Poor Francis, though still a young man (in his early forties) his “brother body” (as he fondly referred to his physical person) was worn out. Having a naturally frail constitution since his youth Francis made matters worse by the vigorous demands and abuses he made on his poor body. Besides the pain from ulcer, malaria and trachoma, he now suffered the open Stigmata on his body. Read the full story….
OCTOBER 4, 2015
IN HONOR OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI
How should we treat animals?
Animals are our fellow creatures, which we should care for and in which we should delight, just as God delights in their existence. Animals, too, are sentient creatures of God. It is a sin to torture them, to allow them to suffer, or to kill them uselessly. Nevertheless, man may not place love of animals above love of man.
How should we treat the environment?
We fulfill God’s commission with regard to creation when we care for the earth, with its biological laws, its variety of species, its natural beauty, and its dwindling resources, as a living space and preserve it, so that future generations also can live well on earth. In the book of genesis, God says, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Gen 1:28). Having “dominion over the earth” does not mean having an absolute right to dispose arbitrarily of animate and inanimate nature, animals, and plants. Because man is created in God’s image, he should care for God’s creation as a shepherd and steward. For the first book of the Bible also says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (Gen 2:15).
Gossip is terrorism.
The ABC’s of Catholic Doctrine
By Lianne Tiu<
They say women gossip more than men. Men, actually, gossip just as much except they do it better and call it “networking.” The difference is in the content of gossip.
Let’s admit it. We all enjoy the guilty pleasure of talking about others. We gossip about the latest scandals – who’s having an affair with whom, who got fired – juicy stories of celebrities and people we know. Harmless it may seem, we are actually damaging their reputation when we carelessly publicize people’s mistakes and bad deeds; more so when facts are false. Gossip becomes malicious when it is a lie or when the intention is to ruin people’s reputation. Read more…..
The yearly commemoration of the Holy Week, of the Passion and Death of Jesus leading to his Resurrection, starts with the commemoration of his pilgrim journey or entrance into Jerusalem.
According to Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth, Part II), Jesus’ pilgrim journey from Galilee to Jerusalem is an “ascent” in both geographical and inner sense. It is an ascent in a literal and “geographical sense because the Sea of Galilee is situated about 690 feet below sea level, whereas Jerusalem is on average 2500 feet above.” It is also an inner spiritual ascent because “in the outward climb to Jerusalem,” Jesus’ ultimate goal is “his self-offering on the Cross.” Indeed, Jesus’ ascent to self-offering on the Mount of Golgotha, “an ascent towards loving to the point of death,” is “via the Cross.”
It is also in this ascent to his sacrifice on the Cross and in obedience to the Father’s will that God’s definitive revelation in Jesus is fulfilled. As Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The One who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone because I always do what is pleasing to him.” (Jn. 8:28-29)
Jesus ascends to his self-offering on the Cross on a donkey, an animal of the poor, the lowly and the humble. He does not come on a horse, a symbol of might and power. Although he is coming as a king, as exemplified by the spreading out of garments that is reminiscent of Israelite kingship, his is a different kind of kingship. Pope Benedict XVI writes: “He is a king who destroys the weapons of war, a king of peace and a king of simplicity, a king of the poor.”
With branches from the trees, the people cry out: “Hosanna!” Through this Hosanna acclamation, disciples and the other pilgrims to Jerusalem express their hope for the coming of the Messiah and for the reestablishment of the David’s kingship and, therefore, of God’s kingship over Israel.
Indeed, Jesus is the Awaited Messiah, but he is not a political and worldly Messiah. It is precisely in the face of his passion in the hands of his enemies and of his death on the Cross that Jesus shows his being a Messiah. Jesus is the Crucified Messiah. He saves by being determinedly committed to the Father’s will even to the point of betrayal and death in the hands of men. Only in the shameful and baffling powerlessness of the Cross can Jesus demonstrate that authority that ultimately saves, forgives and rehabilitates. Jesus defines what sort of Messiah he really is on the Cross and not on a golden throne surrounded by power, might and pomp. The true Messiah is one who is crucified, who dies and who humbly and lovingly gives his all until there is nothing more to give. The true Messiah is one who suffers not only for us but also with us and in us.
