READINGS for 2009-03-08
So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant. – Mark 9:10
My nephew once asked me what an atheist is. I replied that it’s someone who doesn’t believe in God’s existence. His young mind couldn’t comprehend such a state and continued, “Why don’t they believe in God?” One of the reasons I gave was the failure to seek the truth.
Many people question a lot of things about our faith such as the special place we have for Mary, the resurrection of the dead and confession. Some stop with the question mark and fall out. Others go to the wrong people to seek the answers and get half-truths, outright lies or biased, uninformed opinions. After that, they blame the Pope and the priests, point accusing fingers, never realizing that the main fault lies with the man in the mirror: themselves.
There is a saying that goes, “One who asks is a fool for five minutes. One who does not is a fool forever.” It’s OK to ask questions about our faith but we must not stop there. We should seek help from a priest or religious, attend lessons in apologetics and read books from approved sources. And throughout all these, let’s not forget to pray for enlightenment. Learn about your faith to keep the faith. Jun Asis
Have I been harboring doubts about the Church? Have I prayed for God’s enlightenment and taken positive steps to clarify my questions?
There are a lot of things I don’t know about my faith, Lord. Lead me to the right people who will show me the way.
I cannot think of too many things more horrific than being asked to sacrifice my son for any reason whatsoever. What is the point of God asking Abraham to do this? He must have known that Abraham was willing to do anything He would ask him. Maybe, just maybe, the story serves as an extreme reminder of the obedience required to be a true servant of God; our obedience towards God must be willing to embrace anything and everything God asks us to do.
Genesis 22:1-2. 9a. 10-13. 15-18
1 God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am!” he replied. 2 Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.” 9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. 10 Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 12 “Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger. “Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” 13 As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son. 15 Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven 16 and said: “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, 17 I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, 18 and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing — all this because you obeyed my command.”
P S A L M
Psalm 116:10. 15. 16-17. 18-19
R: I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
10 I believed, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”; 15 Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones. (R) 16 O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosed my bonds. 17 To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. (R) 18 My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people, 19 in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. (R)
Perhaps the story of the First Reading is really meant as a foil for the sacrifice Jesus makes when He dies on the cross for our salvation. The Father has given up His only Son in order that we might all become sons through Jesus’ obedience and sacrifice, sons of our Father in heaven. The Father’s gift to us reveals that there is nothing He will not do to enable us the opportunity to repent and come back to Him.
31 Brothers and sisters: If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us. 34 Who will condemn? It is Christ Jesus who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
G O S P E L
The event of the Transfiguration affirms to us the radical unity and relationship of the Father and Son. Maybe we only come to this realization after the resurrection, but nevertheless, it is still true! I wonder what the disciples, Peter, James and John thought of this event? I wonder what you think of it today. It is important that we reflect upon the events of Jesus’ life related to us in the Gospels as this is how we will get to know Jesus better, and also understand the implications of our faith for our lifestyle.
2 Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. 4 Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. 7 Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” 8 Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. 9 As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.
think: The Father’s gift to us reveals that there is nothing He will not do to enable us the opportunity to repent and come back to Him.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Hebrews1-4
My weekly time with God
THANK YOU LIST
Things to be grateful for from the past week
Things to ask God for in the coming week
Most important word God told me this week
PLUGGED IN, TUNED OUT
“This is my beloved Son, listen to him” (Mark 9:7). Today I believe we have a crisis in listening. Let me share with you a not-so-recent experience of mine.
It was at Mass and I was delivering my homily. In the congregation, I noticed a girl intently looking at me with what seemed like a half-smile on her face. Every now and then she would nod (in agreement I suppose) after each point I raised. I felt affirmed and encouraged. I think I spoke longer than usual that time.
Back on my seat, I happened to look back at the girl. The half-smile was still there. “I made a lasting impression,” I proudly said to myself. But surprisingly, I noticed she was still nodding.
The congregation stood up for the Credo. It was then that she quickly but discreetly put away her earphones. That explained the half-smile. That explained the nodding. There went my self esteem. I believe this thing happens often — in Church, in the workplace, in our homes. We seem to be listening to one another but we really aren’t. We seem to be present but really we are somewhere else. And with the advent of handy music players, do-it-all cell phones, handheld personal video players, global communication gadgets, we have the perfect excuse to be “occupied” and even look hip. Sadly, we are constantly plugged in but tuned out from one another.
Herein lies the challenge for the human family. This requires the prudent and critical use of our God-given gifts of intelligence and dominion over nature.
The God who is a “communion of Persons” endowed us with the gifts to keep our families (both personal and global) in communion with one another. It remains our task never to allow the same technology, whose purpose is to make us accessible to one another, make us “inaccessible” from one another.
As for me, my task right now is to rebuild my self-esteem. I hope you are nodding as you read this reflection. Fr. Joel O. Jason
How “open” am I to the many ways God speaks to me?
Heavenly Father, help me to listen to others and thus listen to Your Beloved Son in my daily life, that I may always follow Your will in everything I say and do. Amen.
St. John of God, Religious, pray for us.
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