Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mary Mother of God (C)

Nm 6:22-27; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21

The Catholic Church joins the whole world in celebrating the beginning of a new Universal Calendar Year. We gather to celebrate the Eucharist in order to thank the Lord for all the graces of the past year and to ask Him to continue blessing our families and friends with love, joy and peace.

The Church assigns the first day of every year as the solemnity of Mary, the mother of God. Mary is not a goddess, but since she is the mother of Jesus who is “God became man”, she truly is the mother of God.

Being the mother of Jesus, Mary also became the mother of the Church. She is the ecclesial mother who will provide Christians with maternal care and protection throughout the year.

By honoring Mary on the first Calendar day, Christians are encouraged to emulate her example every day of the year. The Blessed Virgin is the model of a faithful disciple of Jesus. She is not only the first human being to receive the Word; she also is the first to follow Him.

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said “I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.

Is the man of the house home?” they asked.

No”, she replied. “He’s out.”

Then we cannot come in”, they replied.

In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened.

Go tell them I am home and invite them in!”

The woman went out and invited the men in.

We do not go into a House together,” they replied.

Why is that?" she asked.

One of the old men explained: “His name is Wealth,” he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, “He is Success, and I am Love.” Then he added, “Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home.”

The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. “How nice!” he said. “Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!”

His wife disagreed. “My dear, why don’t we invite Success?”

Their daughter was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: “Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!”

Let us heed our daughter’s advice,” said the husband to his wife. “Go out and invite Love to be our guest.”

The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, “Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest.”

Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other 2 also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: “I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?”

The old men replied together: “If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would’ve stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!”

(The story is from an unknown author)

Like Mary, may we all welcome Jesus, the perfect embodiment of love, so that true joy and happiness will reign in our homes and in our hearts!

Happy New Year to all of us!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holy Family (C)

Sir 3:2-6, 12-14; Col 3:12-21; Lk 2:41-52

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.

She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, "Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?”

Her mother replied, "Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hair turns white.”

The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, "Mom, how come all of grandma's hairs are white?”

(The story is from an unknown author)

The first Sunday after Christmas is the feast of the Holy Family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus. The Holy Family provides us with a beautiful model of an ideal Christian family. We see in the person of Joseph an ideal husband and father – one who is God-fearing, just and righteous, silent worker, good provider and protector; in Mary, we find an ideal wife and mother – one who is prayerful, simple, good listener, attentive and kind-hearted; and in Jesus, we have an ideal child – one who is obedient, respectful and gracious.

The readings give us at least three essential ingredients of a Christian or a holy family. First, for a family to be holy, members must put God at the centermost part of their lives. In the time of Jesus, religious practices, like the Feast of Passover, were people's ways of acknowledging their dependence on God. Regularly, the family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus, like other Jewish families, would go to the synagogue or to the temple to worship and honor God. They had come to believe that without God they could not survive and flourish as a people.

It is the supreme duty of parents to educate their children, especially in the knowledge of God. Parents are the first evangelizers, the first catechists to their children. They are to lead their children in praying and in participating actively every Sunday worship. Their kind words and actions would facilitate their children's understanding of how loving and gracious is our Father in heaven.

Second, for a family to be Christian, members must show respect and love for one another. Saint Paul says: “Wives be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord” (Col 3:18). Husbands are the head of the family, but they rule by serving. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul clearly states: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church” (5:25). Just as Christ offered his entire life for the good of the Church, husbands also must give themselves in service to their family.

The love and respect that married couples give to one another is crucial to the total maturation of children. Experience would tell us that children who grew up from loving families are most likely to become good citizens and to succeed in life. While those who are brought up in a troubled or dysfunctional families would easily become problematic and destructive.

Together, spouses have to bring up their children kindly. In giving discipline, parents must avoid inflicting physical and emotional harm to their children. In the gospel, Mary and Joseph express to the young Jesus their deep concern as parents in a very respectful manner: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety” (Lk 2:48). Often, polite words would be enough to make children understand parental love.

By obeying parents, children would please the Lord (Col 3:20). The first reading says that those who honor parents would be rewarded and cleansed from their sins (Sir 3:3-6). Kindness toward old people would remain in God’s memory (Sir 3:14).

And third, for a family to be holy, members must be willing to forgive one another’s fault. Saint Paul encourages families to maintain the virtues of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. They are to bear with one another and forgive one another. If one has a grievance against another, he must emulate the Lord by extending unconditional forgiveness (Col 3:13).

Conflicts among members in a family are quite common nowadays. In this modern and excessively materialistic world, emotional bonds between married couples, between siblings and between cousins are greatly weakened. The nature of our jobs, businesses and even recreation have affected seriously the amount and quality of time we give to each other. If there is no strong emotional bond between members in a family, what would keep them meaningfully together?

The holy family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus would remind us that true joy and happiness is only possible when there is intimacy and affection between people. Let us not allow material things and our desire for wealth to take away our time for each other. Whenever there is conflict in our family, let us be first to extend a reconciling hand, regardless of who is the offender and the offended party. May we always remember that good relationships are much more important than money and any material possession.

A little boy greets his father as he returns from work with a question: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?” The father is surprised and says, “Look, son, not even your mother knows. Don’t bother me now, I’m tired.” “But Daddy, just tell me please! How much do you make an hour?” the boy insists. The father finally gives up and replies, “Twenty dollars.” “Okay, Daddy,” the boy continues, “Could you loan me ten dollars?” The father yells at him, “So that was the reason you asked how much I earn, right? Now, go to sleep and don’t bother me anymore!”

At night the father thinks over what he said and starts feeling guilty. Maybe his son needed to buy something. Finally, he goes to his son's room. “Are you asleep, son?” asks the father. “No, Daddy. Why?” replies the boy. “Here's the money you asked for earlier,” the father said. “Thanks, Daddy!” replies the boy and receives the money. The he reaches under his pillow and brings out some more money. “Now I have enough! Now I have twenty dollars!” says the boy to his father, “Daddy, could you sell me one hour of your time?”

(The story is from an unknown author)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

4th Sunday of Advent (C)

Mi 5:1-4a; Heb10:5-10; Lk 1:39-45

“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb’” (Lk 1:41-42).