But the week of the commemoration of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus is called Holy Week, not so much because of the passion and death of Jesus. It is not his passion and death per se that make Jesus’ passion and death holy but the love with which these are embraced. The passion and death of Jesus are a sign of love. They are the greatest expression of the Father’s love for us in and through Jesus His beloved Son. These are the culmination of a life lived in love – the love of God and His kingdom and of others. Jesus is one who walks his talk. His central message, the Kingdom of God, has something to do with God’s loving presence and action in our lives and history and this gets a most definitive seal of expression with the offering of Jesus’s life on the Cross.
While the passion and death of Jesus are a sign of love, they are also an invitation to love in a sacrificial and sacrificing manner. True love cannot but be sacrificial and sacrificing. To love is to be ready to offer oneself for the beloved even if this will involve a lot of sacrifices and, possibly, death. The ultimate measure of love is how much you are ready to suffer, to make sacrifices and to offer your life for the other.
Myron J. Taylor, following the insights of German theologians Jurgen Moltmann and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, says: “Because God cares—because God loves—He suffers… If God loves, then God suffers. To love is to be vulnerable — to be vulnerable means to be open to the hurts and risks that come with freedom.”
“Sit down here, while I pray …my soul is sad, even unto death wait here and watch.” (Mk. 14:32,34)
March 9 – Saturday (9:00am – 11:30am) “Conversion”
Speaker: Fr. Edwin Soliva, SDB
March 16 – Saturday (9:00am – 11:30am) “Suffering Must Have a Reason”
Speaker: Fr. Dave Concepcion
We invite children between ages 6-12 years old to join our annual parish Easter
Salubong as angels. Interested parties can call the parish office for details and practice schedules.
In preparation for Holy Week, The Coro invites anyone interested to join the weekly rehearsals on Sundays at 4pm, serve in the 6pm mass and join in all the major Liturgical events of Holy Week: Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.
Please approach any member of our choir after our 6pm mass or leave
your name and contact number in the parish office with Bemadette.
What is Lent?
Historically, Lent is the forty day period before Easter, excluding Sundays. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday). In recent years, this has been modified so that it now ends with evening Mass on Holy Thursday, to prepare the way for Triduum.
When does Lent begin?
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is the day on which the faithful have their foreheads signed with ashes in the form of a Cross (see piece on Ash Wednesday). It is also a day of fast and abstinence.
In addition to Ash Wednesday, are any other days during Lent days of fast or abstinence?
Yes. All Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence. Also, Good Friday, the day on which Christ was crucified, is another day of both fast and abstinence. All days in Lent are appropriate for fasting or abstaining, but canon law does not require fasting on those days. Such fasting or abstinence is voluntary, like a free will offering.
Why are Fridays during Lent days of abstinence?
This is because Jesus died fer our sins on Friday, making it an especially appropriate day of mourning our sins (just as Sunday, the day on which he rose for our salvation is an especially appropriate day to rejoice) by denying ourselves something we enjoy. During the rest of the year Catholics in this country are permitted to use a different act of penance on Friday in place of abstinence, though all Fridays are days of penance on which we are required to do something expressing sorrow for our sins, just as Sundays are holy days on which we are required to worship and celebrate God’s great gift of salvation.
Why are acts of repentance appropriate at this time of year?
Because it is the time leading up to the commemoration of Our Lord’s death for our sins and the commemoration of his resurrection for our salvation. It is thus especially appropriate to mourn the sins for which he died. Humans have an innate psychological need to mourn tragedies, and our sins are tragedies of the greatest sort. Due to our fallen nature humans also have a need to have set times in which to engage in behavior (which is why we have Sundays as a set time to rest and worship, since we would otherwise be likely to forget to devote sufficient time to rest and worship), it is appropriate to have set times of repentance. Lent is one of those set times.
What are appropriate activities for ordinary days during Lent?
