegration, of fissures and cracks in our personal and parish relationships. We should mend them early before they split wide open. We should try to settle such situations while we can lest they develop their own uncontrollable momentum toward collapse. The letter to the Ephesians reminds us that our failures and successes in personal and parish affairs are not an incidental sideshow. They all have a place in retarding or advancing the great design of God toward reconciling everything in Christ.

Point:   Cosmic processes take place on the local level. (Rev. S Joseph Krempa, Daily Homilies Ordinary Time Year II, published 1987 pp. 213-214)


WORD TODAY (Rom 7:18-25; Luke 12:54-59). “You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. Why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” (Luke 12:56)

We see the terrible signs of climate change and the horrible signs of moral corruption. It’s easy to identify the causes and the guilty. But it is hard to admit our own contribution to these problems. How do I treat nature and my neighbor? Am I conserving the earth’s resources and protecting them? Am I honest in my marriage, business, work-hours and exams?

Christ tells us to act quickly and reconcile with God (vv. 58-59). In this life, God is love and forgiveness. In the next, He’ll be our judge.

Christ gave us the gift of confession. Let’s us avail of this great cure of our own hypocrisy! (Fr. Iko Bajos Oct 25, 2013)

CATECHISM  a Day: Luke 12:57 – “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” FORMATION OF CONSCIENCE (CCC 1783)

Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings (fr Iko Bajos Oct 25 2013).


Mother Teresa’s Anyway Poem

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered; forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; It was never between you and them anyway.



Thursday, October 22, 2015

FRIDAY OF THE 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 12:54-59. NGANONG ANGAY’NG BANTAYAN ANG MGA TILIMAD-ON SA PANAHON? Ang mga mag-uuma magbantay sa mga tilimad-on sa panahon aron sila mahibalo sa saktong higayon alang sa pagtanum, pag-abuno, ug pag-ani. Ang mga marino magbantay sa mga tilimad-on sa panahon aron malikayan ang katalagman diha sa kadagatan. Sa espiritohanong kinabuhi, angay usab kitang magbantay sa mga tilimad-on aron atong malikayan ang pagkadugmo ug kaparotan. Atong susihon kanunay ang atong relasyon uban sa Ginoo ug sa isigkatawo. Nag-anam ba kita kaduol sa Dios o nagkalayo? Nag-anam ba kita kamahigugmaon sa isigkaingon o nagpabiling madinumtanon? Si Billy Graham nagpahinumdum: “Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion. It is a daily process whereby you become more and more like Christ.” Posted by Abet Uy


October 21, 2016

It is strange how the emotional atmosphere can vary so greatly from family to family. In some families the tension between the members is almost palpable. There is little talk and no laughter. The faces are grim. One senses that currents of animosity and anger are flowing just below the surface of things. All members are divided against all. In other families we find quite the opposite. The members are relaxed and smiling. The conversation is animated and interrupted by bursts of laughter. There is affectionate bantering being tossed about. Obviously there is a profound unity binding the members of such happy families.

In today’s first reading the apostle Paul gives us the secret formula to become a happy family. He writes to the Ephesians: “Be humble, kind, patient, and bear with each other in love.” If every member of a given family would follow this simple but difficult advice, what peace, joy and union of hearts would follow! And here, let us notice that the first words of Paul are “be humble.” It is often our dear little ego which gets us into trouble. Let us ask the Lord Jesus for humility.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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