Epiphany of the Lord (Year C)

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

Epiphany of the Lord – based on the Gospel

By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu cssp

Isaiah 60:1-6

Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6

Matthew 2:1-12

Which Way to Jesus?

 On a cold harmattan morning three palm fruit farmers were warming themselves by the fireside. Soon two of them were engaged in a heated debate comparing their religions to decide which one was the true religion. Okoro, the oldest among them, sat quietly listening to the debate. Suddenly the two turned to him and asked, “Decide for us, Okoro. Which religions is the right one?” Okoro rubbed his white beards and said thoughtfully, “Well, you know there are three ways to get from here to the oil mill. You can go right over the hill. That is shorter but it is a steep climb. You can go around the hill on the right side. That is not too far, but the road is rough and full of potholes. Or you can go around the hill on the left side. That is the longest way, but it is also the easiest.” He paused and then added, “But you know, when you get there, the mill man doesn’t ask you how you came. All he asks is, ‘Man, how good is your fruit?’”

In the stories of Jesus’ birth, two special groups of people came to visit the new-born babe: the shepherds and the magi. The church has no special feast to commemorate the visit of the shepherds but we have this special feast of Epiphany today to celebrate the visit of the magi. Why is that? It is because the visit of the magi is an eye-opener. The shepherds learnt of the birth of Jesus through a direct revelation from angels appearing in the midnight sky. This is direct and supernatural revelation. Many of us have no problem with that. The magi, on the other hand, learnt of the birth of Jesus by observing a star. The star did not say anything to them. They had to interpret this natural sign of the star to know what it meant and where it led. If we remember that the magi or the three wise men were nature worshippers, people who divined God’s will by reading the movements of the stars and other heavenly bodies, then we can see how the visit of the magi challenges some of our popular beliefs.

Like the palm fruit farmers, religious people of all persuasions tend to think that their religious tradition is the only way to God. This is what some of us hear when we hear such words of Jesus as: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). We hastily conclude that the way of God equals the way of our religious tradition. Yet the word of God cautions us against such a narrow interpretation. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). That is why we are fascinated with the story of the visit of the magi. It is a unique story that opens our eyes to the fact that God is not limited to any one religious tradition.

Notice how people of different religious traditions came to know that the Son of God was born. The shepherds who were regarded as unclean and could not take part in Temple worship without undergoing purification came to know through a direct vision of angels. The magi knew through a reading of the stars. And King Herod’s scribes came to know through searching the scriptures. Visions, stars, scriptures — different ways of arriving at the same truth. Of course this does not mean that any religious tradition is just as good as the other. Notice how Matthew indicates that when the guiding star got to Jerusalem its light failed and the magi had to consult the scriptures to direct them to Bethlehem. Over and above the natural light of the star the magi still needed the supernatural light of scripture to finally get to Jesus.

Yet the crucial question in the story remains: Who actually got to find Jesus? Herod and his scribes who had the scriptures failed to find Jesus but the magi who followed the natural light of the stars were able to find him. Why? Because the Jewish authorities, even though they possessed the shining truth of revealed scriptures, did not follow it. They did not walk in the light of the scriptures. The magi, on the other hand, who enjoyed only a star light followed its guidance. It is not the possession of the truth that matters, it is how prepared we are to walk in the light of the truth that we possess. It is better to have the dim light of the stars and follow it than to have the bright light of the holy scriptures and neglect it.

As Christian we believe that our religion possesses the fullness of truth. But what does that benefit us if we do not walk in the truth? Nature worshippers or non-believers who are sincerely committed to following the dim light of natural reason may arrive at Jesus before Christians who have the exalted truths revealed by God but who do not walk the walk of faith. This is the challenging truth we celebrate today in the story of the pagan wise men who seek and find the Lord.

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Epiphany of the Lord – based on the Epistle

By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu cssp

Isaiah 60:1-6

Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6

Matthew 2:1-12

The Mystery of the Gospel

 Mark Twain used to tell a joke that he put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment, to see if they could get along. They did. So he put in a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put in a Baptist, a Presbyterian, and a Catholic, and hell broke loose. Mark Twain did not even bother putting together a Christian, a Muslim, and a Hindu. That was unthinkable in his days. In today’s world, however, it has become obvious that Christians live in the same cage, in the same city, in the same world, with people of other religions.

Today, the feast of Epiphany, we remember the Magi who came from faraway lands to worship the baby Jesus. They came guided by a star. Being nature worshippers who had no scriptures, God revealed Himself to them through the means available to them in their own religion. Through the stars they were able to learn of the birth of Jesus and find their way to him. They came as pagans, they worshipped Jesus as pagans, and they went back home as pagans. They did not convert either to Judaism or to Christianity. Their worship was acceptable to God and God directed them in their journey home through a dream. This shows that God does have a relationship with people of other religions who are neither Jews nor Christians.

There is only one God, and all who seek God with a sincere heart are led to Him, though they call Him by different names. One thing Christians have in common with members of other religions is that we all worship the same God. We all are children of the same Father. This truth is hard for religious people to appreciate because religious people all over the world tend to claim that they have exclusive access to God and the truth.

In the Old Testament, the Jewish people believed that they were the exclusive people of God. They divided the whole world into two: Jews who were the people of God, and Gentiles who were not. Some of their prophets and wise men tried to correct this belief by reminding them of the universal love of God for all humankind. But it was not until Jesus came that this idea began to sink in. As the letter to the Ephesians states, Christ made both groups, Jews and Gentiles, into one people and broke down the dividing wall of hostility separating them (Ephesians 2:14). This is the message of the gospel that God commissioned Paul to preach: “that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6).

Today’s second reading describes this truth as a mystery: “the mystery was made known to me by revelation” (3:3). It is a mystery for two reasons: (a) human reason alone could not arrive at such knowledge without the light of divine revelation, (b) even after the truth has been revealed it still proves to be an enigma or paradox to human reasoning. It is an enigma of the Christian faith that we believe, on the one hand, that the Jews are God’s chosen people and, on the other hand, that “God has no favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34-35).

In the past, Christians tended to make the same mistake as the Jews of old by claiming that there is no salvation outside the church. Then Vatican II came along, the church opened the windows to the Spirit of God, and came to recognize that God’s truth is available to people of other religions, although not to the same degree that it is available in the church. The difference between the Christian faith and other faiths, therefore, is not that we possess the truth of God and they do not, but that, thanks to God’s unique revelation in Christ, we can know see God’s truth more clearly, love God more dearly, and follow God’s ways more closely in our daily lives. But we should always remember that if we go to sleep, even though we are on the better way, others who are on the not-so-better way could arrive at the goal before us. Let us reflect on this mystery today as we celebrate the Magi coming from pagan lands to worship the new-born Jesus while God’s “chosen people” in Jerusalem sleep unaware that the kingdom of God has come.

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Christmas ends, hopefully not the spirit

By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

A PARISH priest was receiving Christmas gifts from the children of parishioners. The florist’s daughter handed him a box. The priest put it near his ear and shook it.

