April 22, 2017
How Merciful is God’s Mercy?
We might sometimes, or even often, limit God’s mercy to the forgiveness of our sins. We think of it as a kind of pardon – similar to what given to a criminal after the person has served the deserved punishment.
It is true that we are all sinners who are repeatedly in need of God’s mercy and pardon.
But God’s mercy is not the same as our juridical system, in which the records of one’s crimes are kept – sometimes seemingly forever.
God, in His great mercy, forgives our sins. Moreover, God, in the death and resurrection of God’s only Son, has made us free children of God. Thus, the profession of the First Letter of Peter (today’s 2nd Reading),
“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy, gave us a new birth to a living hope …, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”
That is the extent of God’s mercy.
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April 15, 2017
In today’s first reading, Peter testifies, “They put [Jesus] to death by hanging him on a tree.” (Acts 10: 39b)
The Romans reserved the capital punishment of crucifixion to slaves.
The Jewish people, following the Law of Moses, consider one who die on a tree a curse. In the Book of Deuteronomy, “anyone who is hanged is a curse of God” (21: 23).
The one who died the death of a punished slave is now the Victorious King.
The man who was a curse became a blessing for all, as Paul wrote, “Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13).
The power of God’s contradiction can already be seen in the courage newly discovered by the two disciples. They, who three days ago ran for their lives, now run toward the tomb – the place of death. There, they witnessed the victory of God.
What are the contradictions of God in my life? May I see the power of the Risen Christ in my life, particularly when I experience those contradictions.
April 8, 2017
The Humility of the Son of God – an Act of Love
One of the central themes of the celebration of Palm Sunday is the humility of the Son of God.
This theme is highlighted by two images or details.
First, Jesus’ riding on a donkey entering Jerusalem. A warrior or victorious king would ride on a horse or a horse-drawn chariot.
Second, his crucifixion – the capital punishment reserved for slaves.
Thus, St. Paul’s reflection, “Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, … emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; … he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
How great is God’s love for us!
And may we learn from his humility and gentleness.
April 1, 2017
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“I Am the Resurrection and the Life”
Death – an unavoidable reality that we all face.
In normal cycles of nature, to disasters, famines, wars, social and political crisis, moral failures, sins, sickness, and our own mortality, …
In spite of technological advances, social progress, discoveries, knowledge, and growth in all aspects of life, we still have to face evils and death.
Just like us, Martha and Mary struggled with the death of their brother.
To us, just as to them, Jesus reveals, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
Lent offers us the opportunities to face our failures, shortcomings, weaknesses, and even death. We then can appreciate more deeply the gift of life, both in this world and for all eternity, that God alone can give us in the death and resurrection of God’s only Son.
Image source: Last image from www.cnn.com
March 25, 2017
Open to Jesus
In this Gospel passage, we find two progressions – toward faith in Jesus and away from Jesus.
Those who oppose Jesus move away from him. Initially, some of them are open to the possibility that Jesus might be from God based on what he could do. In the end, they conclude that he is a sinner.
The man born blind first refers to his healer as “the man called Jesus.” Next, he proclaims, “He is a prophet.” Then, he professes that Jesus is from God. Finally, he addresses Jesus as Lord and worships him.
The key difference between those who oppose Jesus and the man born blind is the encounter with Jesus. Ironically, Jesus’ opponents do not even once make any attempt to speak to him directly. They question the man born blind more than once. They even interrogate his parents. But not Jesus.
The man, on the contrary, speaks to Jesus when Jesus approaches him. And he is willing to accept whatever Jesus will tell him.
The Lord Jesus always takes the first approach and speaks to us. May we have our eyes open to see him, our ears open to listen to him, and our hearts open to accept, love, and worship him.
March 18, 2017
A Public Sinner Becomes a Witness and Apostle
It is most likely that the town people know the Samaritan woman’s personal history, which is by no means exemplary.
Yet, after meeting Jesus, she becomes a witness who leads others to him. She even acknowledges publicly, “He told me everything I have done.”
A public sinner becomes a disciple and an apostle – one who is sent as a witness to lead others to “the savior of the world.”
As disciples and apostles of Jesus, our credibility does not come from who we are, or our worthiness, or the lack of it. While we must strive to become more authentic witnesses, our credibility comes from but the One who sends us – Jesus Christ.
March 11, 2017
“It Is Good that We Are Here”
The Transfiguration was a privileged experience of Jesus in his glory for Peter, James, and John. Yet, all Jesus’ disciples of all times continue to encounter him
1. In his words, confirmed by the voice from the bright cloud.
2. In his Eucharist, his sacramental and real presence.
3. In the members of his Body, the Church.
On the third presence, it is Jesus, no longer in his glorious appearance, who touched the disciples, told them to rise, and “Do not be afraid.” This Jesus “comes down from the mountain” with them as they continue their journey to the cross together. 
It is indeed “good that we are here” where the Beloved Son of God is always with us.
 Francis J. Moloney. The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections on the Gospel Readings: Year A. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1992; p. 88-89.