December 8, 2018
The Word of God Came to John
Luke introduces a year, then a list of names of people and places to provide a concrete setting for “the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah.”
Into concrete situations, places, and people that the word of God comes into human history and our individual life. Advent calls us to renew our encounter with God in the concreteness of life.
Similarly, each son and daughter of God, you and I, has a unique and concrete place in God’s plan of salvation for all humanity. Advent reminds us of our vocation of furthering the Kingdom of God in the concreteness of our lives. That is our vocation until “all flesh [has] see the salvation of our God.”
Image source: www.agnusday.org
December 2, 2018
To Love Is to Be Ready
One of the tenets of the Christian faith is the belief that the created world will one day end. On that day, the Lord of the universe will return to judge.
Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel can be frightening for those who are not ready when he returns.
But for those who are ready, his return means “redemption is at hand.”
St. Paul reminds us the way to live in order to be ready when the Lord returns, namely to love one another with the love God gives us, and to grow in holiness. Paul prays, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.”
November 24, 2018
Christ’s Kingdom Does Not Belong to this World
The author of the Book of Revelation professes that Jesus Christ “has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.” Jesus did that when he came to live in the world, then died and rose from the dead.
That kingdom is present in this world, but that “kingdom does not belong to this world” (Gospel).
In this time of the year, we can get caught up in shopping, in buying and selling. We live in the world where people fight over influence, compete for popularity and fame, where jealousy, hatred, violence, and war have not been banished.
Where are our priorities? Am I building a kingdom in this world or Christ’s kingdom, which does not belong to this world?
Image source: Statue of Christ the Redeemer, Basilica of St. Peter's, Vatican
November 10, 2018
The Offering of Life
The poor widow “has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
The word for “livelihood” can also be translated as “life.”
Besides, logically speaking, since she has contributed all she has to live on she has offered to God her very life.
Last week, Jesus taught the commandment of loving God with one’s whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.
This week, Jesus gives us the example of this woman who offers God her life.
And by this time, Jesus is already in Jerusalem. Soon, he will sacrifice his very life as the gift of love to God and to all humanity.
When we receive the Eucharist, we receive this gift of Jesus’ life. And He empowers us to love as he does.
November 3, 2018
“You are not far from the kingdom of God”
The scribe acknowledges Jesus’ teaching of the greatest commandment – love God and love your neighbor. And Jesus tells him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Jesus came to inaugurated the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is not just about the future or the afterlife. It will reach its fullness then. But it is already here among us.
The more we love, the more we live and spread that kingdom.
October 26, 2018
“Have Pity on Me”
Two weeks ago, in Mark 10: 17-30, the man who “had many possessions” addressed Jesus only as “good teacher,” and asked him “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Last week, in Mark 10: 35-45, James and John also considered Jesus “teacher” and said to him, “We want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
In today’s Gospel, the blind beggar Bartimaeus recognizes Jesus as “Jesus, Son of David” and “Master.” He keeps calling out to Jesus, “Have pity on me.”
The blind man sees. He gets it. He knows who he is. More significantly, he knows who Jesus is.
October 20, 2018
Ransom and True Freedom
Last week, a person let his possessions keep him from following Jesus. It’s the temptation of having things in our control.
This week, the Gospel warns us of the danger of the desire for power and positions. It’s the temptation of controlling people.
Meanwhile, Jesus surrendered even the control of his life. He “gave his life as a ransom” to give us true freedom.