The Transfiguration: Strengthening Our Faith

Yesterday I was conversing with Jerson (not his real name), my service advisor of many years, on the state of employment in the service company and he told me where his other colleagues are at this time. Of the eight, only four of them remained as the others were terminated on the same day that the announcement was made. He felt so sad because aside from the service advisors, about half of their technicians also had to go. Most, if not all of them are breadwinners and have families to support. 

In the First Reading (Gn. 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18), the test that Abraham went through was so tough, he was asked to offer his son Isaac as a “holocaust”. What mental torture and agony he must have went through during those moments. Certainly, not everyone can pass it (with flying colors!) as Abraham did. It’ll take a lot of faith (tons of faith, actually!)

Our challenges can be likened to the tests that Abraham went through. During this pandemic, there are many Abrahams going through different difficulties and hardships. Be it the loss of job like Jerson’s colleagues, the loss of a loved one, or even being away from family for long periods owing to safety and health protocols and the need to provide for the family. These are times when you feel why such are happening given the so many people affected. In yesterday’s Gospel (Mt. 5: 43-48), Jesus tells us to “Love your enemy”, a challenge so difficult for many to embrace. These aren’t the only teachings that the Lord gave us that are really hard for many to accept. It’s not only questionable and logic defying, but that is what the Lord said. In order for all of us to follow His teachings, Christ gave us a foretaste of Heaven and His glory (today’s Gospel Mk. 9: 2-10). This experience have really left an imprint on His disciples such that they were able to overcome discouragement and hardships. They went on to fulfill their mission and chose to give their lives fully for God.

Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB, shared in his homily today, that one of their classmates in Theology while they were discussing Ancient History asked their professor, who was a History expert, 

“Father, how many Christians were killed because of their faith in Jesus?”

“A conservative estimate is two million Christians offered their lives for Christ in a span of three hundred years.”

Fr. Armand added, “Bigyan ‘nyo ako ng iba pang simbahan, na ang kanilang simbahan ay dinilig ng dugo ng kanilang mga kasamahan. Wala. Tayo lang.” (Give me a church that their church is watered by the blood of their martyrs. None. Only the Catholic Church.)

What these stories tell us is that discouragement and challenges are moments when you can’t give up on God, no matter how trying the situation is. Be assured that God would want us to have our basic needs in life. If we ask for it, He will always want to give us the strength to overcome temptations even for those as heavy as Abraham’s. If we pray for our salvation, which would need forgiveness of our sins, I’m pretty sure God would want these to be granted to us provided there is sincerity in our actions. It doesn’t mean God will grant all our prayers, because there is also the aspect of what God’s will is for our lives. He will always want the best for us and will grant those prayers that will keep us with Him for eternity.

Surely, when we give Him the top priority in our lives, He would tell us, like what God said to Abraham,

I swear by myself, declares the LORDthat because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved sonI will bless you abundantly” 

Today, reflect on who Jesus really is. Let us pray for the wisdom, the strength, and the courage to stay with Him and resist falling to the temptations and hardships we are faced with.

From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard: This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” (Mt. 17:5)

Repentance and Faith

In 2019, Alma and I had the privilege of flying across the desert via a famous Middle Eastern airline with plane-installed cameras that allowed us to view the ground below. As we were flying from Dubai on the way to Vienna, we saw the desert below: stretches of barren land with very few traces of vegetation and foliage. I can imagine how the elements bring it to movements and life every now and then. Thinking about it made me recall what Jesus went through before He engaged in His public ministry.

The Gospel (Mk. 1: 12-15) tells us during this First Sunday of Lent that the Spirit brought Jesus into the desert and remained there for forty days. Going there wasn’t forced on Him and it tells us His singular focus of total obedience to the will of God the Father. He was ministered by angels and the Heavenly Father must have seen it fit to be with Jesus as He was preparing for His ministry. The same is true with us in our “desert experiences”; we don’t have to go through it alone. When we invoke God’s help, surely, Heaven would be delighted and exuberant to “send angels to minister to our needs”. It is so consoling to know that as sons and daughters of God, we can “switch on” the power of Christ when we need it. 