Why was Mary blessed among women? First of all, Mary was blessed because she got the highest honor ever granted by God to a human being: the motherhood of God’s only Son. Why God chose a lowly human being to be the mother of His Son would remain a great wonderment for all theologians. It is no secret, however, that God often gives preference for the little ones, the simple and the humble. In the first reading, for example, the prophet Micah predicted that God would choose Bethlehem, the littlest among Judah’s clan, to be the Messiah’s place of origin (Mi 5:2).

Mary was blessed among women not only for the conception of Jesus but also because she remained faithful to God’s will all her life. In the gospel, Jesus teaches that obedience to God’s will is the central element in our relationship with him. To the woman who exclaimed “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you sucked”, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk 11:27-28). In another occasion, he said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it” (Lk 8:21). Mary was blessed because she was the first of all disciples, the most obedient among God’s children.

As we enter the final phase of our preparations for Christmas, the Church would like us to emulate Mary’s example of generous self-giving. During the annunciation, the angel told Mary that God has chosen her to be the mother of the Divine Savior. She was also informed about the pregnancy of her cousin Elizabeth. The gospel says that immediately after the annunciation, Mary traveled in haste to Judah not to boast of her special honor but to provide assistance to her cousin who was carrying a baby in her old age. Mary was not only ready to serve God; she was also quick to help others in need. Indeed, she did not have to be prompted; she went quickly.

During this Christmas season, it would be very meaningful if, like Mary, we begin to consider how we can provide genuine assistance to others who are less fortunate. Ordinarily, we would like to wonder “What are we going to receive this Christmas?” and “Who will give us the best Christmas present?” The gospel, however, would like us to consider “What can we meaningfully give this Christmas?” and “Who are the people that greatly need our Christmas gifts?”

The prayer of Anna Lee Edwards McAlpin is meaningful for the Christmas season:

Help me have a love for others

That surpasses "self" or gain;

Teach me how to share their sorrow,

Bear with them through stress and pain.

May I never do a favor,

Hoping glory to receive,

Just because I did my duty

And a troubled heart relieved.

May I never be "self-righteous,"

But remember well that He stated in the Holy Scriptures,

"This thou doest unto Me.”


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ika-3 nga Domingo sa Adbyento (C)

Sofonias 3:14-18; Filipos 4:4-7; Lucas 3:10-18

Paglipay sa kanunay! Kini mao ang dakong hagit sa Simbahan kanato niining ika-3 nga Domingo sa Adbyento. Kita giawhag nga magmalipayon tungod kay nagkaduol na ang pag-abot sa Ginoo.

Unsa man ang makapalipay sa tawo? Ang uban kanato malipay sa pagkaon, ilabi na kon adunay litson o kalderetang kanding. Ang uban mobati og kalipay diha sa ilimnon nga makahubog sama sa bugnaw kaayo nga beer. Aduna puy mga tawo nga malipay sa pagdula og sports sama sa tennis o basketball. Samtang ang uban malipay sa kwarta o sa mga butang materyal sama sa nindot nga celfone, laptop computer, ipod, mahalon nga bag ug sapatos. Kining klaseha sa kalipayon pwede natong tawgon og “ordinaryong kalipay”. Dili kini mao ang matang sa kalipay nga giawhag sa atong liturhiya karong Domingoha.

Adunay kalipay nga makab-ot sa tawo pinaagi sa pagbuhat og maayo. Labing siguro, kitang tanan nakabati na niining matang sa kalipay tungod kay sa daghang higayon nakahimo man kita og mga dalaygong buhat sa atong kinabuhi. Pananglitan, mibati kita og kalipay sa dihang gitabangan nato ang atong silingan nga makapatambal sa iyang sakit. Mibati usab kita og kalipay sa dihang nakahatag kita og saktong tambag sa usa ka higala. Nindot usab ang atong gibati sa dihang naluwas nato ang usa ka tawo gikan sa disgrasya. Kining maong kalipayon pwede natong tawgon nga “makahuloganong kalipay”. Ug kining matanga sa pagbati mao ang gusto sa Simbahan nga atong maangkon niining panahon sa Adbyento.

Diha sa ebanghelyo, dihay tulo ka hut-ong sa mga tawo nga miduol kang Juan Magbubunyag ug nangutana, “Unsa may angay namong buhaton?” Giila sa mga tawo si Juan nga usa ka propeta o balaang sulugoon sa Dios ug gusto sila masayod gikan kaniya unsa ang matang sa kinabuhi ang ilang sundon aron makabaton og kaluwasan. “Unsa may among buhaton?” Di ba angay usab kitang mangutana niini karon? Atong sabton ang mga tubag ni Juan tungod kay kini makatabang gayod kanato sa pagkab-ot og makahuloganong kalipay.

Sa daghang mga tawo, si Juan miingon, “Kadtong adunay duha ka sapot angay nga mohatag sa wala, ingon man ang adunay pagkaon.” Usa kini ka tawag sa pagkamanggihatagon. Si Juan nagpahinumdum kanato nga ang isigkatawo atong igsoon, ug diha sa iyang kawad-on, angay lamang nga ato siyang tabangan. Wala kita sugoa nga ihatag nato ang tanan kondili nga atong ipaambit ang unsay sobra kanato. Dili ba gud lain nga samtang nanimaho nang suok ang uban natong biste, adunay atong silingan nga walay sinina?

Sa mga kobrador sa buhis, si Juan miingon, “Ayaw paningil og sobra sa gitakda.” Usa kini ka tawag sa pagkamakiangayon. Ang propeta nagpahinumdum kanato sa paggamit sa atong gahum sa maayong paagi. Dili maayo nga magpadato kita sa kaugalingon pinaagi sa pagpanikas ug pagpamintaha sa uban. Nindot kini nga pahimangno para sa atong mga igsoon nga nagtrabaho diha sa gobyerno o kadtong anaa sa habog nga posisyon sa katilingban. Dili ba ngil-ad kaayo paminawon nga atong pakan-on ang atong mga anak pinaagi sa bahandi nga atong gikawat gikan sa katawhan?

Ug sa mga sundalo, ang propeta miingon, “Ayaw'g panaugdaog ni pamasangil og bakak kang bisan kinsa ug ayaw'g reklamo sa imong sweldo.” Usa kini ka tawag sa pagkamatarong. Si Juan nagpahinumdum kanato sa pagmatinud-anon sa atong trabaho ug pagpanerbisyo. Gisoholan kita sa saktong sweldo ug angay lamang nga magtrabaho kita sa tinuoray. Dili ba lain tan-awon nga gamiton nato ang atong gahum sa pagyatak sa katungod sa uban ug sa pagdaot sa integridad sa mga tawo nga maoy gikuhaan sa atong sweldo?

