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#Give Without Fear, Second Sunday of Lent, March 17, 2019

Ang TOTOong Balita ngayong 2nd Sunday of Lent
#makeover  by Fr. Toto Cerada, SDB

Second Sunday of Lent

Reading 1GN 15:5-12, 17-18

The Lord God took Abram outside and said,
“Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.
Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.”
Abram put his faith in the LORD,
who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.

He then said to him,
“I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans
to give you this land as a possession.”
“O Lord GOD,” he asked,
“how am I to know that I shall possess it?”
He answered him,
“Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat,
a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
Abram brought him all these, split them in two,
and placed each half opposite the other;
but the birds he did not cut up.
Birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses,
but Abram stayed with them.
As the sun was about to set, a trance fell upon Abram,
and a deep, terrifying darkness enveloped him.

When the sun had set and it was dark,
there appeared a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch,
which passed between those pieces.
It was on that occasion that the LORD made a covenant with Abram,
saying: “To your descendants I give this land,
from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River, the Euphrates.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 27:1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14.

R. (1a)  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Hear, O LORD, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

 

Reading 2 PHIL 3:17—4:1

Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers and sisters,
and observe those who thus conduct themselves
according to the model you have in us.
For many, as I have often told you
and now tell you even in tears,
conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their end is destruction.
Their God is their stomach;
their glory is in their “shame.”
Their minds are occupied with earthly things.
But our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will change our lowly body
to conform with his glorified body
by the power that enables him also
to bring all things into subjection to himself.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
whom I love and long for, my joy and crown,
in this way stand firm in the Lord.

Or PHIL 3:20—4:1

Brothers and sisters:
Our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will change our lowly body
to conform with his glorified body
by the power that enables him also
to bring all things into subjection to himself.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
whom I love and long for, my joy and crown,
in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved.

Verse Before The Gospel CF. MT 17:5

From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard:
This is my beloved Son, hear him.

Gospel  LK 9:28 B-36

Jesus took Peter, John, and James
and went up the mountain to pray.
While he was praying his face changed in appearance
and his clothing became dazzling white.
And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah,
who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus
that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep,
but becoming fully awake,
they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus,
“Master, it is good that we are here;
let us make three tents,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
But he did not know what he was saying.
While he was still speaking,
a cloud came and cast a shadow over them,
and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.
Then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
They fell silent and did not at that time
tell anyone what they had seen.

Moses and Transfiguration

2nd Sunday of Lent [March 17, 2019] Luke 9:28-36

transfiguration 3One time, during a Bible class I facilitated, one of the participants asked me, “how was Peter able to recognize that it was Moses who stood beside Jesus during the Transfiguration?” It was a valid question, and yet I personally never thought of it. I thought of with several possible answers. Perhaps, Moses appeared bringing two stone tables of the Law. Perhaps, as Jesus was conversing with Moses and Elijah, Peter was able to pick up the names. Perhaps, the divine inspiration enlightened Peter’s mind on the identity of Moses. Eventually, I have to answer, “When you go to heaven, don’t forget to ask both Peter and Moses.”

The event of transfiguration is an important moment in the life of Jesus and His disciples. From here, Jesus begins his Passion toward Jerusalem and the cross. The transfiguration takes place to strengthen the faith of the disciples who will witness the gruesome events to be inflicted to their Teacher. However, the transfiguration is not only important for Jesus and His disciples, but surprisingly it is also the moment that Moses has awaited. Why so?

Moses was one of the greatest figures of the Old Testament. To him, the personal name of God was revealed (Exo 3:16). He challenged the great Pharaoh. He led the Hebrew people from the slavery of Egypt into the Promised Land, even passing through the Red Sea. He mediated the covenant between God and the Israel at Mount Sinai (Exo 20). For forty years, he patiently guided and educated the Israel in the desert. Through his hands, many miracles were performed. However, something happened in the desert. At Meribah, Israel complained and asked for water. Moses was instructed by God to command the rock to flow with water, but instead of saying the word, Moses struck his staff on the rock twice. The water indeed flowed but it displeased the Lord. God then said that Moses will not enter the Promised Land (Num 20:1-14). Indeed, Moses finally passed away at Mount Nebo, just before crossing the Jordan river.

It was a heartbreaking story. After faithfully following the Lord, leading the people through thick and thin of life, and bearing a lot of troubles that Israel created, a single mistake made him unable to taste the Promised Land. Both Jewish and Christian Biblical scholars have been puzzled by this difficult text. Indeed, we may keep questioning God for His unfair treatment. Fortunately, the story does not end there. Moses will surely enter the Promised Land, but he has to wait for someone: Jesus and His transfiguration. Truly, Moses does not only enter the Promised Land, but he also once again witnesses the Lord who appeared to him in the burning bush.

Reading the life of Moses without the transfiguration, we may bump into an image of God who is just but heartless, who judged Moses unworthy of entering the Promised Land because of a small error. Yet, with the transfiguration, God ties a loose end in the life of Moses. Like Moses, we may find some events in our lives, that are beyond our understanding, and violate our image of God who is love and mercy. Yet, God allows us to be puzzled and be at loss, in order that we may see how amazing God is going to tie the loose ends in our lives.

