God's Word and Daily Life

World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly

World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly

By Faith Marbella

 World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, established by Pope Francis in 2021, is a significant observance that invites us to reflect on the invaluable contributions of older generations to our families, communities, and societies. This day is not just a celebration but a reminder of the deep-rooted connections that bind generations together and the wisdom that flows from our elders to the younger members of society.

 For us Filipinos, grandparents and the elderly hold a unique place in our lives. They are the custodians of our history, culture, and traditions. Through their stories, experiences, and lessons, they provide us with a sense of identity and continuity. They remind us of where we come from and offer perspectives that can help guide our future.

 Today we are challenged to recognize the often overlooked and underappreciated role that older individuals play. In many cultures, elders are revered for their wisdom and experience. They are seen as the bedrock of the family unit, offering support, guidance, and love. However, in a rapidly modernizing world, the elderly can sometimes feel marginalized or forgotten. This day serves as a powerful reminder to honor and respect their contributions, ensuring they remain integral parts of our lives.

Mount Carmel, symbol of faith and devotion

Mount Carmel, symbol of faith and devotion

By Jen Avisado

 The devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is deeply rooted in the Carmelite tradition. The Carmelites, a religious order founded on Mount Carmel, have a profound connection to Mary, whom they regard as their patroness and protector. The scapular, a small garment worn by the faithful, symbolizes this devotion and Mary's promise of spiritual benefits to those who wear it devoutly. Reflecting on Our Lady of Mount Carmel emphasizes the maternal care and guidance that Mary offers to believers, encouraging them to lead lives of faith, humility, and service.

We, Filipinos, love to wear the Brown Scapular. The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a significant symbol in the Catholic faith, particularly within the Carmelite tradition. It is more than just a piece of clothing; it represents a deep spiritual commitment and a devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Reflecting on the Brown Scapular opens up avenues for understanding its historical origins, spiritual significance, and the promises associated with its wear.

 Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us!

An emergency novena for peace

An emergency novena for peace

By Fr. Bernard Holzer, aa

 An "emergency" novena for peace in the Middle East will take place from July 16 to 24, 2024. This proposal is a spiritual response to the growing tensions afflicting the Middle East region.

 The novena will begin on July 16, the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Israel, and will end on July 24, the feast day of the Lebanese Maronite Saint Charbel Makhlouf.

These nine (9) days of prayer will allow the whole world to implore the protection of Christians and all innocent civilians in the region, especially in Israel and Lebanon.

 

With Pope Francis, we believe that prayer can ward off war. »

Let us spread this initiative. Let us pray:

 Peace in the Middle East

God of mercy and compassion,
of grace and reconciliation,
pour your power upon all your children in the Middle East:
Jews, Muslims and Christians,
Palestinians and Israelis.
Let hatred be turned into love, fear to trust, despair to hope,
oppression to freedom, occupation to liberation,
that violent encounters may be replaced by loving embraces,
and peace and justice could be experienced by all.

What is my image of God?

What is my image of God?

Fr. Bernard Holzer

 Last Sunday, during the Angelus, Pope Francis commented on the healing of the woman with hemorrhage and raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. I find it so meaningful.

 “In the face of bodily and spiritual sufferings, of the wounds our souls bear, of the situations that crush us, and even in the face of sin, God does not keep us at a distance. God is not ashamed of us; God does not judge us. On the contrary, He draws near to let Himself be touched and to touch us, and He always raises us from death. He always takes us by the hand to say: daughter, son, arise! (cf. Mark 5:41). Walk forward; strive ahead! “Lord I am a sinner”—

 “Strive forward; I became sin for you, to save you” – “But you, O Lord, are not a sinner” – “No, but I have endured all the consequences of sin to save you.” This is beautiful!

 Let us fix the image that Jesus offers us in our hearts. It is God who takes you by the hand and raises you up again. It is He who lets Himself be touched by your pain and touches you to heal you and give you life again. He does not discriminate against anyone because He loves everyone.

Thus, we can ask ourselves: do we believe that God is like this?”

 What is my image of God? Like Him, “do we relate to our brothers and sisters by offering them a hand to lift them up, or do we keep our distance and label people based on our tastes and preferences?”. Do we love without label or prejudice?

The Pillars of the Church

The Pillars of the Church

By Jeny Avisado

 

On June 29, we celebrate the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Saints Peter and Paul, two of the most prominent figures in early Christianity, embody the spirit and mission of the Church in its formative years. Reflecting on their lives and contributions offers a profound understanding of faith, leadership, and the transformative power of grace.

 

St. Peter, originally named Simon, was a fisherman called by Jesus to be one of His first disciples. Peter's journey is marked by his impulsive nature, deep devotion, and human frailty. His declaration of Jesus as the Messiah and his subsequent leadership of the early Christian community showcase his role as the 'rock' upon which the Church was built.

 

Saint Paul, formerly known as Saul, represents one of the most dramatic conversions in Christian history. A zealous persecutor of Christians, Paul's encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus transformed him into a fervent apostle. His extensive missionary journeys, theological insights, and numerous epistles contributed significantly to the spread and doctrinal foundation of Christianity.

 

We are called to Peter and Paul in modern times. We need to testify to the Truth that is Christ – willing to give up our life and comforts for the Gospel. Saints Peter and Paul, teach us to be modern witnesses of Jesus!

St. John’s Nativity

St. John’s Nativity

By Joy Rodriguez

On June 23, we celebrate the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.