Sa ikaduhang pagbasa, si San Pablo nagdapit kanato sa paglipay kanunay uban sa Ginoo. Kitang mga Kristiyanos magmalipayon dili sa bahandi ug gahum kondili diha sa pagpakig-uban sa Dios. Mabati nato ang makahuluganong kalipay kon kita magsugod pagpuyo nga manggihatagon, makiangayon ug matarong.

3rd Sunday of Advent (C)

Zeph 3:14-18; Phil 4:4-7; Lk 3:10-18

The third Sunday of advent is called “Gaudete Sunday” (Gaudete is the Latin word for “rejoice”, which is taken from the first word of today’s entrance antiphon: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.”). The liturgy is calling us to be joyful because the day of the Lord’s coming is drawing near.

Some of us, for some reasons, may not be thrilled that the season of Christmas is fast approaching. For what good is Christmas if we are poor, or sick, or broken-hearted. We have learned to believe that Christmas is only for the moneyed, for the healthy and for lovers. Somehow we have forgotten that Christmas, primarily, is for the less fortunate among us.

Today’s gospel encourages us to do something so that Christ’s coming would be meaningful for us and for others. The people, who had heard John the Baptist prophesying about the coming of the Messiah, asked him, “What must we do?” They wanted to make sure that the Anointed One would find them well prepared for the great feast of God’s reign. The answers of John provide us with some important tips for a colorful celebration of Christmas.

First: “He, who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise” (Lk 3:11). The season of advent invites us to consider others who are less fortunate. We are called to provide assistance – be it spiritual, emotional, or material – to a neighbor in need. John does not ask that we give away everything; he only asks that we share what we have or that we practice compassion. Thus, it would be meaningful if during this season we will try to identify people who are in great need of our help. After doing this, we will try to do what we can to make their life a little bit easier.

Second: “Collect no more than is appointed you” (Lk 3:13). John’s admonition to the tax collectors is a way of telling us that we are to deal with others fairly and justly. We have to use prudently whatever authority we have over others, keeping in mind that it is always wrong to take advantage of people’s vulnerability. The season of advent provides us with the opportunity to make reparations for whatever injustice we have done to others.

And third: “Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages” (Lk 3:14). John’s advice to the soldiers is also a good reminder that our professions must be practiced with honor and integrity. It is not right that we use our position or authority to intimidate others or to enrich ourselves. The season of advent challenges us to remain humble and to use our power to serve the good of others.

Saint Paul is urging us to be “always happy in the Lord” (Phil 4:4). Disciples will find happiness “in the Lord”, not in material things or worldly honor. The joy of Christians is in living fully the Christian life – in being generous, fair and righteous in the eyes of God and of people.

Once upon a time, a seeker went from land to land to discover an authentic religion. Finally, the seeker found a group of extraordinary fame. They were known for the goodness of their lives and for the singleness of their hearts and for the sincerity of their service.

I see everything you do,” the seeker said, “and I'm impressed by it. But, before I become your disciple, I have a question to ask: Does your God work miracles?”

Well,” the disciples said to the seeker, “It all depends on what you mean by a miracle. Some people call it a miracle when God does the will of people. We call it a miracle when people do the will of God.”

(The story is from an unknown author)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Immaculate Conception (C)

Gn 3:9-15, 20; Eph 1:3-6, 11-12; Lk 1:26-38

The Church defined as a dogma of Faith that from the first moment of her conception in the womb of her mother Anne, Mary was preserved from Original Sin. Every human being is infected with original sin from birth, but Mary was preserved from that because God prepared her to be the mother of His begotten Son, Jesus.

What does the feast of the Immaculate Conception tell us today?

Importantly, the feast reminds us that sin is ugly and the grace of God is beautiful. Our first reading describes to us the ugliness of sin – there is shame, guilt and anxiety. We need to realize that Adam and Eve’s experience is our experience, too.

When Adam and Eve had eaten of the fruit from the forbidden tree they went into hiding. They were afraid and embarrassed. Is this not our own experience when we sinned? When we do something bad, we feel nervous and scared. That’s the ugliness of sin.

When God was looking for his beloved creatures, Adam answered from his hideout, “I am here but I am afraid, because I am naked.” When we do something wrong, we lose our face. We see our nakedness. That’s the ugliness of sin.

When God said, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat?” the man replied, “Don’t blame me; blame that woman you gave me.” And Eve said, “Don’t blame me; blame that snake in the grass.” This is the ugliness of sin – we become proud, we become self-righteous. When we sin, we often make excuses and we tend to pass the blame on others. We develop the bad habit of “passing the buck.”

On the other hand, the second reading and the gospel tell us that the grace of God is beautiful. In the second reading we hear: God has chosen us to be his children. Is there anything more beautiful than to be called a child of God? God promised that he will not abandon us. God will save us in Jesus. We will be victorious over sin because Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Christ has chosen us in him, even before the foundations of the world, to be holy and blameless in his sight.

The gospel is a beautiful story of an ordinary woman highly favored by God. The story of Mary was one of peace, love and intimacy. There was the assuring presence of the angel, “Fear not Mary.” There was the greeting of peace, “Hail O favored one!” There was a gracious act of humility, “I am the servant of the Lord, be it done to me as you say.” The grace of peace, love, intimacy and humility is always beautiful.

Sin is ugly; the grace of God is beautiful. The problem with the world today is that it is preaching the other way around. What is ugly, the world makes beautiful; and what is beautiful, the world makes ugly. The feast of the Immaculate Conception makes it clear to us that sin is always ugly and the grace of God is always beautiful. There is no beauty in pornography because this would lead to more rapes, incestuous unions and sexual abuse of children. There is no beauty in sex outside the context of love and marriage because this would transform persons into mere objects of pleasure and sexual desires. There is no beauty in drugs because this would lead to killings and crimes of violent nature.

May the Blessed Mother make us appreciate more the beauty of a pure heart, a simple lifestyle and a humble service! All of us are sinners, but the blessed Mother will continue to console and inspire us to stand up after every fall. Sometimes we fall to discouragement because of constant sinning, but Mary will always be there to remind us that indeed we are predestined by Christ to be holy and blameless in His sight.