Like Jesus, we can also defeat the enemy for as long as we prepare ourselves spiritually. Surely though, we cannot defeat this vicious foe on our own. We need the protection and power of the Almighty God if we want to emerge victorious. These spiritual “battles” come to us through the temptations we face, our difficulties, and the bad habits that bruise us every now and then. These are challenges that will continue to haunt us if we insist on our own strengths and limited power. We cannot solve and cure these ills unless we turn on the power of God in us. Note that during this period Jesus went through all temptations imaginable just after He was baptized by John. The Lord is therefore telling us that as we go through our Lenten journey, we recall our promises at Baptism. We have to renounce evil and proclaim our faith in the Holy Trinity, the Holy Catholic Church, and its sacred teachings. Jesus is telling us the importance of repentance and faith that will enable us to avail of the mighty power of God,  

This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

In my life experience, the times that I feel weak and down, I found out that the only way to overcome these and restore the power of God in me is when I prepare spiritually by going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is a way of giving honor and gratitude to God, whose Son Jesus came to save us,

Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that He might lead you to God.” (Second Reading, 1 Pt 3: 18-22) 

It is proven and it is not only effective in my personal life but also at work and in business relationships as well.

Reflect on the bad habits you have, and how you can resolve to eliminate these precursors of sin during this season of Lent.  

Lord God, I bow before you. Help me fight my weaknesses as I prepare during this Season of Lent. Strengthen me, guide me and protect me and my family from all evil and dangers of the body and the soul. Amen.

One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4b)

The Greatest Act of Love

For a long time, leprosy was a feared and misunderstood disease. It was thought to be hereditary, a curse, or even a punishment for one’s sins. Thus, for quite a time lepers were stigmatized and shunned. In the First Reading (Lv. 13: 1-2, 44-46), Yahweh God gave instructions to Moses and Aaron on how lepers are to be handled. It was the priest who shall declare him unclean, and rules applied on what garments he should wear and by his having a bare head. He shall also cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’ and shall live apart, outside the camp where the Israelites were. 

In today’s Gospel (Mk. 1: 40-45) shows us how Jesus forgives. In his homily today, Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB said, “Sa kanilang pag-iisip, yung pagpapagaling mo sa ketongin na yun ay pagpapatawad ng kasalanan sapagkat sa kanila, ang kasalanan, lalo na kung malubha ay bunga yan ng pagkakasala. (In their thinking, the cure to a leper is forgiveness of sins because for them, sin, especially those grave sins, are the effects of sinning.)” 

Fr. Armand also emphasized two important points: 

  1. Jesus touched the leper even if it wasn’t acceptable during those times. He risked being tagged as an outcast like the leper. And, 
  2. Jesus healed the leper not by the power of others, but by His own power! Christ stood by His claim that He is the Messiah, the Son of God. The Lord’s love for the leper is total, complete and without reservations. 

Let us reflect on the power of the Lord to heal us of our afflictions. Leprosy, like sin, is a sign of our weakness and frailty as human beings. Yet despite the gravity of our sins, Jesus forgives. When we forgive, do we forgive others, as Jesus did? 

Let us pray to learn how to forgive, because Jesus Christ is about forgiveness; He is merciful and compassionate. “Forgiveness is the greatest act of love. If you don’t know how to forgive, you don’t know how to love!” (Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB).

A great prophet has arisen in our midst, God has visited his people.” (Lk. 7:16)

Coping With Life’s Challenges

Nobody in this world is perfect. Everyone has weaknesses and defects. That is why, we complement with others. Whatever strengths we have will help those who are weak at. Other than weaknesses, there are also times when we feel down and anxious, tested, and challenged such that we feel pushed to the limit. An inspiring friend or family member will help us see beyond our problems and anxieties. A person who acts as a “sounding board” is vital to our sanity and stability. 

The classic story of Job in the First Reading (Jb. 7: 1-4, 6-7) tells us of his frustrations and feelings, considering what has happened to his family, possessions and even his dignity. Yet, despite all these he remained steadfast in his faith in Yahweh God. 

