For Thirty Pieces of Silver…

Wednesday of Holy Week, Year A; 12th April, 2017.

At that time one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

When it was evening, he sat at the table with the twelve; and as they were eating, he said, “Truly I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

Matthew 26:14-16, 20-25

Betrayal. How bitter and hurtful it can be when you realize you are about to be betrayed by one you call ‘friend’. How worse off it gets when the person to betray you still claims an undying loyalty to you amidst such betrayal. Ceasar probably would have felt this towards Brutus. But then again, he was almost dead before it dawned on him what had really transpired. But our Lord Jesus Christ knew from the onset, and each time he talked about the betrayal that would lead to His death, we can only imagine the pain He felt when His traitor felt no remorse whatsoever and acted all innocent. “Thirty pieces of silver and then I can be rich,” Judas probably said to himself. But he failed to realize that he was selling the best riches he could ever have had for a few coins. Thirty pieces of silver over the salvation His Master was bringing him.

We at times act like Judas Iscariot: selling ourselves short of the price Christ has bought us with. We claim to be Christians when our hearts and minds are far from the Christ-like living; we choose the world’s pleasures and possessions over the joy and salvation our Lord Jesus Christ offers us; we pretend to have this undying love for God when we await moments to seek our desires which only His love can fulfill

But today, Christ looks at us lovingly, with hopes that we stop living in pretence and start living up to the price He shed his Precious Blood for us with, which even a million pieces of gold can’t buy. May we gain the graces to be loyal to our Saviour so that whenever we share in his Passover, whenever we partake in the Holy Eucharist, we may with clean conscience and pure hearts, dine with Him knowing it wouldn’t be us who will be guilty of betrayal

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Called In Righteousness 

Monday of Holy Week, Year A; 10th April 2017.

Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up His voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not fail or be discouraged till He has established justice in the earth; and the islands wait for His laws.

Isaiah 42:1-4

Prophet Isaiah gives an amazing phophecy about Christ’s death and mission on earth, no wonder the Holy Mother Church takes verses from it for most of its reading during the Holy Week. Today Christ is portrayed as the servant who God delights in; the chosen one filled with the Holy Spirit to bring forth justice to the world. And what justice is it He brings, we might be compelled to ask; after all, injustice still lurks in our world this present age. We seek a justice that stops evil abruptly, a justice which shouts power and authority, one with dictates right from wrong immediately. But the justice Christ brings isn’t loud; for He came neither crying out justice nor lifting up his voice to instill it. He came in all humility and simplicity to establish justice on earth. And this He calls us to do: to be instruments of justice; a justice found in righteous living; a justice that doesn’t falter when faced with the world’s failure to adhere to it and discouragement from unjust happenings around us. We are called to be like Christ this Holy Week, to be the light to people around us so that they can see the joy Christ brings, to open their eyes to God’s infinite mercy and forgiveness, to bring out those who live in the chains of sin to the freedom the Sacrament of Penance gives. 

God calls us to be just. God calls us into righteousness today.  Like Our Lord Jesus Christ, may we embrace humility and establish justice on earth through love

Hosanna!! 

Palm Sunday of The Lord’s Passion, Year A; 9th April 2017. 

When they had come near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat on thereon. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Matthew 21:1-11

Today has got quite a twist in its readings. It begins with a joyful proclamation of “Hosanna” to Christ the Son of David on His entry to Jerusalem at the Blessings/Procession with Palms and ends with the shouts of “Crucify Him” during the Passion Narrative. It’s like the future being placed immediately the very beginning commences. Such gives us reasons to ponder on how we proclaim Christ’s goodness in our lives only to crucify Him when things seem to go bad; on how we proclaim His presence in us only to persecute Him when we become immersed in our sinful ways. This also goes to show how weak we humans are with praises and being true in our loyalty. The same ones who praise you today are the ones who are bound to persecute you tomorrow. More reason why Jesus draws us towards total surrender of our will to God as he did. He knew the shouts of Hosanna was only temporary till He suffered for our sins. He knew what laid ahead of Him was quite unbearable for a mere human, nevertheless He who, though in the form of God was made man, emptied Himself, remained humble unto death and steadfast to God the Almighty Father. How often have we claimed to love Christ but yet persecuted Him in our actions? How do we go about life when we feel betrayed by loved ones and close friends? How often do we turn to God so that He takes the cup of suffering from us if He wills? 

Today, Christ enters Jerusalem with a donkey, a beast of “burden”. This is a significant reminder that He comes to bear our sins and take them on His journey to Calvary. This Holy Week, Christ beckons on us to go with Him all the way; to let go of those heavy bags of sin, hurt, tribulations and sufferings which weigh us down and turn us away from the glory and joy that awaits us during Easter. Jesus comes to save. Shout with joy that ‘Honassa’ as he enters through the door of your heart now.

Your Will? Yes! 

Solemnity of the Annunciation of The Lord; 25th March, 2017. 

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.”

Luke 1:38

Today, the Annunciation of the Lord, we are reminded of the “yes” of Christian living. In the second reading of today, St. Paul recalls to the Hebrews, Jesus’s yes to His Heavenly Father’s will, then over to the gospel reading, our Lady’s yes to God’s ultimate plan for man. These two yeses are what brought about our salvation

Just like our Mother Mary, God finds favour in us too. And this favour demands of us sacrifices that may seem soo impossible to carry out: sacrifice of self-giving, sacrifice of true love, sacrifice of total submission. Jesus having said yes to God’s will died on the cross for our sake. Mary too probably had perfect plans for her life but abandoned it all so as to become an instrument of our salvation. No matter what difficulties and tribulations we would be faced with, we are called to say, “Let it be done to me according to Your word” to God as Mary did; we are encouraged to say, “Behold I have come to do your will, O God” as Christ came to do

The Lord who demands that which seems impossible to us is always there to give us the grace and strength to overcome them. All He needs is our yes. May we like Jesus submit our will to God Our Father and may Mother Mary continue to intercede for us so that we would overcome difficulties we may face as we say yes to Him everyday. 

The First of All

Friday of the Third Week of Lent; 24th March, 2017.

At that time: One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?”

Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31

Commandment, commandment on the stone;

Which is the greatest that leads the patient dog to the heavenly bone?

And Christ gives the answer: Love. So simple the word, love; so simple it is that its simplicity gets misused everyday. We say “I love you” even when we don’t truly mean it. We claim to love men and women but the issue of racism and gender indifference remains on the rise. But Christ isn’t calling us to utter mere words of love as we do so often; no, instead He calls us to live out love. First by loving God above all earthly gains and worldly pleasures with our all-heart, soul, mind and body. By keeping His statutes and ordinances. By living up to the expectations of a Christian in the narcissistic world who echos self-love before any other love. And then follows the call to love of neighbour as we love ourselves. Looking at them with the love we would view ourselves with while facing the mirror because they are channels through which love for God can be perfected. God has shown us such great love in His goodness and mercy towards us, wouldn’t we fail as Christians if we didn’t reciprocate this magnitude of love to those who live around us?

Only by obeying this Commandment of love can we return to the Lord our God who would take away our sins. Only by loving freely shall we blossom like the lily and the beauty of our souls be like the olive, flourishing in everything we do. May God give us the grace to love unconditionally this season of Lent.