(Jeremiah 31: 31-34 Hebrews 5: 7-9 John 12: 20-33)
To be truly a religious person is basically to lean on God with all hope, faith and charity, brewed and spiced in the “cocktail” of trust, that all may be well by the gracious will of God. Anything short of this indicates the continuation of our insistent intransigence which virtually leads us to sin, a situation that makes us so unhappy and uncomfortable in life because of the consequential compunction. But why do we have to stick to a plan that never yields any dividends, but rather makes us inflict a useless form of punishment unto ourselves because we keep on running away from reality as cowards?
Christ has paved the way for us to come to the light so as to savor the sweetness of his eternal and glorious life. The ball is in our court with all the graces to kick it and score some goals. It is this last ingredient on our part to acknowledge our sinfulness and weakness that lay claim to the strength of God, which causes us so much an opportunity to make our lives anew. If we can place our trusts in mere mortal and inconsistent human beings for answers and favors, why can we not then do it all the more by placing our trusts in God who is all good, gracious and merciful and ever-constant in his promises? Again, the choice is ours to make. We just need to learn from our past lives that never relied on God so that by a common sense from what we have experienced, we may turn back to God and have eternal and fruitful lives, no matter how painful and difficult this might be. The fruit and joy of such an endeavor far surpass and outweigh a life that does not make any attempt to taste and savor the goodness of the Lord because of a monstrous fear which is created by our overreliance on a transient happiness of the senses.
(2 Chronicles 36: 14-16, 19-23 Ephesians 2: 4-19 John 3: 14-21)
God is all good, full of mercy and compassion; he does not treat us according to our rejection of him, our source of life, which summarily leads to sinning. Though there are many Biblical indications that God punishes us, these are merely human interpretation of what happens to us when we withdraw ourselves from God and begin to live on our own weakness. God, indeed, does not punish us; we punish ourselves as a result of a path we choose without the needed accoutrements to arrive at the desired destination. The sense of compunction and emptiness we experience in a life without God, more often than not, leads us back to God as we acknowledge God as the ultimate ingredient that brings us true fullness of joy and happiness. Apart from God’s ever-abiding impulses and graces through his Holy Spirit, nothing else can give us any genuine joy and happiness.
Allowing God to control our destiny by doing his will brings us so much success on our earthly journeys, for God himself will provide us through his graces the genuine needed navigation gadgets and the vehicle conducive to the terrain of the journeys mapped out for us. If we refuse to allow God take control of our destinies but we insistently rely solely on an unreliable false sense of security which our sensualities promise us, we shall have so much misery in life, because nothing mundane ever satisfies the senses. The choice is ours to make: either we rely on God’s graces and be full of success and happiness, or rely on our weak and feeble senses that leave us with nothing except the obvious spiritual chagrin and morbidity. No matter which way we choose, there will be numerous challenges for us; but with God’s graces, we shall overcome them all.
(Exodus 20: 1-17 1 Corinthians 1: 22-25 John 2: 13-25)
We were created to be in a constant communion with God by the special graces we were endowed. But through our own selfishness and fault, we ruptured the communication link between God and us, and with our neighbors. God had to repair the damage caused by our sins by sending us Jesus as the refulgence of the Father. This repair was done through an act of a selfless respect for God and neighbor that leads to a holiness through a true worship by a humble obedience to the will of God. In a sense, it is pure love devoid of any selfish sentiments that leads to true worship of God with which all damaged communication links are repaired.
The various laws we have are designed to achieve a goal of equity so that there may be peace and love within us, as we find peace and love with God and each other. Respecting God and our neighbors is the hallmark of our religiosity since we exclude everything that leads to self-centeredness. We are not organs; rather, we are an organism in need of each other for our survival and wellbeing. Following the law makes us accentuate the truths of God’s revelation among us, as well as indicating our dependence on God and our neighbors. Anything short of this leads to a selfish topsy-turvy society that breeds wickedness and chaos. The laws are meant for us to realign our vertical relationship with God, and in so doing correct our horizontal relationship with our neighbors through an unconditional respect for God and neighbor as a way to make the world God-centered.
(Genesis 22: 1-2, 9-13, 15-18 Romans 8: 31-34 Mark 9: 2-10)
Following in the footsteps of Jesus may seem a bit burdensome with so much pain and suffering. But this knowledge comes with the fact that we glory in the mortal part of our beings more than in the spiritual part. Our mortal components are full of instincts which do not do well with coping up with pain and suffering, and therefore strive to do away with anything that brings about a state of discomfort to the body. For this reason, many of us take every precaution to avoid any situation that will bring onto our bodies pain and suffering. Some people even go to the extra length to avoid this by selling out their very souls for anything in a bid to have some corporal comfort. But, Jesus would ask a very simple question: what will profit us to gain the world and lose our souls in the process?
The discipline of Lent is just a cue for us to take when it comes to making a choice between spending more time in keeping the mortal body healthier than the eternal soul. Lent signifies the brevity of our earthly life which is full of pain and suffering so that we might enjoy the fullness of happiness in heaven when we have lived through this short period of pain and suffering with full trust in Christ. Our moment of pain and suffering should not be seen as a time of punishment; rather, it must be considered as a period of penance for our sins and the sins of the world as we carry in our bodies what is lacking in the body of Jesus. At the same time, our moment of pain and suffering should be considered as a time for us to prepare seriously for our final exit from this world when we shall let go all that we cherish and cling to so much that we even forget about God. We must see any bodily displeasure which even affects our total beings as a way to master our sinfulness and conquer our pride. We always forget that we must practice humility in order to acknowledge our weaknesses which lay claim to the strength of God who never forsakes us, if even we are in the direst of straits. Cast your burden unto Jesus with trust, and he will rescue and free your soul!
(Genesis 9: 8-15 1 Peter 3: 18-22 Mark 1: 12-15)
“God of mercy and compassion, look with pity upon me”, as one of the commonest penitential songs based on the story of the Prodigal Son, is so apt for this season of Lent. By all standards, we have allowed ourselves to be enslaved by sin because we cave in so easily to the temptations that tend to give immediate but illusive pleasure to the flesh. But, as we know, the flesh which is mortal should not be given so much attention more than what we give to the immortal soul of ours. Therefore, we ought to take this period of Lent with all the seriousness we can to make amends of our sense of religiosity by way of being in sync with our God and Creator, relying on his mercy and compassion.
God, who is full of mercy and compassion, would rather see us live in him instead of being dead in our sinfulness. Since the fall of Man, God has always taken the initiative to be with us so that we might have life. This is wrought through the various Covenants he establishes: God takes the initiative to “come and meet with” us, as the word covenant etymologically means. He has even given us a New and Eternal Covenant, Jesus Christ, who takes away the sins of the world so that those who surrender themselves to him in his death through baptism may also share his glorious life. Here is where our free wills come to play. It is better to bet on a sure and lasting security with our free wills than to bet on some flimsy illusions that always have negative outcomes. The invitation to come to the Lord and have life is open to all; those who respond with trust will enjoy the benefits, but those who ignore the covenantal invitation will have themselves to be blamed. So, today, do not harden your hearts, but heed the voice of the Lord and come to him.
Tuesday Mass & Adoration 4-6pm
Wednesday - Friday 7:45am
(Sunday, 29 March 2015)
(Friday, 03 April 2015)
(Saturday, 04 April 2015)
(Sunday, 05 April 2015)
(Thursday, 14 May 2015)