Friday of the 2nd week of Lent

Uprooting sin Matthew 21:33-43,45-46  The challenge for the Lenten Season is to align one's life with Jesus and to make a stand on what he stood for as against those who harbor hatred, vengeance, and self - destruction.

We need to uproot selfishness, greed, hatred, and violence by knowing the core of sin and have the courage to rue it:

First, sin does not create; it destroys creation. We need to be stewards of God and help create and build all for the service of others.

Second, sin does not give; it simply receives.  We need an attitude and a lifestyle of giving.  "It is in giving that we receive."

and third, sin exults self rather than God.  "Let us kill so we can claim inheritance for ourselves" is a sure formula for eternal punishment.  There is no space for us at the center of things; give everything to God.

Thursday of the 2nd week of Lent

How to be eternally happy Luke 16:19-31 We are called in this Lenten season not just to say sorry for all our offenses but to root ourselves in Christ.  In Jeremiah, a selfish person is like a dry scrub in the wasteland while the person who puts his trust in the Lord is like a tree by the waterside.

God can see right through our hearts if we are the dry scrub or the flourishing tree; or whether we are the poor man Lazarus or the rich man in the gospel.

In the Holy Father Pope Francis' Lenten message, he dwelt exactly on this parable to help us really prepare for our conversion in Christ and attain happiness.

First, he reminds us that people are gifts, most especially the poor.  It's an opportunity for us to recognize God's gifts and serve Him through them.

Second, he warns us of the blindness of sin that hinders us from becoming truly happy.

Third, he encourages us to listen to God's word as our path to holiness and happiness.

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

JESUS' OFFER OF SALVATION - TO SUFFER FOR OTHERS Luke 9:22-25 In the first reading God offered man a choice - to follow his command or not; to be his people or not.  The people consented.  This is a covenant based on free will.

Where and how do we use our freedom?  To kill or to build?  To unify or to separate?  We would know that our freedom could also lead us to slavery.  It can also lead us to true freedom to be God's people.

Jesus offers us the same thing - to suffer for others; to take up one's cross.  What actions lead us to freedom - our selfishness?  Those who save their lives will lose them.  But those who lose their lives for the sake of Jesus will save it.

Let us review all the times we brought freedom or slavery to ourselves and others.  It is not yet late to choose. The more we offer ourselves for others, the more we live.

Saturday of week 7 in Ordinary Time

An embracing God Mark 10:13-16 The basic architecture of the St. Peter's Basilica looks like a mother embracing all her children - not only Catholics but people of all races, creeds, and colors.  This is also the image of the Church that includes the whole of humanity, the very essence of the word "Catholic".

In God's world, no one is cast aside.  In man's world, people are fond of compartmentalizing people. There is no such reality in heaven.  We will see a God who truly cares for all his children.

We have witnessed the embracing image of God to all of us.  Though we are weak, small, insignificant human beings, he gave three huge things to us:
He gave us creation He admonishes us to take care of them;

He gave us free wills let us use them wisely to follow the Lord.

He gave us love  that we might love him back as well as love one another, especially the unlovable.

These are the effects of a God who embraces his children unconditionally.   Let us respond by offeri…

Friday of week 7 in Ordinary Time, 1

A true friend Mark 10:1-12 "Tell me your friends and I'll tell you who you are" is a common norm for evaluating our real selves.  People who take the worldly as their friends will reap worldly fruits, including the death of self.
If we consider God as our first, best, and ultimate friend, we shall be perfect in him.
Jesus reiterated the sanctity of marriage because it is a mirror of God's friendship with man - eternal, merciful, and all forgiving.  If we follow this path, we shall truly be like him, a true friend:
A loyal friend God's unending faithfulness can only be manifested by a true friend who will stay with us through thick and thin; 
A friend who leads us to the truth A true friend molds our consciences and leads us to truth and freedom;
A friend with a perfect love God's friendship makes us perfect in love and offering.
It is true, one who finds a friend finds a real treasure.  "For friendship is the elixir of life,"according to Ecclesiastes…

Thursday of week 7 in Ordinary Time, 1

Effects of God's presence Mark 9:41-50
We may contemplate on God's mercy and justice, but the gospel points out the effects of living in mercy - perfection.

Our experience of God's mercy leads us to a kind of perfection in holiness brought about by the living out of God's love.  God's presence in us causes us that deep change, among them are the following:

First, mercy God's mercy planted in our hearts causes us to live in mercy, to give water to the thirsty, to consider others' welfare before our own.

Second, perfection  God's mercy cannot be lackadaisical, tepid, or lacking in enthusiasm.  Things are non-negotiable as in the gospel, "If your eye causes you to sin, cut it off..."

Third, usefulness Ecclesiastes reminds us, "Do not set your heart on ill-gotten gains, they will be of no use to you on the day of disaster." (Ecc. 5, 10)  God has no need of us.  We are to remind ourselves that God gives us the flavor of salt to share our…

Tuesday of week 6 in Ordinary Time

Hardness of mind and heart Mark 8:14-21 The readings point out not the God who punishes but the One who saves.  It's because of the people' hardness of mind and heart that caused their doom.  They could have joined Noah's ark or better yet, they could have averted the destruction of the world via the flood.

In the gospel, Jesus gave the stern warning against the "yeast" of the pharisees.  Again, the hardness of mind and heart is there in the apostles.  Thus, Jesus said, "Do Not imitate them."

Let us be wary against closing our minds and hearts to the Lord because of these things:

First, let us rid ourselves of pride Pride makes us closed-minded, only seeing things from our point of view.  Pride attributes everything to self, not to God.

Second, let us rid ourselves of greed We do not own this world; we do not own our lives.  God owns us; and through his love we experience true life.

Third, let us rid ourselves of corrupt power. Let us be servants of the…