Monday, June 18, 2012
Vengeance is not Christian. Neither is it really Jewish. The interpreters of the law made it impossible for the state to sanction the killing of people for their crimes. The option of locking people up in order to protect society from criminal acts is the only moral road to take. If this is impossible to do, then perhaps there is room to consider capital punishment. Let us seek to avoid taking lives as we can never be sure that the guilty one is the one we are punishing.
A lamp to my feet is your word, a light to my path.
38 Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. 40 If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. 41 Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”
think: The more you have, the greater the responsibility to use it not for yourself, but for others.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Jesus is an obedient child — He does as He is told to do. Later He will encourage us all to embrace the need to become like little children as we seek to respond to the Gospel. It is the purity of a child’s heart, always trusting in the inherent goodness of his/her parents, that is essential in the life of a disciple. Nothing gets done unless we are willing to trust that God desires the best for us.
Blessed is the Virgin Mary who kept the word of God and pondered it in her heart.
41 Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, 42 and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. 43 After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44 Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, 47 and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he said to them. 51 He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.
think: It is the purity of a child’s heart, always trusting in the inherent goodness of his/her parents, that is essential in the life of a disciple.
HEART TO HEART
When I was young, my mother used to dictate to me the answer to the perennial question: What do you want to be when you grow up? At first, it was to be a doctor, then a lawyer. But this childhood fancy would keep changing as I grew up.
High school was entirely different. I started to think independently from my mother. Suddenly, I was fancying journalism, advertising, etc. But whenever I would be asked to sign slambooks, I would jokingly write: to be a priest. For somebody like me, it was meant to be a joke.
But apparently the Lord read my joke and took it seriously.
My mother was frustrated that her easy-go-lucky, youngest son wanted to enter the seminary. But to give in to her longing and obsession, I entered the University of the Philippines for college and became known as the only boy in our part of Tondo to enter U.P. Oh, how proud my mother was! But at 18, I decided to leave U.P. and prepare for my entrance to the seminary. My mother was surprised that I came home in the middle of the week. The statue of the Virgin Mary, which was being brought to different houses in our block, was in our home that week, as if she was there to help explain my predicament to my mother. It pained my mother no end to think that I would enter the seminary. It broke her heart. Yet it was necessary.
In the Gospel, the Lord has come of age quite early. He was 12. Mary’s heart was broken when they could not find Him for three days. Finally, they found Him at the temple in a discussion with the high priests.
Jesus now has a mind of His own, knowing very well the mission He had to undertake later. It broke the heart of Mary. Her Son, in no time, would live a life and mission of His own. Letting go of Him was difficult. It broke the heart of Mary. Yet, it was necessary.
He broke her heart so these broken pieces may be one with His. From then on, Mary understood. She owned the mission and longing of Jesus, in the union of the two hearts! Fr. Erick Y. Santos, SFO
REFLECTION QUESTION: What heartbreaking experiences did you have which made you a whole and better person?
Lord, let the longings of my heart be united to Yours. Thank You Lord Jesus and Mama Mary. Amen.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Jesus has accomplished the task His Father sent Him to do. He has given His life for us. All that remains now is for God to raise Jesus from the dead. We all know this has been done, too. Why then do we doubt God’s love for us? Surely there is no greater sign of His love than the resurrection of Jesus and offering us a share in it!
God first loved us and sent His Son as expiation for our sins.
31 Since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, 34 but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. 36 For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of it will be broken.” 37 And again another passage says: “They will look upon him whom they have pierced.”
The Gospel today can very well answer the four Ws: What happened? The crucifixion. Who are involved? Jesus and the two criminals who were crucified with Him. Where did it happen? In the Hill of Golgotha or “The Place of Skull.” Why did it happen?
The answer, which starts with because, is followed by a longer story — a love story. In fact, the greatest love story of all time, spanning 33 years — from Bethlehem to Calvary, from Calvary to the empty tomb.
The Gospel depicts the sufferings that Jesus had to go through because of His immense love for us. The Good Friday spirit is perfectly captured. It speaks of love beyond all telling — of a God who chose to be a man and suffer the scandal of the cross if only to save us and offer the highest form of sacrifice: death on the cross.
The scene took a few hours but to us, it left an indelible mark in the hearts of Christians who feel that we are not even worthy of such a sacrificial love. Jesus was at His most pitiful state. Ironically, the pitiful Jesus pities us: “My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred.” He, who suffered tremendously, offered everything out of His compassion and love for us. As Blessed John Paul II said, “Mercy is the greatest expression of love.”
And on his side, a lance was pierced. “And immediately blood and water flowed.” It is the moment of grace. As the prayer to the Divine Mercy suggests, “From this wounded side flowed an ocean of mercy.” The Wounded Side has become a relevant representation of a heart most pure, a heart most undefiled, a heart most enduring.
May this love story borne out of His Sacred Heart continue to inspire us to love even more, to learn the meaning of sacrifice, to practice selflessness, to endure sufferings with the joy of a Christian, to be compassionate at all times, and to bear witness to the Gospel of Love.
We have all reasons to be happy and to love unconditionally — because He loves us.Fr. Erick Y. Santos, SFO
REFLECTION QUESTION: Are we ready to be rooted and grounded in love, and to make our hearts resemble Jesus’ heart?
Jesus, make our hearts like to Thine. Amen.
Education has always been key to my growth both as a person and as a professional. This part of my life is special to me because not only do I learn new things and encounter new people, I also witness the actual growth reflected in the things I do and say, wherever I am.
I have always been a fan of education. I am also an advocate of learning. I believe education is the answer to most of society's ills. I am also a staunch believer that education is a right, a constitutional one at that, and not a privilege.
Recently, my childhood friend and I embarked on a journey together. It was our first attempt at hosting our own little chapter of our Santo Papa's vision of our School of Peace.
I am sharing some pictures taken during that special day we spent with the kids in our neighborhood.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
The Beatitudes provide wonderful food for reflection. It is important that we realize that the attitudes of the heart that they spell out are essential aspects of living in the Kingdom of God. Let us meditate on these words of God often until they are etched into our hearts and minds.
Go and teach all the nations, says the Lord; I am with you always, until the end of the world.
Matthew 5:1-12 (or Matthew 10:7-13)
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 He began to teach them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. 6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”