John's birth signifies God's direct intervention in human history. It fulfills the prophecy of Malachi about the messenger who would prepare the way for the Lord, marking John as a pivotal figure in the salvation narrative. His life and ministry emphasised humility and the recognition of Jesus’ superiority. His famous declaration, "He must increase, but I must decrease," encapsulates the essence of his mission. John’s birth and life were entirely oriented towards pointing others to Christ.

The birth of John the Baptist continues to hold profound meaning for Christians today. It serves as a reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people. Do we still see a faithful God in our midst? How does God make his faithfulness present in our lives despite many difficulties?

Let us offer prayers to Saint John to make us modern-day prophets. St. John, pray for us!

Meaningful Independence Day!

Meaningful Independence Day!

By Father Bernard Holzer, aa

 Independence day is more than a holiday, a day of rest!

It’s a day of memory, of reflection and of commitment!

It’s a time to go back to our roots, our values as people and as nation.

 I would like to suggest to read this day the encyclical of Pope Francis about Fraternity: “Fratelli tutti” (2020).

Let’s meditate these words of Pope Francis:

 “Fraternity is born not only of a climate of respect for individual liberties, or even of a certain administratively guaranteed equality. Fraternity necessarily calls for something greater, which in turn enhances freedom and equality. What happens when fraternity is not consciously cultivated, when there is a lack of political will to promote it through education in fraternity, through dialogue and through the recognition of the values of reciprocity and mutual enrichment?” (103)

 “Individualism does not make us more free, more equal, more fraternal. The mere sum of individual interests is not capable of generating a better world for the whole human family. Nor can it save us from the many ills that are now increasingly globalized. Radical individualism is a virus that is extremely difficult to eliminate, for it is clever. It makes us believe that everything consists in giving free rein to our own ambitions, as if by pursuing ever greater ambitions and creating safety nets we would somehow be serving the common good.” (105)

 

Lets also pray the “Prayer to the Creator”:

Lord, Father of our human family,

you created all human beings equal in dignity:

pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit

and inspire in us a dream of renewed encounter,

dialogue, justice and peace.

Move us to create healthier societies

and a more dignified world,

a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.

 

May our hearts be open

to all the peoples and nations of the earth.

May we recognize the goodness and beauty

that you have sown in each of us,

and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects,

and shared dreams. Amen.

Eucharistic People

Eucharistic People

By Fr. Bernard Holzer, aa

 In the Philippines, the faithful like to participate in the Eucharist.

 As soon as they pass through a place where Mass is being celebrated, they stop, participate in it and receive communion. Is it not said that the Filipinos form a Eucharistic people?

 But are we fully so?

 This question came to my mind while listening to Pope Francis' Angelus at Corpus Christi Sunday:

 “Let us understand, then, that celebrating the Eucharist and eating this Bread, as we do especially on Sundays, is not an act of worship detached from life or a mere moment of personal consolation; we must always remember that Jesus took the bread, broke it and gave it to them and, therefore, communion with Him makes us capable of also becoming bread broken for others, capable of sharing what we are and what we have. Saint Leo the Great said: ‘Our participation in the body and blood of Christ tends to make us become what we eat’ (Sermon XII on the Passion, 7).

 This, brothers and sisters, is what we are called to: to become what we eat, to become “Eucharistic”, that is, people who no longer live for themselves (cf. Rm 14:7), no, in the logic of possession, of consumption, no, people who know how to make their own life a gift for others, yes. In this way, thanks to the Eucharist, we become prophets and builders of a new world: when we overcome selfishness and open ourselves up to love, when we cultivate bonds of fraternity, when we participate in the sufferings of our brothers and sisters and share bread and resources with those in need, when we make all our talents available, then we are breaking the bread of our life like Jesus.”

 May we meditate and live joyfully this teaching during this week

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi

By Jen Avisado

On June 2, we will celebrate Corpus Christi Sunday or the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

The Body and the Blood of Christ is central to our Christian faith. They are a profound contemplation on the mystery and the gift of the Eucharist. The Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, is more than a ritual; it is an encounter with the living Christ, who offers Himself wholly to His followers.

In the Eucharist, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ through the mystery of transubstantiation. This transformation is not merely symbolic but a real presence. Jesus' words at the Last Supper, "This is my body... This is my blood," invite believers to a deeper understanding of His sacrifice and the intimate union He desires with them.

How often do we receive Jesus in the Eucharist? Pope Francis once reminded us – priests and lay faithful - that the Eucharist is not a prize for the righteous but a sacrament to those who yearn and seek God. May we seek and yearn Jesus by attending the Mass and receiving his Most Holy Body and Blood.

Christ, the eternal high priest

Christ, the eternal high priest

By Jenelyn Avisado

On May 23, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest.

 Our faith teaches us that Jesus, the Eternal High Priest, belongs to the order of Melchizedek. As mediator between God and man, Jesus offered his life for man’s redemption from sin and death. On this feast, we are reminded of Christ’s salvific role through his sacrifice on the cross.

 Jesus’ priesthood signifies a perfect mediation between God and humanity. In ancient Israel, high priests served as intermediaries, offering sacrifices for the people's sins. These sacrifices, however, were imperfect and needed repetition. In contrast, Christ, by offering Himself as a once-and-for-all sacrifice, achieved what the Levitical priesthood could not—complete atonement and reconciliation with God. Jesus’ role as eternal high priest redefines the nature of our access to God. His role in salvation, His ongoing intercession, the accessibility of God's presence, and His divine nature are the products of this role.

 How do we see Christ as the Eternal High Priest? Are we drawn to the Sacrament of the Mass to receive Him?

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