August 23, 2014
Matthew 16: 13-20
Listening and Observing
A review of the most recent Sunday Gospel passages might give us some background in understanding today’s passage. For three weeks, we heard Jesus teaching the mysteries of God’s Kingdom through parables (15th, 16th, and 17th Sundays). The next three weeks, Jesus revealed the presence of God’s Kingdom and power through miracles and healing (18th, 19th, and 20th Sundays).
The disciples were present in the audience listening to the parables. They were also present or even took part in the miracles (feeding the people).
Now, Jesus asks them, “Who do you say that I am?”
Jesus is among us. He continues to reveal God’s Kingdom to us through his teachings and his actions.
And the same question continues to be presented to each one of us today.
I can answer that question only if I listen to the voice of Jesus and observing his actions in the events of my life. If either part is missing, I might not get the full picture of who he is.
August 17, 2014
“Great is Your Faith”
Last week (19th Sunday), Jesus walked on the water and calmed the storm. But at first, the disciples were “terrified” and “cried out in fear.” They quickly forgot that it was Jesus who “made them get into the boat” and cross the sea. Peter doubted even when he asked and Jesus told him to come, walking on the water.
The disciples could recognize Jesus as “the Son of God” only after they had seen his power.
Today, a gentile, the Canaanite woman, recognizes and professes Jesus as “Lord” and “Son of David.”
Unlike the disciples, she has faith in Jesus and professes it even before Jesus heals her daughter. She does not need or demand the Son of David to respond to her request as a condition of her faith. Acknowledging him as Lord, and knowing who she is, she could beg him, “Have pity on me.” Then again, “Lord, help me,” after having done him homage.
Thus, Jesus commends, “O woman, great is your faith!”
August 16, 2014
August 9, 2014
Matthew 14: 22-33
It’s Painful, but ….
Hardships, challenges, and even sufferings are all parts of our human reality.
We know that. We all have experienced hardships, challenges, and sufferings.
But it is not easy to know or to explain why.
The disciples in today’s Gospel actually run into the storm as a result of doing what Jesus “makes” them do. Other translations even suggest stronger verbs such as “to force”  or “to compel” .
In the case of Peter walking on water, becomes frightened and about to sink, though Peter asks for it, it is Jesus who allows Peter to get into that situation.
Both events are the opportunities for the disciples to recognize the power of Jesus and to acknowledge, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
How do I take the difficulties and sufferings that God allows to happen in my life?
 Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., The Gospel of Matthew. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN., Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 223.
 Carla Works, “Commentary on Matthew 14: 22-33,” http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2144
July 26, 2014
Matthew 13: 44-52
God Searching for Treasures
Today Jesus gives us a pair of parables that complement each other.
Let’s just look at the main verbs that describe the actions of the two characters in the two parables, namely “to find” and “to search.”
Merriam-Webster Dictionary online gives three main definitions for “to find.”
1. to discover (something or someone) without planning or trying to : to discover (something or someone) by chance
2. to get or discover (something or someone that you are looking for)
3. to discover or learn (something) by studying about it
“To search” also has three definitions
1. to carefully look for someone or something : to try to find someone or something
2. to carefully look for someone or something in (something)
3. to carefully look through the clothing of (someone) for something that may be hidden
The image of the “merchant searching” clears any ambiguity that the Kingdom of God can be discovered “without planning” or “by chance” (the first meaning of “find.”)
There is nothing “by chance” or “without planning” with God and God’s Kingdom.
Some commentators also suggest that the treasure and the pearl of great price can be references to each person created by God, and redeemed by the passion, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ. For sure, our existence and membership in God’s Reign is not by chance nor without God’s planning.
How do I treasure myself and the gift of membership in God’s Kingdom?