Giving up something we enjoy for Lent, doing of physical or spiritual acts of mercy for others, prayer, fasting, abstinence, going to confession, and other acts expressing repentance in general.
Is the custom of giving up something for Lent mandatory?
No. However, it is a salutary custom, and parents or caretakers may choose to require it of their children to encourage their spiritual training, which is their prime responsibility in the raising of their children.
Since Sundays are not counted in the forty days of Lent, does the custom of giving up something apply to them?
Customarily, no. However, since the giving up of something is voluntary to begin with, there is no official rule concerning this aspect of it. Nevertheless, since Sundays are days of celebration, it is appropriate to suspend the Lenten self-denial on them that, in a spiritual and non-excessive way, we may celebrate the day of Our Lord’s resurrection so that that day and that event may be contrasted with the rest of the days of Lent and the rest of the events of history. This heightened contrast deepens the spiritual lessons taught by the rest of Lent.
Why is giving up something for Lent such a salutary custom?
By denying ourselves something we enjoy, we discipline our wills so that we are not slaves to our pleasures. Just as indulging the pleasure of eating leads to physical flabbiness and, if this is great enough, an inability to perform in physically demanding situations when the demands of morality require us to sacrifice something pleasurable (such as sex before marriage or not within the confines of marriage) or endure hardship (such as being scorned or persecuted for the faith). By disciplining the will to refuse pleasures when they are not sinful, a habit is developed which allows the will to refuse pleasures when they are sinful. There are few better ways to keep one’s priorities straight than by periodically denying ourselves things of lesser priority to show us that they are not necessary and focus our attention on what is necessary.
Is the denying of pleasure an end in itself?
No. It is a only a means to an end. By training ourselves to resist temptations when they are not sinful, we train ourselves to reject temptations when they are sinfuL We also express our sorrow over having failed to resist sinful temptations in the past.
Is there such a thing as denying ourselves too many pleasures?
Most definitely. First, God made human life contingent on certain goods, such as food, and to refuse to enjoy enough of them has harmful consequences. For example, if we do not eat enough food it can cause physical damage or (in the extreme, even death). Just as there is a balance between eating too much food and not eating enough food, there is a balance involved in other goods.
Second, if we do not strike the right balance and deny ourselves goods God meant us to have then it can generate resentment toward God, which is a spiritual sin just as much as those of engaging in excesses of good things. Thus one can be led into sin either by excess or by defect in the enjoyment of good things.
Third, it can decrease our effectiveness in ministering to others.
Fourth, it can deprive us of the goods God gave us in order that we might praise him.
Fifth, it constitutes the sin of ingratitude by refusing to enjoy the things God wanted us to have because he loves us. If a child refused every gift his parent gave him, it would displease the parent, and if we refuse gifts God has given us, it displeases God because he loves us and wants us to have them.
Is that balance the same for all people?
No. For example, with the good of food, people who are by nature physically larger need more food than people who are physically smaller. Similarly, people who have higher metabolisms or who do manual labor for a living need more food than people with slower metabolisms or who have less active lifestyles. The same is true with regard to other goods than food. The Si. Paul speaks of this in regard to the good of married life:
“I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should many. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:7-9). Thus some are given the gift of being able to live without the good of married life in order that they may pursue greater devotion to God (1 Cor. 7:32-34) or to pursue greater ministry for others (2 Timothy 2:3-4), as with priests, monks, and nuns. God gives these people special graces to live the life which they have embraced, just as he gives special graces to the married to live the life they have embraced.
Aside from Ash Wednesday, which begins Lent, what are its principal events?
There are a variety of saints’ days which fall during Lent, and some of these change from year to year since the dates of Lent itself change based on when Easter falls. However, the Sundays during the Lenten season commemorate special events in the life of Our Lord, such as his Transfiguration and his Triumphal Entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, which begins Holy Week. Holy week climaxes with Holy Thursday, on which Christ celebrated the first Mass, Good Friday, on which he was Crucified, and Holy Saturday — the last day of Lent — during which Our Lord lay in the Tomb before his Resurrection on Easter Sunday, the first day after Lent.