“Are they flowers?” asked the priest. Surprised, the girl replied, “How did you know, Father?” The priest knew the profession of the kids’ parents, so he could guess easily.

* * *

Another boy came with a box. Father Jess shook it and said, “Is it a pair of shoes?”

The student asked, “How’d you know!” The priest knew because the kid’s family had a shoe store.

Then Johnny, the son of a liquor store owner, came forward. The priest saw that the bottom of the box was wet.

* * *

“Ah, I know just what it is,” the priest mused. He put his finger on the wet part and smelled it. “Is it wine?” he said. Johnny shook his head, “No.” Then he scraped the leaking box with his finger, tasted it, saying, “Ah… it’s brandy!” Johnny replied “No!”

“Is it Mass wine?” “No, Father. It’s a puppy!” He had licked the puppy’s urine!

* * *

We are celebrating the feast of the Epiphany, popularly known as “Three Kings” and it is the last day to give Christmas gifts, not necessarily wine or puppy urine! The feast also brings down the curtain on the long, joyous Christmas season.

Just as we take down our belens and shelve those Christmas decors for the next season, it is hoped that the Christmas spirit won’t die down.

* * *

As we would say, “Christmas is everyday.” “But that would be costly,” someone would object. “We would have to buy gifts and throw parties.”

What’s referred to is the spirit. By this is meant concern for the less fortunate and underprivileged, the spirit of forgiveness, peace and love.

Why should we think of the indigents only on Christmas? Why should we have peace and yes, political and military ceasefire only during this season? Why can’t we forge a permanent ceasefire? Why be an active Christian only during the Christmas season?

* * *

Think about it. The spirit of Christmas is actually the essence of authentic Christian life. And hence, living it should not be seasonal but a whole-year round endeavor.

One of the messages of today’s feast of the Magi is perseverance of the Wise Men in searching the Christ Child.

They didn’t give up even if they were not sure of the way.

* * *

Just like the Wise Men, we need perseverance for character change and conversion. We need perseverance to root out our bad habits and negative traits, like selfishness, greed, insensitivity to the needs of others.

The story is told about an old member of religious community who was grouchy, critical and hard to get along with. One time he attended an out-of-town retreat, which proved very fulfilling.

* * *

To show that he was thoroughly renewed, on returning home he posted a sign (caratola) outside his door which read: “Here lives a new man, the old man died and is buried.” Everybody was happy about the transformation. But after a couple of months his old traits started surfacing again.

So somebody wrote below the sign at his door, which read: “But on the third day, the old man rose from the dead!”

The process of transformation is always ongoing. And even if we backslide, as the above story shows, we should not get discouraged and give up. Renewal requires a lot of patience and perseverance. May you be blessed with these important virtues this New Year.

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Feast of the Epiphany

Manila Bulletin 2010

THE Epiphany is the feast of the manifestation of the majesty and divinity of the newborn Savior. As early as the third century, the Eastern Church, in celebrating the birth of the Redeemer, viewed it primarily as the manifestation of God to man. Hence, the name Epiphany, which means manifestation. Toward the end of the fourth century, as the feast gradually came to be known and celebrated in the West, the adoration of the Christ Child by the Magi or Wise Men was stressed.

In today’s celebration, the light that appeared on Christmas extends its rays – it is the light of God’s Epiphany. It is no longer only the shepherds of Bethlehem who see and follow it, it is also the Magi, who came to Jerusalem from the East to adore the newborn King (Matthew 2:1-12). The same light which led the shepherds and the Magi to the stable in Bethlehem now shines brightly for all men and women who long to meet God.

Various interpretations have been given for the gifts which the Magi offered the Christ Child. The Church teaches us that the gold represents kingly power, incense the great High Priest, and myrrh the burial of the Lord. Thus, the Wise Men offering their gifts to Christ depicts Christ’s three-fold character of King, High Priest, and Man. St. Gregory, in his reflections, looks at the Magi’s gifts from the viewpoint of the givers. He invites us to see in the gold, the quest for wisdom; in the incense, the power of prayer; and in the myrrh, the mortification of the flesh.

To fully understand the Feast of Epiphany, it will have to be viewed from two aspects: That of God who manifested Himself to man, and that of man, exemplified by the Magi, who responded with wholehearted faith and love. As we join the Magi in offering our gifts to the newborn King, we realize that Jesus is the true gift, God’s gift to the world. He is the One we must receive, in order to bring Him, in turn, to everyone we will meet in our life journey.

Today, the world has greater need than ever to experience the divine goodness, to feel God’s love for every person. People need to hear the message of light and hope and give glory to the Father. With joy, we ask the Lord of time, God from God, Light from Light, to make His star, the Epiphany star, continually shine in our hearts.

Happy Three Kings!

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Word Alive

Salvation is for all

By FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD

January 1, 2010, 7:20pm

Manila Bulletin

Did you know there were originally 6 not 3 Kings? Only three reached Bethlehem. The 4th went to the US now known as Burger King, and the 5th and 6th to the Philippines namely: Chowking and Tapa King.

* * *

Joking aside, on Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Magi or “Epiphany.” It is called “epiphany” because Jesus revealed himself not only to the Jews, the chosen people, but also to pagan visitors. Epiphany – from the Greek term “epiphanein” – means “manifestation.”

* * *

The gospel writer is teaching that Christ’s salvation is universal. Hence, the teaching of certain denominations that they – and only they–will be saved contradicts the message of Epiphany.

* * *

Another thing to correct is the misconception that the mysterious personages that came to pay homage to the Christ Child were kings as popularly known.

Matthew, the only evangelist who recounts the episode of these personages, wrote: “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea… behold, Magi came from the East to Jerusalem…” (Mt 2:2).

* * *

Magi were wise men or enlightened astrologers, not the manghuhula or fortune tellers we know today.

That the “wise men” were transformed into “kings” by common belief is due to the corrupt interpretation of a messianic prophecy in the Old Testament thus: “The Kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer gifts, the Kings of Arabia and Saba shall pay tribute” (Ps 72).

* * *

What’s the message and relevance of the magi episode in our life? According to Matthew, the wise men searched for the new-born Child. Searching requires courage and perseverance.

How the friends of the wise men must have mocked and laughed at them. “Following a star? What on earth for? We’re too busy with making a living to care about a star.” Nonetheless, the magi pursued their goal.

* * *

Applying this to practical life, it takes courage to be faithful to one’s religious conviction and moral integrity.

Remember that taxi driver from Samar province who found a clutch bag left behind by a foreigner-passenger at the back seat of his cab some time ago?

* * *

The bag contained P24,000 in cash, some dollar bills, visa, and other important documents. The honest driver surrendered the bag to the lost-and-found counter at the domestic airport, its content intact.

Recall, too, that honest taxi driver Emilio Advincula who returned P2 million in cash and valuables left behind by a balikbayan passenger?

