October 26, 2013

30th Sunday - C

Luke 18: 9 – 14

The Grace of Imperfection

The Pharisees does everything right.  And he knows that.

His problem is that he thinks he gets it all right.  Even the prayer is the words that “he speaks to himself.”  While he thank God with words, he takes all the credits for himself.
Consequently, he has no need for God.

The tax collector, on the contrary, is a sinner.  He knows and admits that.  He realizes that he cannot help himself.

In his emptiness, the tax collector leaves plenty of room for God and God’s mercy.

On our spiritual journey, imperfections and sins can be very frustrating.  Yet, the realization or awareness of them is a moment of grace.  In fact, it is the voice of God speaking in our conscience that leads us to the awareness sins, and consequently, our need for God.  However, that can only happen if we allow God to speak to us, and we allow ourselves to listen to God’s voice.  (In this sense, the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation begins even before the moment of confession).

Only when we are aware and accept that we are sinners that we can allow God’s mercy and grace to enter our hearts.

30th Sunday - C (October 27, 2013)


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October 19, 2013

29th Sunday - C


Faith-filled Prayer

The widow in this parable knows her needs.  Moreover, she knows who has the ability to help her.

The judge is the only person who can “render a just decision for [her] against [her] adversary.”

Do I always know that God alone can satisfy all my needs and all the longings of my heart? [1]

If we look at the example of the widow that way, then the character of the wicked judge has something to teach us.

In some parables, Jesus uses positive examples to illustrate some truths about God.  For instance, the father in the parable of the prodigal son reflects the forgiveness and love of God.

In this parable, however, God should not be likened to the judge, who “neither feared God nor respected any human being.”   It is evident that this judge does not act in any Godly manner.  The Law of Moses specifically demands God’s people to care for the vulnerable in society like the widow.  One example is Deuteronomy 27:19, “Cursed be anyone who deprives the resident alien, the orphan or the widow of justice.” [2]

We should think of God as the total opposite of this wicked judge.

Now, we can hear/read again the questions Jesus asks us, “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?  Will he be slow to answer them?”

Then we can and praise God for who God is.  We can ask for forgiveness trusting in God’s mercy.  We can thank God for God’s love and blessings.  And with faith, our prayers can be “of humble acceptance” of God’s will [3] when we do not understand it.  And we can “pray always without becoming weary” when God is “slow to answer” us. 

And that is the challenge.
[1&3] Francis Moloney, The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections on the Gospel Readings, Year C. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 173.
[2] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke.  Sacra Pagina Series.  Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p.269.

29th Sunday - C (October 20, 2013)


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October 11, 2013

28th Sunday - C


The God Who Has Pity on Us

It is rather obvious that the lepers have heard the reputation of Jesus.  They must have known that they can approach him and he would "have pity" on them. 

Then, Jesus, being a Jew, allowed a Samaritan to “fall at his feet.”  Jesus even spoke to “this foreigner.”

This encounter took place “as Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem.”  There, his outstretched arms on the cross reached out and healed the whole of humanity.

No one is ever a leper or a foreigner to be excluded from God’s mercy.

28th Sunday - C (October 13, 2013)


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October 5, 2013

27th Sunday - C

Luke 17: 5-10

Why the request “Increase Our Faith”?

We are now in Chapter 17 of the Gospel According to Luke. 

The disciples have been with Jesus for some time.  They have witnessed Jesus' power in his preaching and healing.  They themselves have been commissioned by Jesus to go out and “proclaim the Kingdom of God” (9:1-2).  The witnessed the power of Jesus at work through them as they experienced that “even the demons were subject to [them] because of [Jesus’] name” (10:17).

At the same time, Jesus has told them what awaits him in Jerusalem, as well as what would cost them if they want to be his disciples.  They have met people who allowed various reasons prevent them from following Jesus.

They themselves have faltered (particularly reported in Chapter 9).

It seems that the disciples have now come to realize their strengths and limitations, measured against the demands of being a disciple.

But more, they now learn that there is another aspect of being a disciple of Jesus.   Jesus commands them that “if [your brother] wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive them” (17:4).

That is then “the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’” (17:5).

Looking at the context, the following parable of the servant and the master can remind us the source of strength that supports the disciples in living Jesus’ demand. 

We can only follow Jesus as his disciples, especially in imitating his example of love and mercy, when we recognize how good God is to us. 

Unthinkable as it may seem, it is God, the master of the universe, who sits us at his table and shares with us the gift of divine life.  [1]

[1] Pope Benedict XVI, in his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei convoking the Year of Faith affirms God’s gift of faith as the gift that leads us to share God’s life in these words, “The ‘door of faith’ (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering an entry into his Church.” (Porta Fidei, #1)

27th Sunday - C (October 6, 2013)


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