“Lipat Bakod” August 26, 2018 Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday Gospel Reflections
Fr. Toto Cerada, SDB
Mary Help of Christians Parish, Calamba City

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1JOS 24:1-2A, 15-17, 18B

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
summoning their elders, their leaders,
their judges, and their officers.
When they stood in ranks before God,
Joshua addressed all the people:
“If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
But the people answered,
“Far be it from us to forsake the LORD
for the service of other gods.
For it was the LORD, our God,
who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt,
out of a state of slavery.
He performed those great miracles before our very eyes
and protected us along our entire journey
and among the peoples through whom we passed.
Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

Responsorial Psalm
PS 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21

R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Many are the troubles of the just one,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him;
he watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2EPH 5:21-32 OR 5:2A, 25-32

Brothers and sisters:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the church,
he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

or

Brothers and sisters:
Live in love, as Christ loved us.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

AlleluiaJN 6:63C, 68C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
GospelJN 6:60-69
Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending
to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life,
while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said,
“For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

 

Faith and Suffering

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 26, 2018
John 6:60-69

“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (Jn. 6:67).”

In our today’s Gospel, Simon Peter and other disciples are facing a major crossroad: whether they will believe in Jesus’ words and they need to consume Jesus’ flesh and blood as to gain eternal life, or they will consider Jesus as insane and leave Him. They are dealing with hard and even outrageously unbelievable truth, and the easiest way is to leave Jesus. Yet, amidst doubt and lack of understanding, Peter’s faith prevails, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (Jn. 6:67).” It is faith that triumphs over the greatest doubt, a faith that we need also.

I am ending my clinical pastoral education at one of the busiest hospitals in Metro Manila. It has been a truly faith-enriching and heart-warming experience. I am blessed and privileged to minister to many patients in this hospital. One of the most memorable and perhaps faith-challenging encounter is with Christian [not his real name].

When I visited the pediatric ward, I saw a little boy, around six years old, lying on the bed. He was covered by a thin blanket and seemed in pain. Then I talked to the watcher who happened to his mother, Christina [not her real name]. She told me that the dialysis did not go well and he had a little fever. As the conversation went on, I discovered that Christian was not that young. He was actually 16 years old. I did not believe my eyes, but the mother explained that it was because his kidneys shrank to the point of disappearing, and because of this terrible condition, his growth stopped, and his body also shrank. Christian has undergone dialysis for several years, and due to recurrent infections, the hospital has been his second home. Christina herself lost his husband when he died several years ago, and stopped working to take care of Christian. The older sister of Christian had to stop schooling and worked to support the family.

Looking at Christian, and listening to Christina, I was hurt, and I was almost shedding tears. Despite my long theological formation, I cannot but question God. “Why do You allow this kind of terrible suffering to an innocent little man? Why do you allow his life and future be robbed by this illness?” My faith was shaken. Then, I was asking Christina how she was able to deal with the situation. She shared that it was really difficult, but she has accepted the condition, and she continues to struggle to the end because she loved Christian. I was also asking her what made her strong, and I cannot forget her answer. She said that she was strong when she saw little Christian’s smiles, and she felt his simple happiness.

Right there and then, through Christina, I felt God has answered my questions and doubts. It is true that terrible things happen, but God never leaves us. He was there in Christian’s simple smiles. He was there in little acts of love from Christina for her son. It is true that life is full of incomprehensible sufferings and heart-breaking moments, like the loss of loved ones, the broken relationships, the health and financial problems, and perhaps the recent revelation of sexual abuses done by many Catholic priests in the US. These can trigger our anger and disappointment towards God. We shall remain angry, confused and lost if we focus on the painful reality, but God is inviting us to see Him in simple and ordinary things that bring us comfort, strength, and joy. If Jesus calls us to have faith the size of mustard seed, it is because this kind of faith empowers us to recognize God in simple and ordinary things of our lives.

Br. Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP
— with Xenon Oble,Marvin Obedo and Harry Setianto Sunaryo SJ.

This is one of d ultimate sacrifices tht Jesus demands from his would-be followers. How many have complied w/ it? How many are his real followers? Are u, am I one of them? 

The reward for giving up everything to follow the Lord has value even much greater than the whole world. It is God Himself and eternal life with Him. He alone satisfies all our desires. Should we look for more?

If you were invited to a special event, your response may depend on who is inviting you. Is it a special someone, a friend, or someone you dislike? God is inviting us daily to do His will on earth and to be with Him in heaven. Will you come? Will you refuse? What will be your excuse?

Under d fig tree is a place 4 meditation. Bartholomew must hv been meditating wen Jesus saw him. Do u find time 2 meditate? Or u spend more time w/ ur gadgets & watching tv shows? Create ur own “fig tree”. Meditate daily.

It’s nvr easy 2 b consistent in life, esp. 2 be consistently good, upryt & holy. Often we are consistent w/ our inconsistencies. And d greatest of these is wen wat we say are miles away frm wat we do. Hold on 2 God’s consistent love.

Fr. Ramon T. Salibay, O.P.

‘Shame and sorrow’ – Holy See responds to Pennsylvania report

“Victims should know that the Pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent.”

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