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Homilies, Talks, Messages, Pastoral Letters, etc.
A Cry of Faith (Last Words)

Introduction

Jesus was hanging on the cross. He was suffering so greatly. The total exhaustion of his body which brought about profound agony, the abandonment of his friends and even of his Father made him cry out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” To feel betrayed has to be the worst feeling a person can ever experience. Can we imagine looking into the face of someone whom we loved dearly and thought that he was our friend and companion only to find out that he was leaving us behind? From the heart of Jesus burst out the deepest anguish of the suffering Israel. His cry expressed the truth of all humanity. The cry of Jesus is also the cry of all who suffer anguish due to persecution, rejection, violence, and poverty. But through that cry, humanity witnessed the utmost love of God towards them. The cry of Jesus revealed his deepest faithfulness in following the divine will of the Father.

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Starting right today (Ash Wednesday)

Why are we so eager to get ashes on Ash Wednesday? A common sight in churches during Ash Wednesday is the thousands of people who wish to have ashes imposed on their foreheads.  There are  some among this throng who do not  attend the Sunday Eucharist.  A few are even non-Catholics or non-Christians. What is so important about receiving the ashes? 

What is the significance of having oneself imposed with ashes on Ash Wednesday?  Why is it a rite fitting to mark the first day of the Season of Lent?  Why would we not allow this day to pass without having the ashes imposed on us?  It is best for us to see the significance of this rite in the light of the biblical readings of today’s Eucharist.

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Lead us not into temptation (1st Sunday of Lent)

Introduction

The first Tagalog translation of the Our Father is printed in the Doctrina Christiana, which was published in 1593. It was translated by the early Spanish Franciscan missionaries. Their translation of “And lead us not into temptation” is “Huwag mo kaming iiwan nang di kami matalo ng tukso.” It is a very nice translation, albeit, it is not literal! When this is re-translated into English, it means, “Don’t abandon us so that we may not be defeated by the temptation.” It captures how the native Tagalogs might have viewed temptations in those days.  It indicates that we are in a constant battle with evil. We can’t win the battle if God abandons us.

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Faith gives us extra power (Solemnity of St. Joseph)

Introduction

A flower becomes attractive and beautiful not only because of its color and look but above all because of its fragrant smell. A boat is able to travel towards a particular direction because of its rudder. Man is body and soul and if the soul leaves the body then it becomes a corpse. Faith is like the fragrant smell of a flower, or like the rudder of a boat or the soul of a person. Faith gives life another dimension, which the human eye cannot just perceive, and enables man to see beyond the present world. Faith empowers man to appreciate life as a gift and to see it as a treasure to be valued.

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Second Sunday of Lent Matthew 17, 1-9

Body Application:


Let us focus our reflection on three things: the mountains, the message, and our mission. 


First, the mountains. They look formidable and difficult and tiring to climb. It seems impossible to conquer them.  There may not be any footpaths to follow. The directions may be uphill or quite confusing to understand. The landscape may be barren or dry. Or the terrain may be rough, rugged and unpromising. Climbing a mountain requires the climber’s perseverance as well as the assistance of other people. A climber should show courage and care. There are dangers to guard against: falling, being lost, or attacks by wild animals. But when one reaches the mountaintop, one is rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding.

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