Saturday, August 29, 2015
22nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
Sunday, 30th August 2015
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8
Moses said to the people:
“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
In your observance of the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin upon you,
you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?”
Second Reading: James 1:17-18,21-22,27
Dearest brothers and sisters:
All good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.
Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia. Alleluia. The Father gave us birth by the word of truth, that we would become first fruits of his creation. Alleluia.
GOSPEL: Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23
When the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles. So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?"
Jesus said to them, "Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.' You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition."
Then Jesus called the crowd again and said to them. "Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile them, but the things that come out of a person are what defile them.
"For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.
The Gospel of the Lord: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
The evangelist, St. Mark, in today's Gospel text relates to us that once again Jesus and his disciples received criticism from the Pharisees and some of the scribes. They accused Jesus' disciples of impurity since they did not follow the ritual washing before meals. It was part of the tradition during Jesus' time to perform the ritual washing of the hands before eating. Actually, this is not the first time that they accused Jesus of something. The Scribes and Pharisees were watching closely Jesus' every move so that they may put up something against him Like, they accused Jesus of blasphemy. They accused Jesus of being a glutton and a drunkard. They accused Jesus of associating with sinners and tax collectors. They accused Jesus of doing his ministry of healing by the power of the devil. And they accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath law. The Scribes and the Pharisees were always out to find fault with what Jesus do. This is the very reason why they noticed even a simple neglect of the observance of the law such as washing of hands before meals. They made the issue some kind of a big deal. But Jesus turns on them and gave them a lesson they won't forget. For Jesus, they should not be so particular about something that is coming from the outside. What is truly wrong are those things that come from within the person. "There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile them, but the things that come out of a person are what defile them." I don't think our Lord Jesus was against the ritual of the washing of the hands per se. Good practices of hygiene are, of course, essential in our lives. Which means that washing your hands before preparing or eating food is indeed important. But what turned Jesus off about the Scribes and Pharisees is their hypocrisy. In Matthew 23:27, Jesus said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of bones of the dead and everything unclean." What was being condemned, therefore, in this particular Gospel text is hypocrisy.
What is hypocrisy? Hypocrisy comes from a Greek word - hupokrites- which literally means a theater actor , like a performer acting under a mask. Hypocrisy is a strong word, nobody wants to be called a hypocrite. A hypocrite is someone who puts his best foot forward while hiding his real self. They are those who hide their true characters behind a mask of righteousness to receive the praise of others. Hypocrisy is when one supposedly cares and sacrifices for others while exploiting them. Some people say that people who do not practice what they preach are perfect examples of hypocrite. But I think, it is more than that. Part of being human is that we commit mistakes. We have our weaknesses and shortcomings. Even St. Paul lamented , "Why do I do the things I hate." Hypocrisy, therefore, consist not only in failing to practice what we preach, but in not believing what we preach. Let me elaborate this point by telling you a story:
In a small town in America, a person decided to open up a bar business, which was right opposite to a church. The church and its congregation started a campaign to block the bar from opening with petitions and prayed daily against his business.
Work progressed. However, when it was almost complete and was about to open a few days later, a strong lightning bolt struck the bar and it was burnt to the ground. The church folk were rather smug in their outlook after that, till the bar owner sued the church authorities for $2 million on the grounds that the church through its congregation & prayers was ultimately responsible for the demise of the bar shop, either through direct or indirect actions or means.
In its reply to the court, the church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection that their prayers were reasons for the bar shop’s demise. In support of their claim they referred to the
Benson study at Harvard that stated; “intercessory prayer had no impact !”
As the case made its way into court, the judge looked over the paperwork and at the hearing he made these comments:
“I don’t know how I am going to decide this case, but it appears from the paperwork, we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer and we have an entire church and its devotees that does not.”
Today's Gospel text serves as a warning to everyone. Jesus knew that there is a tendency to anyone to be hypocrite. In Luke 20:46: Jesus said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets." In contrast to the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees is the person of Jesus. Jesus is our model for Christian life - his love, his obedience to the father, his service, his being truthful and his humility. The antidote to hypocrisy lies in the practice of humility. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus said "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart." Let us always ask the Lord to grant us the purity and humility of the heart. "For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours. Amen.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Sorry to tell you but yes I do. I do have sore eyes, I have been careful not to rub my eyes but the itchiness is too tense that I rigorously rub my eyes yesterday morning. i was able to attend the Vicarial meeting with the priests in the Vicariate of the Holy Family in Pacita Complex. I hope I have not infected them with this virus. Priests present were Frs. Jaime Niego, Boy Ti, OSA, Ric Pajutan, Reggie Mamaril, Jessie Somosierra and Monsignor Rey Agramon. Frs. Reggie Pia, OSJ and David Reyes were not able to attend because of some conflict in their schedule.
After the meeting. I proceeded to Sta. Rosa, Laguna, St. Rose of Lima parish to visit Monsignor Eser Taguilaso. Last Sunday was the feast day of St. Rose of Lima, the patron saint of the parish where he is assigned to visit him and to bid a birthday wish, today is his birthday. I arrived there to see other priests of the diocese.
I have to wear sunglasses even it is already dark during the Mass.
I have slept early that night to rest my eyes and to regain my strength. I felt that my immune system has weaken. In the morning I have to open the Blessed Sacrament and lead the exposition and the morning prayer.