A certain man doubted the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, he prayed devoutly so that he might be enlightened.

While sleeping one night, the man had a dream. He saw an angel who brought him to a village where he found so many houses.

I want you to choose a house for your one and only son,” the angel told him.

The man and the angel went through the village. The man looked very carefully. He loved his son so much that he wanted only the best for him. Since the houses he saw were all old and dilapidated, not one pleased him.

I cannot find a house to fit my son,” the man spoke to the angel. “Would it be possible to build the house I have in mind for him?”

Just describe the house you have in mind,” the angel replied. “It shall be built in no time.”

The man described the house as very clean, beautiful, and perfect. After he had said this, the house appeared in front of him.

Why did you choose this kind of house for your son?” the angel asked him.

How can I allow my son to live in the houses you showed me?” the man replied. “They are all dirty and run-down. I can only desire what is perfect and ideal for my one and only son.”

Your words are the answer to your own doubts,” the angel said.

What doubts?”

You doubt the Immaculate Conception, don’t you?”

Yes,” answered the man, “but I cannot see what it has to do with choosing houses.”

When God searched for a woman to carry the flesh of his son in her womb,” the angel said, “he could not find anyone fit, for all men are imperfect and defiled by sin. In his love and wisdom God had to create a creature, perfect, immaculate and undefiled by sin, in order to carry the flesh of His son. If you, imperfect as you are, can will only what is best for your son, would God think less for his only Son? That is the reason for Mary’s Immaculate Conception. The dwelling of Christ, Mary, must be perfect to bear the Perfect One.”

(From Vestiges of Wisdom: An Anthology of Anecdotes Vol. 2)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ika-2 nga Domingo sa Adbyento (C)

Baruc 5:1-9; Filipos 1:4-6, 8-11; Lukas 3:1-6

“Mohunong pa ba kaha ang mga gira sa kalibutan?” “Magkahigalaay pa ba kaha ang mga Kristiyanos ug mga Muslim?” “Maulian pa ba kaha ang ekolohiya?” “Mosaka pa ba kaha og balik ang ekonomiya?” “Matarong pa ba kaha ang dagan sa atong pulitika?” “Maundang pa ba kaha ang kurakot diha sa gobyerno?” “Mawala pa ba kaha ang druga sa atong katilingban” “Maluwas pa ba kaha sa kapobrehon ang daghang mga tawo?”

Dili kalikayan nga madiskurahe kita nga moatubang aning mga pangutana. Mura man gud og ngitngit kaayo ang padulngan sa kalibutan karon, ilabi na sa mga kabos nga nasod sama sa Pilipinas. Ang kalisod ug kasakit sa mga tawo nagpatongpatong ug daw walay makita nga kasulbaran sa mga suliran.

Niining panahon sa Adbyento, ang liturhiya nagdasig kanato nga magpabilin nga masaligon ug malaumon sa makaluwas nga lihok sa Ginoo. Muabot ang panahon kanus-a ang Dios mopalingkawas kanato gikan sa tanang kalisod ug kasakit. Wala kita masayod sa takna kanus-a kini Niya buhaton, apan makasiguro kita nga Iya gayod kining himoon sama sa Iyang pagluwas sa katawhan sa Israel gikan sa kamot sa mga kaaway ug ilabi na gayud gikan sa gahum sa sala.

Ang ebanghelyo karong Domingoha gisugdan sa usa ka pasiuna nga makasaysayon: “Sa ika-15 ka tuig sa paghari ni emperador Tiberio, kanus-a si Poncio Pilato mao gobernador sa Juda, ug si Herodes nagmando sa Galilea; ug ang iyang igsoon nga si Felipo nagmando sa Ituria ug Traconitide . . . kanus-a si Anas ug Caifas maoy labawng pari, ang Pulong sa Dios miabot kang Juan, anak ni Zacarias, didto sa disyerto.” Dili tuyo ni San Lucas ang pagsulat og kasaysayan kondili ang pagpakita nga dihay higayon sa kasaysayan kanus-a ang Dios mihimo og lakang aron pagluwas sa Iyang katawhan. Gisugdan kini sa Dios pinaagi sa pagdasig kang Juan sa pagsangyaw ug sa pag-andam sa Iyang pag-abot.

Sa maong panahon, ang mga Israelita nag-antos pag-ayo gumikan sa Romanhong imperyalismo. Ang ilang kasinatian dili layo sa ato: nag-antos sila sa grabe nga pangurakot sa ilang mga kadagkoan, nagkabahinbahin ang ilang katawhan, daghan ang nawad-an og pagtoo, adunay insureksyon, ug uban pa. Ingon niini ang ilang sitwasyon sa dihang nagsugod ang Diosnong buhat sa pagpangluwas. Busa, dili kita angay nga mawad-an sa paglaum sa atong kahimtang karon. Hinoon, makighiusa kita sa tibuok Simbahan sa pag-ampo niining panahon sa Adbyento nga muabot na ang Ginoo sa atong kinabuhi aron sa pagdala og kaluwasan.

Aron maandam ang mga Israelita sa pag-abot sa Manluluwas, si Juan nagsangyaw pinaagi sa pag-ingon: “Andama ang dalan sa Ginoo, tul-ira ang iyang agianan. Abunohi ang mga walog ug pataga ang mga bungtod ug bukid. Tul-ira ang tanang hiwi ug taronga ang gansanggansangon, ug ang tanang tawo makakita sa kaluwasan sa Dios.” Kining maong mensahe importante usab para kanato karon nga nagpaabot sa Ginoo nga Manluluwas.

Unsa man ang dalan nga angay natong tul-iron? Unsa pa kondili ang atong kinabuhi ug binuhatan mismo. Undangon na nato ang mga bisyo ug mga buhat nga salawayon. Biyaan nato ang mga binuhatan nga makadaot kanato ug sa atong isigkatawo. Unsa man ang mga walog nga angay natong abunohan? Unsa pa kondili ang atong mga kakulangon sa kinabuhi – kakulang sa disiplina, pagsabot, paghigugma, pagpaambit, pagpasaylo, pagtabang ug uban pa. Unsa man ang mga bungtod ug bukid nga angay natong patagon? Unsa pa kondili ang atong garbo ug kamapahitas-on. Angay kita nga magkat-on sa pagpaubos sa kaugalingon, pagpaminaw sa opinyon sa uban, pagtahod sa kultura ug pagtoo sa isigkaingon, ug uban pa. Kon mahimo nato kini, sigurado dili na magdugay ang Kaluwasan nga atong gipangandoy.

