homilies, articles, sHORT mEMOS,

NEWS, testimonials, ETC.

“Classic Form”

Acts 20: 20: “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publically and from house to house.” From the Day of Pentecost on, how did the believers spread the Gospel? Teaching publically and from house to house (Acts 2: 46; 5: 42). Here, more than two decades later, the strategy is still being followed successfully. First in the synagogue, then in the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19: 9) and in private homes, Paul and His team spread the Gospel so effectively that the entire province was changed forever. Need we seek for other, more “modern” methods?

CUT IT OFF FOR LIFE

My auntie was a double amputee; she lost both her legs to diabetes during my life time. As a child I was grossly fascinated and scared by the fact that someone had cut off her legs. Both legs were amputated below the knee and she used prosthesis on both legs to get around. But when I think about it, it didn’t really stop her much. She was a pretty social lady, she still went out with her friends, played bingo, taught us card games and lived the rest of her life in a two-story home without adaptations for her disability. I’ll probably always remember her doing scissor exercises with her legs on the couch. She wasn’t letting the remaining part of her legs go to waste. Although I’m sure having

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time: "Purity of Living"

We are here to know God and to make Him known. This is what God wants for us – to know Him and to grow in Him, to be like Him and to be in union with Him more and more each day. In the gospel, Jesus rebukes His disciples when one of them said that there was someone who was casting out the demons, but they were not from their group. Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” As people of God in His kingdom, what we are after is not credit or exclusive privileges and rights to the ministry. We need not be insecure, jealous or envious of people who are able to build the kingdom of God. We share the same cause; what we are after is the restoration of life, the buil

“Everyone”

Luke 4: 40: “While the sun was setting, all who had any sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on every one of them, He was healing them.” We all come to a place in life where we are like the Jews in Susa – disrespected, disregarded, and unimportant. We feel remote from and unworthy of God’s touch. That might be how we feel, but that’s not the way it is. Today’s reading is not a mere story, but a principle and a pattern. Jesus is here to lay His hands on every one of us, because every one of His children is important to Him.

“Turnabout”

Esther 8: 17b: “And many among the people of the land became Jews, for the dread of the Jews had fallen on them.” This whole story began because the Jews were disregarded and disrespected in the society of that time; however, by the end of the tale, instead of hating the Jews, everybody wanted to be one! The Song of Mary (Luke 1: 52-54) and the Song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2: 4-10), among other scriptures, reflect this theme. If you feel ignored or marginalized today, remember: The God of Esther and Mordecai is still on the throne! “He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of His people.” (Psalm 113: 7, 8).

“Ready with the Word”

Luke 4: 17: “And the book of Isaiah the prophet was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written …” If you were handed the Word of God by someone and asked to share His message for that day, could you “find the place” immediately? Not a website, blog, or posting, but “the place” where the Lord’s word could be found? Jesus could, because it was “His custom” (v. 16). This is the reason we read the MDR regularly – so we can be ready with the Word!

“Group Dynamics”

Acts 19: 7: “Paul … came to Ephesus and found some disciples … and there were in all about twelve men.” I imagine these original twelve Ephesian believers didn’t consider themselves a very important group. They didn’t even know exactly what they believed! But they became the foundation of God’s great and mighty work in that city, so that by the end of two years all Asia had heard the Word (v. 10), and “a considerable number of people: (v. 26) had been converted. Even the greatest oaks begin as a small acorn.

“Skillful Hands”

Psalm 78: 70, 72: “He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; so He shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with his skillful hands.” Although the sweet singer of Israel is commonly criticized for his “many” failures, the Lord here accredits King David with spiritual integrity and shepherding skill. Unlike Jereboam, who led the people of Israel forever into idolatry (1 Kings 12: 27-33), David turned the people’s heart back to the worship of God and spearheaded the building of the temple. We do well to remember St. Paul’s epitaph of Israel’s greatest king: “He served the purpose of God in his own generation.” (Acts 13: 36).

“In Those Times”

Esther 4: 46: “And she (Esther) sent garments to clothe Mordecai that he might remove his sackcloth from him, but he did not accept them.” Sometimes it is good, proper, and God’s will for us to be sad. Solomon said that there is “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 4), and St. James advises us to “be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned unto mourning, and your joy to gloom.” (James 4: 9) It’s not a popular teaching, but in times of confrontation with God, man, or the mortality of the human race, a bright, bubbly positivism is not always the proper approach. Faith knows how to stand back and grieve in those times

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Purity of Service

Proverbs 2:1 says, “If you will receive My words and treasure My commandments within you, make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding.” There is an effort on our part to hear, to incline, and to open our heart. In the Old Testament, it says, “Hear, O Israel.” In the New Testament, it says, “Hear what the Spirit is saying.” Ignore the things that are not being said, but hear what is being said. What is the message or what is the messenger trying to convey? When we read or hear a story, what we want to get is the moral of the story not the other details. Don’t pay attention to what is not being said, but get to the main point. It is like telling a joke that in

