First Sunday of Advent, December 2, 2018 #Maligalig

First Sunday of Advent

Reading 1  JER 33:14-16

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
“The LORD our justice.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14

R. (1b) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
and for you I wait all the day.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble his way.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
 

Reading 2  1 THES 3:12—4:2

Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us
how you should conduct yourselves to please God
and as you are conducting yourselves
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

Alleluia PS 85:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Show us, Lord, your love;
and grant us your salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Source: United States Catholic Bishop Conference Readings


The Gift of Ordination

ordinationI have been in the Dominican formation for more than 12 years, and if I add four years of my minor seminary formation in Indonesia, it stretches to 16 years! It is insanely long that it occupies a more than half of my life. If we believe that everything has a purpose, I can ask myself, “what is the point of this extremely lengthy formation?” Why should I stay through thick and thin of formation life, through hours of assiduous study, through various programs, through daily rigor of prayer life?

The answer is surprisingly not difficult to see. It is because I want to become a priest and not any priest, it is a Dominican priest, and not only any Dominican priest, but it is a holy, faithful and holistically mature Dominican priest. It looks a simple answer, but every word in that answer carries certain enormous understanding and consequences. Having this so noble aim perhaps explains why the formation is incredibly extensive and long.

However, after passing through literally more than 5 thousand days in the formation, battling many tough examinations, attending countless prayers and spiritual exercise, involving myself in community activities, I am now standing before the threshold of the being-transforming rite what we call the ordination. Looking back, I am aware that I have reached that unprecedented improvements and growth. However, it is also true that I have come short in many aspects. I have committed untold stupidities, things that 14-year-old Bayu would not dare to contemplate. Thank God, that despite these shortcomings, I am still alive!

Honestly evaluating these things, I realize that I am not worthy of this ordination. I could boast some of my achievements, both in academic and non-academic fields. I could show myself as a brother who lives a religious life with certain regularity. I could boast the numbers of talks and lectures I prepared and gave. I could boast the Latin honor I received in every graduation. However, these things are just a bunch of straws!

However, why does this ordination remain within my reach despite my unworthiness? I realize that the vocation to the diaconate is a gift. In Philosophy expounded by St. Thomas Aquinas, I learn my essence is not my existence, meaning to exist is not even my right. Yet, the mere fact, I exist, means God, who is the source of all existence, has willed that I should live. Fundamentally my life is not right or a must, but a gift. My existence is an utter gift of God and so also my ordination. It is not a gift based on a merit system, otherwise, it is called a reward. It is not a gift I could demand because it is my right. It is neither a gift coming from my inheritance nor a gift that I could purchase in the Church. It is a free, absolutely free. God in the mystery of His infinite mercy and wisdom, has decided to grant me this beautiful gift. As I receive this gift despite my unworthiness, I cannot be forever grateful.

The gift does not only speak of me, the recipient. Ultimately it points to the giver. The gift represents how the giver values the recipient. The more valuable the gift is, the more precious the recipient to the giver. The ordinary gift may symbolize the goodwill of the giver, but the gift that hurts the giver is certainly extraordinary because it bears the sacrificial love of the giver. The gift of ordination reveals who my God is. He is God who sees beyond my weakness and flaws, who considers me as His precious own, who dares to share His own life and mission with me. Thus, I am forever grateful.

Life cn intoxicate us w/ material or spiritual desires tht either we possess or possess us. Stay sober & moderate. Vice & sin destroy. Discipline urself b4 it’s too late

Leaving the boat & their father, the disciples are entering into a new way of living & relationship. Don’t be intimidated by anything new when Jesus is with you. He is the new “new” that calls you to a better “new” you.

Persecutions, like problems in life, may be viewed as difficulties to run away from. But they may also be taken as opportunities to grow, to shine & to be better. Never fear pain & sufferings. They are chances for us to gain the “championship ring”.

The end-time that Jesus predicted may frighten us. But there is one consolation. It’s not going to take place at once. That means we have time to prepare, to repent, to love. Let not what’s scary make you worry.

Generosity is not about wealth or poverty. It is the attitude of giving not what we have but what and who we are. You are generous for who you are, not how much you give.

Jesus knew what wud happen to Jerusalem & its pipol & the causes of d bad events to come. Stay close to Jesus. Do what he commands u to do. Sufferings & pains wud come, but obeying him makes us safe & sound.

What the wicked servant said to the king was used against him. The king condemned him for his own words. Be careful of ur action & words. They may be used against you. Say & do only what builds others up & makes a better you.

To pray persistently like the widow in the parable, wanting swift justice to be served, demands a strong faith. Whatever it is u are asking from God, just dnt giv up praying. His timing is perfect. Just wait in faith.

Pipol are always running in pursuit of many things, even in matters of faith: in haste of finding God, His presence or His answer 2 their prayers. Believe & stay calm. Live & promote the gospel values of life & love. There God is found.

Gratitude is an attitude. It does not come frm one’s nationality, religion, profession or education. It is an expression of appreciation 4 a favor or blessing received or evn anticipated. Say thank you 2day. Evriday.

Jesus wants us to watch out & be careful. He knows that committing sin is inevitable. But to cause others to sin is 4 him more woeful & terrible. Bring others to God & not to the devil.

How many lost souls hav we found & brought back 2 God? Have we exerted efforts, like a shepherd, 2 lead them back 2 Him? Is someone in ur family or circle of friends in need of guidance & direction? Dnt be indifferent. Do something.

Fr. Ramon T. Salibay, O.P.

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