Deacon Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno
with
Harry Setianto Sunaryo SJ., Xenon Oble and Marvin Obedo

Prayer is a relationshp bet. God & man. Lyk any relationshp, d mor constant & frequent d connection in prayer, d mor this relationship grows in intimacy. Ask mor than material favors. Pray 2 lav God mor. Seek not jz things but relational gains.

Fight d devil’s temptation strategies: 1. He attacks us wher he knows we are weak. Pray & be strong. 2. He uses d scriptures. Know & liv God’s words. 3. He looks 4 another “time”. Be vigilant & prepared.

D Pharisees & d scribes seem 2 feel uncomfortable & unhapi wen others are hapi & enjoying. They think happiness is theirs alone. Jesus brings joy 2 evri1. Share others’ joy & pain. But dnt be a source of their suffering.

Wen Jesus is d reason 4 everything we do, losing our lives 4 him is not a loss but a gain. Fear no pain or suffering. Going thru hell is nothing as long as we reach heaven.

Jesus doesn’t want us to be “show offs” or perform righteous deeds to gain the praises of men. God will repay us for our “secret” good deeds. Do good. But be mindful why u do it. Please God rather than men & attain heaven.

Wat does salt hav 2 do w/ peace? The salt preserves & gives taste. Here, 4 Jesus it means something that can help have peaceful & lasting relationships: Sacrifice Attention Love/laughter Time. Live a SALTy lifestyle.

Children are Jesus’ favorites bcoz in their weakness & helplessness, they seek others’ help. Their greatness lies in the acceptance of their nothingness. Let our weaknesses bring us to our knees. We are nobody. To God be the glory.

These words of Jesus are difficult but not impossible to do, hard but w/ heroic effort, demanding but mending. To love is human. To love one’s enemies is divine. Where human effort alone may fail, let God’s grace fulfill.

Peter, who hardly knew wat 2 say bcoz of fear, saw beauty in Jesus’ transfiguration. Life shows us terrifying experiences & yet we cn see some beauty in thm. Transfiguration & disfiguration challenge us 2 stay positive bcoz Jesus is w/ us.

Peter thinks of glory, kingship & a leader w/o undergoing pain & suffering. Jesus is the suffering servant who brings glory in spite & thru pain. Fear no pain. Suffering & death are nothing when we gain heaven.

Forgetfulness is costly. Hv u experienced missing a flyt, leaving somethng at home, not attending someone’s special event bcoz u forgot? It costs time, effort, money & relationships. Protect urself frm danger & sin. Remember God’s promis of heven.

Jesus wud not hear d question of his disciples where 2 get enough bread in a deserted place 4 many ppol. Do not be stifled or paralyzed by lack of resources. W/ faith in Jesus, u can even have a surplus. He is our sure “plus”.

Businesses, backed up by all sorts of claims, promote a “germ-free” society, w/ clean food, soaps & sanitizers. Promote a personal “sin-free”, guilt-free lifestyle. Stay clean & pure in thots, words & deeds. Stay undefiled.

Peter’s admission of his sinfulness didnt stop Jesus frm choosing him & making him d leader of his church. Jesus sees beyond our imprfections & givs us our mission. Nvr fear abt ur past or future failure. Trust His trust in u.

Jesus, w/ his disciples rode a boat 2 go 2 some place 2 rest. Upon ariving d shore, he saw pipol there ahead of them. He forgot his rest & began 2 teach. Hv a selfless love. Be a restless lover.

Jesus, w/ his disciples rode a boat 2 go 2 some place 2 rest. Upon ariving d shore, he saw pipol there ahead of them. He forgot his rest & began 2 teach. Hv a selfless love. Be a restless lover.

At times, our knowledge abt pipol hinders us or stands as obstacle to let them prove themselves or their worth. For Jesus, there is something mysterious in each person. Allow that mystery to come out. Give pipol a chance to “shine”

Rejection spares no one. But wat’s important is hw we face it. Jesus, amidst threat 2 his life, simply “passed through d midst” of d crowd & “went away”. Stay strong & focused on ur mission. Reject rejection.

Jesus was accused of doing things thru d devil’s power. Ppol may call us names may be bcoz they dnt knw us, dnt understand us, try 2 discredit or destroy our credibility. Know urself. Prove pipol wrong by ur good deeds & actions.

Jesus is accustomed to doing religious acts. How do u spend ur “sabbath”? Regularly read the Bible; “believe what u read; teach what u biliv; live wht u teach.” 

It is truly disheartening when those closest to u, or those whom u presume know u personally, are d ones who fail 2 understand or support u. Stand firm. U work 4 God, not 4 them.

It is said that “Necessity is the mother of inventions.” D 4 men, not limited by d situation, w/ faith, acted creatively. Faith is powerful. Dnt put limit 2 it. Be creative, inventive & resourceful.

When fame, wealth or power come 2 one’s head, they can destroy his life. Jesus did not come 4 fame but 2 save us frm shame. He did not come 2 establish a name, but 2 establish relationships. Avoid d glitter of fame. Embrace his life.

