February 27, 2010


2nd Sunday of Lent
Luke 9:28b-36


In the structure of Luke's Gospel, Jesus' Transfiguration takes place immediately after the first time he predicts his suffering and crucifixion (9:22). It follows by another prediction of suffering (9:44). All of these lead to the turning point in Jesus' earthly life and ministry in 9:51. There, Luke reports, "When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, [Jesus] resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem." The footnote of the New American Bible offers a more literal translation, namely, "He he set his face" toward Jerusalem. [1]

Clearly, the Transfiguration prepares Jesus and the disciples for what he is about to do in order to fulfill the Father's will. It gives Jesus the strength and renews his conviction to complete his life mission. It also prepares the disciples to endure what they do not expect.

The disciples witness the Lord's glory in the context of the faith tradition, represented by Moses and Elijah, and in the community of Jesus' followers, even when they are struggling in faith. Moreover, they have Jesus himself in their midst as he leads them in prayer and reveals to them his mission. And, they have the testimony of God on behalf of God's chosen Son.

As we know how the story ends, Jesus' Transfiguration indeed prepares Jesus for his mission, and enable the disciples, who are weak in faith, to eventually accomplish theirs.

[1] http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/luke/luke9.htm#foot24

February 20, 2010


1st Sunday of Lent - C
Luke 4:1-13

Temptations to Control Self, the World, and God

The devil's temptations against Jesus seem to be all about control and domination over oneself, the world, and God.

The first temptation: fulfill one's needs, take care of oneself. It's legitimate and necessary to take care of oneself. Here, however, the devil wants to lure Jesus to focus only on his physical needs and self fulfillment. If one focuses only on oneself, then there is little room left in one's life for others and for God.

The second temptation: dominate the world and make it serve you. Put me first. All "power and glory" is mine." The temptation is to take control of others, even of the whole world, at any cost, even at the cost of one's freedom. "All this will be yours, if you worship me."

The third temptation: manipulate God according to one's own idea and desire. This attitude, which Jesus judges as "putting the Lord, your God, to the test," in fact, wants to order God around, and makes the Creator serve the creature.

In the devil's eyes, Jesus should claim and exercise domination over his own life, the world, and even God if he is "the Son of God."

In contrast, Jesus acts as an others-centered savior, servant of the world, and an obedient son. That is the attitude of a true child of God.

1st Sunday of Lent - C

February 13, 2010


6th Sunday - C
Luke 6:17, 20-26

A Large Number of People Came to Listen to Jesus

The message of Jesus is by no means easy to listen to or to follow. And the list of blessings and woes in Luke 6:20-26 is not something we as humans are comfortable with.

Yet, Luke sets the stage for this lesson from Jesus indicating that "a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon" has come to listen to him. This statement shows the mixed audience of Jews (from Judea and Jerusalem) and gentiles (from Tyre and Sidon).

This crowd of people from mixed religious and ethnic backgrounds, with contradictory moral values, have all come to listen to Jesus. There is something appealing and universal in his message and from him as the teacher.

Do we still have the same appreciation for Jesus and his message?

Are we, as followers of Jesus, attracting people to His Gospel of love in our message and our life?

6th Sunday - C

February 6, 2010


5th Sunday - C
Luke 5:1-11

Brought to Our Knees

Every human being can relate to Peter's experience, "We have worked hard all night and have caught nothing." Failures, mistakes, shortcomings, disappointments, and sins are parts of our human reality.

And we also know that it's never easy to accept our failures, mistakes, shortcomings, disappointments, and sins.

Peter was no stranger to that. Besides, he knows his trade, "We have worked hard all night." It must have been hard for him to admit his failure at something he knows best.

Yet, not until he acknowledges his failures can he comes to know his true self - a sinner. The humble awareness of his sins and failures brings him to his knees.

The consoling factor is the generosity of our God. Peter, knowing his sinfulness and on his knees, asks the Lord to "depart" from him. It is only then that he hears, not rejection, but the affirmation, "Do not be afraid."

Then, comes the invitation for Peter to follow Jesus as his disciple.