Last December before my mother-in-law passed away, I was telling Alma that we have to exert effort to make sure she won’t give up her faith as her pain brought about by the big C increased in intensity. What I fear the most is when the soul gives up on God at the last minute. During the last moments of life, the devil is on the prowl and ready to pounce on our sickness, our troubles, and anxieties so that we may start questioning and even risk of giving up our faith in God. Thus, in her last days, Alma and I would pray with her every night before she sleeps. I think that even when our own time comes for us to go and leave this world, we should resist the temptation to give up on God for what we’re going through. If due to the feelings of insurmountable pain one gives up on faith and hope at the last minute, it would be the most unfortunate event that happens to one’s soul. Heaven can be within reach and yet eternal punishment can also result due to one’s loss of faith. That is why we have to persevere until the end. Note what Job did in Chapter 2 verse 10, as his wife asked him to “Curse God and die!”,

But he said to her, “You speak as foolish women do. We accept good things from God; should we not accept evil?” Through all thisJob did not sin in what he said

In the Gospel (Mk. 1: 29-29), Jesus was healing Simon’s mother-in-law from fever, other people from various illnesses, and driving out demons. He didn’t allow the demons to speak because “they knew him.” It wasn’t only there that the Lord preached, as He also ensured that they “go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there alsoFor this purpose have I come.”

As it was before, so it is today: Jesus Christ brings hope amidst tragedy, despair, and misery; challenges that we all face at one time or the other. During these times of the pandemic, the difficulties are real. People are losing jobs, the company of friends and family loved ones, or even losing loved ones due to Covid-19. The story of Job inspires us to hold on to Yahweh, as he was one who persevered and believed that God ought to be thanked for everything, problems and all included. 

As St. Paul said in the Second Reading, 

All this I do for the sake of the Gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.” (1 Cor. 9:16-19, 22-23)

Let us reflect on the life of Job today. Let his life inspire us to love life and be grateful to God for all that we experience, good or bad. Let his life fill our own with hope, faith and love so that we persevere and hopefully with God’s awesome grace, mercy and compassion, triumph in the end.

Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.” (Ps. 147:3a)

Adhere to the Lord without Distraction

While growing up, me and my siblings heard many stories about spirits, some of them about “evil spirits lurking in the dark” and in “remote places” far from houses where people live. These stories instilled fear in us and so we were afraid of straying far from home. At night while waiting to fall asleep, when I heard dogs howling, I imagined them to be seeing spirits passing by. Those were childhood fears that I gradually outgrew and now it isn’t much of a bother even if I sleep alone. Prayers helped me manage these and eventually sleeping well is already easy and second nature. 

In the Gospel (Mk. 1: 21-28), a man with an unclean spirit cried out to Jesus and said, 

What have you to do with us, Jesus of NazarethHave you come to destroy usI know who you are—the Holy One of God!” The evil spirit recognized Jesus such that the Lord rebuked him and said, “Quiet!  Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.

In Jesus’ and as well as in present time, evil spirits manifested themselves on people in the forms of sickness, demonic possessions and the like. We can read many other stories of evil forces trying to disrupt the Lord’s ministry. Yet, today’s Scripture reading tells us of the infinite power of God, as manifested by how the Lord Jesus Christ drove out the unclean spirit. The Almighty Power of God is infinitely supreme over all of creation including evil spirits, regardless of how difficult the situation may seem. Evil creatures are real and have been around since Creation. The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: “The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing.” Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. This “fall” consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and His reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter’s words to our first parents: “You will be like God.” The devil “has sinned from the beginning”; he is “a liar and the father of lies”. (cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church) 

Early in Christ’s public life, the devil would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from His Father. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” The best that we can do is to continue preferring God over the devil, by the choices that we make every single minute, every single day. It is hard as these seduction sometimes comes in beautiful packages: fame, wealth, lust and the like. It is temporal but often difficult to resist. By our human nature, we become weak when we do it alone. We need God’s infinite power to overcome all these. We have to bring more prayer in our lives to sustain our strength and provide us the courage and fortitude to handle these challenges. We need Jesus to rebuke them by allowing God’s grace and mercy “to overshadow their evil influence”. Moses tells us in the First Reading (Dt. 18: 15-20), to listen to Him.

