Monthly Archives: February 2016

Transfiguration by Fr. Joel

Jesus went up the mountain to pray with three of his disciples namely: Peter, John, and a_woman_climbing_a_mountainJames. While he was praying his face and clothe became bright as the sun. And Moses and Elijah appeared with glorified bodies. Upon seeing the glorious appearance of Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, Peter said to Jesus, ‘’Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you , one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’’ And while he was still speaking a cloud overshadowed them and a voice spoke from heaven saying, ‘’ this is my beloved son in whom I am well please, listen to him. After the voice, Moses and Elijah disappeared and Jesus was left alone with the three disciples.
All of these happened for a reason. Before then Jesus had always told his disciples that he was going to suffer and be killed by the leaders of the people, and the disciple would not understand. It was difficult for them to believe that Jesus, the son of God, and messiah would be killed by men, mere mortals and God his father will allowed that to happen. And because of this they started doubting if he was the true messiah. Therefore, Jesus took up the mountain to prove to them that he was the messiah and will still have to suffer and die in order to save the world. The appearance of Moses, Elijah, and the voice of God was to confirm to the disciples that Jesus was truly the son of God. And he was going to save the world through suffering and dying on the cross.
After showing them his glory and the confirmation of his status as the son of God and messiah by the appearance of Moses, Elijah, and the voice of God, the disciples now believed him and wanted to remain up there on the mountain, because it was a wonderful sight over there. However, for him to achieve salvation for us he had to suffer and die on the cross. This goes to confirm the saying of Jesus that unless a wheat grain is buried in the soil and dies before it can germinate and bear abundant fruits; he who humbles himself will be exhausted and he who exhausts him/herself will be humbled; if we want to be his followers we must also carry our own crosses and follow him. And that means nothing good comes easy;
To share in his glory, we must listen to him and also share in his suffering. It is when we do so that we can experience what the disciples experienced on the mountain with Jesus and we will not want to depart from him. This period of lent is like climbing the mountain with Jesus. If you observe this season very well you will surely experience his glory like the disciples did on the mountain. When you carry the cross of this lent period faithfully, you will surely reap abundance fruits of the Holy Spirit in your life. Therefore, do not be scared of climbing this mountain, rather take courage and climb on with Jesus and you will enjoy a wonderful experience that will make not want to leave him.
This holy season is calling on us to listen to the voice of Jesus and follow him. Listen and do whatever he tells you do and you will enjoy abundant blessing afterward. Jesus speaks to us in the Bible, through the church, through your spouse, through your children, through your parents, through your neighbor, through the poor, sick, elderly, prisoners, and less privilege people in our society. Please listen to him. For he said whatever you do to the least in society, you do to me. Please remember to see Jesus in other people especially in the less privilege people and help him.

Love is the Greatest of all Virtues & Gifts by Fr. Joel

A story is told of a man who passed out and was taken to both heaven and hell. After someCHRISTIAN-LOVE-e1429039695744 time he came back to life and started to tell people what he saw over there. He said he saw people in hell given all kinds of food to eat using very long spoons. But because of the length of the spoons they could not eat the food and they were looking very hungry. While in heaven, the people were given the same kinds of food and spoons and they were able to feed themselves and looked very healthy. This is because instead of each person struggling to feed him/her with the long spoons, which was not possible anyway, they decided to be feeding each other. Each person would use the spoon to feed another person and that person does the same to him/her. At the end of the day each person is fed to his/her satisfaction. Since the people in heaven were not selfish and loved each other, they were able to feed themselves, while those in hell could not because they were selfish and lack love for each other. Lack of love is manifested in selfishness to each other.

Today in our second reading St. Paul talked about how love is very relevant to our human community. Love is patient and kind. It is not jealous, pompous, inflated, rude, quick to anger, and celebrate at the misfortune of others, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believe all things, and hope in all things.

All kinds of vices and evils exist in our world today because of selfishness and lack of love. This is demonstrated in individualism, materialism, capitalism, hedonism, gossip, cheating, blackmail, discrimination, injustice and rejection of the truth in our society.

The people, as we read, in the first reading and the gospel demonstrated their rejection of the prophet and Jesus because they told the truth and the people did not want to listen. The people were selfish and lack love for one another, and were not ready to change. Therefore, they attacked them in order to suppress the truth. The people were selfish and did not want to share with others the blessings of God. So, when Christ made reference to how God had blessed others like the Naaman, the Syrian, and the widow at Zarephath in Sidon, they were enraged and wanted to do away with him. All these happened because of the lack of love. God’s love is for all people and not for a selected few. Nobody has the monopoly of the kingdom of God. Anything that we are and are doing, if there is no love it is useless according to St Paul. Love is the greatest of all gifts and virtues any human being can have. God himself is love and anyone who wants to be like him must make love their target in life. You cannot claim to love God when you do not love your neighbor according to John. You cannot claim to be a Christian when you dislike other people. You cannot claim to receive Christ in the Eucharist and at the same time hate your neighbor. For example, refusing to receive communion from certain people and refusing to share the same pew with some people, are clear demonstration of lack of love for others; therefore, you are not supposed to receive Christ who is love himself.

There are other ways that we demonstrate lack of love for one another in our daily lives. We see this in the way we refuse to forgive one another, we refuse to share our resources, in the way we seek divorce in our marriage instead of seeking reconciliation, in the way we demand for justice instead of showing mercy, in the way we isolate one another, refuse to visit or make phone calls to others, discriminate against others, and the way we attack each other. Love is all that we need to be happy in this life and in the next. No one who is selfish and lack love that is a happy person, such people are always miserable in life. We were created to live as community and in love but not in isolation. We need each other to succeed, be happy and to survive this life. Therefore, you must belong to a family and community where there is love for one another, that is, a family that support you spiritually, materially, psychologically, emotionally, and other. That is where we gain our strength and weapon to success and survival in life. Life in heaven is where all the angels and saints live together glorifying the Lord forever with love and no selfishness. Our goal and expectation is to join the saints in this one great community of God. And for us to succeed in joining them, we need to begin to practice those kind virtues and love here and now in this world.

Good Christians should make their love of God and neighbor their number one priority. The gospel is all about love; therefore, we should endeavor to spread it to all people. We have been call and commissioned like Jeremiah and Jesus to preach this gospel of love to the world. Begin with your family and do not give excuses because God has called and empowered us right from our mother’s wombs like Jeremiah. In the face of challenges and difficulty to do so, call on God to assist you with the necessary graces that you need to carry out this divine mandate. Let us allow ourselves to be agents of the good news. Let people see in us the joy of the gospel radiating. A true Christian is a happy person not because of material or world things but because of the grace and love God in him/her. Therefore, if you want to be truly happy give God your time, invest in his business and your interest will be immeasurable. Please try the Lord and see how he will surprise you with love and abundant blessing beyond your imagination.