Nindot kayo ang pag-ampo ni San Pablo diha sa ikaduhang pagbasa: “Nga ang inyong gugma motubo ug magdala kaninyo sa mas lawom pa nga kahibalo ug mas tin-aw nga panabot sa unsay maayo, aron nga mahimo kamo nga limpyo og kasingkasing ug dili salawayon alang sa pag-abot ni Cristo. Mapuno unta kamo sa mga bunga sa katarong nga magagikan ni Cristo Jesus, alang sa himaya ug pagdayeg sa Dios.”

Friday, November 27, 2009

1st Sunday of Advent (C)

Jer 33:14-16; 1 Thes 3:12-4:2; Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

Today we enter into the season of Advent, the first season of the “Liturgical Calendar” of the Church. It is quite ironic that on the first day of the Church Calendar, the gospel talks about the end of the world. In opening a new liturgical year, the Church immediately gives us an idea of what is going to happen at the end of time. Perhaps, this is her way of setting our sights on our goal so that we can put our priorities right within the year.

The Advent season comprises of four weeks, an opportunity given to us by the Church to reflect on the “comings” of Christ into our lives. The Lord would come to us in three different ways and we are called to prepare ourselves at all times to meet him.

First, we prepare to celebrate the birth anniversary of the Lord's birth this coming Christmas. We recall that great event during which the “Word became flesh” and try to understand the messages attached to it.

Second, we need to be consistently vigilant for Christ' second coming at the end of time when he will come down from heaven full of glory and power. This is what the gospel today portrays. The end of time is something that would easily terrify us. Nonetheless, the gospel assures us that the final day is our victory and, therefore, should not frighten us. Rather, it should inspire us to bring back moral order into our life in preparation for the day of judgment.

And third, we keep ourselves ready to receive Christ everyday of our life. Jesus dwells in our hearts every time we do good for God and for others. In our day-to-day prayers, let us invite the Lord to enter into our hearts, homes and communities. Through our daily acts of mercy and love, we make ourselves confident to meet Christ face to face.

The first coming of Christ was surrounded with mystery. The Son of God was conceived in the womb of a simple and lowly woman and was born in a manger. He was visited by poor shepherds and was adored by three wise men. Many in Israel did not expect the Messiah to come in such time and manner. Thus, God caught them off-guard and unprepared.

Most likely, the second coming of Christ would also be very mysterious. It would come like a thief in the night. And if we are not vigilant, God will also find us not ready, just like the people of Israel during the first Christmas. What are we to do then? The gospel advices: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catches you like a trap.” Hence, this is the first call of Advent: Prepare yourself for the Lord's coming by following the right path, leaving sin behind, and increasing love for one another.

The prayer of Saint Paul in the second reading is appropriate: 'May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.”

Ika-1 nga Domingo sa Adbyento (C)

Jer 33:14-16; 1 Thes 3:12-4:2; Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

Karong Domingoha misulod kita sa panahon sa Adbiento, ang unang panahon sa “liturhikanhong kalendaryo” sa Simbahan. Tingali makapangutana kita ngano nga niining pinakaunang adlaw sa liturhikanhong kalendaryo ang ebanghelyo naghisgot man sa katapusang panahon. Sa pag-abli og bag-ong liturhikanhong tuig gihatagan kita sa Simbahan og ideya kon unsa ang anaa sa kaulahian, o kon unsa ang nagpaabot kanato sa katapusan. Usa kini ka pamaagi sa Simbahan aron nga mapunting ang atong hunahuna ug kasingkasing sa umaabot nga pakig-atubang sa Ginoo ug aron nga ang atong mga prioridad sa kinabuhi mapahiluna inubanan nianang maong kamatuoran.

Ang Adbyento gimugna sa upat ka semana, kahigayonan nga gihatag kanato sa Simbahan aron makapamalandong sa “mga pag-abot” ni Kristo sa atong kinabuhi. Kita gitudloan nga adunay tulo ka klase nga pag-abot ni Kristo:

Una, mangandam kita sa pag-abot sa kasumaran sa pagpakatawo ni Kristo karong pasko. Handumon nato pagbalik ang pinakadakong hitabo diin ang “Pulong Nahimong Tawo” ug sabton ang mga mensahe nga nag-uban sa maong misteryo.

Ikaduha, ato usab nga pangandaman ang pag-abot ni Kristo sa katapusan sa panahon, kanus-a siya munaog gikan sa langit nga puno sa himaya ug gahom. Mao kini ang gihulagway sa ebanghelyo karong adlawa. Ang katapusan sa panahon dili angay nga makalisang sa mga sumusunod ni Kristo tungod kay kini ang adlaw sa atong kadaogan. Hinoon, kini angay nga magdasig kanato sa pagpahiluna sa atong kinabuhi agi og pagpangandam sa adlaw sa paghukom.

Ug ikatulo, kita gidapit nga mag-andam kanunay sa pagdawat ni Kristo sa atong kinabuhi diha sa matag adlaw. Si Jesus mahimugso diha sa atong kasingkasing sa matag hihayon nga kita magbuhat og maayo para sa Dios ug sa isigkatawo. Sa atong pag-ampo matag adlaw, atong dapiton ang Ginoo sa pagsulod sa atong kasingkasing, sa atong panimalay, ug sa atong katilingban. Pinaagi sa atong inadlaw-adlaw nga buhat sa kalooy ug gugma, kita mamahimong andam sa pag-atubang ni Jesus sa panahon sa paghukom.

Ang unang pag-abot ni Kristo misteryoso kaayo. Ang Anak sa Dios nagpakatawo didto sa pasungan, nahimugso sa usa ka yano nga inahan, giduaw sa mga magbalantay sa karnero, ug gisimba sa tulo ka mga makinaadmanong tawo. Kadaghanan sa Israel wala magdahum nga ang Mesiyas moabot sa ilang kinabuhi sa maong panahon ug sa ingon nga paagi. Ug tungod niini, naabtan sila sa Dios nga wala makabantay ug dili andam.