This Sunday is also the Feast of St. John Bosco, Priest, Father and Teacher of the Youth. In his homily today during the Concelebrated Mass at the St. John Bosco Parish Church, Makati, Most Reverend Bishop Broderick Pabillo, D.D. Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila said, referring to the youth who aren’t allowed to go out of their homes, 

“…we need to have special care over them, “kailangan silang kausapin (we need to talk to them), kailangan silang i-entertain (we need to entertain them), kailanga natin si Tatay maging creative (Tatay needs to be creative), so that they will not get bored, with all these online things, and we need also to guide them in how they use electronic media. Dito na po yung guidance na ibibigay natin sa kanila (This is where our guidance to them is needed). So let us ask our Patron Saint John Bosco that we may be kept away from sickness and especially that we may be guided in how we can guide our young people during this time of the lockdown and the pandemic. Let us learn from him on his zeal in order to bring people close to the Lord in whatever situation we find ourselves in.”

The Second Reading (1 Cor. 7: 32-35) exhorts us to “adhere to the Lord without distraction”. This is the only way that we can overcome evil in this world. Thus, despite how blurred and hazy these situations may look, we need to be more prayerful and mindful of stopping the bad influence and seduction of the devil in our lives. 

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit grant us the gift of Fortitude, so that our souls be “strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of our earthly mission”. May this gift grant us the grace and the humility to acknowledge God’s power and authority over all Creation. May our faith and trust in God not falter despite the challenges and difficulties we face.

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Ps. 95:8)

Becoming Fishers of Men

My hometown is a fishing community and in fact, the town’s patron saint is Saint Andrew, the brother of Saint Peter, who were both fishermen. Before the pandemic quarantine protocols were put in place, when you go to the beach early in the morning during the summers, most of the crowd that you see are engaged in fishing activities. You can see boats of all sizes moving around to catch fish. This is before the day crowd of beach bummers arrive to have fun. The town is blessed to have good and fertile fishing waters such that even vessels from other places come to share in the fish. 

Since fish and other sea creatures are quick, fast and sometimes even dangerous in water, Fr. Armand is right in his homily today when he said, “You don’t chase fish to catch themyou let them come to you.”

In the Gospel (Mk. 1: 14-20), 

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the seathey were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Fr. Armand succinctly described how the life of the follower of Christ should evolve, taking the Gospel accounts. At that time of the first apostles, Biblical scholars agree that before they became Jesus’ disciples, they were first His friends,

“…their conversion into the Faith doesn’t stop with being ‘Jesus and me’, but since the Lord is starting His public ministry, and John the Baptist has been imprisoned; it is time for Jesus to go out and preach. The Lord needed companions with Him, so Jesus called His friends, those people who are close to Him: Peter, Andrew, James and John, to become “fishers of men”. 

In our own personal conversion when we become close to God, we have to be ready to move up the next level; that is, sharing in His work. “In other words, it’s like Jesus telling us, ‘You just don’t become my friends, now you go and share our friendship, and share the Good News to people around you.’ Don’t just attach yourself to Me, but go (out) there and share your faith.”  (Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB) 

Citing the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis of Pope Benedict XVI, on the Holy Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s Life and Mission, Fr. Armand said,

“A eucharistic Church is (one that celebrates the Eucharist) always a missionary Church. We cannot just end it up by praying to God, and then being “close” to God. The real purpose of our faith, is not to keep it for ourselves, but to share it to other people. To be fishers of men, to bring other people close to God.”

This is the attitude we have to adopt in our lives. For example, in our roles as parents or guardians, rather than telling our children that they become “a lawyer or a doctor or an engineer in the future” because this is a “good” plan for them, our roles should be in the way of supporting God’s plan for their lives. Even in our life experiences, whenever confronted with difficult challenges, our faith should be strong enough to make us realize that the Almighty has a plan for everyone and everything. It is God that directs our present and our future.

Today, reflect on these,

Are you understanding of your family and loved ones

Are you welcoming and patient in how you respond to the experiences of your family and loved ones?

