Many years ago, Catholics were taught that politics is a dirty venture and that politicians speak from both sides of their mouths. They say one thing today and tomorrow their interest shifts to another. Henry Kissinger, the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Secretary of State once said, "America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests." While the interpretation of this saying can vary depending on political ideology, this makes the subject of politics a heated one. Politicians do not have permanent friends or enemies but self-interests that serve their goals. The three presidential debates leading to the US elections on November 8, have given us inklings to what politicians can do or can say just to clinch the exalted position of president.READ MORE
The dishonest judge in today's gospel is a story told by Jesus to illustrate to us how persistence, of any kind, can pay off at the end. Although the dishonest judge neither feared God nor man, he was moved by pity to render justice to the widow. The words Jesus used in describing the two actors are perfect for understanding the situation. "While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me, I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me." The widow feared that justice could be perverted against her. The hope she had was persisting until the judge was on her side.READ MORE
Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease (HD), is an infectious disease that afflicts mostly the skin and eyes. It causes great discomfort to the victim. The good news is that modern medicine can cure leprosy now with the right doses of antibiotics. The bad news is that at the time of Jesus, lepers were not so lucky with any cure. They were removed from the community and kept at the outskirt of any town to prevent infecting whole communities. The isolation of lepers from the community is still practiced as a precautionary measure against the rise of an epidemic. We may liken leprosy to the epidemic of Ebola which has devastated communities in Africa. Medical science is still battling to provide a cure to this virus.READ MORE
According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (2010), 32% of the world's population professes the Christian faith. The largest numbers of Christians are found in Mexico with over 107 million that is 95% of the population; Brazil has 175 million that is 90.2% of the population; and the United States has 246 million Christians that is 79.5% of the population. In another perspective, Europe has 25.9% Christians, Sub-Saharan Africa has 23.6% Christians, the Americas have 36.6% Christians, the East Pacific has 13.1% Christians, and the Middle East and North Africa has 0.06% Christians.
From the numbers and statistics above, we can see that Christianity has a large following across the world. We can notice that the birthplace of Christianity has base number. Persecution and immigration account for the low stats. However, the number of world Christians is 2.2 billion constituting 32% out of the over 7 billion population of the world.READ MORE
I recently saw a quote that summarized how I was feeling that morning after morning Mass. It says, "When you are young, you dream of changing the world. But when you are old, you regret that you could not even change yourself." I can't remember the author of this quote, but I found the words applicable about the imbalances in the world. We have the poor, so do we also have the rich.
There are those who live in violent environments and those who live in relatively peaceful locations. I have read about war crimes; people running away from war regions or people starving to death because they have no food to eat. On the other hand, there are people who enjoy abundant wealth with dreams of a more luxurious life. It is not a crime to be poor or to be rich. It is only human to wonder why these imbalances exist, and then we theorize on how to close the gaps.READ MORE
The parable of the vineyard is a call by Jesus to all Christians to reﬂect about God's immeasurable love. In the parable there is an indication of partiality by the landowner because he paid all the laborers a fair daily wage. Anybody in his right senses would grumble after working lengthy hours of the day only to receive the same amount with another who worked less hours. From the viewpoint of the early laborers, the blame is on the landowner for not differentiating their wages with the latecomers. As for those who arrived late, they have nothing to lose because the landowner showed his generosity and paid them an equal daily wage.
This parable by Jesus opens our understanding of God's invitation to both the sinner and the saint to come into his kingdom. From our viewpoint as people who struggle to obey God's commandment, we may perceive the sinner as unsuitable to be saved. Often times, we base salvation on our commitment to religious duties, and in the process, we condemn those who are not in sync with what we do. But before God, the door is open for both the saint and the sinner to come in based on the generosity of God.READ MORE
The Christian faith seeks understanding about things of the world and things of the hereafter. To seek answers about our world and our eternal journey is a duty and a privilege. The reason for this attitude is because dualities exist in the world that makes us question changing levels in our lives. Why do good people suffer and wicked people prosper? Can the Christian find any hope living in the world filled with suffering?
We can find some answers in the life of Jesus. The Christian finds answers from Jesus himself when he said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it." From this answer, we can clearly understand that Jesus did not promise a bed of roses to his believers. The cross has come to represent suffering and pain. However, since Jesus resurrected from the death, all believers must translate life's negatives into higher values leading to eternal life. Jesus promised that by taking up one's cross every day, it can lead to the salvation that endures.READ MORE
The choices we make produce either a positive or a negative result. No persons in their right mind allows negative results to dominate their actions unless they are sociopathic. When you experience pain and sadness due to your bad choices, you may reconsider adjusting the kind of choices you make. When you continue to make mistakes and suffer negatively as a result of your choices, you refuse to count the cost of what you are doing. At the end of the day, you may harm yourself and produce a habit that becomes part of your behavior as a human being.
What makes a man or woman to say, 'I carry my cross by myself'? When you hear this, it means that the person is taking responsibility for their actions, or they are suffering alone with no support. Human life is experienced differently, and every human being must understand the consequences of their decisions. Jesus says, "Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?" Jesus is advising us to weigh the cost of our decisions before we delve into the wrong venture. And he advises that before you go to war with an enemy, count the number of troops that can give you a win. In making the wrong move, you suffer greatly for making the wrong choices.READ MORE
I greet you in the name of Jesus. This week I am impressed with the work of our parish volunteers.
The first time I arrived at our parish office, I was taken to a section of the St. Mary Center. I saw huge freezers and I began to wonder what purpose they serve in our community. I was told that they belong to Our Daily Bread, a society within our parish that prepares sandwiches for distribution to the needy in our town. I was deeply impressed. For the past three weeks, I have watched how volunteers go in there and spend hours working as a team preparing sandwiches and other READ MORE
Peace be with you! The peace I desire for you is the peace that Jesus brings to us at Mass especially at the breaking of bread in the Eucharist. This peace is important toward enhancing our individual lives and our community living.
At St. Mary's, I have seen the zeal in the hearts of men and women for Jesus. I have seen how they approach the sacraments with love and reverence in their hearts knowing that every step brings them closer to Jesus. At the confessional, they approach Jesus for strength to carry on with the journey of life. At the daily celebration of the Eucharist, they never fail to seek Jesus as their bread of life. They know that the Church is a place that connects them with the divine and this is the ultimate joy of serving as a priest.READ MORE
The Christian life is fashioned after the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Although Jesus was God, he humbled himself and lived among us as a man. Although he was rich, he became poor for our sake. Instead of living in luxury as a King, he chose a simple life and lived with Mary, and Joseph the carpenter. His birth was in a manger. When he began his ministry at the age of 30, he did everything possible to change the ugly attitudes of people for only 3 years. This task of changing people's worldview was a difficult one.
He did miracles to satisfy his crowds and to demonstrate to them the power of God. He told many stories about everyday life to illustrate to the people that God loved a humble heart and frowned at a boastful one. He became a source of pain to those who did not want a change from their dangerous way of living.READ MORE