During my 30-day Ignatian retreat, my spiritual director asked me if I ever brought my anger issue into my prayer. For almost two decades at that time, I was constantly wrestling with the demon of anger. There is a problem with holding anger in one’s heart: Holding on to anger is like having it in the palm of your hands, like a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone; you are the first to get burned. The teacher who put me down and embarrassed me in front of everyone did not even know the extent of the psychological trauma I suffered. All those years, I have not forgiven him.READ MORE
The story of the man born blind in the Gospel this Sunday takes us back to the mentality among the Jews of that time; that such blindness is the result of the sins committed by the man or his parents. Jesus corrected that belief by saying that the blindness of the man was not because he sinned or his parents sinned, but so that God's power - comes to light in His ministry. Jesus proceeded to mix a little earth with saliva and put it on the eyes of the blind man. This action of Jesus alludes to the creation story in Gen. 2:7, LORD God formed the man (Adam) out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Adam is a popular Hebrew name that means the son of the crimson earth. By healing the man born blind, Jesus worked a new creation.READ MORE
The people of Israel have come a long way after their exodus from Egypt. They wandered in the desert of Sinai, and at Horeb, they complained and blamed Moses, reminiscing their better days in Egypt. The Israelites were like the Samaritan woman in the Gospel; they found themselves in great difficulty and discouragement. Their physical thirst is an expression of a deeper thirst, spiritual. Exteriorly they seemed to follow the Lord’s leading, but interiorly, their hearts drifted away from Him, even dreaming of a better situation in Egypt. They murmured: Does the Lord want us to die here of thirst? Is He in our midst or not? Moses knows that Yahweh is in their midst; it’s the people who are not with God; because their hearts are away from Him. Moses implores God to intervene. Yahweh reveals His presence by giving them the miraculous water flowing from the rock.READ MORE
Peter, James, and John experienced God’s manifestation differently when “a bright cloud cast a shadow over them” and heard the voice confirming the only begotten Son. Like the many Old Testament manifestations of a thick and luminous cloud, this phenomenon signifies God’s presence. During Israel’s exodus: The LORD preceded them, in the daytime using a column of clouds to show them the way (Ex. 13:21). When God gave the Ten Commandments, the mist of God’s glory overshadowed Mt. Sinai as Moses received it (Ex. 24:15-18). The clouds filled up the tabernacle or tent, a clear sign of God’s presence (Ex. 40:34). And when the first temple built by King Solomon was dedicated, a cloud overshadowed it (1Kg. 8:11).READ MORE
The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to bring salvation to humanity: And you shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Mt. 1:27). Jesus saves His people from the power of Satan, from sin and its ultimate consequence, death. In Jesus’ ministry of healing and expelling unclean spirits, He would forgive sins and reconcile the sinner to the Father. His death on the cross is the salvific sacrifice, a ransom for man’s sins, brought reconciliation and peace with the Father.READ MORE
The theme of the readings today is the commandment to “love our enemies” - a demand that contradicts the secular wisdom of the world and appears extremely difficult to fulfill. Indeed, without help from God, it would be hard; we need faith to embrace this commandment. To many, it is easier to tolerate or disregard one’s enemies than to maintain a relationship with them. How do we love our enemies? What Jesus wants to teach us here demands not our strength and goodness but the love and holiness of GOD. Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, Am Holy. When God says: You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart, He is giving us a guideline on how to pursue holiness when the emotion of anger comes up.READ MORE
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus continues to calm the fears of the religious leaders that He is out to abolish the laws. But He reminds them that the LAW must not remain engraved in stone tablets but must live in the hearts of men. The LAW must be observed not only according to the intent of the letter; but by its SPIRIT. The demands to live by the SPIRIT as to simply imposing the letter of the LAW takes higher importance. Because the former requires an honest, selfless, and patient pursuit of the truths of God in prayer, asking the help of the Holy Spirit for inner freedom, creativity, and intelligence.
Coming from the Season of Christmas, we celebrated the coming of the glorious LIGHT in the world of darkness, Jesus CHRIST. Jesus came to enlighten us, enliven us with His Spirit, to lead us by His light to the fullness of life in the Father.READ MORE