* * *

Although these men were needy and thought these were opportunities to make a killing, they decided to return what didn’t belong to them. Indeed, it takes courage to be an upright Christian when the temptation to make a fast buck is strong.

* * *

In married life, it takes heroic courage, too, to remain a faithful husband or wife in a milieu where infidelity and broken marriages abound.

Another lesson we can learn from the magi is perseverance. The magi searched, traveled and plodded until they achieved their goal.

* * *

In a society characterized by perennial new beginnings, enthusiastic outbursts, and ningas cogon like the anti-littering or anti-smoke belching laws, we need perseverance and consistency so people may get to learn a good habit.

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Moments
Working and praying in 2010

By Fr. Jerry Orbos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:41:00 01/02/2010

THE STORY is told about a pilot who announced: “One of the four engines of our plane just conked out. But don’t worry. We still have three engines, and we have one bishop and three priests on board to pray for us.” A very nervous woman was overheard saying, “I would rather have four engines working than one bishop and three priests praying!”

* * *

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, i.e. the Revelation of God’s glory in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. In today’s Gospel (Mt. 21, 1-12) the Magi from the East found the house where Jesus was born because they were guided by the star, and also because they made the difficult trip. In other words, in our journey to God, our engines must be working and we too must be praying.

* * *

The Magi, when they found Jesus, did Him homage and offered Him their gifts. Some of us know God, but leave it at that, and never go on to adoring Him and serving Him. It is as if His presence in our lives never made a difference at all! If you really believe in God, then live it, and show it.

* * *

Note that the Magi departed to their country by another way. They did not return to their old way. Their encounter with God made them changed persons. How many of us, with all of our religious experiences and spiritual blessings, still continue to live in the darkness rather than in the light? We who are recipients of revelation must in turn become agents of revelation.

* * *

Let us do homage to God not only on Christmas Day or on New Year’s Day, or on Good Friday, but on every single day of the year. May the spirit of Christmas – that of sharing, living, generosity, peace, joy and hope – continue to abide with us and among us all throughout the new year. Yes, let us live and love, one day at a time.

* * *

There a lot of things beyond our knowledge and control. Let us not become like Herod who resorted to deceit and manipulation. People who do so never find God because of their pride. And remember, people who continue to lie, cheat, manipulate, kill, and steal will also suffer the same fate as Herod’s. Warning: Stop playing God, and stop hurting people!

* * *

We don’t know what’s up ahead in 2010. Who were we to know that there was going to be an “Ondoy” when we started in 2009? Or a Maguindanao massacre, or a Mayon volcano eruption, for that matter. But instead of fear, let us do our best, and to God we leave the rest! Fear is useless, what is needed is trust!

* * *

One big thing we all must watch and prepare for is the May 2010 elections. Let us make sure we don’t allow thieves and criminals to go inside our nation, indeed inside our very homes. We’ve had enough of them, and we don’t need more. Let us work and pray for a harvest of good leaders in our land. We are a rich country, but we are very poor when it comes to leaders.

* * *

One of the hardest things I did this Christmas season was to break the sad news to two teenaged girls that their mother, a caregiver in London, had died, and that they won’t see her again. I cannot forget the disbelief, the grief in their young faces, the utter helplessness over the situation and the uncertainty of the future ahead of them. Fatherless, and now motherless, they have to journey alone and unprepared for what is up ahead. Please remember that as you thank God for your blessings in life; don’t forget to reach out to those around you who have nothing or no one, or have little in life.

* * *

Don’t forget too that the first day of the year is dedicated to Mary, Mother of God. Mary, our Mother, will be with us every single day of the year. Let us entrust unto her Motherly care all our hopes and fears, works and prayers, confident that we have a Mother who is always near, and so we need not fear.

* * *

Happy New Year! Fresh start. New beginnings! Remember, as someone said, what the new year brings us will depend a great deal on what we bring to the new year. Praying that 2010 will be a better year for all of us, in all aspects, in Jesus’ name. Amen!

* * *

To borrow Everett Melton Garrett’s wish for the coming year, I wish you: “enough happiness to keep you sweet; enough trials to keep you strong; enough sorrow to keep you human; enough hope to keep you happy; enough failure to keep you humble; enough success to keep you eager; enough friends to give you comfort; enough faith and courage in yourself, your businesses and your country to banish your depression; enough money to meet your needs, and enough determination to make each day a better day than yesterday.”

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, thank you for 2010. May every day this new year find us working and praying, loving and hoping. Amen.

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Word Alive

LESSONS FROM THE WISE MEN

By FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD

January 4, 2013, 5:34pm

Manila Bulletin

DID you know that there were originally 6 Kings, not 3? Only three reached Bethlehem. The 4th went to the USA, the 5th to China, and 6th to the Philippines. They were: BURGER KING, CHOWKING, and TAPA KING, respectively.

* * *

Joking aside, tomorrow we celebrate the feast of the Magi or Epiphany. It is called epiphany because Jesus revealed Himself not only to the Jews, the chosen people, but also to pagan visitors. Epiphany – from the Greek term “epiphanein” – means “manifestation.”

* * *

The gospel writer teaches that Christ’s salvation is universal or for ALL peoples. Hence, the teaching of certain Christian denominations that they, and only they, will be saved contradicts the message of the Bible, particularly Epiphany.

* * *

Another thing to correct is the misconception that the mysterious personages that came to pay homage to the Christ Child were kings as popularly known.

Matthew, the only evangelist who recounts the episode of these personages, wrote: “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea… behold, MAGI came from the East to Jerusalem…” (Mt 2:2).

* * *

Magi were wise men or enlightened astrologers. That they were transformed into “kings” by common belief is due to the corrupt interpretation of a messianic prophecy in the Old Testament, thus: “The Kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer gifts, the Kings of Arabia and Saba shall pay tribute” (Ps 72).

* * *

One principal message we can learn from the Magi is faithfulness and perseverance. It takes conviction to be faithful to one’s religious and moral principles.

To cite an example. A taxi driver, PRIMITIVO SALO, was among the 2009 Goodyear “Bayani ng Kalsada” (Highway Heroes) awardees after returning  R80,000 cash to a passenger who  had left it in his cab.

* * *

“I have been a taxi driver for the longest time and I haven’t heard one single customer complain,” Salo said proudly. “In fact, I have gotten loyal customers who would call me to bring them home when it’s late at night because they trust me enough. I hope there are more taxi drivers who can just do the same,” he said.

* * *

In married life, it takes moral courage and perseverance to remain a faithful husband or wife in a milieu where infidelity and broken marriages abound.

To paraphrase the British statesman Thomas B. Macaulay: “The test of a person’s real character is what he/she would do if he/she knew nobody is watching.”

* * *

In a society characterized by perennial new beginnings, enthusiastic outbursts, and ningas cogon implementation, for instance, of the anti-littering, -jaywalking or -smoke belching ordinances, we need perseverance and consistency so people may get to learn a good habit.