Labing siguro, ang pag-abot ni Jesus sa katapusan sa panahon ubanan gihapon sa dakong misteryo. Kon dili kita magmabinantayon, maabtan kita sa Dios nga dili andam, sama sa katawhan sa Israel niadtong unang pasko. Nan, unsa may angay natong buhaton? Kini ang pahimangno sa ebanghelyo: “Pag-amping nga dili kamo mapuno sa mga bisyo, paghuboghubog ug kalibutanong kailibgon aron nga andam kamo sa maong adlaw.” Mao kini ang unang tawag sa panahon sa Adbyento: Andama ang kaugalingon sa pag-abot sa Ginoo pinaagi sa pagtil-id sa kinabuhi, pagbiya sa sala, ug sa pagpalambo sa gugma sa usag-usa.

Ang pag-ampo ni San Pablo diha sa ikaduhang pagbasa bililhon kaayo niining panahona: “Dugangan unta sa Ginoo ang inyong gugma sa usag-usa ug sa tanang tawo, sama sa among paghigugma kaninyo. Lig-onon unta niya ang inyong kaugalingon. Sa ingon, mabalaan mo ug mawalay buling sa sala atubangan sa Dios Amahan.”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kristo nga Hari (B)

Daniel 7:13-14; Pagpadayag 1:5-8; Juan 18:33-37

Sa usa ka marriage encounter seminar, gusto nga sutaon sa pari kon kinsang tingog ang matuman diha sa pamilya sa mga partisepante. Iya silang giingnan, “Kadtong mga bana nga maoy hari sa panimalay, palihog ari mo lingkod sa tuo nga dapit. Kadtong mga 'ander ni misis', palihog lingkod sa wala nga dapit.”

Pwerteng kurata sa pari kay halos tanang mga bana didto man nanglingkod sa wala nga dapit ug usa lang gyud ka buok ang milingkod sa tuo. Nagpasabot ba kini nga usa lang sa gatosan ka bana ang tinuod nga hari sa panimalay?

Ug gipanguta sa pari ang nag-inusara nga bana, “Unsa may imong sekreto brod nga naghari man gyud ka sa imong pamilya?”

Hari?” daw nahibulong ang lalaki. “Ambot lang padre. Basta nia ko dinhi naglingkod sa tuo kay mao ni pagbuot sa akong asawa.”

Kon makadungog ta sa pulong nga hari, ato dayong mahunahuna ang usa ka tawo nga isog o gamhanan. Ang hari mao ang tawo nga maoy mopatigbabaw o modaog. Kinsa man ang hari sa boxing? Si Manny Pacquiao. Kinsa man ang hari sa pop music? Si Michael Jackson. Kinsa man ang hari sa negosyo sa Pilipinas? Si Henry Sy. Kinsa man ang hari sa kalsada sa Cagayan de Oro? Ang mga driver sa jeep de pasahero.

Apan, sa atong pagpasidungog ni Kristo nga Hari, wala kita maghunahuna og Dios nga maisog o gamhanan. Wala usab kita maghunahuna og Dios nga maoy magpatigbabaw o magbuot sa tanan. Wala usab kita maghunahuna og Dios nga magpaserbisyo sa mga tawo. Lahi siya nga pagkahari tungod kay siya ang mag-alagad sa iyang katawhan, tungod kay gusto siya magpatigbabaw sa kamatuoran, hustisya ug kaangayan, ug tungod kay mahimo niya kalimtan ang iyang kaugalingon para sa kaayohan sa uban.

Sa pagpangutana ni Pilato kang Jesus, “Ikaw ba ang hari sa mga Hudeyo?”, siya mitubag, “Ang akong gingharian wala dinhi sa kalibutan.” Sa iyang pag-ingon niini, gipasabot ni Jesus kang Pilato nga ang iyang pagkahari dili kalibutanon. Dili siya sama ni Caesar, ang hari nga gisilbihan ni Pilato nga igo lamang magmando ug magpaserbisyo. Ang pagkahari ni Kristo lahi tungod kay kini inubanan sa dakong gugma, kamaalagaron, paghatag sa kaugalingon ug pagsakripisyo.

Sa Daang Kasabotan, ang tawhanong hari maoy giisip sa mga hudeyo nga representante sa Ginoo. Mag-alagad siya sa Dios ug mag-atiman sa Iyang katawhan. Ang usa ka hari maningkamot sa pagsabot sa kabubut-on sa Dios ug magpatuman niini sa katawhan. Ipaniguro niya nga ang katawhan mabuhi nga malipayon ug malinawon, layo sa katalagman ug kasakitan. Pinaagi kaniya, mabati sa mga tawo nga sila gipangga ug gipanalipdan sa Ginoo.

Atong makita diha sa Balaang Kasulatan nga kon ang usa ka hari mahimong daotan o mag-abuso sa iyang gahum, ang katawhan mosangpit dayon sa Ginoo ug mangandoy nga Siya na lang ang mahimo nilang Hari. Diha sa unang pagbasa, si propeta Daniel nanagna sa pag-abot sa usa ka tinuod nga Hari, nga munaog gikan sa langit aron maghari sa tibuok kalibutan hangtod sa kahangturan. Kining maong panagna nahatagan og katumanan diha ni Jesus. Siya mao ang gipadala sa Ginoo aron maghari pinaagi sa pag-alima sa Iyang katawhan. Matud pa ni San Pablo sa ikaduhang pagbasa, “Si Jesus mao ang hari sa tanang hari, nga nahigugma ug nagluwas kanato gikan sa sala pinaagi sa pag-ula sa iyang dugo.”

Bililhon kaayo kanatong mga Pilipino karon kining atong pagsabot sa pagkahari ni Kristo. Nagsugod na kita karon sa pagtimbangtimbang kon kinsa ang atong pilion nga mangulo sa atong nasud, sa atong mga probinsya, mga distrito, mga dakbayan ug mga lalawigan. Ang Simbahang Katoliko maggiya kaninyo sa pagpili og maayong mga pangulo, apan dili kini magbuot kaninyo kon kinsa ang pilion. Hinaot lamang unta nga makamao kita magpili og mga tawo nga maghari kanato pinaagi sa matinud-anong pag-alagad. Dili unta kita makapili og mga tawo nga walay kahadlok sa Dios, mga kurakot, mga kawatan, mga walay pagtahod sa kinabuhi, ug mga mapahimuslanon. Dili unta nato ibaligya ang atong boto, ang atong katungod, ug ang kaugmaon sa atong mga anak.