"Purity of Service"

In verse 34 of today’s Gospel reading, Mark 9:30-37, Jesus and His disciples came to Capernaum. While on their way, His disciples were discussing among themselves who was the greatest. Capernaum, a city near the Sea of Galilee, was where Jesus called most of His disciples such as the fishermen brothers Peter and Andrew, as well as Matthew the tax collector. Capernaum was also where Jesus performed many miracles. Since Jesus' disciples had been with Him for a while, it seems that they were expecting a hero's welcome as they returned to their hometown, and were probably further expecting Jesus to recognize and even announce which one of them was greater than the others. But the Lord, seeing th

“Religious Athenians”

Acts 17: 22: “And Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.’” Many Christians would be quite pleased if you called them religious; they would consider it a compliment. But that doesn’t seem to be St. Paul’s take on things. It’s dependent on what you’re religious about. If you’re religious about brushing your teeth, or telling or hearing something new, (v. 21) then it isn’t really much of an asset. That’s why he preaches to these “religious Athenians” and implores them to convert!

“Heroine or Heathen”

Esther 1: 17, 18: “For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women causing them to look with contempt on their husbands by saying, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in to his presence, but she did not come.’ And this day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s conduct will speak in the same way to all the king’s princes, and there will be plenty of contempt and anger.” These days there is a controversy: was Vashti in the right or in the wrong? If it is just a case of husband and wife, King Ahasuerus comes off as a bit of a male chauvinist. But as the Bible presents it, this is a case of King and subject. To rebel against the king (and

“Perpetual Ruins”

Psalm 74: 3: “Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; the enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary.” When you think of perpetual ruins you think of scenes from ancient Greece or the Aztec kingdom. But sometimes we can feel as if our lives are perpetual ruins; the glory of God is departed, everything is burned, and nothing therein is fit for the worship of almighty God anymore. But for the Lord, our ruins are never perpetual. He is always ready to restore, and turn His footsteps toward us. He is always ready to consider the Covenant! (v. 20)

“Mercy Triumphs!”

John 12: 16: “These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.” What things had they done to Him? They didn’t really understand Who He was, or why he had to do what He did. Basically, they set Him up for crucifixion. No biggie, right? But the amazing thing is, Jesus forgive them, so that the first words spoken to them after he was resurrected was “Peace.” No condemnation. No guilt trip. Mercy triumphs! (James 2: 19)

“God Owes No Man”

Job 41: 11 “Who has given to Me that I should repay Him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.” We must beware of the attitude, “I’ve done this for God, now I can expect something in return.” Life with Him is not a trading post, and it is not “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” God is something theologians call immutable; that means He lacks nothing, needs nothing. His interaction with us is driven by love, not need.

“Lack of Faith - from Jesus?”

John 12: 8: “For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me.” Wow, these words really sound as if they come from one who has no faith. Did Jesus really say them? Yes, He is simply quoting Deuteronomy 15: 11, “For the poor will never cease to be in the land.” It’s sad because in verse four Moses had said “There shall be no poor among you” – as long as you follow the Lord. But Jesus, knowing the contents of men’s hearts and our selfishness, spoke the sad truth: Man won’t obey, so the poor will remain.

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Purity of Confession

Jesus said, “Who do you say I am?” Probably, this is the most important question that a Christian would be asked. In the gospel, Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” What was the understanding of Christ in the Jewish mind? Christ definitely was not a surname, like the son of Mr. and Mrs. Christ. Christ means the anointed One. Who was anointed before the kings? The kings were anointed by prophets and they used oils for the ceremony. The anointed one was the king and among the kings of Israel, David was regarded as the greatest king that they ever had. Under him was his son, Solomon, and the twelve tribes of Israel, and they were united in one kingdom. But

"Purity of Confession"

In this day and age, life has become so fast paced! Each morning as early as 5 am you see crowds of people rushing to get a ride to work, to school, to airports, all wanting to reach their day’s task on time. Even before the sun rises, bringing joy with its radiance to the world and all creation, people are already so busy and all in a rush! And this continues throughout the day. No wonder people are so cranky, short-tempered, and impatient. Man has no more time to sit down each morning and listen to what our Father has to say, no more time to appreciate the beauty of Creation: the shining sun in the morning, with the bright, blue sky as its background, accompanied by the morning breeze blo

“End of Mistaken Analysis”

Job 38: 1, 2: “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?’” Ever since Job was stricken there certainly has been a great deal of mistaken analysis being poured into his ears, courtesy of his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and the arrogant Elihu. But it stops here! When God comes on the scene and answers all speculations cease, misguided judgments are stricken down, and mistaken analysis is exposed for what it is: mistaken! If you find yourself in Job\s position today, don’t listen to all the knowledge-free words flying around. With the patience of Job, wait for His answer. It will come!

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