* * *

The great philosopher Aristotle once said that goodness and virtue come through habit and practice. It means DOING THE RIGHT THINGS CONSISTENTLY day in and day out, in private and in public so they become good habits.

Let us learn from the perseverance of the Magi.

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REGALO: Reflection for the Solemnity of the Epiphany Year C – January 6, 2013 – Year of Faith

Nabigyan ka ba ng regalo noong nakaraang Pasko?  Kung hindi pa ay huwag kang malungkot.  May kasabihan tayong “huli man daw at magaling ay maihahabol pa rin!”  Mga kapatid puwede pang magbigayan ng regalo ngayon sapagkat ngayon ang huling Linggo ng kapanahunan ng Pasko. Sa ibang bansa ang Epipanya ay tinatawag na “Ikalawang Pasko” na kung saan ay araw ito ng pagbibigayan ng regalo. Dito rin kasi nakukumpleto ang mga tauhan sa Belen… sa pagdalaw ng mga “pantas” o sa mas kilala nating tawag na “Three Kings”. May kuwento ng isang kura paroko na niregaluhan ng kanyang mga parokyano. Dahil sa liit ng kanyang parokya ay halos kilala niya lahat ang mga tao at ang mga kabuhayan nila. May isang batang lumapit na may bitbit na kahon na ang pamilya ay may “bake shop”. Sabi ng pari: “Ah, alam ko yang dala-dala mo… cake yan ‘no?” Sagot ng bata: “Ang galing mo Father, pano mo nahulaan?” “Obvious ba? e may bakeshop kaya kayo?” Sagot sa kanya ng pari. Lumapit ang ikawalang bata na may dala ring regalo na ang pamilya naman ay may pagawaan ng sapatos. “Alam ko yang regalo mo… sapatos yan!” Sabi ng pari. Laking gulat ng bata at tanong sa pari: “Pano mo nalaman Father?” “Obvious ba? May pagawaan kayo ng sapatos di ba? hehehe” Patawang sagot ng pari. Lumapit ang isa pang bata na may dalang kahon na medyo basa pa ang ilalim. May tindahan sila ng mga alak. Sabi ng pari: “Alam ko yan… alak yan.” Hinipo ang basang bahagi ng kahon at tinikman. “Aha! Champagne ito… maasim!” Sabi ng pari. “Hindi po padre!” Sabi ng bata. “Mompo?” “Hindi rin po!” “E, ano ito…?” Sagot ng nakangiting bata: “Tuta po!” Kaya mag-ingat sa susunod na pagtanggap ng regalo! Ngunit kung titingnan natin ay kakaiba ang pagbibigayan ng regalo sa Pasko. Ang karaniwang paraan ay tayo ang nagreregalo sa may birthday. Ngunit sa pagdiriwang ng Pasko, ang may birthday ang nagbibigay ng regalo… tayo ang tumatanggap! Ang Epipanya ay nagsasabi sa atin na may Diyos na nagbigay ng dakilang regalo sa atin nang ibinigay Niya ang Kanyang bugtong na Anak upang tayong lahat ay maligtas! Walang pinipili ang Diyos! Lahat ay nais Niyang maligtas. Wala tayong ibang masisisi kundi ang ating sarili kung tinanggihan natin ang dakilang regalong ito mula sa Kanya. Kaya nga ang kahulugan ng Epipanya ay “pagpapakita”. Dito ipinakita ng Diyos ang kanyang bugtong na Anak bilang tunay na Diyos, tunay na tao at tunay na Hari sa pamamagitan ng tatlong regalo sa kanya: ang kamanyang, mira at ginto. Paano ko ba pinahahalagahan ang kaligtasang bigay sa akin ng Panginoon? Patuloy ba ako sa paggawa ng kasalanan? Sa pagkakahumaling sa mga bisyo? Sa pagpapa-iral ng masamang pag-uugali? May magandang ginawa ang mga pantas pagkatapos nilang makita ang sanggol at pagbawalan ng anghel sa panaginip, nag-iba sila ng landas. Hindi sila bumalik kay Herodes. Marahil oras na, na tulad ng mga pantas, na talikuran natin ang DATING DAAN at tahakin ang BAGONG DAAN!Huwag na nating balikan ang malawak na daan ng masasamang pag-uugali at pilitin nating tahakin ang daang makitid ng pagbabagong-buhay! Ang kaligtasang regalo ni Jesus ay para lamang sa mga “wais” tulad ng mga “wise men.” “Wise” na Kristiyano ka ba?

Source: kiliti-ng-diyos.blogspot.com

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SABADO, ENERO 2, 2016

PAGPAPAKITA NG AWA AT MALASAKIT NG DIYOS : Reflection for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord Year C – January 3, 2016 – JUBILEE YEAR OF MERCY