Are you showing your openness to be of help to others such that they feel welcome and comforted in your presence?

Dear God, help me live my Faith so that others become attracted to my faith experiences and eventually inspire them to seek You. Help my life become a worthy example so that in doing so, it is not just me being sent by You to them, but rather, it will be You sending them to me, so that I will bring them closer to You. Amen. 

The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk. 1: 15)

Viva Sr. Sto. Niño

If there was no pandemic, this weekend would have been the start of colorful and fun festivals this merry month of January. The Sinulog in Cebu, the Ati-Atihan in Kalibo, Aklan, and the Dinagyang in Iloilo; all these celebrate the Feast of the Sto. Niño. You can go around the Islands and you can still find a lot more other fiestas and celebrations honoring the Child Jesus. Without much thinking, you can easily say that the Sto. Niño is extremely popular in the Philippines. 

In today’s Gospel (Mk. 10: 13-16) we can see that Jesus warned that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to people like little children,

Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

Being a child speaks of innocence, simplicity and humility. We can relate with these as we have been small children ages past. Being “like a child” is to recognize our nothingness, smallness, and weaknesses in front of God. When we become “like little children”, we become obedient, submissive and humble before God. We follow His guidance, directions and will for our lives. We act like how He wants us to be. We become His arms and voice in this world. We do these not only because these glorify God, but becoming childlike will help us become better and faithful followers of Christ. We become more loving to others and help strengthen society by recognizing the various problems affecting our fellowmen. We may not be able to do it on a fabulous scale, but we can start at home by teaching our children the value of love, social justice, and peace. We build our families in the fear and love of God. 

On this feast of the Sto. Niño, let us again discover the child in us, and imitate Jesus’ childlike qualities of innocence, simplicity, and total dependence on God. These attitudes should make us grow in faith and action. 

Dear Lord, as we journey on, may we not forget to bring along with us childlike qualities of innocence, simplicity, and humility. Amen.  

The Lord is King, let the many islands be glad!” (Ps. 97:1)

Pleasing God

Many people are guilty of trying to please others above anything else in their life. They go to extra lengths to live up to the opinions of others, and their behaviors revolve around it. Sometimes the opinion of their families and loved ones take a backseat. 

In the Gospel (Mk. 1: 7-11), after Jesus was baptized by John,

On coming up out of the water He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon Him. And a voice came from the Heavens, “You are my beloved Sonwith you I am well pleased.”

Today’s Sunday is the last day of the Christmas Season and what follows is the Ordinary Time in the Church’s Liturgical Calendar. It is also the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, a transitioning moment from His hidden life in Nazareth to the beginning of His public ministry. This is significant because this is when Jesus revealed to the world who He is, an “epiphany”, a manifestation of His true identity as He prepares to begin His public ministry. It was through the simple and humble act of Baptism performed by John; not a grandiose event in the eyes of the world. The Lord didn’t have to go through it, but in His humility, He went through the experience. He waded through the Jordan in solidarity with sinful, struggling and dirty humanity. During His public ministry, He even dined with sinners, and as expected, it “scandalized” the religious leaders at that time. By these actions, Jesus embraced us as we are, so that we will understand His love for us as something even greater than our own selves. This opened up our lines to Heaven so that we will comprehend better His redeeming act of love for mankind’s salvation.

Even though Jesus is God, He shared our fragile and fickle-minded human nature. There was affirmation from the Heavens when God the Father said, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” This perfect act of Jesus also opened up Heaven for us. With our own baptism, the appropriate response is the journey towards a deeper commitment to follow Christ and avoid sin and wrongdoing. 

This Sunday, reflect on your own life: Who are you giving your full attention and commitment to? Are you giving God the attention that He deserves, as your Creator, King and God? Will He say at the end of your life, that He is “Well pleased” with you?

