March 30, 2019
“This Man Welcomes Sinners”
Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
Those who oppose Jesus “complains” that he “welcomes sinners.”
The Greek verb translated here as “welcome” also has the connotation of longing. Luke uses this verb in a few other occasions usually to describe how people wait. Two of such people are the two elderly prophets Simeon and Anna who spent their whole lives “await” the Messiah or “the fulfillment of God’s promise.”
No wonder the Pharisees and the scribes find it outrageous that Jesus “welcomes” sinners.
Can I accept the outrageous way that God welcomes me as a sinner? And can I accept that same outrageous way with which God welcomes people I judge as sinners?
March 24, 2019
“I Shall Cultivate the Ground & Fertilize It”
Sometimes, we can become self-centered during Lent. We can measure the success of Lent on how we keep the Lenten practices that we decide for ourselves. If we do poorly, we feel the whole season is a failure. If we do well, we can brag and credit ourselves for the achievements. Of course, neither attitude is the purpose of the season.
In this Gospel, Jesus reminds us that Lent, in fact our whole life, is a gift of God’s mercy. The journey of conversion is a journey of a lifetime. And it is not about our accomplishments or failures. We do need to cooperate with God. Yet, ultimately, like the gardener who cultivates the ground and fertilizes the fig tree, it is God’s grace and love that draw us ever closer to God.
March 16, 2019
The Son of God – A Review
As a good teacher, the Church gives us a timely review of the purpose of the Lenten journey as we get to the 2nd week of Lent.
This journey, in fact the journey of our life, has one goal – to reach our destiny of being children of God.
Last week, the Gospel told us of how Jesus, the Son of God, faced temptations. Like Jesus, we, children of God, face temptations also.
This week, we are given a vision of what is to come. Jesus will go to Jerusalem and will endure the cross. Yet, here we have a vision of his glories of the “chosen Son” of God.
On the journey, we will face temptations. We have our own Jerusalem and our own crosses.
But the journey does not end with death. There is more to come.
March 9, 2019
The Son of God
Luke begins this passage connecting it with the baptism of Jesus. Reading “the Jordan” and “the Holy Spirit,” we are reminded of the baptism at the Jordan, where the Holy Spirit “descended upon” Jesus, and the Father’s voice from heaven declared, “You are my beloved Son” (Luke 3:22).
Now the devil challenged Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…”
And we know how Jesus took on those temptations.
In Baptism, Jesus has made us children of God.
Like Jesus, we continue to be tempted – the temptations of self-centeredness, of controlling others, and even of controlling God.
Lent gives us the chance to look at the example of Jesus and ask ourselves, “How am I living as a child of God?”
March 2, 2019
From the Fullness of the Heart
For three Sundays now, we have been listening to Chapter 6 of the Gospel According to Luke. The purpose of Jesus’ teaching in this chapter is to guide us to live as “children of the Most High” (last week’s section, Luke 6:35).
And Jesus continues today.
If we want live as children of God, we must first allow the love that God has planted in our hearts to grow to its fullness. Once the heart is full of God’s love, “the mouth speaks” God’s love. So will our thoughts and actions.