Happy Three Kings?  Alam n’yo bang MALI ang pagbating ito?  Una, hindi naman sila talaga HARI. Wala naman binanggit sa Ebanghelyo ni San Mateo na mga hari ang bumisita kay Jesus.  Ang sabi sa Ebanghelyo, sila ay mga PANTAS, mga taong matatalino at may kakaibang kaalaman sa siyensya. Ikalawa,  hindi sila TATLO.  Wala namang binanggit na bilang ng mga pantas si San Mateo.  Ang sinabi ni San Mateo ay may tatlong regalong inihandog ang mga pantas nang matagpuan ang sanggol na Jesus sa sabsaban.  Ikatlo, ay parang hindi angkop ang salitang HAPPY.  Mukhang hindi na masasaya ang mukha iba sa atin!  Marahil  naubos na ang pera noong nakaraang Pasko at Bagong Taon! hehehe.  Ang tamang pagbati pa rin ay MERRY CHRISTMAS! Sapagkat ngayon ay bahagi pa rin naman ng panahon ng Pasko.  Sa katunayan, sa ibang bansa, ang tawag dito ay ikalawang Pasko at sa araw na ito sila nagbibigayan ng regalo.  Kaya ang mga ninong at ninang na tinaguan ang kanilang mga inaanak ay hindi pa rin ligtas ngayon. Ibig sabihin puwede pang habulin ang mga ninong at ninang na nagtago noong nakaraang Pasko!  Kaya sa mga ninong at ninang d’yan… “Tago pa more!” Ang tamang pagtawag sa kapistahang ito ay EPIPANYA na ang ibig sabihin ay PAGPAPAKITA.
Tatlong pagpapakita ang ipinararating sa atin ng kapistahang ito.  Una, na si Jesus ay para sa “lahat.”  Hindi lamang siya nagkatawang-tao para sa mga Hudyo.  Ito ang sinasagisag ng mga pantas na nanggaling sa iba’t ibang sulok ng mundo.  Ito ang ipinahihiwatig ni sSan Pablo sa kanyang sulat sa mga taga Efeso noong sinabi niyang “ang mga Hentil… ay may bahagi din sa mga pagpapalang mula sa Diyos.”  Kaya nga ang pagliligtas ni Jesus ay para sa lahat, walang itinatangi… KATOLIKO! Ikalawa, ipinapakita ng pagdiriwang na ito sa pamamagitan ng handog ng mga Pantas kung sino ang sanggol na ito. Siya ang tunay na HARI ng sanlibutan na sinisimbolo ng gintong inialay sa Kanya, na Siya ay tunay na DIYOS sa paghahandog sa kanya ng insenso o kamanyang na ginagamit nila sa pagsamba, at Siya rin ay tunay na TAO na daranas din ng kamatayan dahil inialay sa Kanyang mira na ginagamit na pampahid na pabango sa mga patay.  Inako ng Diyos ang ating pagkatao at nanirahan Siya kapiling natin taglay ang ating katawang tao na nakararanas ng kapaguran, kagutuman at kahirapan. Ikatlo, ang ating kapistahan ngayon ay nagpapakita ng AWA at MALASAKIT sa atin ng Diyos. Naging katulad Siya natin, maliban sa pagiging makasalanan upang iparamdam sa atin ang pag-ibig at AWA ng Diyos.  Ipinakita Niya ang Kanyang malasakit sa atin sa pag-ako Niya ng ating mga kahirapan at sa kahuli-hulihan ay ang kamatayan ng ating katawang lupa.  Akmang-akmang ito sa tema ng Jubilee Year of Mercy na idineklara ng ating Santo Papa Franciso sa taong ito na 2016. Nais niyang maramdaman natin ang awa ng Diyos upang tayo rin ay magpakita at magpadama nito sa ating kapwa.  Ang hamon niya sa ating lahat:“Be merciful like the Father!”   At maraming paraan upang maisakatuparan natin ang hamon na ito.  Ngunit ang awa ng Diyos ay mahirap maibigay sa iba kung wala tayong malasakit. Hindi lang sapat na maawa tayo sa kalagayan ng iba, dapat ay magkaroon din tayo ng malasakit na kung saan ay dama natin ang paghihirap ng ating kapwa. Para kay Mother Teresa ng Calcutta na sa taong ito ay itataas sa antas ng kabanalan at pagiging Santa, ang dahilan ng pagkakaroon ng malasakit ay sapagkat nakikita natin ang mukha ni Kristo sa ating kapwa.  Nakikita natin ang Panginoon, sa mga “nagugutom, nauuhaw, tumatangis, bilanggo, biktima ng pag-uusig at kawalan ng katarungan.”  Sa pagpasok ng Bagong Taon, nawa ay huwag lamang kasaganahan ng pamumuhay ang ating mithiin.  Hilingin natin sa Panginoon ang kapayapaan sa ating mga sarili.  Anhin mo pa ang kasaganahan kung araw-araw ka namang nabubuhay sa pagkabalisa at takot?  Ang pagpapakita ng AWA at MALASAKIT ay makatutulong upang magkaroon tayo ng kapayapaan sa ating mga sarili. Ang pagtulong sa ating kapwa ay nakapagbibigay ng tunay na kaligayahan at kapayapaan sa mga gumagawa nito.  Ito ang EPIPANYA na kasalukuyang panahon. Ito ang Epipanya nating mga Kristiyano… Ipakita natin ang AWA ng Diyos sa ating mga kapatid lalong-lalo na sa mga mahihirap.  “Be merciful like the Father!”

Ipinaskil ni kalakbay ng kabataan

Source: kiliti-ng-diyos.blogspot.com/2016/01/pagpapakita-ng-awa-at-malasakit-ng.html

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Moments

For all and for always

By Fr. Jerry M. Orbos SVD
Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:00 pm | Saturday, January 5th, 2013

The story is told about a young priest who, on his first sacerdotal anniversary, told his parishioners that the first person who came to him for confession in the parish was someone involved in an adulterous relationship. Later, the town mayor, who arrived late and was unaware of what had been said earlier, proudly revealed to everyone: “I have the distinct honor to be the very first person to go to confession to Father when he first arrived here!”

* * *

Today is the Solemnity of the Lord’s Epiphany, when his Lordship is revealed and manifested. In today’s Gospel (Mt. 2, 1-12), we hear of the story of the Magi who were led by a star to the place where Jesus was born.  They paid Him homage and offered their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to signify Jesus’ identity as King, priest, and prophet for all. From the very start, the missionary aspect of our faith is clear: Jesus, God’s greatest gift to the world, must be shared with everyone to all the ends of the world. Jesus is not for our sole keeping but for all and for always.

* * *

Blessings given to us are not for us to keep. Blessings are to be shared and to be used according to God’s plan. Likewise, our faith is to be shared. We should not just be grateful receivers, we should also become joyful givers!

* * *

A lot of things have been said about the late Fr. James B. Reuter, SJ, but I would like to honor him as an Epiphany priest. His whole life was a life of sharing until the very end. Here was a person who was revealed far and wide by his work and by his very person.

* * *

Father Reuter can rightly be called a “Mama’s boy” because of his devotion to and love for the Blessed Mother, which was so evident and so inspiring. I wish all priests and religious would have that humble, childlike heart that truly loves Mary. As our former novice master, Fr. Alphonse Mildner, SVD, always told us:  “You may become priests without the Blessed Mother, but if you want to become good priests, you must hold on to the Blessed Mother.”

* * *

Speaking of mothers, I made a trip to San Carlos City in Pangasinan for my 91-year-old Mama last Jan. 2. She was all set to go but backed out at the last minute, so I went with the driver anyway to do her wish that I bless the tombs of her parents, Tomas Muñoz (who died in 1989) and Laurentina Galicia (1998). I passed by Mama’s 87-year-old brother, Dr. Angel Muñoz, and together we went to the cemetery to pay homage to our deceased relatives. It was a long, tiresome round trip but a meaningful one, especially if done for a loved one.

* * *

Before we leave the Nativity scene, take note that the eyes of Joseph and Mary are focused on the child. This, for me, is the source of true peace. They are not focused on the poor surroundings, or on the people coming and going, or on the gifts that people were bringing. They were not even focused on each other. Perhaps that’s all we need to do as we go through life. Let us keep our eyes focused on the Lord, and the mission He has given us in this life.

* * *

Last Jan. 3, we sent off Fr. Sedfrey Nebres, SVD, for his first mission assignment to the Netherlands. Having gone to the foreign missions myself (four years in South Korea), I know what it is like to leave home, country and family for the sake of the Gospel. I can never begin to imagine, though, the feelings of Father Sedfrey’s mother, who was letting go of her eldest child and only son. The work of revelation and Epiphany goes on.  Let us all continue to become the Lord’s manifestation whoever we are, whatever we do. Who knows what will happen in 2013? As it has been often said, we do not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future in His hands. We just do our best, and to God we leave the rest.

* * *

God’s love is for all and for always, for all times and for all seasons. This October I turn 60, and more and more I realize that the sunset years of life must be spent on quality time and payback time. Whatever is left with the rest of our lives must be the best of our lives, continuing to live out God’s love for all and for always.