Dear Lord, thank you for sharing your Baptism with us. May we respond through a deeper commitment to You every day as we journey towards fulfillment of our vows in Baptism, hoping to live fully in unity with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Seek the LORD while He may be found, call Him while He is near.” (cf Is. 55: 6)

Saying Yes to God

God calls each one of us in so many different ways. In most instances, the Lord uses the situations close to us as means to connect with us. For example, the Lord used my parents to bring me closer to Him. They got me involved starting with what’s easier for me to do at a young age: serving as a Knight of the Altar. My parents woke me up early during summer so that I can catch up with the 6 o’clock daily Mass. Slowly, the practice of going to Mass became a habit, ingrained in my being that my elders didn’t have to wake me up anymore.  Aside from Masses in the Church, our Parish Priest also brought me when he celebrated Mass in the different communities. Baptisms, weddings, fiestas, and the like; those different experiences taught me more about the Faith, the Sacraments and the Holy Eucharist.

In today’s Gospel (Mt. 2: 1-12), we hear the proclamation,

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the JewsWe saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

The Magi were engaged in the study of the stars and were believed to come most likely from Persia, modern-day Iran. While they weren’t Jewish, they knew of the popular belief that a king would be born to save them. God used their interest — the study of the stars — to call them to search and meet the Lord. With a star, God guided them to follow this sign to pursue the search for the Savior. What was good about it is that the Magi responded to the call of God. They travelled a long and perilous way to meet the Child Jesus,

They saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

How about you, do you recognize the ways by which God is reaching out to you? Like the Magi, are you responding to His calls? Are you attentive to God’s invitation for a deeper relationship with Him? 

Dear God, as I face the New Year, continue to guide me to you. Make me be sensitive to the many ways You are reaching out. Grant me the wisdom and courage to respond and follow You. Protect me from the dangers of the journey and make me commit my life to You.

Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.” (cf Ps. 72: 11)

Be the Light to the World!

Today, the Sunday after Christmas, the Holy Mother Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. This is to honor Jesus of Nazareth, His mother Mary, and His foster father Joseph, as a beautiful and model family. The Gospel proclamation (Lk. 2: 22-40) reveals that after Mary and Joseph completed the prescriptions of the law of Moses, they took the Child Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law. Their family life is worth reflecting in the light of their humility, simplicity, and obedience to God. While the Sacred Scriptures do not present much details, surely theirs is a remarkable and perfect family. Although they may look similar to how the typical family at that time live their daily lives, theirs is also different in that they are a perfect model for families even up to the present age.

Amidst the current pandemic, today’s Christian family is a very challenged family. Loss of employment, underemployment, poverty, decent living and health, are some of the current issues affecting every Christian family. We see the same challenges that the Holy Family had during their time. They lived in poverty, despite their being “highly privileged” in the eyes of God. According to the Law, the prescribed offerings are usually lamb or goats, however; two young pigeons were accepted as sin offerings from the “poorer people”, and as purification offerings. In the Gospel account, the Holy Family fulfilled the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. 

Why did God allow the Holy Family to be poor? Many of us find it hard to imagine the Holy Family living in abject poverty. Yet in His infinite wisdom, God shows us that the Holy Family, being poor is very much a “human family”.They handled all sorts of difficulties and challenges that life has to offer, to share our human experience that we may share in His Divinity. Despite the odds, the Holy Family was a very pious family. Joseph and Mary were apparently observant Jews, making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year with other Jewish families. They showed us that even in poverty, one can handle life’s daily challenges. Despite these issues, it is possible for one to be holy and obedient to God.

We celebrate Christmas because as the Church proclaims, we are reminded “Your Son shares our weakness: may we share His glory.” We celebrate the Season lest we forget that God loves us so much, that He sent His only Son to give us the opportunity to be saved from the effects of sin. In this feast of the Holy Family we are reminded that we can always strive to be holy, in our own humanly way. 

Let us be like the Holy Family to the world. For our families to be like them, we must find time to read the Word. We must pray regularly to God. We must be obedient to His Will. The readings this Sunday provide us a glimpse of what God wants us to practice (see Sir. 3: 2-6, 12-14; Ps. 128:1-2, 3, 4-5; Col. 3: 12-21). Doing these will make us better families, holy families.  Only then can we become the light of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to the world.

Have a blessed Season!

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