Shadow

Opinion

Witnessing

Witnessing

Opinion
Today’s gospel gives us Luke’s version of the risen Lord’s appearance to his apostles on Easter night. The apostles and some disciples were gathered in a locked room when Jesus stood in their midst and greeted them Peace. Thinking they were seeing a ghost, they were greatly terrified. To pacify them, Jesus showed them his hands and feet, and even asked for something to eat. Then, he reminded them about the things he had said while he was still with them and explained how everything written in the Scripture was fulfilled in him. To show that he was not a ghost, Jesus gave four proofs of the resurrection. He made them see and touch his wounds; ate in front of them; and made them understand the Scripture. The first three proofs pertain to the bodily aspects of the resurrection and ref...
The Wounds of the Risen Christ

The Wounds of the Risen Christ

Opinion
On the evening of Easter, Jesus appears to the apostles gathered inside a locked room for fear of the Jews. He greets them, “Peace be with you!” Peace is the first gift of the risen Lord. It is the first fruit of the resurrection. Peace is the one thing that Israel had always yearned for throughout their history as a people. Peace is what humanity ceaselessly seeks and which remains elusive to this day. Peace, in truth, is the deepest desire of every human heart. Today the risen Christ offers us peace - his peace. Earlier, he had told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.” (Jn 14: 27) What is this peace? After greeting his apostles Shalom, Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The peace t...
The Empty Tomb

The Empty Tomb

Opinion
Early in the morning, Mary went to the tomb of Jesus and found it empty. Anxious, she ran to Peter and John and told them that they had taken the Lord’s body away. The two disciples immediately ran to the tomb. John arrived first but did not enter. He did only when Peter arrived and entered first. Both disciples found the tomb empty but had different reactions. While Peter was simply perplexed, John “saw and believed.” John saw the fulfilment/fullness of Jesus’ promise in the emptiness of the tomb for “his is the love that sees through the dark.” (Denis McBride) What enabled John to recognize the risen Christ in the empty tomb was John’s love. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." (The Little Prince) Pope Benedict XVI is mo...
Participating in Christ’s Passion

Participating in Christ’s Passion

Opinion
Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday marks the start of Holy Week when we reverently remember the last days of the Lord. Palm Sunday recounts the triumphant entry of Jesus to Jerusalem, as he rides on a colt (traditional royal procession) and is welcomed by the crowd with palms, branches and shouts of hosannas. Holy Week closes with an even more glorious event - the Lord’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. In the days between, Jesus goes through his passion and death on the cross. The enthusiastic reception of Jesus by the people on Palm Sunday manifests their high expectation of him as the long-awaited messiah who would free them from Roman subjection and restore the kingdom of Israel. Instead, Jesus enters Jerusalem with a higher purpose of accomplishing the Father’s will to save humank...
The Glory of God – The Cross

The Glory of God – The Cross

Opinion
Today’s gospel incident took place in the last days of Jesus’ life. Earlier, the people of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus triumphantly with palms and branches. His fame as a powerful preacher and wonder-worker had preceded him. Just days before, he made news when he raised to life Lazarus who had been four days in the tomb. The question growing increasingly in the mind of many was: could he be the messiah? While the ordinary people held Jesus in high esteem and with great expectation, the Jewish leaders were intimidated and were plotting his downfall. Jesus was definitely the man of the hour, the talk of the town and the new celebrity (and controversial, too). It was in this context that some Greeks came to Philip and asked “to see Jesus.” When they were finally brought to Jesus, they...
God so loved the world

God so loved the world

Opinion
Today, the liturgy breaks away from the usual mode of Lenten sobriety and penitence and opens the Mass with an exuberant antiphon, “Rejoice, Jerusalem… be joyful, all you who mourn… exult and be satisfied…” Hence, the 4th Sunday of Lent is also called Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday, and fittingly so because the readings cannot but evoke sentiments of great rejoicing. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that those who believe in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” A favorite of everyone, this verse is often called “the gospel within the gospel.” It summarizes the whole history of salvation and encapsulates all the revelation contained in sacred scripture. It articulates the meaning and the reason of God’s action in regard to man - love, his ineffable love for ...
Rising in Hope: Spirit of EDSA People Power

Rising in Hope: Spirit of EDSA People Power

Opinion
Bishop Gerardo A. Alminaza is the convenor of the, Pilgrims for Peace, One Negros Ecumenical Council Let the spirit of EDSA People Power ignite our unity to rise once more. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9) There are days in public memory that begin to take on a life of their own: the EDSA people’s uprising is one such time. From Church people staving off tanks with flowers and rosaries to a sea of ordinary citizens with yellow waves gathered in protest of a stolen election and unwanted dictatorship, there is no doubt that the 1986 People Power was an outpouring of discontent with what was and of daring to rise for something better. We often speak that it was a day to reclaim our freedom, our d...
God Will Provide