Was this Jesus’ occasional or regular home visit? For “Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick w/ a fever.” They told him about her & he cured her. Take time to visit or call someone today. Show them ur concern & care.

At this point in his life, Jesus is a man of success bcoz he accomplished wat prophet Isaiah said abt him. Wat abt us? Wat hv we accomplished so far? Have we brought glad tidings 2 d poor? Be a glad tiding to others.

Jesus fed them w/ “multiplied” bread. He walked on d water & quieted a stormy sea. Still his disciples’ hearts were hardened. Unbelievable? Aren’t we like them sometimes? Yet God is patient w/ us all the time. What a great God we have!

Christ is our light. He came to conquer death, the consequence of the darkness of sin. Let Jesus overshadow whatever is still dark in you. Live in God’s grace, in faith, love & good deeds. Start anew.

Amidst our pressing concerns & activities, we may become so busy that we often lose sight of d divine in d mundane things. Look around & see Jesus in pipol, places & events and declare in faith: I have found d Messiah. Or simply allow him 2 find u

In an outburst of praise & thankfulness, Mary recalled & enumerated d good things d Lord has done 2 Wat’s in d name of Jesus? It means goodness, triumph over evil, sin & death. It brngs salvation & givs freedom 2 b chldren of God. That’s y d children of d world hate him. Dnt fear 2 carry his name. Fear that by it ul be condemned.her & 2 His pipol. Like Mary, count & appreciate ur blessings. Thankfulness is a secret to happiness. Be grateful. Be joyful.

Wat’s in d name of Jesus? It means goodness, triumph over evil, sin & death. It brngs salvation & givs freedom 2 b chldren of God. That’s y d children of d world hate him. Dnt fear 2 carry his name. Fear that by it ul be condemned.

Wen in crisis or difficulties, some ppol resort 2 stress eating, go into sports or other activities. Like Joseph, w/ confidence in God, we can sleep on our troubles. God is in control

Today’s readings teach us how 2 rejoice: 1st Rdg & Resp. Ps: -God is in & among u/ur midst 2nd Rdg: -by kindness & thanksgiving Gospel: -generously share wat u hav -be fair & just -dnt take advantage of pipol -be contented -be humble like John Rejoice!

John’s greatness is the greatness of being Jesus’ precursor & the greatness of courage. Introduce Jesus to others like John. Fearlessly denounce injustice, immorality & sins on any given chance.

Imagine losing some pipol u love for years. And for God, imagine losing us 4 eternity. That’s why He looks 4 us & rejoices in finding us. Help those who seem lost in life. Bring them bak 2 God.

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.

ABRAHAM and JESUS Stewardship Homily

March 16, 2014 (reposting)

(2nd Sunday of Lent)

by Archbishop Socrates Villegas

We are all afraid to die. We are also afraid to see our loved ones die. There is uncertainty in dying. There is pain in dying. Death is a mystery. We fear death because we fear the unknown. 
When God told Abraham to leave his familiar land, he was surely asked to make a decision to “die”. He was being asked to leave country, father’s house and kinship and go to an unknown land. It was a call to “die”. How did Abraham overcome the fear of the unknown? ABRAHAM BELIEVED the promise of the Lord “YOU WILL BE A BLESSING.” With faith in the promise, Abraham went forth and faced the “death” of leaving his own land. 
The apostles knew that the passion and death of Jesus was near and clear. They had fears. They were considering avoiding it. They wanted to flee. “Death would be the end of all they had planted and preached”, it seemed to them. Death was confusing and disturbing. The transfiguration was made to happen in order to CORRECT the apostles’ view of the inevitable passion and death of Jesus. JESUS WAS SHOWN TO THEM IN HIS GLORY so that when the cross loomed in the horizon, they would know that death cannot end everything. THE CROSS LEADS TO GLORY.
If Abraham did not trust, the blessing promised would have been restricted to him and his little possessions. Because Abraham trusted, his blessing became as numerous as the stars and as infinite as the sands in the sea.
In the case of the apostles, the Apostle John who saw the glory of Jesus bravely reached Calvary without fear or doubt. He had seen the glory of Tabor and he knew that there was a glory waiting for them after Calvary. The experience of Tabor carried him beyond Calvary.
Stewardship is NOT about money. It is about FAITH. The faithful steward is not afraid of dying because he knows that dying is the sure path to glory. 
When the steward is invited to give, the call given to Abraham is echoed again. The steward is asked like Abraham to leave his attachments, to share his blessings, to share his talents, to share his time, to share himself. If the steward clings to himself for fear of the unknown, he restricts the blessings to himself and his little treasures. Stewardship multiplies blessings. Stewardship turns a single blessing into a hundredfold harvest. 
Bravery is the hallmark of a good steward. Only the brave can give and share. The selfish is a sister of the unhappy. The coward is a brother of the stingy. 
Look at the brave faith of Abraham. Look at the brave faith of Saint John. They were promised; they gave everything; the promise is fulfilled!
Their blessings are numerous as the stars. Will you just protect your treasures? 
What you clutch, you lose. What you give up, you gain. You want to be great?
GIVE UP AND GIVE WITHOUT FEAR!

 

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