-contributed by Fr. Jesus Galindo, OFM
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila
Ash Wednesday Feb 13, 2013
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today, as we celebrate Ash Wednesday, ashes are imposed on our forehead as a symbol as we begin our Lenten journey. Pope Benedict XVI said that receiving ashes should remind us of the passage in Genesis which says “Dust you are and unto dust you shall return,” a call to mind of our mortal state so that we sincerely take to heart the call to repentance. We are also asked to “turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel” as an invitation to conversion, to move away from sin, to profess our faith and to embrace Christ in our life.
These reminders also resonate with the call of the Holy Father in this Year of Faith to take it as an opportunity to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. Jesus speaks the three main disciplines that we can faithfully practice this Lenten season; giving alms, praying and fasting. All of these spiritual activities, Jesus asks to be done without expecting anything in return.
A good opportunity to intensify the act of charity, which is faith in action, is for us to actively participate in the HAPAG-ASA program of the church. Today, we are again launching the FAST 2 FEED FUND CAMPAIGN of the Pondo ng Pinoy, when we are required to fast to be able to feed at least 250,000 hungry and undernourished children nationwide through HAPAG-ASA. This program feeds children, 6 months to 12 years old, once a day, 5 days a week for 6 months with nutritious food and their parents provided with basic skills that improve their capacity to care for their children and livelihood and skills training to provide them access to employment and income generating activities.
Since its inception, HAPAG-ASA has already fed more than 1 million hungry and malnourished children nationwide. Last year, our Archdiocese was able to feed a total number of 2,482 malnourished children. A total of P 1.43M was received as subsidy from Pondo ng Pinoy Community foundation to feed these children. This year we are targeting to feed 3,000 and we need to raise P3.6M to be able to feed them in six months. It only takes Ten Pesos (PlO) a day or One Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (Pl,200.00) for six (6) months to feed one child.
We therefore appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to donate whatever you save from fasting to HAPAG-ASA’s FAST 2 FEED FUND CAMPAIGN. By so doing you give our children a chance for a better future. In our conversion journey this Lent, my dear brothers and sisters, let our “faith commit each one of us to become a living sign of the presence of God” (Porta Fidei, 15)
The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Lord and to know him personally.
Early Sunday morning the women went to the tomb to pay their last tribute to a dead body. The disciples thought that everything had ended in tragedy. No one was ready to see an empty tomb and hear the angel’s message, “Why do you seek the living among the dead”?(Luke 24:5) Mary Magdalene is the first to report the startling news of the empty tomb! She assumed that Jesus’ body had been stolen! She was not yet prepared to meet the risen Lord, who would reveal himself to her while she later lingered in the garden near the tomb (John 20:11-18).
What is the significance of the stone being rolled away? It would have taken several people to roll away such a stone. And besides, the sealed tomb had been guarded by soldiers! This is clearly the first sign of the resurrection . Peter Chrysologus, Church father, remarked: “To behold the resurrection, the stone must first be rolled away from our hearts”. It is significant that the disciples had to first deal with the empty tomb before they could come to grips with the fact that scripture had foretold that Jesus would die for our sins and then rise triumphant. They disbelieved until they saw the empty tomb.
John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, wrote his gospel as an eye-witness of the Word of God, who became flesh and dwelt among us, and who died and rose for our salvation. John was the only apostle, along with the women who stood with Jesus at the foot of the cross, who witnessed Jesus’ death on Good Friday. Now John is the first of the apostles, along with Peter, to see the empty tomb on Easter Sunday morning, after the women returned and gave their report. What did John see in the tomb that led him to believe in the resurrection
of Jesus? It was certainly not a dead body. The dead body of Jesus would have disproven the resurrection and made his death a tragic conclusion to a glorious career as a great teacher and miracle worker. When John saw the empty tomb, he must have recalled Jesus’ prophecy that he would rise again after three days. Through the gift of faith John realized that no tomb on earth could contain the Lord and giver of life.
