November 27, 2010


1st Sunday of Advent - A
Matthew 24:37-44

Beginning ............... Completion.

With Advent we prepare to celebrate the two comings of the Messiah.

The first time the Messiah came as the child born in Bethlehem. And that's the beginning.

The second coming of the Messiah is the completion, which will happen "at an hour you do not expect" on a day "you do not know."

To remind us of this faith reality, this passage from the Gospel According to Matthew was proclaimed to us today.

As we live in the in-between time, we know that the Messiah already came to save us. And that is why we celebrate Christmas.

We also know and believe that "the Son of Man" will return. Our guarantee of this is his words: "the Son of Man will come."

God's salvation of the human race and, in fact, of the whole universe, has begun with the coming of the Messiah at Bethlehem. God's loving plan of salvation will reach its completion when the Son of Man returns. This we know for sure.

So, while there is a sense of uncertainty of the when and how, we have the certainty that he is coming. And then, God's plan for us reaches its completion.

That is the journey and destiny of human history.

That is also the journey and destiny of our individual history. It has begun with God coming into our lives. It will reach its completion when He returns.

That is also the meaning of our daily life. The things we do, like the two men working in the field or the two women at the mill, have meaning and a destiny. They will be completed only if we place them in God's plan for us.

1st Sunday of Advent - A (November 28, 2010)

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November 19, 2010


Christ the King - C
Luke 23:35-43

What Expected of a King

The refrain of this Scripture passage is "save oneself." In fact, in 8 short verses, the idea is repeated three times.

The first time, the rulers "sneered at Jesus" and commented to each other, "let him save himself."

The second time, the soldiers "jeered at" Jesus, "Save yourself."

The third time, one of the criminals "reviled Jesus" challenging him to "save yourself and us."

It is clear in the mind of all these people that saving oneself is what expected of a king: "if he is the chosen one," "If you are King of the Jews," and "Are you not the Christ?"

Jesus Christ, the Annointed of God, the King of the universe, however, does not come to save himself. Earlier in the Gospel of Luke, after the encounter with Zaccheaus, Jesus declares his mission, "the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost." (19:10)

And now, at the moment of the cross, the moment of his victory over selfishness and sins, he proves himself ever true to his mission. He shows no concern for himself. Rather, he saves the criminal who seeks his mercy and brings him into the Kingdom.

Christ the King (November 21, 2010)

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November 13, 2010


33rd Sunday - C
Luke 21: 5-19

What, When, and How

For some reasons, people have been fascinated with the end of time for generations. It ranges from myths, writings, and movies about armageddon, the rapture... to the Y2K, 2012, and others.

Most recent in our memory is all the hype about the Y2K, which came and went.

In this Gospel passage of Luke 21: 5-19 and else where, Jesus tells us that there will be an end of the created world. The what is a certainty. We know and experience that in our own life. Nothing last forever. Our human life itself also ends.

However, we, with our human limitations, do not know the when, and the how. In fact, it is not in our power to know. Jesus warns us of the danger of being deceived by those who claim to know when the end comes.

Moreover, rejection and persecution can happen to believers. To affirm his followers, Jesus says, "Do not be terrified." Our assurance is the love and care of the all-knowing God, "not a hair on your head will be destroyed."

God's love is the certainty we have to carry us through the uncertainty of the when and how.

33rd Sunday - C (November 14, 2010)

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November 6, 2010


32nd Sunday - C
Luke 20:27-38

Earthly Life Without Resurrection

St. Luke describes the Sadducees as "those who deny that there is a resurrection." Their denial of a resurrection affected them on two levels - human and spiritual.

Without a faith in a resurrection, our understanding of life would be limited to the life we know now, our earthly life. Just imagine if there were nothing after this earthly life. What would happen to us then? And if there were nothing after this life, then what is the meaning of life?

The little we know of the history of the Sadducees seems to confirm how sad it would be for those who live this life without anything to look forward to. The Sadducees were the priest rulers of Israel. After the Romans destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD, they disappeared. Future generations only know of them mostly through what their opponents, particularly the Pharisees, thought of them, which was mostly negative [1].

And, on the spiritual level, what effects can a denial of a resurrection have on our religious outlook, or more accurately, our view of God?

The Sadducees can only think of God and the mystery of God on their terms. In fact, they even limit the spiritual realm to the reality of the earthly life they know. Thus, they manage to come up with a ridiculous scenario just to prove their point.

Do we sometimes limit God and the power of God to what our limited human capacities can grasp? That is one of the dangers of the denial of a resurrection. We end up knowing nothing more than the passing life we are now living.

On the contrary, a life lived with faith in the Resurrection is a life lived with God, even now. It is then the beginning of a life lived with God for all eternity.

[1] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke; Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 312

32nd Sunday - C (November 7, 2010)

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