Mag-ampo kita ngadto sa Kristo nga Hari aron lamdagan ug giyahan niya kita sa kanunay.

Christ the King (B)

Dn 7:13-14; Rev 1:5-8; Jn 18:33b-37

Today, the last Sunday of the Liturgical Calendar, the Church commemorates the solemnity of Christ the King. This is appropriate because the Church would like to show that at the end of time, Christ will be proclaimed, once and for all, as King of kings and Lord of lords. In the first reading, the prophet Daniel envisions the “Son of Man” coming down from heaven to receive dominion, glory and kingship (Dn 7:13-14).

We proclaim boldly Jesus as our King, but a King with a difference. In the gospel, Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And the Lord replies, “Yes, but my kingdom is not of this world.” In a way, Jesus clarified to Pilate that his kingdom is unlike the kingdom of Caesar. The kingdom of this world would depend on military force, political power and economic superiority. Jesus’ kingdom is founded on the virtues of love, faith, and hope; and is nourished with values such as truth, humility, self-giving and mutual understanding. The kingdom of this world would seek to increase its wealth, extend its boundaries and expand its influence. Jesus’ kingdom promotes peace where there is aggression, freedom where there is subjugation, justice where there is exploitation, and forgiveness where there is transgression.

The second reading says that Jesus our Lord, “the ruler of the kings of the earth . . . loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood” (Rev 1:5). Jesus’ kingship primarily was about self-denial and self-giving, not control and domination. In his ministerial life, Jesus showed that he was more concerned with making his disciples kings than with ruling them. The author of Revelation says, he has “made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever” (1:6).

When his disciples were arguing who among them is the greatest, Jesus reproached them, saying: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave” (Mt 20:25-27). This was a hard pill to take for the disciples because they had a different idea of kingship and authority. However, it did not take them that long to understand because they had seen with their own eyes how their Lord and Master practiced servanthood every day of his life. After he washed the feet of his disciples, Jesus said to them: “If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (Jn 13:14-15).

As we celebrate the feast of Christ the King, it would be good for us to consider seriously the Lord’s commission to all his disciples. If we accept Jesus as our King, we must heed his call. Let us serve one another just as Jesus served each one of his disciples. The world today does not need a great king to save it from poverty and misery. It only needs every Christian to exercise the kingship that he or she shares with Christ in baptism.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the King's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

(The story is from an unknown author)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Dan 12:1-3; Heb 10:11-14, 18; Mk 13:24-32

Today’s liturgy is anticipating the culmination of the Liturgical Year, which will happen next Sunday. The readings invite us to reflect deeply on the end of time, which is going to be the Second Coming of the Lord and the great Day of Judgment.

The Jews of olden times believed that the coming of the kingdom of God would be a cataclysmic event. The Book of Daniel says that “there is going to be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence” (12:1). In Mark’s gospel, Jesus describes a common understanding: “In those days, after that time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken” (13:24-25). Today, these words would cause a lot of anxiety to people and would invite horrifying predictions from doomsayers. Such feelings and attitudes, however, should not be ours as faithful believers.

The Second Coming of Christ is part of our prayer in every Eucharistic celebration. When we say the Creed we proclaim that Christ “will come again to judge the living and the dead.” In the Eucharistic Prayer we also declare that Christ has died, has risen, and will come again. Importantly, after the Lord’s Prayer, we ask God to “deliver us from every evil” and to “protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” Instead of being fearful, we, Christians must look forward to the Second Coming of our Lord because it is going to be the day of our deliverance, when pain, suffering and death would no longer be ours.

God keeps the appointed time of Judgment secret: “Nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father” (Mk 13:32). It is not God’s intention to be sadistic by keeping us ignorant of the appointed time of his Son’s return. On the contrary, it is God’s way of encouraging us to remain faithful to his commandments in the light of the Day of Reckoning. Ordinarily, we would like to dilly-dally ourselves when the deadline of our work is still far. We tend to relax and live irresponsibly thinking that we have plenty of time to fulfill our tasks. More often than not, we end up in life with so many unfinished businesses. The unexpectedness of the Lord’s coming should, therefore, challenge us to live our life always with one eye fixed on heaven.

An old pastor was enjoying a big glass of beer when his parish vicar teased him by asking: “Father, what would you do if you are told by an angel of death that within a few hours you are going to die?”

The holy priest replied calmly: “Nothing, my son. I would only try to finish my beer.”

What about us? Are we ready to face the Lord at the Day of Judgment or at the moment of our death? Surely, if the angel of death would tell us that we only have little time left, we all will rush to the Church and pray, seek for forgiveness, reach out to our enemies and extend a reconciling hand. But why do we have to wait for the finish-line to do the good? An important lesson that we learned as little children is not to wait for tomorrow what we can do for today. So, let us love God and one another now, not later.

Saint John of the Cross once said: “In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human successes, but on how well we have loved.” An unknown author suggested that at the Day of Judgment,

God won’t ask the square footage of your house. He will ask how many people you helped who didn’t have a house.

God won’t ask how many fancy clothes you had in your closet. He will ask how many of those clothes you gave away to those who didn’t have any.

God won’t ask what your highest salary was. He will ask if you trampled over any people to obtain that salary.

God won’t ask how many promotions you received. He will ask what you did to promote others.

God won’t ask how many friends you had. He will ask how many people you were a friend to.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ika-33 nga Domingo sa Ordinaryong Panahon (B)

Dan 12:1-3; Heb 10:11-14, 18; Mk 13:24-32

Nakahukom ang Ginoo nga tapuson na ang kalibutan human sa 3 ka adlaw. Busa gipatawag niya ang mga pangulo sa tanang nasud sa usa ka panagtapok aron mandoan sa pagpahibalo sa ilang katawhan mahitungod sa katapusan sa kalibutan. Sa pagpanguli sa mga pangulo, tagsatagsa nilang gipahibalo ang ilang katawhan:

Pope Benedict: “Katawhan sa Dios, aduna akoy daotan ug maayo nga balita. Ang daotang balita mao nga matapos na ang kalibutan human sa 3 ka adlaw; ang maayong balita mao nga makab-ot na nato ang kaluwasan nga atong gipangandoy.”

