God's Word and Daily Life

Cleansing our temples

Cleansing our temples

By Jennifer Corpuz

The gospel this Sunday is about Jesus’ cleansing the temple. We remember that Jesus enters the temple in Jerusalem and finds merchants and moneychangers conducting business within its sacred precincts. Outraged by the commercialization of the house of God, Jesus overturns the tables and drives out the merchants, declaring, "Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade."

Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. But isn’t it that even our own bodies need cleansing just as Jesus cleansed the temple of His Father? Yes, we desecrate our own bodies with so many evil things, evil thoughts, vices, and bad habits that we too can hear Jesus shouting – “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” Or to be more personal, “Take these things away; do not make MY HOUSE a house of trade.”

Let us sanctify our body and treat it as sacred. The temple was meant to be a place of worship, prayer, and communion with God. Jesus' actions underscore the importance of maintaining the holiness and reverence of places dedicated to divine worship. So, too, our body is the sanctuary of our Spirit and God.

St. Peter’s chair

St. Peter’s chair

By Jennifer Corpuz

 

On Feb. 22, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. What is so unique about this feast? Why are we celebrating the feast of a chair? Well, we, Catholics believe not the chair itself but office it represents.

 

St. Peter the Apostle occupies a central and revered place in Christian history and theology. As one of the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus Christ, Peter played a pivotal role in the early spread of Christianity and the formation of the early Christian Church. Reflecting on his life and legacy offers profound insights into faith, human frailty, redemption, and the transformative power of grace.

 

Peter's journey is marked by moments of great faith and profound weakness, making him a relatable figure for many believers. His bold declaration of Jesus as the Messiah stands as a testament to his deep faith and understanding of Christ's identity. However, his subsequent denial of Jesus during the crucifixion reveals the vulnerability and fallibility of human nature, reminding us that even the most devout can stumble in moments of fear or doubt.

 

So, when we see St. Peter, we must be confronted by our own weaknesses and sinfulness. And more than this encounter, we too, must trust in the mercy of God- although we are doomed and sinful, Christ has made us clean again just like Peter.

Ash Wednesday on St. Valentine's Day

Ash Wednesday on St. Valentine's Day

By Fr. Bernard Holzer, aa

Lent is not primarily a time of privation and sacrifice. First of all, it is a time to rekindle our love of God and others: "Return to the Lord your God!"

This year, on Ash Wednesday, Valentine's Day is celebrated. Isn't that a sign?

 

Isn't the season of Lent a time to fall in love with God again, with others, to take the time for love ourselves? Thanks to the three attitudes that the Church recommends to follow Jesus: fasting, prayer and sharing.

 

So, let us take the time to contemplate God, to know Him, to read and meditate on His Word. Let's make time with others not on social media, but in person. Let us take the time to meet them, to listen to them, to rejoice with them, to be compassionate.

 

Let us take time to get to know ourselves, to recognize our qualities and our faults, our fears and our hopes, our areas of light and shadow, without forgetting to say thank you to God, to our parents, to our friends for the gifts received. Let us taste the silence, let us rediscover our interiority. Then we can become brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of God.

Human Trafficking: a plague in modern day society

Human Trafficking: a plague in modern day society

By Jess Avisado

 

On Feb. 4, this coming Sunday, the Church celebrates Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking. It is fitting that as we celebrate the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we are once again reminded of one of the social teachings of the Church, that is, people are not things. They have dignity.

 

Human trafficking is a heinous and pervasive crime that continues to plague societies around the world, transcending borders, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses. Reflecting on this issue evokes a profound sense of concern, empathy, and a call to action. Human trafficking represents a gross violation of basic human rights, exploiting vulnerable individuals for financial gain. It takes various forms, including forced labor, sexual exploitation, and involuntary servitude. The victims, often marginalized and disenfranchised individuals.

 

This Sunday, let us pray for those who are victims of human trafficking. Let us offer their pains and struggles to the Lord so that those who are guilty of the crime may find be bothered by their conscience to do what’s right. Amen.

National Bible Sunday

National Bible Sunday

By Mark Macapinlac

 

On Jan. 28, we will celebrate National Bible Sunday. It is amazing how a book, written thousands of years ago still affects us today. The Bible, the Word of God, continues to guide believers how to live their lives according to the will of Christ.

 

National Bible Sunday is a momentous occasion that invites individuals to reflect on the significance of the Bible in their lives and in the broader context of society. This special day serves as a reminder of the cultural, historical, and spiritual impact of the Bible, which has played a pivotal role in shaping the beliefs, values, and moral foundations of countless individuals and communities.

 

The Bible, as a sacred and revered text for many religious traditions, serves not only as a guide for faith but also as a source of wisdom, inspiration, and moral guidance. National Bible Sunday provides an opportunity for believers to deepen their understanding of the scriptures, fostering a sense of connection with their faith and encouraging spiritual growth. It is a time for individuals to engage in prayer, reflection, and study, reinforcing the importance of the teachings found within the Bible.

 

Let us pray that many of us may still fall in love with the Word of God by having our own Bible at home. May we also find consolation in Christ’s Words, just as the first disciples drew strength from Him in moments of passion and death.

Pit Senyor!

Pit Senyor!

By Jen Avisado

 

January 21 is the Feast of the Sto. Niño, a unique feast given by the Catholic Church to Filipinos. The feast is unique because Filipino Catholics are given the chance to celebrate Jesus’ childhood.

 

Childhood is a unique phase in our lives, marked by innocence, curiosity, and a sense of wonder. It is a time when the world appears vast and magical, filled with endless possibilities. The memories of our childhood often hold a special place in our hearts, shaping our perspectives and influencing the individuals we become.