* * *

Here’s wishing and praying that money and politics do not destroy the values that define us as a people and as a nation. Spare us, Lord, from greedy and selfish leaders, the modern-day “Herods.” Let us continue to pray and work for peace!

* * *

Think about it: “Forgiveness is the key to being free from the toxic bitterness of people who have hurt you so. Forgive the boss who did you wrong; forgive the friend who betrayed you; forgive the parent who mistreated you when you were younger; forgive everyone, the living and the dead, and don’t let the root of bitterness grow deeper and continue to contaminate your life. Certainly, one can’t live with poison inside his being and not expect it to eventually do him harm. Forgive yourself.”

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, use me as an instrument of your love for all and for always. Amen.

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Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord Sermon and Homily Notes

Inspirational Story

LUNCH WITH GOD

From Stan Wrigth, Author Unknown

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him a Twinkie. He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. His smile was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I had lunch with God.” And before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? He’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen.”

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and asked, “Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.” And before his son responded, he added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Embrace all equally.

Let people know how important they are. (Have lunch with God!)

The central point of this celebration is salvation for all

As we celebrate the feast of Epiphany today we should remember the background for this feast. Epiphany means revelation or manifestation. Epiphany was originally an Eastern Church celebration. Earlier the baptism of the Lord was celebrated for this feast, because this is the first revelation of God to the people. When it moved to western world, this feast was celebrated as Epiphany, saying salvation not only to the people of Israel but also to the Gentiles.

Epiphany is now celebrated as the 12th day of Christmas and its celebration seems to predate the celebration of Christmas itself. The Greek word “epiphany”, meaning  manifestation or appearance was used most often in ancient times to describe the king or ruler “showing himself” before the people of the nation.

The 12th night is a familiar title of a Shakespearian play and comes from European  heritage where 12th night parish parties are (or were) celebrated. These parties have carried over into the Mardi Gras tradition. During the party, at the appointed time, the king cake is brought out. Hidden in the cake are three beans or coins. Those who find the “prizes” are crowned kings or queens for the evening. While the “royalty” are being outfitted for their office, the Christmas tree is stripped of all ornaments (German Lutherans call this “plundering the tree”). The tree is removed from the room and saved for the Lenten season when it is stripped of its branches and made into a processional cross. Tradition also celebrates the arrival of the wise men at this time.

In today’s Gospel passage we find tree elementary truth.

1. God wants to reveal Himself

2. God reveals Himself to good heart people

3. God hides Himself also from the bad people

God wants to reveal Himself

This is the nature of God to reveal Himself  to anything and anybody which or who comes closer to God.  In other words anything comes closer to God will experience God presence.

How is God revealing Himself today?

Today God is revealing himself to us in many ways.

1. A restless spirit

Read Esther 6:1-10. How did God direct the king to honor Mordecai?
2. A spoken word

God also gets our attention through the wisdom of others.

From what two sources did Eli learn that his sons would die (1 Sam. 2:22-36; 3:1-18)? Why were they cut down in the prime of life?
3. An unusual blessing

To get our attention, God may show His favor in unexpected ways.

What prompted one Roman jailer to ask how he could be saved (Acts 16:16-34)?
4. Unanswered prayer

Sometimes God will answer a prayer with “No.” He may want to deal with sin or misplaced priorities. Or He may have something more important in store for us.

What did the Lord eventually reveal to Paul about why God did not remove his “thorn” (2 Cor. 12:9-10)?

5. Disappointment

When the nation of Israel refused God’s command to take possession of the Promised Land, they were judged for unbelief. Through disappointment, the Lord got their attention.

How were they punished for failing to trust God (Num. 14:27-32)?
6. Extraordinary circumstances

The Creator can use unusual phenomena to get our attention.

To attract Moses, God used a burning bush that was not consumed by fire (Ex. 3:1-22). Based on the future leader’s reaction to the Lord’s command, why do you think God chose to get his attention this way instead of simply speaking to him (Ex. 4:1-16)?
7. Defeat

God may use defeat to show us the truth.

Why did the Israelite army lose the battle at Ai (Josh. 7:7-12)?
8. Tragedy, sickness, and financial troubles

We should regard our afflictions as reasons to ask the Lord, “What are You trying to tell me?”

What was God’s purpose in Hezekiah’s illness (2 Chron. 32:24)?

Source: sundaysermon.org

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EPIPHANY: OUR JOURNEY SHOULD BE GUIDED BY THE “STAR”

Mt 2:1-12

MANY PEOPLE often go to fortune-tellers in order to know what their future would be or see how their future would look like.  By merely looking at the stars, fortune tellers could foretell future events.  Future events for them may be good or bad, depending on the arrangement of the stars.  Sad to say, many of us Christians believe more on what they say rather than what the Sacred Scripture says.  They put so much faith in fortune-tellers, and they are a kind of surrendering their own fate to them.
In the gospel reading, we find that the “star” led the wise men to the newborn “king of the Jews”. The wise men in the gospel are associated with interpretation of dreams, Zoroastrianism, astrology and magic.  So, we may ask, what made them decide to go and pay homage to Mary’s child?  They could simply sit down and wonder at the star they saw.  But then again they set on a journey to pay homage to the newborn king of the Jews.
First, let us reflect on the “star”. As astrologers, the wise men must have observed this star as extraordinary among the celestial bodies.  Perhaps they were struck by its brightness, or size, or its position.  They said to Herod, ‘We saw his star at its rising..’  The wise men believe that the star reveals important information about the child.  The star was already pointing to the one who will shepherd Israel, to a leader, as predicted in the scripture. That particular star reveals the true nature of Jesus.  The star that the wise men saw serves God’s purpose and leads them to Jesus. The power of astral determination is broken. There is no more prediction of the future.  The star has pointed us to Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life.  Our future is in Christ and is Christ.
Second, the wise men were overjoyed at seeing the star. Stars, together with the moon, are beautiful to behold at night. We can see its grandeur, as well as the marvels of God for creating these heavenly bodies. We always enjoy watching stars at night. The gospel passage stresses on the reaction of the wise men upon seeing this star. They were overjoyed. This feeling of joy must also be maintained by us. The star, who is Jesus, must be a source of joy in our life.
Third, let us reflect on the gifts. The wise men set on a journey bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Traditionally these gifts symbolize the kingship, divinity and redemptive suffering of Christ respectively.  The gifts are also considered as an anticipation of Christ’s life.  Christians are also in a journey bringing those gifts that the wise men brought.  It was also a gift to us, a gift from God.  This is to remind us that our journey never ends in Christmas, looking at Jesus who revealed Himself to us as a child.  We continue to walk with Him as a royal people.
The Church is considered by the Second Vatican Council as a pilgrim Church. The Church is on a journey towards the Fatherland, our homeland. Like the wise men, let us continue our journey full of hope in Jesus who saves. As the wise men were directed and guided by a star, let us also be guided by Christ while on a journey. Our journey without Christ could be meaningless, and even impossible. Let us always turn our gaze on the Star who is Jesus. He is the Way, and therefore, through him we would certainly arrive at the home of the Father safely and securely.