Obama: “Maisog nga katawhan sa Amerika, aduna akoy daotan ug maayo nga balita. Ang daotang balita mao nga matapos na ang kalibutan human sa 3 ka adlaw; ang maayong balita mao nga dili na kita maproblema sa kahimtang sa Iraq ug Afghanistan.”

Arroyo: “Mahal kong nasud nga Pilipinhon, aduna akoy daotan ug maayo nga balita. Ang daotang balita mao nga matapos na ang kalibutan human sa 3 ka adlaw; ang maayo nga balita mao nga maimpas na ang tanan natong utang.”

Unsa kahay atong bation kon makadungog kita nga matapos na ang kalibutan human sa 3 ka adlaw? Isipon kaha nato kini nga daotang balita o maayong balita? Kasagarang mga tawo motoo nga ang kalibutan aduna gayuy katapusan. Ug daghan kanato, mobati og kahadlok kon makadungog og mga panagna mahitungod niini. Pila na ba ka panagna mahitungod sa katapusan sa kalibutan ang atong nadungog sukad pa sa atong pagkabata?

Ang Balaang Kasulatan aduna usay mga panagna mahitungod sa katapusan sa panahon. Gitawag kini nato og “Apocalyptic Writings”, mga sinulat nga nagpadayag sa mga misteryosong kamatuoran mahitungod sa Ginoo, sa dagan sa kinabuhi sa tawo, ug sa katapusan sa kalibutan. Kabahin aning “Apocalyptic Writings” mao ang unang pagbasa nga gikan sa sulat ni propeta Daniel ug ang ebanghelyo sumala ni San Marcos nga atong nadungog karong adlawa. Si Daniel nagkanayon nga muabot “ang panahon sa labihan kadakong kasakit nga wala pa gayod masinati hangtod karon”. Ug diha sa ebanghelyo, si Jesus mipasabot nga “human sa makalilisang nga panahon, modulom ang adlaw, ang bulan dili na modan-ag, ang mga bitoon mangatagak gikan sa kawanangan, ug matay-og ang tibuok kalibutan.”

Unsa man ang katuyoan aning “Apocalyptic Writings”? Kon atong basahon sa iyang kinatibuk-an, atong masabtan nga kini gisulat dili aron sa pagpanghadlok sa mga tawo kon dili aron sa paghatag og dakong paglaum sa tanang mga magtotoo. Pananglitan, si propeta Daniel nag-ingon nga sa pag-abot sa panahon, “Ang nakabaton og kaalam mosidlak sama sa dan-ag sa kalangitan ug ang nagtudlo og kaangayan sa katawhan mosidlak sama sa kabitoonan hangtod sa kahangturan”. Nga sa ato pa, ang katapusan sa kalibutan mao unya ang adlaw sa kadaogan sa mga matarong. Mao usab kini ang tema sa ebanghelyo: “Makita sa katawhan ang Anak sa Tawo nga moabot diha sa panganod uban sa dakong gahom ug himaya. Ipadala niya ang mga anghel aron pagtigum sa piniling katawhan . . .”

Ang paglaum, dili ang kahadlok, maoy angay nga maghari kanatong mga magtotoo diha sa atong pagpaabot sa Ikaduhang Pagbalik sa Ginoo. Diha sa Santos nga Misa, mag-ampo kita diha sa pag-ingon: “Mangayo kami kanimo, Ginoo, nga imo kaming luwason sa tanang daotan. Hatagi kami sa kalinaw niining panahona aron tinabangan sa imong kalooy mahalikay kami sa tanang kadaot diha sa among mahinangpon nga pagpaabot sa pagbalik sa imong anak nga si Jesu-Cristo among manunubos.” Imbis nga malisang, kitang mga Kristiyano angay nga magmahinangpon sa pag-abot sa katapusan sa kalibutan tungod kay kini mao ang adlaw sa pagbalik ni Jesus, ang adlaw sa atong kaluwasan, kanus-a matapos ang tanang kasakit ug kamatayon.

Gawas sa Dios Amahan, walay laing nasayod sa adlaw o takna sa katapusan sa kalibutan. Tingali mao kini ang pamaagi sa Dios sa pagsukod unsa gayod kita kamatinud-anon ug kamaunongon Kaniya. Kasagaran kanato dili motrabaho sa gimbuhaton kon layo pa ang “deadline” nga adlaw. Aduna kitay kinaiya nga mag-relax una ug magpabagdoybagdoy tungod kay maghunahuna kita nga aduna pay igo nga panahon. Ug tungod niini, daghan kanato mahutdan sa panahon o mamatay nga daghan og “unfinished projects”. Ang tinago nga adlaw sa pag-abot sa Ginoo mao ang maghagit kanato sa pagpuyo sa kinabuhi nga kanunay'ng andam sa adlaw sa paghukom.

Usa ka tigulang nga padre paroko ang naabtan sa iyang assistant nga pari nga nag-inum og usa ka botelya nga beer samtang nagtan-aw sa dula sa basketbol diha sa TV. Kinomedya nga nangutana kining assistant sa tigulang nga pari: “Padre, kon moanhi karon ang anghel sa kamatayon aron pagpahibalo kanimo nga kuhaon kana karong tungang gabii, unsa may buhaton mo?

Ang tigulang nga pari kalmado nga mitubag: “Wala. Tiwason lang nako kining dula ug kining beer. Unya matulog na ako pagkahuman.”

Unsa kaha kita? Andam na ba kita nga makig-atubang sa Ginoo sa adlaw sa paghukom? Tingali kon moanhi si Kamatayon aron pagpahibalo kanato nga mamatay na kita sa sunod adlaw, matarantar dayon kita sa pag-adto sa simbahan, sa pagpangayo og pasaylo, sa pagpakighiuli sa atong mga kaaway, sa pagbayad sa utang, ug sa uban pa. Ang pangutana mao kini: Ngano nga magpaabut pa man kita sa duol nga katapusan? Ngano man nga dili nato buhaton ang angay'ng buhaton karon? Sa eskuylahan, gitudloan kita nga dili maghulat sa ugma unsay atong mahimo karong adlawa. Busa, buhaton na nato ang sakto karon, ug dili na kita magpaabot pa og ugma.