 

In the context of Sto. Niño, the connection between childhood and spirituality becomes pronounced. The image of the Sto. Niño, or the Holy Child, is a symbol of the divine in the form of a child. This representation carries profound spiritual significance, underscoring the purity and humility associated with childhood.

 

The Sto. Niño is deeply embedded in the cultural and religious fabric of the Philippines, particularly in Cebu, where the Señor Santo Niño is venerated. The annual Sinulog Festival, celebrated with grand processions and vibrant performances, pays homage to this iconic representation of the Holy Child. The devotion to Sto. Niño reflects a fusion of Filipino spirituality and the childlike qualities of trust, love, and simplicity.

 

So, let us celebrate the Sto. Niño’ s feast by remembering the values the Child Jesus teach us – simplicity, humility, and dependence on God, our Father. Pit Senyor!

Become instrument of peace!

Become instrument of peace!

by Fr. Bernard Holzer, AA
It was 60 years ago, on January 4, 1964, for the first time in history, a pope, successor of St. Peter, set foot on the native soil of Jesus of Nazareth.

It was during the Second Vatican Council. Pope Paul VI wanted to be a messenger of peace:

"To all of you We say: call with Us, with your wishes and prayers, for concord and peace on this Earth, unique in the world, which God has visited. Let us ask here together for the grace of a true and profound fraternity, among all men, among all peoples. »

 Angeli

Sixty years later, Pope Francis sends the same message, again on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6: “Let us pray for peace, for peace in the Middle East, in Palestine, in Israel, in Ukraine, all over the world. So many victims of war, so many deaths, so much destruction… Let us pray for peace. »

 

Two days later, on January 8, in his address to members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, Pope Francis vigorously recalled the horrors of all wars:

“Perhaps we need to realize more clearly that civilian victims are not “collateral damage”, but men and woman, with names and surnames, who lose their lives. They are children who are orphaned and deprived of their future. They are individuals who suffer from hunger, thirst and cold, or are mutilated as an effect of the power of modern explosives. Were we to be able to look each of them in the eye, call them by name, and learn something of their personal history, we would see war for what it is: nothing other than an immense tragedy, a “useless slaughter”, one that offends the dignity of every person on this earth.”

 

What a constancy, reminding us that we urgently need to become instruments of peace in our families, our communities, our places of life and work, in our country.

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

A Year of Love and Peace!

A Year of Love and Peace!

by Fr. Bernard Holzer, aa
At the beginning of this New Year, during the prayer of the Angelus on January 1st, Pope Francis is inviting us to look to Mary and to mothers, to learn what is love.
 
In his words, love is to “make room for the other, respecting their dignity, leaving the freedom to express themselves, rejecting every form of possession, oppression and violence. There is so much need for this today, so much! There is so much need for silence to listen to each other.”
“Freedom and peaceful coexistence are threatened whenever human beings yield to the temptation to selfishness, self-interest, the desire for profit and the thirst for power”.
“Love, on the other hand, consists of respect, it consists of kindness: in this way, it breaks down barriers and helps us to live fraternal relationships, to build up more just, more humane, more peaceful societies.”
 
“Let us pray to Mary Mother of God, and our Mother, that in the New Year we may grow in this meek, silent and discreet love that generates life, and open paths of peace and reconciliation in the world.”
“May the Virgin Mary, Holy Mother of God, support with her maternal intercession the intention and the commitment to be peacemakers every day, every day of the New Year too, every day, peacemakers. Bringing peace.”
Celebrating the New Year

Celebrating the New Year

By Jen Avisado

As the New Year approaches, the opportunity for reflection and celebration presents itself. Celebrating the New Year is not just about ringing in the next 365 days; it's a chance to bid farewell to the past, embrace the present, and welcome the future with optimism and joy. Here is a reflective guide on how to celebrate the New Year:

  • Gratitude and Reflection:
    • Begin by reflecting on the past year. Consider the highs and lows, the lessons learned, and the personal growth experienced.
    • Express gratitude for the positive moments, accomplishments, and the support received from friends and family.
  • Set Intentions for the New Year:
    • Take time to set intentions for the coming year. What do you hope to achieve? What values will guide your actions?
    • Frame your goals in a positive light and focus on personal development and well-being.
  • Celebrate with Loved Ones:
    • Share the joy of the New Year with friends and family. Whether in person or virtually, being with loved ones creates a sense of connection and warmth.
    • Consider organizing a gathering, dinner, or a simple get-together to celebrate together.

As the New Year unfolds, may your celebration be a reflection of gratitude, positivity, and a genuine embrace of the journey ahead. Cheers to new beginnings and the endless possibilities that the coming year holds! Happy New Year!

Seeking God in the manger

Seeking God in the manger

By Jen Avisado

 

Merry Christmas! Christmas, a season that transcends mere festivities, has always held a special place in my heart. Beyond the glittering lights, the melodic carols, and the exchange of gifts lies a deeper essence that resonates with the spirit of joy, compassion, and togetherness.

 

In a world that often rushes past in a whirlwind of tasks and responsibilities, Christmas offers a respite—a chance to pause and reflect on the significance of connection. It's a season that encourages us to be present, to appreciate the people around us, and to express gratitude for the relationships that enrich our lives.

 

Christmas is more than a date on the calendar—it's a tapestry of emotions, traditions, and shared moments that weave together the fabric of our lives. It prompts us to reflect on the past year, appreciate the present, and look forward to the possibilities that the future holds. As we exchange greetings of "Merry Christmas," let us not only wish for joy and peace but actively contribute to creating a world where these sentiments extend beyond the holiday season, becoming a year-round reality for all.

 

What’s your plan for Christmas? Do poor people have a spot in your plan?

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