With consultations, I decided to buy a drug for this virus.
It was not painful as yesterday, but it is still annoying as it prevents me to do my work with efficiency. I hope that this will be healed immediately. Saint Martin, pray for me.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
It was commonly believed that Saint Martin de Porres and St. Rose of Lima are contemporary but I could not have a reference if they have personally met. However, there is a page that say that the only spiritual support that Saint Rose received comes from St. Martin de Porres that can be found here.
St Martin de Porres - 1579 - 1639
St Rose of Lima - 1586-1617
Born as Isabel Flores y de Oliva (20 April, 1586-30 August, 1617) from a Spanish colonial family in Lima, Peru, was nicknamed “Rose” from an incident in her childhood. Rose was the seventh of eleven children born to Oliva and Gaspar Flores.She wanted to be a nun, but instead entered the Dominican Third Order while living in her parents’ home. At twenty she took a vow of perpetual virginity. For eleven years she lived an ascetical life of prayer and died at the age of 31. She was the first person born in the Americas to be canonized.
What St. Rose of Lima attracted to me is her way to do penance without attracting attention. Making penance without others knowing it. Well, we know that we do penance not only for the reparation for the sins committed, but also for our intention which we felt needed. For St. Rose, she prayed for conversion of the Peruvian Indians, for the poor, sick, injustices suffered from Spanish landlords. Her life emulates the meaning of "Redemptive Suffering".
Saturday, August 22, 2015
While looking for some materials for this Sunday's Gospel, I came across on the site of the group of Irish priest known as Association of Catholic Priests who meets every Saturday in Dublin to have a forum, and a voice to reflect, discuss and comment on issues affecting the Irish Church and society today. A group of priest in Ireland with an annual membership fee of 20 Euro. That is 1053.45 peso in today's currency conversion. The site was active since 2010. It does not say when the froup actually started,
It is of special interest on my part that there is a group besides the Ecclesiastical known associations directed by the Church as stipulated in the Canon Law. This is an initiative coming from the priests of Ireland known as ACP. It is proper to share it with you their constitution:
1. Name: The Association of Catholic Priests (Ireland). (ACP)
2. Purpose of the association: To promote the aims and objectives, as laid out below:
Providing a voice for Irish Catholic priests at a time when that voice is largely silent and needs to be expressed.
Giving an opportunity for Irish priests to engage proactively with the crucial debates taking place in Irish society
Full implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council, with special emphasis on:
the primacy of the individual conscience.
the status and active participation of all the baptised.
the task of establishing a Church where all believers will be treated as equal.
A redesigning of Ministry in the Church, in order to incorporate the gifts, wisdom and expertise of the entire faith community, male and female.
A re-structuring of the governing system of the Church, basing it on service rather than on power, and encouraging at every level a culture of consultation and transparency, particularly in the appointment of Church leaders.
A culture in which the local bishop and the priests relate to each other in a spirit of trust, support and generosity.
A re-evaluation of Catholic sexual teaching and practice that recognizes the profound mystery of human sexuality and the experience and wisdom of God’s people.
Promotion of peace, justice and the protection of God’s creation locally, nationally and globally.
Recognition that Church and State are separate and that while the Church must preach the message of the Gospel and try to live it authentically, the State has the task of enacting laws for all its citizens.
Liturgical celebrations that use rituals and language that are easily understood, inclusive and accessible to all.
Strengthening relationships with our fellow Christians and other faiths.
Full acceptance that the Spirit speaks through all people, including those of faiths other than Christian and those of no religious faith, so that the breath of the Spirit will flow more freely.
3. Membership: Membership of the ACP is open to all priests, those working in Ireland and also those working abroad.
4. Associate Membership: This is open to other Catholics who wish to join.
5. Becoming a member: To become a member a person can register on the website, or give their name and details to any of the leadership team.
6. To cease being a member a person can unsubscribe on the website, or inform one of the leadership team in writing.
7. Membership fee: This is currently €20, but may be changed by the leadership team, with the approval of an AGM. The funds of the association can only be used for the purposes of the association. A statement of account will be given at the AGM each year.
8. There will be a leadership team of five. Each person on the team may serve for three years, with the possibility of being elected for further three. Nobody can serve on the Leadership Team for more than six consecutive years. A leader may resign before the end of his term if he so wishes.
9. Leaders will be chosen at the AGM, which will be held annually.
10. An extraordinary general meeting may be called by two thirds of the members at 21 days notice, or by the Leadership Team.
Filed under Catholic Priests Worldwide.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Yesterday, August 19,I was Invited to celebrate the Novena Mass in my former parish, St. Augustine Parish, Bay, Laguna. It was around 5:30 for the celebration of the Eucharist with the theme, "My heart is restless until it rest on you my God." The Homily revolves around Jesus whom constantly invites us to come to him who are burdensome and needs rest. It is only trough our Lord Jesus Christ that we can find peace in our hearts. First, for four weeks, Christ is inviting us to receive Him, the bread the comes from heaven, the food that will give life and life eternal. Second, Jesus asks us to enter His vineyard and work in His vineyard as today's Gospel speaks of. This vineyard is the Church of which the Lord is hiring people for work for the growth of His kingdom here in Earth.
However, one note to note also is that it is great to visit again the previous parish and get reconnected with the people whom been a part of your life during the six years assignment period.