December 28, 2009


Holy Family
Luke 2:41-52

Importance of Family Religious Routines

The passage from Luke emphasizes the religious routines of the Holy Family, "Each year, Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival customs." This simple fact indicates the family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus have tradition and routines.

In addition, their family life is similar to any human family, with blessings, joys, as well as unanswered mysteries, questions, and challenges (in this case, miscommunication, misunderstanding, and the raising of an adolescent child!)

The example of the Holy Family, however, teaches us to do the normal things of family life, with its blessings and issues, without loosing sight of the bigger picture - God's picture. They appreciate and preserve religious and spiritual tradition and routines. They pray and reflect. That is what Mary's "keeping all these things in her heart" can teach us. In this way, in their common family life, they ponder and discover God's plan and each person's vocation in their daily life.

December 24, 2009


Luke 2:1-14

A Savior Has Been Born for Us in "the House of Bread"

Today, on this beautiful celebration of our Savior's birth, instead of a "technical" commentary, let us have a quick look at 3 details from the passage of Luke's gospel, and draw some connections from them.

(1). The angel of the Lord proclaims to the shepherds, "I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord."

The good news of great joy is that a savior has been born for all the people, for all of us, for me!

(2). The Savior is born in the city of David. This city, as well-known now, is Bethlehem. Beth-lehem, in Hebrew, means, "house of bread." It is believed to refer to "its many field." [1]

Jesus today continues to come to us every time we celebrate the Eucharist. Jesus is the bread of life. Each church, each altar, is now a Bethlehem, where the Savior comes to us.

(3). Mary and Joseph "laid Jesus in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

Is there room for Jesus in the inn of my heart when he comes to me today, in the Word, in the Eucharist, and in his brothers and sisters?

[1] The Little Blue Book, Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan, 2009; entry for December 21, 2009.

December 22, 2009

December 19, 2009


4th Sunday of Advent - B
Luke 1:39-45

How Does This Happen to Me?

"How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" The question Elizabeth raises expresses her humble astonishment at the single blessing she receives from Mary's visit.

That question should be ours also. "How does this happen to us, that the mother of our Lord should come to us?" The Lord comes to visit the whole human race, and each one of us. And so, "How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"

Indeed, it is the Lord who is coming to us. Elizabeth's blessing is for all of us. So should her humble astonishment be ours.

Moreover, not only are we the recipients of the Lord's visit, we are also the carriers of the Lord's presence. Through our baptism, we become, like Mary, the bearers of Jesus Christ to our world.

How does this happen to me that I should be the carrier of the Lord? And so we are blessed!

Mary becomes God's bearer through her obedience to God's will and then, through her act of charity. A cousin reaching out to a cousin in need is no longer just an act of kindness. With Jesus in her womb, her act of charity becomes an encounter with the Savior for Elizabeth and her son . And Christ redeeming act begins.

December 11, 2009


3rd Sunday of Advent - C
Luke 3:10-18

Do What You Are Supposed to Do First, then More

Tax collectors and soldiers come to ask John of what they should do. These are the people the society then despises. They are Jews who have become agents of a foreign ruler. They obey an illigimate government; then in turn, lord it over their own people. They often abuse their power for their own gains.

Yet, surprisingly, John does not tell them to quit and find another job. He tells them to be who they are supposed to be, and do what their responsibility demands of them.

It is indeed a provoking and challenging lesson for us who often wish we had a different life or a better job before we can do good.

In the human community, each person has a unique role. And that is also true in God's family. Fulfilling our vocation is the sure way of bringing God's reign of peace to our world.

Once we have done what we ought to do, and be who we are called to be, then we can do more. "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise."

But John does not stop at telling us to "Be Nice." John's core message is also his life vocation. "A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him" (John 1:6-7). It is John who points out to all people, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29).

John's vocation is also ours. And today, John teaches us how to live that vocation well.

December 5, 2009


2nd Sunday of Advent - C
Luke 3:1-6

God in human time and place

St. Luke gives us a list of the civil and religious leaders at the time when John the Baptist introduced Jesus.
Luke also gives us the location of John's ministry. Why? Is Luke interested in teaching us a history lesson?

Not quite. But that is how Luke tells us that it is in a concrete moment of human history, at a particular location that "the Word of God came to John."

The Word of God entered and altered human history for ever. And that happened "within the setting of ordinary, every-day event and personalities." [1]

God continues to reveals God's love and presence among us in the same way. As John proclaims, "And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." It is in the here and now that we all can encounter the eternal God.

How can I prepare for such an encounter? How can I become more sensitive and alert for God's saving presence in my daily and ordinary life?

[1] Francis J Moloney, SDB. This is the Gospel of the Lord: Year C. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1994, p. 50.