December 3, 2016
Matthew indicates that “At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to” listen to John the Baptist.
A careful look at the map of the region suggests that the people who listen to John were both Jews and Gentiles. In fact, Matthew seems to imply that even the Samaritans  went to John to be baptized.
John goes on further saying, “God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.”
It cannot be more inclusive than that.
The Kingdom of God is open to all.
John invites everybody to live that reality of God’s Kingdom.
Do I share God’s invitation with the same generosity? Or do I keep certain people out because of my prejudices?
November 27, 2016
Today is the Day of the Lord’s Coming
One of the lessons Jesus might be teaching us here is the importance of living life with a purpose or an orientation. It can happen that we can go through life aimlessly. How often do people do certain things just because “everybody else is doing it”?
That cannot be with the Christian life.
Moreover, for us, Jesus Christ is the orientation himself because he said, “I am the way.”
In this sense, when Jesus refers to the day when he comes, it is not just about a future event. It is also about the present. He is already here with us to show us the way.
Thus, living life with a purpose and an orientation is about living with Jesus each moment of our lives.
So, Isaiah invites us in the 1st reading, “Let us walk in the light of the Lord.” And Paul encourages us in the 2nd reading, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
And if we live with him now, we will be ready for when he comes both now and in the future.
November 19, 2016
The King Who Saves Others
As Jesus is hung on the cross, three times, three different people/groups of people either tell Jesus to “save yourself” or expect him to save himself.
The three are the rulers, the soldiers, and one of the criminals. They seem to be people who are familiar with this kind of expectation of any earthly king.
But this King’s mission is not to save himself.
In fact, from the very beginning, his identity as one who saves others was already given by the angel to Mary. “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus” (Luke 1:31). This identity is further clarified by Matthew, “he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
The one criminal knows and trusts in this King as one who has come to save people like him.
What is my view of this King?
November 12, 2016
“Do Not Follow Them”
The people in this Gospel passage admire the temple's “costly stones and votive offerings.” Their admiration for the temple is limited to the external things.
Do they pay attention to the God who dwells in that temple?
So often, we allow ourselves to be caught up in the temporary and external things, even if they are good. We even put our hopes and trust in things that do not last for ever.
We also put our hopes and trust in people, who are like us, merely God's creatures. They are not the Creator or the Savior themselves.
As a result, we might fail to see the God who gives us all good things and all blessings out of love for us.