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THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD: THE PILGRIM CHURCH

Mt 2:1-12

MANY PEOPLE often go to fortune-tellers in order to know what their future would be or see how their future would look like.  By merely looking at the stars, fortune tellers could foretell future events.  Future events for them may be good or bad, depending on the arrangement of the stars.  Sad to say, many of us Christians believe more on what they say rather than what the Sacred Scripture says.  They put so much faith in fortune-tellers, and they are a kind of surrendering their own fate to them.

In the gospel reading, we find that the “star” led the wise men to the newborn “king of the Jews”. The wise men in the gospel are associated with interpretation of dreams, Zoroastrianism, astrology and magic.  So, we may ask, what made them decide to go and pay homage to Mary’s child?  They could simply sit down and wonder at the star they saw.  But then again they set on a journey to pay homage to the newborn king of the Jews.

First, let us reflect on the “star”. As astrologers, the wise men must have observed this star as extraordinary among the celestial bodies.  Perhaps they were struck by its brightness, or size, or its position.  They said to Herod, ‘We saw his star at its rising..’  The wise men believe that the star reveals important information about the child.  The star was already pointing to the one who will shepherd Israel, to a leader, as predicted in the scripture.  That particular star reveals the true nature of Jesus.  The star that the wise men saw serves God’s purpose and leads them to Jesus.  The power of astral determination is broken.  There is no more prediction of the future.  The star has pointed us to Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life.  Our future is in Christ and is Christ.

 

Second, the wise men were overjoyed at seeing the star. Stars, together with the moon, are beautiful to behold at night. We can see its grandeur, as well as the marvels of God for creating these heavenly bodies. We always enjoy watching stars at night. The gospel passage stresses on the reaction of the wise men upon seeing this star. They were overjoyed. This feeling of joy must also be maintained by us. The star, who is Jesus, must be a source of joy in our life.

Third, let us reflect on the gifts. The wise men set on a journey bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Traditionally these gifts symbolize the kingship, divinity and redemptive suffering of Christ, respectively.  The gifts are also considered as anticipation of Christ’s life.  Christians are also in a journey bringing those gifts that the wise men brought.  It was also a gift to us, a gift from God.  This is to remind us that our journey never ends in Christmas, looking at Jesus who revealed Himself to us as a child.  We continue to walk with Him as a royal people.

The Church is considered by the Second Vatican Council as a pilgrim Church. The Church is on a journey towards the Fatherland, our homeland. Like the wise men, let us continue our journey full of hope in Jesus who saves. As the wise men were directed and guided by a star, let us also be guided by Christ while on a journey. Our journey without Christ could be meaningless, and even impossible. Let us always turn our gaze on the Star who is Jesus. He is the Way, and therefore, through him we would certainly arrive at the home of the Father safely and securely.

Source: msp.org.ph/homilies.do?id=21803

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

EPIPHANY SUNDAY (YEAR C)

Mateo 2:1-12

Naandan na nato nga tawgon kining adlawa nga piyesta sa “Tulo ka mga Hari” – Melchor, Gaspar ug Baltazar. Diha sa Ebanghelyo, atong nasayran nga kining gitawag nato nga mga “hari” mga tawo diay nga makinaadmanon o Wise Men nga nagtuon sa kabitoonan aron sa pagpangita og mga timailhan sa kalangitan. Usa ka adlaw niana, ang mga Wise Men nakakita sa talagsaong bitoon nga ilang gitoohan nga magdala kanila ngadto sa Hari sa kalibutan. Busa nibiya sila sa ilang tagsa-tagsa ka mga lugar ug panimalay aron pagsunod sa bitoon. Kining maong bitoon maoy nagtultol kanila sa usa ka lugar diin ilang nakaplagan ang usa ka inahan ug usa ka bata nga bag-ong gipanganak. Didto ilang giyukboan ang bata ug ilang gihatagan sa ilang mga gasa nga bulawan, insenso ug mira. Tungod sa ilang pagpasidungog sa bata nga Dios, ang tulo ka makinaadmanong tawo nakadawat usab sa pagpasidungog sa tibuok Kristohanong katilingban.

Tugoti ako karon nga mamalandong uban kaninyo sa kahulogan sa pulong nga “Wise”. Kanus-a man ang usa ka tawo mahimong makinaadmanon? Unsa man ang atong gipasabot kon moingon kita nga “Wise” ang usa ka tawo?

Para sa mga kalibotanon, ang “Wise” nga tawo mao siya nga makamaong mag-inantigo o makamaong mopalusot. Sa pagkatinuod, ang mga tawo nga ingon ani og batasan angay’ng tawgon nga Wa-is, dili Wise.

Ang usa ka “Wa-is nga politiko” mao kadtong makamaong mangawkaw sa kwarta sa gobyerno nga dili mahibaloan. Ang “Wa-is nga bana” mao kadtong makamaong mang-tsiks apan dili masakpan sa asawa. Ang usa ka “Wa-is nga driver” mao kadtong makamaong molusot sa mga traffic lights ug mga traffic officers. Ang “Wa-is nga estudyante” mao kadtong dili seryoso nga magtoon apan makapasar pinaagi sa pagkodego o pagpangopya. Ug ang usa ka “Wa-is nga empleyado” mao kadtong makamaong maglikay sa trabaho apan makadawat gihapon sa saktong sweldo.

Sa Ebanghelyo karon, atong masabtan nga si Herodes lahi og kinaiya sa sa tulo ka Wise Men. Si Herodes maoy modelo sa mga “Wa-is” nga mga tawo, mahugaw ang iyang mga pamaagi. Gitugon ni Herodes ang tulo ka makinaadmanon nga pahibaloon siya kon makit-an na nila ang bata kay aron siya usab makahatag og pagyukbo sa batang hari. Apan sulod sa iyang kasingkasing aduna na siyay plano sa pagpatay sa bata.

Lahi ang kahibalo ug pamaagi sa tulo ka Wise Men tungod kay kini pinasubay man sa kamatuoran ug katarong.

Una, ang mga Wise Men nangita sa tinuod nga Ginoo. Ang tawo nga tinuod nga wisemakahibalo nga adunay labaw nga makagagahom nga maoy tinubdan sa tanang mga butang. Dili mahitabo nga ang tawo maoy maghari kay ang tawo lumalabay lamang ug walay igong katakos nga makahimo sa kalibutan. Ang tawo nga wise nasayod nga kinahanglan siyang moyukbo sa Dios tungod kay Siya ang tag-iya sa tanang kinabuhi ug butang ning kalibutan.

Ikaduha, ang mga Wise Men nasayod nga ang tinuod nga kalipay makab-ot diha sa pagsunod sa giya sa kahitas-an. Si Herodes wala gayod makahinong sa hayag nga bitoon kay wala man siyay panahon nga mohangad. Gusto man lang siya nga maoy hangdon sa mga tawo. Ang tinuod nga wise masayod nga pinaagi sa paghangad sa kahitas-an, ang tawo makakita sa saktong dalan ug sa kamatuoran.