God Will Provide

Opinion
Every second Sunday of Lent, the gospel reading tells the story of the Lord’s Transfiguration. This event happens six days after that deciding moment in Caesarea Philippi when Peter confesses his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and in turn, Jesus proclaims Peter as the “Rock” on which he will build his Church. Having elicited the first explicit profession of faith in him as the Christ, Jesus tells his disciples for the first time of his passion and death. Later, on two other occasions, he would reiterate the same prediction of the tragic fate awaiting him in Jerusalem. From here on, he makes it clear to his disciples that he is not only the glorious Messiah (preacher, miracle-worker, exorcist); he is also the Suffering Servant, foretold in the scriptures. It is in this context that ...
Temptation

Temptation

Opinion
Every year, the gospel reading on the First Sunday of Lent is about the temptation of Jesus in the desert. Allow me just to share a few random thoughts on temptation. Temptation is part of life. It is a given. It is not meant to pull us down; on the contrary, it meant to propel us higher. St. Augustine once said, “Someone who is not tempted is not tested; someone who is not tested cannot progress.” This is exactly how our educational system works. Before the students move to the next level or grade, they undergo examination or a series of tests. The same is true in work application, career pursuit, even priestly formation. In one of the CBCP plenary assemblies, the bishops discussed the need to revise the English version of the Our Father. No less than Pope Francis pointed ou...
The Touch of God

The Touch of God

Opinion
For the past Sundays, we have seen Jesus healing all kinds of diseases. Today a leper approaches him and asks to be cured. Leprosy is considered among the most serious and dreaded illnesses then. It disfigures the body and causes it to disintegrate, reducing the victim into a veritable “walking dead.” More than the physical suffering, it is the psychological pain that devastates the leper as he grapples with feelings of shame, bitterness, anger and loss of self-worth. Because the disease is highly contagious, he is banned from the community and is forced to live in isolation as a social outcast. Worse still, he is barred from participating in religious worship since he is considered ritually impure. Finally, there is a common belief is that leprosy is a punishment and curse from God. ...
The Paradox of Suffering

The Paradox of Suffering

Opinion
“Is not man's life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of hirelings? He is a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for his wages.” In today’s first reading we hear Job lamenting his unbearable suffering despite his unquestionable faithfulness to God. At times, we too feel like Job when our “nights drag on” and our “days end without hope.” In such times, we do not so much engage in big philosophical or theological questions like “Why do bad things happen to good people?” or “Why does not God prevent evil when he is all-powerful?” We simply grapple with real personal issues that cause us deep pain and leave us powerless. I personally have been through such experience which literally gave me sleepless nights and drained every confidence left in me. In the end, I ...
He’s Got The Whole World

He’s Got The Whole World

Opinion
The devotion to Sto. Niño is something that never ceases to mesmerize me. I am a Cebuano and I live less than a kilometer from the Basilica which I frequented every Friday since I was a child. The phenomenal number of devotees who regularly fill the shrine especially during fiestas may provide some answer as to why Christianity is still alive in our country today despite the heavy onslaught of secularism and materialism. The lively cult of the Sto. Niño manifests an extraordinary faith which may be raw, hence easily vulnerable to superstition and fanaticism (which reminds us of PCPII’s call for a renewed integral evangelization). Yes, our people’s faith may be raw, but it is certainly deep for it touches the very core of the Filipino soul. It is a faith that moves the devotee to gi...
Every Family, Holy Family

Every Family, Holy Family

Opinion
On this Sunday following Christmas, the Church joyfully celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family, and most fittingly so. After all, is not Christmas the most significant and memorable celebration of our family life and relationship, as manifested in our reunions and gatherings for festive meals, and in our exchange of greetings and gifts? In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, Christmas is the feast of the family par excellence. In fact, Christmas is all about family. There is Christmas because there is family. Christmas is about God who wants to be part of the human family by becoming a member of the family of Joseph and Mary. And this is all because he wants us, humans, also to be part of his own family, the Trinity. We are reminded of this tremendous exchange and crisscross between t...
God of Revelation

God of Revelation

Opinion
Today we celebrate the feast of Epiphany, which means “manifestation”. We celebrate God's manifestation of himself, not only to Israel, the people of his covenant, but now to all peoples, "the Gentiles [who] are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” (second reading) The Latin Church identifies Epiphany with the visit of the Magi to the Infant Jesus in Bethlehem. To these wise men from the East, Jesus manifested himself, not just as the newborn king of the Jews, but as the Savior of the World. In turn, the foreign visitors prostrated themselves in worship before the Child and offered their kingly gifts. The Eastern tradition, on the other hand, celebrates Epiphany with the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, where ...
Every Family, Holy Family

Every Family, Holy Family

Opinion
On this Sunday following Christmas, the Church joyfully celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family, and most fittingly so. After all, is not Christmas the most significant and memorable celebration of our family life and relationship, as manifested in our reunions and gatherings for festive meals, and in our exchange of greetings and gifts? In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, Christmas is the feast of the family par excellence. In fact, Christmas is all about family. There is Christmas because there is family. Christmas is about God who wants to be part of the human family by becoming a member of the family of Joseph and Mary. And this is all because he wants us, humans, also to be part of his own family, the Trinity. We are reminded of this tremendous exchange and crisscross between t...
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