John in his first epistle testifies: What we have seen, heard, and touched we proclaim as the word of life which existed “from the beginning” (l John 1:1-4). John bears witness to what has existed from all eternity. This “word of life” is Jesus the word incarnate, but also Jesus as the word announced by the prophets and Jesus the word now preached throughout the Christian Church for all ages to come. One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him. Nothing else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people radiant with joy and courage. The reality of the resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to know him and the power of his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Lord and to know him personally. Do you celebrate the feast of Easter with joy and thanksgiving for the victory which Jesus has won for you over sin and death?
“Lord Jesus Christ, you have triumphed over the grave and you have won new life for us. Give me the eyes of faith to see you in your glory. Help me to draw near to you and to grow in the knowledge of your great love and victory over sin and death.”
published April 8, 2012 Parish Bulletin
More on Fr. John and his reflections
Today’s gospel discloses something more about Jesus: he is not only a healer of bodies; he is the “Son of Man, “with power to heal the soul.
If a person who knows nothing about Jesus Christ read the gospels of the last four Sundays, he would most probably think that Jesus was a doctor or a faith healer by profession. For the fourth consecutive Sunday now, we read a gospel story about Jesus’ healing activity. First, it was a possessed man in the synagogue of Capernaum; then, it was Simon’s mother-in-law and many others that he cured; last Sunday it was a leper whom Jesus touched and healed; and today, it is a paralytic that he cures. Today’s gospel discloses something more about Jesus: he is not only a healer of bodies; he is the “SON of Man,” with power to heal the soul.
The Church does not tire telling us that healing was the most important part of Jesus’ ministry, by which he not only showed his love and compassion, but also revealed that God’s kingdom had come and that Satan’s kingdom was on the way out: “The kingdom of God is at hand.”
At first, today’s gospel story elicits a smile of amusement. Try to visualize the scene: Four men carry a paralyzed man on a stretcher. Unable to get near Jesus due to the crowd, but determined to do so, they dismantle the roof and lower the stretcher right in front of Jesus. But then, amusement gives way to admiration for the paralytic and his four friends. We admire, above all, their faith. In fact, that’s the first thing Jesus saw-not the hole on the roof: “When Jesus saw their faith … “ They were fully convinced that Jesus could, and would, do something about their plight, that he would not let them down. And he did not.
Then comes the big surprise. After all the trouble they went through to bring the paralytic right before Jesus, hoping for a cure, Jesus, instead of telling the man, “Take your mat and walk,” he tells him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” We can imagine the expression of surprise and disappointment written on the face of the paralytic and his friends, as if they wanted to say, “Sir, that’s not what we came here for. We want this man to walk again!”
Now, here is a good point for our reflection. Like the paralytic, we very often ask the wrong favors from the Lord: a safe trip, good health, success in business or in exams, and the like–all material concerns. We fail to see our deeper needs, our spiritual paralysis, and our need for spiritual healing. Jesus knows our needs better than we do ourselves. And he offers more than we ask for– complete healing of body and soul.
The Church carries on the healing ministry of Jesus–of both body and soul. Jesus endowed the Church with two sacraments of healing, namely, reconciliation and anointing of the sick. Through the sacrament of reconciliation, the wounds of our soul, inflicted by sin, are cured. Like the paralytic, we hear Jesus telling us, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Through the sacrament of anointing we are strengthened both in body and spirit.
Unfortunately, these two sacraments are now in crisis and are not duly appreciated. As for the sacrament of reconciliation, many Catholics, influenced by fundamentalists or born-again Christians, prefer to confess directly to God, rather than to a priest. Thus they deprive themselves of the great joy of hearing Jesus’ words, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” As for the sacrament of anointing, many Catholics believe that it is meant only for those who are on the brink of death–like a gentle push into eternity; hence they postpone its reception until the sick person slips into unconsciousness, thus rendering the sacrament next to useless.
This coming Wednesday, February 22, the Lenten season will start; it is a time to renew our faith and to strengthen our relationship with the Lord. Hopefully we will come to rediscover and to experience his presence and healing power in these sacraments.
published February 19, 2012 Parish Bulletin