Sa katapusan, ang mga Wise Men nagdala sa ilang mga gasa ngadto sa Batang Manunubos. Nasayod man sila nga adunay kalipay nga ilang makab-ot pinaagi sa paghalad o pagpaambit sa ilang abot ngadto sa Dios ug sa ilang isigkatawo. Si Herodes kanunay nga gahunahuna sa iyang kaugalingong kaayohan lamang ug tungod niini siya wala gayod magmalipayon. Siya nagpabiling nga nag-inusara ug nagmahadlokon. Ang tinuod nga wise makahibalo nga adunay kalipay sa pagpakigdait ug pagtinabangay.

Igsoon, Wa-is ka ba o Wise? Hinaot unta nga kita mahisama sa tulo ka Wise Men, ug dili ni hari Herodes!

Posted by Abet Uy

Source: abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/01/epiphany-sunday-year-c.html

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Lessons from the Magi

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
January 1, 2016

Did you know there were originally 6 Kings, not 3? Only three reached Bethlehem. The 4th got lost and ended in the USA, the 5th to China, and 6th to the Philippines. They were: BURGER KING, CHOWKING, and TAPA KING, respectively.

* * *

Levity aside, tomorrow we celebrate the feast of the Magi or Epiphany. It is called “epiphany” because Jesus revealed himself not only to the Jews, the chosen people, but also to pagan visitors. Epiphany — from the Greek term “epiphanein”– means “manifestation.”

* * *

The gospel writer teaches that Christ’s salvation is UNIVERSAL, that is, embracing all peoples. Hence, the teaching of certain church denominations that they–and only they–will be saved clearly contradicts Jesus’ teachings, particularly the Epiphany event.

* * *

Another thing to correct is the misconception that the mysterious personages that came to pay homage to the Christ Child were kings as popularly known.

Matthew, the only evangelist who recounts the episode of these personages, wrote: “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea…behold, Magi came from the East to Jerusalem…” (Mt 2,2).

* * *

Magi were wise men or enlightened astrologers, not the manghuhula or fortune tellers we know today. That the wise men were transformed into “kings” by common belief is due to the corrupt interpretation of a messianic prophecy in the Old Testament, thus: “The Kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer gifts.” (Ps 72).

* * *

What’s the message of the Magi episode in our life? According to Matthew, the wise men searched for the new-born Child. Searching requires courage and perseverance.

* * *

In practical life, it takes a strong conviction to be faithful to one’s religious principles and persevering moral integrity.

One example is a taxi driver, Primitivo Salo. He was among the 2009 Goodyear “Bayani ng Kalsada” (Highway Heroes) awardees after returning a cash P80,000 a passenger had left in his cab.

* * *

“In fact, I have gotten loyal customers who would call me to drive them home when it’s late at night because they trust me,” Salo said proudly.

* * *

In married life, it also takes moral courage and perseverance to remain a faithful husband or wife in a milieu where infidelity and broken marriages abound.

The British statesman Thomas B. Macaulay once said: “The test of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found.”

* * *

Moreover, in our society characterized by perennial new beginnings and ningas cogon like the anti-littering, anti-smoking, and or anti-vote buying laws, perseverance and consistency are needed so people may get to learn a good habit.

 

* * *

The great philosopher Aristotle once said: “Goodness and virtue comes through HABIT and PRACTICE. It means doing the right things consistently day in and day out, in private and in public.”

* * *

May the Magi in this Sunday’s gospel teach us to practice fidelity, firm conviction and perseverance.

* * *

PRAY WITH US ON TV.

* * *

HAPPY THREE KINGS!

Source: mb.com.ph/lessons-from-the-magi-3/

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January 3, 2016 Sunday (from the Word in Other Words)

THE WORD

FIRST READING 
Is 60: 1–6
Arise! Shine, for your light has come, the glory of the LORD has dawned upon you.  Though darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds, the peoples, upon you the LORD will dawn, and over you his glory will be seen. Nations shall walk by your light, kings by the radiance of your dawning.
Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you—Your sons from afar, your daughters in the arms of their nurses.
Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall throb and overflow. For the riches of the sea shall be poured out before you, the wealth of nations shall come to you.  Caravans of camels shall cover you, dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; All from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and heralding the praises of the LORD.

SECOND READING 
Eph 3: 2–3.5-6
If, as I suppose, you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, [namely, that] the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly earlier.
Which was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

GOSPEL READING
Mt 2: 1–12
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”  When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:
‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

IN OTHER WORDS
The church celebrates today the Epiphany, “the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, son of God and Savior of the world”, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it. From this alone, we’d get the idea that this feast is a “heavy weight”.
Furthermore, the Greek word epiphany was used to refer to “the splendid appearance of a wealthy city”, or more commonly to the “spectacular appearance of a hidden divinity”. And I think this nuance of the word Epiphany puts some glitz and glamour to this already heavyweight feast.
And then we have the rst reading which speaks of Isaiah’s breathtaking vision of the Light and the Glory of the Lord rising upon Zion, attracting nations and kings and even camels to come streaming toward her.
Now, if we put all these together then we would have an irresistibly beautiful, spectacularly glamorous, heavyweight feast. But the Gospel tones it down a little bit. By all means it does not take away its beauty; Matthew puts together the image of a star and a little child in a manger, which is not only beautiful but also tender. But then he adds a very sober reminder for us all: the Epiphany of God is a tender, irresistibly beautiful, spectacularly glamorous, heavyweight event for SOME, but not for OTHERS. So that really this feast challenges rather than pampers…
I saw an interview of a champion Mixed Martial Artist once. He was asked what the hardest part of being a champion was. And he replied, “People see the shiny belt around my waist, they hear the accolades I receive everywhere, they read about how much money I have in the bank… the most diffi cult part is that which people do not normally see, and that is the sweat, the blood and the tears that I paint the gym with every day”.
Epiphany rhymes with shiny. And traditionally the magi look shiny and even kingly. But everybody needs to see, that before they got to where they needed to be, they had to study the skies night and day. And to nally see the “baby”, they had to spend time, money and energy. Epiphany is indeed shiny. But to be able to bathe in its beauty, one would have to be willing to get down and dirty. (Fr. Dante Barril, SVD | Rome, Italy Bible Diary 2016)

Source: rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/384-january-3-2016-sunday

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January 03, 2016

REFLECTION:
READ: The Gospel makes the non-Jewish people share the same inheritance in Christ Jesus, belong to the same Body and receive the same divine promises.
REFLECT: In the vast movement of world unification, today’s feast marks a decisive step when the pagan world (represented by the Magi) joined the Chosen People to form one Christ People.
PRAY: Let us ask the Lord to help us bring about the unity of mankind under the headship of Christ.
ACT: Today try to foster whatever unites people together.

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

Source: schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3401-january-03-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Cycle C

Back to: Epiphany of the Lord (Year C)

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